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The Hawk’s Preview – Warwick Stakes Day

August 25, 2012

With the spring just around the corner, it’s time to start our previews back up again!

From next weekend, they will become more comprehensive. This weekend, I’ve spent my time dissecting Warwick Farm’s card so I’ve given it most of my focus. I’ve also included previews for the four quaddie legs at Moonee Valley (as well as my tips for the first four races), the Penny Edition Stakes at Morphettville and the Ebor Handicap tonight at York.

Here’s hoping we can build a bank today for the spring!

WARWICK FARM

Race 1 – AUSTRALIAN TURF CLUB HANDICAP (2200m)

I reckon the import JULIENAS can get us off to a good start at Warwick Farm. Huge first up and will take much improvement. Will be better third up again, but expect him to get the better of the favourite. KELINNI has to go in second, looks another promising type but reckon Julienas is the better horse. SHAWNEE GIRL has a good record at the track, while SHADOW MINISTER will appreciate getting up in distance but needs a bit of give in the ground.

1 – JULIENAS
2 – KELINNI
4 – SHAWNEE GIRL
6 – SHADOW MINISTER

Race 2 – JJJ BALDACHINO FAMILY HANDICAP (1600m)

Chris Waller could very easily nab the trifecta here, but with which horse? I’m thinking THUMBTACKS. He has a good record at the track and distance and was good last start behind Al’s Gold. Slightly better luck should see him salute here. DEHERE HUNTER flew late in that same race, and seems to have come back in good order. The threat to Waller’s chances of running the trifecta. MADAM NASH is enigmatic – two starts back, she looked a star, while she was very disappointing last start. Reckon she wants it a bit softer though. CHARLESTON LADY will want further on her UK form but shapes as the intriguing runner here.

2 – THUMBTACKS
7 – DEHERE HUNTER
3 – MADAM NASH
5 – CHARLESTON LADY

Race 3 – LISTED SHOW COUNTY QUALITY (1200m)

All the money has been for the Melbourne visitor Moment of Change, but I reckon MONTON could spring the upset here. He goes really well first up – he flew in the Canterbury Stakes behind More Joyous first up last preparation – and he has shown a liking for the track. His stats at the distance are misleading, because he was tried in better company than this at 1200m. The weight is a concern, but I think he can knock off the favourite. Obviously, MOMENT OF CHANGE is a big chance. Was good here in February behind Hot Snitzel and Manawanui, and he should go close. But I reckon he’ll be improved for targets down the track. SOMEPIN ANYPIN loves a firm track, but this is the preparation where he needs to stand up and deliver. This should tell us how he’s going. And TITLE has a lethal second up record, so has some chance.

1 – MONTON
4 – MOMENT OF CHANGE
3 – SOMEPIN ANYPIN
2 – TITLE

Race 4 – CARNES HILL MARKETPLACE HANDICAP (1300m)

A fascinating betting race. I’m keen on MERLIN MUSTANG at odds. Two from two at the distance and a length and a half defeat behind Laser Hawk and Said Com look good enough for this, and he appears overs. Obviously, STRAWBERRY BOY is on the way up. He’s very well bred and should improve into his second preparation. Tough to beat. HOYLONNY is a good horse on his day but he was disappointing in the autumn. If the real Hoylonny shows up he could blow this lot away. And SNITSKY is lightly raced but has a good record, looks below this class but is still improving so could sneak a place.

3 – MERLIN MUSTANG
15 – STRAWBERRY BOY
4 – HOYLONNY
13 – SNITSKY

Race 5 – GROUP 3 UP AND COMING STAKES (1300m)

Not one of the stronger editions of the Up and Coming Stakes, with most of the good types now going to the Run for the Rose a week later. Still, blueblood SUMARAND looks a very nice horse in the making. Won very easily at Hawkesbury and only has to run to a similar level to win here. URQUIDEZ has race fitness, he probably wants further now but should hit the line nicely. CALAMBA is bred to stay all day but could pull out a run fresh, while it is hard to line up ALBRECHT here.

8 – SUMARAND
3 – URQUIDEZ
6 – CALAMBA
4 – ALBRECHT

Race 6 – GROUP 2 WARWICK STAKES (1400m)

Great race to mark the unofficial start of the Sydney spring. There are five or six horses who have genuine winning chances, while almost all the field could end up in the placings. However, I believe fitness is vital in these lead ups. I’m really keen on LIGHTS OF HEAVEN, who has the residual fitness from a Brisbane winter campaign. This could be too short, although remember she should have won the Lawrence Stakes last year (she finished an unlucky second to Whobegotyou). Last spring, everything seemed to go wrong but she redeemed herself in the autumn. I think she can win here. Obviously PINWHEEL was good in the Missile Stakes and he won this race last year. This does look a more classy lineup, however. There’s been a lot of hype around the former Kiwi ROCK ‘N’ POP, which is understandable – he’s very classy and on his trials he looks to have thrived under Gai. However, I want to see how he measures up before backing him. And don’t be surprised to see LAMASERY run a big race, he loves a firm track and his record at the distance is very good. I think he’ll be even better second up but is a watch horse today. Next best Polish Knight, who looks a potential middle distance weight for age star.

12 – LIGHTS OF HEAVEN
2 – PINWHEEL
11 – ROCK ‘N’ POP
4 – LAMASERY

Race 7 – GROUP 2 SILVER SHADOW STAKES (1200m)

Looks to be plenty of pace here. I’m sticking with the favourite. NECHITA looks to have the potential to be a headline horse this spring, and I expect to see her winning here. After that, it’s a bit murkier. DEAR DEMI has always looked like she would make a good three year old, and while I expect this will be too short, she should be rattling late. Another rattling late will be JADE MARAUDER, who is incredibly well bred but stumbled a bit in the autumn. She’s another who should make a nice three year old, and she should be suited at the distance. For fourth, go with ICHIHARA who will be up on the pace.

10 – NECHITA
4 – DEAR DEMI
3 – JADE MARAUDER
1 – ICHIHARA

Race 8 – LISTED TOY SHOW QUALITY (1300m)

Only looks a couple of chances here, and it’s hard to go past STEPS IN TIME. Has a good record fresh, and loves Warwick Farm. Would be surprised if she didn’t win. DYSTOPIA has trialled sensationally, and beat a handy field over this track and distance earlier this year. She’s the main danger. If there’s one at odds, it could be CAPITAL COMMANDER. Had absolutely no luck last start, she loves the track and distance and most importantly, she is a genuine firm tracker. I reckon these three have it between them, with the next best MISS STELLABELLE who has her first start for Gai Waterhouse.

1 – STEPS IN TIME
2 – DYSTOPIA
6 – CAPITAL COMMANDER
5 – MISS STELLABELLE

MOONEE VALLEY

Race 1 – MITCHELTON WINES PLATE (1200m)

6 – COMMANDING JEWEL
1 – MAMA’S CHOICE
5 – SHOWMYA MISS
7 – TYANNA

Race 2 – DR SHEAHAN PLATE (1200m)

2 – DRAW FORWARD
4 – KNEELING
3 – OUR MISS JONES
10 – CHIVVY

Race 3 – SPORTINGBET HANDICAP (2040m)

2 – STORM BURST
4 – ROCK PRINCESS
10 – DUBLIN DARLIN
9 – VIHANNA VICTORY

Race 4 – CHANDLER MACLEOD HANDICAP (2500m)

1 – MR TIPSY
2 – THE JUNGLE BOY
10 – YOU THINK SO
7 – SHINY BUTTONS

Race 5 – LISTED MCKENZIE STAKES (1200m)

This race is quite underrated – it always tends to throw up a Caulfield Guineas contender. This year, I reckon it could be AWESOME BRO. The son of Darci Brahma has been impressive at his two starts to date and I think he’ll appreciate the step up now. Looks hard to beat. Anacheeva won this race in 2010, and LIBERTY ROCK will be hoping to carry the same colours to victory. Good at two starts in the autumn, if he’s matured, look out. DOMINANT was good in the Blue Sapphire Stakes behind Wales, I rate that form quite highly (although others may not), while there will come a day when GENERAL RIPPA blows us all out. Could today be that day? Who knows. But I’ll give him another go.

4 – AWESOME BRO
5 – LIBERTY ROCK
6 – DOMINANT
1 – GENERAL RIPPA

Race 6 – LISTED CARLYON STAKES (1000m)

I expect class to prevail here. That means one horse – ATOMIC FORCE. A dual Group 1 winner, he doesn’t appear to get in too harshly and a flying 1000m should suit him here. Back him to beat this field. I was keen when former boom juvenile ONE LAST DANCE returned, but she really disappointed. She is likely to go back today, which makes me wary of her again. Australian punters didn’t see the best of Kiwi mare ANABANDANA in the autumn, but if she produces her best, she’ll be in the mix, while I’m always careful of ROCKING FORCE at Moonee Valley. One for the multiples.

1 – ATOMIC FORCE
11 – ONE LAST DANCE
2 – ANABANDANA
4 – ROCKING FORCE

Race 7 – SAJ CATERCARE GROUP HANDICAP (1519m)

This race has developed into a fascinating race featuring some of Australia’s more intriguing Cups contenders. The favourite is Excluded, who is always heavily backed, but I’ll be avoiding him today. The race doesn’t look to pan out for him – I reckon he’ll be very hard to beat in the 2000m race at Flemington in two weeks time. I’m sticking with a horse who will be greatly suited here at Moonee Valley, and also much better suited at the trip – PHILDA. Everything looks to fall into place for him here, so I think he’s the one. I reckon, of the stayers, SHEWAN could be the one to flash home. The Herbert Power winner has a good fresh record, not sure he’s at his best at Moonee Valley though. I guess EXCLUDED has to be in the picture somewhere, but I reckon he’s grossly under the odds so he’s definitely not a punting proposition. And although TANBY was beaten a long way first up, he always improves greatly into his second up run. Don’t be surprised to see him run much better.

6 – PHILDA
3 – SHEWAN
10 – EXCLUDED
2 – TANBY

Race 8 – AQUANAS FOODS HANDICAP (1200m)

What a tough way to end the day! Given his first up performance over the track and distance, I’m finding it hard to go past TOKUGAWA. Great record for such a lightly raced horse, and he’s on the improve. Not much tougher here, so he’ll go well. MORANT’s been good at two starts since he came over from Perth. He’ll be ready to go third up and so he looks the main threat. The one at odds who’ll provide some cheek is SIERRA NEVADA. His Kiwi form stacks up well, but he’s had issues which have restricted him to one run – a good third – in the last 18 months. Still, expect to see him run well. And LIVIGNO is also lightly raced but is making his way through the grades nicely. Tough race.

6 – TOKUGAWA
1 – MORANT
9 – SIERRA NEVADA
11 – LIVIGNO

MORPHETTVILLE

Race 7 – LISTED PENNY EDITION STAKES (1400m)

South Australia’s main lead up for the Melbourne-bound horses. Under the weight for age conditions of the race, it is hard to see anyone getting close to the Caulfield Cup winner SOUTHERN SPEED. 1200m was too short first up, but she still rattled home to just miss. 1400m suits much better and she should have the measure of these horses. At his best ALCOPOP would be a threat. I’m not sure he can beat Southern Speed but I reckon he’s got enough class to get the better of these horses. Obviously getting older but he showed enough first up to suggest he’ll be competitive. JUSTIFY THAT was good in the Spring Stakes and has claims, while GLANEUSE should go well off the freshen up.

12 – SOUTHERN SPEED
1 – ALCOPOP
6 – JUSTIFY THAT
4 – GLANEUSE

YORK

Race 4 – EBOR HANDICAP (a2800m)

This is one of my favourite European races of the year. Big field, plenty of chances, always value to be had! It is also a prime Melbourne Cup lead-up, so I’ll be watching closely from that perspective. For me, there is just no way that I can oppose CAMBORNE. The John Gosden-trained galloper was simply awesome on the final day of Royal Ascot, coming with a withering turn of foot from last to sweep past his rivals easily. Not many Europeans have a turn of foot like this galloper, and I truly believe he would be well suited to Australian racing. I’m hoping to see a victory so Gosden brings him to Australia! Godolphin’s WILLING FOE shapes as an interesting competitor. By the same sire as Americain, he’s only had seven starts, and looks to have plenty of scope for improvement. Godolphin brought their last Ebor Handicap winner, All The Good, to Australia where he won the Caulfield Cup. So perhaps Willing Foe might be seen in Australia should he salute today. French invader HAMMERFEST comes from a form line behind a horse I rank as a big Melbourne Cup contender, Brigantin, so he has to be in the mix, while I like the profile of Luca Cumani’s QAHRIMAN. Next best Motivado.

2 – CAMBORNE
5 – WILLING FOE
10 – HAMMERFEST
20 – QAHRIMAN

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