Another Group One night down in Australia with full card coverage of racing from Randwick and Caulfield. Group Ones of the George Main Stakes and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes highlight racing in both Sydney and Melbourne respectively, where we get to see the return of the likes of Behemoth and Probabeel, as well as the super mare Verry Elleegant in Sydney. As well, the GII Shorts Handicap has come up as one of the most competitive fields of sprinters you could find. Several top class runners will try to slow down the effortless tear of TRC World Rankings #10, Nature Strip.
For some bonus action, we will head over to New Zealand for three stakes at Hastings finishing off with the 2nd Group 1 card of the season, the GI Tarzino Trophy. Superstar Avantage has been officially retired which will really open up the betting in this competitive field. Several of NZ’s top gallopers make their way to contest this 7 furlong event, including Callsign Mav, who lit up the tote board last season in this very race.
Randwick (Australia A) – First Post: 9:40 PM ET
Race 1: 14-11-2
Race 2: 2-4-1
Race 3: 13-5-6
Race 4: 14-5-1
Race 5: 4-1-5 (GIII Bill Ritchie Handicap)
Race 6: 4-3-2 (GII Tea Rose Stakes)
Race 7: 9-7-2 – (GI George Main Stakes)
Race 8: 1-2-6 (GII The Shorts Handicap)
Race 9: 4-3-14 (GIII Kingston Town Stakes)
Race 10: 9-4-12
Race 5 – #4 – Aramayo – Hopeful that the money goes towards Private Eye or the NZ filly Amarelinha first up. Aramayo ran a cracking race LTO finishing a strong 2nd behind Zaaki, who has been one of the stars of Australian racing, albeit being more of a staying type. Despite that, Zaaki was strong over 7 furlongs and Aramayo ran big to be within a length and a half for his first up effort. A few others may be short in here and Aramayo is primed for a big run against slightly lesser company.
Race 6 – #4 – Mallory – Would much rather have this galloper than the morning line favorite Four Moves Ahead. Had this horse in his last start in the Furious Stakes and she ran into a ton of trouble, but was still able to close strongly on the line finishing 3rd. Both starts this prep have come with viable excuses and she showed her ability in both to place where she did. With a cleaner trip she’s my best of the day.
Race 7 – #9 – Hungry Heart – A super talented filly who loves the distance. Disappointed in the GI Winx Stakes first up, however it was a tough run and she wasn’t fully ready. Waller gave her another barrier trial over the course last week to sharpen her up for this effort. She will improve 2nd up and with that extra work should be even more prepared. Use her with the other Waller trainee in Verry Elleegant and Think It Over.
Race 9 – #4 – Spirit Ridge – Came out of two strong barrier trials to put together a good effort at Kembla Grange first up. Mark Newnham had this runner prepared for that effort however this would be a bigger target to be ready for jumping back to stakes company. Faces a tough challenge from a few in here including She’s Ideel who gets in very light in the weights. With that being said I would not shy away from this runner at a decent price.
Caulfield (Melbourne Racing Club) – First Post: 10:30 PM ET
Race 1: 2-11-10
Race 2: 8-7-4
Race 3: 2-5-1 (GII Thousand Guineas Prelude)
Race 4: 2-3-5 (GIII Caulfield Guineas Prelude)
Race 5: 5-1-7
Race 6: 5-3-11
Race 7: 12-6-14 (GIII MRC Foundation Cup)
Race 8: 6-1-14-15 (GI Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes)
Race 9: 4-10-13 (GII How Now Stakes)
Race 3 – #2 – Scorched Earth – Wasn’t her best effort LTO at Moonee Valley, however it came over soft ground and the efforts at Caulfield have been solid, as well as coming against strong opposition. Defeated by the likes of Gimmie Par and Anamoe, a horse who dominated in the GII Run To The Rose last weekend. Expect her to get back in form and with conditions right should be ready to turn the tables on Heresy.
Race 6 – #5 – Ecumenical – An interesting galloper from South Australia and a horse I have always had some time for. Very intrigued by the move over to Melbourne and thought the effort first up on a huge shorten up in distance told the story. Has made this trip before and not run great, however she seems to be in better form and to send her over for this race they feel she is making big strides. Expecting a big run out of her today.
Race 7 – #12 – Grand Promenade – The ultra consistent galloper picks up the services of Harry Coffey in this one as they look for the right rider now that Jamie Kah is suspended. She rode this horse to two impressive wins and despite being defeated handily at the Valley LTO, getting back to a track like Caulfield should help. Can handle any type of ground and if the price is as high as it is now there is lots of value in a very competitive field.
Race 8 – #6 – Buffalo River – Very competitive during his stints in Melbourne but has not been able to deliver when heading to Sydney. Puts those last few efforts behind him, gets back to his favorite distance and a track he knows well. Will try to settle a nice spot towards the lead or just off and has shown the ability to get in a forward position in the past. Tough field he faces but is a very live chance.
Race 9 – #4 – La Mexicana – There are few horses who have loved Caulfield in the past as much as this one. The daughter of I Am Invincible has won 3 of 5 at the track and has put together a few decent efforts recently without finding the winner’s enclosure. Damian Lane takes over the mount for the first time, should be primed for a big effort.
New Zealand (Friday) – Hastings
Race 5: 2-1-9 (El Roca Trophy)
Race 7: 13-1-4 (GIII Hawkes Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes)
Race 9: 2-3-13 (GI Tarzino Trophy)
Race 5 – #2 – Turn The Ace – 2 for 2 lifetime but starts off this prep against a quality field. Got some benefit at the draw for a horse that will want to get up towards the leaders early. Will have a tall task ahead with I Wish I Win who has put together back to back strong efforts in much higher class, including a 2nd in a Group One Sires’ Produce to On The Bubbles. Will get better later in the prep but is worth a shot to pull the upset today,
Race 7 – #13 – Mustang Valley – Will be a decent step up in class for this 3 YO filly but showed some strong form towards the end of the season. Has had one barrier trial so far and will be first up this prep. She seemed to find a real affinity for this distance last season and is a sneaky play to step up at a nice price.
Race 9 – #2 – Prise De Fer – Race has changed complexion greatly with the recent announcement of the retirement of NZ superstar mare Avantage. She was the favorite in the field and without her presence the odds board will be shaken up a bit. Prise De Fer put together a very strong effort first up in the GI Foxbridge Plate and has great form when 2nd up. Will look to fill the void left by Avantage for the owners Te Akau and trainer Jamie Richards.