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Randwick Guineas – Star to Strike

March 17, 2012

Today’s Randwick Guineas is the first meeting at Sydney’s top track since Emirates Stakes Day, November 5.

It is the first leg of the triple crown for three year olds and every running to date has produced a top class horse.

Unfortunately, due to today’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, I have not had time to compile a preview for the rest of today nor have I been able to add all the little design extras I usually add.

Nevertheless, here’s my look at the Randwick Guineas field:

1. MANAWANUI

Top Sydney colt who lost the Hobartville Stakes on protest. It has been argued that he is no longer at the same level he once was at, particularly in the spring, but I very firmly believe that is a premature statement. He was good in the Royal Sovereign and the Hobartville and he is suited by the step up to 1600m. He has only had the one start at 1600m but it was a good one – he went down by a nose in the Caulfield Guineas! He looms as the one to beat.

2. INDUNA

Well bred staying type who was ordinary in the Hobartville Stakes – not that much was expected from him first up. He didn’t show anything last preparation until he got further into his preparation and up to 1900m. It is hard to see him pulling a victory from nowhere here. Can’t have him.

3. KING SAUL

Perth colt who came over to Sydney with wraps but looks set to leave with his reputation in tatters. Won the WA Guineas at 1600m and ran 3rd in the Kingston Town Classic over 1800m so perhaps he has been looking for the trip. But I don’t know how he’ll be able to make up six lengths on his rivals. Not for me.

4. DOCTOR DOOM

Spring Champion Stakes winner who has not disgraced himself in two runs to date this preparation. He looms as the horse who can improve substantially. He didn’t finish far behind Strike The Stars in the Gloaming Stakes before beating him in the Spring Champion – yet he’s twice the price. Will be even better suited in the Rosehill Guineas but he wouldn’t surprise.

5. GALAH

Carbine Club Stakes winner in the spring. Tends to improve second up – has improved substantially both second up runs and he’s unbeaten at his second run from a spell. Would have liked to have seen him do better in the Hobartville Stakes and the barrier is a bit of a concern but he can’t be ruled out.

6. STRIKE THE STARS (NZ)

I’ve had a wrap on this horse from day dot. I made him one of my horses to follow last spring and had him going for a fair bit in the Spring Champion – in a double with Secret Admirer in the Epsom! Ah well. He has run at the mile twice for a third to Trusting and My Kingdom of Fife in the Chelmsford Stakes and a second to Mosheen in the Australian Guineas last start. Would prefer him up in distance now but on his home track, he looks mighty hard to beat. Top chance.

7. DARCI BE GOOD (NZ)

Newcastle Spring Stakes winner who has been very underwhelming at two autumn starts to date. On his spring form, he’d be one of many chances but given his last two, I wouldn’t be touching him. Wait until he shows more, especially from that gate.

8. WILD AND PROUD

Hobartville Stakes winner on protest. Pretty good for a horse that looked like being a bit of a disappointment earlier this preparation. I do think he was so close in the Hobartville because he had a race fitness edge on his rivals. I personally can’t have him, especially from the barrier, and I think he’s the Gai Waterhouse second stringer. That said, he must be considered some chance on his last run. Place perhaps.

9. ISOPACH

SCRATCHED

10. FREE WHEELING

SCRATCHED

11. AMBIDEXTER

Nice sneaky run in the Hobartville Stakes after an okay run first up when he was blocked for a run.. He’s improving and should be suited up to 1600m here. A mile may end up being his optimum trip on what he’s shown so far, and the rain around may assist his chances. Reluctant to rule him out on his form.

12. SAID COM (NZ)

I remember seeing him win on debut, as well as his outstanding second at his second start, and forming the opinion that he’ll be a Group 1 galloper. Not sure I’ve seen those same signs from him this preparation. That said, he’s been racing in small fields with a lack of pace. If he gets pace on here, he has a sizzling turn of foot and he could be the one who is the new kid on the block. Chance.

13. REKINDLED ALLIANCE

SCRATCHED

14. OCEAN PARK (NZ)

Kiwi three year old with top form. He is yet to finish worse than second, but he faces his stiffest test yet here. He won the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) by almost five lengths before finishing a game second to boom filly Silent Achiever in the Group 3 Waikato Guineas (2000m). He was pulled out of the NZ Derby due to a wet track, so connections may be disappointed with the rain that has fallen. However, it is not that wet compared to NZ tracks. He’s right in the mix.

15. LASER HAWK

The up and comer of the race. The half brother to Desert War is unbeaten from three starts but steps up sharply in grade here. He was impressive first up but meets Said Com 4kg worse – and the race is likely to suit Said Com more than Laser Hawk. Therefore, I rate Said Com ahead of Laser Hawk. Nevertheless, he’s still a chance. Will be better come the Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby though.

16. MOMENT OF CHANGE

Boom galloper who has performed well in two NSW starts to date. Should appreciate the step up to 1600m and has a significant jockey change (from Linda Meech to Luke Nolen). Hard to write him off just yet. He has each way claims for sure.

17. MOSHEEN

How good is this filly? Most years, we’d be pulling superlatives out of the cupboard to describe this wonder mare. This year, all we are doing is remarking on how incredible Atlantic Jewel must be. That’s not fair for a filly who has won a VRC Oaks by 9L, an Australian Guineas by 3L and also ran second in a Golden Slipper to one of the better winners of that race in recent times. She has to rank as a chance here on her form. My only thing is that Strike The Stars, who had a much tougher run in the Australian Guineas, gets the home track advantage and a better draw here (both were drawn awfully in the Australian Guineas). But all being equal, she’ll be right in the finish again.

SUMMARY

Not hard to see why Mosheen and Manawanui hold their place at the top of the market, but that said, I think I’m going to have to stick with STRIKE THE STARS. Gets conditions to suit here and with the home track advantage over Mosheen I think he can turn the tables. I do think the Australian Guineas is the form race, as I have MOSHEEN in for second. I’ve said it all above. I think the real surprise packet could be SAID COM, who should get more pace here, while MANAWANUI only needs to run up to his spring form to be a chance. Next best OCEAN PARK, who’s the biggest query.

NUMBERS

6 – STRIKE THE STARS
17 – MOSHEEN
12 – SAID COM
1 – MANAWANUI

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