I fielded at Caulfield on Wednesday, and I must say the track played brilliantly. Half-an-inch of irrigation was added to the track – this despite 5mm of rain the day before, and the track still rated well and truly in the good range. A perfect surface for all.
Turnover is up higher, year on year, at Caulfield than anywhere else and there is no doubt this is due to the track being good far more often than not. I wish other track management teams would follow this lead.
It was a good meeting at Caulfield. I believe the Melbourne punters seemingly over estimate Sydney stayers in Victoria . I marked Opposition in the first race yesterday as a 6-1 or 7-1 chance, while punters were prepared to take ½ of that. I will get back to you loyal readers with actual 2000m plus stats for Sydney horses at Caulfield following the carnival!
It was good to see Written By win the Blue Sapphire with such authority, as he is the defending Blue Diamond winner, and one of the best two-year-olds of last season. Like with Pierro, All Too Hard, and even Tulloch going back a bit, not to mention countless others, quality two-year-old colts that go on to race well at three create great excitement. The Autumn Sun is another. It is of great credit to Grahame Begg to have this colt back up and winning nicely.
Another feature of the meeting was Darren Weir who trained a treble. Weir’s horses stay in work and they continue to get better and better with more racing. The sheer numbers Weir has in work is remarkable. I estimate that at any given time, Darren Weir would have four times as many horses in work than T.J. Smith or Bart Cummings would have had during their respective primes.
Caulfield Cup ignored
Speaking of Gai’s father… I can only imagine his take on the scratching of Yucatan and Avilius from the Caulfield Cup! We have a race worth $5,000,000 there for the taking, and the connections of the two horses I believe may have had the race at their mercy, would prefer to skip the race as to not risk a penalty for the Melbourne Cup. I believe Hartnell would have been hard to beat in the Caulfield Cup a couple of years ago, and he too was scratched as to not risk a Melbourne Cup penalty.
T.J would run a horse with a chance in the Caulfield Cup every time – Kingston Town, Redcraze and Tulloch just to name three, all had Melbourne Cup aspirations (the Cup scratching of Tulloch is for another day), but all raced in the Caulfield Cup as it was and is now more than ever, worth too much money to ignore. Mr Telford, who raced Phar Lap on all four days of Cup week in 1930 would be spinning with these scratchings, as would the connections of Carbine; Carbine, after being sold to stud for a record price, was still asked to race in two races at one race meeting on four separate occasions!
Another nice feature at Caulfield on Wednesday were the race replays. After each race, there were screens showing the normal vision, plus a bonus screen showing the stewards vision. I wish other administrations would pick up this initiative.