Multi-million dollar colt Ole Kirk did his famous equine family proud as Wayne Hawkes wiped away tears and likened dominator Willie Pike to champion hoop Damien Oliver after a breathtaking Caulfield Guineas triumph.
Ole Kirk, a close relation to superstar sprinter Black Caviar, is the most valuable colt in the southern hemisphere after Pike zigged and zagged to pocket his second Group 1 of the day and his fourth win of the day.
It could have gone pear-shaped as Ole Kirk got stuck behind the fading Tagaloa at one stage but Pike produced the magic he is renowned for in Western Australia to surge his colt past surprise packet and runner-up Aysar.
Hawkes, who co-trains with his father John and brother Michael, is not known for being emotional but there were tears welling up post-race as Ole Kirk proved he was the best three-year-old of his generation.
Ole Kirk has Black Caviar’s blood running through his veins as his dam Naturale is a full sister to Black Caviar and a half-sister to 2012 Caulfield Guineas winner and four-time Group I star All Too Hard.
Hawkes felt it was a particularly strong Caulfield Guineas and admitted the nerves were rumbling beforehand as he saddled up the equal $4.20 favourite.
“I didn’t have much to do with Black Caviar and I was lucky I didn’t have anything to run against her because there were a couple of years we didn’t have any good enough,” Hawkes said.
“I don’t normally get nervous but it hit me about five minutes before the race because I thought if he wins this he is going to be the best three-year-old in the country and with the pedigree he has got, it doesn’t get much better.
“The owners spent a lot of money, when Ole Kirk’s uncle is All Too Hard and his aunty is Black Caviar.
“I know what it’s like to be a top priced yearling, but I couldn’t gallop, at least Ole Kirk can.
“This horse is the best three-year-old in the country and it’s a mantle that right at the moment they can’t wipe off his resume.
“Hats off to Willie Pike. He’s like D Oliver. He was cool, he was calm, he was relaxed and he was on the best horse and got the job done.”
Ole Kirk has now won the Caulfield Guineas and the Group 1 Golden Rose at his last two starts and his $675,000 purchase price is now a pittance.
He will go to the paddock and given the colt’s now extraordinary price tag there is a growing chance he will never be seen on the racetrack again and instead head off to stud.
Pike earlier won his first Victorian Group I on Arcadia Queen and, after quickly snaring a second one on Ole Kirk, he said everything could so easily have gone wrong in the Guineas.
“I took about three different paths on Ole Kirk and made about four different runs,” Pike said.
“I thought Tagaloa was the one to beat and when I got onto his back I was pretty chuffed with myself.
“That’s one of the main reasons I’m not a form student because look what happened there – I got in behind the right horse’s back and that horse was gone before acceptances.
“Form on a bit of paper doesn’t help you much out in the race.”
Some of the other fancied runners in the Guineas didn’t come into contention.
Hugh Bowman said of King’s Legacy (ninth) – “I can’t take anything away from the field but I don’t think he ran his best race. He settled well but he didn’t let down like he can unfortunately.”
Damien Oliver said of Mo’unga (seventh) – “I thought he ran well. He’s going to be a really nice horse next preparation with a bit of give in the ground.”
TEAM ‘WITH THE LOT’ LANDS THOUSAND GUINEAS
By Brad Waters
Mick Price equated training partner Michael Kent Jr to a “hamburger with the lot” after the pair combined with jockey Michael Walker to win Saturday’s Group 1 Thousand Guineas with Odeum.
Price and Kent Jr, the son of respected Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent, formed their partnership in March last year but Odeum gave the pair its first win at Group 1 level.
Walker gave Odeum ($10) the perfect ride to get her home over Personal ($15) and the $4.40 second favourite Instant Celebrity.
Price said Kent Jr’s enthusiasm has rubbed off on him in the 19 months the duo has worked in tandem.
“He’s a like a hamburger with the lot, that kid,” Price said of Kent Jr.
“He’s enthusiastic, he’s passionate, he’s a very good horse person, he’s a very good rider. He’s good with his bloodstock, his pedigrees, his yearlings, he’s a one-stop shop.
“He’s got integrity, he’s a gentleman, he’s got very good manners.
“It’s even rubbed off on me. I find myself saying please and thank you a little bit more.”
Odeum justified jockey Michael Walker’s pre-race confidence with her Thousand Guineas win.
Walker expected the Written Tycoon filly to handle the class rise to a $1 million race after winning at Listed level at her previous run.
“Mate, cuz, I’ve never been this confident going into a Group 1,” Walker said.
“I really thought she could win today and she did.”
Price said Odeum had done her job for the spring and would head to the spelling paddock for a break before an autumn campaign next year.
The Chris Waller-trained Hungry Heart started as a $2.60 favourite on the strength of her close second in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
However, Waller’s decision to put blinkers on the filly didn’t have the desired effect as she finished more than five lengths from the winner in seventh spot.
Hungry Heart’s jockey Hugh Bowman said an early decision of his own might have contributed to Hungry Heart’s disappointing run.
“I thought she was credible because she didn’t settle with the blinkers on,” Bowman said.
“I did give her a dig to switch her on after she missed the start, so it was probably my fault.”
RACE 9: KAH TOO QUICK IN TOORAK
Phillip Stokes’s decision to change Mr Quickie’s spring preparation paid a huge dividend in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Mr Quickie started the spring on a Caulfield Cup path but Stokes scrapped plans to run the gelding in staying races after his unplaced effort in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over 1800m last time out.
Stokes freshened Mr Quickie ($21) and brought him back to the 1600m of the Toorak Handicap. The son of Cox Plate winner Shamus Award relished the change, sprinting hard to beat Buffalo River ($4.80) despite giving the runner-up 6kg.
Mr Quickie’s win with Jamie Kah in the saddle was his first since the five-year-old won last year’s Queensland Derby.
“He was fresh today, he was really well and gave me a beautiful ride throughout,” Kah said.
“When everything was on with him, he was just too classy for them.”
Superstorm ($8) was third, going within 2 ½ lengths of giving jockey William Pike his fifth win of the day in the Toorak Handicap.
RACE 6: CAMELOT BUBBLE BURSTS
Arcadia Queen has punctured Russian Camelot’s aura of invincibility and charged into Cox Plate calculations with a devastating Group 1 Caulfield Cup Stakes victory.
Ridden brilliantly by William Pike, the star WA mare stalked Damien Oliver on Russian Camelot before drawing away from the $1.45 favourite.
The victory was Pike’s third for the day after earlier wins on Dirty Work and Windstorm.
“I knew my only chance was to catch him in the last 200m,” Pike said. “I didn’t want to match motors with him.
“I’m pretty proud of her. It’s great to see her back in the winners’ list.”
Long WA’s premier jockey, Pike has based himself in Victoria for the spring.
Russian Camelot over-raced in the run before peeling wide to overtake leader Gailo Chop and Harbour Views.
He appeared to be cruising to his third Group 1 crown, but was quickly reeled in by Arcadia Queen, who is trained by Grant and Alana Williams.
RACE 5: GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
TAB trimmed Dirty Work’s price for The Everest but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes didn’t shed any light on a possible start in the $15 million race after the stallion won the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m).
Hawkes gave little away when asked about Dirty Work’s chances of picking up the final slot for The Everest, which is owned by champion trainer Chris Waller.
“That’s a Sydney race? I’m from Victoria, mate,” Hawkes, who trains Dirty Work in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, said.
Dirty Work firmed from $34 to $26 in TAB’s market on The Everest.
Dirty Work started as the $4.20 second pick. The four-year-old came from the rear of the field to beat the $4 favourite Diamond Effort while Octane ($13) was third.
RACE 4: FABULOUS FIESTA
Fiesta broke an 18-month winning drought when she overcame a wide run to win the Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes (1200m).
The Chris Waller-trained mare’s last win was in the $1 million Inglis Sprint (1100m) at Warwick Farm in February 2019 before her second-up success at Caulfield.
Fiesta had only placed twice in her next 14 runs but the five-year-old showed she had come back well with a good first-up third in at her previous outing at Caulfield on September 19.
Star Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman was happy to keep Fiesta ($10) travelling four-deep with cover before she finished too well for the speedy mare Felicia ($3.40 fav) and Broadwayandfourth ($26).
RACE 3: MENACING WINDSTORM
Favourite backers had a few worries but jockey William Pike was calm and collected aboard classy WA galloper Windstorm in the Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes (1200m).
A wave of money forced Windstorm’s price $1.70 favourite at the jump but the race didn’t pan out the way co-trainer Grant Williams expected when the gelding gave his rivals up 10 lengths start midrace.
“I thought we were a little bit far off them. I didn’t think we were supposed to be back that far,” Williams said.
Windstorm’s quality prevailed in the straight as his terrific turn of foot got him home by three-quarters of a length over Phaistos ($8).
Williams said owner Bob Peters had a tough choice to make on Sunday with the $7.5 million Golden Eagle in Sydney an option on October 31.
“We’ll see how the horse pulls up,” Williams, who trains Windstorm in partnership with his wife Alana, said.
Another option for Windstorm could be the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the same day.
RACE 2: COOLMORE CALLING
Swats That rocketed up the Coolmore Stakes betting charts after her win in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m).
Co-trainer Troy Corstens confirmed the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day was the goal for Swats That after her Caulfield success.
TAB reacted by installing the filly as a $6 second favourite in Coolmore betting behind the $4 favourite Anders.
Swats That eased in betting to start as a $2.80 favourite in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes but notched her second win from three starts this time in when she got home by three-quarters of a length over the $3.30 second pick Muntaseera.
Corstens said he and training partner, his father Leon, were reaping the benefits of keeping Swats That to sprint trips as a spring three-year-old.
“We might stretch her out next prep but we’ll try to get her to the Coolmore first,” he said.
“I think it’s a really strong group (of fillies) this time around (this season). It’s nice to see that and it’s good to see them standing up.”
RACE 1: NOTHING FAKE HERE
Home track horses continued their recent dominance of Melbourne’s two-year-old races when Fake Love posted an easy win in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m).
Flemington horses General Beau and Ingratiating were victorious down the straight on their home track in the first two-year-old races of the season before Fake Love struck back for the Caulfield horses on Saturday.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Fake Love led home a Caulfield-trained quinella when jockey Mark Zahra guided her to a comfortable win over Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr’s runner Extreme Warrior.
Godolphin filly Naples was the first Flemington-trained runner home in third spot.
TAB cut Fake Love’s Golden Slipper quote from $101 to $26 after her debut win while Naples moved from $101 to $51.
Maher and Eustace won last year’s Debutant Stakes with Tanker.