Racing isn’t an exact science and last weekend we saw exactly why.
We saw it all with Chautauqua being retired, Nature Strip finishing unplaced as an odds-on favourite and Santa Ana Lane breaking the Randwick track record in the lead up to the TAB Everest in a fortnight.
Last Friday, there was just one slot remaining in the world’s richest race on turf and that was likely to go to champion sprinter Chautauqua if he jumped out of the barriers in a trial at Moonee Valley.
Well, he didn’t – in fact, he just stayed there despite the urgings of Tommy Berry. The grey flash just doesn’t want to do it anymore.
So, who were Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, the co-slot holders going to target next? It was rumoured they were waiting for Chautauqua but with that plan out of the window, they had to go to Plan B. Many thought it would be Viddora after she sensationally took out the Moir Stakes just minutes after that now famous barrier trial.
She is now a two-time Group One winner after collecting the Winterbottom Stakes nearly 12 months ago but as of yet, she doesn’t have a spot in the big one. In that same race last Friday, hot favourite Nature Strip was unplaced after over-racing badly. The fall out was huge – already a confirmed starter in The Everest, connections have pulled the pin, leaving the ATC with a task of finding someone to fill their slot in a fortnight’s time.
Then to last Saturday in the Premiere Stakes at Randwick which was billed as a ‘mini Everest’ because six of the eight runners were already in the race itself.
Well, yet another spanner was thrown into the works as defending champ Redzel finished unplaced after leading and favourite Trapeze Artist only finishing a grinding fourth to under-rated sprinter Santa Ana Lane. In Her Time and Shoals, both mares resuming, finished close up in a thrilling finish.
Whitby and Werrett have since chosen gun three-year-old Graff to be their representative in the big one which leaves just the ATC to fill their slot. Will it be Viddora or another horse? It will certainly be an interesting week for all concerned that is for sure.