Horse Racing. Where champions are born and legends are made.
This week we have seen two of Australia’s best sprinters hang up their race plates and start their retirement. Both Nature Strip and Eduardo earned the adoration of racing fans across the globe. Their rivalry promised thrilling showdowns and unforgettable finishes. Whether you’re a dedicated racing fan or a casual observer, the clash between these two-speed machines was a testament to the enduring allure of the sport.
The longevity of our athletes in the sport is hugely important. Not just from welfare and breeding perspective but it gives the public and punters more relatiable characters to follow. Too often we see two-year-olds collect their group status and disappear to the breeding barn. Rivalry races are what give our sport its edge.
Phar Lap vs. Nightmarch (1930s):
Nightmarch was sold as a two-year-old from New Zealand to Australia with a record of two wins from eight starts. He arrived in the spring of 1929 and was unplaced in his first start at Rosehill. However, he soon turned his form around winning in a Tattersall’s Spring Handicap and running second in the Metropolitan. He then went on to win The Epsom, The Cox Plate and The Melbourne Cup. He was the first horse to win a Cox Plate and a Melbourne Cup in the same year (1929). However, as a five year old he met Phar Lap and subsequently became his bridesmaid on four occasions. Phar Lap became the second horse to win a Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in the same year (1930).
Kingston Town vs. Manikato (1980s):
Kingston Town and Manikato were two of the greatest racehorses of the 1980s. Their rivalry lit up the tracks in races like the William Reid Stakes and the George Ryder Stakes. These clashes between the brilliant miler and the sprint sensation were a highlight of the era. Kingston Town was known for his incredible versatility and ability to excel over a range of distances. Manikato, on the other hand, was a sprinting sensation. In 1982 The William Reid, The George Ryder and The Cox Plate were all hosts to one of the most iconic racing rivalries Australia ever witnessed.
Sunline vs. Northerly (early 2000s):
Their fierce battles on the track brought a level of excitement and anticipation rarely seen in the sport. The Cox Plate in 2000 Sunline emerged victorious, but Northerly’s strong second-place finish set the stage for future encounters. The 2001 Australian Cup and the 2001 Caulfield Stakes set the stage for thrilling duels between the champions. However, it was the 2001 Cox plate that was the highly anticipated rematch. In a true display of grit and determination, Northerly triumphed over Sunline, marking one of the defining moments of their rivalry.
Winx vs. Hartnell (2010s):
Winx was widely regarded as one of the greatest racehorses in the history of Australian racing. Although Hartnell could not match Winx’s incredible winning streak, Hartnell’s racing career was nothing short of exceptional. He often found himself in the unenviable position of challenging Winx, but he never backed down. The 2016 Cox Plate hosted the much-anticipated showdown. Winx won comfortably and solidified her status as a racing legend. The 2017 Queen Elizabeth provided a thrilling finish with Winx again emerging victorious and Hartnell coming second. Their rivalry showcased the beauty of the sport, where fierce competitors could command respect and admiration even in defeat.
Changing Of The Guard
The changing of the guard marks the moment when the soldiers currently on duty, The Old Guard, exchange places with the New Guard. With the Spring season looming and with our sprinting stalwarts stepping aside you can’t help but feel the anticipation of what’s to come.
The Sheraco Stakes
Sunshine in Paris steps out for the first time since her win the Group 1 Surround Stakes. Jockey Ryan Maloney keeps the ride, the draw is a fraction tricky but with the speed anticipated she should be just behind them. Although she has trialled at this racetrack, this is her first official race start at Rosehill. Her two trials have been in great company and from her five starts she is yet to miss the placings. I Am Me, has given every indication that she is back for a big prep. She won the Group 2 Missile in smart order this prep and her trial two weeks indicated she’s still on track. I suspect she is eyeing up an Everest and this is her chance to catch the eye of slot holders.
The Ming Dynasty Stakes
You can’t overlook a lightly raced colt of Joseph Pride’s. Ceolwulf (NZ) has had two starts and he hasn’t been out of the placings. Plus his trials are impressive. Sam Clipperton has stuck with him and although this is a step up in class he has done everything right up until now. Joseph doesn’t place them lightly and he is beautifully weighted. Tom Kitten, his draw is less than ideal but his most recent win suggests he is more than up to the grade. He has already defeated Encap and Kintyre and the 1400m looks ideal.
The Run To The Rose
You can’t look past Cylinder. He is an ultra-consistent three-year-old and considering he ran second in the Golden Slipper last year, he is more than welcome in this company. He won his two trials easily and his win in the Group 3 Vain Stakes looks to have backed that up. Great to see him at the 1200m and he will be given every chance with Nash on board. Annabel Neasham is on fire. Libertad has yet to dissapoint. He has taken every challenge in his stride and has plenty of upside. Lightly raced and is an ideal candidate to be a competitive contender for the spring.