Spring Timeform Recap
Racing and Sports provide a Timeform recap of key performances from the 2019 Melbourne and Sydney Spring Carnivals.
With Winx retired and a host of newly announced big money races in Sydney spearheaded by the $7.5million Golden Eagle, the 2019 Spring Carnival had some genuine intrigue surrounding it. Who would capitalise in Winx’s absence and just how would the Chris Waller team adapt to life without the champion mare in their stable? What impact would Racing NSW’s expansion of their spring carnival have on traditional Group 1 spring features?
As had been the case for the previous three seasons with Winx, Chris Waller boasted the highest rated older horse for the spring, this time with Nature Strip. After winning the Group 1 Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill last autumn, Nature Strip made the transition to genuine weight-for-age sprinter this spring with a pair of victories at the top level.
Nature Strip split his time through four campaign starts between Sydney and Melbourne however it was the Garden State where the five-year-old produced his best. The son of Nicconi recorded the first win of his spring in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m), defeating speedy mares Miss Leonidas and Sunlight. Nature Strip returned to Sydney where he produced a close fourth in The Everest behind stablemate Yes Yes Yes then headed back down the highway to Flemington for the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) on November 9. What ensued was a career best win delivered in clinical fashion with Nature Strip leading throughout for a dominant 3.3 length success.
His win returned a Timeform rating of 128, equal to Terravista’s 2014 victory and only bettered by Black Caviar’s 2010 success over the past two decades. It was the second time Chris Waller and James McDonald had combined for a VRC
Sprint Classic success having won the 2015 renewal with Delectation. Sprinters dominated the top of the Timeform 5YO+ Ratings chart for the 2019 spring. While unlucky when fifth in The Everest, Pierata showed his sprinting prowess either side of that outing with convincing successes in both the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 21 and the Redzel Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on November 2.
The victories were each awarded a Timeform rating of 126, a pound clear of his previous master rating of 125 held for the best part of 12 months initially recorded when winning the 2018 Sydney Stakes (1200m) or Everest consolation as it’s become known as. Pierata’s subsequent efforts assessed at 125 came when recording narrowly beaten seconds in both the Group 1 Galaxy (1100m) behind Nature Strip at Rosehill on March 23 and the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on September 7 behind Redzel. A winner of the first two Everest renewals, Redzel disappointed in the 2019 running behind Yes Yes Yes however is prominent on the Timeform 5YO+ Ratings chart for the
season to date courtesy of his Concorde Stakes win.
Having been firmly in Winx’s keeping since her first Cox Plate victory in 2015, the middle distance weight for age feature was up for grabs in 2019.
The 2019 Cox Plate was won by Japanese mare Lys Gracieux with a performance Winx would have been proud of. Settled back in the field, Lys Gracieux produced a long, sustained run to reel in a brave Castlevecchio for a 1.5 length success with Te Akau Shark finishing third. A resounding victor of the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin Racecourse in June, the Heart’s Cry mare picked up an additional $2million bonus on top of the
$3million winner’s cheque as part of Moonee Valley’s international bonus scheme. Her effort returned a Timeform rating of 125+.
The inaugural running of the $7.5million Golden Eagle was announced in December 2018. A 1500m event run at Set Weights exclusively for four-year-olds, the Golden Eagle was part of Racing NSW’s spring expansion which also included the addition of the $1million Bondi Stakes (1600m) for three-year-olds and the $1million Golden Gift (1100m) for two-year-olds. The first renewal of the Golden Eagle proved to have a substantial bearing on the 2019 spring carnival with five of the six southern hemisphere four-year-olds on the Timeform 4YO Ratings Chart for 2019/20 contesting the event held at Rosehill on November 2. As expected for such a lucrative event, the Golden Eagle attracted an impressive
capacity field of four-year-olds from both Australia and overseas. The $4.1million winner’s cheque didn’t leave Rosehill courtesy of the Chris Waller- trained Kolding.
Gelded after a frustrating 2018/19 summer campaign, Kolding returned in the autumn where his meteoric rise through the grades began. It continued through the spring with the son of Ocean Park providing Chris Waller and jockey Glen Boss with their respective fourth Epsom Handicap successes. A trip to Melbourne would usually ensue for an Epsom winner however connections elected to keep Kolding in Sydney for the Golden Eagle. It proved to be the right move as Kolding dived through late after being held up badly in the straight for a long neck success ahead of Sunlight and the consistent Mizzy. Kolding’s lucrative payday also returned the Neville Morgan-raced gelding a Timeform
rating of 124. The quality of opposition Kolding accounted for in the Golden Eagle is highlighted by the strength of lead up form boasted by rivals.
Arcadia Queen is the top rated four-year-old mare of the spring for her exciting eastern state debut where she won the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on September 14.
Golden Eagle runner up Sunlight defeated five time Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane two starts earlier in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 5.
Brutal (Premiere Stakes) and Classique Legend who was only narrowly beaten by Pierata in The Shorts also sit prominent on the Timeform 4YO Ratings Chart and added further depth to the Golden Eagle field.
Mer De Glace produced the pick of the four-year-old performances in Melbourne this spring when he claimed the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19. The son of Rulership had charged through his grades in Japan during 2019 and arrived in Australia off winning the Group 3 Kokura Kinen (2000m) at Kokura in August. Prior to the Kokura Kinen, Mer De Glace had claimed both the Group 3 Niigata Daishoten (2000m) and the Group 3 Naruo Kinen (2000m) under the guidance of jockey Damian Lane. Lane and Mer De Glace maintained their unbeaten record in partnership with a Caulfield Cup success which returned a Timeform rating of 122. Despite being handed a 1kg penalty following his Caulfield Cup success, Mer De Glace was still well fancied to become the first Caulfield Cup - Melbourne Cup double winner since Ethereal in 2001.
The Hisashi Shimizu-trained stallion was game in his attempt to achieve the double, closing well late to finish just 1.2 lengths off the Melbourne Cup winner for 2019, Vow And Declare.
In a race now dominated by international raiders and imported stayers, Vow And Declare’s Melbourne Cup success was the first by an Australian-bred stayer since Shocking a decade ago in 2009.
Three-year-olds impressed through the 2019 spring carnival with the strength of the crop highlighted in the richest turf race in the world, the $14million Everest won by Yes Yes Yes.
The Chris Waller-trained colt only received a slot for The Everest ten days before the lucrative sprint at Randwick on October 19 after the retirement of Enticing Star who previously held the entry. After commencing his campaign with seconds in both the Run To The Rose and the Golden Rose behind Bivouac, Yes Yes Yes entered The Everest third run from a spell with Blinkers applied for the first time. The colt capitalised on the last minute opportunity, settling worse than midfield and charging home the final furlong for a half length win over Santa Ana Lane with Trekking in third.
The son of Rubick became the first three-year-old colt to win The Everest and in the process may have set the trend with what could be the new perfect race campaign for a top sprinting colt during the spring.
Resuming in the Run To The Rose, to the Golden Rose, onto the Everest third up and ideally, the Coolmore Stud Stakes down the Flemington straight six two weeks after could prove a path well worn moving forward.
Connections of Yes Yes Yes elected to spell the son of Rubick after the Everest with a view to his 2020 autumn campaign and a potential trip to Royal Ascot. Yes Yes Yes was one of three clear top sprinting colts through the 2019 spring who took it in turn to maximise their future stallion prospects.
Sitting alongside Yes Yes Yes at the top of the Timeform 3YO Ratings Chart is Exceedance. The Exceed And Excel colt kicked off his spring in most encouraging fashion when beating Bivouac in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m). The convincing success returned a Timeform rating of 119+, the highest winning figure of a San Domenico Stakes since Charge Forward returned a rating of 123 in 2004 when beating Fastnest Rock and Dance Hero.
It was the third San Domenico success in the past six years for Team Hawkes having saddled up previous winners Nostradamus (2014) and Star Turn (2016). Exceedance already profiled as the pick of the stables’ San Domenico winners however reaffirmed it when wrapping up his spring by taking out the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 2. The long neck win over Bivouac returned a Timeform rating of 125, a performance which
makes Exceedance the equal highest rated colt of season 2019/20 to date alongside Yes Yes Yes. The Vinery-owned colt raced four times through the spring carnival and through the prep had an ongoing battle with Godolphin’s colt Bivouac.
While Exceedance had Bivouac’s measure in both the San Domenico Stakes and the Coolmore Stud Stakes, he could only run third to Bivouac as he claimed the Run To The Rose/Golden Rose double. Another son of Exceed And Excel, Bivouac followed in the footsteps of former Godolphin colts Exosphere (2015) and Astern (2016) by winning the Golden Rose. Bivouac is the fourth horse in the past six years to claim the Run To The Rose - Golden Rose double.
Despite going winless through his spring campaign, Castelvecchio sits prominently in the Timeform 3YO Ratings Chart for his brave second in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) behind Lys Graciuex. The colt also ran second behind Shadow Hero in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 12.
Super Seth and Alligator Blood were the pick of the three-year-old milers this spring after running the quinella in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12.
Sydney can lay claim to hosting the best two-year-old performances seen through the 2019 spring.
Global Quest is the highest rated colt having taking out the Group 3 Breeders’ Plate (1000m) at Randwick on October 5.
It was Chris Waller’s second Breeders’ Plate success having claimed his first victory in the early season two-year-old feature with Performer in 2017.
As well as the Golden Eagle, the extended Sydney spring carnival in 2019 also included the $1million Golden Gift (1100m) at Rosehill on November 9
The impressive purse early in the season meant the first two across the line would guarantee themselves a Golden Slipper berth during the 2020 autumn carnival.
Not only confirming her spot in the Golden Slipper but shooting to early favouritism for the event was Dame Giselle.
The Team Snowden-trained filly was defeated on debut at Randwick on October 26 by See You Soon.
A fortnight later the exacta was reversed as Dame Giselle dashed away for a 3.8 length success over the Jean Dubois-trained filly.
Dame Giselle’s dominant win returned a Timeform rating of 109, equal to Global Quest’s Breeders’ Plate with the pair enjoying a four pound edge over the nearest rivals in the 2019/20 two-year-old division.
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