Reflections on Warwick Farm

The Warwick Farm programme on Saturday, originally about the important Group 2 Breeders’ Classic black type for mares, took a step up this year with the Inglis bonus races at $1 million for the three-year-old’s and $2 million for the two-year-old’s.

There is something infectious about bonus races which have the ability to deliver huge sums of money to groups of people. The Denise Martin Star Thoroughbreds syndicated, well-named, Fiesta is a case in point. There are 14 different names and identities listed in the ownership and no doubt more involved in some of the different identities.

Not only have they won stakes of $1,186,050 from the I Am Invincible filly’s three wins and seven placings, they have experienced her running in the 2018 Golden Slipper and, including the Slipper, ten black type races before she has reached 2019 autumn racing.

In racing that is an experience to be bottled and preserved for many a long evening of remembering and rejoicing even before contemplating what is to come. Incidentally Martin signed for the filly at $150,000 from NSW’s Fairhill Farm.

Saturday’s race, the Inglis Sprint (1100m), was no mere push over as well. Fiesta under Glyn Schofield had to dispose of the 2018 Slipper winner Estijaab who was tenacious in her first race back since that victory. 

Fiesta’s top level subsequent race experience after the Slipper of six additional race starts was the difference to Estijaab’s sole resumption and it will be fascinating to see if they clash again over the coming weeks. Perhaps not if Fiesta lengthens out in distance.

For trainer Chris Waller running Fiesta in the bonus race was not on the programme for the filly, next week’s $200,000, Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick was the original starting point.

“I thought about it, it was a $1 million dollar race, so we brought everything forward,” he explained.

Fiesta’s connections took home $580,000 instead of $109,3560 and she already has a Group 2 in her pedigree page.

Josh Parr salutes the win with Castelvecchio, picture

The Inglis Millennium (1200m) provided a massive $1,160,000 for Castelvecchio’s owner, retired construction businessman Ottavio Galletta and young Warwick Farm trainer Richard Litt. The Dundeel colt under Josh Parr was last at the turn and the widest of the field, but sustained an unstoppable run to beat the market hot shots Accession and Dawn Passage.

For 26 year-old Litt the win was both financially rewarding, which is essential for any trainer trying to make their way, but also it gave invaluable publicity. Nothing breeds success like success and Litt had beaten the Waller and Waterhouse/Bott stables by 2L and 3/4L. Dundeel indeed.

The black type main event was taken by a mare, Champagne Cuddles, who like Fiesta, has contested the top level of racing throughout her career. The Bjorn Baker trained chestnut is literally a low flying machine such is the manner in which she flattens out and seems ready to do a summersault so close to the track is her head carriage. But she wins and the Group 2 Breeders’ Classic (1200m) was her fourth, a deserved fourth, with her stakes earnings over $1 million.

As said the programme has taken a step up with the buzz of the bonus races and there was a crowd of 6,160 enjoying the warmth and fortunately no repeat of the massive Friday evening thunderstorm that rolled through Sydney.

Assuming Waller does not back Fiesta up next week, he will have a mare substitute to take the eye anyway. Winx.

The mare will start what is assumed is her final campaign in the Group 2 WFA Apollo Stakes (1400m). Roll on Saturday and roll up to Randwick, there is a visual feast awaiting along with a very satisfying trial winner Happy Clapper to keep the dance beat rumbling.

Champagne Cuddles and Blake Shinn, picture