Promising to be Australia’s best racehorse in an already dynamic period, Anamoe can use Saturday’s Expressway Stakes at Rosehill Gardens to blast the Sydney summer out of the doldrums.
Sure, the holidays around Christmas have never held centre stage like the spring or autumn, but they have had appeal leading up to and after the Villiers at Royal Randwick.
Back in action: Anamoe, right, will contest the Expressway Stakes. Credit:Getty
No doubt COVID-19 and the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast played a role, but the Australian Turf Club didn’t go out of their way to challenge what was going on north of the Tweed.
Last year, following the Villiers, racing here went into the doldrums with once-featured meetings like Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Australia Day dropping behind Melbourne, open to innovations like “Rapid Racing” last Friday with seven sprints down the Flemington straight-six.
Yes, Randwick had the Carrington on Saturday, a listed race, around since 1886, but “it isn’t a high-profile event” according to Best Bets.
Obviously, topliners are spread thin, but 11 ATC majors were officially listed in the Top 100 of the world’s highest-rated group 1 races by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and Longines at the World Racing Awards.
The group 1, $4 million Queen Elizabeth at Royal Randwick, a possible target for Anamoe, was Australia’s joint top-rated race at equal 15th.
Compared to Melbourne in recent weeks, Sydney has wallowed. On Australia Day, Caulfield had two Group threes, the Blue Diamond Previews for two-year-olds, and the Listed JJ Adams, while here the program was at Warwick Farm, hardly an appealing January venue. It included an exhibition pony event for young enthusiasts.
However, being back at Rosehill is a plus: more punter friendly than Randwick where the “Theatre Of The Horse” hardly has the appeal of the parade ring out west.
On Saturday, it features class three-year-old Anamoe, who beat her majesty Verry Elleegant home in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last November. Will he be bigger, better and more powerful?
Still, the Australia Stakes, on the corresponding Moonee Valley program, is also a group 2 event, and more recently just as good as the Expressway with an honour roll boasting Black Caviar (two), Schillaci, and Hareeba but hot favourite, Marabi ($1.95) hardly compares with Anamoe at this stage.
James Cummings will have Anamoe ready for a strong run at Rosehill.Credit:Getty
Anamoe is a flashback to the substance of the Expressways of old, epitomised by greats Saintly, Lonhro, Sir Dapper, Kingston Town and Luskin Star, more the once-prized classic type whose ability extends to journeys further than those favouring the sprints.
And the colt has the benefit of the Cummings’ touch with James, head honcho at Godolphin, calling on the experience of granddad, Bart, in getting distance horses like Saintly to sprint well when fresh.
The query with the colt today is tempo and racing pattern more than rivals. Anamoe will get back and with the rail six metres out, up-front types could be favoured. Earlier this week Enthaar, the $1.45 favourite and resuming, was beaten in the Adams at Caulfield and Anamoe ($1.75) was at longer odds yesterday.
So far, though, the highlight of the week was Queensland grandmother, Pam O’Neill, 77, receiving an OAM, prompting the question of why it took so long to recognise her achievements: over 400 winners, including a treble on her first day as a professional.
Female jockeys were shunned and hardly got the opportunities she created for them, exploding the theory that men were stronger thus better equipped in the saddle, hardly apparent with Rachel King and Alysha Collett both riding strong.
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