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2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup preview

In such a tumultous year around the world, we are finally here - the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Just a week ago, Melbourne was under a severe lockdown with horse racing one of the few activities able to continue. To its credit, racing throughout Australia has continued right through the pandemic with only minimal disruption to scheduling. That deserves an enormous round of applause and appreciation from the Australian punting public - the industry has been able to operate under tight Covid protocols with only a couple of minor scares, keeping thousands of people in work and tax revenue rolling in, saving the local economy from complete devastation with so many unable to work and needing financial assistance. However, the crowds, at least in Victoria are still yet to return. Timing is everything and it's too much of a political football to let owners back on course just yet while so many have suffered. They need to start with small trial events and progress from there.
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Kennedy Cantala preview

Derby Day at Flemington is the pinnacle of the racing year for me, unfortunately it's now up to 17yrs since I was last able to attend! Not that anyone else can this year either. A day full of Group races (4x G1, 2x G2, 3x G3) and quite simply, if anyone invites you to a wedding on this day, you shouldn't be friends with them any more. Whilst it's labelled 'Derby Day', the Derby simply isn't a feature race worthy of the eponymous title. A 2500m race just three months after horses turn three simply doesn't lead to great racing. The field is poor, with no depth, just highlighting how many owners are traditionally happy to run to get owners' tickets for the greatest raceday in the southern hemisphere, if not the world. Imagine running the (English/Epsom Derby) on the first of April? At least the Kentucky Derby at the start of May, is run at 2000m, which is about as far as any American-bred horse ever wants. All the east coast Derbys in Australia used to be r

Caulfield Cup 2020 preview

The Melbourne spring carnival heads to Caulfield, affectionately known as 'The Heath' for the time-honoured and lucrative Caulfield Cup. Won by Japanese raider Mer de Glace last year, it earns the mantle of 'the greatest 2400m handicap in the world', a rich Group 1 traditionally run at a high-pressure tempo. Mer de Glace wins 2019 edition. Image credit: Herald Sun The quality of the race seems to ebb and flow regularly. This year I think we have a cracker, but... such is life in 2020, there'll be virtually no-one on course to witness it. In drafting this preview, I've also had some input from previous blog contributor Arod, spliced in where useful, starting with his track & weather forecast: "The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting anywhere between 10 – 20 mm of rain between now (Ed. Wed night) and race  time and going by today’s reports the track might need the water. Reports have a few horses pulling  up sore. Rain is predicted for

Preview de la Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 2020

The European flat racing season comes to its natural conclusion in this messed up hell of a year. The queen of the turf, Enable, goes for an historic third win but it has been wet and cold all week in Paris, making it a tough old slog in deep ground. There won't be much of a crowd there to 'bring the house down' if she wins, in front of no more than 1000 paying spectators, but the racing world will be tuning in across the globe. =============================================== Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe   ParisLongchamp, 1605 local, 1505 BST, 0005 Monday Sydney time.  2400m, Group 1 Weight-for-Age, (no geldings)  Approx €3m.  Expected Going - Heavy.  1.Persian King - 4yo, Kingman/Pretty Please - Andre Fabre - Pierre Charles Boudot   Star French colt stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time. Won the French 2000 Guineas (Poulains) on heavy ground but ran fourth (only time in his career finishing worse than second) in the Jacques Le Marois, almost nine lengt

Derby preview

The show must go on! There'll be no open top buses, no fairground rides on the infield, no paying customers at all. Just a few owners under tight Covid-19 protocols plus the participants for this year's Derby. A month later than usual, it's the Derby we're just glad we get to have, considering where we could have been. On with my preview... ----------------------------- THE DERBY Epsom Downs, 1m4f6yds,. Group 1 for 3yo colts and fillies £500,000.  1655 local time, 0155 Sydney, 1155 New York Amhran Na Bhfiann (50/1) - pronounced Ow-rawn-na-veean . Have seen a few from across the pond looking to see how you pronounce @Ballydoyle ‘s Amhran Na Bhfiann ahead of the @Investec Derby @Ascot 🇬🇧 This is the simplest form of explaining instead of trying to word it 🗣 CC: all @itvracing @RacingTV @AtTheRaces etc 🇮🇪 — Gar Toohey (@2hegar) June 29, 2020 For the uneducated (includes me until two days ago), it means 'The Soldier's Song