A number of bubbles burst at Caulfield on Saturday, with several fancied and well backed runners never firing a shot.
Carini jumped a $2.40 favourite in the Herbert Power after as much as $3 and more was bet earlier in the week. He seemed to fit quite beautifully into a winning profile – a European import stepping up to 2400m, for his third run in the country after two superb performances over the unsuitable distances of 1400m and 1700m. Barrier 1 is rarely a spoil at Caulfield, he mapped to get the run of the race, and should have proven too good.
The Herbert Power was the most leisurely run race of the day, and rider Michael Dee reported that Carini wasn’t suited by the slow tempo after settling a couple of lengths behind the uncontested leader. It’s always a pathetic excuse from a jockey that has chosen to show no initiative whatsoever, because you’re allowed to go as fast as you like. Dee had ample opportunity to press forward in the first half of the race, and take up the running if he felt his horse wanted to go faster and would be more of a winning chance.
Dee also missed the boat when a few jockeys decided to make their move, given the slow tempo. So not only did he not assert any initiative on the race, he fell asleep when it was time to go. Carini was then held up for half the straight, albeit showed no turn of foot when he was clear – it seems that he is going to be a stayer that needs to show stamina rather than speed.
Connections have said that Carini will now be sent for a spell, and will no doubt be set for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups next year.
Just Fine came into the Might and Power Stakes off three winnings runs this campaign, his first preparation in Australia. His last start win was in the Group 1 Metropolitan in track record time over the Randwick 2400m, which punters thought would have him rock-hard fit to tackle Alligator Blood at WFA, and he was backed into favouritism due to question marks over Alligator’s ability to run out a strong 2000m.
Deny Knowledge took off under the riding of apprentice Billy Pinn, leading by up to 10 lengths for the first two thirds of the race. Alligator Blood sat second, carting the field along behind the tearaway, while Just Fine was sitting one out, one back in the perfect position. But when the leader came back to the field and Alligator Blood swept by, Just Fine had nothing left in the locker, and faded away badly to be beaten by 10 lengths.
Perhaps two brutal runs in a row had caught up with him, because he had been exceptional in his previous two wins, showing fantastic grit and courage. And maybe another brutally run race, under weight-for-age conditions after a road trip too, was simply a bridge too far. We can expect him to bounce back.
Militarize went under as the $2.60 favourite in the Caulfield Guineas, but shouldn’t have lost any admirers. After settling 13th of 15 runners, he was able to run home into fifth in a race where the trifecta all settled in the first four. It was clearly a slowly run and on-pace dominated race, which didn’t give the backmarkers any real hope.
Militarize still ran the quickest last 200m, 400m, 600m and 800m of the race, so it was hard to do much more than that from the position he found himself in. Still, that’s always the risk with a horse that doesn’t show much tactical speed – they too often need everything to pan out in their favour.
What Saturday did do though, was cast a shadow over the Golden Rose form, a race which Militarize won. Admittedly these horses are not dropping back to easy races, but there have now been seven horses run since the Golden Rose, and the best they have done is two third place finishes between them. The Golden Rose is usually a golden form reference for the rest of the spring, but it is not proving the case this year.
Amelia’s Jewel was by far the most disappointing runner of the beaten hot favourites at Caulfield on Saturday, beaten five and a half lengths in the Toorak Handicap after jumping $2.40 favourite.
She was given a beautiful ride by Damian Lane from barrier 13, positioned exactly where you wanted her to be, just worse than midfield in a three wide train, with a good horse to take them into the race. What put Amelia’s Jewel’s performance into perspective is that the horse she was following was Attrition – the eventual winner of the race, and who raced wide without cover for half of it.
When it came time to go, Amelia’s Jewel offered very little, and had the sixth slowest last 400m and fifth slowest last 200m of the race. Horses like Antino, Banker’s Choice, Pinstriped and The Inevitable whistled past her in the straight.
It seems Amelia’s Jewel will next race in the Golden Eagle, over 1500m at Rosehill, and it will be one of the races of the spring against a strong group of four-year-old’s. How she bounces back will be a huge feature of the race.