The action didn’t disappoint on what promised to be a monster Saturday of racing, with the girls taking centre stage in Melbourne and Sydney.
Straight Talent No Secret
Godolphin filly In Secret replicated her tremendous Coolmore Stud Stakes victory last spring when winning the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in dominant fashion.
The day didn’t all go to plan for trainer James Cummings and Godolphin after leading jockeys Jamie Kah and Craig Williams were involved in a fall during the Group 2 VRC Sires.
Kah, who was booked to ride In Secret in the Newmarket Handicap, was taken to hospital, alongside Williams, following the fall.
With few riders available and even less able to ride the 51.5kg, Dean Holland answered the call from Cummings to ride the three-year-old filly.
It was a comfortable watch for In Secret’s supporters as she pulled away for a one-length victory over Lofty Strike and drifting race favourite I Wish I Win.
Espiona Secures Group One
If there was a market about Espiona retiring a Group 1 winner about 12 months ago, she would have been a deep odds-on favourite.
Fast forward twelve months and the hypothetical market no doubt would have completely reversed after a year of frustrating results.
Her potential has always been there and connections’ were rewarded for their patience at Rosehill on Saturday as the four-year-old motored along the rail to win the Group 1 Coolmore Classic.
Michael Dee, fresh off a brilliant Victorian autumn carnival, produced another sensational ride aboard the winner, backing-up his rides aboard Little Brose and Legarto in the past month.
Pride Of Jenni, who ran fourth behind Espiona at Sandown last start, was massive to finish second, nailed on the line at big odds.
Fellow three-year-old filly Sheeza Belter was brilliant down the outside to defy the pattern of the day.
Babies Book Slipper Tickets
Steel City and Coolmore colt Shinzo booked their tickets in next weekend’s Group 1 Golden Slipper with strong wins at Rosehill.
Shinzo, who ran third behind Red Resistance and King’s Gambit on debut, looked much more comfortable outside horses when winning the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes.
Meanwhile, two races later, Steel City reiterated thoughts of ‘what could have been’ in the Blue Diamond when dominating the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained filly never saw daylight in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes and Regan Bayliss took luck out of the equation on Saturday, taking the filly straight to the front and that is where she stayed.
Steel City defeated Blanc De Blanc by over 2.5-lengths and is now a $8 chance for the Golden Slipper with TAB.
Waller Phar Lap Domination Continues
Champion trainer Chris Waller has made the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes his own in recent years and he maintained his stranglehold on the race on Saturday.
Odds-on favourite Zougotcha was labelled the ‘Lay Of The Day’ by the TAB traders on Saturday morning, but punters never gave them the opportunity to wind her out, firming into $1.50 by the jump and winning accordingly.
It was Waller’s seventh win in the race in the last nine years and has already identified the Group 1 Doncaster Mile as her next target.
TAB wound Zougotcha into $8 for the Doncaster Mile and is now joint favourite with Alligator Blood and stablemate Fangirl.
Unfortunately a bad fall involving Craig Williams and Jamie Kah marred what was otherwise a brilliant day of racing at Flemington.
Potentially the most exciting horse on the card came up early in the Group 2 VRC Sires, where favourite Veight defied a massive drift to win impressively.
After leading all the way on debut at Pakenham, Damien Lane opted to take a sit aboard the Grunt colt and he never looked like losing, pulling away impressively to beat Apulia by two-lengths.
The Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained galloper jumped $4.80 after opening $3.20 on Wednesday.
The strong colt looks a physical beast with an action to match, and is now $6 joint favourite with Don Corleone for the Group 1 Inglis Sires.