Horse Of The Month
Betsfree.com.au Best Horse Of The Month
It is exciting to bring to you our BetsFree.Com.Au Horse of the Month. This page will be a chance to celebrate the horse that is making every post a winner and getting the heart racing for punters at the track and at home.
In most cases, our selected horse will be a local Aussie horse, but we will not be strictly limited to that basis and on rare occasions an international horse may force our hand due to exceptional performances on the race track. The criterion for selection is, quite simply, race winning performances that stand out from the pack.
Sunlight - Horse Of The Month December 2017
We have chosen Sunlight for the betsfree.com.au Racehorse of the Month for January of 2018 for her win in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200 m.
There is not a lot of high quality racing during January, and the Magic Millions meeting stands out as an oasis in the desert. The race is restricted to thoroughbreds that have passed through the Magic Millions sale, where they typically hit the auction block as yearlings.
Sunlight won $1.205 million for beating Fullazaboot and Outback Barbie. She jumped as the $4 favourite, just narrowly ahead of Ef Troop at $4.20, but she had to work hard, as the race featured a lot of bumping and at least one obvious case of interference, along with some careless riding charges.
The two-year-old bay filly was sired by Zoustar, a lightly raced stallion that made nine starts with two Group 1s and one Group 2 wins to his credit. Those wins came in succession and were the Group 1 Golden Rose, The Group 2 roman Consul and the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes. Zoustar might have won more, but from looking at his record, it seems he spent nearly as much time trialing as he did actually racing.
Sunlight’s dam, Solar Charged, won her debut race at Kensington in 2009, where she set a track record. She won the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes at Warwick Farm in 2010 and the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes at Caulfield in 2010. Her attempts at Group 1 races did not produce anything better than a fifth, so her early potential went unfulfilled.
Sunlight’s pedigree is primarily Australian, until a couple United States horses start to show up. As is true with many good horses, going back a few generations finds Canada’s Northern Dancer on both sides of the lines.
The question now becomes: Will Sunlight go on to surpass her sire and dam, or will she, like them, show exceptional early potential, and then fade?
She is among almost 400 horses that have gone as far as the second acceptance stage for the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200 m) in March at Rosehill. Her sire Zoustar has another progeny, Persuader, as a potential starter.
If she can win at Rosehill, she will join a select group of three, Capitalist (2016), Phelan Ready (2009) and Dance Hero (2004) that have filled a Magic Millions – Golden Slipper double.
It would appear that trainer Tony McEvoy has a winner in Sunlight, as she has won three of her four starts, along with two trial wins, and has never finished worse than third.
The bookies have her as the early favourite ($6.50) in the Golden Slipper futures markets.
Congratulations to Sunlight, the January 2018 betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month.
Picnic In The Park - Horse Of The Month December 2017
Choosing a bestsfree.co.au Horse of the Month for December is something akin to asking a five-year-old boy to choose between socks and underwear as a Boxing Day gift.
No matter which he picks, he loses.
Not much is happening on the racecourses of Australia during December. Oh, there is racing, to be sure, but all the prime Horse of the Month candidates are vacationing in the tropics, busy with holiday plans, or simply standing around be admired.
Therefore, since we are completely arbitrary with our Horse of the Month picks and in a little bit of a festive move, we are happy to announce that our selection for the betsfree.com.au horse of the month is Picnic In The Park.
Picnic In The Park is currently number three on the all-time list for consecutive wins by an Australian horse.
He was foaled in 1979 and would be 38 years old now, assuming he is still alive, which is an assumption of some measure.
What we learned in the course of studying Australian thoroughbred winning streaks was that his 21 were all in one season, and that he had the 22nd all but won, when leading by eight lengths, he broke down badly.
He won only $33,000 for that remarkable streak, so obviously, even allowing for the growth of prizemoney, Picnic In The Park was not winning Cox Plates and Melbourne Cups. He was busy racing on country tracks, such as Rockhampton, just to earn his keep.
He began in Sydney, but went north to do his racing in Queensland. He was trained by Malcolm Raabe and all his wins came in the 1984 – 85 season. We should mention that another horse, Top Ace equaled the feat, but maybe we will save him for next December.
Picnic In The Park has another remarkable accomplishment to his credit.
He was the last horse to win two races in one day at a TAB meeting in Queensland at Gold Coast.
Just imagine the hue and cry the animal rights activists would raise were Chris Waller to announce that Winx was going to run twice in one day, rather than twice in one month, as has been the pattern for the mighty mare.
So far as pedigree is concerned, Picnic In The Park had impressive lines. He was mostly of North American extraction, with plenty of that good Irish blood in him. He was by Great Britain’s Lunchtime from Australia’s Tod Lass. The sire of Tod Lass was Todman, the multiple Group 1 winner, but for the detail that when Todman was doing his racing, Group 1 races did not yet exist.
The next time you are asked to name one of the two horses that won 21 consecutive races in one season, feel free to use as your answer, Picnic In The Park, the betsfree.com.au December 2017 Horse of the Month.
The Quarterback - Horse Of The Month November 2017
As we are given to sentimentality, which accounts for our love of the stayers, we are not negative towards the sprinters, but the sentimentality in our Betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month for November 2017 mainly arises from seeing an old campaigner retire after providing four full years’ worth of racing.
We have chosen The Quarterback.
Sired by Street Boss of the U.S.A. from Australia’s Soorena, The Quarterback is not in the same top class as are many of our Horse of the Month picks, but we admire the work he did in his 29 starts, where he won nine and placed eight times and won over $1.4 million.
The Quarterback had one shining moment in the sun, in March of 2016, when he won the Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200 m) at Flemington from Black Heart Bart and Chautauqua, two formidable sprinters by any standard.
The Quarterback jumped at $21 in that race and save for Charmed Harmony ($81), he seemed to be considered as an also-ran for the race, as six of the other runners in the field of nine, including Chautauqua ($2.45) and Japonisme ($4) were considered better wagers.
There comes a time when it is obvious that a horse has run his course. The Quarterback last won in October of 2016, again at Flemington when he and jockey Matthew Allen took out the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200 m).
Based on his win in the Newmarket and good runs in several other races ahead of the Gilgai Stakes, he jumped third favourite ($6.50) in the field of nine, trailing Faatinah ($2.90) and Under The Louvre ($3.70). He beat horses steered by Damien Oliver, Damian Lane, James McDonald and Brenton Avdulla.
It was his last four races that prompted trainer Robbie Griffiths and his connections to stop The Quarterback from running on. Last place finishes in his last two races were as clear an indication as was necessary, but further impetus was provided by exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage.
Having North American blood in his lineage, we found Canada’s Northern Dancer four generations back and further, something we expect of good racehorses from that side of the world. There were also some ties to Nearctic, another great champion from Canada, as well as a couple of the better racehorses produced by the U.S.
This is the time of year when we tend to indulge our nostalgia, combined with our love of thoroughbreds.
Plus, we have already given the Betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month accolade more than once, so Sydney’s super mare will have to be content with her second Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year award.
Congratulations to The Quarterback, our Betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month for November 2017.
Boom Time - Horse Of The Month October 2017
It is much easier to pick someone for Jockey of the Month, as opposed to Horse of the month. The hoops work continuously.
Even stars like Hugh Bowman go to work just like the rest of us. Our betsfree.com Jockey of the Month for October has ridden 26 races and will likely go over 30 by the time October concludes.
The aforementioned Bowman has taken 50 rides.
Top thoroughbreds, on the other hand, seldom race more than twice in any given month, so we often find ourselves basing our bets.free.com.au Horse of the Month on broader criteria, and that is the case with our October Horse of the Month, Boom Time.
Our case for him is mainly one of having won the Group 1 Caulfield Cup, a win that vaulted his prize money from about $560,000 to $2.45 million.
The six-year-old bay by Flying Spur from Bit Of A Ride has run 32 races for seven wins and nine placings.
Boom Time started out doing most of his racing at the Western Australia courses of Belmont and Ascot and did not make it east until May of 2015, when he ran the 20th race of his career at Morphettville in South Australia.
Since that time, he has made some appearances at Moonee Valley and Flemington, as trainer David Hayes has brought Boom Time along slowly and patiently, and the Caulfield Cup win would seem to justify that strategy entirely.
He never ran at Randwick until April of this year, where he was sent out to chase the Group 1 Sydney Cup, where he finished well back in 11th in a field of 14. It was not until his last three races that Boom Time began to show the sort of form that his connections expected.
He ran third in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2500 m) at Moonee Valley and effectively proved that he belonged with the top stayers. That point was hammered home with a fourth place finish in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield as lead ups to the Caulfield Cup, where he jumped at $51 and beat Johannes Vermeer, Humidor and others that came in with much more favourable odds.
We admit to having a weakness for the stayers and especially for stayers that pay nice dividends, but at least we are forthright about it.
This is being prepared a few days prior to the Cox Plate and logic says that we should have waited for Winx to win her third Cox Plate, but logic does not always overrule our hearts, so hats off and congratulations to the betsfree.co.au October Horse of the Month, Boom Time.
Vega Magic - Horse Of The Month September 2017
The betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month honour goes to Vega Magic.
The 5YO chestnut gelding by Ireland’s Lope De Vega from Australia’s Admirable has won over $2 million in 17 starts, with 12 wins and three placings.
Save for a ninth place finish at Ascot in the Group 3 Prince of Wales and a seventh in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes, also at Ascot, Vega Magic is the horse on which to plunge any time his name is on the card.
He even wins his barrier trials. Winx could not make a similar claim until very recently.
By any standard, Vega Magic is a most competent sprinter.
In September of 2017, he won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes, carrying Craig Williams to the line ahead of Black Heart Bart and Tosen Stardom. His starting price was $2.25, far clear of the $6 quote Bart carried. The rest of his resume frequently begins: 1st of (insert number in field here).
The Memsie field for 2017 was a Who’s Who of Australian sprinters, along with the previously mentioned Bart and Tosen Stardom, Hey Doc, Le Romain, Jon Snow, Humidor and Yankee Rose ran, representing the top trainers and hoops in the game.
Vega Magic first tasted Group 1 success at Morphettville in May of 2017 when he took out the 1400 m The Goodwood Handicap, again beating Bart, Hey Doc and other top gallopers, including Malaguerra. Bart was $4 favourite to Vega magic’s $4.80.
The Memsie win gave him four consecutive and he seems to take rider changes in stride, as along with Williams, Damien Oliver and Jake Casey have tasted victory astride him.
He led the pack in terms of prizemoney in September, almost 200,000 clear of number two Humidor.
At the moment, it appears as though Vega Magic will next run the Group 1 WFA Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200 m) in late October, followed by the Group 1 WFA Darley Classic (1200 m) in mid-November. Also known as the VRC Sprint Classic, the race is part of the Global Sprint Challenge, so Vega Magic once again will be in fine company.
If we could place any knock on Vega Magic, it would be that he has yet to win a Group 2 race. In his defense, his trainers, David and B Hayes and Tom Dabernig could simply point out that Vega Magic has not run in a Group 2 race.
Those trainers could also point to the fact that Vega Magic wins first up, he wins second up and he wins third up. He just wins, period.
Congratulations to Vega Magic, the betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month.