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Can Budai cause Lawrence Stakes upset? Preview of racing 13/08/2011

August 13, 2011

I don’t know about everyone else, but I always consider the San Domenico Stakes to be the start of the spring in Sydney and the Liston Stakes to be the start of the spring in Melbourne. So, despite the fact spring is another three weeks away, I say – welcome to the spring for 2011!

I’ll start in Sydney, where it is a beautiful day outside. I’m not sure if the track will be upgraded but we can always hope!

One of my fifteen horses to follow, Strike The Stars, goes around in race 1. Unfortunately, he is probably unsuited by the lack of pace which will come from being in such a small field. I’d be happy with a nice run as he prepares for the Spring Champion Stakes in seven weeks time.

In race 2, the Premier’s Cup Prelude, I’m going to go for an exacta here – Foreteller does look a moral, but he may race a bit below the level he set last start. That said, in this field he should still be too good. I’m going to take the exacta with another import, Akinoshirabe. She wasn’t bad first up and she’ll appreciate getting out to 1800m.

The Group 3 San Domenico Stakes over 1100m is the highlight on the card, despite a small field. Foxwedge looks the goods, and I have no doubt he is the best horse in the race. However, I’m also expecting a big run from Defiant Dame – if she produces her Gimcrack Stakes form! Remember, she ran a second quicker than Smart Missile on the same day. I think she’ll beat home Karuta Queen and I reckon she’ll test the favourite. The quinella looks a good option.

The Listed Starlight Stakes over 1100m is a pretty good race on paper. I can see a cracking pace set by Gold Trail and Zaratone, which I believe will set it up for something to come from the back. Master of Design was extremely impressive at his first run in Sydney, but I reckon at odds I might have something on Dorf Command. She’s double figures but she has a great turn of foot at her best. She’s looked good in recent trials and I think she can return in good order.

In Melbourne, it is a day of resumers! I think I might have an each way wager on Budai in the feature, the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes over 1400m. He is without doubt the most classy of David Hayes’ four imports, and he would be the only one I’d entertain in a race like this. Vision D’Etat form is good form, and he arguably should have beaten the Hong Kong Cup winner that day. That said, it looks Whobegotyou’s race to lose, despite the fact that pace will probably be against him and there have been rumours that not all is right. He is too short for me to entertain, however, so I won’t be on him. Neither will I be on Lights of Heaven, who is one of my fifteen horses to follow. Peter Moody has said she is more brilliant than most Zabeels, but I almost hope she doesn’t win today as I want to see her peaking in two months time! There is one thing I’m sure everyone agrees on though – this is definitely not a vintage Lawrence/Liston Stakes. At $21, I’m going to go with Budai for the upset.

Earlier in the day, it looks like a favourite’s paradise. Module should win the first, while I’d be surprised if Golden Slipper winner Sepoy (another of the fifteen horses to follow) was defeated in the Listed Vain Stakes (1100m).

Come race 4, the Listed Quezette Stakes (1100m) for the three year olds, it starts to get interesting! And, call me biased, but I’m going to be cheering ANOTHER of the fifteen – Satin Shoes. She’s being targeted at these short course fillies races, while most of her competition – notably Mosheen, Glissade, Metonymy and City of Song – are being aimed at longer races like the Thousand Guineas. That edge may see her win today. I thought she was good enough to win the Golden Slipper, so I’ll go for her here.

Race 5 sees a competitive Listed sprint, named for Caulfield specialist Regal Roller. I don’t know why, but I’m expecting a big run from Gold Salute if he can get back to his best. He’s run some cracking races here and he should get pace to suit. At $26 he might be worth an each way wager.

However, the best race in Australia today is, in my opinion, the Cockram Stakes. What a great lineup of fillies and mares – and the big guns, like Black Caviar, More Joyous, Lights of Heaven and Shamrocker aren’t there. If they were – it would be incredible. I’m a Parables fan here, I think the fact she had a light autumn will do wonders for her this spring. However, at odds, I don’t mind Spurcific. She’s consistent and she has a fitness edge on most of the field.

It will be a cracking day’s racing – I already can’t wait until we wade into the murky depths of the spring.

Good luck everyone, may you find a winner.

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