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Golden Eagle - A Runner By Runner Guide

Tips by Brad Gray

Brad Gray profiles every runner in the $7.5 million Iron Jack Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

1. ALLIGATOR BLOOD (15)
Trainer: David Vandyke
Jockey: Ryan Maloney

Not the dominant force he was as a three-year-old but this race has been his target all spring and his record beyond 1400m is exceptional. He is a pimple away from being a two-time Group One winner over the mile. It was a pass mark first up at Doomben over an unsuitable 1100m with 61kg on his back but he had no excuses when second to Flit in the Silver Eagle. Has next to none wet track form to judge him by. It was a ‘Soft 5’ at Flemington where they ran home in 33.31s. Hardly a testing track. That gives us no guide at all.

2. BRANDENBURG (14)
Trainer: John Sargent
Jockey: Regan Bayliss

There is a question mark over how well Brandenburg has returned. On current form, he can’t win. However, we know he is capable of better. John Sargent has thrown the winkers on for the first time. He finished midfield in the G1 Epsom last start but the runs of fellow four-year-year-olds Funstar, Riodini and Colette were superior. Has only run once on a heavy track and he was beaten half a length in the G1 Doncaster behind mudlarks Nettoyer and Star Of The Seas. That was with 50.5kg but that says the ground won’t be a problem.

3. SUPERSTORM (19)
Trainer: Grant & Alana Williams
Jockey: Josh Parr

The first of ‘The Storm Boys’. Doesn’t have the strike rate of his stablemate, winning just two from 12 but five of his last eight runs have been in Group One company. That includes his last three straight, in the Sir Rupert Clarke, Turnbull and Toorak. He finished third in the Toorak three weeks ago on the back of a ground-saving ride from Willie Pike hugging the rails. The barrier leaves Josh Parr no other option than to be right out the back. Raced on a soft track on debut way back at Belmont. We can’t get any guide on that but as a general rule, the Sebrings handle it.

4. DAWN PASSAGE (16)
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Jockey: Tim Clark

All honours to Flit in the Silver Eagle, but thought Dawn Passage was the runner to take away from the field with a view towards the Golden Eagle. Dawn Passage was first up and after looming into the race, running the fastest 600-200 split, peaked on his run late. That was after being forced back to last from the wide draw. There is no doubt the son of Dawn Approach is at his explosive best on top of the ground, however, with four of his five career wins coming on good tracks. That said, his one heavy track run was a tad inconclusive as he was buried in behind the field in the Arrowfield back in April.

 

5. RIONDINI (7)
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Jockey: Brenton Avdulla

Sat outside of the leader in a fast-run G1 Epsom and fought on doggedly to pinch third. He was only beaten 0.2L by Funstar in the finish. In Funstar’s favour is a 4.5kg weight swing under the set weight conditions of this race. Still, Riodini hasn’t done much wrong since coming across from New Zealand and with luck in running, probably wins the G2 Shannon two starts back. Has won two from two on soft tracks, his first two careers runs which were back in NZ, but you wouldn’t think the prospect of a heavy track would hold any fears.

6. WINDSTORM (8)
Trainer: Grant & Alana Williams
Jockey: Glyn Schofield

Unlike Superstorm, Windstorm has been conservatively placed through his 11-start career which sees him with seven wins beside his name. Has never raced on a heavy track but is a winner of six from four on soft ground. Possesses an exceptional turn foot and has drawn to be within striking distance. It’s been a lucrative preparation for the Redoute’s Choice gelding but he is already nine runs into a very busy spring. He clocked the fastest 600-400 in the Moonga Stakes at Caulfield last start but didn’t finish off with the same gusto we saw in the two runs prior.

7. RELOADED (11)
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Robbie Dolan

There was a buzz around this Chris Waller-trained galloper prior to the spring having trialled so well but he has failed to deliver in his two runs. First up he ran an encouraging, if not brilliant, third in the Tramway and with improvement to come, was on track for a tilt at the G1 Epsom. That plan was aborted when he failed to fire in the Bill Ritchie when a well beaten fifth in the Bill Ritchie. He did settle in the second half of the field in an on-speed dominated race, if you’re searching for excuses. Don’t think he is overly comfortable in wet ground either.

8. JUSTIN THINKIN’ (21)
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Jockey: Kathy O’Hara

Still not sure on a couple of things with this horse. Firstly, what his best trip is. Is he a strong one-paced miler that’ll pinch the odd race due to his style of racing? Or can he stretch to 2000m and beyond? Off his run in the Hill Stakes, the staying trip looked to stretch him but that was at weight-for-age behind Kolding, Fierce Impact and Avilius! Dropped back to the mile last start, and back in grade, but was no match for Purple Sector. Off his recent form, can’t see him troubling these.

9. BOTTEGA (4)
Trainer: Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou
Jockey: James Innes Jnr

Love the way this horse is responding to being trainer like a sprinter-miler this time back. There’s a turn of foot! Last preparation his strength was his sustained, one-paced closed. There is a case to be made that the son of Snitzel would have won both of his lead ups with any luck. The first of those was behind Prime Candidate who got complete control in front while he was momentarily held up, finishing alongside Purple Sector, before it was an even worse watch for his backers second up. That was giving 7kg away to Criaderas too. Handles on surfaces, drawn well. Big player.

10. CRIADERAS (10)
Trainer: James Cummings
Jockey: Keagan Latham

Have got little doubt that this gelding possesses as much talent as any runner in this field, he just has to iron out a few creases. Remember though, he has only had six starts, winning four of them. The son of Lonhro has become very one-dimensional. In his four starts this time back he has faced 34 rivals and managed to settle in front of just one of them in the run. He possesses a monster finish, however. He was beaten last Saturday as an odds on favourite but still clocked the fastest last 600m of the meeting. He’s no stranger to that accolade either. Hard fit, handles the wet, would just love to see him midfield as opposes to out the back.

11. FLIT (17)
Trainer: James Cummings
Jockey: Rachel King

It’s easy to point to Flit being a Group One winner over the mile having won the Thousand Guineas but I’ve long held the belief that she is at her best when produced fresh over a sprint trip. Her best run last preparation was first up over 1200m in the Light Fingers and she only recaptured that form three runs later when four weeks between runs in the Arrowfield back to 1200m. First up this time back she ran second to Eduardo in the Missile before finding that form again last start in the Silver Eagle, when, you guessed it, a month between runs and back in trip.

12. FUNSTAR (22)
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Tommy Berry

The barrier looks ugly on paper but the likely leader Just Thinkin’ has drawn to her immediate inside so that could be offset within the first 300m. We saw her do similar in the G1 Epsom last start. Chris Waller is big on routine, following patterns that have worked, it’s part of his success story, so it’s worth noting that Funstar follows the same preparation as last year’s winner Kolding. She is the equal highest rated runner in the race so the set weights is a huge plus but it’s her adeptness on wet track tracks that makes her so appealing. Deserved favourite but she’s far from over the line.

 

13. COLETTE (6)
Trainer: James Cummings
Jockey: Koby Jennings

Colette’s fast-finishing sixth in the G1 Epsom was perhaps the hidden run of the race. It’s been noticed this week though, as her odds have trimmed up significantly. Only Rock clocked a faster last 600m split. She was much better suited there as opposed to the weight-for-age assignment she faced in the G1 George Main Stakes second up. What becomes obvious when assessing her chances is the wet track. She is unbeaten on wet ground and all three of those wins were exceptional, one of which was her Oaks romp. The four weeks between runs might be enough to negate that she is looking for further.

14. SUBPOENAED (2)
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Jay Ford

Was tracking perfectly towards this race on the back of a dominant win in the Golden Pendant. That was a deep mares race too with Emeralds, Positive Peace and Haut Brion Her all franking the form since. However, she was poor thereafter in the Silver Eagle despite jumping a heavily-backed second favourite. She hit a flat spot before coming again through the line. It was the run of a horse looking for the mile now fifth up. Gets through the wet well enough on her exposed form and drawn to park closer in the run.

15. EMERALDS (18)
Trainer: John Sargent
Jockey: Jason Collett

Had been racing as well as ever this preparation but really burst into Eagle calculations winning the G3 Angst in the final bound. The victory was only narrow but don’t score her down on that front, as her late strength makes her a minor player in this. She clocked 11.76s for her last 200m, one of only two runners in the race to break 12s home. She relished the mile. Has only raced on a heavy track once, running fourth, but it was just about the run of the day as it was the inside-friendly meeting on the Kensington track back in July. Will need a cart into the race from the wide draw.

16. SIERRA SUE (1)
Trainer: Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young
Jockey: Nash Rawiller

Comes off a career-best effort when winning the G2 Kingston Town at Flemington four weeks ago where the Cranbourne-based mare clocked blistering late splits! And that’s still probably underselling the performance. Yes, she benefited from a dream rails run having been snagged back to last form the wide draw but she breezed straight past a field of handy mares. Has handled wet tracks from her limited exposure on soft ground, albeit never on heavy ground, and draws barrier 1. Whether that is an advantage or disadvantage come the day, we’ll only know in time. She can win.

17. ALL SAINTS’ EVE (3)
Trainer: John O’Shea
Jockey: Sam Clipperton

Look no further if you’re after an omen bet! This mare is by Halloween. Could she scare her rivals here at the big odds though? Potentially. She was a touch flat last start in the G3 Angst behind Emeralds but her two runs prior to that were great. Both on wet tracks. Last start was on a firmer surface. The daughter of Sacred Falls did fight back bravely to win first up over 1400m against the hard-fit Vitesse on a heavy 10 at Randwick. A win would surprise but is one for the wider multiples.

18. ICEBATH (5)
Trainer: Brad Widdup
Jockey: Tom Sherry

What an opportunity for young apprentice Tom Sherry. The four kilo claimer gave this mare a faultless ride last Saturday at Randwick and has been rewarded in a $7.5 million race. She is the lowest rated horse in the field but is far from making up the numbers. She looked like her old man Sacred Falls in the way she quickened on the heavy track, clocking the fastest last 200m split of the entire meeting. That was the last race on a quickly deteriorating track. The positives find themselves. She’s hard fit, loves the wet and draws to get every chance.

EMERGENCIES
19. Stockman (9)
Promising young stayer completely unsuited first up over 1400m where the leaders went too slow. Unbeaten wet.

20. Enchanted Heart (13)
A soft last start winner at the midweeks and although she handles the wet, looks outclassed.

21. Fender (12)
More was expected from him in The Kosciuszko but his first up win back in August was on a heavy track.

22. Air To Air (20)
Waywardness cost her first up but she hasn’t fired a bullet since. Needs to improve sharply.

TIPS:
18. ICEBATH
13. COLETTE
10. CRIADERAS
12. FUNSTAR

Check out the form and replays for all 18 Golden Eagle contenders for yourself.

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