With the outstanding Probabeel and Aegon on Saturday New Zealanders have again come to prominence and the Australian autumn, with the two and three-year-old categories looking slack, will be the winner.
Of course, Probabeel in the Futurity at Caulfield showed that mares, like female jockeys, are continuing a dominant trend by downing Arcadia Queen, regarded by some as our best horse. I’m still in the corner of Verry Elleegant, given the right ride, over 2000 metres at weight-for-age.
Damian Lane and Probabeel in the aftermath of the mare’s third group 1 victory on Saturday.Credit:Getty
Remarkably, Saturday’s Caulfield circuit was biased, disappointing for such a huge meeting with the ground rated a good four for the first six races and then upgraded to even firmer. Yet around the fence, according to the experienced Kerrin McEvoy, was a no-go area leading to the opinion Rosehill Gardens, taken from a heavy 8 to a soft 6, was a superior punting surface.
After riding Ole Kirk (barrier one) in the group 1 Futurity McEvoy maintained “the ground could have been inferior” near the rail and on Dirty Work, from the one launch also, in the subsequent Oakleigh Plate McEvoy attempting to get off the fence contributed to horror vision for supporters.
Later the jockey declared he should have won instead of going down by around a length to dead heaters Celebrity Queen, with Willie Pike up, and Portland Sky. While Celebrity Queen finished closer to the inside Pike later disclosed his attempts to get wider.
Yes, the failure of Ole Kirk, an outstanding spring three-year-old, cast doubt on their quality this season. Another – Crosshaven, triumphant in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude and fourth in the main event – finished last in the Futurity.
Rachel King had a four-winner haul for the second time in her career at Rosehill on Saturday.Credit:Getty
And behind Aegon in the Hobartville at Rosehill the locals looked average. To the eye the gelding wasn’t flash until Hugh Bowman revved up his gears and he hit the line with the verve generated by Murray Baker, a training influence respected here for decades.
Of course, when it came to appearance it was difficult to find a better type than Home Affairs, the superbly structured I Am Invincible colt, successful in a substandard Silver Slipper, the sprint won by Farnan, the subsequent Golden Slipper winner, last year.
Every race can have strong and weak chapters and two year-olds can improve. Certainly the Blue Diamond at Caulfield didn’t look exceptional either with a mess of “began awkwardly” and “bumped at start” regarding green youngsters in the steward’s report.
No doubt the highlight at Rosehill was Rachel King, maintaining excellence with four winners, greeted by the enhanced crowd after the lifting of COVID–19 restrictions with dignified applause.
Boozers made their presence known in a more raucous voice after other events but the King feat, her second at Rosehill, was recognised by those who appreciate an athlete in scintillating touch. May it continue.
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