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Startsmeup today’s topical tip? Preview of racing 20/08/2011

August 20, 2011

The spring campaigns of some of Australia’s best gallopers begin in earnest across the nation this weekend, while a bumper weekend of international racing promises to shed some light on potential visitors to Melbourne.

Most of the nation’s attention will be on Sydney, where the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) sees a class lineup.

With a mix of fit 1400m horses, resuming stayers and everything in between, it is a captivating race featuring five Group 1 winners.

Despite the scratching of last year’s Melbourne Cup runner up Maluckyday, it is a competitive race.

In the last thirty years, winners have included Kingston Town, Super Impose, Shaftesbury Avenue, Filante, Sunline, Lonhro, Defier, Court’s In Session, Racing to Win, Trusting and Metal Bender.

However, the most famous winner was Pablo’s Pulse, who caused the boilover of all boilovers when saluting at 500/1 in 1987.

It is still the longest priced winner of a black type race to date.

The prospect of a heavy track has seen good support for Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Choice, while Randwick Guineas winner Ilovethiscity has overcome fitness concerns to take his place in the field.

What makes it even more interesting is that many of these are proven on heavy ground – Black Piranha ran second in the George Ryder Stakes and Doncaster Mile on heavy tracks, Hawk Island has won six from ten in heavy conditions, Gathering ran second in the Spring Champion Stakes on a bog track, Shootoff was a runaway winner of the Frank Packer Plate on very wet ground and as mentioned above, Sacred Choice is a mudlark.

I believe the best strategy in this race is to play wide. Therefore, I’ll be having two each way bets at odds – Startsmeup, who is unproven on heavy ground but has fitness on his side and has some nice form at 1400m, and Ironstein, who is the deserved rank outsider but has been known to pull a run out fresh.

To be honest, I’ve always been a fan of Ironstein – I was expecting him to do better in the autumn but I’m hopeful that he’ll measure up in better class races this spring.

Sydney also has two black type races for the three year olds – the Group 3 Up and Coming Stakes (1300m), a quality for the first time this year, and the Group 3 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) for the fillies.

Unlike the Warwick Stakes, I find it impossible to go past the favourite in the Up and Coming Stakes.

The race has lost a little of its lustre with the scratchings of Florentina and Rekindled Alliance, but even with them in I still would have wanted to be on Manawanui.

In his first preparation, this boy looked like he still had a bit to learn, but showed he would be a serious racehorse once he put it all together.

His trial on Monday showed he could be a star of the spring, beating a class field by ten lengths. He was ridden out, but nevertheless, it was unquestionably very impressive.

I expect him to win here ahead of a Caulfield Guineas campaign.

The Silver Shadow Stakes looks to be the classier of the two races, featuring Golden Slipper placegetter Elite Falls, Champagne Stakes placegetter Pane In The Glass and Keith Mackay winner Streama.

All week, I’ve been tipping Streama and I’m happy to stick with her here.

She won the Keith Mackay on a heavy track (when she was one of my best of the day) and I expect her to run a good race.

There are two other Listed races for the older horses – the Show County Quality (1200m) and the Toy Show Quality (1300m) for the mares.

The Show County Quality has occasionally thrown up the odd Cups horse, which looks highly unlikely this year.

However, a number are on a path to the Epsom Handicap, including former Corowa galloper Leica Larrikin.

The full brother to Leica Falcon is now with Les Bridge at Randwick, and I reckon he could give a sight at odds today.

He’s currently $26 with TAB Sportsbet, and I reckon he’s a pretty good each way bet.

First up on a slow track last year, he should have won the Aurie’s Star Handicap down the Flemington straight when he struck plenty of interference.

He’s had one run on a heavy track for an even effort, but he was arguably looking for further at that stage.

I can see him charging home late.

As for the Toy Show Quality, the last race on the card, it sees the return of two mares who were Group 1 winning fillies – Storm Queen Stakes winner Mirjulisa Lass and Flight Stakes winner Secret Admirer.

In particular, the Graeme Begg stable has a massive opinion of Secret Admirer, with lofty plans for a Cox Plate tilt.

Given her win on wet ground in the Flight Stakes, I reckon she does look over the odds – although Red Tracer is also proven on wet tracks.

But at $6.50 with TAB Sportsbet, she definitely looks great odds.

Racing in Melbourne this weekend is at Moonee Valley, with a fairly quiet meeting featuring three Listed races – the McKenzie Stakes (1200m) for the three year old colts and geldings, the Crockett Stakes (1200m) for the three year old fillies and the Printhouse Graphics Stakes (1000m) for the open class horses.

However, most attention is likely to be on the final race, a 1512m open handicap featuring potential Cups horses like December Draw, Base, Laristan, Extra Zero, Green Moon and Cabeza.

Both December Draw and Base are members of my 15 horses to follow this spring, but I reckon that of the two, December Draw is the one I want to be on today.

He is yet to race beyond 2000m, races near the pace and has a racing style that will be more suitable to Moonee Valley.

I’m not convinced about Base at Moonee Valley, given that he hits a flat spot in his races before charging home.

I expect Base to start hitting his straps come the Naturalism Stakes and those sorts of races.

The McKenzie Stakes sees the return of the Peter Moody-trained Huegill, who ran a nice third to Sepoy on debut in January.

He meets a tough field, featuring VRC Sires Produce Stakes winner Running Tall, Maribyrnong Plate winner Running Tall, the Mick Price-trained Secret Hills and Niconoise – a half brother to Lightning Stakes winner Nicconi and Australian Cup winner Niconero, trained by David Hayes.

Many of these horses have Caulfield Guineas aspirations, which will be tested in this competitive field.

Personally, I was very impressed with Niconoise’s debut win in Adelaide and I think he could be the testing material.

The Crockett Stakes also features another Peter Moody charge – Blue Diamond Stakes runner up Hallowell Belle, who only narrowly won her maiden earlier this month.

Nevertheless, she is the early favourite in what looks to be on paper a very open affair.

I am struggling to see what will beat her here – the only danger in my eyes is the Tasmanian Triple Asset, who ran nicely behind Altar on Newmarket Handicap day at Flemington.

The Printhouse Graphics Stakes looks a nice race for Kulgrinda, who won dominantly at Morphettville last start.

Across in Adelaide, the Group 3 Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) is a traditional starting point for the classier South Australian types.

Despite the scratching of Rebel Raider, who may be out for the year, there is still an eye on the Cups and the Cox Plate with one time Melbourne Cup favourite Alcopop set to take another step towards the Melbourne spring.

He resumed with a nice fifth two weeks ago.

David Hayes now has Spacecraft, who has always promised a lot but hasn’t quite delivered.

I think, given the field, he looks easily the one to beat and a good bet at $2.90.

In Perth, the Listed Goodwood Sprint (1300m) sees Playing God attempt to return to winning form ahead of a Cox Plate campaign.

The Kingston Town Classic winner trialled poorly earlier this week, but trainer Neville Parnham is hopeful the son of Blackfriars can strike a win first up.

He meets three time winner Idyllic Prince, import Buccellati and the promising All Friared Up, who’s currently the favourite.

However, at odds, I think Wolfe Dreams may be a good each way bet, given his consistency.

Finally, over in Europe, three important races will be run tonight and tomorrow night which will undoubtedly have some impact on European visitors for the Melbourne spring.

At York, Europe’s richest handicap, the Ebor Handicap (2800m) will be run tonight.

I will be cheering on Godolphin’s Lost In The Moment, who I believe looks the ideal Melbourne Cup type – so much so that I included him in my 15 horses to follow, despite the fact that he’ll probably only run once here…if he comes at all!

Connections have confirmed that good runs from Saptapadi and Tactician will see them come to Australia, with both entered for the Caulfield Cup and likely to be among Melbourne Cup entries.

The favourite Modun is also entered for the Caulfield Cup.

Mount Athos and Fox Hunt are two other possible Melbourne Cup entries.

Also at York tonight is the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3200m).

Goodwood Cup winner Opinion Poll is the likely favourite, but he is considered unlikely to come to Australia.

Out of the race, the most likely visitors are Harris Tweed (click to read about the possibility of two Harris Tweeds in the Melbourne Cup), Allied Powers (entered for the Caulfield Cup) and Dandino.

Personally, I would like to see Harris Tweed here, and so I hope he wins impressively tonight.

And tomorrow night, Americain aims for back to back wins in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville.

It will be the Melbourne Cup winner’s last run before he comes to Australia, and he meets likely visitors Brigantin, Dunaden and Manighar in what will be a great test.

And that, my friends, is one bumper weekend of racing. Good luck this weekend.

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