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30 October 2011

Sepoy. Also a star..

We seem to be endowed with fabulous horses on wonderful winning streaks at the moment.  Deserving of mention here is the super colt Sepoy (Elusive Quality - Watchful).  He's a Darley homebred.  I actually photographed him as a weanling, much to my delight when I discovered the images following his Blue Diamond Stakes victory.  He's only been defeated once, when narrowly beaten by Smart Missile as a 2yo in the 2011 Todman Stakes, which came in between his G1 victories in the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper Stakes.  This spring he's gone undefeated, and yesterday he recorded his 2nd G1 for the 2011-2011 Racing Season, and his 4th overall, in the G1 Coolmore Ascot Vale Stakes. 

The Darley colt has been up for a long time, and tackled the older horses at his last 2 starts, one of which was the G1 Manikato Stakes, and had to do it the hard way, yet under pressure he still found enough to outlast Foxwedge to win by a head.  Sepoy is trained by Peter Snowden and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy.

Another treasure? Atlantic Jewel and Black Caviar. It's Girl Power right now..

We have the undisputed star of the Australian Turf, and my personal darling and favourite, in Black Caviar, or Nelly, or The Famous Pony as I frequently call her.  And this spring another jewel has emerged in Atlantic Jewel.  She's a member of the fairer sex, or the tougher sex as I like to think of us girls, and she's also unbeaten.  She has an eon to go before she matches the deeds of the Famous Pony, but she's clearly a very special horse.  Alas, like Nelly, she's also suffered a setback, with the news today that the filly has strained a hamstring and alas and woe, is out of the VRC Oaks.  Her name?  Atlantic Jewel... 

I've only photographed her twice.  First in the G1 Thousand Guineas and second was yesterday's Wakeful Stakes.  Both races have seen me come away shaking my head, marvelling at what I had just witnessed and fortunately photographed.  Every time her lovely trainer Mark Kavanagh has stepped her up, she's risen to the occasion.  Like Nelly, she's a star, and I hope to see a lot more of her in the future...

Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock - Regard) wins the G2 Wakeful Stakes on 29 October 2011.  She was ridden by Michael Rodd and is trained by Mark Kavanagh, and it was her 5th successive win in her unbeaten career to date.

Shame on you.... and keep fighting

Those of you who read this Blog regularly will know that I photograph racehorses.  I live in Canberra, and always have done, and therefore when I travel to Melbourne or Brisbane, there are times when I have to fly.  Typically I would fly to Melbourne on average 5 times per year.  This doesn't make me a really really heavy user of air transport, but it's not inconsequential either.  

And I like to think that the purpose of my travel is important, because what I am about is creating a lasting legacy, and capturing moments in time that will enable so many people in Australia and throughout the world to remember what is was about the thoroughbred, or an individual thoroughbred, that makes us feel so good.

Last night I learnt that Qantas ground all flights.  I was appalled.  I fly Qantas. Without fail.  I rarely even look at other airline companies.  Should I need to fly, I go directly to the Qantas website.  Why do I do this?  Because of the following reasons:

  1. They have lovely staff
  2. I feel safe on their planes
  3. They have fabulous pilots
  4. Because I feel safe that a Qantas pilot will see me safely to my destination
  5. Because I'm a little bit afraid of flying
  6. Because I think a Qantas plane will get me there
  7. Because they accommodate my camera equipment so well
  8. Because they have lovely staff
  9. Because on the one occasion I stuffed up utterly and missed a plane (because of my mistake), when the Virgin people were utterly bloody and said I could book onto a 5pm flight (little use when the 1st race at Caulfield was around midday!) I went down to the Qantas counter.  The man was lovely.  He helped me.  It cost me money, but he bent over backwards to make it as cheap as possible for me.  He was kind.  He didn't patronise me.  He handed me a tissue and said it was ok when I finally burst into tears, because things were awful at home, because I couldn't bear finally to have a day away, and because of the important horses that I was going to miss, and said it was ok, we'd sort it, and not to worry.
  10. Because they have lovely staff.
The staff of Qantas have, I believe, sought between a 3-4% payrise and asked for job security.  One watch of a show such as Aircraft Disaster Investigation will tell you of the things that can go wrong when flying.  Yes.  I am an anxious flyer.  Yes, I have kids that I would like to return home too.  I absolutely do not believe that important jobs like aircraft maintenance should be outsourced.  I don't want foreign call centre.  We fly Qantas because we like Qantas and Qantas is only ever going to be as good as it's staff  
The CEO of Qantas received an enormous payrise.  I'm astounded.  And so utterly disappointed.  All I can say is shame on you Alan Joyce.  You are a nasty person.  A poor CEO, and I don't understand how you sleep at night.  I feel so utterly disappointed at what has happened, and think that I nearly elected to fly for Melbourne Cup week.  I would hate to miss out on one of Black Caviar's races because Qantas management cancelled my flight.  To the Qantas staff, you've always been wonderful, and I thank you for that....

23 October 2011

Thank you Nelly. 15 in a row for Black Caviar

There aren't any words.  Just pictures, and a little thankyou to my Famous Pony.....  See you on the next visit, with carrots on board...

"Nelly", aka Black Caviar, begins to round the home bend.
Sheer grace, speed and power.  That is the Famous Pony..