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28/04/2012 – Sydney Cup/Australasian Oaks Day Preview

April 28, 2012

I’ll be doing things slightly differently this week.

I’ve been offline for most of this week, as I was in Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli (on a side note, keep an eye on Andrew Hawkins Travel this week for an article I’m going to write about the Gallipoli experience). With no laptop and no phone, I have only spent the last few hours doing the form for today’s meetings.

With that in mind, I will not be doing a runner-by-runner preview for any of the Group 1 races this week. However, I will still do a race-by-race preview. There are a couple of races which I think are straightforward (as does the market) so I won’t devote too much attention to them.

Firstly, I’ll have a look at Sydney’s card – the final meeting of the autumn carnival. Although I do like the stand alone meetings at Hawkesbury and Scone, I don’t consider them to be part of the autumn carnival.

Then I’ll have a look at the two Group 1s from Adelaide, including Black Caviar shooting for her 20th win in the Robert Sangster Stakes.

It promises to be a huge day of racing!

ROYAL RANDWICK

Race 1 – Listed James H B Carr Stakes (1400m)

There’s never usually much between the three year old fillies over this distance, as the P J Bell showed once again. Outside of the top three or four, they are all pretty even. I really liked ANGEL OF MERCY’s run in the P J Bell, she flew late. Getting up to 1400m will suit, I can see her swooping late. HALLOWELL BELLE comes from the different formline, having run third against the older males in the T J Smith Stakes before running third to Pampelonne in the Gosford Guineas last week. Back to fillies company should suit. EVER THE SAME was good at Canterbury, beating many of these fillies, and she’ll go well again. Jimmy Cassidy’s very confident she won’t be beaten. And at big odds, FAST AND SEXY goes alright. She ran last at her first run as a three year old at Canterbury, but something appeared to be amiss – she trialled well last week. I think she could be the massive improver.

7 – ANGEL OF MERCY
2 – HALLOWELL BELLE
3 – EVER THE SAME
6 – FAST AND SEXY

Race 2 – Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m)

I like this race every year as it can throw up a nice horse – either a horse coming back from the Derby or a horse off alternative formlines. The last two winners of the race – Shootoff and Dariana – went on to win the Queensland Derby, while Clangalang (2003), Freemason (2000) and Might and Power (1997) are other notable winners in recent years. I like the notion of a horse coming off alternative formlines to win this, which narrows my selections considerably. I understand the hype around Fat Al, but I really like IGGI POP as a horse. I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about this horse in the next few months. By Savabeel out of an O’Reilly mare, I reckon he’s probably Queensland-bound. He’ll be hard to beat. AMBIDEXTER ran fourth in the Rosehill Guineas at his last start, after running fourth to Mosheen in the Randwick Guineas. I’m wondering why he missed the Australian Derby, and it seems weird to me he’s had the four weeks between runs. But if he’s fit, he’ll go close. I think ISOPACH has largely been forgotten. His run in the Tulloch Stakes was outstanding, and while he’s inconsistent, he has a similar profile to Shootoff last year. Good each way value. And I guess I’ll put FAT AL in for fourth but I’m still not as keen on him as many others appear to be.

7 – IGGI POP
2 – AMBIDEXTER
1 – ISOPACH
5 – FAT AL

Race 3 – Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m)

What’s going to beat PIERRO? Nothing. Even if he doesn’t run a strong 1600m (and his pedigree suggests he should run it pretty easily) he has a clear class advantage on most of this field. He should be another winner of the two year old triple crown for Gai Waterhouse. RACEWAY will lead them up and if he doesn’t go as strong as he did in the Sires Produce Stakes he could hold on to run second. Can’t see him defeating the stablemate though. But it would be fitting if Gai ran the quinella here. She also has a connection with my third selection, FLYING SNITZEL, in that she trained her dam Hula Flight to win the 1996 Metropolitan (defeating subsequent Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup winner Saintly). Gerald Ryan’s charge won the Baillieu in good style on Slipper day, defeating Fernhill winner Dear Demi. She’s the fresh horse on the scene. And it would be nice to see a big run from DEAR DEMI, trained by the juvenile master Clarry Conners.

1 – PIERRO
2 – RACEWAY
8 – FLYING SNITZEL
9 – DEAR DEMI

Race 4 – Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m)

I’m sure most of the connections involved in this race would be cheering that Atlantic Jewel will appear a race later instead. FIBRILLATION is the mare in form. I understand she’s probably better on a wet track, but seeing as she was able to win on a good track last start, I can’t see why she can’t do it again. MISS KEEPSAKE has been racing in good heart this preparation, she loves a firm track which she should get here and she looks fairly well weighted. The Ron Quinton stable is flying and CRAFTY IRNA looks on track for a good showing here, while SKYERUSH should be considered now she’s shown a glimmer of form again.

3 – FIBRILLATION
1 – MISS KEEPSAKE
5 – CRAFTY IRNA
7 – SKYERUSH

Race 5 – Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m)

A big test for the unbeaten ATLANTIC JEWEL here, stepping up to take on the older boys over a distance still short of her best. I think she will win and I would be desperately disappointed if she couldn’t win. But second up after her injury is a query (although her second up win last preparation was simply mindblowing). Michael Rodd will have to make sure the other jockeys don’t out-manouevre him. I think he needs to be especially cautious of Christian Reith on Rain Affair, who can appear to be travelling a lot faster than he actually is. This gives him an easier lead than thought – and he’s a tenacious bugger. That same description could be given to KING MUFHASA, the tough Kiwi. He’s finally come of age this season with recognition in Australia after two Group 1 victories. Take Atlantic Jewel out and he looks the one on paper – I’d back him to beat Rain Affair any day. I’ll put RAIN AFFAIR in for third because I can’t see him being challenged for the lead. That’s always a worry. And for fourth, I’ll include HAPPY ZERO because I still believe he’s on track to produce a big performance this preparation.

7 – ATLANTIC JEWEL
1 – KING MUFHASA
3 – RAIN AFFAIR
4 – HAPPY ZERO

Race 6 – Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m)

The Sydney Cup has attracted a nice field this year, with many chances among the 16 runners. Call me whatever you want, but I’m sticking with the grey EFFICIENT. Am I crazy? Probably. But if I was willing to back him in the Chairman’s Handicap, I think I have to stick with him here. I trust the training facilities at Macedon Lodge so I don’t doubt his fitness too much. It’s just whether he’s still good enough to win a Sydney Cup with the topweight of 58kg. But I do think he can measure up, so I have to have him in the mix. Hard to believe his last 3200m run (and his last run beyond 2000m) was 1635 days ago – and that was when he swept home to win the Melbourne Cup. If he can produce anywhere near his best, look out. NIWOT was the first Australian horse home in the Melbourne Cup, beating four of his rivals here comfortably (Precedence, Drunken Sailor, Hawk Island, Older Than Time). He’s been going very well in weight for age races. He drops back to a handicap, he’s been crying out for the distance and he looks hard to beat. OLDER THAN TIME is going better than she was twelve months ago I reckon, even though she hasn’t won this preparation. She’s still producing consistently, and she did run second last year, so an improved showing would see her in the mix here. And DRUNKEN SAILOR was fantastic in the BMW after running second in the Adelaide Cup. I’m not sure he runs a strong 3200m but not many here do. He’s in with a chance. While I’m not including him in my top four, I’m going to be watching Peal of Bells very closely. He’s a rating 63 galloper – he is not in the same ballpark as any of these. But he’s been flying in much lesser races. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him run above his rating, not threatening the main players but showing he may have a staying future.

1 – EFFICIENT
3 – NIWOT
9 – OLDER THAN TIME
2 – DRUNKEN SAILOR

Race 7 – Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m)

This is definitely an epic edition of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Don’t know if it is the best in decades, as described by one former jockey, but it definitely is up there with some of the good editions. So many questions will be answered – was Manighar perhaps lucky to beat Americain in the Australian Cup and the BMW? Does Americain have the dash to win over 2000m? Can More Joyous extend her stamina to 2000m? Is Jimmy Choux the same horse he once was? I’m looking to a double figure winner. I think JIMMY CHOUX’s a big chance. Forget the fact he ran 7th first up – it was in a handicap, he had to carry 61kg and he was never likely to be suited. He’ll take great benefit for that run and back to weight for age he should be in his element. He’s unbeaten second up and the only time he’s been beaten at around 2000m, he was beaten by a freakish ride on Pinker Pinker in the Cox Plate. At around $11, I think he’s a nice bet. I think MANIGHAR has to go down as the danger. Doesn’t look to be a great deal of pace in the race, which means he should be suited to the race more than Americain – at least on what we saw in the Australian Cup and the BMW. I think people are still choosing to ignore the fact that Manighar is clearly a different horse under Peter Moody – he may or may not have improved, but he’s showing traits he didn’t have before – and I think it’s because he’s adapted well to Moody’s training methods. It’s hard to underrate a winner of the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and BMW but yet, here we are. Clear danger. I’d much prefer to see the BMW run again so the AMERICAIN could win as he really should have, but oh well. As said above, I think Manighar has the edge over the shorter trip. But any chink in the armour of Manighar and Americain will be there to pounce. And for fourth, I was going to put in More Joyous but I’m not sure about her at the trip. I’d prefer to have RANGIRANGDOO, who will also be up on the speed but who I know will see the trip out very strongly. Great race!

3 – JIMMY CHOUX
2 – MANIGHAR
1 – AMERICAIN
4 – RANGIRANGDOO

Race 8 – Listed Hall Mark Stakes (1200m)

The final race of the Sydney Carnival! And to be honest, it’s a race that I would be unlikely to touch today. It’s very open. My initial thoughts were to stick with Elite Falls, but of course she’s scratched. PINWHEEL has been heavily supported and it is easy to understand why. Although he’s never won at the track, he’s been placed five from six here. He was good first up behind Zaratone. I think today’s the day he can break the Randwick duck. LATIN NEWS has been going well, I thought he was great in Queensland when he ran third making up late ground on all-the-way winner Adebisi. Going well enough to run well here. TIGER TEES was hyped up quite a bit during the summer but he’s almost gone under the radar here. He looks a chance. And NOBBY SNIP was very good in the Galaxy last week and would be a fitting winner for Gai Waterhouse, who has really made this carnival her own.

4 – PINWHEEL
6 – LATIN NEWS
9 – TIGER TEES
8 – NOBBY SNIP

MORPHETTVILLE

Race 5 – Group 1 Schweppes (Australasian) Oaks (2000m)

The Robert Sangster Stakes (which I’ll discuss below) is a one act affair. This is the total opposite. What an open race. And I’m going for a filly that won a R62 race two starts back to win a Group 1 here. Crazy. The filly I’ve selected is CRIMSON LADY, who absolutely flew home in the lead up to this race, the Auraria Stakes.  She’s drawn poorly again here, out in barrier 20, but I can still see her sitting back last and just powering over the top of them. Good odds. OUR MISS JONES has had her runs spaced this preparation but she looks like she’s been wanting 2000m. Still a maiden but she’s knocking on the door. She’ll win one soon. Will it be a Group 1? I’m not sure EMPRESS ROCK will stay the distance but she’s got a class edge on the majority of this field, so she goes in. And seeing as I’m placing a fair emphasis on the Auraria as the form race, I should include the winner CRUCIAL in my top four. To me, the most interesting runner is Sharnee Rose. I know some notable judges believe her to be Australia’s most talented maiden, but it’s a big jump from 1400m to 2000m in two weeks. She’s a chance but I think she’s too big a risk.

15 – CRIMSON LADY
10 – OUR MISS JONES
1 – EMPRESS ROCK
2 – CRUCIAL

Race 7 – Group 1 Sportingbet Classic – Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m)

What a great bonus for Adelaide racing to have BLACK CAVIAR over there! She’ll win her 20th race, there’s hardly any doubt about that, but I think most of the discussion will be on two points – one, what are the benefits for South Australian racing out of her appearance, and two, how will it set her up for a tilt at Royal Ascot. I’m sure you’ll see a lot written about those two points post-race. But for now, just enjoy Black Caviar doing what she does best – making it look oh too easy. I think it will be worth listening in just for the call from Hilton Donaldson. For second, LONE ROCK looks well ahead of the others. She wasn’t too far off Black Caviar and Hay List in the Lightning Stakes, so she should beat the rest comfortably. I think the market has it right – SISTINE ANGEL and VALENTINE MISS look the next best, but they’ll be well behind Black Caviar. Go girl!

1 – BLACK CAVIAR
2 – LONE ROCK
5 – SISTINE ANGEL
6 – VALENTINE MISS

Have a great day of punting today!

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2012 10:55 am

    in different race we had still black caviar is leading all the girls.i really love this mare because of her talents.she is amazing horse ever.

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