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Caulfield Guineas Day 2012

"I watched my first Caulfield Cup way back in 1971 when, after watching the Cyril Beechey trained and Mick Mallyon ridden Gay Icarus as a 3yo win the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick, I decided he was a special to win the Caulfield Cup as a 4yo and when ante-post betting came out I had every spare cent on him from prices ranging from 10/1 down to his SP of 7/2 favourite on the big day.

Carrying 9 stone 2 pounds (58kg) he duly obliged, taking the lead on the home turn and powering away from a crackerjack field to win by two lengths from the Tommy Smith trained Igloo with the Bart Cummings trained 1969 cup winner and former doping victim Big Philou in third position. My big win afforded me a beaut holiday in Tasmania and Adelaide before returning to Sydney to watch Silver Knight win the Melbourne Cup.

The question has to be asked – have I seen next week’s Cup winner today on Caulfield Guineas day or is the winner at home in his box, or is it one of the not-as-yet raced-here imported gallopers? Here is a run-down of today’s racing and you can make your own mind up, however I’ll give my Cup thoughts at the end of the article – no! Don’t scroll down yet!

Race 1 the BMW Weekend Hussler Stakes over 1400m was taken out by the strong fishing Instinction and everyone loves a grey horse.

Race 2 Cattanach’s Blue Sapphire over 1200m for 3yo was won by this year’s Golden Slipper runner-up Snitzerland, the only filly in the race, who beat the previously unbeaten colts Fire Thunderbolt and Lankan Rupee. She looked beaten at the 300m but, with a persistent Corey Brown aboard, ground her way between the two colts to prevail by a half neck.

Race 3 G3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes over 1200m for 3yo fillies gave trainer Gerald Ryan a running double when the Nash Rawiller ridden Cavalry Rose led for the last 800m to just hold on from an unlucky Mareeza.

Race 4 the G2 WFA Schweppes Schillaci Stakes over 1000m, named for that Lee Freedman trained great grey sprinter of no so long ago, was taken out by the Queenslander Buffering. There was no Black Caviar here today and I’m sure connections later celebrated in style.

Race 5 the G1 WFA Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes over 2000m, and I almost always fly with them on my overseas racing jaunts, and a good lead-up race to the Cup next Saturday was taken out by Kiwi raider Ocean Park, winning his third straight Group 1. This fellow is a top hope for the Cox Plate in a fortnight. Nothing for the Caulfield Cup in this field although the runner-up Alcopop, highly fancied in the 2009 Melbourne Cup, showed a welcome return to form.

Race 6, the G1 David Jones Toorak Handicap over 1600m was won by the Robert Heathcote trained Solzhenitsyn, a stable-mate of Buffering. The weight took its toll on More Joyous who laboured home in 4th place, some 3 lengths from the winner.

Race 7, the G1 Beck Caulfield Guineas over 1600m for 3yo and prizemoney of $1,000,000 was taken out by Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard who finally made it look all too easy when downing the previously unbeaten in 8 starts Pierro, who started at the tomato sauce odds of $1.20. The patience of team Hawkes had been sorely tested by this bloke but now he looks to have the Cox Plate at his mercy, but only if ridden closer to the pace as the 200m straight of Moonee Valley doesn’t favour swoopers. Also, the first prize-money of $600k will pay a few bills for Patinack Farm head honcho Nathan Tinkler.

Race 8, the G2 Herbert Power Stakes over 2400m, another marker towards next week’s big ‘un had a couple of OS visitors engaged and the Frenchie Shahwardie, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy and trained by he of Americain fame Alain de Royer-Dupre showed them a clean pair of heels winning by a length. The favourite, Gatewood, was shuffled back before the turn for home and only got going in the last 100m, finishing off nicely in 7th place, beaten about 5 lengths. The second and third place-getters, Excluded and Exceptionally, were excellent performances. Watch all four of these, whether it be at Caulfield next week or the two miler at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November. Gatewood has blown out to 50/1 for Caulfield and Excluded, if he gets a run, is 60/1.

Race 9 the Sportingbet Series Final over 1200m, the get-out stakes for many on the day, including your truly, was won by Serene Star, ridden by international hoop Craig Williams. Good punting over the next few weeks of some of the best horseracing in the world."

Andrew Beattie ("Carbine")

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