Day 2 of the Challenge Finals – Classics review
With Graham Clifford
Australian stables does country proud
Even the BBC’s Olympic swimming pundit and five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe was close to tears. As the news filtered through that the Australian stables had captured its first Challenge series win on Sunday night the Thorpedo needed a moment to compose himself.
Of all the races to win the Derby was the big one and their Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the achievement was on a par with Pat Cash winning Wimbledon.
Going into this race in Hong Kong many in the know felt that ‘High Castle’ had a great chance to topple the big boys. Drawing Charlie Saxon was a stroke of good fortune but on the night nothing could be taken away from the superb 4-year-old colt’s historic performance.
High Castle led literally from start to finish bolting out of the gate with purpose. After a couple of furlongs he moved from the centre of the track to the inside rail where he remained to the very end.
Dezza from the derekw10 stable did mount a late charge but there was just too much ground to make up and immediately after the race there was talk that ‘High Castle’ is to feature in the next Fosters’ lager add.
Paul Hogan, AKA Crocodile Dundee, wrote on his twitter account “they call red rum a horse, High Castle, now that’s a horse.”
After a decade in the game experienced stable nails biggest prize
On the day that the Top Star Stable and Raceclubs wed back on November 4th, 2002 Chinese authorities arrested a cyber-dissident named He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.
Almost a decade on Depu, who was released last year, sent a message of congratulations to the yard on an amazing achievement and described the stable as an inspiration.
There were tears of joy trackside in the USA as ‘Virtual Star’ lived up to her name to capture the Oaks.
At 7.30pm on Sunday the talented filly, who on more than one occasion was placed in last position at the back of the field, lined up as much in hope as expectation.
She looked so out of the running, at one stage midway through the final, that I noticed the Top Star stable owner popping off to buy a hot dog.
Incredibly though with the line nearing she found a gap in the centre of the field and bulleted through it to win one of the most dramatic Oaks finals for years.
“I’m delighted” the Top star stable owner told reporters afterwards adding “I mean two dollars for a hot dog of this size with onions and all the trappings is something else” – he then asked “by the way who won the race?”
Moletown living out his fantasies with epic win
You wait for almost four years for a challenge series win and then the biggest of the lot falls into your lap.
In Hong Kong on Sunday night, with the sun going down, the simply superb ‘Dynamic Fantasy’ took the Classic Challenge Final win for juvenile colts along with a well-deserved cheque, from Raceclubs, for stable owner Lee.
The ecstatic owner momentarily morphed into a bumblebee telling fellow owners on the forum “Buzzing Buzzing Buzzing….. I love it!”
And for a while he forgot that it was he who actually trained the most successful colt of the season saying “Well done Moley, oh be jeezuz that’s me!”
One of the most popular winners for some time, hats off to you Lee and enjoy the celebrations!
Sky is the limit for remerging Amazon
Jacob Forrester couldn’t believe his luck. The well-liked Canadian jockey rarely sits at the top table - though he did ride Amber Field’s Puddler to glory in the sprint final for juvenile fillies a day earlier in England - and when he was told he’d be riding Amazon sky in the big one he was elated.
“To be honest she’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden” Forrester told the Riding weekly on Sunday night, adding “and I’m saving up for a new hot air balloon so every little helps.”
The 3-year-old filly from the Sky Castle stable was bought in April with £1,176 paid to the Free Speech stable for her services.
It was a shrewd investment by a yard which has amassed just under £600k in prize money with 54 challenge final wins under its belt.
Spare a thought for the Mappenors stable which is still waiting for that first challenge final win. On Sunday ‘Mappenor Loophole’ finished just behind Amazon sky in an exciting finish to a super race.
Rest of field frightened by fierce name - while more glory for shotgun_mike
You could see some of the horses twitching as the field for the Queen Elizabeth Classic Challenge final for 4-7 year old fillies was read out over the loud speakers.
‘Mamba Matador’ calls the announcer and rival horses such as ‘Pam’s Angel’ from the Halligan Racing club and Lonesome Dove’s ‘Precocious Girl’ look nervous.
It’s only a name of course but as the race unfolds the 5-year-old filly from the Green Bay Stable shines to deliver just the third challenge final win for the yard.
Afterwards in England, conveniently, the Queen visited the Green Bay stables enquiring about buying one of the yard’s horses. She was told none were for sale and was promptly sent on her merry way.
Meanwhile in the King George Classic final the 6-year-old grey San Crispino, who cost £336 from the Royston stable in January, became the latest challenge final winner from the shotgun-mike stable.
He finished just ahead of his equally impressive stable mate ‘Cozmic Monumentum’ to finish off a super weekend’s racing.