Racing Recap Of Group Ones At Randwick, Epsom And Flemington

Lucia Valentina, He's Your Man and First Seal paid out for punters in Saturday's three Group One races and Chautauqua confirmed his status as Australia's newest sprinting star with an outstanding display at Flemington

Premier racing switched back to Saturday at the weekend as the countdown to the Melbourne Cup kicks up a level. Saturday marked a month before the race that stops the nation and some of the contenders are beginning to get into their stride. 3 Group Ones were run at the weekend with Randwick holding the Flight Stakes and Epsom, while the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington saw a flying finish from a classy kiwi.

Lucia Valentina shows Turn of Foot in The Turnbull

Lucia Valentina may have only won the Turnbull Stakes by half a length but she’s now a clear favourite for the Caulfield Cup after a flying finish in the 2000 metre race. Jockey Kerrin McEvoy settled the mare among the pack for most of her run as Let’s Make Adeal, Brambles, and Entirely Platinum took up the front positions. Lidari and Brambles made their moves together early in the straight before McEvoy overcame an interrupted run to find a gap for Lucia Valentina with around 200 metres to travel. The New Zealand horse then produced an electric turn of foot to hit the front in the final 50 metres, leaving Brambles and Lidari to fight it out for the minor placings.

Her place in the race was in doubt after trainer Kris Lees confirmed she missed a gallop during the week due to a hoof injury. It led punters to shy away from the Kiwi and she jumped from barrier 5 at $8.50. But with the win confirming her Caufield Cup place she’s now moved into $5 to take out the 2400 metre event on October 18. While McEvoy is confident she’ll be there at the finish “She’s got a good turn of foot and that’s what you need at the end of a Caulfield Cup” he said.

Peter Moody saw his horses Lidari and Brambles finish second and third respectively while Irish stayer Puissance De Lune finished fourth with an eye catching effort. She pulled out with Lucia Valentina down the straight but couldn’t go with the eventual winner. The Offer remains most bookies Melbourne Cup favourite, just, after putting in a dogged run to finish 6th, but Lucia Valentina has firmed in the market for the big one even moving into equal favouritism with some betting firms. Green Moon which finished 15th in the race won the Turnbull Stakes in 2012 before backing up to win the Melbourne Cup, could Lucia Valentina do the same?

Epsom Epic

Australia’s best milers battled it out in the Epsom Handicap at Royal Randwick and it was a battle that literally went to the final stride. Perennial bridesmaid Royal Descent once again did everything but win the race as He’s Your Man pipped his stablemate with a lunge at the line. Carrying 55.5 kilograms Royal Descent settled well behind the leader in the 1600 metre race while the eventual winner was caught out wide. With 300 metres to go He’s Your Man still had more than half the field to pass but after jockey Joao Moriera got the his horse in open pastures, it ate up the ground out wide. Moriera who’s nicknamed the magic man, pulling a rabbit out of the hat to earn his and the horse’s maiden Group One win, in one of the closest Epsoms in history. Trainer Chris Waller was impressed by both his runners and why wouldn’t he be after securing successive Epsom Quinellas.

First Seal Gives Trainer First Group One

First Seal proved she’s the dominant 3 year old filly in the country after producing a lighting finish to win the Flight Stakes. Blake Shinn kept the favourite out of trouble for the first kilometre electing to sit 3 wide in a field of 7. The classy filly then cantered up to the leaders on the straight before blowing her rivals away in the final 200. Her explosive change of speed saw her win by 3 lengths. The dominant display gave John Thompson his first group one victory. First Seal is now the favourite for the Group 1 Crown Oaks at Flemington on November 6, but Thompson is yet to decide where she’ll race next.

Australia’s Newest Sprint Star

In another impressive display on Saturday Chautauqua confirmed his status as Australia’s newest sprinting star with an outstanding win in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington. The 4 year old grey had the 1200 metre race won 2 thirds into it as he flew along the rails to demolish the opposition. The team Hawkes trained horse is now the favourite for the Darley Classic down the Flemington straight on November 8.