Irishman John Allen rode four hurdle winners at the recent Warrnambool Carnival but he proved his versatility and his talent with a copybook ride aboard Howard Be Thy Name to win the South Australian Derby for 3-Y-O over 2500m at Morphettville; it was Allen's first G1 success and being a regular rider for champion trainer Darren Weir there will be more G1 opportunities for Allen in the future. It was another superb training performance by Weir to have Howard Be Thy Name at his absolute best at his eleventh run in his first preparation. Howard Be Thy Name will not be resting however as he heads to Brisbane for the G1 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm and in his current form he simply cannot be underestimated. Etymology battled-on strongly for second in the SA Derby while Cool Chap finished third; the favourite Charlevoix has been heavily-spruiked by media commentators from the start of his career but he finished a lack-lustre fifth.
Read more: Howard Be Thy Name!
The Mick Kent-trained Abbey Marie created history by winning the G1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks at Morphettville at just her third career start; it was a remarkable training effort by Kent to have Abbey Marie ready for the Oaks for 3-Y-O fillies over 2000m with only wins in a Sandown maiden over 1300m and a BM-70 over 1440m at Caulfield under her belt. Silent Sedition and C'est Beau La Vie looked to have the Oaks to themselves at the 200m mark but when Abbey Marie found clear galloping room she finished powerfully to run-down Silent Sedition close to the line while C'est Beau La Vie battled-on well for third. Abbey Marie has shown herself to be a filly of tremendous promise and with such a great start to her career she is definitely one to watch in the Spring. Abbey Marie's win was a triumph for Luke Nolen who has been in great form since he returned from injury; unfortunately Nolen had a bad fall in the next race and he will be out of action again for at least the next couple of months.
Read more: Abbey Marie Creates History In Australasian Oaks
The Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua put in another phenomenal performance to win the G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize over 1200m at Sha Tin in Hong Kong; just like he did in the G1 TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick at his previous start Chautauqua came from a conspicuous last and produced a paralysing burst of speed in the straight to capture the Chairman's. Local star Lucky Bubbles looked all over a winner when he struck the front but he had no answer to Chautauqua over the concluding stages; Chautauqua defeated Lucky Bubbles by a neck while Strathmore was beaten a length and a half into third place. Tommy Berry has had a great association with Chautauqua and his win aboard Chautauqua in the Chairman's was his fourth G1 success. Chautauqua will now return to Australia where he will be aimed at the G1 Darley Classic at Flemington in the Spring. Unfortunately Buffering did not produce his best in the Chairman's weakening badly to finish last but he did pull-up lame.
Read more: Chautauqua Sprouts Wings At Sha Tin
Nostradamus won his first race for a year when he proved too strong in the G3 R N Irwin Stakes over 1100m at Morphettville; Nostradamus had not won since his victory in the Gold Coast Guineas on Anzac Day 2015 but he has clearly improved since being transferred to top trainer Phillip Stokes. I Am Gypsy battled-on strongly for second while Runway Star was blocked for clear running for much of the straight before finishing third but all honours of the Irwin go to Nostradamus. Now that Nostradamus has returned to form he should be competitive for the remainder of this preparation. The Darren Weir-trained Tuscan Sling was a major flop; Tuscan Sling had outstanding credentials leading into the Irwin and yet she was very soft in the market. The lack of support for Tuscan Sling was right on the money and she never looked like winning at any stage.
Read more: Nostradamus Turns Back Clock In Irwin
Gai Waterhouse, the First Lady of Australian Racing, trained another G1 winner during the Sydney Autumn Carnival when her star filly English took-on and defeated older horses in the WFA All Aged Stakes over 1400m at Randwick. Waterhouse had trained at least one G1 winner during the Sydney Autumn Carnival in every year of the 21th century and although Waterhouse came into Saturday's meeting without a G1 winner English with Sam Clipperton aboard did the job in superb style to continue this magnificent tradition. Waterhouse does not have the numbers these days to compete with the largest stables but it would be extremely premature to write her off just yet. English was only the third 3-Y-O filly to win the All Aged so it truly was a great performance; English will now target the G1 sprints in Brisbane and in her current form she will be very competitive.
Read more: English Gives Gai Another Sydney Autumn G1
Champion jockey Damien Oliver has overtaken Roy Higgins, affectionately dubbed The Professor, as Australia's second-leading G1 jockey of all time courtesy of his double on Day 2 of The Championships at Randwick. With wins aboard Azkadellia in the Coolmore Legacy Stakes and Lucia Valentina in the $4,000,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Oliver has now ridden 109 G1 winners and he will endeavour to catch the legendary George Moore who rode 119 G1 winners during his illustrious career. Oliver had not ridden a G1 winner in Sydney for five years and his G1 quest on Saturday did not start well when favourite Jameka finished fourth in the Australian Oaks. However Oliver's G1 Sydney luck quickly turned around and he won the next two races on Azkadellia and Lucia Valentina. Oliver will turn 44 in June but he is clearly still riding in great form and only a fool would suggest that Oliver cannot become Australia's leading G1 jockey.
Read more: Ollie Overtakes The Professor With G1 Double
Despite winning the Cox Plate by almost five lengths in the fastest time in history and easily winning the George Ryder Stakes at her last start after working hard throughout Winx incredibly still had a few doubters as to her champion qualities. On Day 1 of The Championships at Randwick Winx recorded her greatest victory in the G1 Doncaster Mile. Winx was a long way from the leaders during the run and Hugh Bowman was niggling at her for most of the journey; when Winx picked up the bit Bowman still had his work cut-out weaving Winx through the field. Winx had plenty to do with Azkadellia on the inside and Happy Clapper down the outside making a real race of it; however over the last 200m Winx was much too strong coming-away to win by two lengths. Winx not only had to lump 56.5kg on a soft track but she carried at least 6kg more than her three nearest rivals and the two horses in her weight-range finished last and second-last; Winx recorded her ninth win in a row and her sixth G1 and she is already one of the greats of the Australian turf.
Read more: Winx' Wonderful Doncaster Win Silences Doubters
On a magnificent long weekend of racing it was the mighty Queenslander Buffering which stole the show with his superb victory in the $US1 million Al Quoz Sprint over 1000m at Meydan in Dubai; this was Buffering's first venture overseas and his win made it G1 number seven after he was unsuccessful at his first seventeen attempts at the highest level. Damian Browne has ridden Buffering in every race since April 2013 and it was another perfect ride that ensured that Buffering proved far too good for his rivals. Buffering has now won twenty races and he smashed through the $7 million barrier with his victory in Dubai and the rising 9-Y-O is a credit to his trainer Robert Heathcote. Buffering will now head to Hong Kong before a possible trip to Royal Ascot to run in the King's Stand Stakes. Buffering's remarkable career just adds another level to the greatness of Australia's greatest-ever sprinter, Black Caviar.
Read more: Buffering Takes On The World And Wins
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Capitalist was an impressive winner of the $3,500,000 Golden Slipper for 2-Y-O's over 1200m on a magnificent day's racing at Rosehill; Capitalist was given one of the great Golden Slipper rides by Blake Shinn and he proved too good for his rivals. Capitalist was disappointing at his previous start when he was well-beaten by Kiss And Make Up but all his other form was outstanding which included a dominant victory in the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast. The Golden Slipper was turned on its head when the favourite Extreme Choice missed the start and although he was never a winning chance his effort was still good. The performance of Yankee Rose was excellent at her first start since November while Flying Artie battled-on well for third but all honours go to Capitalist; with the Magic Millions/Golden Slipper double behind him Capitalist's value has skyrocketed well beyond the prizemoney he has earned for connections on the track.
Read more: Capitalist Makes Big Money In Golden Slipper
The Quarterback came from last to win the G1 Newmarket Handicap over 1200m on Super Saturday at Flemington; it was a great result for Robbie Griffiths who trained his first winner at the elite level when The Quarterback stormed to victory. Craig Newitt has been in good form in recent times and he added to his tally of G1 wins with The Quarterback. The Newmarket was run at a slower pace than usual and it left The Quarterback's rivals with no excuses. Black Heart Bart ran an excellent second at his first run for Darren Weir while Chautauqua battled-on fairly for third carrying 58kg; Chautauqua is still Australia's best sprinter but he is clearly not the 'champion' many people claim him to be.
Read more: Super Newmarket Win To The Quarterback