The first Saturday of the Caulfield carnival turned up some interesting results and might have thrown up yet another pointer to the first Tuesday in November with Sea Moon again lumping a big weight over a mile and a half. There was no protest to stop him this time and now he will head to the Melbourne Cup alongside stablemate Green Moon, giving Lloyd Williams another great chance at another Melbourne Cup.
There were some other stars on Caulfield Guineas day though, including a scintillating Cox Plate trial from Atlantic Jewel, who will likely never race as a leader again. Let’s get to the Black Bookers.
Lion of Belfort: The Mick Price trained three-year-old found some trouble in the run and jockey Damien Oliver found himself in a pocket at the 400, but at the 200m mark he pushed his was out and pushed the go button to easily put his rivals away. Ran the last 400m of the race in a quick 23.29 seconds.
Aerobatics: This talented galloper was second up and crying out for a truly run race and he got it early on. Kerrin McEvoy let him wind down around the turn and he hit the lead early but had enough in the tank to hang on from the fast finishing Assertive Eagle in a very good run.
Assertive Eagle: This one has his foot on the till and can win a good race this Spring so when he came from the back of the pack to nearly run down Aerobatics it wasn’t a huge surprise. The South Australian came from a long way back on the turn to get a split between runners, running the last 600m in 34.42, second fastest of the day.
Atlantic Jewel: Was the only horse to finish the last 600m faster than Assertive Eagle, and that says more about the run of the latter than anything else. Super mare that she is, she was ridden back in a small but high quality field and put paid to them easily, winning eased down and still broke 34 seconds for the last 600m, running a slashing 33.64. Keen on her in the Cox Plate.
Sea Moon: For the second straight week he couldn’t have been more impressive I winning over a trip. This time he lumped 59kg over the line and raced up on the speed showing his versatility. Hasn’t beaten the top gallopers since he arrived in Australia, but has in his earlier career in Europe. Big watch for the Melbourne Cup.
Trevieres: Solzhenitsyn may have won his second straight Toorak Handicap, but this horse was impressive. First up in Australia and nominated for both the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup, the French import flew home to grab second. There was a large gap to the winner but was eighth at the 200m while Solzhenitsyn had already hit the lead.
Speediness: Ran the final 600m marginally faster than Trevieres and again out the writing on the wall for a race like the Emirates. The day this run-on horse draws a gate in a big handicap he is likely to win it.
Long John: Didn’t have to do the chasing this time and won the Caulfield Guineas as a result. Got a gun ride from Kerrin McEvoy, but what was really impressive was that when he was eye-balled by Divine Calling he responded and fought on to win. Fantastic effort and set for the Victoria Derby.
Divine Calling: Failed to go with Long John over the last 100m but made a long, wide sustained run from the turn and never shirked the task. Would be interesting if ridden closer to the lead and could yet turn the tables in the Derby if Gai sends him there. Fastest last 600m of the race.
Dissident: Could just be the blow out in the Derby and he’s nominated. Had a truly torrid run and bumping duel in the straight not of his own making and boxed on for fourth in a run full of merit.
Criterion: One of only two Sydney runners in this week’s piece and have always though he may be a stayer, which is rare for a horse that was given a chance in the Golden Slipper in the Autumn. Still he gets back and runs on and did so in the Spring Champion Stakes and although he was beaten two lengths by Complacent he was well and truly closing on the line. Looks like he will run 2500m easily, just needs the big track of Flemington which he will get.
Salon Soldier: Arguably the most impressive winner of the day at Randwick. Kris Lees’s German import didn’t beat a whole lot but he did so impressively letting down with a huge run over the 1600m trip. Where he goes to now is unclear, but there is plenty of upside and he is one to follow.