The first of the spring’s big three races is here – the Caulfield Cup, the world’s richest mile and a half handicap, although I’m not sure it’s much of a handicap anymore with the compressed weight scale…
This week has seen a Caulfield Cup lead-up unlike any other, with drama after drama after drama. The only other thing that could go wrong is that there is a repeat of the 2007 Maldivian/Eskimo Queen incident at the barriers.
I had planned to do a horse-by-horse write-up but a number of factors ensured that didn’t happen. Instead, I will save the monster preview for the Melbourne Cup, as always.
Outside the Caulfield Cup, the David Jones Cup – the old Coongy Handicap – is a fascinating race with a couple of new imports joining a number of locals on the Melbourne Cup trail.
The first running of the Norman Robinson Stakes as the Caulfield Classic is quite underwhelming. Outside that, though, the card looks fairly strong.
So who will win today, and in particular, who will etch their name into the Caulfield Cup honour roll? Read on for my thoughts.
Race 1 – YELLOWGLEN PLATE (1400m)
2 – AZKADELLIA
6 – SHACARDE
11 – KANSAS SUNFLOWER
7 – I’M A FLYING STAR
Race 2 – LISTED GOTHIC STAKES (1400m)
11 – ARMADA
1 – TUDOR
9 – STAVIVA
2 – STRATUM’S STAR
Race 3 – LISTED ETHEREAL STAKES (2000m)
10 – HIPSTER GIRL
3 – MAASTRICHT
7 – LITTLE HOTTIE
6 – SAVAGE COUP
Race 4 – GROUP 3 CAULFIELD CLASSIC (2000m)
4 – MAGICOOL
13 – CRAFTY
5 – FIREHOUSE ROCK
2 – MERION
Race 5 – GROUP 3 MOONGA STAKES (1400m)
6 – LEEBAZ
10 – ADMIRE INAZUMA
4 – FLAMBERGE
3 – MANAWANUI
Race 6 – GROUP 2 TRISTARC STAKES (1400m)
6 – GIRL GUIDE
3 – SWEET IDEA
4 – CATKINS
2 – MAY’S DREAM
Race 7 – GROUP 3 DAVID JONES CUP (2000m)
12 – NOBLE PROTECTOR
5 – KINGDOMS
2 – CONTRIBUTER
9 – SIGNOFF
Race 8 – GROUP 2 CAULFIELD SPRINT (1100m)
1 – BEL SPRINTER
8 – I’M ALL THE TALK
5 – BIG MONEY
4 – MIRACLES OF LIFE
Race 9 – GROUP 1 CAULFIELD CUP (2400m)
What a week of drama it has been! Scratchings left, right and centre have seen last year’s placegetters Dandino and Dear Demi, the second favourite Bande and Naturalism Stakes winner Gris Caro all withdrawn on veterinary advice. That means all four emergencies have gained a start.
It’s definitely not the strongest Caulfield Cup I’ve seen, far from it, and there looks to be a fair tail to it now. That’s a real shame too, as it means we are taking rock bottom odds about our selection – the favourite LUCIA VALENTINA.
A backmarker with a stellar turn of foot, she won the Vinery Stud Stakes in the autumn before producing a massive run when third to RISING ROMANCE in the ATC Australian Oaks. This spring, she began with a barnstorming win in the Tramway Handicap, a passable sixth in the George Main Stakes before a terrific win in the Turnbull Stakes.
She does look about the right price, but in the last few years, I’ve never been keen to take $4 or so about a runner in the Caulfield Cup. In fact, I’ve been loathe to take a favourite at all.
My record in the Caulfield Cup is shocking, but the last five years I’ve been on Silent Achiever ($8, 8th), Jakkalberry ($21, 13th), Manighar ($13, 4th), Mr Medici ($17, 6th) and Allez Wonder ($10, 8th). Only one at single figures, and no real success whatsoever.
So history would tell you to stay away from my Caulfield Cup selection.
But try as I might to build a case around every other horse, I find it simply impossible and I have to rush into Lucia Valentina.
Yes, there are recent stats against four-year-old mares, but I doubt many have entered with the form Lucia Valentina possesses. Ditto with Turnbull Stakes winners.
Yes, her running style lends itself to hard luck stories, but she’s still found ways to win in impossible scenarios this preparation so far.
I think with even luck in running, she will win. She’s well weighted, she’s in terrific form and she’s on an upward spiral. This has been the race in which I’ve wanted to back her all spring, and I’m sticking to my guns.
For second, and for the value, I am looking at STIPULATE.
This David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained import started the spring with a bang when winning the Heatherlie Handicap, before an even effort when stepping up to weight for age in the Underwood Stakes and an acceptable run in the Turnbull Stakes.
The big query for him is the distance, not having won beyond nine furlongs and not having been tested beyond 2000m. But I didn’t mind his Turnbull Stakes run at all, he’s drawn to get a soft run, and don’t forget – Fawkner had not won beyond 1800m and had not raced beyond 2040m before winning the Caulfield Cup last year, either.
Also coming from the Turnbull is LIDARI, who was game in defeat and has had the perfect preparation for this race. He is yet to win this spring but has not disgraced himself, improving with each run as he has stepped up in trip – fifth in the Lawrence Stakes to Star Rolling, fourth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam to The Cleaner, fourth in the Underwood Stakes to Foreteller before a game second last time out. He has not raced beyond 2000m in Australia, but he was a winner over 2400m in fairly weak French races. A big plus for him is that he maps well and should have every favour in the run.
Of the internationals, ADMIRE RAKTI is the one to watch. A Group Three winner carrying topweight sounds bizarre, but his performances in Japan have been solid (although he’s a bit of a non-winner). He did finish fourth in the Japan Cup behind Gentildonna last year, but it was a bunched finish so I’m not sure how much can be taken from that. That said, he looks an ideal Melbourne Cup type and he looks like he’ll be suited by the likely pace scenario so he’s somewhat of a chance.
The European representative SEISMOS is a very quirky animal, a very Jekyll and Hyde character, and it depends which Seismos turns up. He plugged away in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes last start, showing no turn of foot at all and yet somehow finding himself in front at the line. He needs to begin smartly to be a chance here, as I think his only hope from the inside is to roll forward. I’d prefer to see him first, and have him well down the list, but if he gets up on speed then he could run alright.
After Admire Rakti, would have second favourite BRAMBLES in next on the back of his Turnbull Stakes third. Also give THE OFFER a small hope, although I do think he’d be better with give in the ground, while RISING ROMANCE and WHO SHOT THEBARMAN go into all exotics.
15 – LUCIA VALENTINA
13 – STIPULATE
14 – LIDARI
1 – ADMIRE RAKTI
Race 10 – LISTED ALINGHI STAKES (1100m)
3 – ANATINA
6 – SINO EAGLE
14 – I LOVE IT
4 – CRADLE ME
The first big day of the spring is here, with Caulfield Guineas day featuring five Group 1 races – four from Caulfield and one from Randwick.
It’s a defining day for the Cox Plate, while next week’s Caulfield Cup field will be much clearer after today.
So who will win? Hopefully we can find more winners after a nice few weeks.
Good luck today!
Race 1 – LISTED DEBUTANT STAKES (1000m)
3 – SCHOPENHAUER
2 – OF THE BRAVE
5 – STYLISH ASSASSIN
8 – HELFORD RIVER
Race 2 – GROUP 3 THOROUGHBRED CLUB STAKES (1200m)
1 – EARTHQUAKE
8 – MORE RADIANT
2 – AIMEE
6 – YGRITTE
Race 3 – LISTED WEEKEND HUSSLER STAKES (1400m)
5 – TANGO’S DAUGHTER
3 – SISTINE DEMON
2 – ALMA’S FURY
4 – EXIMIUS
Race 4 – GROUP 2 SCHILLACI STAKES (1000m)
3 – NOT LISTENIN’TOME
7 – RUBICK
4 – OVERREACH
5 – PLATELET
Race 5 – GROUP 2 HERBERT POWER STAKES (2400m)
1 – PROTECTIONIST
2 – SANGSTER
4 – LORD VAN PERCY
5 – LET’S MAKE ADEAL
Race 6 – GROUP 1 CAULFIELD STAKES (2000m)
A top renewal of the Caulfield Stakes which looks like it will serve as an important Cox Plate guide.
I’m very keen on FAWKNER here to add another Caulfield feature to his tally. He was terrific first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes, just failing to run down DISSIDENT, and comes here second-up. He’ll obviously take more improvement for the run, but he should get a very good run here and may prove hard to toss.
At odds, SERTORIUS can run a race as he prepares for next week’s Caulfield Cup. He was scratched from the Turnbull last week due to an irregular blood test, but bounced back quickly so it’s hardly affected his preparation. He has been good without being great so far, the step up in trip should suit and I’d hope to see him finding some form here ahead of next week’s race.
Another one scratched from the Turnbull, but for a different reason, was CRACKERJACK KING. His Underwood Stakes third was outstanding, albeit with a pace scenario to suit. It doesn’t look too different here, though, which should give him an opportunity to produce a similar run.
Also suited by the likely pace scenario is SIDE GLANCE, who led them up in the Arlington Million last time out and battled on gamely but couldn’t match Hardest Core and Magician. He seems to always run a consistent race but rarely wins, save for last year’s Mackinnon Stakes, and his ability to make his own luck sees him as a potential place candidate here.
Next best HAPPY TRAILS and DEAR DEMI.
3 – FAWKNER
6 – SERTORIUS
7 – CRACKERJACK KING
2 – SIDE GLANCE
Race 7 – GROUP 1 TOORAK HANDICAP (1600m)
A very open Toorak and tough to decipher.
Despite being lumped with 58kg, I think GUEST OF HONOUR can race his way into Cox Plate contention here. He has found form at his last two starts for two nice wins, and the form through Mull of Killough and Long John last start can stand up here. Big chance.
I like AKAVOROUN as a horse and I think he is getting up to a trip where we should see his best. He’s been far from disgraced in two runs to date this spring and should be peaking here. Can get a nice run and be right in the finish.
COMMANDING JEWEL was disappointing last start, but should be ridden colder today and if she runs up to her form prior, she should be in the mix.
Next best ARABIAN GOLD, who was stellar first up in Sydney but faces a new test here, TRUST IN A GUST and ATLANTE.
1 – GUEST OF HONOUR
10 – AKAVOROUN
3 – COMMANDING JEWEL
7 – ARABIAN GOLD
Race 8 – GROUP 1 THOUSAND GUINEAS (1600m)
It seems odd having the Thousand Guineas on the Saturday, and it doesn’t really make sense with the Flight Stakes the week before. Still, there has to be a winner.
The three favourites – LUMOSTY, GO INDY GO, AFLEET ESPRIT – deserve their place at the head of the market and all are strong chances.
At odds, though, I’m looking at SABATINI to run a bold race. Sabatini won the Quezette Stakes before finishing third to Afleet Esprit and Lumosty down the straight in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes. Last start, in the Prelude, she finished fifth to Afleet Esprit after missing the start and boxing on okay. I think, if she can begin a little bit better, she might herself a little more forward today and the mile shouldn’t be a query at all. I’m expecting a bold run.
Putting Lumosty in for second on the basis that the mile should be right up her alley, while Go Indy Go is another that will relish the mile. Not so sure about Afleet Esprit at the trip so she goes in for fourth.
4 – SABATINI
6 – LUMOSTY
2 – GO INDY GO
3 – AFLEET ESPRIT
Race 9 – GROUP 1 CAULFIELD GUINEAS (1600m)
An interesting Guineas, not sure these are absolute topliners but there are some nice horses amongst them nevertheless.
The hype centres around RICH ENUFF, who has been most impressive in three starts this spring. The big query for me, though, is the mile and the fact he’s unlikely to get an easy time up near the speed.
Therefore, I’m looking at LOOKS LIKE THE CAT, who looks like he’ll relish every inch of the mile. He does meet Rich Enuff 2.5kg worse for a last start defeat, but up to a mile with an extra run under his belt and a more favourable pace scenario, I think he can win. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him emerge as a Cox Plate contender after this.
Rich Enuff has to be right up there, while SHOOTING TO WIN – coming off a dominant Stan Fox Stakes victory – and CHIVALRY, who just needs to find some luck in his races, are other top chances.
7 – LOOKS LIKE THE CAT
3 – RICH ENUFF
4 – SHOOTING TO WIN
6 – CHIVALRY
Race 10 – GROUP 3 SPORTINGBET SPRINT SERIES FINAL (1200m)
1 – GIRL GUIDE
2 – SHAMAL WIND
3 – BRILLIANT BISC
11 – SOOSA RAMA
Race 6 – GROUP 1 SPRING CHAMPION STAKES (2000m)
A small field but an interesting affair nonetheless.
Am I the only one shocked at the price about FIRST SEAL? Big unders for mine, no matter how good she was last week, and would be happy to stick with the two star colts instead.
Happy to stick with SWEYNESSE instead. Terrific win in the Gloaming Stakes last time out and he looks a real nice middle-distance horse in the making. I think he can make the step to Group 1 company here.
PANZER DIVISION comes out of the George Main Stakes, which has already proved a strong form reference with Lucia Valentina winning the Turnbull Stakes and Royal Descent just being edged out in the Epsom Handicap. Not sure the 2000m will be his right trip but has the right form and will be the main danger.
FIRST SEAL obviously must be included, and those three look head and shoulders above the next best, POUNAMU.
1 – SWEYNESSE
3 – PANZER DIVISION
8 – FIRST SEAL
5 – POUNAMU
Ah, the first Saturday in October. The point of the year when racing becomes Australia’s national sport, just for one month.
Ok, so we still have the NRL Grand Final to come, but apart from that it is all racing from now until the end of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
And what a month awaits!
The horses may not be as strong as they usually are, but it is competitive racing and there are plenty of winners to be found.
There are four Group 1 races today across the two meetings, and every race holds black type status.
It’s just the start of a big weekend of racing, with big Group 1 racing in New Zealand and America, the Arc meeting in France and the return of some of Hong Kong’s best horses tomorrow.
It doesn’t get much better!
Good luck with your wagers today.
Race 1 – LISTED GIMCRACK STAKES (1000m)
8 – SPEAK FONDLY
9 – THEMIS
3 – FLAUNTING
6 – PREVAIL
Race 2 – LISTED BREEDERS’ PLATE (1000m)
12 – SOOBOOG
9 – MORE THAN FABULOUS
14 – VANCOUVER
13 – STIMAC
Race 3 – LISTED DULCIFY QUALITY (1600m)
4 – DUCCIO
2 – SCRATCH ME LUCKY
1 – BACHMAN
3 – HAMPTON COURT
Race 4 – GROUP 2 ROMAN CONSUL STAKES (1200m)
1 – HALLOWED CROWN
3 – BRAZEN BEAU
2 – TIME FOR WAR
4 – NOSTRADAMUS
Race 5 – GROUP 3 CRAVEN PLATE (2000m)
7 – RISING ROMANCE
5 – DANCHAI
4 – MORIARTY
3 – SLOW PACE
Race 6 – GROUP 2 PREMIERE STAKES (1200m)
5 – CHARLIE BOY
1 – SINCERO
8 – I’VE GOT THE LOOKS
2 – FAMOUS SEAMUS
Race 7 – GROUP 1 EPSOM HANDICAP (1600m)
A pretty pathetic Epsom Handicap, in all honesty. Looks more like a BM85 with a few class horses thrown in. Still, there has to be a winner, and Chris Waller looks to hold all the aces.
I’m hoping Joao Moreira is the man on HE’S YOUR MAN. I love the step back in distance here with him, and he looks to have the turn of foot required to win the race. He’s going really well, and Moreira can get his first Australian Group 1 winner here.
ROYAL DESCENT has not won since her Oaks victory but she’s been a model of consistency. Can she finally get her head in front at the wire? I think she’s pretty well weighted in a race of this nature, so a win wouldn’t surprise at all.
STAR ROLLING was impressive first up but has been disappointing at his next two. There were excuses in the Dato when he was simply gassed by The Cleaner, but he probably should have done more last start. Still, if he is to get out and rolling, I think he can be in the mix.
At odds, LUCKY CHAPPY is not the worst bet. He’s also stepping back in trip, and while he’s a bit of an unreliable type, he is in fairly good form at the moment. Worth an each-way wager.
6 – HE’S YOUR MAN
2 – ROYAL DESCENT
5 – STAR ROLLING
10 – LUCKY CHAPPY
Race 8 – GROUP 1 FLIGHT STAKES (1600m)
Again, not the strongest Flight Stakes ever seen. There do appear three main chances, although if Twirl and Muscovado hadn’t been scratched, I could definitely have entertained LADY SHARAPOVA as the bolter to get over the top.
I’ve been really impressed with THINKING OF YOU in her two starts to date. She can make the phenomenal rise from Wodonga maiden to Group 1 winner in three starts today, as she has the turn of foot and tactical speed to capitalise in the small field. Plus, I think on ability, she’s as good as any horse in the race.
WINX and FIRST SEAL represent the Sydney fillies, coming from the Tea Rose Stakes. I prefer Winx as a horse, although I do think First Seal beat her fair and square last start. Both are definitely chances, although I think Winx may be more suited by this race.
We’ll keep Lady Sharapova as a chance, but not as keen as we were earlier in the week.
6 – THINKING OF YOU
1 – WINX
2 – FIRST SEAL
7 – LADY SHARAPOVA
Race 9 – GROUP 1 THE METROPOLITAN (2400m)
A very even field of stayers here.
More hoping than confident with OUR VOODOO PRINCE. He entered the spring as the Caulfield Cup favourite, and while he hasn’t lived up to that billing, he’s been far from disgraced. The trip should suit now and hopefully he can get one big crack at them late.
KINGDOMS comes from the Kingston Town Stakes, and I rate that form for the Epsom. He’s been a quirky horse. He was my sole Caulfield Cup prepost bet last year, and of course he won a 2400m race on Caulfield Cup day – just not the Caulfield Cup! There seems to be shades of Hume with him, in that Brian Smith seems to rejuvenated him. There’s a good race in him, and perhaps that might be today.
JUNOOB was terrific in winning a very tactical Hill Stakes. It’s a completely different race here, but he does look the one to beat off that run – and the compressed weight scale works in his favour too.
Next best BRIGANTIN, who was good in the Newcastle Cup and seems to be twice the price he should be, and SPILLWAY.
8 – OUR VOODOO PRINCE
10 – KINGDOMS
1 – JUNOOB
6 – BRIGANTIN
Race 1 – LISTED MARIBYRNONG TRIAL STAKES (1000m)
3 – ICEFLOW
4 – LAKE JACKSON
9 – DAGNY
12 – RESULTS
Race 2 – LISTED UCI STAKES (1800m)
4 – WAR POINT
11 – ATMOSPHERE
1 – FIREHOUSE ROCK
14 – KAIZAEN
Race 3 – GROUP 3 THE BART CUMMINGS (2500m)
3 – WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
1 – SEA MOON
6 – MARKSMANSHIP
5 – ETHIOPIA
Race 4 – LISTED YELLOWGLEN VINTAGE STAKES (1400m)
10 – DECONSTRUCTED
6 – STAVIVA
3 – FORGIVE AND FORGET
2 – WANDJINA
Race 5 – GROUP 2 GILGAI STAKES (1200m)
11 – BOUNDING
4 – CHAUTAUQUA
5 – TEMPLE OF BOOM
3 – FLAMBERGE
Race 6 – GROUP 2 EDWARD MANIFOLD STAKES (1600m)
9 – MAASTRICHT
13 – LITTLE HOTTIE
15 – HIPSTER GIRL
7 – PITTSBURGH FLYER
Race 7 – GROUP 1 TURNBULL STAKES (2000m)
A fascinating race, if not a stellar renewal of the Turnbull Stakes.
There are quite a few horses I like here for the next month, but that I can’t have today. For instance, I really like LUCIA VALENTINA in the Caulfield Cup, but given her hoof issues and the likely pace scenario I’m happy to let her go without me. Similarly, SILENT ACHIEVER – I want to see her produce her autumn form first before steaming into her.
Instead, I’ll be sticking with a horse who is yet to win this prep but is finally heading the right way – PUISSANCE DE LUNE.
I haven’t been able to find Puissance de Lune at all since his Queen Elizabeth Stakes win. He’s been too short most of the time or he’s been in unsuitable races. However, I think this race should set up perfectly for him, whether Brad Rawiller decides to push towards the lead or sit behind them.
I’ve much preferred the progression of his preparation this year, and he can gain that elusive “Group 1 winner” tag here.
Outside of him, I’m looking at the horses who are needing to win this race to have any chance of gaining a start in some of the bigger affairs in the coming weeks.
2012 Queensland Derby winner BRAMBLES had almost two years on the sidelines but he’s very good at his last two starts. He should be able to sit handy and now getting up to a suitable distance, he can run a big race here as he looks to get into the Caulfield Cup.
ENTIRELY PLATINUM looks like he could get across to the lead fairly easily if that’s the intention, he strikes me as one of these emerging types who have used this race as a stepping stone to bigger things in the past. Probably should have won the Naturalism Stakes and is going well enough to win, especially under these conditions.
The horse that beat him last time, GRIS CARO, has to find something here but maps brilliantly and it’s hard to tell how much further he can progress. He looks over the odds.
Next best SUPER COOL, who looked like he was on the brink of returning to form with a nice run in the Underwood Stakes, and HAPPY TRAILS.
8 – PUISSANCE DE LUNE
15 – BRAMBLES
12 – ENTIRELY PLATINUM
13 – GRIS CARO
Race 8 – GROUP 2 BLAZER STAKES (1400m)
1 – MAY’S DREAM
2 – BONARIA
15 – DIG A PONY
5 – ENQUARE
Race 9 – LISTED HEADQUARTERS TAVERN STAKES (1400m)
8 – SPIRITS DANCE
2 – LUCKY HUSSLER
11 – RYKER
5 – SAINT OR SINNER
It’s not long now until footy finals are over, October is here and spring racing is the topic of choice in Australia.
I’ve provided my selections for all races, as well as my analysis of the two Group 1 races – the Underwood Stakes and the George Main Stakes – and arguably the most important race of the day, the Naturalism Stakes.
Race 1 – PANCARE FOUNDATION PLATE (1000m)
3 – ZELETTO
1 – BULLPIT
2 – PETROLOGY
9 – DECONSTRUCTED
Race 2 – THE INGLIS READY2RACE SALE BONUS (1700m)
11 – FIREHOUSE ROCK
3 – KAIZAEN
9 – MANHATTAN AVENUE
5 – WAR POINT
Race 3 – ALANNAH HILL PLATE (1100m)
6 – ANATINA
7 – RIFLEMAN
1 – ADAMANTIUM
2 – KENCELLA
Race 4 – TMB PRINTING HANDICAP (1400m)
13 – THINKING OF YOU
3 – FONTEIN RUBY
9 – PICKIN’ TIME
1 – VEUVELICIOUS
Race 5 – DALZIEL RACING TILE IMPORTER HANDICAP (1400m)
7 – MEMBERS JOY
4 – KEEP DE ROSE
5 – SUAVITO
13 – DIG A PONY
Race 6 – GROUP 3 NATURALISM STAKES (2000m)
One of the most interesting races of the day as all runners search for a ballot-exempt Caulfield Cup spot.
I was initially keen on ZANBAGH and ARALDO, but Zanbagh has been scratched and I’m not sure Araldo will be in the right position. That said, I think Araldo is one to follow going forward.
Last year’s race turned into a farce with Glen Boss controlling the speed and pretty much ensuring he was the only horse who could win. This year could turn out to be something similar with limited speed.
I think the horse they are all going to have to run down is ENTIRELY PLATINUM. He was terrible last start in the Chelmsford, but given the bottomless conditions I think he can be forgiven. Before that, he’d been game in winning a Rosehill handicap, and this is the distance he wants. He will sit up on speed with BONFIRE and can prove too tough in the final stages.
The x-factor is OUR VOODOO PRINCE, finally getting to a suitable distance. He was the early Caulfield Cup favourite off his top-notch win over this course and distance in the Easter Cup and a repeat would see him go very close in this. Pace is likely to play against him, but on his autumn performances it may not be a killer.
SPILLWAY will be charging late after two good weight-for-age runs, but whether he can get over the top of two leaders who’ve had a soft run remains a query. I still think he can make the Caulfield Cup field even without winning here, so all is not lost for those that have backed him in futures markets if he does miss out today.
Bonfire can hang around for a placing, while LET’S MAKE ADEAL is the interesting runner. If she settles more forward, she could be in the mix.
3 – ENTIRELY PLATINUM
4 – OUR VOODOO PRINCE
1 – SPILLWAY
5 – BONFIRE
Race 7 – GROUP 1 UNDERWOOD STAKES (1800m)
Not the greatest Underwood Stakes, but that may not be a bad thing as there looks to be money to be made.
Should say from the outset that if betting was about finding the best horse in the race, I’d have everything I owned on SILENT ACHIEVER. She’s the class of the field and
But I’m not convinced the way the race will be run will suit her, and so I’m left with two horses I think will be suited today.
STAR ROLLING was good first-up in the Lawrence Stakes, with those behind including Spillway, Puissance De Lune and today’s rivals FORETELLER and LIDARI, before a somewhat disappointing performance in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes. However, he was left chasing The Cleaner as the Tasmanian upped the pace, which dulled his own sprint and left him a sitting shot. That’s a must forgive performance, and with a softer pace, he can turn it around with victory today.
The same caveat about the Dato can be made about the import CRACKERJACK KING. He was right with Star Rolling when the tempo increased, and second up off a two-year break, his fitness just gave out. He’s 100-1 with some outlets, and is far from the worst 100-1 shot you’ll ever see. He’ll run better than his odds suggest – whether that’s good enough to win, I’m not sure, but I’ll be having something on.
Silent Achiever has to be included because she is the class runner, while STIPULATE was impressive in the Heatherlie Handicap and though he won’t get the same scenario here, he could still be in the mix. Next best HAPPY TRAILS.
7 – STAR ROLLING
5 – CRACKERJACK KING
10 – SILENT ACHIEVER
9 – STIPULATE
Race 8 – GROUP 3 SPORTINGBET SPRINT SERIES HEAT 2 STAKES (1200m)
1 – SAMAREADY
13 – GIRL GUIDE
3 – SPIRITS DANCE
5 – ENQUARE
Race 9 – LE PINE FUNERALS HANDICAP (1400m)
5 – TRUST IN A GUST
16 – CAUTHEN
10 – PIN YOUR HOPES
3 – LUCKY HUSSLER
Race 1 – BACARDI UNTAMEABLE HANDICAP (1600m)
3 – DEVONSHIRE DUKE
1 – SUPREME WARRIOR
7 – BLACK REVOLVER
2 – PAEDEROS
Race 2 – GROUP 3 BILL RITCHIE HANDICAP (1400m)
2 – MANAWANUI
1 – MONTON
5 – ROCK STURDY
3 – RIVA DE LAGO
Race 3 – LISTED HERITAGE STAKES (1100m)
6 – THIS IS AUSTRALIA
2 – BUGATTY
7 – SHAUMARI
1 – DELECTATION
Race 4 – GROUP 2 TEA ROSE STAKES (1400m)
1 – EARTHQUAKE
6 – LADY SHARAPOVA
4 – WINX
5 – SULTRY FEELING
Race 5 – GROUP 2 HILL STAKES (2000m)
1 – MORIARTY
7 – CRITERION
8 – LA AMISTAD
2 – BAGMAN
Race 6 – GROUP 1 GEORGE MAIN STAKES (1600m)
Interesting race, and quite like many of the Sydney Group races so far this spring, not quite the strongest renewal.
Surely this is ROYAL DESCENT’s day to finally win an open age Group 1. It’s hard to believe she hasn’t won since her Oaks romp but the three times she’s tackled this track and distance she’s finished second, by a half neck in last year’s George Main, by a half length in this year’s Doncaster Mile and by a nose in the Chelmsford. Surely, SURELY, this is her time to shine.
I think PANZER DIVISION is a definite danger, as he’ll be up on speed in a race that lacks pace with the light weight of 50.5kg. Expect him to be in front as they top the rise, it just depends whether this is all too soon for him – he did only win his first start, a Kembla maiden, two months ago yesterday.
I love LUCIA VALENTINA, and she was very good to me first up with her explosive finish at decent odds. Second-up in a paceless race as she embarks on a Cups campaign, I wouldn’t expect the same sort of performance. In fact, I probably wouldn’t back her again now until the Caulfield Cup.
Next best SACRED FALLS, who should be ready to fire from here on in, and RISING ROMANCE.
6 – ROYAL DESCENT
10 – PANZER DIVISION
7 – LUCIA VALENTINA
1 – SACRED FALLS
Race 7 – WILLIAM SHAW KNITWEAR HANDICAP (1200m)
6 – ATMOSPHERICAL
8 – MAYSOON
2 – EQUATOR
11 – RED DYNAMITE
Race 8 – GROUP 2 THE SHORTS (1100m)
3 – TERRAVISTA
7 – VILLA VERDE
9 – DIDNTCOSTALOT
6 – I’M ALL THE TALK
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!