March brings us well into the Autumn Carnival and yesterdays racing did not disappoint. Four Group One races were dished up with some superb racing;
Canterbury Stakes – Happy Clapper (click for replays)
Our new ageless wonder, Happy Clapper made very light work of a strong field. Settling off the hot speed set by Global Glamour Blake Shinn was able to present at the top of the straight and the horse with a superior turn of foot than any other in the race ambled up and pulled away easily.
Early G1’s prove to be great form races and this one will be no different, Happy Clapper will progress as last year towards another Doncaster and Queen Elizabeth where he will challenge Winx. Global Glamour was a great display of speed and will likely be highly competitive in mares races moving forward when getting up to the mile.
Of the rest most will head towards the Doncaster as such the runs of Invincible Gem and Clearly Innocent (who couldn’t keep up early) were solid for a progression.
Trapeze Artist took up the running and set a solid tempo whilst Kementari was able to settle back in the field with cover, given clear running from the turn he let down like a very good horse and stretched out well to easily cover this group 1 field.
Kementari will progress towards the Doncaster where he will be very competitive with a light weight, with the likely progression to the Rosehill Guineas for most of the field the run of Ace High (VRC Derby winner) was very good. D’Argento looks like a very talented horse who is lacking maturity, right now he is running on raw ability, once he learns to stride out and balance himself he will be a superb racehorse, this Autumn may have come a bit early for him though, that said if the “penny drops” watch out!
Straight racing can be very misleading, with Redkirk Warrior showing a superior sustained speed to lead from start to finish down the outside (the side on angle is VERY misleading) in the process becoming only the 5th horse to go back-to-back in the Newmarket. As is typical of G1 racing there were some great runs behind the winner also with Brave Smash proving the step back to the 1200m was no problem just missing flashing from well back on the inside and the 3YO Merchant Navy lost no admirers in third.
The first two will likely head to Sydney to challenge Redzel in the TJ Smith which is setting up to be a cracking race whilst Merchant Navy is likely to head overseas for a crack at international riches in June.
Australian Cup – Harlem
This was a very classy field of stayers and the speed was right on from the start with The Taj Mahal setting a very solid tempo which really strung the field out. The big striding Gailo Chop was forced to work hard the whole way and delivered the run of the race being beaten into second, hopefully a trip to Sydney is not off the cards. The Hayes trained Harlem settled off the hot speed and took a great inside run to drive through and win comfortably, delivering on the promise he showed in the spring now that he is gelded and has his “mind on the job”.
Where to look?!? This contest will be a great form race moving forward, the absolute class of the staying fraternity was on display with a number of these horses heading to Sydney to progress towards the 2000m and 2400m weight for age “heavyweight championships”. The “Williams crew” will also likely head towards the Sydney Cup, Homesman in particular looked very good for the progression.