Mon, Oct 15, 11:21am by Staff Writer
Big crowds flocked to Caulfield and Randwick on Saturday for some fantastic Group 1 and big money racing.
James McDonald started the day with an enviable book of rides at Caulfield with the favourite – or very close to – in each of the four Group 1 races but he had to wait until the last of the four to record his first G1 victory since returning from suspension earlier in the year. And it was certainly worth the wait as The Autumn Sun ran away with the G1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) winning by 4.5L to the 100-1 shot Vassilator with the lone filly in the race – Oohood close behind in third.
A winner of five from his six starts – and an unlucky third at his other run – that was The Autumn Sun’s third Group 1 win and while it’s unlikely, it would be great to see him line up against stable mate Winx in the G1 Cox Plate (2040m).
“J-Mac” had to wait until the ninth race to notch up his first win for the day but he soon made it back-to-back with Yucatan cruising to victory in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m). The Aidan O’Brien-trained, Team Williams-owned five-year-old was caught wide early in running and circled the field from around the 1200m mark and just kept on running. At one point in the straight he was six to eight lengths in front before MacDonald eased Yucatan down to win by over a length. With that win, he shot up in the markets for next week’s G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and of course the big one in November.
Darren Weir and Craig Williams had a big dig day and they teamed up to take out the G1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) with Amphitrite coming from last at the 800m to run down Fundamentalist – another 100-1 pop – with an improved Seabrook in third. All four of Amphitrite’s wins have come in this campaign which began with a Sale maiden back in early September. Smart Melody was sent out the $2.15 favourite but she met defeat for the first time finishing seventh, beaten just under 2.5L.
Land of Plenty gave Weir consecutive Group 1 wins after he came from near last to overhaul Hartnell and Siege of Quebec in the G1 Toorak (1600m). After jumping from barrier 18, jockey Damian Lane didn’t have much choice but to go back although in the end, it was quite a comfortable win. Shillelagh finished fourth franking the G1 Epsom (1600m) form.
Godolphin went head to head in the G1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) but it was Saeed Bin Suroor’s Benbatl narrowly edging out Charlie Appleby’s Blair House, with Humidor a further 2.35L away in third. The quinella are firmers in the Cox Plate, as was The Cliffsofmoher who ran fourth and certainly caught the eye.
Up in Sydney, a modern day record battled the elements to see Redzel go back-to-back in The Everest. Jumping from one, with no real other pace to bother him and one of the few who didn’t mind the heavy track, McEvoy and Redzel always looked in control as they skipped to a second straight Everest, and up the prize money tree to pass $15-million for connections. Trapeze Artist was good finishing second with last minute inclusion into the race Osborne Bulls scouting wide down the straight to finish third.
Pierata was in early talks with slot holders for a place in The Everest but for whatever reason that didn’t eventuate although connections and slot holders alike might have been wondering why after the Greg Hickman-trained four-year-old ran away with the ‘consolation prize’, the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) – worth $287,000 to the winner. With the addition of blinkers, he dropped back from the mile of the Epsom to sail past noted wet-tracker Jungle Edge to win by nearly 3L.
It’s not often a Sydney metro meeting goes by without leading trainer Chris Waller coming away without a winner but that was the case on Saturday, although the win of The Autumn Sun down in Melbourne would have certainly softened the blow.
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