Horse Of The Month

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.

Winx - Horse Of The Month October 2018

The betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month goes to Winx.

This is the fourth time we have honoured her, which seems fitting, as she recently won her fourth Cox Plate.

As much as we hate duplicates, we had no choice.

Winx Horse Of The Month April 2016

The most recent news regarding her is that Chris Waller and the owners plan to let her resume in the fall and we envision that it will not be long before the Royal Ascot business starts up once again.

We supported Waller’s decision to save her for the Cox Plate and we advocated at the top of our voices to keep her out of the U.K., not out of concern that anything there could beat her, but simply out of our conviction that the challengers should come to the champion, not the other way round.

In light of that, we are lending our voice to staying away from Royal Ascot once again.

Save her for a fifth Cox Plate. And a sixth and a seventh….

Godolphin sent a capable challenger over, Benbatl, but Winx beat the two-time Group 1 winner, 2018 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes winner and $7 million dollar earner while scarcely breathing hard.

About the only possible justification we could offer for shipping the noble Winx to England would be so that she could take a selfie with the Queen.

We watched the Cox Plate repeatedly and came to the conclusion that unlike her previous race, The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, where she put a scare into us by sitting off the back until the end, she was never far off the speed in the Cox Plate, so we began celebrating at the 1000 m.

That run could have won the Melbourne Cup, the extra 1200 metres causing no issues, and if the connections had so chosen, she would have won this year’s The Everest at a trot.

We are torn over the announcement that Winx will race again. On the one hand, we would hate to see an ill fate befall her, such as when she missed the jump in her first-up last year, when she stumbled coming out of the barrier in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes.

On the other hand, we want to see how many more she can add to her haul.

Her fans at Royal Randwick and Rosehill would doubtless like one more chance to see her running in Sydney.

After that, we can see what they decide to do, but we will be watching to see how much her first foals commands and which stallion will have the honour of donating his DNA.

Congratulations to Winx, the bestfree.com.au October 2018 Horse of the Month.

Night’s Watch - Horse Of The Month September 2018

Selecting the betsfree.com.au horse of the month is never an easy task, but it is one we find very enjoyable, because of the latitude we have when it comes to establishing the selection criteria.

The 2018 – 2019 Australian Thoroughbred racing season is young and has only the months of August and September from which to make a choice.

An era or two ago, two months would have seen a top runner make something in the vicinity of 8 – 10 starts, but today’s elite seldom take the course more than two times per month.

Night's Watch Horse Of The Month September 2018

We would give our mostly ceremonial award to Winx every month, but that would not be proper, so for September, we went to the list of top earners for the young season to pick New Zealand’s Night’s Watch as the betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month.

As of this moment, Night’s Watch has made four starts in metro Victorian racing and has placed in all four, with two victories, one second and one third. He has earned just below $200,000

Darren Weir’s five-year-old brown gelding is by Great Britain’s Redwood from Australia’s Glory Run. As is typically the case with modern Thoroughbreds, Night’s Watch’s lines are distinctly international. His most notable Australian connection is Exceed And Excel, a winner of seven races, including two Group 1s and the stud for Black Caviar’s first foal. The rest of his line is decidedly northern hemisphere in origin, with several ties to Canada’s Norther Dancer.

Night’s Watch last five outings have produced nothing lower than the third he ran in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley on 8 September.

The beginning of the month saw Night’s Watch winning at Caulfield in the Jockey Celebration Day Handicap (1400 m), where he jumped as the comfortable favourite and won by 2-1/4 lengths from a field of 13.

He also won at Caulfield earlier in the year and placed second in a handicap at Flemington.

Night’s Watch seems to have the makings of a stayer, with a couple of wins at 2000 metres on his resume.

Most recently, he won the Group 3 Quality Naturalism Stakes, beating Rising Red and Odeon to the post in a Kiwi showcase that found the podium occupied by Thoroughbreds from across the ditch.

Night’s Watch’s good results of late do not come without penalty. He was recently cleared of injury and is aimed at the Caufield Cup in October, where he was given an extra kilogram to carry and the same will be the case if he runs the Melbourne Cup.

Congratulations to Night’s Watch, the betsfree.com.au September Horse of the Month.

Chautauqua - Horse Of The Month August 2018

There is not much in the way of major racing during the month of August, so it is hard to talk about a horse as being the top performer on the track. Winx won her 26th consecutive to pass Black Caviar in that category, but the former Warwick Stakes renamed Winx Stakes winner will not run again in August.

That is often the case in this era of racing, where a spring or autumn campaign for a Thoroughbred is often limited to four jumps over a three month period, but we knew that for August, 2018, we had not choice to select other than Chautauqua.

The drama surrounding him all month and the several months prior held our attention like nothing else going on in Australian racing.

Chautauqua Horse Of The Month August 2018

There were missed jumps in seven of eight trials, including some where he simply refused to leave the barrier.

There was widespread speculation over what was going through the minds of the trainers and the connections, who seemed determined to get Chautauqua back on the turf at any cost and by any measure.

Late in the month, Racing New South Wales Stewards imposed a lifetime ban on the horse, supposedly out of concern that punters might back him and not receive a run for their money.

An appeal by Chautauqua’s ownership group before the stewards resulted in a reprieve. Along with that news came the story that an anonymity-seeking horse whisperer had been working with Chautauqua to overcome the horse’s reluctance to race.

Many felt that at eight years of age and almost $9 million in winnings, the humane thing to do was supply Chautauqua with a nice paddock and a life of leisure.

An ugly reality reared its head.

Since Chautauqua was gelded, he had no value standing stud.

He made 32 jumps, won 13 times and ran second or third 11 times as a sprinter. He won six Group 1 races, including three T J Smith Stakes at Randwick. He won numerous times at Group 2 and Group 3 races. He won in Hong Kong.

In short, he did everything a trainer collective and an ownership group could ever wish for.

His last official race was the Group 1 Darley Classic at Flemington in November of 2017, where he finished fourth to among others, Redzel, the winner of the inaugural running of The Everest.

We truly hope that Chautauqua receives the life he truly deserves, whether that is a bit more racing or retirement.

Our selection for August is a sentimental one, but just the same, congratulations to Chautauqua, the betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month for August 2018.

Vega Magic - Horse Of The Month July 2018

With no Group 1 or Group 2 races for the entire month, for that matter, just a couple of lonely Group 3 races, picking a horse of the month proved quite challenging, but as was the case last month, we relied on season figures to pick Vega Magic as the betsfree.com.au July 2018 Horse of the Month.

Of course, if we were going to publish a Horse of the Month calendar for the 2017 – 2018 Australian Thoroughbred racing season, the photo at the top of every month would be that of Winx, but that almost goes without saying.

We relied on three criteria in selecting Vega Magic.

Vega Magic Horse Of The Month July 2018

Number one, Vega Magic won the last Group race of the season, the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200 m) at Caulfield this weekend past.

Two, by winning the race Vega Magic attracted the attention of one of the holders of the 12 spots for the second running of The Everest at Randwick in October.

Finally, Vega Magic ran second in the Everest last year and will have a second crack at Redzel in the world’s richest turf race.

Our Horse of the Month did not have a stellar year in 2018, but at one point in the season set to conclude in a couple of days, he won four consecutive attempts, including the Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville and the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. During that span, he beat top quality horses, such as Missrock, Brave Smash, Santa Ana lane, Black Heart Bart and Tosen Stardom.

Vega Magic has made a good career as a sprinter. He has made 22 starts for 13 wins and four placings, so he is as about a good a punt as anyone is likely to see. He has won $3.6 million for his work on the track, which works out to about 161,000 per race, so even though he had an off day in May 2018 when trying to defend is Goodwood from the year prior, he seems to be coming back to form for the spring carnival.

Most of the horses that have contributed to the lines of Vega Magic were of Northern Hemisphere origins. The Australian sides of his ancestors are exclusively on the side of dam Admirable. She did well in limited racing. The most impressive connection we found in Vega Magic’s ancestors was four generations back, with the USA’s Storm Cat, not for Storm Cat’s racing record, but for his connections to some of the greats, including Northern Dancer, Nearctic, Secretariat and Bold Ruler, to mention a few.

Good luck to Vega Magic in the 2018 Everest and congratulations on being the bestfree.com.au July 2018 Horse of the Month.

Rekindling - Horse Of The Month June 2018

Our June 2018 betsfree.com.au Horse of the Month accolade goes to Rekindling.

As was the case with our June Jockey of the Month, we relied on season-long figures.

Rekindling sits atop the list of prize money earners for the season at Victorian metro venues. She has won $3.85 million to outshine Winx (to be fair, Winx runs mainly in NSW) and Boom Time.

Rekindling Horse Of The Month June 2018

The four-year-old bay by High Chaparral from Sitara has had four wins and two placings from a 10-start career that has earned him above $4 million.

The 3.85 million for the year?

Well, that came from winning the Melbourne Cup last spring as a three-year-old. At least, that win accounted for $3.6 million.

Having one of the foreign raiders win the Melbourne Cup is beginning to be commonplace, but foreign extraction does not mean anything to the horse, so it means nothing to us.

Rekindling’s lines are exclusively from Northern Hemisphere horses. High Chaparral was from Ireland and Sitara was from Great Britain. High Chaparral was a top performer in his brief career. He won 10 and placed three times for his 13 starts. The dam, Sitara, raced only eight times for one win and two placings.

Earlier, the lines of Rekindling are impressive. Three generations back, Canada’s Northern Dancer, a winner of 14 from 18 starts, upset the cart by being a top racer that succeeded in producing successful progeny. His offspring earned over $31 million.

Four generations back, names such as Nearctic, Natalma and Bold Reason make their appearances.

In the 2017 Melbourne Cup, Rekindling drew well with the fourth barrier, with Corey Brown as his rider. He started at $15, behind Johannes Vermeer ($13), Marmelo ($7), Almandin ($7), Wall Of Fire ($11) and Humidor ($11).

Rekindling wound up winning by half a length.

Other than Flemington, Rekindling does his racing at Curragh, Leopardstown, Gowran Park, Galway and Doncaster. He has won at every venue save Galway and Doncaster.

We hope to see Rekindling back come November of 2018 to defend his Melbourne Cup win. It is a difficult haul, but Almandin managed it all right in winning in 2016, but he soared to 12th in 2017 with a burden of 56.5 kg, second only to another British horse, Hartnell at 57.5 kg.

Whatever the future holds for the young stallion, we hope to see Rekindling race in Australia again. Stayers of his sort are becoming increasingly rare, as thoroughbred racing, at the behest of racing fans, is increasingly reliant on shorter races.

Congratulations to Rekindling, the betsfree.com.au June Horse of the Month.

Previous Horses of the Month