Arcadia Queen’s ascent into the top echelon of Australian racing is complete after the WA star claimed the Mackinnon Stakes to crown a rollercoaster spring carnival for Grant and Alana Williams.
Joining a select group of champion mares to win the final feature of the Melbourne Cup carnival, Arcadia Queen stormed from the tail of the field to down Fifty Stars and Melody Belle to clinch her second Group 1 of the spring.
Troubled by hoof issues, the quirky galloper now stands alongside fellow mares Horlicks, Lets Elope, Champagne and Magic Wand as winner of the 2000m Mackinnon.
Ridden perfectly by Luke Currie, who deputised for William Pike, Arcadia Queen erased the memories of a chequered Cox Plate run when she almost fell before finishing fifth behind Sir Dragonet.
“It’s a great way to cap it off. After the year she has had (and now) to win two Group 1s here. If you’d said that we could have two Group 1s, we’d take that every day,” Grant Williams said.
“We had some issues but credit to the horse. She just keeps pushing on.
“It’s just brilliant. We set a target to win one (Group 1).
“We’ve won two and it’s even more special being her. It’s well documented all the problems that we’ve had with her but she’s come back and won a Group 1, it’s unbelievable.
“It’s been another challenge for us. It’s just good to know that the team at home (in Perth), we can get everything ready, and we can come here.
Arcadia Queen has become only the fifth mare to win the Mackinnon Stakes.Source:Getty Images
“It’s like the AFL footy. We’ve got good horses at home and it’s good to know that we can come here and get the job done like this.
“I think everybody strives to be the best we can and we’ve got two Group 1s now. It’s bloody great.”
Pike briefed Currie on how to ride the mercurial Arcadia Queen before returning to WA in preparation for the Railway Stakes on November 21.
“I spoke to ‘Pikey’ the other day and he said it doesn’t matter where she is, if she’s travelling up, she’ll be too good for them and he was spot on,” Currie said.
Arcadia Queen races away for the easiest of victories at Flemington.Source:Getty Images
“There was a bit going on early so we took our time, sat back. They didn’t go overly hard and she can truck on a bit, as we saw last time when she caught heels, so I was a bit mindful that I didn’t want to start her.
“She got in that three-wide, with cover line, and slowly worked forward which worked out perfectly for her and her style.”
Currie returned from injury to enjoy an incredible spring, underlining his status as one of nation’s best riders.
“There’s plenty of lows in racing, but the highs, are high,” he said.
“It was a pleasure to ride her. She was brilliant to ride.
“She’s was too good. She’s all quality.
“I think she’s pretty special. She’s so big and imposing. Just the way she comes out. As soon as you ask her, she goes. She was amazing today.”
Luke Currie returns to the mounting yard on Arcadia Queen and with a Group 1 win.Source:Getty Images
Arcadia Queen denied Melody Belle an 11th Group 1 spoil, but Jye McNeil was far from disappointed with the Kiwi gun.
“Great run. Travelled into it really well,” he said.
“Probably had to come out a bit earlier than I would have liked but might’ve found the ground a touch today. She would’ve had a better turn-of-foot if it was a bit softer.”
TRUE GRIT IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD
In a remarkable case of deja vu, Irish mare True Self has converted Melbourne Cup disappointment into Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory for the second year in a row, claiming a $200,000 bonus for connections.
Stranded at No 25 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry for the past two years, True Self became the first horse since Hyperno (1979-80) to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes twice.
Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Hugh Bowman, True Self ($14) upstaged Pondus ($1.95) and Chapada ($16) to pocket $320,000 for her owners — $30,000 less than The Chosen One earned for running fourth in the Melbourne Cup.
True Self, ridden by Hugh Bowman, takes out the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.Source:Getty Images
“Willie would be delighted. We were a little bit disappointed at Caulfield (where she finished 13th) but were delighted to come back here and win,” assistant trainer Dave Casey said.
“The draw (three) on the day at Caulfield looked good but it was the ninth race on the day and it just got a bit chopped up on the inside.
“And I think that we didn’t have her fit enough as we could have. I think she came forward plenty for here and her work during the week was very positive.”
In echoes of Ryan Moore’s winning ride last year, Bowman threaded a tight passage after being disappointed for a run to surge away.
“There was a narrow run in front of me and when I committed to go to it, the horse on the outside just rolled in on me slightly,” he said.
“There wasn’t much room, but I had plenty of energy left, this filly did, and was I was able to balance her up and get through there, she sprinted pretty quickly.
“The slow pace actually suited us to be honest. Once she got clear running she was dominant.
“She’s a horse more known for her turn of foot than her stamina and Dave Casey gave me a good explanation of the way to ride her.
“I gave her a pretty similar ride to what Ryan (Moore) gave her last year and she’s delivered the goods once again.”
Been here before as True Self makes it consecutive wins in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.Source:Getty Images
MELBOURNE CUP WEEK MAJORS
Group 1 winners at Flemington.
Winner: Johnnie Get Angry
Trainer: Denis Pagan
Jockey: Lachlan King
COOLMORE STUD STAKES
Winner: September Run
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Craig Williams
EMPIRE ROSE STAKES
Winner: Shout The Bar
Trainers: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott
Jockey: Damien Oliver
Winner: Yulong Prince
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Damian Lane
Winner: Twilight Payment
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: Jye McNeil
Trainers: Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes
Jockey: Damien Oliver
VRC SPRINT CLASSIC
Trainer: James Cummings
Jockey: Glen Boss
Winner: Arcadia Queen
Trainers: Grant and Alana Williams
Jockey: Luke Currie
Melbourne Cup 2020: Twilight Payment takes the top spot
The race that stops the nation reached a thrilling conclusion as punters around Australia yelled at TV screens, cheering their horses on.
Originally published asMackinnon masterclass carries Queen to her throne
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