There have been a few intriguing narratives to have come out of Australia’s ultra-busy spring carnival period, with Gold Trip defying top weight of 57.5kg to win the 2022 Melbourne Cup among them. The Everest, too, which is quickly becoming one of Australia’s most popular races, also provided one of the best stories of the season, with an incredible performance from winner Giga Kick in a thrilling finale. We also had a big shock in the Caulfield Cup, as Durston became the first “emergency” horse to win in the event’s history.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find a winner as popular as Anamoe over the last few months. Having seen victory snatched away by a protest in the 2021 Cox Plate, Anamoe made sure that there was nothing to doubt by delivering an authoritative and classy performance. The victory rounded off a superb spring for Anamoe, who took four consecutive Group 1s from August through to October, increasing his career prize money to over $AUD 10 million.
While the season ended on a disappointing note in the TAB Champions Stakes in early November, Anamoe’s owners Godolphin will be more than happy with a year’s work that delivered five Group 1s overall. The question, though, is where does the 4yo go from here? That query has been put to both the owners and trainer James Cummings over the last few weeks, and it seems those plans are in flux. A return to action in some of the autumn’s big sprints seems likely, though. But one can’t rule out a tilt at some of the big prizes far away from Australia’s shores.
Anamoe likely to be at Royal Randwick in March
The most likely Australian horse racing racecourse track where Anamoe will do his business in March and April seems to be Royal Randwick, however. Cummings pointed to the Canterbury Stakes in March, with the Group 1 event seen as the most likely stage for Anamoe’s season reappearance. After that, a tilt at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April would seem like a natural fit.
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a fitting target, given it was the scene of Anamoe’s worst – by a considerable distance – performance this year. Anamoe slogged round the heavy track at Royal Randwick last April, running out of steam and finishing 9th of nine runners. It was a strange outing; and a blip in Anamoe’s resume that you’d imagine Cummings is keen to fix.
As mentioned, there are hints that Godolphin might aim Anamoe at some of the big prizes overseas. The two jewels eyed by Godolphin could be at the Royal Ascot festival in June, or the Dubai World Cup meeting in March. Choosing the latter would, of course, likely mean Anamoe would miss out on some of the big races in Australia in the autumn.
Plenty of attractions in Europe
Of course, you can see the attraction of sending Anamoe abroad. Nature Strip’s performance at Royal Ascot 2022 was one of the highlights of the meeting, and it really provided an inspiring example of what Australia’s best can do when sent to contest Europe’s biggest races. However, there are two sides to every coin, and the decision to send 2021 Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant to Europe now seems like an unwise one.
Whatever happens, there seems to be a consensus that this will be the last campaign for the hugely popular Anamoe. While the clean sweep for the spring campaign didn’t quite happen, it was an extraordinary performance for a horse that many deemed to deserve more recognition. A well-earned retirement to stud awaits, but Anamoe’s connections first have some big decisions to make in order to send him out in style.
Photo: World Horse Racing Twitter account @WHR