Australian Guineas: Lunar Fox lands in record books after winning at $301
Flemington was starting to feel normal, again.
You know, that race day vibe? It was back.
The sounds and colours of Melbourne Group 1 racing and the emotions which accompany them, the expectations, excitement and, of course for some, the disappointment.
Just as our collective guards dropped, that eerie silence, as has regrettably been the case during the dreaded COVID months, returned when $301 shot Lunar Fox won the Group 1 Australian Guineas.
Lunar Fox goes into the record books as the longest-priced Group 1 winner in Australian racing, according to Form Focus, overtaking 250-1 Abaridy in the 1986 Caulfield Guineas.
Nobody knew where to look, not in the mounting yard, not in the owner‘s section, not anywhere.
If not for Holly McKechnie, former jockey and partner of Australia‘s latest Group 1-winning trainer Paul Preusker, one could easily mistake Flemington for an impromptu Madame Tussauds exhibition.
“It’s a bit surreal at this stage, I can’t believe it,” the shell-shocked McKechnie said.
“He’s always had a lot of ability, this horse … we’ve done the old trick with the blinkers and it seems to have done the job.
“He (Preusker) would be beside himself (at home). I’m so proud of my partner. He works so hard.”
Michael Dee returning to scale on Lunar Fox. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Foxwedge colt Lunar Fox settled midfield, in the three-wide running line, and kept closing in the straight, trucking up alongside the bold frontrunner Tagaloa and surging past the tiring favourite.
Victorious Melbourne-based Kiwi jockey Michael Dee could not believe his own luck, winning a fifth Group 1 with a rank outsider.
“It hasn’t sunk in. To be honest, I didn’t give him much hope,” Dee said.
“No one else really did either.
“All I could do today was do my job and do it to the best of my ability.
“Hopefully the horse ran well in doing so.”
LUNAR FOX HAS WON THE AUSTRALIAN GUINEAS AT $139.50! pic.twitter.com/0Eh3TpLwGp
Dee abided by only instructions he was given before the race — “stay off the fence”.
He did that and the rest is history, never to be repeated, probably.
“It’s obviously a massive thrill and I can’t believe it has just happened.”
Cherry Tortoni was the hardluck runner again, savaging the line to grab second after going to back to last from barrier 16.
The talented Patrick Payne-trained gelding ran a slashing fourth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby last spring after jumping from the widest alley and for the second time in top grade, beaten by a triple-figure winner.
Tagaloa was brave, gripping on for third, ahead of Embolism.
Fancied Aysar was “disappointing”, while Ole Kirk, on the quick back-up, was ”just fair”.
SISTERS DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
Smart filly Tycoon Humma added to her sister’s value as well as her own with her narrow win in the Listed Very Special Kids Plate (1000m).
Tycoon Humma and her older sister Humma Humma were both in action at Flemington on Saturday. Tycoon Humma ($2.50 fav) earned more valuable black type for her family when she nabbed the Godolphin colt Kallos ($4) on the line.
“This has made her sister (Humma Humma) worth more money, too. She’s a nice filly,” the pair’s trainer John McArdle said.
Humma Humma did her bit for the family when she ran a strong third to Perth mare Fabergino in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap. But McArdle said Tycoon Humma could exceed the deeds of her Group 3-winning sister.
“She’s probably got a little but more quality to her but if she end up having a career like Humma Humma then we’ll be more than happy,” McArdle said.
Tycoon Humma (left) pulls away from Kallos. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
MUSIC HITS RIGHT NOTE FOR ADELAIDE CUP
Archie Alexander-trained mare Mosh Music booked her ticket to the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) with a strong victory at Flemington on Saturday.
The six year-old coasted up to leaders Skymax (4th) and Stars Of Carrum (3rd) and surged past them in a matter of bounds in the straight.
Lindsay Park‘s ever-consistent stayer Sin To Win made up a heap of ground from the back of the field to place for the 21st time in 51 starts.
Alexander was thrilled about his mare‘s Adelaide Cup trial.
“We were supposed to go (direct) to the Adelaide Cup – we took a little diversion and we’ll be going to the Adelaide Cup now,” Alexander said.
THE HARROVIAN’S STREAK ENDS
Adelaide galloper Morvada ended cult galloper The Harrovian’s long winning streak in the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Stakes (1400m).
The Harrovian had won his last 11 starts in Queensland to book his place in the All-Star Mile on March 13 but the gelding could only manage fifth to the Adelaide-trained Morvada.
Morvada raced on the speed and kept finding in the straight to post his first win since January last year. Morvada finished second to Blazejowski in the 2020 Shaftesbury Avenue Stakes.
“He likes to do his own thing in front,” winning jockey Damian Lane said.
“He got it uncontested and having had that run I just let him slip a little bit earlier than what I would normally have done. He just had too good a finish.”
The Harrovian’s jockey Brad Stewart said the gelding ran well enough first-up but didn’t have the best of luck racing on the inside of Sierra Sue in the straight.
The Harrovian’s winning run came to an end in the Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap, won by Morvada. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
In-demand Jamie Kah could be even busier in coming weeks with Godolphin having joined the chorus line of stables supporting Melbourne‘s premier jockey.
After riding Cloudy to victory at Bendigo earlier in the week, Kah maintained a perfect Blue Army record with Subedar at Flemington.
Melbourne-based Godolphin foreman Sean Keogh lauded Kah‘s brilliance on Saturday.
“She‘s filling the horses full of confidence,” Keogh said.
“She gave them a lovely ride.”
PERTH POWER ON SHOW
Perth sprinters Fabergino and Indian Pacific had the measure of the locals when they fought out the finish of the Bob Hoysted Handicap.
Fabergino has spent six months in Victoria but the Neville Parnham-trained Indian Pacific made his Melbourne debut in the $140,000 race.
Indian Pacific challenged Fabergino at the 100m but the latter held a narrow margin despite giving the runner-up 3kg.
Fabergino has more than paid her way in Victoria. Saturday’s win was her third down the Flemington straight during her latest trip east, which has banked more than $270,000 for connections.
The grey mare also won last year’s Bob Hoysted Handicap.
Originally published asLunar’s shock Guineas win out of this world
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