Its that time of the year when the eyes of the nation head to Flemington and Caulfield for the Spring Carnival.
Caulfield Guineas Day was run on Saturday, with plenty of action. The Inner Sanctum looks back at all the races on the day.
Race one: Magic Millions Debutant Stakes
In a very rare race (and as the name suggests), the field of just six all took to the track in an official race for the first time.
Shesallshenanigans burst out the gates at the 1000m, with Princess Duhallow from gate one tucked in nicely behind. Joining them through 300m was favourite King’s Gambit and Heuristic in fourth.
Shesallshenanigans and Princess Duhallow were side by side around the turn, setting up what loomed as a grand-stand finish to begin the day. King’s Gambit raced up shortly after to join the leaders at the 300m.
At the 200, Princess Duhallow dropped off the pace. Swamping the field without a flinch from jockey Blake Shinn, King’s Gambit raced away and absolutely flew home to win by five lengths at the line in a dominant performance.
First: King’s Gambit
Second: Pure Paradise
Race two: Big Screen Co. Weekend Hussler
As the gates flew back at the 1400m, Damian Lane got Imperial Lad out in front early from a middle barrier. Through 250m he slotted in behind the two leaders, Morvada and Purple Sector, with favourite Old Flame slotted one wide of the fence midfield.
At the 600m, leader Morvada brought the pace right down, and in the words of commentator Matt Hill “put the anchors out”, slowing the field of 10 and bunching up with just four lengths covering the lot.
They swung for the post with Morvada still leading, and caught five horses wide was Cardinal Gem, giving every horse a chance at the win.
As they burst down the straight, Morvada, Imperial Lad, Not An Option and Cardinal Gem broke open the field and kicked away. Even though Cardinal Gem was stuck five off the fence at the bend, it stormed down the outside posting a brilliant win with Jordan Childs onboard.
First: Cardinal Gem
Third: Jimmy the Bear
Race three: Manhari Metals T’bred Club Stakes
It was impossible to predict the third on the card at Caulfield, with so many chances in the most open race of the day.
Troach jumped well from the widest gate and led early on, while from the middle Lady Laguna and ranked outsider La Danseuse Rouge also moved forward. They separated from the large bunch of the field who all sat predominantly at the back.
Turning for home at the 600, Lady Laguna joined Troach, with the pair two lengths clear of those sitting just off the pace. Favourite Nanagui was caught right behind the midfield a few horses wide, not really giving the filly any chance.
Down the straight, English Riviera emerged from the midfield and took the lead from Troach, Lady Lagun and La Danseuse Rouge. English Riveria battled hard against the outsider, as Mumbai Jewel stormed from the clouds to make for a fantastic photo finish.
After all was said and done, it was English Riviera who got the nose down at the right time, holding on for the win.
First: English Riviera
Second: Mumbai Jewel
Third: La Danseuse Rouge
Race four: Neds Village Stakes
The field of 15 were set off at the 1200m in the Neds Village Stakes, with Prince of Boom jumping well from an outside gate to join Second Slip and Zethus as the field settled into position. In what was a very open race, favourite Gravina was well placed a couple lengths back in fifth early.
As the field turned for home at the 600m, Pintoff gave himself every chance pushing hard on the rails, but was stuck behind leader Second Slip. Zethus found a nice run three wide off the fence, and Gravina just waited and pounced on a gap that opened at the 300m mark.
Despite a very strong late charge from Nicolini Vito down the outside, it was Gravina who was too strong, recording Blake Shinn’s third win in just four races on the day.
Second: Nicolini Vito
Race five: Neds Herbet Power Stakes
Favourite Saracen Knight jumped well from gate two to push towards the front early alongside fellow hopefuls Desert Icon and Point Nepean, as the field of 15 set off at the 2400m. Persan joined the front runners too, as ranked outsider Good Idea led them past the post for the first time
The race settled with not too many position changes until about the 800m mark. Good Idea continued to lead with Persan Point Nepean and Saracen Knight right in behind just two lengths of the pace as they swung for the straight.
As they turned for home, Saracen Knight found a gap two wide off the fence and broke clear of the field, with Desert Icon and Persan giving respectable chase. Makram impressed down the outside, but Saracen Knight was too good and scored.
First: Saracen Knight
Third: Desert Icon
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Race six: Lexus Schillaci Stakes
The field of seven were set loose at the 1100m, and it was favourite Paulele who jumped well, but tucked in a length of the leaders in Queen Of The Ball and Zoustyle. In The Boat moved forward to claim third position about halfway through the race as the tail enders really slipped back.
With 500m to run, Zoustyle, Queen Of The Ball and In The Boat were three wide as they swung for home, with favourite Paulele looking to struggle about three lengths of the lead with 300m remaining.
But in traditional Paulele style, he lifted late to find a gap where there simply wasn’t one, breaking through the middle of Zoustyle and Queen Of The Ball to claim a great win for Godolphin, just ahead of late finisher Ingratiating.
Race seven: Neds Might and Power
While it wasn’t the biggest race on the day, race seven most certainly featured some of the biggest names in the country. Zaaki, I’m Thunderstruck, Anamoe, Alligator Blood and Mr Brightside were five of the seven in the field in a Cox Plate preview over 2000m.
The Might and Power lived right up to these expectations, while Alligator Blood led them off up past the 1500m from Zaaki, a few lengths to favourite Anamoe and I’m Thunderstruck settled back in fourth.
There wasn’t too much jostling for position through to around the 900m, when Zaaki began ramping up the pressure to leader Alligator Blood with favourite Anamoe sitting comfortable in fourth.
As they turned for home, the best of the best began to show, and Alligator Blood, Zaaki, I’m Thunderstruck and Anamoe seperated themselves from the field to set up a super finish.
Alligator Blood fell just off the speed late, leaving three in it with 100m to run. Then Matt Hill calls it sweetly, “and here comes Anamoe over the top”, surging past Zaaki in the final 50m to claim a sixth Group 1 win in an unbelievable race.
Second: I’m Thunderstruck
Race eight: Neds Caulfield Guineas
It was then time for the main event of the day, the Caulfied Guineas. Once again it was the Goldolphin of Golden Mile who was fancied highest, and entered the race as favourite.
Jumping from a wide gate to claim an early lead was the furthest outside Dashing from Lethal Thoughts, while all the way back a whopping 14 lengths of the lead was Foujita San.
Similar to the races prior, the pace was settled with Dashing controlling to stretch the field even further, up to about 20 lengths from front to last at the 700m. The favourite Golden Mile was sitting eight to nine lengths from the lead in seventh place.
Turning for home, outsider Dashing was looking to make every post a winner, but the field was begging to bunch up. The Fortune Teller – after sitting third all race – moved up to claim the lead with Tijuana for company and Golden Mile made it five wide with 200m to run.
Ellpitcal, back to the fence, charged home late, but Golden Mile won at the mile and claimed victory in the $3 million Caulfield Guineas.
First: Golden Mile
Race 9 – Hyland Race Colours Tooark Handicap
There was some drama early with firm favourite I Wish I Win back out of the stalls just before the race for a vet’s exam, but passed to begin the race.
Gentleman Roy jumped well to claim the lead from Buffalo River and Military Expert in a quick race, and I Wish I Win appeared shaken and dropped back quickly.
Turning for home, the three front runners were joined by Tuvalu as they pulled away from the rest of the field. With 300m to go, I Wish I Win had the opening it wanted, but was still lengths upon lengths from the front.
Gentleman Roy put two lengths on Military Expert and Tuvalu at the start of the straight, but tired and was quickly worn down.
From the middle of the track, Tuvalu caused the upset of the day with a great run along with Laws Of Indicies, who flew home from nowhere to claim second. Military Expert snuck into third over Gentleman Roy.
Second: Laws Of Indicies
Thirrd: Military Expert
Race 10: Senet Northwood Plume Stakes
The Nothwood Plume was the last of ten races for Guineas Day, and there was only one horse going into the race that could seemingly win it, with Zapateo in a world of her own.
The favourite jumped fairly from barrier 12, slotting in sixth as Serades pounced forward to claim an early lead, but slowed the pace right down.
Turning for home, Decent Raine joined Serades and Chassis sat in tightly off the leaders with 400m to run, as Zapateo sat five wide with the track opening ahead of her. Decent Raine kicked for home early with Written Beauty as they straightened up.
Zapateo sat about three lengths from Decent Raine still with some ground to make up, with time running out, and quickly. In the final 200m, it was clear that the favourite was not going to hit the line first.
Written Beauty and Decent Raine appeared to be clear, but surging through the middle of the track was Literary Magnate, who waltzed past Written Beauty for another big upset to claim her first win in over 18 months.
First: Literary Magnate
Second: Written Beauty
Third: Decent Raine
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