Australia: Alligator Blood Vs Funstar In $7.5 Million Golden Eagle

The culmination of Sydney’s “The Everest Carnival” coincides with the start of the “Melbourne Cup Carnival” as racing riches abound in Australia’s two biggest cities this Friday night. At Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse, the Golden Eagle’s massive purse of $7.5 million will not just be distributed among owners, trainers and jockeys – in a noble gesture of community goodwill, 10% of the purse will be awarded to charities designated by the first five finishers.

At seven and a half furlongs for recently turned 4-year-olds (Aug. 1), the Golden Eagle was inaugurated last year as an incentive to keep horses in training beyond their 3-year-old season. This year’s 18-horse field is quality-laden, headed by 4-1 favorite Funstar and the extremely popular Alligator Blood (6-1). Neither has won a race this campaign; Funstar comes off a second-place finish in the Epsom, the race that served as Kolding’s springboard to victory last year while Alligator Blood finished a close second in the other key prep race – the Silver Eagle (watch replay).

Both horses will have to overcome wide gates, but this could be mitigated on a significantly rain-affected surface. The post position draw for the Golden Eagle was staged aboard a boat on Sydney Harbor, which may hold only slightly more water than Rosehill by the weekend! Funstar relishes all manner of wet tracks, while Alligator Blood won his only start on “soft” going but is untested in the “heavy” conditions that look certain to prevail on Friday night. The biggest beneficiary of this rainy week is Colette (7-1), one of a trio for Godolphin, whose stable representative labels Colette “a real swimmer, very, very fit and an absolute star.”

The Golden Eagle’s infancy is contrasted by the history-steeped Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington, whose 1855 inauguration makes it 20 years older than its Kentucky counterpart. At 1 9/16 miles, the Victoria Derby is an arduous test just three months into the new Southern Hemisphere racing season. The 2020 renewal includes several well-fancied horses with little-to-no foundation from their 2-year-old season, the favorite being an extreme example. Young Werther (5-2) is a veteran of just two starts and hasn’t raced beyond nine furlongs. He was scratched from a prep race due to a wet track, but is loaded with ability for last year’s Melbourne Cup-winning trainer, Danny O’Brien.

Young Werther is one of four runners sired by Tavistock, whose influence will be keenly missed after the 14-year-old New Zealand stallion succumbed to laminitis last December. Tavistock has already sired a Victoria Derby winner but is best known for the exploits of Hong Kong champion, Werther. Young Werther’s name might have been inspired by the Hong Kong horse, or by Goethe’s 18th Century literary classic “The Sorrows of Young Werther” (which, coincidentally, I read earlier this year with no awareness of the Derby favorite, who debuted less than two months ago).

Flemington’s Derby Day card is comprised entirely of Group races, including the “stallion-making” Coolmore Stakes (Race 6) down the famous “straight six” furlongs course. Race 4 is the last prep for Monday night’s Melbourne Cup, while Race 2 is the final stepping stone to next Wednesday night’s Victoria Oaks. The four-day “Melbourne Cup Carnival” concludes on Friday night of next week. Look for another article previewing Monday night’s Melbourne Cup. Australia’s leading trainer, Chris Waller, is seeking his first victory in “the race that stops a nation,” and will be represented by the outstanding staying mare Verry Elleegant and a well-performed son of Frankel, named Finche.

Whether Alligator Blood feels at home in swampy conditions, and whether supporters of Young Werther are left feeling sorrow, this Friday night will be rewarding for fans of top-flight global racing and for the charities that will benefit from horse racing’s community outreach.

The Pick 7 wager this Friday night is available on the Flemington (AUS-A) card and there is a huge $10,000 guaranteed pool to celebrate. The Flemington and Rosehill cards will be broadcast live on TVG this Friday night (First Post: 8:40 PM ET / 5:40 PM PT) alongside cards from Doomben and Gold Coast. All races will also be live-streamed in HD with past performances available for free at and major ADW platforms. Wagering is available via all the major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWagerHPIbetAmWager, and BetAmerica.

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael’s vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders’ Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

The post Australia: Alligator Blood Vs Funstar In $7.5 Million Golden Eagle appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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