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Autumn Angel Defeats Top-Tier Field in Australian Oaks

Randwick Racecourse staged four group one races on their card April 13.

Autumn Angel wins the Australian Oaks at Randwick Racecourse

Autumn Angel wins the Australian Oaks at Randwick Racecourse

Mark Gatt

Randwick's The Championships have proved a lucrative couple of weeks for Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman this year and the training partners enjoyed more group 1 success April 13 when Autumn Angel produced a rousing victory in the Australian Oaks (G1).

Just seven days on from the Moody-trained Chain Of Lightning's shock win in the T J Smith Stakes (G1), Autumn Angel was aiming to produce a slight upset of her own in a field which was headed by New Zealand Derby (G1) and Vinery Stud Stakes (G1) heroine Orchestral.

Coming out of barrier 8 under Mark Zahra, Autumn Angel was settled at the rear of the 10-runner field before making a forward move approaching the home bend.

Having found trouble upon turning into the home straight, Zahra switched his mount out at the 300-meter marker and she battled bravely between both Orchestral and Zardozi, eventually pulling clear of those two rivals inside the final 50 meters.

Autumn Angel provided Arrowfield Stud stallion The Autumn Sun with his first group 1 winner.

"The way she has thrived this week coming off the back-up. I was taken aback so much that when Mark (Zahra) got on her, I was worried that I might not have done enough with her this week, but she has thrived all week," Moody said.

Autumn Angel was a AU$230,000 purchase for Dalziel Bloodstock and Moody Racing from the draft of her breeder Arrowfield Stud at the 2022 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

She is the best of three winners from four to come out of the group 3-winning Hussonet mare Angel Of Mercy.

Pride of Jenni 'Wows' in Queen Elizabeth

'I've never seen anything like that, ever' was Ciaron Maher's assessment of Pride Of Jenni (AUS)'s victory in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1).

Pride Of Jenni wins the 2024 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick Racecourse<br>
ridden by Declan Bates and trained by Ciaron Maher
Photo: Mark Gatt
Pride Of Jenni romps home in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes

In truth, it is doubtful many punters at Randwick had ever witnessed something quite like that success, and almost certainly never in a race of this caliber.

A confirmed front-runner having her third try at 2,000 meters, Pride Of Jenni was a horse well known to go hard from the get-go, but surely few expected what unfolded before their eyes in Saturday's event.

Ridden in enterprising style by usual partner Declan Bates, the pair broke well from barrier 3 and were soon in front. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Almost as soon as she gained the lead, the 6-year-old mare relentlessly continued to extend her advantage over her eight rivals until, quite astonishingly, ending up what race caller Darren Flindell described as 'about 30 lengths in front' rounding the home bend.

Asked to maintain her gallop with 400 meters left to run, the daughter of Pride Of Dubai did not once look like being reeled in and was allowed to simply coast home in the final 50 meters, leaving some to call the winning ride a triumph, and others to question the jockeys in behind.

Pride Of Jenni would eventually come home 6 1/2 lengths ahead of odds-on favorite Via Sistina, who was 1 3/4 lengths clear of the third-placed Mr Brightside.

"Unbelievable!" a visibly shocked Maher said. "I've never seen anything like that, ever. Just phenomenal. Leading by 40 (lengths). In a group 1! And not just any group 1!

"I don't think it will get any better than that. That is the biggest win I've ever seen, let alone had anything to do with."

Pride Of Jenni was a AU$100,000 purchase for owners Tony and Lynn Ottobre's Cape Schanck Stud from the Segenhoe Stud draft at the 2019 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale.

Bred by Trelawney Stud, Pride Of Jenni was registering her third group 1 in Saturday's contest. She is the first foal out of the winning O'Reilly mare Sancerre.

Circle of Fire Gives Atzeni Emotional Win in Sydney Cup

British import Circle of Fire continued his rapid progression up the staying ladder, and handed Ciaron Maher the first leg of a quickfire group 1 double, when dominating Saturday's Sydney Cup (G1) at Randwick.

Circle of Fire wins the 2024 Sydney Cup at Royal Randwick Racecourse<br>
ridden by Andrea Atzeni and trained by Ciaron Maher
Photo: Mark Gatt
Circle of Fire takes the Sydney Cup

Having just his fourth start since relocating from Newmarket-based trainer Sir Michael Stoute, the 4-year-old entire opened his Australian account on his latest start when he landed the Chairman's Quality (G2) April 6.

Ridden by Hong Kong-based Andrea Atzeni, Circle of Fire sat third for most of the 3,200-meter journey before looming up three-wide on the home turn. Still traveling well under his rider, the son of Almanzor took up the lead with 300 meters left to run and, although pushed by eventual runner-up Athabascan, stayed on strongly to score by two lengths at the line with a further half-length back to Kalapour in third.

With the family of late jockey Stefano Cherchi on track to witness the result, Atzeni—who had acted as a mentor to the late rider—paid tribute to his close friend following the race.

"It is definitely for him. It has been a tough time for his family and it is amazing to see them here," an emotional Atzeni said.

Having been a winner and stakes-placed on three occasions in the United Kingdom, Circle of Fire was bred by the late Queen Elizabeth and is a half brother to grade 3 scorer Evening Sun.

waller runners 1-2 in the queen of the turf

Chris Waller's disappointment after Via Sistina's second-placed finish having been sent off odds-on favorite in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes was short-lived, with the trainer saddling a quinella in the following contest, with Zougotcha narrowly getting the verdict over last year's heroine Atishu in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes (G1),

Zougotcha wins the 2024 Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Royal Randwick Racecourse<br>
ridden by James Mcdonald and Trained by Chris Waller
Photo: Mark Gatt
Zougotcha wins the Queen Of The Turf Stakes

Bidding for her third group 1 trophies April 13, the 4-year-old daughter of Zoustar was sent off the favorite under James McDonald and jumped well from the inside barrier before settling just off the pace.

Perfectly positioned in third place rounding the home bend, McDonald asked his mount to win her race approaching the 300-meter pole and, after taking the lead with 200 meters left to race, she narrowly held on from her Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale-bound stablemate Atishu, who had been unlucky in running down the home straight.

The front pair finished a further 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the Maher-trained Semana in third.

"She executes perfectly," McDonald said. "She tries really hard. A mile is probably a stretch at Randwick but her will to win is phenomenal."

A AU$500,000 purchase from the Widden Stud draft for her trainer and Guy Mulcaster at the 2021 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Zougotcha is owned by a consortium of owners which include her her breeders Widden Stud and Robert Anderson.

Zougotcha is the fourth winner out of the Fastnet Rock mare Fast Talker and a sibling to two listed stakes winners.