To achieve her score against the colts at 3 required all of her considerable skill and courage. In a thrilling final drive, the filly was adjudged the winner by a short head from Casino Prince.
Joker’s Wild (20-1) traveled from New Zealand to pester Miss Finland all the way along the Caulfield stretch. He finished another nose away in third.
Haradasun and Victoria Derby (Aus-1) winner Efficient were next, the latter on his way to rest, rather than press on to the Australian Derby (Aus-I) on April 7.
Time for the 1,600 meters was 1:36.09.
It was a close call for a 6-4 favorite. Bookies took her on and very nearly kept it all.
But Miss Finland finds a way to win, as her nine wins from 15 starts testify. The joint Gainsborough/Arrowfield-bred filly, a daughter of Redoute's Choice, defeated both sexes in the Golden Slipper (Aus-I) at 2.
At 3 she added the One Thousand Guineas and Victoria Oaks. Her fourth grade I success was her first away from filly races at 3.
She attempted the W.S. Cox Plate (Aus-I) against the older horses in October and although a creditable 2 3/4 lengths away in sixth, a win against the males in the Guineas was a must for her reputation.
The $455,000 winner’s purse advanced the David Hayes-trained filly to $3,824,825. It moves her to fifth on the all-time Australia and New Zealand female earnings list.
A ground-saving ride by Damien Oliver on Flying Spur son Casino Prince (8-1) almost succeeded. It gave the Anthony Cummings’ barn seconds in the two 1,600-meter grade I Guineas races on the same day.
Teranaba (15-1), his stable representative in the Randwick Guineas (Aus-I), finished a solid length second behind Flying Spur colt Mentality (7-4 fav) in the $550,000 event.
The Anabaa son is on his way to the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby (both Aus-I). He ran third in the Victoria Derby after a grade I success in the Spring Champion Stakes.
The absurd March 10 clash of Guineas races in Sydney and Melbourne came about as a result of the Sydney club’s insistence in tying the opening day of its four-day fall meeting to Easter Saturday.
Miss Finland’s victory would have worth a shade more currency if the victims had included Mentality.
She is the first female winner in 16 years but few fillies have accepted the challenge.
Mentality was bred and sold as a yearling for $100,000 by John Messara and Alan Jones, owners of Miss Finland with John Leaver.
FOOTNOTE: Anamato, another Redoute's Choice filly from the Hayes’ barn defeated stablemate Catechuchu to win the A.V. Kewney Stakes (Aus-II) over 1,600 meters at Caulfield. She should take on Miss Finland in the Australian Oaks (Aus-I) at Randwick on April 11.
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