18/05/2024

Champions Stakes Day certainly lived up to expectation. (Photo: Quinn Rooney)

A common saying is ‘leaving the best ’til last’, and that rung true for the 2022 Spring Carnival with so many big names running in the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Race one: Twitter Trophy

Best away in the first on Stakes Day was Eluding, while He’s The Real Deel also moved up quickly as they were two of a line of six in the early stages. Viral was among the leaders, then a few lengths back in the field was favourite French Emperor as Black Sail coasted up on his inside and Unanimous dropped back early just behind midfield.

With 1000m to run, He’s The Real Deel pushed to a length gap infront, then a couple lengths back was Black Sail in third. Next in the running was Viral and Castleraegh Kid sat about six lengths from the front. French Emperor was then another couple behind as the field was really stretched out at the point of the turn.

Black Sail from third was the first to flinch at the top of the straight as He’s The Real Deel put a length on Eluding in front. French Emperor out wider was beginning to make a run, but so was Worthily.

With 200 to go, French Emperor raced up to the lead with Worthily for company, duelling it out for the win. In the final strides, French Emperor pulled away from the roughie and took the chocolates in the opener.

First: 14. French Emperor

Second: 13. Beltoro

Third: 16. Worthily

Race two: Australian Childhood Foundation

Gates crashed at the 2000 and Agnelli was the best away alongside Legionnaire. Sitting nicely in behind in the early stages was Tycoon Bec, who was about a length infront of Flash Feeling and Look Sharpish. Heavy race favourite Aesop sat a fair way down the field, around 10 lengths from the lead.

Legionnaire remained “the pilot of the race”, leading by a length and a half to Agnelli. Tucked in on the rails in third was Tycoon Bec, while Flash Feeling was fourth with 800 to go, as Parisian Dancer raced up to claim fifth position from Look Sharpish. Much further back in the field was Sumdeel, Wuddzz and Uniquely as they rounded the field towards the straight.

Into the running and Flash Feeling with a stellar run just rolled into the lead over the top of Legionnaire, as Tycoon Bec also gave good chase. Back to the inside with a late run was Parisian Dancer as Wyclif also found a second wind, but another punch from Flash Feeling saw Matty Cartwright score in the second in fine fashion.

First: 12. Flash Feelong

Second: 1. Wyclif

Third: 11. Coolth

Race three: The Amanda Elliott

Running By was a late withdrawal behind the stalls after failing a vet’s examination after being quite fractious. The race began with Atmosphere and El Padrino as the front runners. Yaki Ishi also moved forward in the early stages with Sweetened and Shuriken. Magic Time then rolled around the outside and gained a few positions.

800 from home and further back in the field was Bonheur then Street Gossip. Back behind them was Angry Skies with Get Up Girl, and then rounding the field past half way was Kings Consort.

Leading the way closing in on the judge was still Atmosphere, joined by Yaki Ishi. Sweetened was getting a nice run as they straightened.

With just 400 to run, Atmosphere burst away and kicked on the lead by about three lengths. Magic Time from the middle of the track seemed the only other contender gaining momentum. With a furlong to go, Atmosphere began tiring and Magic Time closed and moved alongside then in front of Atmosphere and won for the Begg camp.

First: 14. Magic Time

Second: 7. Atmosphere

Third: 17. Get Up Girl

Race four: Queen’s Cup

The starter set them off at the 2600, as the heavy favourite Soulcombe didn’t get the best jump and dropped back to second last. Persan and Warning wanted to up the tempo early, and raced up at high pace to lead. Carif then tucked in behind the, as they passed the post for the first time.

Behind the leaders was Luncies, then came No Compromise from Sound and Great House sitting comfortably about midfield. San Huberto and King Of The Castle were further back, favourite Soulcombe sat second last and Captain Envious could see them all.

The speed was well down on average as Warning was happy to trot along infront with Persan alongside, two legnths to Luncies with Carif and No Compromise back to the rails. Sound was getting a nice run as Soulcombe was still second last but the run looked to be coming.

Down the straight, Luncies moved up with Persan for the lead. Sound began to make territory out wider but then Soulcombe came roaring over the top an into contention. Luncies only claimed a narrow lead before Soulcombe stormed over the top at the 200.

Captain Envious to the outside competed well, but Soulcombe was clear and gone in the fourth.

First: 11. Soulcombe

Second: 9. Luncies

Third: 13. Captain Envious

More Horse Racing News

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Spring Carnival: A look back at Victoria Derby Day

Race five: TAB Matriarch Stakes

Favourite Atishu jumped fairly to slot in just off the speed of the leaders, as Sirileo Miss raced up to a lead. Next in the field was Thought Provoking and then Steinem. Poll Grey nestled in fourth, with a few lengths to Atishu and Honeycreeper.

The field was stretched out to about 20 lengths in just a 12 horse race, with midfield runners The Map and Dynasties about 15 off Sirileo Miss in front. Rounding the field as they passed Chiquita Lodge was Glory Bound, with Tokorangi last.

600 to run and it was Sirileo Miss looking to make every post a winner, leading by a length to Thought Provoking. Three lengths back in third was Steinem and another four lengths Polly Grey. Behind was Atishu, about 10 lengths off the pace as they turned for home.

As they ran for the money, favourite Atishu was slowly rounding them up and turned the jets on. Steinem was the first to pass Sirileo Miss at the 300 as Atishu was still flying down the outside.

The favourite then claimed the lead from Steinem at the 150 and never looked back in a brilliant showing and another win in the carnival for James McDonald.

First: 4. Atishu

Second: 6. Steinem

Third: 10. Tokorangi

Race six: Darley Champions Sprint

Some of the biggest and best sprinters on the planet took to the Flemington straight with Nature Strip, Giga Kick and Bella Nipotina all in the stalls together at the 1200 as the starter set them running.

Front Page was the best away and Nature Strip too jumped well and moved towards the front. Bella Nipotina on the inside of the track was also among front runners as was Rothfire. Giga Kick got caught behind horses and drifted back behind the midfield as they travelled to the course proper.

Nature Strip took command of the race and led by a length to Rothfire. Front Page was back to the inside and was giving good chase, as was The Astrologist. But with 400 to the judge, Nature Strip had a wall of horses chasing and much closer than the champ would have liked. Among them was Front Page, Bella Nipotina and Roch ‘N’ Horse.

Nature Strip was then claimed by Roch ‘N’ Horse with just 100 run, with Baller and Lofty Strike also chances. Roch ‘N’ Horse kicked on and surprised all thousands of race-goers at Flemington to beat Nature Strip.

First. 11. Roch ‘N’ Horse

Second: 1. Nature Strip

Third: 8. Baller

Race seven: Kennedy Champions Mile

The Kennedy Mile was the second of three $3 million Group One races on Champions Stakes Day, and with a bit of hesitation the starter begun the race. Stumbling off the start was Kolding from barrier one. As Alligator Blood got the best jump a few gates across, he raced to the lead alongside fellow race hopefuls Mr Brightside and Tuvalu.

The favourite Private Eye slotted in just behind the leaders as Dalasan and My Oberon sat towards the rails and settled into pace. Further back was Kolding who had moved forward, and Sinawann was next. Towards the back of the pack past halfway in the Mile was Kiss Sum, while Cascadian was last.

As they rounded the bend, Alligator Blood was the first to straighten from Mr Brightside, with another length back to Tuvalu. Private Eye seemed to struggle with 300 to run.

Alligator Blood then put a gap on the field and Mr Brightside tired. Tuvalu was running on strongly, but there was no catching the ‘Gator, recording the 152nd Group One win for Gai Waterhouse.

First: 4. Alligator Blood

Second: 8. Tuvalu

Third: 5. Mr Brightside

Race eight: Tab Champions Stakes

The Champions Stakes was the biggest of them all, with names like I’m Thunderstruck, Zaaki and of course ‘The Big A’ Anamoe. Racing at the 2000, Zaaki was by far the best away as he was joined by Maximal up front with Elliptical and Hinged not far behind.

Mo’unga and Hezashocka sat two lengths behind the front four, and following them was Anamoe from Bankers Choice and Mr Maestro another two behind. Towards the rear was I’m Thunderstruck, with Mustang Valley last at the 1200.

Zaaki slowed the speed ahead of Maximal and Hinged all one by one. Hezashocka back to the inside ran nicely as Anamoe was beginning to roll around the field, while I’m Thunderstruck followed the favourite through into the straight.

Two furlongs to the judge and Zaaki was still going strong, Anamoe out wider was looking dangerous in “a full on championship race”.

Hezashocka in the middle of horses was going strong, but Zaaki had kicked clear of the field. Jamie Kah made it back-to-back Champions Stakes wins with this mighty thoroughbred.

First: 2. Zaaki

Second: 5. Hezashocka

Third: 3. Mo’unga

Race nine: World Horse Racing Grand

The Melbourne Cup Carnival concluded down the Flemington straight, with Najem Suhail one of the best away and Snapper alongside also jumping well. Fine Dane was behind them in the early stages on the far side, as Taunting sat in the middle of the course with Hypothetical and Treporti for company.

Onto the course proper and with 650 to run, Najem Suhail led the charge from Snapper. Next in the running was Treporti, as New York Baby towards the inner wasn’t getting much luck. More horses were to the far side of the track with names like Taunting holding steady, and Lempicka about to explode onto the scene.

Into the final sprint of the Cup Carnival, and Snapper then moved up alongside Najem Suhail and then passed the leader just before the clocktower. Along The River was then also coming through and Hypothetical gave chase back to the rails, but Snapper was too strong, among the front runners all race to win the last on Stakes Day.

First: 2. Snapper

Second: 9. Nakem Suhail

Third: 14. Hypothetical

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