Luck deserted the Kiwi contingent at Randwick yesterday, leaving punters and connections alike with the feeling of what could have been.
Matamata mares Probabeel and Entriviere and the army of punters who backed them had to settle for close seconds in A$1.3 million worth of races while their stablemate Amarelinha looked a run past her best when fourth in the A$1 million ATC Oaks.
Former Kiwi mare Verry Elleegant, who is still part-owned in New Zealand, had nothing go right when second to Addeybb in the showpiece race of the carnival, the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth.
Even the Sydney Cup, a race so kind to New Zealanders over the years, saw The Chosen One finish sixth but never looking a winning chance after being last throughout carrying the topweight.
Of the defeats, Probabeel's was probably the hardest for punters to cop as the heavily-backed mare hit the lead at the top of the straight and looked home before being dive-bombed by Nettoyer.
Probabeel's jockey Kerrin McEvoy admitted to connections afterwards he may have gone too soon but the outstanding Kiwi mare was also slightly off on a Randwick track that presented softer than it should have.
With Sydney having had little rain this week, Randwick was rated a good4 on Friday afternoon but was then irrigated, the track manager probably rightly expecting a warm Saturday to bring the track back to that good4.
It never looked or felt like that with senior jockeys suggested it was more of a soft5 and few horses looking to really bounce off the track. It did not help the cause of the Kiwi contingent.
"I don't think the track helped us but we aren't going to moan about that," said Probabeel's trainer Jamie Richards, and jockey Opie Bosson suggested Amarelinha raced like a filly one run past her best after a busy feature-race season.
"Her last 100m felt like that," said Bosson after the Oaks won by the Chris Waller-trained Hungry Heart.
The New Zealand mare best suited by the wetter conditions was Entriviere and she was perhaps the toughest beat of the day performance-wise as she was trapped three and four wide the entire race on her Australian debut and was beaten a nose, her second at least proving she is up to Group racing across the Tasman. Cambridge mare Bavella was unplaced in the race.
The other big winner from the track having a lot more give than expected was English star Addeybb but he was still immense defending his title in the Queen Elizabeth.
He was ridden conservatively early but worked up outside the leader in a race-winning tactical move as Verry Elleegant had settled in front of her but did herself few favours by over-racing and drifting back through the field.
She loomed up to win at the top of the straight but Addeybb fought her off, proving why he is one of the highest-rated horses in the world.
So the day ended without Kiwi success at the end of a carnival that promised so much but ultimately only delivered two New Zealand feature-race winners.
The autumn of what could have been.