It’s a huge weekend of racing in Melbourne with the first night card of the season at Moonee Valley very early this morning, an event that is near the top of my bucket list. For our Friday night, we head towards the Hillside course at Ladbrokes Park Sandown. After a switch in the calendar this season, a swapping of Zipping Classic Day and the Underwood Stakes brings Sandown its first ever Group One event. A field of five have come together for the GI Underwood Stakes, led by Zaaki who continues to dominate no matter the distance.
Up in Sydney the 3 Year Olds are set to square off in one of Australia’s major stallion making races, the Golden Rose. We see the return of Anamoe who cruised to the line for her most recent victory at Kembla Grange and will now return to Rosehill, a track he was a very game 2nd in the GI Golden Slipper. It’s a stakes filled card from Rosehill this weekend and continues the upward trend towards the Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup, The Golden Eagle and The Everest!
Rosehill (Australia A) – First Post: 9:40 PM ET
Race 1: 8-5-9
Race 2: 15-4-9
Race 3: 7-1-3
Race 4: 8-9-12 – (GIII Colin Stephen Quality Handicap)
Race 5: 10-3-1 – (Heritage Stakes)
Race 6: 4-10-2 – (GII Shannon Stakes)
Race 7: 6-2-3 – (GII Golden Pendant Stakes)
Race 8: 8-1-12 – (GI Golden Rose Stakes)
Race 9: 2-6-9 – (GII Gloaming Stakes)
Race 10: 9-10-2
Race 1 – #8 – Yiyi – The transition to Kembla Grange while Rosehill was shut down was tough on many participants in the industry, as well as many of the horses. In this case, Yiyi suffered from a form standpoint despite running well, he will be much more suited to the track at Rosehill and gets back there today. Track at the moment is looking like a Good 4 which is a bit firmer than ideal for Yiyi, however he can handle that track no problem and will be 2nd start after the jump up from 7 1/2 Furlongs. Handled a significant jump in distance last time out despite over-racing a bit in the middle part of the race. Should be a major chance in here.
Race 3 – #7 – Calgary Queen – Won first up this prep off of a nice barrier trial at Wyong in early August. James McDonald was aboard for the win but did not follow her run over Randwick’s Kensington course LTO. J Mac is back aboard today for this mare who has shown good ability with third up. Not sure what price we are looking at as she is a morning line favorite but there are several that will rival her in the market.
Race 5 – #10 – Enterprise Pomme – This galloper from the Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou camp raced well up in Queensland prior to starting this campaign down in Sydney. Put together a nice strong barrier trial at Rosehill over heavy ground and came back with a decent effort first up at Randwick. That effort came in the GII Darley Furious Stakes behind several promising gallopers in Jamaea, Robodira and Mallory. Drops back slightly in distance and in class, gets Glen Boss aboard and gets in well at the weights, should be a big chance at a really nice price.
Race 6 – #4 – Chat – Impressed with a win going shorter at Rosehill back in July and I have been waiting to see her do it again over a bit longer distance. By Deep Field a great sire of speed but has the ability to sit off and use that speed late. Finally found his run at Kembla Grange LTO winning the GII Theo Marks Stakes going 6 1/2 Furlongs, now steps up to seven and should have no issues. There is still some improvement to be found with this runner going forward.
Race 8 – #8 – Giannis – Put together a strong victory over several of these rivals LTO to win the Dulcify Stakes at Kembla Grange. Seems like a new horse since making the trip down to Sydney as a three year old and continues to mature. Set up with two strong barrier trials over the course to start the season and showed that talent winning that last start. There is still a lot of room to improve for Giannis and the value is fantastic with just about anyone in this field that isn’t Godolphin’s Group One star, Anamoe. Anamoe will be tough but Giannis is progressive enough to give him a run for his money. Use with Jamaea as well.
Ladbrokes Park Hillside – Sandown (Melbourne Racing Club) – First Post: 10:10 PM ET
Race 1: 7-4-2
Race 2: 13-6-9
Race 3: 4-3-1
Race 4: 1-9-3 – (Jim Maloney Stakes)
Race 5: 6-2-5 – (GIII Sandown Stakes)
Race 6: 6-2-8
Race 7: 4-2-3 – (GI Underwood Stakes)
Race 8: 3-4-1 – (Testa Rossa Stakes)
Race 9: 10-14-5
Race 1 – #7 – Diamonds Inthe Sky – Ran a strong 3rd LTO over this course and distance and improved off of recent efforts at Caulfield. It was a class drop but gets in very well at the weights in this Benchmark 90. Hopeful for a bit more improvement after that solid performance getting back to the 5 furlongs.
Race 2 – #13 – Barbie’s Fox – Apprentice jockey Lewis German has ridden this galloper extremely well this season and even got this one a win over heavy ground on the Hillside course at Sandown. Prior to German riding this horse, Jamie Kah was aboard for an effort at Flemington where the horse stepped up in class to run well. Relishes that softer going and should get in this spot. Interested in seeing how the 5 year old Foxwedge mare handles the drop in distance based on her most recent efforts I am more than happy to take her despite her struggles at the distance.
Race 3 – #4 – Jungle Magnate – Defeated a couple decent rivals to break the maiden first up over course and distance. Should get better over time with a little more distance but the first up effort was so promising that he’s worth a play. Linas Legend looks to be a deserving favorite but overall this is not the strongest field, perfect opportunity for Jungle Magnate to jump up after the debut and continue to progress.
Race 4 – #1 – Biscayne Bay – Top weight in the field who was disappointing on seasonal debut, however this is a horse who got better later in the season back in the fall. A winner over the Hillside course at Sandown and showed up with a great late kick to get up in the SA Sires’ Produce. He has a lot of talent and just needed the start first up. Will be tougher with the weight but still think he is not only the best in the field but should be pretty good value. Use with longshot Queen Of Dubai who has the potential to be the lone speed in here.
Race 5 – #6 – Cherry Tortoni – Has been very good in the past 2nd up and the first up effort was extremely strong, defeating the buzz horse in Ayrton and just getting nailed on the line by Harbour Views. It came over ground that wasn’t ideal. Rain is in the forecast for this one and if the ground comes up soft he will relish the trip even over a course like Sandown which he’s never experienced.
Race 7 – #4 – Superstorm – Will be facing off with one of Australia’s superstars in Zaaki who shortened up to 7 furlongs LTO and still won convincingly. He will be very tough to beat, however the horse to use either underneath or for an upset chance is Superstorm. Outside of Zaaki the rest of this field likes to close from well back, however with the way the race looks to be run I expect one or two to try and take up the running. Superstorm will hopefully benefit from that and has recent form behind running extremely well against some very smart horses. Taking against Zaaki in this spot will be tough, but I am willing to take that chance with Superstorm.