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Hawk’s Saturday Selections – Coolmore Classic Day

March 23, 2013

The first day of the Sydney Carnival is here, and what a day it promises to be!

It is a perfect day in Sydney weather-wise, and I expect the crowd at Rosehill to be strong.

This is one of the stronger Coolmore Classic cards I’ve seen, and I think a lot more about the autumn carnival will be known after today.

I’ll be heading out to Rosehill for today’s action – I can’t wait!

Here are my selections, with my previews of the three Group 1 races on the card at Rosehill today:

Race 1 – LISTED MAURICE MCCARTEN STAKES (1100m)

5 – DIDNTCOSTALOT
6 – ANISE
1 – HOT SNITZEL
2 – INSTINCTION

Race 2 – GROUP 2 REISLING STAKES (1200m)

1 – VILLA VERDE
2 – OVERREACH
4 – GO AGAIN
3 – DIVA DEE

Race 3 – LISTED SKY HIGH STAKES (1900m)

9 – LUNAYIR
4 – LE ROI
2 – ALMA’S FURY
5 – SINGLE

Race 4 – GROUP 2 TODMAN STAKES (1200m)

5 – CHARLIE BOY
3 – WHISKEY ALLROUND
8 – WINDJAMMER
10 – HAVANA

Race 5 – GROUP 2 PHAR LAP STAKES (1500m)

1 – ALBRECHT
5 – TOYDINI
10 – HIGH SHOT
2 – ASHOKAN

Race 6 – GROUP 1 RANVET STAKES (2000m)

Disappointed that PRINCE CHERI was scratched, as I thought he had a chance today at good odds.

I think the market has this race figured out correctly.

FIVEANDAHALFSTAR is clearly the one to beat on his last start performance in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m). The three year olds streeted the older horses that day, and it could happen again today. It will be interesting to see him back in Sydney, as his form up here before the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) was average to say the least. He was winning what seemed to be weak races. I hope he goes as well up here as he does in Melbourne.

SILENT ACHIEVER is the main danger. She had the flashing light on her head after the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) – everyone noticed how good her run was. She’ll be even better in two weeks time, I think, but she’s a definite hope today. Just hope she gets a little bit of pace.

The only one I could see upsetting the top two is SANGSTER. He is coming back from two miles after a win in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m), but he did win the Group 1 International Stakes (2000m) at weight for age prior to that. He’s come back in great form after struggling last autumn, so don’t be surprised to see a big run today with fitness on his side.

Next best is GATEWOOD, who has needed the two runs this autumn to date and is getting to the point in his prep where he should start showing something.

On his best, MANIGHAR would be right up there but his first up run was so disappointing that I need to see him improve before tipping him.

13 – FIVEANDAHALFSTAR
12 – SILENT ACHIEVER
2 – SANGSTER
8 – GATEWOOD

Race 7 – GROUP 1 COOLMORE CLASSIC (1500m)

This is as good a Coolmore Classic I’ve seen in recent years, especially if the three year old form stacks up.

With plenty of fillies contesting this race, as well as some good older mares, the stage is set for one of the most competitive Group 1s so far this year.

Although she was beaten last start, I think NORZITA is the one to beat here.
I think the shorter straight of Rosehill will suit, she’s won here previously and her only defeat at this track came at the hands of Proisir. I doubt she’ll be hitting the lead as early as she did at Flemington and I expect her to be hard to catch. The concern for mine is that she gives FLYING SNITZEL weight for being beaten by her last start. However, I think Flying Snitzel will need a lot of luck to win, while Norzita should get a kinder run and a better opportunity.

I couldn’t believe ZURELLA opened up the rank outsider on Wednesday – as much as $51 was bet about her! This Kiwi won the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in September, before her form tapered off. First up in New Zealand, she was 10 lengths last on the corner before flying home to finish a length off them in third. I think Shaune Ritchie has learned that this mare flies fresh, so he’s aimed to keep her fresh for this race. It is six weeks since her first up run, and I think that will suit. If she can repeat her last two fresh runs, she’ll be in the finish at big odds.

DEAR DEMI was powerful in winning the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) last start, proving her versatility. She’s on an Australian Oaks campaign, and so she may be looking for further with her next start over 2000m in two weeks. However, last start proved she is capable of winning this – Tuesday Joy in the same colours followed a similar campaign as a three year old. Definite chance.

And BENNETTA was disappointing last start, but if she runs to her form before that, she goes close. This has been the target for her all along, so don’t discount her at all.

Next best FLYING SNITZEL and RED TRACER.

7 – NORZITA
8 – ZURELLA
6 – DEAR DEMI
13 – BENNETTA

Race 8 – GROUP 1 CANTERBURY STAKES (1300m)

This is the first running of this race at Group 1 level, and it looks a match race between the two stars from the Gai Waterhouse stable – PIERRO and MORE JOYOUS.

They’ve met once in last year’s Cox Plate, where Pierro finished third and More Joyous 11th. However, More Joyous clearly is a better autumn mare, as well as better suited to the Sydney way of going.

Nevertheless, I’m putting the star three year old Pierro on top. It was a tough choice, but he is unbeaten in Sydney and I think he could be even better than her – a big statement. I would have preferred to see him over 1500m, but still, I have to have him on top.

More Joyous ranks second, and I hope we see a stirring contest to mark the first running of this race at the highest level. She’ll go to the Group 1 Queen of the Turf (1500m) in two weeks and should just win, but today may prove tougher.

MOMENT OF CHANGE goes into third after his good second in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m). He’s another one I’d prefer to see over further now but he’ll go well on his way to the Doncaster.

And for fourth, go with SOLZHENITSYN. He’s still improving and who knows how good he may be?

Next best HAPPY TRAILS, who will be running on at the end.

10 – PIERRO
7 – MORE JOYOUS
3 – MOMENT OF CHANGE
4 – SOLZHENITSYN

Race 9 – APN OUTDOOR HANDICAP (1200m)

6 – RACEWAY
12 – YING LA
7 – SNITSKY
13 – SENTA DE NOCHE

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