Let It Ride In Australia For G1 Victoria Derby Day and The $7.5 Million Golden Eagle

Fans of elite racing will enjoy a seamless transition from Friday’s Breeders’ Cup action to the opening race in Melbourne, as Australia’s spring racing season climaxes with the start of Flemington’s four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival. Just one hour after Day One of the Breeders’ Cup concludes, the first race of an all-stakes card will be run on Victoria Derby Day (First Post: 5:45 pm PDT). Adding to the day’s excitement is the inaugural running of the $7.5 million Golden Eagle for 4YOs at Rosehill.

Flemington will host four days of racing in the span of a week, with 10% of ticket sales jumpstarting a new Equine Welfare Fund for racehorses. The “carnival” includes Monday night’s history-steeped Melbourne Cup, Wednesday night’s Oaks Day and next Friday’s Stakes Day. 

In the 26 years since the Cup’s first foreign-trained winner (Dermot Weld’s Vintage Crop), Australia’s most famous race has evolved into a highly coveted global prize and will again command worldwide attention. Pure racing fans Down Under recognize this Friday’s “Derby Day” card as the year’s finest collection of races. Each of the nine events carries Group (Graded) status, with four at the elite G1 level.

The Empire Rose Stakes (R5) is named for a gargantuan New Zealand mare who could barely fit into the starting gate but won the 1988 Melbourne Cup. This year’s favorite is a star New Zealand mare called Melody Belle, who counts 9 Group One successes among her 14 wins from 24 career starts.

One of Flemington’s famous features is its straight 6-furlong course, which sometimes sees the field split into divisions (a challenging scenario for race callers!). A hot field of 3YO sprinters will contest the Coolmore Stud Stakes (R6), one of the breeding industry’s prized “stallion making” races. Godolphin’s Bivouac twice beat subsequent The Everest winner, Yes Yes Yes, before encountering wretched luck last start.

The Victoria Derby (R7) is the most compelling for some years. Shadow Hero (by Pierro) has emerged as a stayer of enormous scope and strength, and could easily develop into Australia’s leading chance in next year’s Melbourne Cup. Soul Patch ignited with the addition of blinkers last start, while the removal of blinkers from Independent Road could also prove effective at very attractive odds.

Meanwhile, a storm of controversy has surrounded a jockey change for Thought of That (by So You Think), with Linda Meech declaring she “hopes he gets beat” after becoming the second female rider to recently lose a top mount leading into a G1 race. (Raquel Clark was replaced by Hugh Bowman in the Caulfield Guineas on Dalasan, who finished off the board. Dalasan is strongly fancied in the 3rd race, with Bowman retaining the mount.)

Friday’s fourth Group One is the Kennedy Cantala (R8), which is as wide open a contest as one could imagine. The favorite is likely to be in the range of 6/1 – another example of the tremendous value obtainable on Australian racing.

By mid-October, Sydney has traditionally ceded the Spring spotlight to Melbourne. However, Sydney’s revamped, extended program of rich races – including The Everest and last week’s new Bondi Stakes – continues with this Friday’s inaugural Golden Eagle, which boasts purse money of a million dollars per furlong. The 7-1/2 furlong contest at Rosehill Gardens is restricted to 4YOs, as an encouragement to keep potential stud prospects in training (the Australian racing season begins in August).

The Golden Eagle features the winners of Sydney’s two signature mile races, the Doncaster (Brutal) and the Epsom (Kolding) pitted against some sprinters stepping up in distance from The Everest. Arcadia Queen disappointed in the world’s richest turf race, but connections admitted a tactical error and is the 2/1 favorite. Classique Legend endured a horror stretch run and has enormous, untapped potential.

Yet another new Sydney invention is the AU$1 million Redzel Stakes, named for the winner of the first two The Everests. Wagering is headed by Trekking and Pierata, who finished 3rd and 5th respectively in this year’s race. The Redzel also features Home of the Brave, whom I called in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Derby Day from Flemington and Golden Eagle Day from Rosehill will be broadcast live on TVG alongside cards from Eagle Farm and Gold Coast. All races will be streamed in HD on skyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWagerHPIbetAmWager, and BetAmerica. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com. 

The post Let It Ride In Australia For G1 Victoria Derby Day and The $7.5 Million Golden Eagle appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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