Australia: Catbird lands Golden prize.
Catbird's triumph in the A$2.5 million Group 1 event, the richest two- year-old race in the world, came after the shock withdrawal of original favourite Redoute's Choice three hours before the race.
Following a veterinary inspection, Redoute's Choice was found to be suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection and was scratched, saving bookmakers from a possible payout of A$5 million.
The unbeaten colt was a 6-4 favourite and had been heavily backed in the weeks leading up to the event.
The race was a typical rough-house Golden Slipper, but Catbird managed to stay out of trouble and defeated Align by a neck.
The win was sweet revenge for owner Ken Jones and trainer Frank Cleary, who finished second with Clan O'Sullivan in 1992.
"This gets rid of the seven-year itch," said Cleary. "After coming so close, I knew winning this race would be something special."
Outstanding filly Savannah Success made it six wins in a row when she took the Group 1 Ansett Australia Stakes.
She showed great courage to hold off Light Work's strong challenge by a neck.
Trainer Graeme Rogerson, who also prepares another outstanding filly in Grand Archway, refused to compare the two.
However, the pair will meet for the first time in the Australian Oaks at Randwick on April 10.
"It's a shame they have to clash, but it will be one hell of a race. I honestly don't know which of them is superior.
"They are both very determined, have big hearts and are winners. You don't see either of them lose in a photo finish," said Rogerson.
Tie The Knot won his third Group 1 of the season in the Mercedes Classic.
Questioned as to whether Tie The Knot deserved champion status, jockey Shane Dye replied: "Ask me again if he wins the Sydney Cup."
If victorious in that race, he will be the first horse since Mosaic (1939- 40) to win successive Sydney Cups.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Mar 31, 1999|
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