In the wide brown land of Australia, a northerly wind, seemingly born in the deserts of the dead heart, breaks the hearts of farmers. Its namesake breaks hearts too, the most recent victims in the Turnbull Stakes (Aust-II) over 2,000 meters of Flemington.Oct. 5 saw three group I races set down for decision at Randwick, but none could touch the $350,000 (Australian funds) Turnbull for depth. Most of the 14 were heading for more major spring targets, but an opportunity to measure your horse against Northerly is tempting.The teams behind classic winners Magical Miss and Don Eduardo, and others fancied they could beat the best from the West. In the end, however, more dreams were dashed on the approaches to fortress Northerly. The filly was trapped wide after being ridden forward on instructions and could only finish sixth.
Magical Miss at least gains another shot, the campaign of Don Eduardo curtailed to have bone chips removed from a knee. The Australian Derby winner might be getting off light; not having to again face Northerly anytime soon.Dash For Cash is by Secret Savings, the lone southern group I winner for Seeking the Gold. After collecting two group Is to a mile at three, Rick Hore Lacy has looked to extend the colt's distances this spring. The experiment was a resounding success insofar as he fought Northerly for every step of the 600 meters Flemington stretch. Although a professional benchmark Northerly seems to love a donnybrook. That said, the margin was a mere half neck and the gray Dash For Cash's heart wasn't broken.Fields of Omagh rushed home from last to gain third, another 1 3/4 lengths away and just ahead of Hong Kong returnee Helene Vitality, a New Zealand Derby (NZ-I) winner as Hades. They will meet Northerly on more favorable terms under the handicap conditions of the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2,400 meters, Aust-I) on Oct 18.Northerly's bank balance for Judy and Fred Kersley and their co-owners is $4.5 million, largely garnered from 15 wins from 25 starts. All but one of those wins was in stakes races, 14 at group level.The 6-year-old son of the deceased Serheed is the first since Tobin Bronze to complete the treble of the Craiglee (Aust-II), Underwood (Aust-I) and Turnbull. Tobin Bronze is also the last to collect a Caulfield Cup and W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) in the same year, the mission of Northerly.He will be defending the Cox won last year at the expense of two-time winner Sunline, again to line up at the 2,040 meters start with Northerly, Grandera and the others on Oct 26. Greg Childs will stay aboard Northerly at Caulfield but a long association should see him go for Sunline in the Cox.As Team Waterhouse dominated the third day of the Australian Jockey's Spring Meeting at Randwick, Hector Protector got onto the group I scoreboard in the south and Danehill landed his 46th individual grade/group I success.Hector Protector's maiden group 1 success came as 12-1 shot Royal Purler defied 4-7 Victory Vein to lead wire-to-wire for Patrick Payne in winning the Flight Stakes (Aust-I). Victory Vein was chasing a $200,000 (Australian funds) bonus paid to a filly winning four spring filly races culminating with the $330,000 Flight.Mr. Henrysee's standard bearer looked certain to start work on her third million when she joined the leader with an eighth of the full distance remaining. But she didn't have it on the day and went under by a short neck. Danehill filly Private Steer was third a length away, the 1,600 meters traversed in a very slow 1:37.39.Hector Protector was a top 2 and 3 year-old in France to enhance Woodman's reputation in Europe, before going to Shadai in 1992. He worked at Arrowfield in his two southern seasons, spending a similar period at the English National Stud before returning to Japan. He is currently at Shadai's local satellite, Lex Stud.Platinum Scissors became Danehill's 31st Australian-bred and 46th individual grade/group I winner worldwide in taking the Spring Champion Stakes (Aust-I). Danehill also supplied the previous winner of the 2,000 meters event, started as a spring replacement when the Australian Derby was moved to the fall in 1979.Jim Cassidy and the 7-4 favorite appeared in all sorts of trouble off the final bend, at that stage giving the leaders a huge start. Although immature he was still too good in the stretch for his 11 rivals, arriving a short neck in advance of talented Carnegie filly Soprana.Maskerado was no match for the first pair, battling to secure third another 2 1/4 lengths away. That the muddling tempo saw a gross 2:04.28 posted -- almost four seconds outside the race record -- heightened the performances of the first two.Platinum Scissors is a half brother to Redoute's Choice, a 4-time group I winner before entering Arrowfield two years ago. Their dam, Shantha's Choice, is a sibling to group 1 winners and successful sires Umatilla (by Miswaki) and Hurricane Sky -- all from deceased Nijinsky II daughter Dancing Show.It was Gai Waterhouse and Jim Cassidy again in the $550,000 Epsom Handicap (Aust-I), the spring equivalent of Australia's top handicap mile, the Doncaster.Excellerator is son of the late and much lamented Marscay, from a mare by Dahar. He was a top-flight juvenile and, after a problem-ridden 3-year-old season, has returned stronger than ever at four. The gelding had chased Defier home in the George Main (Aust-I) over the Randwick mile leading into the.With the finish of Defier, Universal Prince, Crawl and other back-runners blunted by soft early fractions, Excellerator sprinted from just worse than midfield to put the result beyond doubt more than 100 meters out.Kinglike (by Danzero), another of the four Waterhouse runners, was always near the pace and fought on for his 2 1/2 lengths second. Brief Truce's gifted son Gordo was a short head away in third. Defier came in fifth and still heads to the Cox, Universal Prince beaten a long way out before posting a poor 12th, but still southbound for the Caulfield Cup (Aust-I). The time was 1:35.46.
Waterhouse has dominated the Metropolitan (Aust-I) in recent years with six wins in the 10 years since belatedly gaining a license and with a strong hand was expected to equal the record seven wins by her father Tommy Smith on Oct 7.The 140th winner is trained by a woman but not the one anticipated, rather Donna Logan with gelded Victory Dance 6-year-old Victory Smile. The 33-1 shot was partnered by Danny Beasley and came from beyond midfield to win the $550,000 final day feature handicap by 1 1/2 lengths in 2:31.20 for the 2,400 meters.Piachay gave the other 17 runners a start from the 600 meters to grab second by a half head from Dress Circle. The latter had little luck in attempting to defend the race he won last year and was trapped deep in midfield. Waterhouse also supplied the fourth horse Red Trinket.Logan handles a small team at Ruakaka, New Zealand and also supplied the winner of New Zealand Oaks (NZ-I), Vapour Trail, in January. She paid just $3,000 (NZ funds) for the winner of more than $600,000 (Aust. Funds) as a yearling at a summer auction in Auckland.As a Sadler's Wells sibling to Theatrical and later Taiki Buzzard, Victory Dance was a strong candidate to work from home. But, with a win against maidens at the Curragh from two tries as a career highlight, the horse found himself sent to New Zealand in 1991 with some expediency. He shares the roster of Rich Hill Stud with Pentire and freshman Bertolini.