Darley continues Guineas domination

Paximadia gave Peter Snowden and Kerrin McEvoy a fourth victory in six seasons in today’s $350,000 Group 2 Sportingbet Sandown Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.

The victory continued Darley’s domination of the three-year-old features at Caulfield this Spring following the Group 1 wins of Long John in BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Guelph in the Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m).

Snowden said Paximadia deserved his place should he now head to Europe to race for Darley’s European arm Godolphin.

“I’ll probably get a phone call tonight but he deserves to go somewhere better because I think he’s a nice horse and he’ll make a name for himself over there,” Snowden said.

“I’m sure that he’ll get a lot further but its job done today and a great result.

“It’s (Sandown Guineas) a race we target with the right sort of horse and we thought all along that this was the right sort of level for this horse.”

After initially settling in fourth position, McEvoy made the decision to go forward and race on the outside of the leader Equator ($4.80).

Despite appearing under pressure approaching the home turn, Paximadia ($3.40F) proved too strong for Equator over the final 100 metres beating him by just over a length, with Apollo’s Choice ($4) just over half-a-length further back in third.

McEvoy, who also partnered Darley’s three previous Sandown Guineas winners (Caymans – 2008, Kidnapped – 2009, Tatra – 2012), admitted he was pretty worried at the 500 metre mark.

“It was a proper tempo and a proper horse race,” McEvoy said.

“He didn’t step out of the barriers as well as he did on Derby Day (Carbine Club Stakes) and it just left me a little bit of an awkward position in the first 100 metres but I was able to manoeuvre out of it and get him into a spot that he enjoyed and he got into a nice rhythm.

“It was a good battle and he did a really good job.”

Story by Ben Asgari

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Mouro’s amazing Eclipse win

Mouro earned a crack at Sydney’s autumn riches with a stunning win in today’s $150,000 Group 3 Snowhite Maintenance Eclipse Stakes at Caulfield.

The Tony McEvoy-trained import – the 59kg topweight – got home despite a tardy getaway and working hard up the famous Caulfield hill at the back of the course to find a prominent position.

McEvoy was not surprised that the son of Grand Slam won, but had his doubts the way he raced, and is already planning a shot at the Doncaster Mile and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), now worth $3 million and $4 million respectively, in Sydney next year.

“He just showed that he is a good, quality horse and he’s justified us going to a Group 1 with him,” the trainer said.

“I’m glad we waited with him, it’s been a really good result, but in the autumn I think you’ll see him go up a level.

“I think I’ll look a Doncaster or a 2000-metre race in the autumn. I think I’ll step him up. I’ve thought of him as a Group 1 horse for a long time and I suppose we’ve got to find out now.”

Mouro, a five-year-old entire, produced one of the toughest performances of Spring to get home in the Eclipse Stakes.

After jumping in the second half of the field, he was posted wide early and worked to find the spot outside leader St Gabriel and kept the pressure on that galloper so the leading pair retained a break on their rivals.

The front two turned well clear of the rivals, with Mouro taking over 350m out and it was not until around 75m from home that he started to feel the pinch.

But the $3.60 favourite had an unassailable lead by that point and at the line held a half-length margin over the fast-finishing Rain Drum ($3.70). Bel Thor ($5.50) was 2.5 lengths away third.

“He’s done a good job with 59 wanting to go a little bit keen,” Oliver said. “He was a bit vulnerable, but he was too good.”

Story by Ben Asgari

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Caravan Rolls Caulfield rivals

Caravan Rolls On landed another blow for the international raiders this Spring Racing Carnival proving a class above his rivals in today’s $150,000 Listed Sportingbet Sandown Cup (3200m) at Caulfield.

The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained six-year-old gave owner Sheik Fahad’s Qatar Bloodstock a second feature victory this Spring, to add to their earlier Mackinnon Stakes triumph with the Andrew Balding-trained Side Glance.

Qatar Bloodstock representative Geoffrey Faber said Caravan Rolls On would now remain in Australia where he will be transferred to trainer Danny O’Brien.

“He’ll now go for a spell and hopefully he’ll get some nice dry ground in the autumn,” Fabre said.

“The plan will hopefully be the Sydney Cup. He’s a genuine two-miler that loves fast ground.

“We (Qatar Bloodstock) have got plenty of horse’s here (Australia). We’ve got 17 broodmares at stud this year, we’ve got 14 foals on the ground, we’ve got eight yearlings in training and we’ve got 15 horses in training at the moment. It’s been a huge investment since Dunaden won the (2012) Caulfield Cup.

“He (Sheik Fahad) is a great supporter of racing worldwide but he absolutely loves Australia.”

Driven forward in the early stages by jockey Craig Williams, Caravan Rolls On ($2.25F) then settled perfectly in fifth position on the rail.

After working his way into the clear on the home turn, Caravan Rolls On strode up to the leaders at the top of the straight before outstaying his rivals in the run to the post and recording a 1.8 length victory over Like A Carousel ($12), with Crafty Cruiser ($16) a length further back in third.

Caravan Rolls On’s success was the second international triumph in a row in the Sandown Cup following the win of Ibicenco in 2012.

Story by Ben Asgari

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Racing NSW and ATC announce The Championships

Racing NSW and Australian Turf Club have today announced a momentous change to the Sydney autumn racing program, heralding a grand finale event towards the end of the Southern Hemisphere Thoroughbred racing season.

The Championships is an initiative of Racing NSW, to be hosted annually by the Australian Turf Club at Royal Randwick. The Championships, through the support of the NSW Government, is expected to attract horses, trainers and connections from across Australia and the world, providing a significant boost to the NSW economy.

The Championships will comprise ten ‘Championship’ races across two consecutive Saturdays beginning on Saturday April 12 and culminating on Easter Saturday, April 19. The program is a combination of well established, traditional races plus relocated races from other dates in the wider autumn carnival period. In total there are eight Group One events highlighting the spectacular card of world class racing.

Over $18 million in prizemoney will be won over the two headline days of autumn making The Championships one of the richest racing carnivals in the world. On the first Saturday, The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) will be worth $3 million, while the Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) is now $2.5 million and the BMW Australian Derby (2400m) offers $2 million in prizemoney.

The Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) becomes a $4 million race on the second day with three $1 million and two $500,000 Championship races.

Minister for Racing, George Souris said this is a truly exciting time to be involved in Thoroughbred Racing in New South Wales.

“The NSW Government is pleased to have contributed $10 million to the event,” said Mr Souris.

“The Championships will generate more than $41 million to the economy of NSW, increasing further as the event gains momentum. We have chosen this path to help ensure funds accumulated from race fields fees are preserved for use in country and provincial areas.

“We have selected three iconic races and enhanced them to make them the richest of their type in the world, these are the Star Doncaster Mile, the world’s richest mile race now worth $3 million, the Darley TJ Smith Stakes, the world’s richest open sprint race at $2.5 million and on day two the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, at $4 million becoming the world’s richest 2000 metre turf race,” said Mr Souris.

“Sydney is our global city and offers a stunning backdrop to any sporting event. There’s no better place to stage The Championships.”

Racing NSW Chairman Mr John Messara believes that The Championships will become one of the most competitive carnivals in the world for local, national and international participants.

“We have identified ten Championship races across various age and distance ranges which are the highlight of these two days. Some of these races become the richest of their category in Australia and the world,” said Mr Messara.

“Eight of those races are already Group One events and with the injection of almost $10 million, this program will lure the finest horses from Australia and New Zealand and from other countries across the globe. Our goal is for this to become the greatest event for racing in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Chairman of ATC, Mr John Cornish said Royal Randwick was already being rated a world-class venue with its new grandstand and surrounding redevelopment and was ready to host one of the biggest racing carnivals on the international stage.

“What an exciting trifecta, The Championships, Royal Randwick and Sydney being showcased to the world,” said Mr Cornish.

The Championships CEO, Mr Ian Mackay said Racing NSW and ATC were looking forward to putting on an event that is as memorable and exciting as other great sporting occasions in Australia.

“Royal Randwick is one of the world’s great racecourses and it now has an event worthy of its status,” Mr Mackay added.

In addition to the almost $10 million increase across the two Saturdays of The Championships, a further $2.3 million has been added to key lead up events.

Adding to the eight races at the most elite level, the Royal Sovereign Stakes and the Princess Stakes (previously Keith Mackay) join the list to make the ten Championship events.

The Rosehill Gardens component of the carnival also receives a boost, with the George Ryder Stakes moving a week earlier to Rosehill Guineas Day and gaining a $600,000 increase in prizemoney to $1 million. The world’s richest race for two-year-old horses, the iconic $3.5 million Tooheys New Golden Slipper will take place on Saturday April 5 and will continue to foster the future champions of Thoroughbred racing.

Buffering backs it up

He might have taken 18 starts to break his Group 1 duck, but Buffering is now making a habit of making trips to the Group 1 winner’s stall.

The Queensland warrior made it back-to-back wins at the highest level when he backed up his narrow Manikato Stakes success at Moonee Valley with victory in today’s $1 million VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington.

The Robert Heathcote-trained seven-year-old led all the way to defeat Shamexpress and Moment of Change in the 1200m event.

Heathcote was thrilled to see him back up the Valley success and confirm his standing as Australia’s number one sprinter.

“There were probably a few unanswered questions after the Manikato, a couple of people thought he might have been lucky but there was no luck in that today,” Heathcote said. “It was pure guts, determination and ability.

“There’s no Black Caviar, no Hay List and no Sepoy, but there’s a Buffering.”

Buffering took his career earnings to $3,821,900 with his 14th win at start number 37.

He took up his customary role as pacemaker in what was a moderate tempo with Hong Kong raider Lucky Nine sitting off to his outside.

Those on the Global Sprint Challenge bonus hopeful knew they were in trouble at the 350m when Brett Prebble started to push the Group 1 winner along, the same point Buffering that slipped more than two lengths clear.

The son of Mossman, a drifter from $8 to start $11, was still that far in front at the 100m and while Shamexpress ($18), who was held up for a run until the 250m, motored home three quarters of a length was as close as he got.

Moment of Change ($9) completed placings in the three open-age Group 1 sprints at Flemington for the year when he finished 1-3/4 lengths away third.

Lucky Nine, well-backed from $3.80 to start $3.40 favourite, finished sixth, almost six lengths from the winner.

Winning jockey Damian Browne said he was always confident the way the race played out.

“The first furlong-and-a-half I got through pretty quietly and as we came across the juncture (500m) I started to put a bit of pressure on and got them off the bit,” he said.

“As soon as I asked him for the kick he gave me a quick length and then it was just a matter of fighting them off.”

The victory was Buffering’s first at seven attempts up the famous Flemington straight, but he had logged four minor placings including a second to Black Caviar in the VRC Sprint Classic two years ago and a close second to Hay List in the 2012 Newmarket Handicap.

He will be given the chance to complete a Group 1 hat-trick in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on 23 November.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au