The Championships: Races deliver on the track, now to match that success off it

Top class: The races at this year’s Championships delivered. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛 Punters having fun at The Championships Day 2 at Royal Randwick. Photo: Anna Kucera
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After three years, The Championships have been established as the focus of the Autumn Carnival. But there is an impatience for them to become better still, to become the event in Sydney in April.

Racing is blessed to have a core of the best business minds in the country involved in it and an audience that stretches across all levels of society. How to make it better and grow the crowds to match the product on the track, which is as good as anything in Australia, has become a discussion point.

“They are the grand finals of racing but there are no semi-finals and finals,” says businessman John Singleton, who made his fortune in marketing.

“Don’t call the big race the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, make it something they will relate to, something to do with Sydney. They want to get people to come to the track again, don’t they, and not just the racing set, so they need make it easy for them to understand.”

Singleton also believes Randwick should have a birdcage, as Flemington does in Melbourne Cup week, and become a special event. “It is not just about the races, there is plenty of room there to have something like that and get everyone involved.”

The Championships have come a long way and “the build it and they will come” philosophy of $20 million in prizemoney was vindicated with the crowd of more than 25,000 for Saturday. It exceeded expectations and showed the public does appreciate what is the biggest day of the autumn.

Given last year’s wash-out, it was a substantial improvement on last year’s figures, which should continue, but the there is still work to be done by the Australian Turf Club operations team to polish what is a rough diamond.

Of concern is the Randwick track, which has been under microscope from all quarters for its performance. Premier trainer Chris Waller joined the critics on radio on Saturday. And chief steward Ray Murrihy has been frustrated by the way it plays for years. It is the stage of stars and it needs restoration.

Reports of high-end tickets with “whited-out dates” and troubles getting in and out of the track have also surfaced and should be part of any review.

McEvoy clinic headlines Sydney Cup

The best jockeys in the country put on a masterclass at Randwick on Saturday.

Hugh Bowman’s four winners were the entree, including the Australian Oaks on Sofia Rosa, before Kerrin McEvoy provided the main course with a brilliant front-running ride on Gallante in the Sydney Cup.

McEvoy took the sting out of his rivals before the turn in the two-miler, knowing he had the horse to do it. The fact that those riders chasing thought they were big hopes at the top of the straight showed how subtle the control of tempo was by the best distance rider in the country. He was also on the best stayer.

Damien Oliver provided the final course, allowing Azkadellia and Lucia Valentina to show their explosive turns of foot. Lucia Valentina’s win took Oliver to second on Australian group 1-winning jockeys with 109 victories, behind only George Moore.

The excitement of watching top horses accelerate away from rivals can’t be matched by many other sports. Oliver was part of it twice in 40 minutes, giving a remainder of his talent as well as that of the two very good mares.

Easter sales average declines

While the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale remains the place to buy the best bloodlines in the country, the Magic Millions has taken over as the preferred sale for most trainers and syndicators.

In a year when the averages at sales were significantly up, Easter’s average was down and there wasn’t the buzz around Newmarket last week.

The international buying bench remains strong at the Inglis and it is the place to find the best pedigrees in the country, but the Magic Millions attracts trainers from around the country for its January sales with the promise of a $10 million restricted raceday, and horses across all price ranges from thousands to millions.

Inglis had nine seven-figure lots, topped by Winx’s half-brother by Snitzel, and another dozen horse from $750,000 to $1 million, but it was soft around the middle of the sales, where trainers would spec horses. This might be because they have found their stock already but the trend looks to be away from taking on the big boys at Newmarket.

Pengilly wins tipping contest

Master tipster Adam Pengilly won the media’s The Championships tipping competition, which saw $5000 donated to charity beyondblue from the man who doubles as a Sydney Morning Herald racing writer. Pengilly found the outsider Tavago in the Australian Derby in the competition and although he could only find a couple of placegetters on the second day, he held on to his advantage to win.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.