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George Main Stakes Preview: Gathering Momentum The Key

September 17, 2011

http://www.justhorseracing.com.au/news/australian-racing/george-main-stakes-preview-gathering-momentum-the-key/

The Group 1 George Main Stakes (1500m) has been moved from its traditional base at Randwick to Rosehill this year due to safety concerns.

First run in 1945, the weight for age event has never been run away from Randwick, and was not run in 2007 due to equine influenza.

There have been some classy winners of this race, including Shannon, San Domenico, Wenona Girl, Baguette, Kingston Town, Emancipation, Vo Rogue, Shaftesbury Avenue, Lonhro, Racing to Win and More Joyous.

This year sees a small field, with a question mark over the depth of the race.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has looked at the field and has produced the following preview:

1. BLACK PIRANHA (3)

Seems to be going quite well at this stage. He’s a dual Stradbroke winner, so he has some class, but weight for age has always seemed a bit beyond him. After his last couple of runs though, you’d reckon he’d be in the mix somewhere.

 
2. GATHERING (2)

A winner of the Railway Stakes in Perth, Gathering ran second in the Gloaming Stakes on this day two years ago. If only the winner of that Gloaming was in this race…So You Think. Gathering should get an easy lead, and today that could be a real benefit. Purely for pace reasons, he’s my top selection.

3. TRIPLE ELEGANCE (1)

He’s had excuses, but he’s been disappointing to my eye this campaign. Can’t rule him out entirely, as I remember last preparation where he kept running solidly but not winning until he pulled a six length victory out of the hat. But not one I’ll be on today.

4. ZARA DANCER (5)

Kiwi who will be better suited once he gets out to 2000m. I’m surprised he isn’t running in the Hill Stakes to be honest, as that looks a better race for him. Could be up near the lead with Gathering but not for me. Wait until he gets over further.

 
5. SINCERO (8)

There is no doubt in my mind that he is the best horse in the race, and that he will win something big this preparation. But pace in this race is a big concern for me. He almost lost the Scone Guineas due to a muddling pace, but class won out in the end. This is a tougher race. He can still win, but he would need to be as good as I think he is to emerge victorious.

6. ILOVETHISCITY (6)

Disappointing run in the Theo Marks last week after a good return in the Warwick Stakes. I think the George Main back to 1500m suits him, but I’m not sure if Rosehill is his track – although arguably he should have won the Golden Rose here last year. Still, couldn’t back him off last week’s run.

7. SACRED CHOICE (4)

Blinkers back on is a big plus for her, but a good (3) is a big negative. Can’t see her winning on a firm track, and I think she is well under the odds.

 

8. DO RA MI (7)

She’s been disappointing at her two starts back this preparation. I think she needs a race with plenty of pace on, and she won’t get that here. Not for me.

 

SUMMARY

Only pace looks to come from Gathering and Zara Dancer, and as I said on the Centrebet RacingRoom, these weight for age affairs tend to turn into muddling events pace-wise. On that basis alone, I’m putting GATHERING on top. Nice horse on his day, and should get things to suit here. SINCERO is the best horse in the race and he’ll be charging home. Just whether he can catch Gathering is the question. BLACK PIRANHA is going really well and you’d think he’d be a good place bet, while ZARA DANCER could run a place at big odds.

NUMBERS

2 – GATHERING
5 – SINCERO
1 – BLACK PIRANHA
4 – ZARA DANCER

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