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Melbourne Cup overwhelmed by raiders

 Jun 28 2012

Sadly our iconic race – the Melbourne Cup – is being overwhelmed completely by international "infidels" and, in a somewhat perverse manner, the sprinting star Black Caviar has added fuel to the pending November overseas invasion force.

Black Caviar's heart-stopping but successful raid on Royal Ascot, was a resounding advertisement for Australia's racing and what once was a trickle of European stayers is about to become a gusher.

Take the current TAB Sportsbet Fixed Odds on this year's Melbourne Cup and top 14 in the betting order are all either trained in the northern hemisphere, or started their racing careers in Europe.

Scanning down the market order and Mosheen is the first genuine Aussie.

By Fastnet Rock, this filly has progressed from having been runner-up in the 2011 Golden Slipper to success in the VRC Oaks later that year.

In an autumn campaign this year she underlined her potential with wins in a trio of Group Ones – the 1600 metre Australian Guineas and Randwick Guineas and, before a spell, an impressive win in the 2000 metre Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill.

Whether she extends her racing range to the gruelling 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup still is problematical.
You would have to wonder the merit of backing Simenon in the Cup after completing the Ascot Stakes-Queen Alexandra Stakes double.

Those races were conducted four days apart and were held over 4000 and 4400 metres respectively.

No doubting his staying capacity but is it the right horse for 3200 metres at Flemington?

There has to be something done to restore pride in our local stayers.

Although some 3200 metre feature races have been shortened to 2400 metres, there still appears to be sufficient distance races with attractive prizemoney to encourage owners with patience to indulge themselves.

For goodness sake give Luke Nolen a brea
Black Caviar still won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Nolen was only trying to be kind to her.

Considering the shellacking he copped from the feral British press, you have to ponder the viciousness of the venom had the mighty mare been beaten.

In view of the fact that Black Caviar has pulled a few muscles, it is improbable that she would have done any better if struck with the whip.

Staying with the international flavour, with a bit of luck last weekend, there could have been a rather unique two hemisphere double.

At Royal Ascot in the early hours of Sunday morning the Godolphon-owned Soul finished a creditable fourth – beaten only one-and-a-quarter lengths – in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

A few hours later in the far-flung district of western New South Wales, at Coonamble to be precise, a half-brother called Boomerang did come back to the winner's stall after an 1100 metre Open Handicap.

Trained by Peter Nestor at Dubbo and ridden by Michael Travers, Boomerang may not be rubbing shoulders with the blue bloods of England but at the salt-of-the-earth tracks of Coonamble, Tamworth, Narromine, Parks, Dubbo, Coonabarabran and the likes, he continues to earn his keep.

At Rosehill on Saturday, the Listed Civic Stakes is the feature event and you don't have to be a super sleuth to detect that Famous Seamus is racing in top form.

He finished a creditable fourth in the 1400 metre Hawkesbury Guineas and at two subsequent Rosehill starts has been a close second over 1200 metres and a winner over 1100 metres.

Robyn Freeman-Keys, an accomplished jockey, has struck up a highly successful relationship with this promising three-year-old and, in fact, has been in the saddle for the gelding's entire eight-start career.

With four wins, two minor placings and a fourth, Famous Seamus and Robyn Freeman-Keys certainly have been models of consistency.

The curtain finally falls on the elongated Queensland winter carnival this Saturday with the Sunshine Coast meeting featuring the Caloundra Cup and Glasshouse Handicap.

Unfortunately southern Queensland temporarily has lost its sunny persona and the winter carnival finale will be on heavy going.

Despite the uncertainty of the conditions I like the prospects of Anudjawun in the Caloundra Cup.
And despite Phelan Ready having been winless since his 2009 Golden Slipper triumph, I am giving him ONE more (and I mean it!) chance.


By Rod Gallegos

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