Australian Oaks and Golden Eagle winner Colette announced herself as a serious contender for all the big features during the Sydney autumn and The Star Championships with a dazzling win in the Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Clearly the mare revelled in the conditions and it must be remembered that, so far, she’s proven to be at her best in soft to heavy ground but Punter’s Intelligence sectional data reveals hers as the standout performance of the day.
The Godolphin mare posted the day’s best last 600m of 33.64 as she raced away with the Group 2 Apollo and that included the race’s best 400m-200m (10.83) and last 200m (11.55).
What race is the one for her in the next coming months? Could be a Doncaster Mile (1600m), does she stretch out to a Sydney Cup, on a wet track she may be competitive in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at 2000m.
It’ll be interesting to see if she can maintain the dominance over the star mare Verry Elleegant as the distances increase but she’s taken first points.
Verry Elleegant lost no admirers with her third placing, she ran the second fastest last 600m of 33.79 (400m-200m in 10.93, last 200m in 11.57) and will no doubt be fitter for the rematch.
And Mugatoo showed he has returned in good style clocking a 33.83 last 600m and finished it off in similar style to Verry Elleegant with a 10.92 (400m-200m) and 11.58 (last 200m).
Masked Crusader finally started to deliver on all his promise with a comprehensive win in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).
His last 600m of 33.68, a length faster than any rival in the race, was the second fastest of the meeting behind Colette and his last 200m of 11.48 was the quickest of the day.
Behind him a couple of smart customers resuming from injury would have pleased their respective connections – third placed Victorem ran a 34.05 last 600m (he knocked up a bit late) while Gem Song, who hadn’t raced since the 2019 Golden Eagle, ran the second fastest last 600m (33.84) and last 200m (11.56) as he ran into fourth.
Every Rose’s front-running performance to win the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) was enormous and her effort should not be understated.
She ran her first 600m in 35.21 which was some five lengths faster than Southern Lad ran out in the Southern Cross (36.37), won by Masked Crusader, and Tailleur who won the Triscay (36.35) while her overall time was less than a length slower than Masked Crusader.
She was entitled to stop, and she did running a last 600m of 35.21 but the damage had already done. Something was entitled to run on and Never Talk was the one charging late to just miss.
Never Talk’s last 600m of 34.06 was almost four lengths faster than any other runner (seven lengths faster than Every Rose) and her last 200m of 11.80 was two lengths quicker.
Tailleur didn’t get it super easy in the Triscay Stakes in the early stages as Electric Girl matched her but she did manage a couple of cheap sectionals and they were key to her holding on.
Kerrin McEvoy put the brakes on from the 800m-600m running 11.51 and the 600m-400m running 11.47, both the slowest of the race, before picking it up again.
Runner-up Tricky Gal posted a race best last 600m of 34.08 (Tailleur 34.40) but while she actually ran the fastest last 800m when the winner took off again she could only pull half a length off her per 200m.
Golden Eagle runner-up Icebath ran a 34.38 final 600m so her run was solid overall though she knocked up late with a 12.00 last 200m so would have improvement in her.
You always like to see a two-year-old back up an impressive performance and Stay Inside did just that with his easy win in the Pierro Plate (1100m).
While he didn’t run the fastest last 600m with 34.63, he was second to third placed Giannis 34.52, he was very strong at the finish and his 10.96 (400m-200m) and 12.00 last 200m were the fastest of the race.
Interestingly, King Of Sparta clocked a solid 34.79 (third best) for his last 600m but he stopped noticeably in the last 200m (12.47). He wasn’t reported to have a post race issue so perhaps he couldn’t sustain it on the wet ground.
One more to note is import Cliff’s Art who produced a race best last 600m of 34.13 in the Ranvet Handicap (1300m) to run fifth. His time was a length better than any rival so he’ll be worth watching next time around.
Fastest last 600m: Colette 33.64
Watch Punter’s Intelligence with Ben Way, Brad Davidson and Brad Gray at 7pm on Tuesday on Sky Thoroughbred Central.