Reflections on Golden Rose Day

The fickleness of spring brought cooler temperatures to Rosehill on Saturday from the warmth of the week before, but the finish of the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) raised the bar for temperature, excitement and sheer polish.

The Dundeel colt Militarize (NZ) already had a stallion career ahead of him with his duel Group 1 wins at two of the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m and Champagne Stakes over 1600m. Saturday’s result in the major stallion making race of the Rose sealed it at a higher level.

Trainer Chris Waller had another traditional stallion making race in mind for Militarize in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 14th, Everest Day at Randwick, and the colt’s first up win is a bonus, a mighty fine bonus.

Waller applied blinkers to help the colt over the distance that is now probably not what he is wanting. Joao Moreira was, wisely, following Nash Rawiller on Cylinder and although he and Militarize had clear room at the 200m, they had what would conventionally be considered too much distance to catch up.

Take away conventional and insert a smart 11.18 for Militarize to run the 200m to the finish line and the focus was swiftly taken away from Encap and Cylinder to Militarize and Moreira arriving at speed outside the pair.

Encap ran his final 200m in 11.64, Cylinder in 11.49, fourth placed Butch Cassidy in 11.71 and fifth placed Charm Stone in 11.56. The respective final 600m times were 33.61, 34.02, 33.76, 34.31, 34.04.

Left to right, Encap and apprentice Dylan Gibbons, Cylinder and Nash Rawiller, Militarize (NZ) and Joao Moreira, picture

Back in the field the Golden Slipper winner Shinzo clocked 33.78 for the final 600m, but the colt was 12th across the top and ninth at the line. Perhaps Ryan Moore could have shed some light on the run, but he was not for talking all day.

Militarize now heads to Caulfield to set up a day of action in conjunction with Randwick after the Waller stable’s presentation of the colt to win this vital race at the start of his campaign. There is much to come.

Another Waller show was the quinella of Espiona and Atishu (NZ) in the Group 2 Racing & Sports Golden Pendant (1400m) for the mares. Espiona under Rawiller powered home franking her excellent record and setting a new class record. The quality of that new record is emphasised that everyone of the eight runners in the field came home over the final 200m quicker than Militarize covered the same ground.

Attention turned to Caulfield after the running of the Pendant and Rose with approval of the Waterhouse and Bott trained Alligator Blood under Damien Oliver winning the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), giving the All Too Hard gelding successive wins in the feature. His sire’s name fits the seven-year-old’s racing, too hard, too strong, too fit. As with Militarize, there is much to come over the coming weeks.

The day started with the news of the withdrawal of last years winner of the TAB Everest, Giga Kick, and finished with discussion on who might take his place in the now vacant slot as well as who takes the remaining slots, including Waller’s.

The champion trainer was not adverse to commenting on his Pendant winner who ran the fastest final 600m of the programme at 32.61, which might even be quick enough for a mountain trek. Next week the sprinters have another attempt to reach base camp in the $1m, Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m). There also just happens to be three quality Group 1 races on the programme, the TAB Epsom (1600m), Furphy Metropolitan (2400m) and Darley Flight Stakes (1600m). The weather promises to be warmer as well.

Three Group 1's together for Moreira and Militarize, picture