Bel and Barbie share Caulfield Sprint

Bel Sprinter and Miracles Of Life couldn’t be separated following Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (1100m) with the race declared a dead-heat.

Bel Sprinter was resuming after a second throat operation while Miracles Of Life was having her first start for new trainers Peter and Paul Snowden.

Trainer Jason Warren said Bel Sprinter – who won the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) the first time he resumed from throat surgery – had been a frustrating horse for the stable but it was great to see him back to his best.

“He was fierce to the line today but it would’ve been nice to see him get a bit of galloping room, and then you would’ve seen what he’s really got,” Warren said.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to the guys at the Ballarat Clinic, they’ve done an amazing job on this horse’s throat. He had aggressive throat surgery and they’ve done a great job.”

Warren said Bel Sprinter would now head to the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8 with his main target the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth later that month.

Peter Snowden said Miracles Of Life may now head to the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.

“She’ll probably run during (Melbourne) Cup week, I’m not sure whether we’ll go for a big target. Maybe the old Salinger, it’ll depend on how she pulls up,” Snowden said.

”I’ve learnt a bit about her today, I’ve learnt a bit about her all prep but she’ll improve on her effort today.

I had her pretty wound up and I think I probably just a little bit too much with her, looking at her today on the float trip down. I’ll back off her a bit, I think. You’ll see a better ‘Barbie’ next time.”

The pair settled at opposite ends of the field in running with Miracles Of Life ($7) leading on the fence and Bel Sprinter ($12) assuming his customary position towards the tail of the field.

While Bel Sprinter was trying to pick his way through the field on the inside, Miracles Of Life raced a length clear at the top of the straight before Bel Sprinter weaved his way through to launch over the final 50m.

Shamal Wind ($6F) finished a further short-head away in third.


Contributer’s dream Aussie introduction

Contributer gave Godolphin the perfect start to new initiative for one of the world’s biggest stables when he won the David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield.

The Irish-bred entire scored an impressive win in the $150,000 Group 3 at his first start in Australia.

It was his first outing in the care of John O’Shea, Sheikh Mohammed’s head trainer in Australia, and the Sydney-based horseman was thrilled to vindicate the plan that will see more Northern Hemisphere-bred gallopers transferred into his care.

“It has been a nice thing for us to achieve for the boss (Sheikh Mohammad) and John Ferguson, to buy a horse out of Europe and come down and win with it straight away,” O’Shea said.

“I think it has been executed extremely well by the team.”

Contributer, a five-year-old son of High Chaparral, unleashed a strong finish from midfield to score a dominant win under James McDonald.

The $7.50 chance scored by one length from another European galloper having his first start for an Australian trainer, the Robert Smerdon-prepared Noble Protector ($3.80), with Signoff ($5) third.

McDonald was full of praise for Contributer, who has now has a 50 percent winning strike rate after 10 starts.

“He’s a grouse horse,” the jockey said. “He travelled beautifully and he’s got that (great) acceleration.

“I worked him at Werribee and thought that he feels like an Australian horse. He’s got a turn of foot. He just idled over that last little bit, but he’s pretty special.”


Sweet Tristarc Win

Free-wheeling mare Sweet Idea became Australian racing’s latest $2 million-earner when she won the $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield.

The four-year-old daughter of Snitzel collected the $42,650 she needed to crack the milestone plus some when she led from start to finish in the 1400-metre event for mares.

The $120,000 first prize took the Gai Waterhouse-trained performer’s earnings to $2,077,350 with the seventh win of her 17-start career.

“She cost $200,000 as a yearling at Magic Millions and it just shows, if you go there, what fun you can have. She’s just joyous,” Waterhouse said.

Sweet Idea, who placed in the Golden Slipper as a two-year-old, vindicated Waterhouse’s decision to bypass the previous week’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap against the boys with her Tristarc win.

She was taken straight to the front by Tommy Berry, who let her slip clear turning for home and kept her going to the line.

Sweet Idea, who started the $3.40 favourite, scored by three quarters of a length from the ever-consistent Girl Guide, who looked a threat midway down the straight, with Catkins 1-1/4 lengths away third.

“I strung them out a little bit around the corner because she’s tough,” Berry said. “When the second horse looked like she had her, she was too strong again.”

Sweet Idea, who had won the Group 2 Missile Stakes and ran second in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes among her earlier starts this campaign, will next be seen in the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on 1 November.


Fillies fill up in Caulfield Classic

Local trainer Robert Smerdon is happy with the Melbourne Racing Club’s decision to rejuvenate the old Norman Robinson Stakes.

Now called the Caulfield Classic, the 2000-metre Group 3 race for three-year-olds this year received a $600,000 injection of funds and is now worth $750,000.

Smerdon on Saturday claimed the lion’s share of that booty when Oaks-bound fillies Fontein Ruby and Crafty proved too strong for their male rivals.

The Caulfield trainer said the Classic became an irresistible option, as opposed to the $120,000 Listed Ethereal Stakes ran earlier on the card, following the prizemoney hike and he was glad he rolled the dice.

“I guess the other option was to run them in the fillies’ race, but we looked at the prizemoney here and decided to have a crack at this one.”

Fontein Ruby collected $450,000 and Crafty $135,000 for their efforts in the Caulfield Classic.

The former had to do some early work to find spot outside leader Merion, who raced more prominent than normal, and was left in front when Merion felt the pinch at the 300m.

Fontein Ruby was headed by Firehouse Rock inside the 200m, but fought back to reclaim the lead and then hold off her stablemate.

The $13 chance scored by a neck from Crafty ($6) with Firehouse Rock ($51) sticking on for third, three quarters of a length away.

Smerdon hinted post race that he continued to expect Fontein Ruby – who is by Group 1-winning sprinter Turffontein to be found out by a step up in trip, but is amazed by her tenacity.

“She’s got a great constitution,” Smerdon said “Whether she could run the 2000 was a question, it’s not in pedigree, but she doesn’t know that and she just keeps pulling something out.”

Fontein Ruby, who has now won four of her past five starts, is the one of Smerdon’s pair more likely to progress to the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) on Derby Day, with the trainer suggesting Crafty may now head straight to the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on 6 November.

Crafty is now $3.50 Oaks favourite and one of three Smerdon-trained runners at single figures for the race. Fontein Ruby if on the $7.50 second line with Lumosty at $8.50.


Snowdens Shoot to Group 1 win

Their situation is different, but Peter and Paul Snowden again celebrated BECK Caulfield Guineas victory at Caulfield on Saturday.

The father-son training combination produced Shooting To Win to score a memorable win in the $1 million Group 1 event for three-year-olds.

The son of Northern Meteor prevailed by a neck in a stirring duel with fairytale local hope Rich Enuff.

It was the third Caulfield Guineas win in the past four years for Peter Snowden, who won with Helmet (2011) and Long John (last year) when head trainer of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley (now Godolphin) operation, but first in partnership with his son.

Snowden Snr stayed at home in Sydney, leaving Paul to do the talking, and Snowden Jnr said there was a particularly special element to this year’s Guineas win.

“He’s at home, he wouldn’t come down, he said ‘I’ll leave it to you, you know what you’re doing’,” Paul said.

“They’re all special, but this is different. It’s for us. That’s why it’s so different.

“It means a lot. We never thought we’d be at this stage this early in our career. It’s fantastic.”

Shooting To Win franked the big opinion the Snowdens have always had of him when he got home. Expertly handled by James McDonald, who positioned him midfield one off the fence and found his into the clear early in the straight to set out after leader Rich Enuff.

It was evident halfway down the straight the heavily-backed favourite ($2 to $1.80) was in trouble but even though Shooting To Win ($7.50) reeled him in inside the 100m, Rich Enuff fought back gamely.

Shooting To Win held him off to score by a neck with Wandjina ($101) one length away third, marginally in advance of Kumaon ($31).

It was the fourth win from seven starts for Shooting To Win, who won the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes at his previous outing, and Snowden said they were lucky to inherit him from O’Shea, who replaced his dad as Sheikh Mohammed’s head trainer.

“He was just a very special horse from day one. You just knew he was good by the way he worked, his attitude was great, he towels up Group 1 horses on the track and makes them look like mid-weekers.”

The victory was the 22nd elite-level success for former Kiwi whiz kid McDonald, but just his second in Melbourne and the 22-year-old was thrilled to do it aboard a horse he had a connection with back when he was trained by one of his biggest supporters in O’Shea.

“Obviously John trained the horse and I had some connection with him as a two-year-old, and with the owners, so it was a great buzz to get back on him and do the job for them.”

“I haven’t had a lot of luck down here, it’s a very hard carnival, I find it’s the toughest (carnival), so it’s always good to come down and get a result.”