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Chipping Norton Stakes Preview: Choose the mudlark

March 10, 2012

The Chipping Norton Stakes is Sydney’s first Group 1 of the year.

Unfortunately, the 2012 edition has been marred by a wet track following a week of intense rain in Sydney.

Nevertheless, there is a winner to be found.Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has attempted to find the likely victor:

1. RANGIRANGDOO (6)

Doncaster Mile and George Ryder Stakes winner who has raced below par at his two runs this preparation. With the wear and tear on his legs I think a wet track probably will suit him nowadays. Even in the past, he didn’t seem to be overly unsuited by a wet track. Furthermore, third up and up to 1600m are both positives. Wouldn’t surprise to see him turn it around.

2. SHOOT OUT (5)

I really liked this horse for this race, that’s why I’m so disappointed to see that he may be rendered ineffective on a heavy track. He’s had two failures on a heavy track – one was in the TJ Smith Trophy in Brisbane as a two year old when he was a heavily backed favourite, the other was in last year’s All Aged Stakes where admittedly he probably wasn’t suited. On form, he’ll be hard to beat. And perhaps, in a race like this, he might well be suited. But I’ve gone from making him a sure bet to having him fourth.

3. TRUSTING (4)

A winner of the Chelmsford Stakes over this track and distance in the spring, that day he beat two good horses in My Kingdom of Fife and Strike the Stars – after sitting three and four deep the entire trip! He ran okay first up and he’s on track for a good autumn. Just hope the old Trusting doesn’t make a reappearance. He has inconclusive stats on the heavy. Like most of these, he’s a chance.

4. DANLEIGH (3)

Danleigh flies at the track and distance, he won this race last year. But he doesn’t go as well on wet tracks. He’s good on slippery tracks, slow surfaces, but when it gets to a heavy track he just seems to find it a little too difficult. He still has a chance in this field, but I’d be very cautious about backing him with his heavy track record.

5. GATHERING (2)

Patinack horse who always seems to win out of nowhere. But he hasn’t shown enough, either at the end of last preparation or first up in the Apollo Stakes, to recommend him here. It would be a big surprise if he won this race. No.

6. HERCULIAN PRINCE (1)

This enigmatic galloper looked like he’d reached the end of his tether last spring. He was going average, and seemed to have no future. Then, lo and behold, he pulls out a brilliant run first up in the Apollo Stakes. I want to see him do it again, but perhaps the one time Caulfield Cup favourite might be back to his best! He has a good record at 1600m, he goes okay on a heavy track and perhaps he could be the blowout.

7. MR MAKE BELIEVE (8)

8. PINKER PINKER (9)

The Cox Plate winner returns to Sydney. She goes well on a heavy track, but the real statistic in her favour is that she flies second up. In fact, she’s yet to be beaten at her second run from a spell. She is fine at the distance and she ran well first up. She’s a logical favourite but there are others that can beat her. But she brings class and so she must be respected.

9. SACRED CHOICE (7)

Last year’s Doncaster Mile winner who’s a superior mudlark. She excels on a heavy track, which she gets today. Furthermore, she excels at 1600m. She ran third in this race last year on a good track, and given the class is of a pretty similar level, I find it hard to go past her. She’s still a pretty good price too!

SUMMARY

I’m really glad I’m not in Sydney for the big wet, but I’m also disappointed that Warwick Farm’s been struck by a heavy track. I was so convinced this was the right race for Shoot Out, I had been for weeks. But I just don’t know about him on the wet track. Therefore, I’m putting SACRED CHOICE on top. She’s the best wet tracker in the race and given her liking for the distance, she looks the one. I think HERCULIAN PRINCE could be the boilover horse. Might be brought unstuck by a lack of pace, but he is usually a better horse second up so watch for him late. PINKER PINKER is the class runner but I am not convinced she goes as well the Sydney direction, while I still want to include SHOOT OUT despite my grave concerns over the heavy track.

NUMBERS

9 – SACRED CHOICE
6 – HERCULIAN PRINCE
8 – PINKER PINKER
2 – SHOOT OUT

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