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Review of the 2000/01 Racing Season
August, September & October 2000


August

The highlights of the 2000/01 racing season began on August 5 in Sydney with the Group 2 San Domenico Stakes for 3yos. Victorious was the promising sprinter Zariz who went on a fortnight later to win the Group 2 Up & Coming Stakes. A week later the older horses took centre stage in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes with Might & Power expected to make his return to racing after being sidelined through injury since November 1998. A minor setback on race morning resulted in his scratching which left Mr Innocent to take the race from Celestial Choir and Adam.

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As the spring racing in the eastern states began in earnest the Northern Territory carnival was closing with Star Bullet defeating McJoey and Sporting in the Darwin Cup.

 

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Melbourne Group 1 racing began with the much anticipated return of champion Sunline (below) in the Manikato Stakes. Despite taking on a talented field of sprinters victory was never in doubt as Sunline (above & below) cruised home from Group 1 Newmarket winner Miss Pennymoney with Group 2 winner Honour The Name in third. Meanwhile back in Sydney Al Mansour took out the Group 2 Warwick Stakes as Might & Power finished near last. After a further unplaced run Might & Power was retired and made guest appearances at the WS Cox Plate and Adelaide Cup meetings.

Ateates (above) won the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes before heading to Melbourne while Adelaide filly So Gorgeous (below) began her Victorian campaign successful in the Listed Quezette Stakes from Amen Ruby and All Time High (below).

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In New Zealand Cent Home took out the Group 2 Mudgway Partsworld Stakes.

September

Sunline (above & below)  dominated headlines with her wins in the Memsie Stakes (over future spring Group 1 winners Umrum - pictures below,  and Oliver Twist) and John F Feehan Stakes on her way to defend her Cox Plate title. In Sydney though a 3yo filly called Unworldly was beginning to make an impression of her own with easy wins in the Group 3 Furious Stakes and Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes.

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At Moonee Valley's first night meeting of the year Ateates (above) won the Group 2 Moet and Chandon Champagne Stakes before returning to Sydney for a second in the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes. At the same meeting Testa Rossa (below) returned to form in the Listed Ian McEwen Trophy then a fortnight later repeated his 1999 victory in the Group 1 Eat Well Live Well Cup.

In the Group 2 Ascot Vale Stakes So Gorgeous scored an upset win over Show a Heart while later that day Go Flash Go outsprinted Oliver Twist to add the Group 2 Craiglee Stakes to his record. In Sydney Zariz won the Listed Heritage Stakes while 3yo Universal Prince (below) won the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle.

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In Western Australia the Listed Kalgoorlie Cup was taken out by Lotilla Bay while in South Australia the first 2yo races of the season were run. The Listed Fulham Park Plate for colts went to Mighty Raja with the Listed Dequettville Stakes for fillies went to Regal Kiss (below) (a half sister to the 1999 Fulham Park Plate winner Toorak Thunder).

On September 23 Oliver Twist returned to the winners circle in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes as So Gorgeous (above) dropped back to fillies class to win the Group 3 Tranquil Star Stakes and Adam took out the feature race in Sydney the Group 1 George Main Stakes. In New Zealand The Message sealed an Australian campaign with victories in the Group 3 Challenge Stakes and Group 1 Kelt Capital Stakes.

September also saw the demise of Geiger Counter, sire of over 40 stakeswinners including Gold Guru (who retired early in 2001) and Minegold, and of champion broodmare Eight Carat dam of 10 foals for 5 Group 1 winners, Octagonal, Kaapstad, Diamond Lover, Mouawad and Our Marquise.

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October

Sydney's spring carnival peaked in early October with the Epsom-Metropolitan double.

October 2 saw three Group 1 races decided with Shogun Lodge winning the Epsom before heading to Melbourne for a tilt at the Cox Plate, Universal Prince (above)  taking out the Spring Champion Stakes before also heading to Melbourne but for the 3yo classics while Unworldly cruised home in the Flight Stakes in such a dominating fashion that comparisons with Sunline's (above) 3yo form soon arose. Further speculation that Unworldly may prove a worthy rival for the Cox Plate were sadly ended when the filly broke down irreparably during trackwork on October 10. The Hawkes stable suffered a further blow that week when Over (winner of 2000 Doncaster) was injured during trackwork in Melbourne and retired. The Metropolitan Hcp proved a return to the Group 1 winning list for Coco Cobanna (winner of the Group 1 AJC Oaks the previous autumn) who then headed to Melbourne for the Cup carnival.

In Melbourne on October 7 the new grandstand at Flemington was officially opened as many of the spring carnival aspirants displayed their wares on the track. The Listed Japan Trophy was won by Brew (above) who was beginning to show the ability expected of his breeding (Sir Tristram-Horlicks) while Bomber Bill (below) flew down the outside section of the Flemington straight track course to win the Group 3 Gilgai Stakes in a tight finish. One of the two features of the days' racing, the Group 2 Turnbull Stakes, featured a classy weight for age field with Sunline taking on 2000 AJC Derby winner in Fairway plus cup contenders Kaapstad Way, Hill of Grace and Diatribe. From the start two horses dominated as Fairway went to the lead from Sunline. Turning for home Sunline tried to kick clear but Fairway stayed with the mare as the pair raced well clear of the field. They went stride for stride until the final 50m where Fairway edged ahead to win narrowly from Sunline with Diatribe running on for third. The following race was the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes for 3yo fillies where So Gorgeous gave nothing else a chance winning easily from Shelbourne Lass.

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A week later the carnival moved to Caulfield where Sky Heights (below) returned to his best defeating another top WFA field in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes. The Group 1 Caulfield Guineas was won in dominating fashion by Skalato (below) from Show a Heart but the winner returned a positive swab and was ultimately disqualified. Umrum returned for his third run in the Group 1 Toorak Hcp taking it out for the second successive year from Go Flash Go. Falvelon (below) won the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes and went on to win the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes on Cox Plate day before being invited to represent Australia in the Hong Kong International Sprint run in December. The Group 1 Thousand Guineas over the mile for 3yo fillies was run midweek and So Gorgeous was expected to dominate again but it was All Time High (top of page) who relished the longer course to win as So Gorgeous finished well back and headed for a spell. All Time High is a half sister to All Archie and All Our Mob out of former smart racemare All Sold.

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Yippiyo won the Group 3 Queens Cup during the Epsom carnival before heading to Melbourne where he won the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup on his way to an assault on the Melbourne Cup. At Caulfield after filling first and third in the Turnbull Stakes Fairway (below)  and Diatribe renewed their rivalry in the Caulfield Cup. Sent out as favourite Fairway led most of the way as the race was run at a torrid pace as Diatribe stayed back enjoying the solid staying test. Over the final stages Diatribe dashed past the tiring Fairway to win in record time for the 2400m with Fairway holding on to third place.

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October 28 and all eyes turned to Moonee Valley for the most anticipated race of the spring. Sunline (above)  was attempting to be the first mare since Flight and the first horse since Kingston Town to return to the Cox Plate winners circle for the second time but rivals such as Sky Heights, Tie The Knot, Testa Rossa, Oliver Twist and Shogun Lodge where expected to make it a tough assignment. By the 700m mark Sunline had put the race beyond doubt striding well clear as the opposition struggled. She ran to the line in a race of her own winning by a record equalling seven lengths from Diatribe with Referral a nose away third. Soon after Sunline along with Adam and Mr Innocent were invited to compete in the Hong Kong International Mile. The Aami Vase was taken out by Skalato as he continued towards the VRC Derby. The following day the Geelong Cup was run after being postponed from earlier during the week due to torrential rain that swept across Victoria. The race itself was taken out by Savrocca from Apache King while the Listed Geelong Derby Trial was won by the Lee Freedman trained Bush Padre. In New Zealand King Keitel previewed his future Brisbane carnival assault in winning the Group 3 Challenge Plate.

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Review of the 2000/01 Racing Season
Aug/Sept/Oct   |   Nov/Dec/Jan   |   Feb/Mar/April   |   May/June/July

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