It took until the second last day of the Spring Racing Carnival to arrive, but Australian racing might have found a new champion to replace the great Makybe Diva, who is now approaching equine motherhood.

Yesterday’s Oaks winner, Miss Finland, stamped herself as the new queen of the Australian turf, and, maybe, just maybe, our best chance of staving off another successful Japanese assault on the Melbourne Cup next year.

Miss Finland, the winner of this year’s (but last season’s) premier two-year-old event, the Golden Slipper, treated some quality rivals with absolute disdain in yesterday’s 2500m Group One Oaks, and became the first filly to win both the Golden Slipper and the Victoria Oaks.

The Spring Racing Carnival winds down at Flemington tomorrow and it could hardly have been more successful. A reasonable crowd on Emirates Stakes Day will see the four-day carnival attendance record broken, but it will be the quality of the racing that will be stored into the memory bank of the racing purist.

Yesterday it was Miss Finland’s day, but she has to share the overall carnival honours with another filly, Gold Edition, who trounced the field in the Schweppes Stakes after an almost as impressive win in the Group One Ascot Vale Stakes on Derby Day.

And their successes are on top of Efficient’s outstanding win in the Derby and the Japanese horses achieving the quinella in the Melbourne Cup.

The Australian horse racing industry needs champions, and preferably a standout. Miss Finland has stamped herself as the latter, but next year Efficient may challenge her for supremacy. And Gold Edition won’t be far behind.

The contest between Alan Belford Jones and his 2GB boss, John D Singleton, was really a no-contest. The Jones part-owned Miss Finland gave the Singleton-owned Tuesday Joy a trouncing, but Tuesday Joy should not be written off next year because yesterday she was up against a filly who may be one of the best ever.

Looking ahead, perhaps the only question now is how the VRC will squeeze in the 5,000 or more Japanese fans who will be there for the 2007 Melbourne Cup!

Peter Fray

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