A brief look at Flemington Champions Day

A look at some of the races on Champions Stakes Day at Flemington.

MURAMASA winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington in Australia.
MURAMASA winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

Champagne shower for Oliver 

Champion jockey Damien Oliver could not add to his record haul of Melbourne Cup Carnival winners on Champions Stakes Day. 

Riding at his last Carnival at Flemington, Oliver rode three winners over the four-day event. 

His record Carnival haul stands at 88, including 28 at Group 1 level. 

Jockeys formed a guard of honour for Oliver following his last ride and showered the champion rider of 128 Group 1 wins with champagne. 

Oliver went close to adding to that Groiup 1 tally, partnering Duais into second place in the Champions Stakes (2000m). 

"It's been a great Carnival and the horses have run great," Oliver said. 

"Duais ran a great race for us, but she found one better, unfortunately." 

Muramasa takes Queen Elizabeth 

Success in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) is an important steppingstone to the Melbourne Cup for Muramasa

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained galloper is now qualified to run in next year's Cup (3200m) after producing a strong staying effort on Saturday. 

Purchased with a Derby in mind (Muramasa did run fifth in last year's Victoria Derby), the now gelding is unbeaten in three runs as a four-year-old. 

Muramasa was gelded and had tieback surgery after finishing near the tail of the field in the Australian Guineas at Flemington during the autumn. 

That surgery put an end to chasing a Derby for his trainers, but Busuttin and Young are now eyeing off the 2024 Cup. 

"That was the reason why we scratched him from the Bendigo Cup," Young said. 

"We gave him three weeks between runs as sometimes third-up they can put in a flat one, especially coming back from a wind op. 

"He's got a real turn-of-foot and this race panned out for the goals in a year's time." 

Young said the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield on December 2 was the next likely assignment for Muramasa. 

"He just has to pull up well," Young said. 

Kah lifts Deny Knowledge in Matriarch 

Trainer Mick Kent thought Jamie Kah had gone too slow in the lead aboard Deny Knowledge in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m). 

Kent had a plan for Kah to let Deny Knowledge roll along at a solid tempo, while not going too hard. 

But Kah, who completed an early treble on Deny Knowledge, knew what she was doing aboard the mare who was able to kick back after being headed in the straight by runner-up Osmose. 

Deny Knowledge was backing up after running fourth in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday. 

"The plan was to run her last Saturday to have the edge off for today, and I've got to say that midrace I thought we were going too slow," Kent said. 

"I said to Jamie 12 (seconds), 12, 12, 12. She let her slow down to 12.8 but the mare's strength is that she can maintain that gallop as long as she sits around that speed. 

"She's a really good mare and the only time she hasn't run well this prep was when she's gone too hard. 

"It's great to have Jamie on. She rode her last week, and she was full of confidence." 

General Beau breaks long drought 

A winless streak of over two years was broken when General Beau took out the Listed Always Welcome Stakes (1200m). 

A debut winner of the first two-year-old race in the spring of 2020 at Flemington, General Beau later went on to claim the Blue Diamond Preview and Prelude ahead of running fifth to Artorius in the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield the following autumn. 

In those three wins as a two-year-old, Jamie Kah was aboard while Damian Lane rode the now five-year-old when last successful at Caulfield in September 2021. 

Kah was back aboard General Beau on Saturday for the first time since the Blue Diamond Stakes and provided the jockey with an early double on Saturday's card. 

Trainer Mathew Ellerton said General Beau could be a surprise runner in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next Saturday. 

"I wouldn't mind the idea of backing him up next week over 1400-metres," Ellerton said. 

"I've never tried him at 1400, but it's worth a though (and) I don't see why not." 

Schwarz stamps his class 

The John O'Shea-trained Schwarz showed a touch of class with his all-the-way victory in the Listed The Amanda Elliott (1400m) but is heading straight to the spelling paddock to be set for an autumn campaign. 

A debut winner at Gosford, Schwarz was brought to Melbourne to run on Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley but bungled the start before running on at the finish to run fourth behind Archo Nacho

Schwarz was a little slow into stride again on Saturday, but jockey James Mcdonald drove the colt forward to take up the running, before kicking clear at the 300m, going on to score a 1-¾ length win. 

Tom Charlton, representing the O'Shea stable, said Schwarz was a 'pretty talented horse'. 

"He missed a lot of his two-year-old season, so he is very raw still," Charlton said. 

"He's still inclined to do a few things wrong. He missed the break slightly again and James had to give him a dig and he probably over-raced for a furlong or two, but when he let down, he let down well. 

"The 1400 metres could be his trip. Whether he is a potential Stradbroke horse or something like that later on, we'll see." 

Stable change leads Watadeel to victory 

A change of stable brought about a change of luck for the connections of Watadeel who took out the Australian Childhood Foundation trophy (1600m). 

Previously with the Phillip Stokes yard, Watadeel was transferred to Annabel Neasham after his last start when fourth over 1440m at Caulfield on October 18. 

Watadeel relished the rise in trip under a perfectly judged ride by Jamie Kah who tracked the leader and favourite Von Hauke. 

"I can't take much credit for that. He came to me in great order from the Stokes team and he was ready to come up in trip," Neasham said. 

"He's obviously had a few bad draws this campaign but he jumped well today, and I was glad to see Jamie take advantage of that. 

"I was quite confident watching him in the run. He looked really relaxed and she still had a lapful of horse at the 300 (metre mark) and we were hopeful that the big track here would really suit him." 

Quote of the Day 

"Take a bow Declan Bates" - racecaller Matt Hill after Declan Bates stole the Group 1 Champions Mile aboard Pride Of Jenni.