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Hawk’s Saturday Selections – Black Caviar Lightning Day

February 16, 2013

Today is going to be one of the biggest days of the autumn, make no mistake.

The reappearance of Black Caviar, which at one stage looked highly unlikely, has given autumn racing the springboard it needs. It is incredible how one horse can gain such mainstream attention.

She is on the front pages of the Sydney papers this morning, rare outside of the spring features and the Sydney autumn carnival. She has been discussed on every breakfast show and every news program.

I must admit, last night I thought about Royal Ascot again. I’d suppressed the memory of her narrow victory. Now she is back, the emotions are returning for us racing fans. Almost every fan I’ve spoken to is nervous, jittery, on edge.

Hopefully, come 4:30pm, we can all breathe easily again.

Of course, she is just the headline act on what is a really nice card of racing in both Sydney and Melbourne. I think we’ll know a lot more about the autumn after today’s racing.

Here are my selections for today’s racing:

FLEMINGTON

Race 1 – LISTED TALINDERT STAKES (1100m)

A last ditch opportunity to qualify for the Blue Diamond Stakes, won in the last few years by the likes of All Too Hard (2012), Star Witness (2010), Sleek Chassis (2007) and Miss Finland (2006).

A lot of the interest was lost when INDULGENCE was scratched. The New Approach half sister to Marble Halls had attracted plenty of attention and was heavily backed early.

There was such a big boom about POLITENESS before her debut that I have to have her on top again. I’m not too sure she was suited by Moonee Valley and her effort was commendable enough. Down the straight, I hope she shows more and can race into Blue Diamond contention.

Also out of that Moonee Valley race, I expect CASQUETS to improve with race experience, while I think ANNENBERG may be looking for further but should still be hitting the line late.

The unraced GREAT ESTEEM is well bred and could be a chance on debut.

11 – POLITENESS
9 – CASQUETS
7 – ANNENBERG
3 – GREAT ESTEEM

Race 2 – TAB.COM.AU TROPHY (1400m)

6 – NEW YORK
7 – DANY THE FOX
5 – COSMIC CAUSEWAY
1 – BIANMICK

Race 3 – INDIAN SUMMER HANDICAP (1400m)

1 – MOSSE DIVA
12 – OMINOUS QUALITY
8 – PERFECTLY STUNNING
7 – MUSIC SHOP

Race 4 – HILTON NICHOLAS HANDICAP (2000m)

9 – ANGOLA
2 – KEEP COOL
6 – ALTONIO
8 – RED SHIFT

Race 5 – GROUP 3 THE VANITY (1400m)

Nice little race here.

SPENDING, if ridden with cover, could win this in a canter. She’s a top class filly, her win on debut was outstanding. Had a few things against second up, but still acquitted herself well. Potentially a top class filly.

The only real danger to my eye is KAZUNLUK, who won a Group 2 at Moonee Valley in the spring. I’m not quite sure how good she may be, but I know she is up to this class if she puts her best foot forward.

Next best for mine are YOU’RE SO GOOD and LEGCUT.

3 – SPENDING
1 – KAZUNLUK
8 – YOU’RE SO GOOD
4 – LEGCUT

Race 6 – GROUP 3 C S HAYES STAKES (1400m)

Another race decimated by an important scratching, with the very impressive last start winner ROYAL HAUNT taken out this morning. He’s bound for Hong Kong.

PHILIPPI is unbeaten to date, although he is yet to race over a distance below 1500m. Injury meant we didn’t see him progress beyond 1800m in the spring. Will be on a Derby preparation but I expect a forward showing.

The value in the race is PINS OF PELE. Struck plenty of trouble at his first few starts, and the only time he was given the chance to show his true ability he won by seven lengths. Admittedly, that was in a 1900m Kilmore maiden, so this is a completely different kettle of fish. But I think he is a very promising gelding who will win a good race someday. Worth an each way ticket today.

LUNAR RISE is a Group 3 winner at this track, having won the Carbine Club Stakes on Derby Day. May find this suitable, although I think he’ll be perfectly suited in the Australian Guineas.

Next best is BASS STRAIT, who has come back a different horse this preparation.

On the strength of his first up run, I’m willing to overlook ALBRECHT.

3 – PHILIPPI
11 – PINS OF PELE
1 – LUNAR RISE
5 – BASS STRAIT

Race 7 – GROUP 1 BLACK CAVIAR LIGHTNING (1000m)

I honestly never thought we’d see BLACK CAVIAR back on track. Much has been written about the race now named in her honour this week, including this article I wrote for The Roar. Have to have her on top, and it is such a pleasure to watch her. Hopefully she makes it 24 wins here.

It’s a competitive race for second. SATIN SHOES flies fresh and I think she is best suited at 1000m. Remember, she did finish third to Sepoy and Foxwedge up the straight last season, and they would clearly run second here, so I think she’s a big chance of filling the exacta position.

Group 1 winner MOMENT OF CHANGE will use this as a springboard to the Newmarket Handicap, as will SHAMEXPRESS, and I think they are both the most likely chances to fill third place.

But sit back and enjoy the wonder mare back on track in what is likely her last racing preparation.

6 – BLACK CAVIAR
7 – SATIN SHOES
3 – MOMENT OF CHANGE
8 – SHAMEXPRESS

Race 8 – LAWN HANDICAP (1200m)

13 – WAR CHARM
9 – DECIRCLES
6 – GOLDSTONE
2 – PILOT’S LANE

Race 9 – ELMS HANDICAP (1700m)

1 – WHY NOT
7 – THE NEW BOY
3 – GAIL
8 – UNDER THE HAT

ROSEHILL

Race 1 – MIGHT AND POWER HANDICAP (1800m)

1 – FAST CLIP
7 – FROZEN ROPE
2 – PERMIT
8 – GAZZA GURU

Race 2 – GROUP 2 BREEDERS CLASSIC (1200m)

A nice little race for the mares, not quite sure why it is so early in the day really. Could easily have been after the two juvenile races.

For mine, RED TRACER is the one to beat. With a little bit of rain around, the track should be soft enough for her to excel. She is a first up specialist and the 1200m is ideal. Rates on top.

The main danger is STEPS IN TIME. Failed at her only start here in the Coolmore Classic, but this race is not as strong as that. Tends to go well first up and has trialled like a bomb, so it will pay to keep an eye on her.

PEAR TART is the only Group 1 winner in the race, but she is not a noted first up performer and will improve greatly for the run.

Next best is Ladys Angel, who improved to become a Group 1 placegtter last campaign but hasn’t raced since May last year.

2 – RED TRACER
3 – STEPS IN TIME
1 – PEAR TART
4 – LADYS ANGEL

Race 3 – LISTED CANONBURY STAKES (1100m)

A competitive juvenile race featuring some nice horses who are likely to measure up to better races.

WHITTINGTON smashed his rivals on debut in the Breeders Plate, coming away to win by three lengths – albeit in significantly slower time than the fillies. He’s trialled well for his return, though, and looks the one to beat if he holds his form from the spring.

NAPAYSHINI was remarkable on debut. He missed the start by three lengths and was still four lengths off All The Talk with 100m to go. Somehow, he managed to get within a long head. There is a little query over the form, but he deserves his chance and it would be a great story if he were to salute.

CRITERION won on debut, beating subsequent Magic Millions placegetter Sweet Idea by a half length. I’d expect that form to be solid and he looks a chance.

Of the unraced brigade, I think GALEFORCE TEN could be the one to figure. The full brother to the classy mare Melito, he’s been alright in his trials. He gets the blinkers on for his first start, which I think could make all the difference. Keep an eye on him.

1 – WHITTINGTON
5 – NAPAYSHINI
3 – CRITERION
10 – GALEFORCE TEN

Race 4 – LISTED WIDDEN STAKES (1100m)

Another nice race for the juvenile fillies. So far this season, the fillies have appeared to be stronger than the colts and geldings, so I’d be surprised if this race didn’t unearth a Golden Slipper contender.

OVERREACH has been touted as the best two year old from the Gai Waterhouse stable, a huge call given the numbers under her. She finished second on debut behind current Golden Slipper Villa Verde (who has produced incredible figures at her first two starts). Blue Diamond Prelude winner Kuroshio was third, so the form looks very strong. She’s trialled sensationally, she’s been backed and she clearly looks the one to beat.

I’m very keen to see FIFTYSHADESOFGREY. She caught the eye at the first trials of the season, recording the fastest time of the session and upstaging Most Joyful, the full to More Joyous who she meets here. She’s trialled again, once again in quick time. This is a big test on debut, but everything suggests she’ll be competitive.

BRILLIANT BISC won the Gimcrack Stakes in somewhat of an upset, defeating Blue Diamond Prelude winner Guelph easily in a time significantly quicker than what Whittington recorded in the Breeers Plate. Trialled well for this, she’s drawn awkwardly but she has to rank as some sort of a chance.

And EVERAGE comes into this with fitness on her side, I doubt she is as good as these but I think race fitness may allow her to feature here.

Next best MOST JOYFUL for mine.

5 – OVERREACH
12 – FIFTYSHADESOFGREY
1 – BRILLIANT BISC
2 – EVERAGE

Race 5 – GROUP 2 ROYAL SOVEREIGN STAKES (1200m)

The path to the three year old triple crown – the Randwick Guineas, the Rosehill Guineas and the ATC Derby – begins here in the Royal Sovereign Stakes. It is a good edition of the race this year, and it sets up what should be a memorable Hobartville Stakes in two weeks – throw in the likes of Pierro and It’s A Dundeel and you have a top class race.

The headline horse of this race is SACRED FALLS, who has won six from six in New Zealand before being transferred to Chris Waller. His last win came in the 2000 Guineas in November. He still looked very raw and immature at his last preparation, almost throwing away his unbeaten record on a number of occasions. Still, he proved too good. I expect him to win this on his way to better targets.

The logical danger is REBEL DANE, who is also unbeaten. He has been talked about as a potential Doncaster Mile hope. If that’s the case, he’d want to be showing something here. Has trialled well and looks on track to perform.

If there’s a fly in the ointment at odds, it could be URQUIDEZ. Showed he had ability last campaign but still raced immaturely. He’s been gelded, which I expect to make a big difference. Don’t leave him out of the multiples.

Next best is ASHOKAN, who has been a bit of a disappointment for mine to date but has raced in better company than this for most of his career.

1 – SACRED FALLS
5 – REBEL DANE
7 – URQUIDEZ
3 – ASHOKAN

Race 6 – GROUP 2 LIGHT FINGERS STAKES (1200m)

An exciting race for the three year old fillies, with a lot of queries. With a lot of these first up, it’s hard to tell how they will go.

BENNETTA comes into this with race fitness on her side. Her first win at Canterbury at her fourth start in November was sensational. That day, almost nothing made ground, so her effort to come from the tail and win coming away was simply superb. Then she went to the Gold Coast, where she won the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares Quality in the style of a very good filly. I expect her to measure up here.

I backed BRAVE SOUL at her last start in the spring, when she was coming off a very good third to Better Than Ready and Jolie Bay. Of course, she was unlucky to run into a potentially freakish sprinting filly in Shamal Wind. She has a poor winning strike rate to date, but she must rank as some sort of danger. Furthermore, she’s more likely to be suited to the 1200m compared to most of her rivals, Bennetta aside.

LONGPORT seemingly came from nowhere to win the Tea Rose Stakes on protest before finishing second in the Flight Stakes and fourth in the Thousand Guineas. She always seems to fly under the radar but rates as a chance.

Next best is DEAR DEMI, who is coming off an Oaks campaign. Should go well fresh and although I couldn’t see her winning, she will be hitting the line late.

DRIEFONTEIN deserves a mention. She is some chance, although I don’t think she is racing at her best and so I’d be happy to overlook.

6 – BENNETTA
9 – BRAVE SOUL
3 – LONGPORT
2 – DEAR DEMI

Race 7 – KARI ABORIGINAL RESOURCES INC. HANDICAP (1400m)

1 – FIBRILLATION
7 – IZABABE
3 – RIVA DE LAGO
8 – AERONAUTICAL

Race 8 – STARSTABLE.COM.AU HANDICAP (1200m)

13 – UPSHOT
3 – UNDER THE SUN
6 – AUSTRALIAN STAR
15 – MON SOLEIL

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