For many of us in the Racing Industry, the Spring Racing Carnival is often referred to as Christmas (well for us anyway at Thoroughbred Events Australia).
Every year all racing enthusiasts (regardless if you are a regular attendee to the races or going for the first time) we are spoilt with some amazing racing, fashion and entertainment over the Spring months, 2017 definitely did not let us down.
Every year there is always the big build up to the race that Stops the Nation The Melbourne Cup, the carnival kicks off in Sydney, during that time we are blessed with the finest Thoroughbreds in the country and even internationally, along with the best jockeys in the land and we see some amazing fashions on the field. This year there have been so many highlights of what made the carnival the success that it was.
This week our Winning Wednesday goes back over some of the highlights of the 2017 Carnival.
Run to the Rose
The Sydney Carnival kicking off on the 9th September saw racing commence at Rosehill Gardens with the annual running of the Run to the Rose where we saw the promising very flashy son of Snitzel- Menari (Snitzel xÂ Isurava) step up and show that he is a star in the making, with his explosive turn of
foot that he showed on this day has earnt him the nickname Menari the Ferrari (watch the replay here). What a day of racing it was with earlier in the day 5yr old gelding Deploy (Fastnet Rock x Crimson Reign) smashed another track record, showing that although getting on in age there is still plenty of zip left in his legs.
Optic White Stakes Day
The 16th September saw racing return to Royal Randwick for Optic White Stakes Day. Race goers encouraged to wear a splash of red, while many incorporated the Winx blue and white caps into their outfits as we were going to be blessed with the Queen of Turf herself running in the main race of the day Optic White Stakes.
You had to be very quick to get a spot in the Theatre of the Horse to lay your eyes on the champ who strolled around very relaxed and with her game face on. For the thousands watching, we had our hearts in our mouths as Winx settles last, however, not to worry because as she always does when seeing the finish line she lets down and we get to see that explosive turn of foot, the crowd roaring as the champ crosses the line keeping her winning streak in tact.
Watch the replay here
Not given much of a chance to grip what we had just witnessed, another star stepped up and made us aware of his name in the following race- 5yr old gelding Redzel (Snitzel x Millrich), the orphan foal now a star of the turf and also showing just like fellow Snitzel offspring that despite the age were racing like they were still a 2 yr old in their first prep.
De Bortoli Golden Rose
Racing then returned to Rosehill to present another fabulous day of racing with the running of the De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose, won this
year by the Gerald Ryan trained Trapeze Artist (Snitzel x Treppers). The Group 3 Gloaming Stakes also ran on this day put the eventual Victoria Derby Winner in Ace High (High Chapparal x Come Sunday) on the radar’s of racegoers, showing he has the ability to go all the way to the top and showing why he deserved to be sent to Melbourne. We were also blessed to see master trainer Ron Quinton’s girls Dixie Blossoms and Daysee Doom quinella the Group 2 Golden Pendant.
The hype of the Sydney carnival was fast approaching- the 14th October 2017 was yet another day that would be etched in the rich history of Australian Racing, it was the inaugural running of the $10 million The Everest (read all about it by clicking here), taken out by the orphan foal now superstar in Redzel. The attendance was at a very high level, some question if it was to watch the 12 best sprinters in the country compete for a crazy prize pool and a very elegant trophy or if it was to dance the afternoon away to a 60 minute one-off concert by Global Superstar Jason Derulo. Even after the races had finished people flocked through the gates just to dance in the rain to the global icon before continuing celebrations at the official after party, at The Star.
Watch the replay of Redzel conquering the Everest here
Racing goes to Melbourne
With Sydney’s carnival over for another year, we turn our attentions to Melbourne.
The Melbourne carnival is spread across 3 main tracks: Caulfield, Moonee Valley and Flemington, with Geelong and Bendigo providing opportunities for runners to make the final Melbourne Cup Field.
Caulfield home to races such as Caulfield Guineas, Thousand Guineas, Caulfield Stakes. Moonee Valley show cases the infamous nighttime running of the Group 1 Manikato Stakes and Australia’s richest weight for age race- the Cox Plate. Flemington then holding the four day carnival that we all love the most including the Victoria Derby (Saturday before the Cup), The Melbourne Cup (First Tuesday in November), The VRC Oaks (ladies day held on the Thursday) and the VRC Stakes Day (family day on the Saturday).
One of the richest 1 1/2 mile races in the country, the Caulfield Cup is run 16 days before the Melbourne Cup and is one of the many qualifying races for the Cup. The race is for 3 year olds and onwards that race for a prize of $3 million dollars and automatic entry in the Melbourne Cup, which is where many try to complete a successful cups double a feat that only 11 horses have been able to do, horses including: Rising Fast, Let’s Elope, Doriemus, Might and Power.
2017 saw the cup go to the David & Ben Hayes, Tom Dabernig trained Boom Time, who edged out tough Canberra mare Nick Olive trained Single Gaze to take the honours and gain automatic entry to the big race. This win also gave jockey Cory Parish his first Group 1 win.
Watch the Replay here
A race that has provided us with some heart stopping moments over the years, 2017 was no different! In 2014, it was a blanket finish of quite a number of the runners finishing across the track in a photo finish that saw sprinter star who wore his heart on his head, Lankan Rupee hold out the fast finishers to win the prize.
A sprint race ran over a fast 1200m for 3 year olds and upwards for a prize pool of $1 million, raced under weight for age conditions. The honour roll of winners including names such as: Buffering, Hay List, Sepoy, Sunline, Redoute’s Choice, Gold Edition and so on.
2017 saw the sensational scratching the Grey Flash- Chautauqua be backed out of the barriers after being passed fit to run only to then be scratched from the racing. A wave of boo’s coming from the crowd as the events unfolded, in the end the race being won by Tony McEvoy trained Hey Doc (Duporth x Heyington Honey).
Watch the Replay here
This day was going to be on history books being rewritten regardless of what would happen. Australia’s Queen of the Turf, Winx was back to defend her two previous Cox Plates, as she attempted to race further into the history books by becoming the only other horse to win 3 Cox Plates- the other being Kingston Town.
Winx had already raced into the record books as typically the field in the race is usually around 18 horses, this year only saw 7 rivals for Winx. In true Winx style she did not let her Victorian Fans down, cruising up like she always does and then breaking the hearts of the field. However, we were left with our hearts in our mouths as at one stage it looked as if the impossible was about to happen Humidor loomed up and got within half a length of beating the great mare, but she always digs deep when it matters and crossed the line in her favourite position first!
Watch the Replay here
Victorian Derby Day
4th November 2017 and our attention turns to Victoria’s and Australia’s racing capital, Flemington Race Course for the remainder of the spring racing, their carnival definitely didn’t disappoint either. Derby Day 2017 had arrived! Derby Day is where we see all of the black and white fashion trends coming out. Now you may be wondering where did this tradition come from? It has been documented that the first incentive to encourage race goers to wear Black and White was an advertisement in an 1960 edition of Australian Women’s Weekly offering a 200 pound wardrobe to the best race goer that dressed in Black and White, it was also the year that whiskey maker James Buchanan and Co. were promoting a Black and White brand the tradition has stuck to this day and the prizes for those in fashions on the field and much more lucrative.
A day that also consists 4 big Group 1s: Coolmore Stud Stakes (won by Merchant Navy), Myer Classic (won by Shoals), Victoria Derby (won by Ace High) and the Kennedy Mile (won by Shillelagh).
Watch the Replay here
Melbourne Cup Day
With Derby Day out-of-the-way, our attention was turned back to Flemington only a few days later as the rest of the world also tuned in to watch our great race and the only race in the entire world that stops a whole nation, quite possibly stopping many nations. 24 of the best horses both in Australia and the World battle over 3200m to win one of the most iconic races in the world. Over the years, we have seen an increase in the number of internationals that come with the hopes of taking our cup home, 2017 was no different.
Every year on the first Tuesday in November, Flemington houses over 100,000 race goers who take advantage of the state holiday to put on their best dressed outfits and head to the races. Typically a day on the racing calendar known for great fashion, big name celebrities come out to enjoy the races and the best thoroughbreds in the world battling it out on the turf.
All the horses are loaded and the crowd along with the rest of the nation and globe wait for the gates to crash open as they do the on track crowd roars as the runners make their way down the famous Flemington straight for the first time. Jockey’s battling to get their mounts into an ideal position so that they can have the run they hope for and position their mount well. As the crowd continues to cheer the field of runners turns for home and the crowd roar intensifies as the Aiden O’Brien trained Johannes Vermeer breaks away from the pack to lead to then only be run down in the last few strides of the race by a much younger O’Brien in Joseph with his horse Rekindling. The 2017 Melbourne Cup quinella is the first time a Father & Son quinellas the race and also making Joseph O’Brien the youngest trainer to win the Melbourne Cup, at the tender age of 24.
Watch the Replay here
Born in May 1993, Joseph O’Brien is no stranger to a life withÂ horses as he is the son of the famous Irishman Aiden O’Brien, but also aÂ former jockey himself.Â Joseph won the Irish Apprenticeship Jockey title in 2010 and rode his first winner for his father in 2009. In 2012, the O’Brien’s became the first father & son duo toÂ win the Derby with horse Camelot. With 87 winners in the 2012 season, Joseph was crowned the Champion Jockey. After a short career riding, in March 2016 Joseph made the announcement to jump out of the saddle and step into the trainer ranks. A decision that would be rewarded in just over a year winning one of the most iconic races in the world The Melbourne Cup with Rekindling (High Chapparal x Sitara)
On the last day of the carnival we are not disappointed as more quality racing is presented to us on the final day of the spring carnival. Another sprint race over 1200m for 3 year olds and upwards for another prize pool of $1 million, also under weight for age conditions. The honour roll including some of the greats that have graced the turf including Black Caviar, Terravista, Buffering, Miss Andretti and Takeover Target.
It has been a race that has created some of the country’s best sprinters and this year the horse to join a stellar line up of champions was the orphan Everest conquering Redzel, showing his turn of foot again and stamping himself as the best sprinter in the country at present. For a foal that had a rough start to life he is sure not letting this hold him back from being the champion he was destined to be.
Watch the replay here.
The Last Word
Now that the gates are closed on Flemington while the track undergoes maintenance the beautiful roses on show are now trimmed back for another year, we reflect on the carnival that was. We all have will have our favourite memories of the carnival that was Spring Racing 2017.
Regardless what your favourite memories are, we will be back to do it all over again in 2018- but much bigger and better than this year.
Where will you be in 2018?
Thoroughbred Events Australia will be track side again bringing you all the action on and off the track. We wish to congratulate all the winners; that is owners, trainers, jockeys, strappers, sponsors and winners of fashions on the field.
Article by Kylie Johnson