A top day of racing in Australia today sees Group 1 racing in both Sydney and Melbourne. And while the strength of the Sydney card is questionable, Melbourne’s card looks top notch.
Who will win today? Well, hopefully us! But it’s hard to take anything for granted on what looks a tough wicket.
Race 1 – LISTED CAP D’ANTIBES STAKES (1100m)
7 – LUMOSTY
9 – MORE RADIANT
6 – TRAVESTON GIRL
1 – SABATINI
Race 2 – SOFITEL GIRLS’ DAY OUT 2000 (2000m)
1 – MASKED MARVEL
5 – MARKSMANSHIP
2 – WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
6 – TRADE COMMISSIONER
Race 3 – SPRING IS THE SEASON HANDICAP (1700m)
3 – PRINCE OF PENZANCE
11 – SHIKARPOUR
1 – BRAMBLES
7 – SIGNOFF
Race 4 – LISTED LIVING LEGENDS STAKES (1400m)
3 – MERION
5 – ZEBULON
2 – CHIVALRY
11 – DIVAN
Race 5 – GROUP 2 LET’S ELOPE STAKES (1400m)
Many have this down as a race between GREGERS, who has won two-from-two this prep and steps up to 1400m again, and COMMANDING JEWEL, who flew home in the Cockram Stakes.
They are definitely chances, but I’d prefer to stick with the fresh SOLICIT, who maps well and should prove hard to beat. I think she’s probably best as a sprinter-miler, really, and this race sets up beautifully for her.
Next best GIG, who is flying, from DEAR DEMI.
6 – SOLICIT
1 – COMMANDING JEWEL
3 – GREGERS
7 – GIG
Race 6 – GROUP 2 DANEHILL STAKES (1200m)
The toughest race of the day for mine.
The top three are all proven to some extent, and I cannot believe the price about GHIBELLINES. He always looked raw as a two-year-old and I think he’s furnished into a nice three-year-old. I look forward to seeing the progression he can make here.
GET THE NOD aims to remain unbeaten, while BRAZEN BEAU brings good form from the Brisbane winter.
However, the two down the bottom also catch the eye – especially ONEROUS – and while it’s a big step up, I think he should be in the right position to capitalise. Therefore, I’m putting him on top.
Other chances are obviously GALAXY PEGASUS, as well as LOOKS LIKE THE CAT and NORDIC EMPIRE.
16 – ONEROUS
1 – GHIBELLINES
3 – GET THE NOD
2 – BRAZEN BEAU
Race 7 – GROUP 1 MAKYBE DIVA STAKES (1600m)
An intriguing line-up here. Not really sure the race deserves Group 1 billing, but then again, there are a number of races in Australia these days that don’t deserve it. It may have achieved the ratings to be considered a Group 1, but really, it is a lead-up race, not a final. The idea that ratings should determine Group 1 status is narrow-minded and wrong.
Now that my rant is over, I’m extremely keen on reigning Caulfield Cup winner FAWKNER here.
His first up stats are mixed, but he did win the 1400m handicap by four lengths on this day two years ago, while he also boasts a third to Black Caviar in the William Reid Stakes among his other fresh runs. He’s a bit more dour these days, so the 1600m first up suits. He maps well and can finish on strongly late.
BOBAN has become somewhat of an enigma since his terrific spring last year. He was very good first up, but just didn’t have the same dash second up. He’s probably better suited here up to a mile, and maps better today than he did in the Memsie. He’s the one to beat for mine.
PUISSANCE DE LUNE was beaten a nose by Foreteller in this race last year. This has been his aim all along, as they try to get a Group 1 win out of him, and his Memsie Stakes run was very good. Should be in the right spot, it just depends if he has the same dash he had last year.
DISSIDENT deserves favouritism after his Memsie Stakes romp but given we were able to get 16/1 about him last start, $3 seems way too short here and I’d prefer to play others.
That’s not the end to the chances, either. I’m not sure SPILLWAY will be able to get enough of a cart into the race, but if he does, he’s some chance, while SERTORIUS also wouldn’t surprise.
2 – FAWKNER
3 – BOBAN
6 – PUISSANCE DE LUNE
9 – DISSIDENT
Race 8 – GROUP 3 BOBBIE LEWIS QUALITY (1200m)
It’s a shame El Roca came out of this race this morning, as he looked the day’s lock for mine.
Instead, I’m sticking with last year’s Danehill winner CHARLIE BOY, who showed a clear liking for the straight and who should be in the right spot.
AKAVOROUN will probably want further but there’s no doubt he still has points in hand – I’d be expecting him to win a nice race this spring – while FLAMBERGE was good last start and will be a tough nut to crack here.
Next best are last year’s quinella, SPEEDINESS and TEMPLE OF BOOM, with a slight leaning towards the latter.
11 – CHARLIE BOY
8 – AKAVOROUN
3 – FLAMBERGE
2 – TEMPLE OF BOOM
Race 9 – LISTED THE SOFITEL HANDICAP (1400m)
5 – SCAPOLO
18 – LATE CHARGE
3 – RHYTHM TO SPARE
10 – THUNDERBIRD ONE
Race 1 – THE PASLODE HANDICAP (1500m)
10 – SHERBET BOMB
2 – COPY
6 – SENSUALISM
9 – DIVA DEE
Race 2 – MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS HANDICAP (1800m)
10 – CLEANSING ALE
8 – RAGTIME COWBOY JOE
12 – MARTIAN
5 – COCKTAIL TIME
Race 3 – SPORTSYEAR SPRINT (1200m)
4 – WOODBINE
7 – OH SO ADORABLE
12 – FARE WELL
9 – MURDER OF CROWS
Race 4 – GROUP 2 THEO MARKS STAKES (1400m)
In all fairness, a pretty weak Theo Marks field.
For mine, KIRRAMOSA stood out despite her interrupted preparation. She was great first up in what I consider to be a stronger race than what her main dangers, CLUSTER and BULL POINT, have been contesting. This looks perfect for her as she progresses to the longer races.
LASER HAWK looks like he might be returning to something near his best, while TOUGHER THAN EVER could get a soft lead.
4 – KIRRAMOSA
8 – CLUSTER
5 – BULL POINT
1 – LASER HAWK
Race 5 – GROUP 3 KINGSTON TOWN STAKES (2000m)
11 – GALLATIN
6 – LA AMISTAD
5 – GREATWOOD
9 – CELTIC PRINCE
Race 6 – GROUP 3 SHERACO STAKES (1200m)
1 – CATKINS
6 – SHAMALIA
7 – BELLE DE COEUR
3 – ESTONIAN PRINCESS
Race 7 – GROUP 1 GOLDEN ROSE (1400m)
A very open Golden Rose, with a plethora of chances.
What makes it more confusing is that all bar one of these raced on heavy ground last start, and if the track holds up as dead, there could be some notable form reversals.
One horse I have a big opinion of is SARAJEVO, who has finished fourth at both starts this preparation.
BETTER LAND looked like he wouldn’t gain a start, but he has snuck in and looks a terrific prospect. He looked like he was about to launch to win the Up and Coming Stakes when the wayward Liberation unbalanced him. The dead track should suit better too, so I would be surprised if he’s not in the mix.
San Domenico Stakes winner NOSTRADAMUS and Run To The Rose winner HALLOWED CROWN look top chances, too, as does Golden Slipper third BRING ME THE MAID.
If there’s one at odds to run a huge race, it could be BACHMAN.
11 – SARAJEVO
12 – BETTER LAND
6 – NOSTRADAMUS
3 – HALLOWED CROWN
Race 8 – PJ’S IRISH PUB PARRAMATTA HANDICAP (1400m)
14 – IDANCE
6 – ALIAS
10 – ENGAGEMENT
8 – BLACK REVOLVER
The Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes meeting, which used to be run next week, has switched with the Makybe Diva Stakes meeting. So next week, instead, we are off to Flemington.
The changing of the schedule may have impacted on some races at Moonee Valley, but we still get a cracking day, featuring the return of Lankan Rupee.
I’ve written a short summary of the five Group 2 races, as well as providing my selections for all Moonee Valley and Randwick races today.
Hopefully we can get a winner as the spring starts to heat up.
Good luck today!
Race 1 – 1PRINT CRAIG OPIE CUP (2500m)
7 – COUNT ENCOSTA
1 – HIPPOPUS
2 – UNCHAIN MY HEART
8 – MR ANDRE
Race 2 – QUEST MOONEE VALLEY HANDICAP (1600m)
4 – ALIYANA
1 – TEXT ‘N’ HURLEY
2 – RECKLESS ASSASSIN
6 – RESUMETHEGAME
Race 3 – CITY JEEP HANDICAP (1500m)
8 – THE SPITFIRE
6 – BREATH OF LIFE
10 – SECOND BASE
2 – CAVEKA
Race 4 – JEEP DON’T HOLD BACK HANDICAP (2040m)
4 – WROTHAM HEATH
6 – VINTAGE LAD
9 – LIKE A CAROUSEL
13 – WARWARICK
Race 5 – GROUP 2 MCEWEN STAKES (1000m)
No surprises that it’s all LANKAN RUPEE here, Australia’s best sprinter meeting a field which doesn’t look to be in the same league.
CAUTHEN is a horse going places, but most likely will need the run, while ANGELIC LIGHT is second-up after a nasty injury break. They are probably the main players to fill the placings, although ELOPING and UNPRETENTIOUS may not be far away, but it will be a chance to see Lankan Rupee in full flight.
1 – LANKAN RUPEE
6 – CAUTHEN
7 – ANGELIC LIGHT
9 – ELOPING
Race 6 – TELSTRA PHONEWORDS PLATE (1200m)
10 – PICKIN’ TIME
13 – PITTSBURGH FLYER
5 – TAWTEEN
1 – LONDON LOLLY
Race 7 – GROUP 2 DATO TAN CHIN NAM STAKES (1600m)
One of the weaker Datos in recent times, but also one which is quite fascinating.
THE CLEANER is probably my favourite horse in training at the moment. A bold frontrunner from a modest background, he has been carrying big weights and winning by simply nullifying the sprint of his rivals. He harks back to the days of Vo Rogue, the Queensland battler who rose to the highest levels with a similar pace-setting style. I’m not sure he has the class of Vo Rogue, but he doesn’t need to either to win this race. I think they will all be off the bit chasing, and I hope they struggle to catch him. Would be a great addition to the Cox Plate in my opinion, so I hope he can earn his berth with victory today.
LIDARI was beaten a head in this race last year behind Fiorente and Spacecraft. He’s since won the Blamey Stakes but has been slightly disappointing in five other efforts. He does go well second-up and he maps to get a good run here, so he may be the one claiming The Cleaner – if one can get past him.
FOUNDRY was great in his first Australian campaign, but was nothing but a failure in his first-up effort when he looked in need of the run. It may pay to forgive that effort and improvement wouldn’t shock.
Next best FORETELLER, who maps awkwardly but does look the class of the field, and STAR ROLLING.
4 – THE CLEANER
7 – LIDARI
11 – FOUNDRY
1 – FORETELLER
Race 8 – SPORTINGBET HANDICAP (1600m)
10 – ST JEAN
1 – OUR VOODOO PRINCE
11 – FIRST COURSE
4 – HENWOOD
Race 9 – LISTED DRUMMOND GOLF STAKES (1200m)
9 – LION OF BELFORT
13 – TRUST IN A GUST
3 – ATLANTE
1 – LE BONSIR
Race 1 – TAB EARLY QUADDIE HANDICAP (1600m)
3 – DEVONSHIRE DUKE
4 – FOREIGN PRINCE
8 – HUNTER JACK
5 – WHISPEROSSA
Race 2 – NATIONAL JOCKEYS TRUST HANDICAP (2000m)
2 – SURPASS
6 – WORLD WIDE
9 – MR SCARY
7 – SLIVOVITZ
Race 3 – GROUP 2 FURIOUS STAKES (1200m)
A small field made even smaller still by the wet track.
I was very close to putting ATC Sires Produce Stakes winner PEGGY JEAN on top of Blue Diamond Stakes winner EARTHQUAKE, but in the end class should prevail here – even if the former may be better in the conditions.
MEMORIAL ran a cracker first up when second in the Silver Shadow behind Bring Me The Maid, and with race fitness on her side she looks the only horse capable of bringing the two Group 1 winners apart.
Next best SULTRY FEELING.
1 – EARTHQUAKE
2 – PEGGY JEAN
3 – MEMORIAL
6 – SULTRY FEELING
Race 4 – GROUP 3 MING DYNASTY QUALITY (1400m)
2 – WASHINGTON HEIGHTS
10 – TASHBEEH
3 – PANZER DIVISION
6 – LADY SHARAPOVA
Race 5 – GROUP 2 CHELMSFORD STAKES (1600m)
Happy to somewhat risk ENTIRELY PLATINUM, who won a no metro win race on a heavy track but probably wasn’t at his best when finishing fourth on the surface in the Neville Sellwood Stakes in April. He could have been at the end of his preparation or he just didn’t handle the track. Either way, at weight-for-age, I’d prefer to stick with others.
Looking at the race beyond the Hawkes-trained runner leaves seven others, six trained by Chris Waller. Of his, the two that stand out are ROYAL DESCENT and SACRED FALLS. And it looks the chance for last year’s ATC Oaks winner Royal Descent to break through.
The mare has not won since her Oaks triumph but has been consistent, only really running poorly on two occasions. This looks the perfect race for her at this stage of her preparation on the wet track.
Sacred Falls has won two Doncasters on heavy tracks over this course and distance so obviously one must be wary. However, I think he may need one more run to get him to peak fitness, and the George Main Stakes looks a perfect race for him.
Splitting them for mine is CRITERION, the ATC Derby and Rosehill Guineas winner who ran a terrific race fresh. He clearly likes the wet and looks to be ready to produce again.
Entirely Platinum can go in for fourth, while next best is MORIARTY, who was good fresh.
9 – ROYAL DESCENT
8 – CRITERION
1 – SACRED FALLS
7 – ENTIRELY PLATINUM
Race 6 – GROUP 3 CONCORDE STAKES (1000m)
7 – DIDNTCOSTALOT
3 – RAIN AFFAIR
10 – ATMOSPHERICAL
8 – TARGET IN SIGHT
Race 7 – GROUP 2 TRAMWAY STAKES (1400m)
Probably the race of the day for mine, with an open field and plenty of queries.
TIGER TEES will be up on speed and in the mud, he will once again prove hard to beat, but I think LUCIA VALENTINA can cause a minor shock to win fresh.
Her win in the Vinery Stud Stakes and third in the ATC Oaks were both outstanding and she shaped as the filly to follow from the classics. She will obviously appreciate further but fresh, she can be running over the top of them late.
HOOKED and WEARY were both solid first up and both should appreciate the wet.
10 – LUCIA VALENTINA
1 – TIGER TEES
14 – HOOKED
6 – WEARY
Race 8 – TAB REWARDS HANDICAP (1400m)
9 – CORRYVRECKAN
1 – ROCK STURDY
14 – SPY DECODER
4 – SUPREME WARRIOR
The Australian racing season kicks into gear today with the first Group 1 race of the term, the Memsie Stakes.
Spring is in the air as a number of Australia’s best horses begin their preparations today.
After taking in race meetings in the United States, it’s great to get back to my home track Rosehill today ahead of returning to Hong Kong next week.
And with a wet track in Sydney, there looks to be plenty of opportunities to make money. Here’s hoping, anyway!
Here are selections for Caulfield and Rosehill, with a short write-up on each of the stakes races at both venues:
Race 1 – THE COVE HOTEL HANDICAP (1400m)
8 – EMBRACE THE ROCK
1 – VEUVELICIOUS
4 – AMICUS
9 – KALZAEN
Race 2 – CATANACH’S JEWELLERS PLATE (1400m)
7 – LORNA MAY
4 – SUAVITO
3 – ARE THERE ANY
1 – KEEP DE ROSE
Race 3 – WEDRIVE PLATE (1400m)
4 – PRINCE OF PENZANCE
10 – SIGNOFF
1 – COUNT OF LIMONADE
5 – EXIMIUS
Race 4 – HOCKINGSTUART HANDICAP (1200m)
9 – LATE CHARGE
10 – MARWOOD
4 – BY THE GRACE
11 – PRECIOUS GEM
Race 5 – GROUP 3 THESHARK.COM.AU STAKES (1100m)
An open sprint, it’s hard to see any of these matching the feats of last year’s winner Samaready, but time will tell.
Always been a fan of RICHIE’S VIBE, but I think this race suits FLAMBERGE perfectly. Gets in well, maps well, and seems to be continuing to improve. Wouldn’t surprise to see Flamberge emerge as one of Australia’s better sprinters this spring.
Obviously Richie’s Vibe is some hope, if he can find his best – a six and a half length trial victory at Gawler of all places suggests he is ripe for this.
PAGO ROCK’s stats at the Caulfield 1100m are top notch and give him some chance, while RIFLEMAN and LONHSPRESSO are next best.
1 – FLAMBERGE
2 – RICHIE’S VIBE
5 – PAGO ROCK
11 – RIFLEMAN
Race 6 – GROUP 3 H.D.F. MCNEIL STAKES (1200m)
Hardly an inspiring McNeil Stakes, but there has to be a winner and it could be the maiden CORNROW who salutes, given he maps well after a horrid run last start.
He did run third in the Blue Diamond behind Earthquake over this course and distance, and he should get a lovely run in transit which could make all the difference in what is an even field.
FORGIVE AND FORGET may be the fly in the ointment with the step up in trip. It’s worth taking note of his name and forgiving and forgetting his last effort where nothing much went right around the Moonee Valley 1000m. Up to 1200m at Caulfield should be far more suitable and an effort at odds wouldn’t surprise.
CHIVALRY and ZULULAND will both improve with a bit of distance but both can figure, while NORDIC EMPIRE and NOVEL DANCER are other hopes.
6 – CORNROW
12 – FORGIVE AND FORGET
9 – CHIVALRY
1 – ZULULAND
Race 7 – GROUP 3 SPORTINGBET SPRINT SERIES HEAT 1 (1200m)
An intriguing mares race with plenty of chances.
GREGERS deserves her place in the market on the back of a dominant first-up victory, but I cannot believe the price about SINO EAGLE. Sino Eagle battled away gamely in the Aurie’s Star behind Tiger Tees after a dominant first-up win over this track and distance. She’s two from two around the Caulfield circuit and if Glen Boss can somehow get her behind the leaders she’ll be there when the whips are cracking.
As mentioned, Gregers is definitely in with a chance, while REAL SURREAL and A TIME FOR JULIA are both consistent mares with the ability to win here.
From a future viewpoint, keep an eye on DEAR DEMI and COMMANDING JEWEL. They both have targets well down the track and a good effort today would be a bonus.
12 – SINO EAGLE
3 – GREGERS
10 – REAL SURREAL
6 – A TIME FOR JULIA
Race 8 – GROUP 1 MEMSIE STAKES (1400m)
The first Group 1 of the Australian season, and a top line-up set to battle it out for honours.
Very keen on SWEET IDEA here. She is tough as nails and I think Caulfield will suit her. She’s likely to be up on speed with MOMENT OF CHANGE, and she’ll prove tough to pass. She can get her first Group 1 here.
DISSIDENT can run a race fresh on his home track. His autumn form was terrific and definitely good enough to win this race.
Moment of Change is four from four over the Caulfield 1400m, so this is his type of race, but he’s the sort of horse worth opposing here. If he gets into a scrap with Sweet Idea, I know who I’d prefer to be on.
MESSENE next best, while it would be great to see a big effort from SILENT ACHIEVER fresh. Happy to risk BOBAN, who is likely to get into an awkward spot.
11 – SWEET IDEA
8 – DISSIDENT
3 – MOMENT OF CHANGE
7 – MESSENE
Race 9 – LISTED AUSTRALIAN THOROUGHBRED BLOODSTOCK STAKES (1700m)
Still have nightmares of IBICENCO nutting MR O’CEIRIN in this race last year. Horrific.
This year, both return, but I’m going to side with another of last year’s beaten brigade in ARALDO. He was heavily backed here last year, but finished second last, beaten 15 lengths. He proved it was an aberration by winning the Bart Cummings before failing to go straight when third in the Lexus Stakes.
In his second Australian preparation, I think he’ll be improved and he can win this before going on to bigger and better things.
Another likely to be improved in his second prep down under is MASKED MARVEL, who was quite disappointing last spring although showed glimpses of his best at times. He can figure here if he’s acclimatised.
MARKSMANSHIP will be up on the speed and prove hard to run down, while the next best are LET’S MAKE ADEAL, who is back to a better grade for her at this stage, and TRADE COMMISSIONER.
7 – ARALDO
2 – MASKED MARVEL
10 – MARKSMANSHIP
8 – LET’S MAKE ADEAL
Race 1 – TAB EARLY QUADDIE HANDICAP (1400m)
8 – SWEYNESSE
7 – FIRST SEAL
2 – BURNING PASSION
6 – HAMPTON COURT
Race 2 – MORE THAN READY HANDICAP (2000m)
5 – ZAZPARELLA
14 – CUBAN STAR
3 – SCARLETINI
9 – ROYAL AMATI
Race 3 – SCHWEPPES HANDICAP (2400m)
8 – AY NO DIGAS
4 – JO JO GIRL
12 – PRINCE OF SOFIA
2 – PENTOMETER
Race 4 – CELLARBRATIONS HANDICAP (1100m)
6 – JEMERICA
12 – MAROON BAY
11 – ESPRIT’S CHOICE
9 – STOLEN KISSES
Race 5 – TAB QUADDIE HANDICAP (1500m)
5 – GALLATIN
9 – BEYOND THANKFUL
12 – SPY DECODER
7 – TOUGHER THAN EVER
Race 6 – GROUP 3 RUN TO THE ROSE (1200m)
I’m very keen on SARAJEVO for the Golden Rose so hoping to see a good run here to book his spot, but on the heavy track here, I think HALLOWED CROWN is the one to beat. He sailed through the wet going to take out the Kindergarten Stakes in April, defeating subsequent San Domenico runner-up Washington Heights. He’s trialled alright and always looked a three-year-old in the making. Can keep his unbeaten record intact.
Sarajevo ran alright first-up – although it didn’t look overly flash, the sectionals suggest it was a terrific performance. His problem is getting out of the stalls, and if he can’t jump with them, he won’t be winning a feature anytime soon. Hopefully, he can prove his readiness for the Golden Rose with a better-behaved effort today.
San Domenico winner NOSTRADAMUS is a big query, coming from a different formline to most of these, and the wet will prove the key to him. The value may lie with SCRATCH ME LUCKY on the heavy track, while ALMALAD is obviously some chance but I get the feeling he might find this a touch sharp fresh.
5 – HALLOWED CROWN
11 – SARAJEVO
4 – NOSTRADAMUS
7 – SCRATCH ME LUCKY
Race 7 – LISTED PREMIER’S CUP (1800m)
Amazing to think where this race would be without the imports.
This looks a good race for the resuming WISH COME TRUE, with Linda Meech making a rare visit to Sydney. The Italian import is now into his second Australian prep, and improved with every run in his first prep. Seems to perform well fresh, and I don’t think the wet track will be too big an issue. Good value.
The Gai Waterhouse pair BONFIRE and GREATWOOD are understandably favoured on the basis of their fresh runs. Bonfire flew home, while Greatwood battled on gamely on speed. Have a slight leaning to Bonfire but both are good chances.
At odds, don’t be surprised to see CELTIC PRINCE show up. He trialled up a storm before his first-up run, when Brenton Avdulla was queried about the ride. Was far from disgraced regardless. The jury is out on his ability to handle the conditions but he can run a bold race second-up.
Next best SABOR A TRIUNFO.
7 – WISH COME TRUE
3 – BONFIRE
12 – GREATWOOD
9 – CELTIC PRINCE
Race 8 – HYLAND RACE COLOURS HANDICAP (1200m)
5 – TWO BLUE
3 – MOUNT NEBO
6 – CLUSTER
11 – MURDER OF CROWS
Good luck today!
We’re privileged to be trackside in Chicago for what promises to be an interesting day of racing – a horse racing Ryder Cup of sorts, with the Americans hosting the Europeans.
By the end of the day, expect to have some clues for the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate, as well as some horses bound for Hong Kong in December.
I’ve previewed the four international races briefly. Hopefully we can find a winner as we tackle American racing – which, to be honest, I find the toughest of all jurisdictions to understand. Perhaps we might have a better insight after today…
LISTED AMERICAN ST LEGER (1 11/16m – a.2700m)
This race has been upgraded to black type status this year, only two years after it was initiated. Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock have won both runnings of the race, with subsequent Melbourne Cup third Jakkalberry in 2012 before DANDINO’s win last year. Dandino, of course, went on to finish a barnstorming second to Fawkner in the Caulfield Cup before a terrific fifth in Fiorente’s Melbourne Cup.
He has been dreadful in two runs this year – well, his Hardwicke Stakes run wasn’t too bad, but his effort at Newmarket last time out was woeful. Still, if he returns anywhere near his best, he should give these a drubbing. He’s the best of what looks a far superior European bunch here, and he can book his ticket to Melbourne.
If the Europeans are to be defeated, I think it will come from last year’s runner-up SUNTRACER. He has not won in almost two years, but his fast-finishing effort for third in the Stars and Stripes behind fellow runner THE PIZZA MAN off a soft tempo was enough to suggest he can threaten here.
Of the others, keep an eye on HAVANA BEAT – this is the sort of race the enigmatic galloper’s been looking for – while Coolmore’s EYE OF THE STORM is coming off a short back-up by European standards after winning the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown 10 days ago.
2 – DANDINO
11 – SUNTRACER
7 – HAVANA BEAT
9 – EYE OF THE STORM
GRADE 1 SECRETARIAT STAKES (1 1/4m – a.2000m)
It would be a shock if the now half-Australian owned ADELAIDE did not win here. His formlines through Eagle Top look vastly superior here, while it’s arguable he wasn’t at his best in the Belmont Derby when just edged out by Mr Speaker. Fourth-placed Gailo Chop was hugely impressive in winning a Group 2 at Deauville in France a couple of days back, so the form has been franked. This shapes as an easier race and I think he should win here as he heads for the Cox Plate.
DIVINE OATH, to my eye, looks the best of the locals. He’s very lightly raced and is continuing to improve each start, and he won the American Derby over this course and distance last start, showing a terrific turn of foot off a hectic tempo to win comfortably. A repeat off a likely slower tempo, which may prove more suitable, would see him go close.
SHELDON was fifth behind Mr Speaker and Adelaide in the Belmont Derby, when he was closest at the finish. He had a few traffic problems, which may be his problem here again, but I’d expect him to run well.
TOURIST is the local fancy, and he’s likely to get things his own way up in front, but I’m not sure how his form stacks up and happy to take him on. Next best, HIGHBALL.
6 – ADELAIDE
7 – DIVINE OATH
5 – SHELDON
9 – TOURIST
GRADE 1 BEVERLY D (1 3/16m – a.1900m)
It’s an open race, but I do think the three main chances pick themselves.
JUST THE JUDGE looks the one to beat on her best European form. Last year’s Irish 1000 Guineas winner has been good in two performances behind Thistle Bird recently, in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom and the Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh. She’s a ridiculous price in Europe given she’s likely to find this race quite suitable. Really fancy her.
STEPHANIE’S KITTEN is the best of the locals for mine, with three runs under her belt she looks ready to produce. She finished strongly for second behind SOMALI LEMONADE in the Diana at Saratoga last start, and with a slightly quicker tempo here, she should be in the firing line.
I think EURO CHARLINE is some chance, but I think she may not have the tactical speed and the turn of foot necessary for American racing. She’ll be up near the leaders, but I think she may be overcome late – especially stepping up in trip.
Next best TANNERY.
1 – JUST THE JUDGE
5 – STEPHANIE’S KITTEN
2 – EURO CHARLINE
6 – TANNERY
GRADE 1 ARLINGTON MILLION (1 1/4m – a.2000m)
A small but highly competitive field takes on one of America’s better turf races – an oxymoron, given the state of American turf racing, but still…
It’s hard for me to oppose SMOKING SUN here. I saw him in Singapore last start, when he was beaten by a horse I’m very familiar with in Dan Excel. That day, Dan Excel had the perfect run behind Tokei Halo, who set a cracking tempo, and it was hard for anything to make ground to defeat the first couple. It’s likely to set up differently here, and I think Smoking Sun can settle closer and unleash his terrific turn-of-foot.
SIDE GLANCE is probably second on the list of the world’s stalwart globetrotters these days, behind Red Cadeaux. And it is not as though Side Glance is a prolific winner – his only win outside the United Kingdom was the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington last year – but he always seems to pop up for thirds, fourths, fifths, enough to pay for his next trip. He was third here last year, and is coming off a third in the United Nations at Monmouth Park. Likely to be up on the speed, and depending on how much he is pestered by HARDEST CORE, he could prove a tough cookie to run down.
Last year’s winner REAL SOLUTION – who won the race after The Apache was disqualified – is coming into this race in much better form than last year. He is a last-start Grade 1 winner on Belmont Stakes day, taking out the Manhattan Stakes, and has had two months off since then. He did finish five lengths behind MAGICIAN in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but I doubt a mile and a half is his distance and I think he looks a place (or a show) chance here.
Next best Magician, who is awfully short in European markets and looks no value whatsoever.
2 – SMOKING SUN
7 – SIDE GLANCE
6 – REAL SOLUTION
3 – MAGICIAN
Just like that, Royal Ascot has come to its final day, ever so quickly.
Only posting a quick preview with my selections today, as the main focus is on Sha Tin tomorrow as the season winds down. Nevertheless, I hope we can find a winner today to add to what has been a profitable week.
LISTED CHESHAM STAKES (7f)
TOSCANINI caught the eye duelling with Kool Kompany to the line at Naas last time out, and despite Kool Kompany’s failure in the Coventry Stakes, I reckon Toscanini can step up here.
CORDERO obviously has to be respected, first time out for American trainer Wesley Ward – already successful this week with Hootenanny.
DICK WHITTINGTON deserves favouritism but given how Ballydoyle’s juveniles have been going, I’d probably steer clear.
Next best JUSTICE WELL.
12 – TOSCANINI
2 – CORDERO
4 – DICK WHITTINGTON
8 – JUSTICE WELL
DUKE OF EDINBURGH STAKES (1m 4f)
There were reports earlier today that Australian buyers were swirling around the lightly raced ARAB SPRING, a winner of all three starts this season. I’m not sure if he’s the right horse for Australia, but he looks the right horse for this race and have to have him on top.
HAMELIN was good on his seasonal debut and looks bound to head higher in the ratings, while CONTINUUM and LAHAAG – out of form and at big odds but did finish fifth to Opinion in this race last year – are other chances.
1 – ARAB SPRING
13 – HAMELIN
10 – CONTINUUM
12 – LAHAAG
GROUP 2 HARDWICKE STAKES (1m 4f)
The hype seems to centre around one time favourite for last year’s Derby TELESCOPE and last year’s King Edward VII Stakes winner HILLSTAR, but I have a preference for two horses who made the trip out to Australia last year.
I loved the return of last year’s Wolferton Handicap winner FORGOTTEN VOICE in the Aston Park Stakes behind Mount Athos, where he found the line powerfully. He may be a nine-year-old now, but he’s racing as well as ever and I’m expecting a strong performance.
The black stunner DANDINO is also a strong chance. This is his first run since he was injured the day before the Hong Kong Vase, but his Caulfield Cup second to Fawkner is good enough for this, as is his second last year to Thomas Chippendale. It’s no secret the Cups will be his aim again.
Telescope and Hillstar are both chances, with a slight preference to the former, while PETHER’S MOON is in good form.
5 – FORGOTTEN VOICE
2 – DANDINO
10 – TELESCOPE
6 – HILLSTAR
GROUP 1 DIAMOND JUBILEE STAKES (6f)
A slightly subpar Diamond Jubilee Stakes for mine, but there still has to be a winner.
And I can’t see why that couldn’t be GORDON LORD BYRON, who beat SLADE POWER by three lengths in the Sprint Cup. He finished fourth in this race last year and, coming off a successful Australian raid, he can salute here. Perhaps that shows my views on the field that a horse who was easily beaten by Lankan Rupee could win.
The most interesting runner is ALJAMAAHEER, who was a top class miler now attempting his hand over sprint journeys. Will be improved for his third in the Abernant Stakes.
Slade Power is the favourite and is aiming to give Ed Lynam a third win this week and the sprint double after Sole Power’s King’s Stand Stakes win. He’s some chance.
At odds, next best MONTIRIDGE, another who has switched back to sprinting after forging a career as a miler.
5 – GORDON LORD BYRON
1 – ALJAMAAHEER
11 – SLADE POWER
9 – MONTIRIDGE
WOKINGHAM STAKES (6f)
It’s a bit of a lottery, the Wokingham, and have looked to the bottom where SEEKING MAGIC strikes me as a horse with a great chance. Loved his run in the Epsom Dash, where he finished off powerfully. Have to give him a chance here.
ROCKY GROUND and BACCARAT were others to jump off the page, and while SECRET ASSET is hopelessly out of form, a return to his form of two years ago – where he finished third in the Krisflyer Sprint – would see him very attractively handicapped here.
24 – SEEKING MAGIC
4 – ROCKY GROUND
8 – BACCARAT
27 – SECRET ASSET
QUEEN ALEXANDRA STAKES (2m 5f 159y)
The final race of the carnival, where we’ll side with the very lightly raced BRASS RING. Brings some solid form into the race, the only real query is the trip.
TIGER CLIFF has not been disgraced in races like the Yorkshire Cup, and strikes a much easier field here. Will relish the trip too.
EL SALVADOR and ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR best of the rest.
14 – BRASS RING
11 – TIGER CLIFF
4 – EL SALVADOR
16 – ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR
Another mixed day, highlighted (for us, anyway) by Missunited’s third in the Ascot Gold Cup at 80/1. We struck the first four in the race too, which paid handily thanks to the present of the gutsy mare – who, admittedly, had everything to suit too.
Now we’re up to Day 4, where we might be able to catch a couple of breaks at odds. It looks a fascinating day on paper, and should set it up nicely for a big final day.
GROUP 3 ALBANY STAKES (6f)
Watching the videos of these fillies, two clearly stood out.
BITTER LAKE looked a ready-made racehorse on debut, such a professional, while PATIENCE ALEXANDER found the line strongly to beat Tiggy Wiggy, who franked the form when finding only Anthem Alexander too good in the Queen Mary Stakes.
Happy to have them on top of SHOWCARD, who fought back strongly last start, and OSAILA, who was no match on debut but can perform admirably again for the on-fire Al Shaqab Racing.
3 – BITTER LAKE
16 – PATIENCE ALEXANDER
21 – SHOWCARD
15 – OSAILA
LISTED WOLFERTON HANDICAP (1m 2f)
This race has produced Melbourne visitors the last few years, including the likes of Lost In The Moment, Gatewood and Forgotten Voice. This year, the visitor will be CAFE SOCIETY, except it looks like it will be a permanent visit as he joins the stable of Gai Waterhouse.
Cafe Society will be Waterhouse’s second Royal Ascot runner after her top sprinter Bentley Biscuit, and he’s definitely in with a show.
However, even if he has lost all form, I can’t believe the price around about WIGMORE HALL. Michael Bell’s galloper may be a light of other days, when he managed to run third in the Dubai Duty Free among other top races worldwide. Still, he’s now down to a mark which surely should allow him to get back into the winner’s circle. Happy to take the 20/1 about him.
Other chances are the Queen’s BOLD SNIPER, who is still fairly unexposed, and 2012 Tercentenary Stakes winner ENERGIZER, who has only had two runs back from a mandatory ban.
8 – WIGMORE HALL
16 – CAFE SOCIETY
14 – BOLD SNIPER
11 – ENERGIZER
GROUP 2 KING EDWARD VII STAKES (1m 4f)
Can ADELAIDE add to the Australiana theme for Ballydoyle’s three-year-olds this season after Australia’s Derby success?
He’s some chance, but too short for mine. I’d prefer to be on EAGLE TOP, who motored to the line to win a lesser race on debut. Probably needed more to suit last start, but fully expect to see him in the firing line here if he runs up to his debut effort.
SNOW SKY was in the mix for the Derby after winning the Lingfield Derby Trial but he suffered a setback which rulled him out. Should relish the trip and reckon he’ll be around the mark.
As stated already, ADELAIDE’s some chance, while it is hard to line up the form of the unbeaten Italian three-year-old DYLAN MOUTH.
4 – EAGLE TOP
9 – SNOW SKY
2 – ADELAIDE
1 – DYLAN MOUTH
GROUP 1 CORONATION STAKES (1m)
An open feature for the three-year-old fillies with no Classic winner here this time.
MY TITANIA looms as the one they have to beat, but the Sea The Stars filly is making her seasonal reappearance so comes in at something of a disadvantage.
I think she can be beaten by TAPESTRY, Ballydoyle’s runner. She finished a distant last behind Miss France in the 1000 Guineas as favourite, but it looks wise to rule a line through the run and judge her on her previous efforts, which would see her go close.
RIZEENA, too, is another one right in the mix. Seventh in the Guineas, she continued to improve last season as it wore on so I wouldn’t be surprised if she is far improved here, but with more improvement yet to come.
Next best KIYOSHI.
12 – TAPESTRY
7 – MY TITANIA
9 – RIZEENA
3 – KIYOSHI
LISTED QUEEN’S VASE (2m)
An uninspiring edition of the Queen’s Vase, which was downgraded this year from a Group 3 – which looks questionable after the last two winners, Leading Light and Estimate, ran 1-2 in the Ascot Gold Cup!
Went with MONTALY, for no other reason than he looks a plugger who will find the step up in trip to his liking.
HARTNELL did beat him by 10 lengths over 1m 2f, while MARZOCCO looks to have plenty of improvement in him. Both are questionable at the trip – I’d think Hartnell is better but Marzocco may appreciate the trip more.
Next best CENTURY.
10 – MONTALY
5 – HARTNELL
8 – MARZOCCO
3 – CENTURY
BUCKINGHAM PALACE STAKES (7f)
An open race with plenty of chances.
It’s a shame that Neil Callan, who has ridden the last two winners of the race, isn’t riding today. Instead, he’s in Hong Kong preparing for Sunday.
I think the lightly raced WATCHABLE could prove one to watch here. He’s clearly improving and he looms as a chance of a low enough mark.
Depending on which ONE WORD MORE turns up, he could be a chance – of some concern, though, is that he doesn’t seem to fire at Ascot. Still, wouldn’t be surprised if he runs alright with a run under his belt.
At massive odds, could see DEAUVILLE PRINCE in the mix – a three-length fourth to Soft Falling Rain at Meydan last year doesn’t look too bad for a horse off his mark.
The favourite RUSSIAN REALM is next best.
17 – WATCHABLE
20 – ONE WORD MORE
19 – DEAUVILLE PRINCE
16 – RUSSIAN REALM
A bit of a mixed day yesterday, but hopefully we can have some more luck on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot!
Today’s been a bit rushed in terms of a write up, so I’ve only given a quick preview along with my selections. Good luck if you are playing today.
GROUP 2 NORFOLK STAKES (5f)
As has been the case all week, two-year-old form has continued to baffle me, but I do think THE GREAT WAR should just about win and he’s a price that reflects that. He looks headed for better things. BAITHA ALGA best of the rest.
8 – THE GREAT WAR
2 – BAITHA ALGA
6 – MUKHMAL
7 – SNAP SHOTS
GROUP 3 TERCENTENARY STAKES (1m 2f)
I know there’s a big buzz around for CANNOCK CHASE, but I’m looking to bet around him. He beat absolutely nothing, but I loved the style of MUTAKAYYEF’s maiden win and with that confidence booster, the penny may have dropped. Happy to back him at 6/1 or so. OBLITERATOR clearly didn’t handle the going in the Irish 2000 Guineas and I’m expecting big improvement.
4 – MUTAKAYYEF
5 – OBLITERATOR
3 – CLOUDSCAPE
2 – CANNOCK CHASE
GROUP 2 RIBBLESDALE STAKES (1m 4f)
The French can strike here with VAZIRA, who was second last start in the Prix Saint-Alary. Will relish the step up in trip and she can give Sea The Stars another Group winner. At odds, could entertain having something on the Ballydoyle second-stringer TERRIFIC, although she was extremely disappointing at Chester.
11 – VAZIRA
10 – TERRIFIC
6 – INCHILA
2 – BRACELET
GROUP 1 ASCOT GOLD CUP (2m 4f)
For mine, LEADING LIGHT does look the one to beat, no doubt. But at the trip, I couldn’t be taking odds-on about him, so I’ll be backing two to beat him.
I think there’ll be no worries for BROWN PANTHER at the trip, he’s racing in terrific form and I think he’ll
And at a big price, I’ll be having something small each way on MISSUNITED, who won the Saval Beg Stakes gamely last time out. She’s a seven-year-old mare so her improvement is questionable, but I think she will relish the good-to-firm track conditions.
3 – BROWN PANTHER
14 – MISSUNITED
10 – LEADING LIGHT
13 – ESTIMATE
BRITANNIA STAKES (1m)
Won last year by Roca Tumu, while my tip Llaregyb was nowhere to be seen. Who could have thought, this time last year, that I’d see them on a regular basis in Hong Kong just a year later? Roca Tumu is now Beauty Flame, Llaregyb is now Packing Llaregyb, and both have won this season in Hong Kong.
So who might we be seeing over here? Well, it’s an open race and so it’s a bit of a throw at the stumps. I liked the manner in which MINDUROWNBUSINESS won at Yarmouth last time out, he gets in with absolutely nothing although he may be looking for further now. The other one to catch the eye was HORS DE COMBAY, also impressive last time out at Newmarket.
29 – MINDUROWNBUSINESS
9 – HORS DE COMBAT
3 – ZARWAAN
28 – BORN IN BOMBAY
KING GEORGE V STAKES (1m 4f)
Another open race for emerging stayers, including the first Australian representation for the week with Bremner now owned by clients of Gai Waterhouse.
ELITE ARMY is the favoured of the Godolphin runners but I’m keener on PERSONAL OPINION, who chased solidly last start. The 1m 4f here should be right up his alley. Also keen to see VENEZIA up in trip too.
9 – PERSONAL OPINION
14 – VENEZIA
4 – WINDSHEAR
6 – ELITE ARMY