With Last Saturday's re-run of the Sydney Cup drawing the curtain on the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival, we've take the opportunity to look back at an epic two months of racing. Punters were treated to a run of great Australian thoroughbred memories that aligned to play-out in the same racing season, leaving racing fans with talking points for years to come. After an intense debate and voting session, our racing team have put together our Top 3 moments of the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Third Best Moment - Polarisation wins the Sydney Cup twice
It's tough enough to endure the 3200m Randwick course one-time and finish in front to claim Sydney Cup honours. Having to do it twice in a season has to be worthy of a Top 3 moment in the 2017 Autumn Carnival. In an unprecedented incident in our living memory, the first attempt to run the Sydney Cup was abandoned after Almoonqith tragically came under distress soon after passing the winning post for the first time.
Stewards made the decision to abandon the race leaving some jockeys fuming about the need to make the call and suggesting it was an overreaction. The ATC indicated that their decision was made with the safety of the jockeys and horses in mind given the real risk of a collision with the fallen Almoonqith as the field passed the winning post.
The Australian Turf Club rescheduled the race for Saturday 23 April, creating an unplanned extension to the 2017 Autumn Carnival. Concerns were raised that Polarisation, who ran the abandoned race out hard to finish in front past the winning post, would struggle to repeat that effort over the marathon 3200m distance. Those concerns, however were soon put to rest as Godolphin's rising star managed to once again salute first and finally etch his name on the Cup.
Without doubt punters all over Australia will be remembering the autumn when the Sydney Cup was won twice by the same horse.
Second Best - Queen Winx makes it 17 in-a-row
Having notched up sixteen consecutive wins after taking the honours in the George Ryder, Winx faced her final test of the autumn to remain undefeated, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. While the market was very confident that the champion mare would take the prize, the ease by which she did it left punters bewildered. With Australia's top 2000m thoroughbreds going up against the superstar of the turf, Winx looked to be going at only three-quarter pace as she passed the winning post with over five lengths on Hartnell in second place.
The win left punters wondering what is left for the great mare to achieve. Speculation is rife that Chris Waller will raise the bar further for in the Spring, with a campaign planned to get her a start in the 2017 Melbourne Cup. Whatever lies ahead for her, there is no doubt that her unbeaten run capped off with her Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory will forever be etched in the minds of punters.
The Best Moment - Chautauqua grows wings at Randwick
There's nothing better than seeing a back-marker fly home to claim victory on the post. But when the horse is champion sprinter Chautauqua and the win makes it three TJ Smith Stakes titles in-a-row, it becomes a very special moment indeed.
At the 250m mark the star galloper looked a $100 to 1 pop sitting last behind runners and seven lengths from the lead. He got clear at the 150m mark and was clearly picking up pace but still trailed by five lengths with a lot of work to do. Getting close to top pace that gap was halved 50m from the post. By the time he hit the line he had managed to head English and put a long neck on her to nab his third consecutive title.
Every punter that watched the race had their mouth open in awe at the spectacle. The grey gun had literally emerged from the ground with a speed that eclipsed some of the greatest late sectionals at the historic head quarters of NSW racing.
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