Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney, Australia, hosted the first day of The Championships last weekend, with Group 1 races dominating the programme.
While US trainer Keri Brion made the headlines in Ireland when becoming the first American trainer to win both a National Hunt flat race (at Cork) and a hurdles race (at Wexford), and Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore became the first woman in the long illustrious history of the Randox Grand National at Aintree, England, to ride the winner in Minella Times, Australian jockey Jamie Kah was making headlines of her own.
Cascadian, trained by James Cummings, won the Group 1 AUD $3m Doncaster Mile at Randwick to give jockey Jamie Kah her first success at the highest level in Sydney.
The six-year-old gelded son of 2012 UAE Oaks winner Falls of Lora, was a second Group 1 winner (after the victory of May’s Dream in the 2014 Schweppes Oaks) for the former Jim Bolger-trained Epsom Derby winner and now Darley stallion, New Approach, who is a son of Coolmore’s top sire Galileo.
“I am a bit speechless to be honest,” admitted winning rider Jamie Kah, before adding:
“We got a beautiful run. Everything just opened up at the right time for him. He probably waited a little bit on the line, that is why I wasn’t sure if I had got it or not. But, he stuck his nose out though and I couldn’t be happier.”
Fourth last time in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, the former French-trained British-bred Cascadian found a winning gap in the final furlong to defeat Icebath by a head with Dalasan a further three-quarters of a length back in third in the 19-runner field.
Now a winner of five races, he has now earned over AUD$1m in his 24-race career to date.
Rider James McDonald achieved a Group 1 double at Randwick as he claimed his 50th and 51st victory respectively at the highest level.
Anamoe, second last time in the Golden Slipper, produced a breathtaking performance in winning the AUD$1m Group 1 Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes over 7 furlongs to claim his third career victory.
The juvenile son of Street Boss found himself four from the back of the field on the turn for home, before producing a scintillating burst of speed to snatch the win from Hilal, by a length, with Captivant in third.
Winner of the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes at Caulfield last November and the Group 3 Todman Stakes at Randwick, the Godolphin home-bred is a half-brother to Irish stakes winner Anamba and becomes the 8th Group 1 winner for Darley Stud’s Street Boss and his third in Australia after The Quarterback and Elite Street.
With an impressive race record of three wins, two seconds and a third from seven starts, and earning of AUD$1.7m, the James Cummings-trained Anamoe is now likely to contest the Group 1 Champagne Stakes over one mile at the same track on Saturday week, with his handler confidently predicting:
“I can’t see anything that would be around in the next two weeks that’s going to threaten Anamoe in the Champagne. There’s no certainties in it, I think it’s just whether or not we’re comfortable to run the horse again.”
The winning jockey James McDonald, who notched up a half century of wins at Group 1 level, described Anamoe as “the Rolls Royce of two-year-olds racing,” before adding:
“He is a marvellous horse. He oozes a lot of class. He is a very enthusiastic colt, very push button.”
New Zealand-born Australia-based handler Chris Waller tasted success in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes over 6 furlongs with Nature Strip.
The six-year-old gelded son of Nicconi out of the Desert Sun mare, Strikeline, cemented his place as Australia’s best sprinter as he took the race for the second year in succession as he earned his sixth victory at Group 1 level.
Nature Strip, runner-up last time in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes over 5 furlongs, was an impressive two-length winner under jockey James McDonald, for whom it was a 51st Group 1 success, ahead of Masked Crusader, with Eduardo another three-quarters of a length back in third.
Nature Strip, fourth in the 6-furlong The Everest in 2019 and seventh in the AUD$15 million race this year, has now won 16 times, and was runner-up on five occasions, from his 30 career starts and has earned over AUD$8m in purses.
The winning conditioner, Chris Waller, who stated he will aim Nature Strip at The Everest again, said:
“He’s one of the best sprinters in the world. Have him right on the right days and he’ll win the biggest sprint races in the world. Now that he’s learned to settle he might go to a new level.”
Photo: Jamie Kah, (New South Wales Twitter account @racing_nsw) and Australian Derby, (Royal Randwick Racecourse)