|The race to be crowned the Vinery Champion Filly
or Mare looks a real race in three, and perhaps just two. Ethereal and Sunline are
expected to poll the most votes in the award which could give consideration to Ha Ha as
well as the juveniles Victory Vein, Calaway Gal and Lovely Jubly.
Ethereal proved she was a superior staying mare when she took the
elusive Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double during the Spring Carnival late last year. Her
performance to hold out Sky Heights and Celestial Show in the Caulfield Cup was a great
Her next effort to power home and them comfortably beat the
Godolphin visitor Give the Slip. Just when it looked like Saeed bin Suroor had grabbed his
first Melbourne Cup, the bonny New Zealand mare and Scott Seamer soon got into gear and
powered to a historic win.
What really added more bite to Ethereals
charge toward the Filly and Mare crown and indeed the Horse of the Year trophy came with
her final start of the season, and career in the Group One The BMW.
Just when it looked like the dashing stayer Universal
Prince had the BMW parceled up after edging past the Aussie Cup placed Rain Gauge, the
Laxon trained mare knuckled down and flew home for a memorable final stride win in the
2400 metre event.
As well as he three wins, the mare was placed in three
other races during the season including the Group One Yalumba Stakes, when she chased home
Northerly and Shogun Lodge, both top class performers.
Ethereals main danger for the filly and mare category
must come from her fellow kiwi rival Sunline, a back to back Horse of the Year winner.
Had Sunline won either the Manikato Stakes at her first run
this preparation or the Cox Plate when she was outgunned by Northerly, this award would
probably be hers. But she didnt win either being soundly beaten at her
favourite track on both occasions.
In fact the champion mare didnt really even come into contention until she
ventured to Sydney and away from her nemesis Northerly to win the Coolmore Classic (by a
neck), Doncaster Handicap (by a short half head) and the All Aged Stakes (by six and a
Although she is the only horse to have won four Group One
races during the season, Sunlines runaway win in the (weak) Waikato Draught Sprint
cannot be taken into consideration for any award as it was on foreign shores.
The Gai Waterhouse trained filly Ha Ha proved her class as
the best filly of her age in the country with a gutsy win in the Group One Flight Stakes.
She also won feature races on the Gold Coast and in Sydney beating both male rivals and
older horses along the way.
Ha Has fighting second to Magical Miss in
the Group One Thousand Guineas at Caulfield in October was perhaps one of her best runs.
After making all of the running after coming from a wide gate she was snared in the final
couple of strides by the subsequent VRC Oaks winner Magical Miss, another filly who may
poll votes in this award.
If the juveniles were to get recognition against the older
horses then the youngster Victory Vein may also poll. The Bede Murray trained two-year-old
was clearly the best of her age during the season. Little mentions to Golden Slipper
winnner Calaway Gal and multiple Group One winner Lovely Jubly.
For the record my vote went to Ethereal.
To view the seasonal records of the major contenders
PICS - Quentin