A three week gap, rather than four, from the Caulfield Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) may well tempt the connections of non-Derby bound three-year-olds to race for the $1,000,000 Longines pot rather than seek the more modest $200,000 spoils of the Carbine Club Stakes (Gr 3, 1600m) at the same distance. Not to mention the enhanced stallion value if you happen to have a likely colt.
A case in point is the Hayes family-trained Seaburge, the entire son of Sebring (More Than Ready), who bypassed last Saturday’s Caulfield Classic (Gr 3, 2000m) after being beaten a head by Divine Prophet (Choisir) in the Caulfield Guineas. Good Standing (Artie Schiller) won the Caulfield Classic to enhance the form from the Caulfield Guineas in which he finished seventh.
Seaburge is one of just two three-year-old nominations for the race, which were taken on Monday, along with the Caulfield Guineas third Hey Doc (Duporth).
The quality of this year’s three-year-old crop and the possible vulnerability of the older milers are factors which might prompt a crack at the Longines Mile with one of the younger brigade.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt) and Star Turn (Star Witness) literally embarrass quality older sprinters. Those wins have, of course, been in WFA sprints but they do speak to the quality of the crop and the form around Astern (Medaglia d’Oro), Divine Prophet, Impending (Lonhro), Good Standing, Star Turn, Global Glamour (Star Witness), Flying Artie and Yankee Rose (All American) continues to stand up.
In contrast, there may be some question marks against the form of the obvious lead-ups contested by the older horses.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) form was not a key factor in the Toorak Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) where a very good horse He’s Our Rokkii (Roc Des Cambes) was able to win but courtesy of a great ride from Dwayne Dunn. There’s no doubting the ‘winning’ quality of He’s Our Rokkii but he did beat 30/1 chance Great Esteem (Redoute’s Choice) who’d run last in the George Main Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) and beaten the generally disappointing Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas) in his Heatherlie Handicap (Listed, 1700m) win.
The Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) looked to be a stronger ‘mile’ race but it did produce a blanket finish. The winner Hauraki (Reset) is Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) bound and the runner-up Dibayani (Shamardal) arguably better going right handed. Neither has been nominated for the Flemington race.
Ironically, trainers have dodged the Longines Mile with three-year-olds since the Hayes-trained All American (Red Ransom) upset So You Think (High Chaparral) in 2009. While So You Think had, of course, won the Cox Plate; his previous run was a fifth place in the Caulfield Guineas behind a sprinter in Choisir’s (Danehill Dancer) son Starspangledbanner.
So You Think was beaten almost five lengths in the Guineas and, with 53.5 kilograms, did concede weight to All American in the Longines Mile – as a consequence of his Cox Plate win. He was also ridden rather ambitiously by Glen Boss.
This year, the three-year-old are expected to have only 50 or 51 kilograms in the Longines Mile. And the temptation would surely be even greater if Yankee Rose, quirkily who just happens to be a daughter of All American, runs well in Saturday’s Cox Plate.
From the 60’s through to the early 80’s it was not unusual for a three-year-olds to have a crack at the then Emirates Stakes and the three-year-old winners Silver Bounty (Karayar), Taj Rossi (Matrice) and Storm Queen (Storm Creek) had each either finished first or second in the Caulfield Guineas or the Bill Stutt Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m).
Newnham Making A Good Start
Mark Newnham, formerly right hand man to training legend Gai Waterhouse, chalked up the third winner of his fledgling ‘new’ career when Postmaster General (I Am Invincible) won at Wyong on Sunday.
That victory came just three days after Righteous Mate – his promising, gelded son of Savabeel (Zabeel) – won his maiden (1600 metres) at Gosford at his second start. Newnham’s three winners have come from his past six runners and he has a 60 per cent win and place strike rate from the 23 runners from his Warwick Farm stables, since his first stepped out in June, and the highly regarded horseman is bound to make his mark.
Righteous Mate, who was third on debut behind the subsequent Ethereal Stakes (Gr 3, 2000m) placed Savvan (Savabeel), may be Melbourne bound for the TCL Stakes (Listed, 1800m) at Flemington on Oaks day.
“There is a lack of suitable three-year-old races in Sydney in the next few weeks and I’ve had a look at that Oaks day race in recent years and it looks a realistic goal,” Newnham said.
That race was, in fact, won last year by the Chris Waller-trained Hursley (Makfi) who’d won his maiden at 1600 metres at Hawkesbury at about the same time in October as Righteous Mate achieved his breakthrough win.
Newnham’s happy with the start to his ‘stand alone’ career. “We picked up a couple of new horses over the weekend and now have 20 in work. The support’s been great and the facilities for the horses here at Warwick Farm are really good,” he said.
Hong Kong International Races
Free entries for the Longines Hong Kong International Races, will close next Monday, 24 October at 6pm (Hong Kong time). HKIR supplementary entries close at 6pm (HK time) on 21 November, 2016, for the 11 December meeting.
The whisper is that as many as three or four of Saturday’s Cox Plate participants may be among the entries – including Lucia Valentina (Savabeel) who finished five and a quarter lengths fifth behind Japan’s A Shin Hikari (Deep Impact) in last December’s Hong Kong Cup (Gr 1, 2000m); and Vadamos (Monsun) who could tackle either the Hong Kong Cup or the Hong Kong Mile (Gr 1, 1600m) on his return to Europe.
Goodness me, you could hardly argue that history will be against Jameka (Myboycharlie) completing the Cups double after she was penalised 1.5 kilograms to 53.5 kilograms for the Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) – despite that rise meaning that she needs to break Light Fingers’ (Le Filou) weight-carrying record of 52.5 kilograms, for a four year-old mare, in the 1965 Melbourne Cup.
Keep in mind that the third placegetter in the 1965 Melbourne Cup was Midlander (Centreway) who carried just 43 kilograms! As the 2016 order of entry currently sits, there will be no runner with less than 51 kilograms this year.
The much underrated Light Fingers was an extraordinary performer. She returned in 1966 to run second to a champion in Galilee (Alcimedes) and that year she carried 57.5 kilograms. That’s just a half kilogram less than Makybe Diva (Desert King) carried in the 2005 Melbourne Cup – after she already had two Cups, a Cox Plate and numerous other features on her resume.