In a face-off between a colt and filly who were both undefeated, the fairer sex prevailed Feb. 22 at Caulfield Racecourse.
Darley's filly Earthquake
scored powerfully in the Aus$1 million Sportinbet Blue Diamond Stakes (Aus-I), leaving the highly regarded Rubick
floundering in her wake.
Taken back to sixth off the early leaders after a quick start from daunting post 15, Earthquake rated outside of rivals while Rubick vied for the early lead with Nayeli.
Rubick seized a narrow advantage into stretch, but his command was doomed as Damien Browne angled Earthquake wide for her rally. She shot to the lead at full throttle inside the final 200 meters and drew clear to a 1 1/2-length triumph as the 2-1 favorite.
Earthquake finished the 1,200-meter (about six-furlong) trip with ears pricked, posting a 1:09.87 time on good turf to keep her record perfect in three career starts. She entered off a 2 3/4-length romp in the fillies division of the Blue Diamond Prelude Feb. 2 at Caulfield to cement her favoritism for the main event.
With Rubick weakening in the drive, 15-1 shot Jabali charged past to snatch second in a one-two finish for Darley's reigning Australian champion sire Exceed And Excel. Jabali wound up 1 3/4 lengths to the good of fast-finishing 61-1 shot Cornrow in third.
Rubick, the 3-1 second choice, checked in fourth, another 2 3/4 lengths back in the 16-horse field, suffering his first loss in three lifetime outings. He came into race after defeating Jabali in his division of the Blue Diamond Prelude, setting up the highly anticipated face-off with Earthquake.
Rubick's jockey, Brenton Avdulla, said his mount may have been too keen in the Blue Diamond.
"I got to the corner and I didn't really have a lot left," he said of the son of Encosta de Lago. "He did a good job finishing fourth and not being beaten far. He's just probably come to the end of it."
Peter Snowden, trainer of Earthquake, said he was pretty impressed with what he saw out of his filly.
"I thought, 'What is in the tank her?'" he told www.racingnetwork.com.au. "But that was special. She is just very special."
Earthquake, a homebred out of the Marauding mare Cataclysm, will be pointed toward the Aus$3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (Aus-I), the world's richest race for juveniles, April 5 at Rosehill Gardens.
The Feb. 22 card at Caufield also included two other group I races: the Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes and the Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate.
Trainer Peter Moody's reinvigorated Moment Of Change grabbed the lead soon after the start and captured the Futurity Stakes for his second straight win at the top level.
Entering off a head victory in the C. F. Orr Stakes (Aus-I) Feb. 8 at Caulfield, the 5-year-old Barley a Moment gelding held off Sertorius by a half-length.
With Luke Nolen aboard, Moment Of Change covered 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs) in 1:23.44.
His victory in the C. F. Orr snapped a 10-race winless stretch; he is to seek a third straight group I win in the Aus$1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap March 8 at Flemington.
Lankan Rupee, owned by Teeley Assets Syndicate, also heads to the Newmarket Handicap after his breakthrough win in the Oakleigh Plate.
The homebred son of Redoute's Choice scored by 1 1/4 lengths from Spirit of Boom and notched a fourth consecutive victory for trainer Mick Price.
He was timed in 1:02.72 for 1,100 meters (about 5 1/2 furlongs) with Craig Newitt at the reins.
Price said Lankan Rupee has shown a marked improvement since being gelded, as evidenced by five wins, including three group wins, in his six most recent starts.