Australia: Rich Purses Abound For 4-Year-Olds - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Australia: Rich Purses Abound For 4-Year-Olds

Aim (outside) noses out Ellsberg, shown in the finish of the 2021 Silver Eagle

The retirement to stud of so many gifted horses after their 3-year-old season is a global gripe among racing fans. The innovators at Sydney's major racetracks – who next week will present the sixth running of The Everest under a slot-holder format – are dangling some very rich carrots as encouragement for owners to prolong their horses' careers. After all, these noble steeds are supposed to be racehorses, not breed horses. The southern hemisphere season commenced in August and, this Friday night in Sydney, 4-year-olds will contest the million-dollar Silver Eagle. First post at Royal Randwick is 9:35 p.m. Eastern or 6:35 p.m. Pacific.

While lucrative, the Silver Eagle's purse pales in comparison to the forthcoming Golden Eagle on Oct. 28. Worth a mouth-watering AU$8 million, the Golden Eagle was quickly established as Australia's third-richest race – a remarkable incentive for a specific age group of older horses. Both races were inaugurated as recently as 2019, but the Silver Eagle has already provided a thrilling finish with last year's winning margin a nose. The horse on the frowning end of that win photo was Ellsberg, who was involved in last week's historic dead-heat for 1st in the G1 Epsom Handicap.

The certainty of a “heavy” track surface holds no fears for Silver Eagle favorite Mr Mozart (3-1), who is three-for-three in the wet. A winner of three straight races prior to a layoff, Mr Mozart was narrowly beaten in his recent resumption. He was compromised by a questionable call of judgment early in that race, and fans of Mr Mozart will be hoping new jockey Brenton Avdulla composes a better trip. The horse has drawn a normally disadvantageous wide gate, but this may well be negated due to the wet conditions. The Silver Eagle, Race 8 of 10 on Friday night, is six and a half furlongs; its richer cousin, the Golden Eagle, will be at seven and a half furlongs. Neither “Eagle” is graded because of their recency, but Sydney can be relied upon at this time of year to dish up plenty of races with group/graded status.

Race 4 is the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. Prior to a setback that saw him scratched two weeks ago, Best of Bordeaux (9-5 favorite) was flirting with a possible slot in The Everest. There are still a couple of vacancies in the 12-horse field for next week's The Everest, whose AU$15 million purse makes it the world's richest race on turf. Recent addition Snapdancer became a sudden subtraction after incurring a minor injury. And Godolphin remains undecided as to what member of the “blue army” will be their representative.

Reverting to this Friday night's undercard, 3-year-olds with a propensity for endurance will contest Race 7, the G3 Gloaming Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. In addition, fillies and mares are well catered to: Race 5 is the G3 Nivision at six furlongs, while Race 9 is the G3 Angst Stakes at a mile. A personal highlight of the undercard will be the sixth,  a new $500,000 race named for famous Sydney race callers John Tapp and Ian Craig. It was John Tapp who was offered the Hollywood Park job in 1990 and brought me with him, to continue after he spent a few weeks on a working vacation. Both long-nestled in retirement, John and Ian will be guests of honor at Royal Randwick and treated to “a lavish bill of fare,” to quote the ever-quotable “Tappy.”

The Randwick card (AUS-A) will be broadcast live on FanDuel TV this Friday night (First Post: 9:35 p.m. ET / 6:35 p.m. PT) alongside cards from Eagle Farm (AUS-B), Scone (AUS-C) and Gold Coast (AUS-D). All races will be livestreamed in HD on the new Sky Racing World Appskyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWagerHPIbet, and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to livestreaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com.

About Michael Wrona

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael's vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders' Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

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