WINNERS & LOSERS
Step up ... Jolie Bay. Photo: Jenny Evans
Glencadam Gold, Saturday's dynamic winner of The Metropolitan at Randwick, has been easy to underestimate, beating second-raters at best. Even the merit in his latest triumph is suspect. ''Gai [Waterhouse] is outstanding but how rivals keep letting her horses dictate with soft early sectionals is beyond me,'' aax emailed to Racenet, an excellent source of learned turf knowledge. ''Gai will keep winning while rival jockeys and trainers just hand it to her like that.'' PJ wrote: ''He is a serious horse but I couldn't help but get flashes of Herculian Prince [the Waterhouse winner two years ago]. He isn't going to get a lead like that in either of the cups and that's when we'll see just how good he really is … pressure in running is a funny thing.'' J.W. asked: ''How can they persist with that [The Metropolitan] as a group 1? The winner looks OK but the rest are just G3 at best.'' Under normal circumstances, the Turnbull at Flemington, taken by Green Moon on Saturday, would be a better cups guide than the Randwick staying test but it, too, was run at a farcical tempo that enabled the winner to race wide throughout. Glencadam Gold keeps improving. He beat Kelinni, a Chris Waller stayer hardly proven against the elite but in great form and made to look ordinary by the winner. Husband Robbie said the key to success with Glencadam Gold was reducing the weight carried between his legs.
''My bugger needs a good whack with the whip,'' Gwenda Markwell said of the performance of Rolling Pin, the minor placegetter in Saturday's Epsom at Randwick. ''He always finds when he gets that. Chad [Schofield] rode him perfectly but just lacked that strength at the end.'' Schofield was a late replacement when Christian Reith was ''indisposed'' - steward-speak for sapped from weight reduction. Schofield was fined $200 for using the whip in a forehand manner more than five times before the 100 metres. Schofield did better than another Markwell jockey. ''He came out yawning and rode like he was asleep,'' she said. At Flemington, Ben Melham also struck whip trouble, slugged $1200 for four breaches.
Old adage proved
Those who waffle about the ''bank interest'' benefits of taking short prices, particularly under even money, again had a setback at Randwick on Saturday. The Gai Waterhouse pair Sugar Rush ($1.55) and Proisir ($1.28) emphasised the folly of an anticipated gilt-edged result while Ichihara ($1.80) also went down. ''Odds-on, look on'' is better advice.
Jolie Bay's class act
Jolie Bay, in the Roman Consul at Randwick on Saturday highlighted the change in class racing. Jolie Bay is promising but came off a Hawkesbury maiden success to take the group 2 sprint. She follows Buffering and Foxwedge, while Exceed And Excel and Fastnet Rock, sire of Jolie Bay, also feature in the past decade's Consul honour roll. Every race will have a substandard year but a provincial maiden winner?
Coming up roses
The scent of handout golden roses replaced the beautiful waft of dollar notes in Saturday's Randwick members' betting ring. It was alien territory, with hardcore racegoers like Jim Mason and Bill Henneberry replaced by a demographic from an upmarket Paddo pub. The secondary betting ring in the public sector obviously attracted most diehards. Sure, Royal Randwick was a construction site and, under the circumstances, the Australian Turf Club did well on a dirty day for the more than 10,000. The course proper, the most important factor for top-class racing, played well. But the experience was a savage difference from the Melbourne grand final (nearly 100,000) a week earlier at the MCG, one of the great sporting arenas, matched in racecourse facilities if not the course proper, by Flemington. Which makes it difficult to understand why naysayers wanted a patched up, antiquated headquarters when Sydney will have a world-class racecourse.
Horse to follow
Rockford, the Gai Waterhouse two-year-old, went down by a long head in Saturday's Superracing Stakes at Flemington after being ''slow to begin'' and subsequently hampered, according to Racing Victoria stewards.
Bel Sprinter, the $2.80, favourite, finished only fifth in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington on Saturday but trainer Jason Warren pointed out: ''I was concerned by gate one, which didn't help his chances. Also he didn't get any cover, which he needs when he races over 1200m. He's better suited at Moonee Valley and Caulfield.''