Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another cakewalk for Caviar? Not on your Nelly

Winners & Losers

In contention: Hay List could line up against Black Cariar in Saturday's T.J. Smith at Royal Randwick.

In contention: Hay List could line up against Black Cariar in Saturday's T.J. Smith at Royal Randwick. Photo: Getty Images

Competition between jockeys on a group 1 scale promises to make Saturday's T.J. Smith at Royal Randwick, featuring Black Caviar, the sprint of the century.

Unlike many of her 24 successive wins, the 1200-metre dash will be more than an exhibition gallop with opponents like Bel Sprinter, dynamic The Galaxy, Rain Affair, a speed demon, and Hay List, proven at the top level.

But jockeys, too, are riding with their blood up, emphasised by Hugh Bowman's treatment of Nash Rawiller, handling hot favourite More Joyous in the Queen Of The Turf at Rosehill on Saturday.

Rawiller sensed the sniff of an opening inside Streama (Bowman) which ended up an obnoxious pong for favourite backers when More Joyous was KO'd.


Down south, Black Caviar has been treated more like ''Aunt Nelly", prompting former champion jockey Roy Higgins to comment in Winning Post: "Farcical and laughable. They are the best printable words I can use to describe the tactics used by six jockeys who took on Luke Nolen and Black Caviar in last Friday night's William Reid Stakes.

''They went three-quarter pace to the turn and let Black Caviar dash home in the manner of a barrier trial … [they] should have been hauled before the stewards and asked to explain their actions."

Champions earn their title not from winning against easybeats but being tested by the best. Black Caviar has risen to the occasion, but should Saturday's field hold up, Nelly and Nolen will be in for a clash that promises to be a great for the return to headquarters.

In the bus lane

It seem driving buses has mellowed Woy Woy's Craig Young, once a Herald turf authority. "I can't believe what those jockeys did to Nash [Rawiller on More Joyous] last Saturday," he wailed from the central coast. Rawiller should have won on More Joyous, which wasn't back in the enclosure before wags started: "I wouldn't want to be Nash getting a lift home in Singo's [owner John Singleton] helicopter. It could lose a passenger over Sydney Harbour."

From another former colleague, Alan Aitken, now in Hong Kong: "Ride of the day T. Berry. Rawiller very ordinary on both More Joyous and Pierro and Bowman suffered the Aussie sickness and went too slow on BMW winner, lucky to get away with it."

Grand tribute

We moan about the dearth of Aussie-bred stayers but what about Fiveandahalfstar, winner of The BMW at Rosehill? Fiveandahalfstar is by Hotel Grand and beat home six flash imports. Alas, Hotel Grand, which stood for a negotiable $10,000, is dead and his last yearlings will go to the Magic Millions sale in June. Fiveandhalfstar's dam, Cryptic Miss (by Snippets) has subsequently produced a filly by the more upmarket Fastnet Rock.

Notifiable change

Recent results indicate equine surgery should be listed as a gear change, just as gelding is. King Mufhasa, says Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy, had the benefit of an ''epiglottic entrapment" operation since failing in the Chipping Norton on March 9 and improved considerably to keep Pierro honest on Saturday.

A week earlier, Bel Sprinter was outstanding in The Galaxy at Rosehill after a wind operation since his previous race. Sure, announcements can be found, but should be given exposure close to races.

Dry ginger tale

A jockey drinking is frowned upon but folklore relates the most austere Australian Jockey Club chairman, Sir Alan Potter, decreed his favourite rider be allowed to have a strong brandy if required.

Jack Naughton, a bush champion, had an amicable Orange barman, who would mix him a potion in a dry-ginger-ale bottle that could be passed on to him as a soft drink. After a swig before one race he was legged into the saddle and went over the other side. He remounted and won the race.

Quote of the week

"A pit pony with a big, big motor," said trainer Peter Snowden of Golden Slipper winner Overreach. Vital statistics: 15 hands with a fighting weight of 465kgs,

a garnish of brilliance and style generated by heart.

One to follow

New Zealand filly Habibi will improve considerably on her third to Norzita in the Vinery Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday because it was her first start for five weeks and she wasn't comfortable in soft ground.


Only 19,546 went to the Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill on Saturday, the best Australia-wide for the season so far, and the dismal weather played a role. The record 40,000 in 1969 had Vain but the overall program wasn't as good as this year's.
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