By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Wednesday’s quite strong midweek meeting at Royal Randwick. The track was rated Soft 6 on Tuesday but expecting a good track. The rail is in the 12m position and that’s somewhat more problematic.
|Race 1 – 1:40PM TAB.COM.AU PLATE (1000 METRES)|
Fantastic two-year-old race to kick off and plenty of solid trial performers to dissect. Have to be impressed by 4. Royal Witness who has performed strongly in both public trials in differing racing patterns. He just ran them ragged in his first trial in October then went shin sore and was given a break. Sat off them at Rosehill last time and was held together running third with Performer closing in on them to win. He does look a handy one and if he runs up to the trials will take beating. Read trainer John Sargent's comments here.
Danger: 2. Hiemal started favourite in the Breeders’ Plate and raced handy but weakened to finish midfield and was spelled. He trialled well without having ‘back me’ written all over him though his heat was run in faster time than the one won by Performer. Sure to run well. 7. Zousain showed some improvement into his second trial and with the race falling away he comes into play. Drawn the inside and has Kerrin McEvoy aboard so there are pluses. Check for late support. 8. Miss Blumenthal showed a lot of speed when winning her trial at Randwick on January 29. She did start well in the market on debut at Moonee Valley in the spring so could be worth another chance.
How to play it: Royal Witness WIN ($2.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
Royal Witness runs a close third to Performer in a Rosehill trial on January 22
|Race 2 - 2:15PM #THERACES HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
There’s no way you can have any level of confidence going into this race and the scratching of Semper Fidelis doesn't really help. 6. Kookabaa is never far away and he did find the line quite well late first-up to record his sixth consecutive fourth placing. Keep an eye out for tactics changes with him as he’s settled in a variety of spots in his career to date and he did settle back fresh. Might have his chance.
Dangers: 2. Schoolmates was a late scratching on vet’s advice when in the market at last week’s Kembla midweek meeting so him turning up here is interesting. He’s shown enough in trials so suggest there’s ability there so be guided a bit by the market if you fancy him. 5. Tangmere could well be the best horse in the race long term but whether this suits I’m not so sure. I’d love a guarantee of some pace because he looked in his last run in the spring that he wants plenty of ground. It certainly won’t surprise to see him charging home late. 3. Crystal Billy was a drifter in the market on debut at Gosford and probably should have run second if not for being held up badly in the straight.
How to play it: Kookabaa & Schoolmates Quinella.
Kookabaa finds the line late to run fourth first-up at Warwick Farm on January 26
|Race 3 - 2:50PM TAB PLATE (1100 METRES)|
Torn between the two favoured runners here and, barring a tactics change announcement by connections of Swaffham Bullbeck, I’ll stick with 7. Ridicule having been on board at her debut back in September. She trialled up strongly before starting $3 and chasing home Memento with a quality filly in Touch Of Mink a few lengths astern. She was held together in her only official trial this time in and I thought did more than enough. She does look capable of taking up a position and should run a big race.
Dangers: 4. Swaffham Bulbeck is the logical danger and there’s nothing wrong with the form out of his only run in the spring where he ran second at Canterbury with Epidemic in his wake. He’s settled well off the pace in both race starts but he did lead his recent trial. So, watch for a tactics announcement. If there isn’t one it would give me confidence I’ve gone the right way. 1. My Wiseman has been somewhat competitive in his trials and it’ll be interesting to see what he produces under race conditions. Not sure where he’ll get to from the outside gate but outside the favourites he’s the one to watch. 6. Prahaar comes through the same trial as Swaffham Bulbeck and she finished some five lengths back in third place. At the same time she wasn’t asked for a supreme effort so she could be worth including in the multiples.
How to play it: Ridicule WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds).
Ridicule runs a close third in a Rosehill trial on January 22
|Race 4 – 3.25PM AUSTRALIAN TURF CLUB HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
Happy to make a case for any of the six to win this race but the lack of any obvious pace is the real concern. 2. Akasaki got the job done a few weeks back at Warwick Farm where he enjoyed sitting behind a solid tempo and proved far too strong. He’s a noted on pacer without being a front-runner and hopefully he can be in a striking position on the bend and hit the line as he did last start. Off a solid pace he ran 32.81 (Punters Intel) for his last 600m. Certainly if he can hold form from that last win he’ll be hard to beat.
Dangers: 1. Invincible Quest is pretty hard to knock with five wins from eight starts and he looks to have come back in nice enough order in his trials. He’s been a backmarker in his last four starts so from the outside of six I can see him drifting back. But, he could simply be too good for them and it won’t matter. 4. Loverboy Charlie was a shade stiff first-up over this course but wasn’t a factor last time as the winner controlled proceedings in front and was too fast. Definitely good enough to win this and if the track happened to stay affected it would enhance his chances. 7. Mocassin Miss started favourite in the race won by Akasaki at the Farm and while she was held up a little it didn’t affect her finishing position of third. Last prep she did race on the speed so she might press forward and is one of the chances.
How to play it: Akasaki WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
Akasaki proves too strong at Warwick Farm on January 17
|Race 5 - 4:05PM TAB REWARDS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
I see no reason why 6. Stella Victoria can’t go on with the job now she’s broken through. Sure it was a Hawkesbury maiden but she’d run a close third in a BM71 at the Farm prior and has some strong three-year-old form through her first two runs back. She’ll love getting out to the mile and she reacted to being ridden a little on the quiet side last start, running a race best 34.14 (Punters Intel) last 600m. Good chance.
Dangers: 2. Allez Bien was never really in doubt at Gosford last time sitting on the pace and racing clear for an easy win. She was favourite there and is likely to be well found again. Expect her to be on the speed once more and giving a good account. 4. Sensacova possibly didn’t run out the 1900m at Canterbury last start but she’d been around the mark at this sort of trip previously. Drawn softly and is an each-way chance at least. 3. Queen Of Heights won that race at Canterbury but is probably less suited coming back to the mile. It was a fairly solid win hought and if she can race a bit more consistently she’s capable of being in the finish.
How to play it: Stella Victoria WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Stella Victoria’s breakthrough win at Hawkesbury on January 24
|Race 6 - 4:45PM RANVET HANDICAP (2400 METRES)|
Wide open race. 4. Napoleon has found himself right back in class and up to his preferred sort of trip so he looks a good each-way chance at least. Outstanding effort fresh over the mile where he probably should have won then not beaten far but never a winning hope behind Carzoff also at Randwick. He’ll relish the trip and I’d be surprised if he’s not at least competitive.
Dangers: 11. Varuska is an up and coming mare who was a very short priced elect when winning a Class 1 at Newcastle last time. She’s yet to be really tested from a class perspective but from gate one with Kerrin McEvoy engaged he will have every chance to fire. 6. Itsa Fait Accompli was never a factor on Australia Day behind Beijing Board passing a few in the run home from last on the turn. His two prior efforts were more than acceptable for a race like this but he does tend to give away head starts. Wouldn’t be leaving him out of the multiples/quaddies. 12. Colesburg is one of those horses that will bob up randomly and he’s worth a bit of attention stepping up to the 2400m as he’s always looked as though he needed some ground. Even effort at Canterbury last time and can show up. 1. The Gavel is another that’s threatening to do something with a couple of sound efforts just behind the placings of late.
How to play it: Napoleon E/W ($10 TAB Fixed Odds).
Napoleon’s eye-catching first-up second at Randwick back on January 1
|Race 7 - 5:20PM ATC OWNER BENEFIT CARD HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
Hands down the best race of the day. 10. Danzie was just far too good first-up at the Farm a few weeks ago as a $1.65 favourite to look elsewhere despite there being a lot more depth in this field. He toyed with his rivals and he has the tactical speed to offset the wide gate and make his own luck. He ran 33.95 for his last 600m (Punters Intel) fresh from the front. Sure to have upside and around the $3.40 mark is enticing given the shorts that were taken fresh.
Dangers: 9. Kopi Luwak is a large part of the reason Danzie isn’t shorter in the market and he of course was scratched from the Highway on Saturday for this race. He was huge last time behind Acquittal, it’s been well documented, but he is a get back horse and will need the breaks via either early pace or runs through the field. Go well. 8. All In The Reflexs was a shade unfortunate not to win first-up but she’s always suffered the second-up syndrome so forgive her form dip last time. Expect improvement from her. 4. Tip Top is impossible to leave out on his two runs back from a spell and if he can extend to the 1400m he’s a decent chance and shouldn’t be forgotten with spruiks on the top couple in the market.
How to play it: Danzie WIN ($3.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
Danzie proves too strong first-up at Warwick Farm on January 17