With the whole team returned to Sydney's Randwick base, we reflect on the time in Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival.
An 11-strong string of horses travelled to Melbourne to complete their spring campaigns against some of the best competition racing has to offer. During the Carnival, those horses ran in a total of 18 races including three Group I races, seven Group II races and four Group III races.
In return, the team celebrated three wins and two placings (which if we're going to get technical correlate to a 'first three finish' strike-rate of 38%).
Stable staff, Timothy Benn and Helen Smith provided one of the best ‘away-from-home' support-networks any racehorse could hope for, as their responsibilities were to tend to the John O'Shea-trained runners, night and day, during their time at Flemington.
O'Shea usually tries to divide his time equally between Flemington and Randwick over the carnival, which means lots of flying down and back throughout the week to catch different trials, jump outs, track work and
This year, two Champion Thoroughbreds runners made the trip to Melbourne. Lightinthenite is a well-performed anti-clockwise runner, having competed in the G3 Coongy, Listed Jubilee & G3 Queen Elizabeth last campaign, while Diamond Oasis had having his first interstate campaign.
Cox Plate weekend was undoubtedly one of the highlights for the stable, with Gypsy Diamond taking out the Fillies Classic on Manikato night, closely followed by Savvy Nature securing the win in the Moonee Valley Vase on the Saturday. The two horses were programmed to run in the Oaks and Derby respectively although their performances at Moonee Valley proved to be their best work.
There were a few raised eyebrows when Bernabeu found himself Melbourne-bound and nominated but O'Shea was convinced the gelding would be ultra-competitive in the sprint race up the Flemington straight on Cup day. Sure enough, the son of Fastnet Rock dashed away from the competition to win by 3.25 lengths for his owners, the Crismale family.
All-in-all this year's Melbourne campaign will be an unforgettable experience for many of our owners and the team are already looking forward to next year.