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Dunaden Penalty 1KG

Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper, Greg Carpenter, has penalised Dunaden 1kg for winning the Caulfield Cup, taking his weight to 59kg for the Melbourne Cup.

The handicapper had no option but to issue the penalty, which is a fair one, he has taken many factors into consideration before reaching his decision.

Dunaden won the Caulfield Cup well with 58kg; it is fair to say he earned the extra 1kg, that shouldn’t make the difference between winning and losing.

I would say the handicapper has been kind to Dunaden, the horse is not overburdened by any means, and he is in the Melbourne Cup with a real live chance.

A win would elevate him into an elite bracket, the highest winning weight carried since Rain Lover’s second Cup win in 1969, carrying 60.5kg.


Race names need some attention

We recognise that race clubs will always be in need of sponsorship, it has become almost an essential as clubs strive to increase prize money and balance their budgets.

In return sponsors have the right to market their products through the naming of races, in the majority of instances it has worked quite well.

There doesn’t appear to be any problems with the city race clubs, the same cannot be said for some of the provincial clubs, they could be more discreet in the naming of races.

Cranbourne, on Thursday last, was a perfect example of poor naming of a race, Sheree, Will You Marry Me ?   This rxample does nothing to enhance the image of the racing industry; we can do without that sort of nonsense.  

Scratching Of Philippi

There is nothing amiss with Philippi, a late scratching from the Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

The colt has gone to the paddock, he will complete a spell of  five weeks before he begins his preparation leading into the autumn, the prime target being the Australian Guineas.

Michael Kent never had any intention of running Philippi in the Derby; he is too smart for that, starting an immature three year old over 2500 metres on one preparation would have been too much for the colt.

Of what we have seen to date Philippi, by Host, is potentially the most promising three year old seen out this season, the autumn could be his oyster. 


Dunaden’s Cup Win

The superlatives were flowing at Caulfield

Dunaden proved, beyond question, he is among the best stayers seen in at least a decade, with an outstanding performance in winning the Caulfield Cup, coming from near last at the 800 metres, with 58 kg, the same weight as Northerly carried a decade ago.

Touted as the best field in the modern era of the Caulfield Cup, the French bred stayer looked the real deal, with Americain, in the pre post parade.

Dunaden won the Melbourne Cup last year, then coming back to win the Caulfield Cup the same as View just a few short years ago.

The French bred stayer drew the absolute outside barrier, inside of him was the favourite, Glencadam Gold, who continued to shorten from his opening quote.

The Cup had been perfectly scripted, with Glencadam Gold beginning well as expected and being eased across the face of the field by Jim Cassidy towards the rails, while Craig Williams was content to allow Dunaden to find his feet at the rear of the field.

Voila Ici also began well settling down in second place, but no closer than a length and a half behind the favourite at any stage, Michael Rodd had December Draw well placed in the box seat, looking a big chance for most of the trip until the pressure was applied before the turn, he wilted from there on, failing to stay.

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Dunaden about to claim Alcopop in the Caulfield Cup

Dunaden made a long searching run, that saw him circle the entire field to get a crack at the leaders, by this time Alcopop came down the centre of the track, he was being the hailed the winner until Dunaden appeared on the scene.

The Cup was a cleanly run race, there were no hard luck stories, every horse had its chance, the winner proved far too good for those that finished behind him in the Caulfield Cup, there would be no difference if they meet again in the Melbourne Cup, with the exception of Americain, he battled on well and Lights Of Heaven cannot be discarded entirely.

Whilst Dunaden is among the finest stayers seen in this part of the globe his winning strike is nothing out of the ordinary, 10 wins from 34 starts, certainly he has won the races that count.

In his defence much of his European racing has involved small fields, which are often run at a snail’s pace, with stop and go tactics, that doesn’t suit a genuine stayer of Dunaden’s calibre.

Dunaden is sure to receive a penalty now for the Melbourne Cup, which will be announced within a few days by handicapper Greg Carpenter; he is assured of the number one saddle cloth in the Cup on Tuesday fortnight.

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Craig Williams with the Cup



Win Overcome By Emotion

 An emotional Peter Gelagotis still grieving over the passing of his father, Michael, earlier in the week, found the success of Hvasstan in the Norman Robinson Stakes secondry.

Hvasstan is raced by a syndicate with the Gelgotis family from Moe heavily involved, brother Manny bought the colt for $260,000, Peter is trainer and their late father, Michael, was proud to join his sons in the partnership to race, what has now become a genuine Derby aspirant.

The winner proved the better colt on the day, whilst it was a slogging finish, with little between the three placegetters; a humping duel at the top of the straight had no influence on the result, the better stayer won.

Punters were prepared to follow the Gai Waterhouse lead supporting Kabayan, he remained favourite throughout betting, easing slightly from his opening quote to finish at $3.10.

He was prominent for much of the trip in third place, when Nash Rawiller called upon him the intestinal fortitude was not there, he punctured noticeably.

The quality of our potentially staying three olds is beginning to wear a bit thin; there is not a lot of depth here at present, with Sydney not looking much better.

It’s A Dundeel, the unbeaten New Zealander, looks head and shoulders above the locals, his win in the Gloaming Stakes was full of merit, he appeals as the genuine stayer, with a stayer’s pedigree.

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Hvasstan on the rails - Ridden by Glen Boss



Villa Verde Wins In Style

Bendigo trained filly, Villa Verde, proved she can match it with the city slickers when winning the Listed Inglis Debutante Stakes at Caulfield.

The word was out she was fleet of foot after easily winning a trial at Tatura in the smart time of 51.00 secs over 850 metres, and wouldn’t blow a candle out on pulling up.

Villa Verde is trained by Shaun Dwyer, he moved from Brisbane to Bendigo nearly four years ago, with stabling opposite the main gate of the racecourse providing excellent facilities.

His success rate has been pretty good since moving , and can only get better, this is the filly that could repeat those halcyon times, back in 2003, when he won the Magic Millions with the bonny filly, Regimental Gal, ridden by his close friend Michael Rodd.

Villa Verde was sold for $95,000 at the Inglis Premier Sales, she has almost recouped the purchase price in one run, besides adding Black Type, and her residual value would have at least tripled.

She has an ideal pedigree being by Not A Single Doubt, she is one that stud owners may have missed at the sales, there is a lot of upside to it, a genuine filly family, the dam, Young And Free, a dual Sydney winner, has left five foals to race, all have won, including Miss Sharapova and a close relationship to Ha Ha, Very Droll and the Caulfield Cup winner, Southern Speed, is a plus.

The fill will be spelled after one more run in the Maribyrnong Plate on Melbourne Cup Day, looking for more riches in the Autumn , and the dream of a Golden Slipper. 

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Villa Verde ridden by Michael Rodd



Commanding Jewel Too Good In Guineas

Commanding Jewel made amends for two recent defeats, in no uncertain fashion, with an outstanding performance to win the One Thousand Guineas.

At her two previous defeats she basically beat herself by reefing and pulling, failing to settle down at any stage, Damien Oliver made sure there was not going to be a repeat performance this time.

It was a great ride by Oliver, one of his best despite the pressures, and there has been plenty of those in the past week, he showed the qualities of a true professional, putting it all behind with only one thought in mind, winning.

Commanding Jewel began well as usual, this time she settled down better in the first half dozen, she had a charmed run to the turn, once the question was asked she responded immediately, the issue was never in doubt thereafter.

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Commanding Jewel wins the 1000 Guineas

Punters had trouble sorting out a favourite, ignoring much of recent form, finally electing the Flemington trained filly, Balaclava Lady, as the preferred favourite.

The win of Commanding Jewel was a great success story for Leon Corstens, there were those that said she wouldn’t get a mile, he only smiled, he had other ideas.

That was the completion of this present campaign she is off to the paddock for a well earned break, the Autumn awaits her. 

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Leon Corstens with Damian Oliver



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