Five Things We Learned from Cup Week
Tara Madgwick - Monday November 13
And what were they?.

1/ How long will the Melbourne Cup be the ONLY race that stops the nation? In announcing massive prizemoney increases for The Everest the very day after the Cup it seems clear that the ATC and Racing NSW  believe they can take on our 'greatest race' and ultimately displace it.

They have a case. The Melbourne Cup was first run in 1861 and in 2017 we have a very different thoroughbred landscape around us that is largely geared to producing sprinter/milers.

Virtually everybody that owns a racehorse can aspire to win The Everest (albeit doing a deal with a slot owner!), whereas very few owners can legitimately aspire to win the Melbourne Cup, Lloyd and Nick Williams aside who seem to have unlocked the secret of winning and it involves unlimited money and overseas bred horses.

I'll make a prediction here that in another 150 years, the Melbourne Cup will be a footnote in history and The Everest will be the race that stops the nation.

2/ Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott. Together they trained five stakes-winners during Cup Week including the Oaks winner Pinot, so the champion trainer is far from a spent force.

It takes a lot of strategic planning and skill to select the right horses to bring to the highest profile meeting in Australia and have them fire so brilliantly. I think a statement was made and made very effectively.

3/Pierro coming of age. The Golden Slipper winner sired the first stakes-winner (Levendi) on Derby Day and the last stakes-winner (Kentucky Breeze) on Saturday with Pinot taking out the Oaks in between to give him three stakes-winners for Cup Week. 

Up until this week, Pierro had been doing a good job and now he is doing a great one, skipping away from his former racetrack rival All Too Hard to take a significant lead on the Australian Second Season Sires list. All Too Hard had a Flemington stakes-winner of his own in All Too Huiying and while Pierro clearly won this battle, the autumn will bring a new chapter in their long running rivalry.

4/ Redzel is the best sprinter in Australia.  Deja vu? On Oaks Day last year Redzel won a Listed sprint over 1000 metres on Oaks Day at Flemington beating Terravista. If you had suggested to connections that the same two horses would run the quinella in the $1million Group I Darley Classic 12 months later am sure they would have assumed you'd spent way too much time at the bar in the Lexus marquee!

Terravista appeared a light of other days having won the Darley Classic in 2014, while Redzel seemed to have hit his mark as a solid 1000 metre sprinter of maybe Group II class. Just goes to show why persistence can pay off as Terravista recaptured the glory days and Redzel claimed his sixth consecutive win. A lot can happen in 12 months!

5/ Sire maker produces the unicorn. The Group I VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes featured 20 runners this year and has taken a lot of the attention away from the Victoria Derby, which is worth more money, an anomaly that will surely be addressed sooner rather than later.

The winner was Fastnet Rock colt Merchant Navy, whose pedigree and performance (five wins from six starts) make him the hottest sire prospect in the country. Coolmore have been trying for a long time to find the right son of Fastnet Rock to stand at Jerry's Plains and now they have him... the unicorn has appeared at last!

Race Images Grant Courtney