THE TALKING POINT
The Everest has become so big that it casts a shadow over the entire racing season, and as a punter that’s a good thing – it is arguably the best sprint race in the world, and when the best take on the best it stands to reason that the form out of it can be followed and trusted.
Giga Kick was a surprise winner of the Everest last year, at only his fifth start. While he had somewhat proven it was no fluke, with unlucky but excellent performances at his two starts since, he hadn’t registered a win.
On Saturday, he was taking on five multiple Group 1 winners, plus a handful of other high quality rivals, while stepping beyond 1200m for the first time. It didn’t matter. He put them all in the shade.
The Randwick looked to be playing to those on the rail, and Giga Kick had drawn 11. Craig Williams snagged him back to second last, with only Cascadian settling behind him, but never needed to panic when Lost and Running was setting a hectic pace.
Giga Kick peeled out five and six wide on the turn, needed to be good when a top class horse like Zaaki kicked clear, but he reeled him like he was a Kembla Grange maiden and put the race away.
Having won so dominantly at 1400m, on a heavy track no less, certainly opens up more doors for Giga Kick. The Everest will obviously be on the agenda again, and the Golden Eagle is now in play.
A lot of Peter V’landys precious New South Wales prizemoney has gone back to Victoria in recent times, and as long as Giga Kick is around it will continue to flow south.
WIN OF THE DAY
The more you watched the replay of Militarize winning the Sires Produce Stakes, it was hard to conceive that he could get beaten in the Champagne, especially when the track came up heavy on race morning, just as it was two weeks ago.
Saturday’s was a different type of heavy though, and horses that had handled it a fortnight ago, such as Magic Time, didn’t this time. Still, Chris Waller is one of the most conservative trainers of two-year-old’s in the country, and the fact that he was even running in these races, let alone pressing on, was enough indication that he would be winning.
Similar to Giga Kick, Militarize was taken back after jumping, and the hot tempo was always playing in his favour. Still, he was never closer than three wide, in a part of the track that not many wanted to be, and was wider still upon straightening.
No matter. Under the persuasion of Joao Moreira, who has been and continues to be glowing in his praise of the Dundeel colt, Militarize cruised into race and then turned on the boosters at the right time. It was the sign of a very good horse, and no doubt a Golden Rose / Caulfield Guineas / Cox Plate path is being plotted as we speak.
RIDE OF THE DAY
Overpass has usually been employed as an on-pacer in his time, albeit having been trialled as a backmarker for one prep as a three-year-old, but has rarely outright led a race from go to whoa. In fact, he’d only been used that way once before inaugural running of The Quokka at Ascot on Saturday.
The only other time Overpass led from start to finish was in the Expressway Stakes over 1200m in January 2022, when beating Forbidden Love and Anamoe – two big scalps whichever way you cut it.
But Josh Parr took the initiative right out of the barriers on Saturday, taking Overpass straight to the front, and determinedly holding the lead despite Mitch Aitken on Asfoora wanting a piece of the action alongside him.
With his two main dangers settling at the tail of the field, Ben Melham on Bella Nipotina having to weave a passage and Patrick Carberry smoking the pipe for perhaps a fraction too long on Amelia’s Jewel, Parr rated Overpass millimetre-perfectly to beat off the on-pace challengers in the straight and still outlast those rushing home.
Taking the initiative is important in every sport, and there was no better example of it than Parr in The Quokka.
The most controversial ride of the day was Regan Bayliss on Pride of Jenni in the JRA Plate at Randwick. He set the Maher/Eustace mare alight to lead the field by some 20 lengths at various stages, claiming he was told to lead by “a big space”.
Roar Racing’s Stable Mail from the Maher & Eustace camp said “This girl likes to jump, and she likes to run. She’ll again jump and look to control proceedings here. First time at the 2000m will see her needing some cheap sectionals.”
There’s jumping and running, and then there’s being 20 lengths in front in your first try at 2000m. Regan Bayliss got the instructions wrong, and rode Pride of Jenni poorly.
Amelia’s Jewel left plenty of money in the bookies bags in The Quokka, but lost no admirers in the narrowest possible defeat. It’s mouth-watering to think of her potential clashes with Giga Kick in the Everest and Golden Eagle, if the cards fall the right way.
Magic Time was the disappointment of the Randwick card, the only hot favourite to not salute on the day – Osipenko, Militarize and Giga Kick all got the job done.
Magic Time loomed into the race at the 300m as if she was going to put them away, but didn’t show that burst of acceleration that she had in her three previous wins. Perhaps it was the stickiness of the track or being in the wrong spot, but she still looks to have a bright future.
The SuperVOBIS raceday at Sandown is one that traditionally lends itself to several short faves, given the set weights and set weight with penalties nature of the day.
Northern Barrage was the heavy punters-elect in the Galilee Final for three-year-old stayers, albeit subject to slight easing on the day. Similar to Magic Time, he moved into the race like the winner, but couldn’t go on with the job. It was a very moderate race, and time will tell where most of that field gets to.