The Autumn Carnival moves to Flemington this weekend with the highlight being the Gr1 Australian Guineas. Run for 3yo’s over 1600m it is a breed shaping race. High profile stallions including Zabeel, Flying Spur, Reset, Pins and Al Maher all launched their Stud careers off winning the Australian Guineas. While other superstars like Mahogany, Miss Finland, Apache Cat and Mosheen proudly grace its honour roll. There is a lot at stake for all participants in this race on Saturday particularly the well credentialled colts.
We have been lucky enough to win this race twice in the last 5 years. Once with a real outsider and once with a red hot favourite. In 2011 Danny had the filly Shamrocker running in the race. She was getting ready to head to Sydney for the Australian Oaks and not one of the major fancies. I took our then three year old son Thomas out to the races for a day out on the lawn. Thomas and I went in to the mounting yard to watch the race with Danny. With a large field and a strong pace Shamrocker always travelled like the winner and burst clear for an emphatic win. A really exciting surprise and particularly great memories for us with Thomas loving the big trophy Daddy got. Shamrocker then went on to Sydney and became the first filly in history to beat the boys in both the Australian Guineas and Australian Derby.
In 2014 we went to Australian Guineas day far less relaxed. Danny had the favourite in Shamus Award. He had won the Cox Plate in the Spring and all the pressure was on him to back this up with a win in the Guineas in the Autumn. These are the more stressful days at the races, when so much is riding on the outcome and the expectation is high. Fortunately Shamus Award was up to the task. Just like the Cox Plate he jumped to the front and was never headed. This time the feeling was as much relief as excitement. Shamus had proven his Cox Plate win was no fluke and most importantly had assured his future stallion career by adding the Australian Guineas to his resume.
Both Shamrocker and Shamus Award went on to be crowned Champion 3yo of their generation. Winning the Australian Guineas was a big reason for that. Good luck to all connections there on Saturday.
Photo Credit Bruno Cannatelli