Five key moments of the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival

| January 8, 2020
Spring Racing Carnival
Lys Gracieux’s win in the Cox Plate was one of the epic moments of the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival

The Spring Carnival is completed for another year and as usual it produced many epic moments. From lightning-fast sprints to epic staying contests, the 2019 Spring racing Carnival had it all. Everyone has their favourite moments and there are many to choose from, however a quick scan of the village forums helped me settle on five epic moments that sent our pulses racing.

When Spring Carnivals are reviewed, it’s not always the major Cups that leave an indelible mark in our memories, although these are usually at the front of mind. In horse racing, years are typically defined by the Melbourne Cup. This year’s winner, Vow and Declare, will be remembered for holding off the international contingent and flying the flag for the Aussie stayers. However, the Spring Racing Carnival is much more than the feature event, and many of the Group One races can hold their own in racing’s folklore.

What were your most memorable moments? What will you remember from the 2019 Spring racing carnival? 

Here are five memorable moments from the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival that I think will stand the test of time in racing discussions.

Exceed and Excel sons dominate Coolmore Stud Stakes

An incredible race! Two powerful sons of Exceed and Excel battling for supremacy over the famous Flemington straight course. The Vinery Stud colt Exceedance came through on the inside to defeat the very gallant Godolphin entrant Bivouac by a long neck. Bivouac forged to the lead at the clocktower and looked the winner but the Hawkes-trained galloper Exceedance powered through to take the race.  Crack filly Libertini stuck on well to finish third. It was an epic renewal of this time-honoured contest that determines future stud value for the horses involved. This race was formerly known as the Ascot Vale Stakes and this year’s edition lived right up to the famous contests of the past. 

Australians triumph in Melbourne Cup

The “race that stops the nation” was a triumph for the home-bred Australian stayer. Starting off at odds of $11, Vow and Declare looked exhausted with 200m to run but bravely drew on all his reserves to come again and win by a head. Trained by Danny O’Brien, Vow and Declare stopped a decade-long run of international winners of the great race. Crowd-favourite Prince of Arran was second and Il Paradiso third. The race was full of drama with Irish-trained Master Of Reality, ridden by Frankie Dettori, relegated from second placing to fourth by stewards. Such was the drama, it was almost like playing american online casinos. It was another epic Cup, further confirming why this is one of the world’s greatest races.

Japanese mare stomps Cox Plate

This was a dominant win by the world champion Lys Gracieux. Our super colt Castelvecchio entered the straight full of running but the Japanese mare stomped up to him and put the race away in a matter of strides. It was an amazing performance from the world class galloper, who went on to take the G1 Arima Kinen in Japan in similar fashion.  Ridden superbly by Damian Lane, Lys Gracieux proved a worthy Cox Plate champion. The Australian colt Castelvecchio, a stunning son of champion It’s A Dundeel, was extremely brave and I think surprised a few with his superb performance. We look forward to Castelvecchio progressing even further in the Autumn.

Caulfield Cup freezes over

The Caulfield Cup was the first indication that this was going to be a mammoth Spring for the Japanese. Mer De Glace produced a superb staying performance under Damian Lane to win the Caulfield Cup. Eventual Melbourne Cup winner Vow and Declare finished second and Mirage Dancer a head away in third place. Mer De Glace was dropped back to the rear of the 18-horse field from his wide gate and was able to “switch off” for most of the running. He came home with a powerful finish, giving Japan raiders a second Caulfield Cup after Admire Rakti won in 2014. Mer De Glace started at $8 on usa sports betting sites.

Flemington goes airborne

Many vote this as the performance of the carnival. In the G1 Sprint Classic (1200m) on the last day of the Flemington Spring Carnival, Nature Strip bounced out of the gate and took up the running down the outside rail. However, with just over 200m to go, James MacDonald let him go and suddenly he put lengths on the crack field of sprinters. It was a performance that left racegoers shaking with astonishment. Jockey James MacDonald was speechless. “He was just airborne, he was floating across the ground.” It would be amazing to see the gelded son of Nicconi take on the world’s best sprinters at Royal Ascot in 2020.

One of the premier horse racing carnivals in the world

There were other memorable moments of course. Warning’s win in the Derby, Miami Bound in The Oaks and Magic Wand’s Mackinnon Stakes. All these races merely confirm why Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival is one of the best in the world.

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