Tips by Brad Gray
Brad Gray's tips and insights for Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday. There are winners to be found for ten races!
The track is currently rated a Good 4 and the rail is in the True. The first will jump at 11:30am local time.
|Race 1 - 11:30AM WIDDEN KINDERGARTEN STAKES (1100 METRES)|
Legend Of Condor hasn’t been sighted since the Todman where he was very good sitting outside of Ef Troop. Back to 1100m looks to suit this Not A Single Doubt colt and he should be able to control the race on his own, despite drawing 8 of 9. Prior to the Todman he fought out the finish with Santos in the Skyline despite being wide the trip. He can overrace a touch so that’s a query but if Mark Zahra, who is yet to have a ride on him, can get him into a rolling rhythm he’ll be hard to catch. The month off is of no concern with Gerald Ryan training, a master conditioner.
Danger: Enbihaar was scratched from the Golden Slipper after she tied up on the Thursday before. She last raced in the Blue Diamond where she made up a stack of ground to run second to Written By, beating Oohood home. A positive ride would greatly enhance her chances so tactics crucial. She has trialled at Randwick to get a look at the track too. Lean Mean Machine won a midweek maiden on debut but has plenty of scope. It's just whether it all comes too soon.
How to play it: Legend Of Condor WIN ($5 TAB Fixed Odds)
Legend Of Condor in the Todman
|Race 2 - 12:10PM CHINA HORSE CLUB CARBINE CLUB STAKES (1600 METRES)|
Holy Snow was excellent in the Phar Lap Stakes last start. He pulled away from the pack with Unforgotten and although he was beaten, he certainly didn’t lose any admirers. Not my admiration anyways. He ran his last 600m in 33.98s (Punters’ Intel). The blinkers went on for the first time on that occasion and really sharpened him up. His run prior was in Group One company in the Australian Guineas but he didn’t ping like he did at Rosehill. It’s worth noting that back in third was Hiyaam, who since beat Unforgotten in the G1 Vinery last week. As the highest rated horse in the race, this Mick Price-trained colt gives away weight but he has the class, and right draw, to overcome it.
Danger: Sambro caught the eye first up at Warwick Farm having been gelded. That was the pipe opener he needed ahead of this assignment. Was right around the mark in this grade last campaign and will be thereabouts again from the cosy draw. Dissolution beat Sambro there and has won both starts for Brad Widdup. Being gelded has done the trick for him too. Assimilate next best.
How to play it: Holy Snow WIN ($4 TAB Fixed Odds)
Holy Snow in the Phar Lap last start
|Race 3 - 12:45PM THE MAN SHAKE P J BELL STAKES (1200 METRES)|
This year’s PJ Bell looks an open affair and although it’s hard to be overly confident, the big odds for Frolic appeal. What I am confident of is good speed up front. Dinnigan to take it up with Houtzen and Debonairly both coming across from wider draws. Frolic was very good first up in the Light Fingers behind Alizee, running the fastest splits in the race from the 800-200m to peak on her run late (Punters' Intel), before failing in the Surround Stakes. We can conclude now that she doesn’t get 1400m. She has been freshened since then and her recent trial sealed the deal. It was a cracker in good company. Some of her best form is on wet tracks but she goes on all surfaces.
Danger: Demerara has been dominant in two Melbourne wins this campaign. She has always had the talent but now looks to have strengthened up enabling her to sustain a campaign. She has won five from seven and maps to get a lovely trailing run. She has to be respected but looks short at $3.50. She’s So High and Catchy next best which the former outstanding in winning at Flemington last start while Catchy brings Group One WFA form!
How to play it: Frolic WIN ($12 TAB Fixed Odds) and Catchy WIN ($7 TAB)
Frolic’s recent Randwick trial – March 26
|Race 4 - 1:20PM NEWHAVEN PARK COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL (1400 METRES)|
Don’t Give A Damn won the wild card last week at Muswellbrook. It’s probably not ideal on the week back up given the four-year-old’s well documented feet issues but Danny Williams says that Don't Give A Damn has come through it brilliantly and improved a few lengths off it. That's good enough for me. Cosmologist is pretty one dimensional so I imagine they drive for the front which should allow Kerrin McEvoy to slot in behind the leaders. He’ll be hard to chase down from there as the likes of Victorem, Snitz and Suncraze will all be giving him a start. Don’t Give A Damn is a genuine city class horse already and proven over the trip.
Danger: That 1400m query played on my mind with Victorem. He gave the impression he’d love it on his Port Macquarie win but he is bred for speed. Has trialled brilliantly since qualifying. He is a quirky horse but he’s very good. Snitz drawn horribly but there is plenty of confidence about this horse. Should get the speed to be rattling home. Caerless Choice was just nutted by Suncraze in the qualifier but comes on from that and meets him 1.5kg better.
How to play it: Don’t Give A Damn WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
Don’t Give A Damn winning the Wild Card
|Race 5 - 1:55PM SCHWEPPES CHAIRMAN'S QUALITY (2600 METRES)|
Alward looks one of the better bets of the day. His three runs this time in have been great but without reward. First up he was a luckless third when held up behind subsequent Doncaster Prelude winner Cellarman before he travelled wide at Randwick only to go down fighting in a tight finish. Third up he was snagged back to last from the wide draw and rattled home, running clearly the fastest last 600m of 34.99s (Punters' Intel). That was despite it being a soft track when he’s much better on top of the ground. All being equal, he’ll have no trouble turning the tables on Master Of Arts.
Danger: Ventura Storm was visually pretty ordinary in the Tancred but was only beaten 5.5L by Almandin in a Group One WFA race at the end of the day. He finds a very winnable edition of the Chairman’s. He can mix his form a little but his third in the Australian Cup three runs back behind Harlem and Gailo Chop reads exceptionally well for this. Throw Ormito in any multiples, coming back off a second in the Adelaide Cup over two miles.
How to play it: Alward WIN ($4 TAB Fixed Odds)
Alward’s Manion Cup second last start
|Race 6 - 2:30PM INGLIS SIRES' (1400 METRES)|
Siding with the Golden Slipper form, but not with Oohood but rather Long Leaf. The gap in their prices isn’t warranted for me - $8 and $3.50. Long Leaf beat Oohood fair and square back in November and I concede a lot of water has gone under the bridge since and it was over 1000m but he’s a pretty classy colt for the Hayes camp. Long Leaf ran a huge 400-200 split in the Slipper, with Punters' Intel revealing it to be 11s flat. That was from the tail of the field having drawn wide. Should be able to possie up closer from 2 with the shades staying on.
Danger: It was impossible to miss the Slipper run of Oohood . She has now placed in the Blue Diamond and the Golden Slipper – not bad going for a maiden! She ran the fastest 200m closing splits in both too. Seabrook won the Sweet Embrace with a bit of authority before running fifth in the Slipper. If there’s a case to be made for her beating Long Leaf and Oohood home it’s that she missed the Blue Diamond so tackles this on the fresher side. Tchaikovsky is a horse still on the up and maps to give a sight from in front. Throw Ragged Rascal into any trifectas as enormous odds.
How to play it: Long Leaf WIN ($8.50 TAB) and SAVE Oohood ($3.50)
The Golden Slipper looks the right form race
|Race 7 - 3:10PM HARROLDS AUSTRALIAN DERBY (2400 METRES)|
The Tulloch Stakes might be seen as the low road to the Derby but the run of Belfast there was outstanding there. Don’t think there is that much between the Tulloch and Rosehill Guineas this year and we saw what Jon Snow did via the Tulloch last year. Belfast ran home his last 200m half a second quicker than anything else in the race (Punters' Intel) – the equivalent to three lengths. He has never been beyond 2000m but gives the impression he’ll relish it. The last decade Australian Derbys have been run on soft ground, suiting the race fit, grinding type. Hence the NZ domination. That will change this year. The Bussuttin and Young stable won this race two years ago with Tavago so they know what it takes. Belfast has drawn off the track but Kerrin McEvoy rides and looking at his replays, you’d much prefer to see him allowed the straight to wind up as opposed to being hemmed in on the fence.
Danger: Much has been made of how hard it is to win the Derby double – 21 have tried since 1979 for only two winners the latest being Mahogany – but Ace High doesn’t know that. He was brave to finish within 3L in the Rosehill Guineas. Was wide the trip and all of his best form is on Good tracks. His lead up form was behind the best three-year-olds in the country including the Doncaster favourtie in Kementari. We know he stays. The further they went in the VRC Derby the further he won by. He’ll be in the finish. Furore is much like Belfast in that we haven’t got to the bottom of him yet. He got flattened at the 250m in the Guineas but picked himself up to get third on protest.
How to play it: Belfast EACH WAY ($10 TAB Fixed Odds)
Belfast’s eye catching Tulloch run
|Race 8 - 3:50PM DARLEY T J SMITH STAKES (1200 METRES)|
Redzel is the benchmark sprinter in Australia. He is playing at his home track and this has been his grand final ever since he won The Everest over the spring. Into the melting pot goes the fact that the Snowdens are arguably the best in the business at getting horses to peak come GF day and that Kerrin McEvoy maintains his association with the five-year-old. He races on speed and he’s tough. It’s near impossible to poke any holes in him. In Her Time is a very good mare and was great winning the Galaxy - we have her to thank her Redzel not being $1.80!
Danger: Outside of Redkirk Warrior down the straight In Her Time is right up there with the best sprinters in the country. She’s certainly the best sprinting mare we have. There was a bit of arrogance about her Galaxy win and she can only come on from that. She maps to be stalking Redzel in the run and will certainly get her chance. The market looks to have the race right with Brave Smash, on the back of a narrow Newmarket second, and English, coming off a second in the Galaxy, next best. English will be hoping it’s third time lucky as far as TJs go. Might get a little spring in her step when she parades in the yard and there is no Chautauqua!
How to play it: Redzel WIN ($2.25 TAB Fixed Odds)
Redzel taking out the Challenge Stakes
|Race 9 - 4:30PM THE STAR DONCASTER MILE (1600 METRES)|
Happy Clapper on top. He has run second in the past two Doncasters - with 50.5kg behind Winx then 55.5kg when chasing home It’s Somewhat who was rated to perfection that day. He has returned better than ever with a dominant Canterbury Stakes win first up and then running Winx to a close margin in the George Ryder. You can’t ignore the 2.5kg swing in Kementari’s favour but backing Happy Clapper to still prove too good. He’s got the gate speed to settle just behind the speed, largely taking luck out of the equation. His record over the Randwick mile is incredible and he looks quite well in with 57kg given he carried that in the Epsom, which he won and then added another Group One in the Canterbury Stakes. He is actually the highest rated horse in the race now. An each way bet to nothing!
Danger: We got a good look at Kementari in the George Ryder to see where he measured up against the older horses and he was outstanding. A dry track over the Randwick mile is the same circumstances that saw him dominate the Randwick Guineas. Imagine Brenton Avdulla will be keen to track Happy Clapper everywhere he goes given he has drawn outside of him in 2. The only little knock on him is if it gets a bit tight and he has to push out to get a run. Saw a touch of reluctance from him to take a tight gap in the Ryder. Might be nothing in it but there is nowhere to hide against these tough older horses. Tom Melbourne and Humidor to fight out third.
How to play it: Happy Clapper EACH WAY ($5 TAB Fixed Odds)
Happy Clapper and Kementari battling it out behind Winx
|Race 10 - 5:10PM TAB ADRIAN KNOX STAKES (2000 METRES)|
Happy to take the gamble on Kiwi filly She’s A Treasure at double figure odds. Luvaluva has really compressed the weights here which sees She’s A Treasure get in on the minimum despite being the second highest rated horse in the race. The blinkers went on in the Oaks Prelude and she was dominant before having no luck in the Lowland Stakes behind the highly-spruiked Savvy Coup. She’s A Treasure (simply known as Treasure in NZ) was on the second line of betting for the NZ Oaks but was scratched dues to a foot abscess. She’ll appreciate the room barrier 10 gives her to wind up. The 2400m will no doubt be more her go Saturday week but she’ll be working home strongly.
Danger: Luvaluva has 19 rating points on her nearest rival here! She tackles this race instead of the Vinery after an elevated temperature saw her scratched. She was a strong winner of the Kembla Grange Classic over the mile last start while her Hobartville run was very good first up. The 2000m is ideal now. Wedgie meets Luvaluva 4kg better off for a 0.7L defeat at Kembla and will be making her own luck out in front again while Godolphin filly Harmattan is still untapped.
How to play it: She’s A Treasure EACH WAY ($10 TAB Fixed Odds)
Luvaluva winning the Kembla Grange Classic