The Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes has long been a lot more than just a ‘good horses’ race. It is a race for champions.
Won four times by Winx, and Chipping Norton local Tie the Knot, Lonhro, his old man Octagonal, and a handy chestnut by the name of Phar Lap all bagged the race once each. And we can add another champion’s name to that list after one of the great editions of the race.
Verry Elleegant (Syd Race 6)
Thanks for the news flash scoop! But it is hard for one of my ilk to resist the urge not to wax lyrical about her after the win on the weekend. Racegoers under the age of forty have been spoiled when it comes to witnessing champion mares in action in their punting lifetime and we can add this Kiwi bred to the list along with Makybe Diva, Black Caviar and of course Winx. A gutsy performance, and maybe her best win to date which is a scary thought for her rivals heading to the lucrative Queen Elizabeth. How are they going to beat her?
Forbidden Love (Syd Race 7)
As the market would suggest, I, along with plenty of others didn’t have her winning this. But take out the one poor run at the quirky Gold Coast track and she certainly has a C.V. that should have seen her on the top few lines of betting. Cuddled to the furlong where she let rip and put pay to them very quickly. Nash at his very best! She’s probably not bred to get the Oaks trip, but she is among the noms for the Doncaster Mile at $26. Punters take note.
Cherry Tortoni (Melb Race 7)
Spruiked him for this race a fortnight ago off his first up run. While the car park draw doesn’t seem the worst given his racing pattern, being a pair or two closer certainly would have helped even given the long run home at Flemington. Draws only marginally better and he just wins. Watch out Sydney, this is the one you’ll all have to beat in the coming weeks.
Hilal (Syd Race 2)
They were all in trouble when they let the leader skip clear, and the check at the 250m, along with being a poor tactical decision from Berry, was of no help to him when he unleashed in pursuit of the tearaway leader. His win on debut at the Kenso was something only very good horses do, and his run Saturday, although defeated, was superb. He won’t get a run in the Slipper and they’d be too sharp for him anyway, but he looks a Sires/Champagne type if I ever did see one.
Criaderas (Syd Race 4)
Probably not a bad race to kick him off in, but I wish they’d stop buggerising around with this short course stuff and just get him out to a trip. Works along in transit like a mile and halfer and has a beautiful middle distance pedigree (Lonhro out of a Dehere mare). Had absolutely no business running a place at the top of the straight let alone running 0.2L second. Imagine the Donny is his target this time in, but I’d be searching for some black type somewhere and aiming him at qualifying for a Caulfield Cup in the Spring if he were mine.
Icebath (Syd Race 5)
Bold effort to hang on for 3rd after being given the rounds of the kitchen by Tom Sherry from barrier 4 in a field of 8. Then again, there’s probably a reason why most leading trainers don’t engage apprentices in Group races. She’s every bit as good as these as her 0.1L 2nd to Colette in the Golden Eagle shows us, her two runs back in have been very good, she’s due back in the winners circle shortly and in for a good prep.
Funstar (Syd Race 6)
She’s a high quality mare no doubt about it, but there’s at least three in Verry Elleegant, Colette and Probabeel that have her measure and she’s going to keep running into them at the highest grade. Has a good race in her but just needs to be shrewdly placed to further add to her black type C.V.
Away Game (Syd Race 7)
At just 3yo, her best days are behind her.