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Newmarket Handicap Preview: King’s Rose to break 95 year old trend

March 10, 2012

The 2012 Newmarket Handicap looks to be one of the strongest sprint races to be run in Australia in the modern era, despite the absence of Black Caviar and Sepoy.

This year, there are heaps of chances with not many having no chance of ending in the minor money.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has done the form and he has come up with the following guide to each of the runners:

1. HAY LIST (15)

Arguably the world’s second best sprinter, he finally gets his chance to step out of Black Caviar’s shadow here. Connections have complained about the weight but I think he’s fairly weighted to be honest. Here’s an interesting fact – take Black Caviar out of the picture, and Hay List has only been beaten on three occasions. Two of those three occasions were inexplicable failures, when he finished well back in the Colonel Reeves Stakes and the Patinack Farm Classic (that was behind Black Caviar but he was beaten by others). The other defeat was a very good second to Love Conquers All in June 2010. Taking that into consideration, it is hard to see him being beaten here. All the trends point to him and he will take a power of beating. Huge chance.

2. ALBERT THE FAT (7)

Not the best named horse in the world, but he’s a very good horse – he’s now a two time Group 1 winner, having won the Emirates Stakes in the spring. He also won the BTC Cup in 2010. He flew first up last preparation behind Love Conquers All. If he reproduces that sort of a finish he could be right in the mix here. However, I don’t think he’s well weighted here and I’m not sure where he will get to from the draw. I also didn’t think he trialled too well. Place best.

3. TOORAK TOFF (6)

First start for new owners Rosemont Stud. This horse excels at 1400m – 1600m seems too far while 1200m is a tad too short. He will also be looking to be the first horse since Polycrates in 1917 to win the Newmarket first up. I’m not sure he’s a straight track horse so I can’t have him, but he could place.

4. BEADED (14)

I think every owner in Australia would love one like her. She’s only finished out of the top three once in 23 starts – and that was when she finished fourth in the 2010 Stradbroke Handicap. She’s a bonny mare, and I personally cannot understand how she is 25-1. Perhaps she isn’t well weighted giving Hay List 3kg (1.5kg when taking in the allowance for gender) but consistency is key. I’ll be surprised if she isn’t in the finish somehow. Chance.

5. EAGLE FALLS (18)

The question has been posed in that famous musical, the Sound of Music – how do you solve a problem like Maria? Well, I say, how do you catch a horse like Eagle Falls? It’s impossible. Look at his last 10 finishing positions – 7th, 1st, 9th, 14th, 10th, 18th, 4th, 17th, 1st, 17th. If you are confident about him, good luck to you. He definitely won’t be carrying my money. Of course, he’s the kind of horse that will end up messing up the multiples.

6. RAIN AFFAIR (1)

Sydney sprinter who has been flying in weight for age races where he hasn’t really been challenged too much. Nevertheless he’s been impressive. He recorded very good wins in the Expressway Stakes and the Apollo Stakes at his last two runs. He steps back to 1200m here, which shouldn’t be a problem. My concern is the amount of pace in the race. He won’t be able to get a soft time of it as he has at his last two runs. He’s a place chance but I’m prepared to risk him.

7. WOORIM (2)

Oakleigh Plate winner who has the best turn of foot in Australia on his day. The way he can go from last to first in a heartbeat is truly freakish. It’s phenomenal. I had the idea that if he was to win this race, he’d come flashing down the outside fence. I don’t know how that’s going to happen from barrier 2. I also don’t know if his racing pattern will suit the straight six. For that reason, I’m going to have him labelled a place chance at best.

8. BUFFERING (8)

This horse is underrated somewhat. He’s only missed the top four twice in his career – once at Doomben and once at Caulfield, both fairly tight tracks. He was good behind Black Caviar and Hay List in the Lightning Stakes – he meets Hay List 4kg better for a two length defeat, but he meets Foxwedge 1.5kg worse when a nose separated them. Still, his record at Flemington is good and he will improve on his first up run. Chance.

9. KING’S ROSE (3)

Peter Moody mare who will be looking to overcome 95 years of history by becoming the first horse to win fresh since 1917. I’m actually pretty keen on her – I think she’s weighted well, and the fact that Moody is only running her when he had five horses eligible to accept (the others were Black Caviar, Kulgrinda, Curtana and Master Harry) is a good sign. She seems to be in well at the weights and she did win the Memsie first up last preparation. I’m expecting a huge run at 20-1, she shouldn’t be those odds.

10. TEMPLE OF BOOM (11)

Good straight track horse who was just fair in the Lightning. He tends to be more consistent second up, but usually that is after a good first up run. Meets Lone Rock 0.5kg better, but she was coming away from him on the line so he’ll need to show a fair bit of improvement. It’s not impossible though, and if he does improve he’s a chance.

11. GRAND NIRVANA (20)

I was once a massive fan of this horse, but he’s been below his best for a while now. He wasn’t beaten far in the Oakleigh Plate but it was still a disappointing run. If he’d run well in the Oakleigh Plate, I’d be keen on him here as he has a very good second up record (8:4-2-1) and goes well at the distance (11:4-3-2). But after his last run, I can’t tip him here. Could be included in multiples as a blowout horse though.

12. WARATAH’S SECRET (5)

West Australian sprinter who has long been touted as a horse of promise over there. He’s been a bit up and down in recent starts, but he finally makes his long awaited eastern states debut. I’m not sure how he’ll measure up here but I think, if he’s near his best, he could shock a few here. Chance.

13. LONE ROCK (12)

Goodwood winner. The more I look at her run in the Lightning Stakes, the more I want to include her among the chances!!! She was very strong at the finish, just the sort of run you’d hope to see from a Newmarket aspirant. I also still have her run in the Bobbie Lewis Quality fresh in my mind, where she ran on oh so strongly at the finish to nab Bel Sprinter. A repeat of that would see her right in the mix here, and she must be considered a big chance.

14. BEL SPRINTER (13)

15. FACILE TIGRE (21)

Queensland sprinter who just keeps improving. Slashing run for third in the Oakleigh Plate, hit the front for half a stride but was nabbed by Elite Falls and then Woorim. The extra 200m will suit and he was a good winner here on Melbourne Cup day. That said, he’s likely to find a couple better. Place perhaps.

16. ROCK CLASSIC (10)

Australian Guineas winner who has not won since the 2010 autumn from three starts. He’s had problems but he gets in well here. He drops 8.5kg on his last run and meets Liveandletdie 6.5kg better for a 4.4L defeat last time out. Probably can’t win but could place at huge odds.

17. LIVEANDLETDIE (9)

A winner of three from four down the straight, he doesn’t have the class to win this race in my opinion. That said, he’s in good form and could run okay. But I expect you’ll see him closer to last than first. Not for me.

18. MASTER OF DESIGN (16)

This well bred commodity looked headed for an ignominious career early on, but in the last year he’s really turned things around. He’s had problems but David Payne has done wonders with him. He was actually really good in the Oakleigh Plate despite running 9th, beaten two lengths. With his turn of foot, don’t be surprised to see him in the finish. Chance at good odds.

19. METALLURGICAL (19)

I remember when this very expensive purchase started his career in Sydney, he looked like a crab. Little would we believe he’d be lining up in a Newmarket a couple of years later. He was poor first up in the Lightning but it seems to be a trend of his to run poorly first up before running much better second up. That said, it is hard to see him making the necessary improvement. Not for me.

20. MR CHARD (4)

This is his first run since finishing fourth to Shamrocker in last year’s Australian Guineas. He had a pretty severe injury and I’m not sure I want to be backing him first up off such a long break, especially when he’ll be looking for further. Looking to others.

21. PHELAN READY (23)

2009 Golden Slipper winner who has not won since. Every now and then he pulls out an incredible run and you think he has his hoof on the till once more. But he’s never capitalised on good form and it is hard to tip him here. There is a precedent for a horse winning the Newmarket three years after the Golden Slipper though – Belle du Jour did it in 2000. Can’t see him doing it though!

22. FOXWEDGE (17)

Three year old who is knocking on the door at Group 1 level. Only finished outside the top four once in his career, when seventh in the Golden Slipper. He injured himself in the run there. He was only a head behind Sepoy in the Coolmore, but there’s no doubt Sepoy is better around a turn. He was finishing off strongly in the Lightning Stakes and he looks to get a nice run here. The big factor is the weight – he’ll relish 50kg on his back. Must be given some consideration.

23. AFRICAN PULSE (22)

Promising horse who I thought could win the Oakleigh Plate. He ran well, but so did almost every other horse in the race. He gets down to 50kg, but Foxwedge looks to have his measure at the weights. If he reproduces his Schweppes Tonic run (where he beat Karuta Queen impressively) he’d be a place chance, that’s probably his limit though.

SUMMARY

Such a incredibly tough race. It is amazing the field that can be brought together here in the absence of Black Caviar, it’s really quite something. I’ve decided to give my top 6 here in this field of 23 runners. There are numerous ways I could go, but I just have a feeling about KING’S ROSE. I think she’s the right type of horse to win a Newmaret, and I think the first up theory in regards to the Newmarket may be dead and buried by the end of today. The other horse I keep coming back to is HAY LIST. All the trends point to him and he is the best sprinter in the race. Pace early could be the key. LONE ROCK only needs to reproduce her run from the Bobbie Lewis Quality to be a chance in this race, that was a slashing win. BEADED has been forgotten, hardly a mention, but her consistency means she must be included. I think MASTER OF DESIGN could be the roughie with the best hope, I can see him being the horse flying along the outside rail late. And while I’m not a huge fan of the horse, FOXWEDGE must be conceded some chance with only 50kg on his back. Next best for me are Buffering and Waratah’s Secret. I’ll definitely be going wide in multiples though!

NUMBERS

9 – KING’S ROSE
1 – HAY LIST
13 – LONE ROCK
4 – BEADED
18 – MASTER OF DESIGN
22 – FOXWEDGE

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