Tips by Brad Gray
Brad Gray's tips and insights for Royal Randwick on Saturday. There are winners to be found for nine races!
Royal Randwick is rated a Good 4. The rail is in the True position with the first set to jump at 11:40am local time.
|Race 1 - 11:40AM ROSEBUD PRELUDE (1000 METRES)|
Black odds look appealing for Plague Stone. The Lonhro colt from the Godolphin yard has panels on these class-wise. He was a ‘work in progress’ (nicest possible way to say it) in his first racing preparation with his wayward manners proving particularly costly on debut when he was beaten as the $1.35 favourite. The next time we saw him he was beaten half a length by Written By in the Blue Diamond Prelude. What price if that gun two-year-old was here? Plague Stone failed twice subsequent to that second but he scoped with mucus after the Blue Diamond (where he started $8.50), and then was posted the trip in the Todman. His two trials have been great this time back too. No disrespect to his rivals but of the only other runners in single figure odds, two were last start maiden winners over 900m at Newcastle and the other (Ben Hercules) won by a narrow margin at Sandown.
Danger: At the end of the day, if Plague Stone gets beaten he’ll beat himself. Churning looks a smart filly for Ed O’Rourke. She made up good ground on debut at the midweeks and has trialled sweetly since. The Tenor is one of those horses coming off a maiden Newcastle win but to his credit, he did it in style. He has got a pedigree and sales price ($400,000) to match his ability. Ben Hercules also ran in the Blue Diamond Prelude but never got warm behind a wall of runners and was beaten nine lengths.
How to play it: Plague Stone WIN ($2 TAB Fixed Odds)
Plague Stone’s latest trial at Warwick Farm – July 6
|Race 2 - 12:15PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
Seeing is believing and Lost Command ran a huge race at Canterbury when stepping out for Albury-based trainer Ron Stubbs for the first time. The six-year-old, who was formerly trained in Victoria, was involved in a protest first up which saw her elevated to second but there is little doubt she should have won the race. Punters Intel reveals her 600-400m, where she was cut off, was the slowest in the race. That proved costly. Off that effort, she looks even better suited out to 1400m, having won over 1500m last campaign, and on the bigger Randwick track. She has led in a lot of her prior starts so don’t be fooled into thinking she’ll concede these another big start. Her price has already been snipped from $12 into $7 but it still looks attractive odds.
Danger: Brenton Avdulla and Christian Reith both gave the same feedback after Nicconita’s last two runs. She still ran well but didn’t let down on the wet track. Back onto a dry track here, she’ll get her chance to go bounce back to the winners circle. The 1400m is some query though. Gitan was brave first up and should come on plenty from the outing. Jean Van Overmeire will have options from the soft draw too. The four-year-old doesn’t have to lead. He’s an honest horse and has proven himself at this level time and time again. The lightly-raced Butchoy next best.
How to play it: Lost Command EACH WAY ($7 TAB Fixed Odds)
Lost Command first up at Canterbury
|Race 3 - 12:50PM BOOK SPRING NOW HANDICAP (2400 METRES)|
And then there were four. Ombudsman isn’t hard to find on the strength of his last start win. That was over this same track and trip and the first time he had raced over 2400m. He clearly relished the journey going further away as they crossed the line. With all of the scratchings he is deep into the red at $1.70. That last start victory was in BM80 grade and he jumps to BM90 company here but given the lack of opposition, it’s not the leap it appears on paper. Again, he is a three-year-old against older horses but he is only 10 days away from being four. The other kicker is Kerrin McEvoy rides. He is a champion jockey over all distances but over staying trips, he’s arguably the best in the world.
Danger: Grey Lion is rated 19 points higher than Ombudsman but the closest he has ever been to winning in Australia was on his debut here in the Geelong Classic when second to Qewy. After that he ran midfield in the Melbourne Cup. He was good two back at Flemington but has since failed in the Banjo Paterson. He is the class runner here but how confident can you be backing a horse that is winless in 17 starts in the country? Villardo was sent to Melbourne last start and got the job done. He relished the extra trip and his form ties in with Only Tiger as far as lining him up with the favourite here. Braces could lead these up. He is a better wet tracker though.
How to play it: Ombudsman WIN ($1.70 TAB Fixed Odds)
Ombudsman winning over the Randwick 2400m last start
|Race 4 - 1:25PM TAB REWARDS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
This is a perfect race for Gresham. He has been up since March but is holding his form really well. Last start he was caught in the crossfires of an early speed battle between Lisdoonvarna and Radiant Choice and although he ended up in a trailing position, the damage was already done setting the race up for a backmarker. Asterius came from a long last to win. Thought he was brave to finish third, only just being pipped by Sparky Lad who won last Saturday himself. There is no shortage of speed engaged here again but from the soft draw Blake Shinn will have the early option of taking cover. Gresham plummets in weight down to 54.5kg, in taking on older horses, and will certainly appreciate getting back onto a dry track.
Danger: Dagny is a curious runner back to the mile having failed to flatter in her last two runs over further. Can see her rattling home back on top of the ground. Not sure how to line up Green Sweet after turning his form around last Saturday. He charged home from the tail despite being $101, with Punters Intel revealing a last 600m split of 34.04s and last 200m of 11.50s. A repeat of that and he’s in the finish again. La Chica Bella is one dimensional but very honest, but Veladero and Coonawarra will ensure she has no on pace favours.
How to play it: Gresham WIN ($3.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
Gresham’s brave last start third
|Race 5 - 2:00PM #THERACES HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Like how this race sets up for Bella Success . There looks to be plenty of speed engaged with any number of noted front-runners lining up, including a couple drawn wide. Can see Brenton Avdulla smoking the pipe out the back as they work themselves out before sweeping past them down the middle of the track. The three-year-old filly should be at the peak of her powers now fourth up and there is a sense of timing about her here as she works towards another win. Last start she clocked 35.31s for her last 600m (Punters Intel), which was the quickest of the entire day (equal with Tip Top). It was length quicker than anything else in the race. In an ideal world Bella Success would be tackling 1400m but with the speed up front, she’ll still get her chance.
Danger: It's a tricky race to map with a number of speed horses in the race. The one that can show some versatility and slide in behind should get their chance. Maybe that will be Bombarding from the soft draw and Hugh Bowman riding? We have seen him lead in all three of his Australian starts. You Make Me Smile looks over the odds but he's hard to back with any confidence from the draw. If they try to ride him quiet, he's likely to over race. The other runner to throw into your multiples is Up Trumpz for Joe Cleary. His form was mixed last preparation but he’s up to these on his day.
How to play it: Bella Success WIN ($6.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Bella Success looks primed now after this last start effort
|Race 6 - 2:35PM ATC OWNER BENEFITS CARD HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
Only bad luck will beat Seahampton. Have been desperate to see her on a dry track as I suspect she’ll go to another level again. She’ll get that on Saturday at Randwick. She was outstanding winning last start at Randwick on a soft track, mowing down the leaders with Punters Intel revealing she ran the fastest last 200m split of the entire day (12.13s). Chris Waller said in the post-race that he had Seahampton bracketed with Unforgotten and Youngstar early days and on Saturday I’m tipping we’ll really get to see why. She’ll give her rivals a start given her general pattern and where she has drawn but she’s a couple of grades better than her rivals here. She’s still on the up and wouldn’t be surprised if she has a role to play in the early part of the spring.
Danger: Reiby Rampart is an underrated mare and will be the horse Seahampton will have to gun down as they round the bend. She beat Philosophy comfortably last start, albeit on a heavy track, and that mare has since beaten Redouble. She’ll make her own luck once more and seems to like racing at this track (4:1-1-1). Irithea knocked up the last 200m first up before finding a race where the placegetters all swept down the outside. She is going better than her form reads. Touch Of Mink and Sepoy Acheva are tricky to catch.
How to play it: Seahampton WIN ($2.80 TAB Fixed Odds)
Seahampton claiming the leaders in the final strides
|Race 7 - 3:15PM JULY SPRINT (1100 METRES)|
Memes looks to have slipped under the radar going into the July Stakes. It’s a cliché, but she ticks a lot of boxes ahead of her return. She has won four from five at Randwick (including two from two over the Randwick 1100m) and is 4:2-1-1 first up. Throw into the mix that she makes her own luck on top of the speed, has drawn well and has won or placed in 14 of her 20 career starts. It’s an appealing picture for a horse rated $9 with TAB Fixed Odds. Even more so now that fellow front-runner Just A Bullet is scratched. She made a winning return fresh up last campaign as an even money favourite, albeit with 51.5kg and in an easier race. That said, she shouldn’t be the odds she has opened.
Danger: I Thought So has hit the ground running for his new stable with Peter and Paul Snowden getting the four-year-old to finally realise his potential. He was given a charmed ride from Glyn Schofield to beat Jungle Edge last start but really put his rivals away. It might be the confidence-boosting win he so desperately needed. He’s not just a wet tracker either, first up he was nailed by the flying Dreamforce on a Randwick Good 4. He catches a few of these on the hop fitness-wise. Sir Plush flies fresh (4:2-1-0) but the gate means he’ll be giving away a big start. Tactical Advantage looks primed first up for his new yard, Kris Lees, after three trials. Easy Eddie is in the mix and should get the run of the race.
How to play it: Memes WIN ($9 TAB Fixed Odds) and I Thought So ($3.70) WIN
Memes winning first up last campaign
|Race 8 - 3:55PM BROTHER DAN'S 80TH BIRTHDAY SPRINT (1000 METRES)|
Willing to take my chances on Single Bullet. First up last preparation he chased home Viridine in the Listed Heritage Stakes with Albumin and Malahat back in third and fourth. He is a galloper that has promised a lot throughout his career but that talent hasn’t yet materialised into wins. The son of Not A Single Doubt has placed in eight of his 13 starts but won just once, albeit the G3 Pago Pago. What really piques my interest in the galloper this time back is that he returns a gelding. That might be the difference for him to start turning placings into wins. He trialled just the once and was made to find the line but he did and encouragingly, poked his nose out to win it.
Danger: Bandipur closed off well last start behind Noble Joey and She Knows. Perhaps that’s just his level. No matter, that form is good enough to be in the finish of this race on Saturday. He has no excuses no fitness-wise and he goes on all surfaces so the transition from wet to dry won’t phase him. Perhaps the biggest thing in his favour here is the draw which should allow Hugh Bowman the chance to hold a very prominent spot in the run. Rebel Miss is an honest mare and will be thereabouts again. Include Junglized and Three Sheets is any multiples.
How to play it: Single Bullet WIN ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds) and SAVE on Bandipur ($2.60)
Single Bullet running second to Viridine first up last campaign
|Race 9 - 4:35PM AUSTRALIAN TURF CLUB HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
Not jumping off Redouble. He’s got a couple of big things in his favour on Saturday. Firstly the good track. It’s a bit of a theme there at Randwick on Saturday. With so much wet track form coming out of the winter, you need to find those runners that can turn their form around or in this case, placings into a win. He does handle the wet but both of his wins last campaign were on good tracks. The other thing is the inside draw. He was half a length slow last start which saw him settle last in the run before coming down the outside. Typically he is an on-pace horse so don’t be surprised to see him settle in the first couple this start, especially having drawn barrier 1. Even if he is a tad slow, Jean Van Overmeire will be able to punch up on the fence to be closer. If you’ve been with him all winter, don’t sack him yet. If you haven’t, now is the time to jump on.
Danger: Handfast was beaten 1.3L by Redouble last start. The 1kg swing alone probably won’t be enough to turn the tables but he also gets the blinkers back on. He had the shades on when he last won – which was way back in the autumn of 2016! The five-year-old will again get his chance from the soft draw parking in behind the speed. Invictus Prince was outstanding on his Aussie debut for Matt Smith. Again that was in the same race as Redouble and Handfast. The query, outside of the carpark draw, being whether he’ll want further than 1400m now second up. Respect Onslaught having won in dominant fashion in Melbourne.
How to play it: Redouble WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
The last start runs of Redouble, Invictus Prince and Handfast