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Autumn Racing Carnival - The Top 5 Performances from the Autumn Carnival

  • We take a look at the best races from the Autumn Carnival 
  • What were the best performances? 

We review a memorable Autumn Carnival of racing and rate the top five performances from the carnival. Chautauqua and Winx were the headline acts. 

1. T.J. Smith - CHAUTAUQUA 
This performance of the mighty grey Chautauqua had to be seen to be believed winning his third straight T.J Smith Stakes. Everything was against the world’s best sprinter coming into the T.J. Smith despite winning the previous two editions of the race. After conquering The Chairman’s Sprint in Hong Kong back in May 2016, Chautauqua didn’t come up in his two races in the Spring and remained winless through three runs in the Autumn. There were doubts whether The Grey Flash would even line up in the race as his lead up in the 1500m George Ryder indicated that a Doncaster Mile was on the radar. That plan was scrapped and it was full steam ahead to the T.J Smith for history. The Pattern of the day favoured front runners and as the T.J. drew nearer Chautauqua was friendless in the market drifting out to $7.00. After cornering last the Grey Flash seemed to be in an impossible position and the market reflected that, as Betfair offered 800-1 in-play for Chautauqua with 400m to go. He did what only champions can do and defied all odds, as the Gai Waterhouse-trained English looked home, Chautauqua stormed home for one of the best wins you’re ever likely to see. 

2. George Ryder Stakes - WINX
As a support race on Golden Slipper Day, the George Ryder Stakes whilst a Group One isn’t one of the feature races throughout the Sydney Autumn Carnival. This may and should be remembered as one of Winx’s best wins for not only her performance on the turf but for the 12 hours leading up to the race. Trainer Chris Waller felt a feeling that has arguably only been felt by former trainer of Black Caviar, Peter Moody. Moody knew going into the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot that Black Caviar wasn’t right, carrying the weight of expectation and doing right by the horse, he had to make a decision whether to race or scratch the horse. Waller experienced a similar thought, Winx was sitting as the $1.24 favourite but with the Heavy 10 track, Waller didn’t want to risk his Queen. As he walked the waterlogged track he thought of the horse and looked at the crowd that had braved the conditions to see one horse, his horse. Winx ran and what happened next shocked everyone, including Waller. Winx ambled up to Le Romain at the 300m and quickly put four lengths on her rivals, she wasn’t done extending the margin to seven and a half lengths for one of her most emphatic victories. An emotional Chris Waller spoke post race. “I didn’t expect her to win like that….she is just an amazing horse,’’ Waller said. “Then to hear the crowd, it is incredible to have a horse that you’re associated with who is so well received.”

3. Queen Elizabeth Stakes - WINX
Winx notched her 17th-straight victory and her second consecutive Queen Elizabeth Stakes win, in what was yet another emphatic performance. Trainer Chris Waller had her set for this race and after an eight-length victory in the George Ryder the 26,000 strong crowd wondered how she could get any better. No Doubt took the lead with The United States sitting in second. James Doyle gave Hartnell a great ride, positioning him in the box seat and coming away from the rails at the 700m to put his horse into the race. Bowman sat sixth in the run on Winx and made his move three wide at the 600m and admitted: “I wasn’t as confident coming around the corner as I usually am.” But as they straightened for home it was clear who the best turf horse in the world was as Bowman sat motionless on the champion. She drew away for a five-length victory. 

4. Golden Slipper - SHE WILL REIGN
After winning her first two races ultra impressively, She Will Reign lined up in the Group Two Silver Slipper and missed the kick by two lengths, jockey Ben Melham didn’t panic and found a way through the pack with the $1.40 favourite to keep her unbeaten record intact. That record wouldn’t last much longer as she was defeated on a Heavy 10 track in the Group Two Reisling Stakes to Frolic who came down the outside fence. She was a $3 Golden Slipper favourite before that defeat and drifted all the way out to an incredible $9 on race day. Race favourite Houtzen jumped to the front from an outside gate and held the lead coming into the straight. She Will Reign settled sixth and Melham cut the corner as runners fanned across the track. Melham booted She Will Reign clear inside the furlong pole and held a two-length lead as Reisling Stakes winner Frolic started to charge home but it was all too late as the $20,000 purchase won the richest two-year-old race in the world. Ben Melham’s plan worked to perfection as he went back instead of going forward like trainer Gary Portelli wanted. Melham said,  “I am cutting the corner, I’m on the best horse and I’m going to ride her like I did in the Silver Slipper.”

 5. Australian Oaks - BONNEVAL
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Bonneval produced a performance to remember in the Australian Oaks. Bonneval gave Baker and Forsman a rare double, winning both the Derby and Oaks double. They won the Derby with Jon Snow a week earlier. The last trainer to win the Australian Derby-Oaks double was Clarry Conners in 1989 who won both Classics with the same horse, Research. The New Zealander looked too far back on the corner for Jockey Hugh Bowman and was more than ten lengths off Lasqueti Spirit as she tried to run her opponents off their feet with Perfect Rhyme in close attendance. Bonneval made up many lengths and was going two to their one over the final furlong to not only make up the ground required but drew away to win by 4-1/2 lengths to Perfect Ryhme with tough stayer Lasqueti Spirit a long next away in third. ""It's a big thrill," Baker said. "I love coming to Australia. The racing's fantastic and the stakes are good."

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Autumn Racing Carnival - The Top 5 Performances from the Autumn Carnival

We review a memorable Autumn Carnival of racing and rate the top five performances from the carnival. Chautauqua and Winx were the headline acts.

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