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16/07/02 HOY Preview: Top Group Compete for 3YO Crown
r6lonhro.jpg (14872 bytes)This season’s three-year-old crop was a fine bunch of gallopers indeed. Probably one of the best we have had in recent years.

Carnegie Express, Dash for Cash, Don Eduardo, Ha Ha, Lonhro, Magical Miss, Mistegic, North Boy and Viscount were all stars during the past twelve months for their respective records.

Could have Carnegie Express’ head defeat at the hands of Don Eduardo in the AJC Derby at Randwick in late March been enough for Lonhro to grab the title?

Carnegie Express, one of the stars for a big year for Gai Waterhouse, was beaten at his first outing of the season, and in fact career, when he was beaten a touch on two lengths in a 1200 metre maiden at Newcastle.

After that point the son of the Arc winner Carnegie win six straight races including the Group One double of the Rosehill and Canterbury Guineas. But attempting the triple crown of the three-year-old staying features in Sydney the bay gelding was grabbed in the shadows of the post by a rising star from Melbourne.

r4mistegic.jpg (15230 bytes)A son of the former champion galloper Octagonal, Lonhro is the only contender in any division of the awards to have been unbeaten during the season.

Between his win in the Warwick Stakes in August and his Hobartville Stakes in February, Lonhro had won seven from seven and stakes of over one and a quarter million dollars.

Dash for Cash relished his string of races in the autumn, a period in which he won four straight races – all at Group level.

r6dashforcash.jpg (10728 bytes)After wins in the Australia Day Vase at Caulfield and the Debonair at Flemington, the Rick Hore-Lacy trained grey colt held out Royal Code in the Cadbury (Australia) Guineas at Flemington.

At his next start the son of Secret Savings held out Chattanooga and a bunch of older gallopers to triumph in the 1400 metres Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.

Earlier that season Dash for Cash had placed in the Vain Stakes (second to North Boy), Bobby Lewis Quality (second to Scenic Peak), Bill Stutt Stakes (second to Viscount), Christmas Stakes (second to Intelligent Star) and the Magic Millions Trophy (third to Ha Ha).

Lee Freedman unearthed a possible Japan Cup winner when Don Eduardo continued his meteoric rise through racing’s grades to win the AJC Derby at Randwick. The win made up for his second placing to Carnegie Express in the Derby’s major lead up, the Rosehill Guineas.

r2doneduardo.jpg (12356 bytes)Prior to his sojourn to Sydney the record breaking yearling purchase has strung together a couple of wins in weak grade at Bendigo before winning a listed and then group three race at his home track of Caulfield.

A son of the mighty Zabeel, Don Eduardo remains the highest priced yearling sold in the southern hemisphere. A three quarter brother to the champion Octagonal, Don Eduardo is one of the more exciting gallopers in the country and connections are confident he will continue to take the next step.

The best of the fairer sex for crop was clearly the Waterhouse trained daughter of Danehill, Ha Ha.

A Golden Slipper winner at two, Ha Ha resumed the new season with a devastating win over Hosannah and Oomph in the Silver Shadow Stakes. After a third in the Furious she made the G2 Tea Rose Stakes her own with another easy win.

1221johnsingleton.jpg (10433 bytes)A Group One win was next when he held out Moonflute win the Flight Stakes, a race won last year by the ill fated Unworldly, at Warwick Farm.

Sent to Melbourne by Waterhouse, the Singleton and Ferguson owned filly was gunned down in the final couple of strides by the future Cummings trained Oaks winner Magical Miss in the Group One Thousand Guineas at Caulfield.

Her other two wins for the season came in the Group Two Apollo Stakes, when she donkey-licked El Mirada and Tie the Knot and a win in the Magic Million Trophy in sweltering conditions on the Gold Coast in January.

The star Melbourne three-year-old filly of the season was the expensive Danehill filly Magical Miss, a member of the Bart Cummings stable.

Owned by Perth based businessman Bill Wyllie and his wife Rhonda, Magical Miss virtually came from nowhere when she won the Thousand Guineas at Group One level at Caulfield in October.

r6magicalmiss.jpg (10899 bytes)Then two starts later she scored one of the most impressive Group One wins of the season when she bounded to a five length win in the Crown Oaks at Flemington.

A winner at two in her previous season, Magical Miss is from the Spectacular Bid mare Hooked Bid and her record currently stands at nine starts for three wins, two seconds and a third.

Two Melbourne based sprinting youngsters also shone during the season, their names being Mistegic and North Boy.

Mistegic, a Sydneysider trained by Lee Curtis, resumed at the start of the season at Kensington for a shock win at 40/1 in the Group Two San Domenico Stakes. Following placings in the Roman Consul Stakes (G3) and the Starlight Stakes (LR) he was sent south.

r8mistegic.jpg (19383 bytes)At his only two Melbourne runs during the Victorian Spring Carnival the son of Strategic scored comprehensive wins in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield and the Schweppes Stakes at Moonee Valley – both Group Two events.

Returning to the track in January the gelding was placed in the G2 Challenge Stakes at Warwick Farm, the G1 Lighting Stakes at Flemington, the G1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield and the G1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

After so many near misses Curtis decided to pop back to Sydney where he won that city’s feature sprint – the G1 The Galaxy at Randwick in a fighting display over Century Kid and Excellerator. He wound out the season with a handy fourth to the bolter Phoenix Park in the TJ Smith (G2), also at Randwick.

r1northboy.jpg (14355 bytes)North Boy, a member of the powerful Tony McEvoy establishment, will be best remembered for his overseas triumph in Singapore, but sadly for connections that effort cannot be taken into consideration.

A son of Rory’s Jester, North Boy won three races during the season including the Group Two Ascot Vale Stakes at Flemington and the listed Vain Stakes at Sandown. He was also a winner with a big weight at Caulfield.

Among his fighting placings were an inch defeat in the Newmarket Handicap by Rubitano and an unlucky third to Toledo in the Australia Stakes at the Valley.

Last, but by no means least, is another John Hawkes trained youngster Viscount, a son of the dual hemisphere siring success story Quest for Fame.

1004viscount.jpg (15927 bytes)During the season his best win came when he gunned down the older horses including the brilliant Shogun Lodge in the George Main Stakes.

At his very next start he made the Group Two Bill Stutt Stakes a one act affair by thrashing Dash for Cash and Amalfi by two lengths.

But the recently retired colt will probably be best remembered in defeat. His unlucky third in the Cox Plate to Northerly and Sunline in October will be fresh in the minds of most.

A well bred colt out of Sir Tristram’s daughter Antwerp, Viscount is expected to poll a significant slice of the votes for his George Main triumph and his mighty third in the Cox Plate.

While wrapping a classy crop of three-year-olds mentions must go to the likes of Amalfi, Pure Theatre, Royal Code, Li Lo Lill, Chong Tong, Ugachaka, Pentastic, Viking Ruler, Magic Albert, Hosannah, Barkada, Silver Baron, Republic Lass, Sixty Seconds, Manang, Pantani, Honor Lap, County Tyrone, Moonflute, Ustinov, Tully Thunder, Elegant Fashion, She's Archie, Gold Lottey and Quays! Boy what a classic season it was!

PRIZEMONEY RANKINGS (for 3YO season only)

Don Eduardo $1,541,110
Mistegic $1,273,860
Lonhro $1,258,900
Ha Ha $1,222,210
North Boy $1,175,931
Dash for Cash $1,126,725
Carnegie Express $1,089,385
Magical Miss $750,750
Viscount $607,100

For the record my vote went to Lonhro.

To view the seasonal records of the major contenders click here.

PICS - Quentin Lang.

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