By Brad Gray
Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Randwick on Saturday.
The rail is out 9m from the 1600m to the winning post and 7m the remainder. The form has been done for a good track.
|Race 1 - 1:00PM HYLAND BOXING DAY SALE HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
1. Bartley wobbled his way around Kembla Grange on debut but still shot clear to win by over three lengths in a deceptively dominant win. The Snowden camp made no secret of how highly they rate this youngster saying post race that he is every bit as good as Inglis Nursery winner Wild Ruler. Hence the $1.16 SP! The blinkers go on for start two to help straighten up the son of Written Tycoon. Champion hoop Hugh Bowman does the steering for this and drawn 1, imagine the plan would be the punch up to box seat. Bartley wasn’t brilliant into stride on debut but mustered quickly to take up the running. Probably won’t be afforded the same opportunity in this with a couple of rivals keen to cross him. A Magic Millions spot is on the line for him.
Dangers: 3. Belieber was brave in the Breeders’ Plate on debut covering ground but still finding a kick. The son of Zoustar raced a touch fiercely in his latest trial. Will need to settle better to win this but drawn wide and Nash Rawiller riding, everything still points to him landing in front. Exceed And Excel filly 9. Miss Canada looked a natural in her one trial. Kris Lees sent his filly straight to town for her trial. Loved her action through the line. 4. Nitrous put his rivals away as he was expected to at Canberra first up. That was after he knocked up after leading up the Breeders’ Plate on debut.
How to play it: How to play it: Bartley WIN ($2.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Bartley winning on debut at Kembla
|Race 2 - 1:35PM MATT JONES - AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPION HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
6. Bubbles Ball made the transition from country to provincial to city within a number of runs last campaign. The four-year-old’s return on the Randwick Kensington track suggests a metro win is just around the corner. Kris Lees’ galloper didn’t get the clearest crack at her rivals, failing to run down Worldly Pleasure. That BM70 for 4YO+ was run on the same day as the BM70 for three-year-old fought out by 8. Aquataine and 7. Switched, both hard in the market here. The older horses ran two lengths quicker despite the three-year-olds going a length quicker through the first 500m. Of course, times are only a piece of the form puzzle but at double figure odds, it makes Bubbles Ball an appealing proposition here with 54kg from the middle draw.
Dangers: 1. Kylease is the horse to beat coming back from BM88 company. The four-year-old raced too keenly in front with Punters Intelligence showing a first 600m of 34.10s brought about her undoing. She really wasn’t entitled to finish as close as she did. Lumps 60.5kg in this company. Will find the front but won’t be left alone. Aquataine is likely to press forward with just 52.5kg on her back. This strong filly has returned in excellent order. This is her hardest test but the scale gives her the chance to measure up. Switched meets Aquataine 1.5kg better off and swap the runs from last start and the result is probably different. The chances don’t end there.
How to play it: Bubbles Ball WIN ($9.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Bubbles Ball first up on the Kenso
|Race 3 - 2:15PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
2. Feel The Knight should have won a Highway Handicap last start. There is little doubt about that. The four-year-old with Emma and Lucy Longmire just needed room at the 300m but it never came and he went to the line still with a couple of gears in hand, only to be beaten a length. The Goulburn-based galloper has returned in what appears to be career-best form this time back, winning a Highway second up before holding his own in a BM70 at Canterbury behind Discharged and Charretera, finishing in front of subsequent Saturday winner Asharani. Robbie Dolan’s claim sees him in well with 57kg. All of the speed in the race has drawn inside so Dolan shouldn’t have too much trouble sliding into a midfield trail.
Dangers: 8. Princess Cordelia went straight to the front in a Highway last start and scooted clear. That was as $3 favourite. Not sure she warrants to be significantly longer in this on the back of that win, especially after Congregate franked the form last Saturday. Simon Miller replaces Tim Clark. Doubt she finds the lead here but she is a versatile mare. 12. Alternative Facts held off a luckless Hiroko to win at Coffs first up off a layoff. Can only improve off that. Touching on a few others, 4. Bombdiggity has drawn horribly, 6. Fritz’s Factor is a talent but too well found while 11. Depth That Varies will be out the back.
How to play it: Feel The Knight WIN ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: EVENS
Feel The Knight was luckless last start
|Race 4 - 2:55PM SCHWEPPES HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
8. Captain Stardust has just as much upside as anything else in this field. Plenty went wrong in his first campaign (missed starts, traffic problems) yet he still fought out the finish in his four starts. It culminated in a dominant Canterbury win after Tommy Berry boldly took off early. The Star Witness gelding relished the mile. Captain Stardust resumed at Rosehill over 1300m and despite the 61.5kg, posted an impressive win. Punters Intelligence shows the only section he clocked the fastest split was the final 200m (11.47s) so he gets a big tick out in trip second up. That was after half missing the kick too. There are quite a few designated backmarkers in this race so hopeful that the Mark Newnham-trained three-year-old can tuck in behind the speed.
Dangers: There are two things we know about 13. Rocha Clock. One, that she is a very talented filly. And two, she’s likely to miss the start again. It’s the latter that makes her a risky proposition as race favourite in this grade. She had no right to win last start after bombing the start by four lengths. That was a BM70 and this is only a BM72 but it’s a lot deeper race. She’d be on top if not for the barrier issue. 2. Mr Dependable was visually brilliant first up but got a very cosy lead and was entitled to win in the manner he did. In his favour is that there doesn’t look to be a great deal of pressure here either. Maybe 7. Bigboyroy? 1. Orcein’s last two runs have been better than the form guide suggests.
How to play it: Captain Stardust WIN ($5 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Captain Stardust winning first up
|Race 5 - 3:35PM SKY RACING ACTIVE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
11. Bandersnatch has won his two starts this campaign by a collective 6.5L. First up at Hawkesbury he was as impressive on the clock as he was to the eye. The two that filled the placings (Handfast and Commute) both won their next start. It was then straight to town for the slippery three-year-old and he didn’t disappoint having been heavily backed into $1.70 favourite. Punters Intelligence shows Bandersnatch was made to work early to cross too (running 10.53s between the 1200m and 1000m). There wasn’t a lot left for the finish, but a breather turning for home was enough to see him post the fastest last 200m of the race. Would expect 2. Sondelon and 9. Knowitall Jack to make a play for the lead but doubt they’ll have the speed to cross him.
Dangers: There wasn’t much between Bandersnatch and 10. Leviathan when assessing their chances. The Zoustar gelding has teased this campaign, with a second to Burning Crown first up at Newcastle in fast time before running third to Diamond Thunder in the Wyong Magic Millions race for three and four-year-olds. The blinkers come off for the first time and he is on trial at 1400m. Couple of little queries that saw me side with Bandersnatch. Leviathan maps to get the last crack at him, however. 8. Charretera finished in the chasing pack behind Something Fast last start. 3. Poetic Charmer profiles well third up but history suggests he’s more likely to place than win.
How to play it: Bandersnatch WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Bandersnatch winning comfortably second up
|Race 6 - 4:15PM RANVET HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
11. Big Parade never gave his rivals a hope first up at Gosford, stacking his rivals in the early and middle stages before quickening brilliantly from in front. Punters intelligence shows a last 600m of 33.45s, with a last 200m of 11.13s, so he wasn’t stopping for anybody. The time for his 1110m race was comfortably the quickest of the three 1100m races on the day. They were maidens, but deep ones contested by Crimlet and Let It Pour. That time is despite a modest early section. The quality was all in the close. Last preparation this Deep Field colt in the Clare Cunningham yard put his hand up as a coming Group winner running second to Kordia in a Listed race in Queensland at just his second start. Out to 1200m is perfect now and gets a handy allowance as a three-year-old against the older horses. Wasn’t surprised in the slightest that he was the money horse when markets first went up.
Dangers: Don’t expect 2. Embracer to be box-seating this week. Would be very surprised if he wasn’t dug out to control this. There looked to be an abundance of speed on paper last start but Splintex bluffed his rivals and got away with a pretty cheap lead. That shape didn’t suit Embracer, being asked to quicken with 60kg staying at 1100m second up. It more played into the hands of 8. Superium, a horse with sharp acceleration. The 1.5kg weight swing is handy but it’s more Embracing getting back to his front-running role that has me thinking he’ll turn the tables. That’s no knock on Superium, he did it well first up. That trio should have too much firepower for the rest of the field, all of which have reached their mark.
How to play it: Big Parade WIN ($2.70 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Big Parade trotting in at Gosford first up
|Race 7 - 4:55PM CHRISTMAS CLASSIC (1200 METRES)|
3. Signore Fox unleashed a paralysing last split to win brilliantly over the Randwick 1200m last start. That was in behind a slow tempo and after being strung up last. Punters Intelligence shows he ran he the fastest last 600m of the meeting, clocking 33.38s. The four-year-old was particularly dominant for his last 200m split, recording 11.09s. Despite that, he still only won by a nostril. The second horse, Oriental Runner, was the horse that controlled the race from the front. Of all of the horses in the field the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained galloper is the one that could yet develop into a top liner. He has always had the ability but you get the impression it’s all finally starting to click. That all said, he is staying 1200m, the rail is out 9m and he’ll settle last from the draw. It’s not a perfect set up but he has the quality to overcome those concerns.
Dangers: Liked the tickover trial of 4. Madam Rouge at Rosehill recently despite finishing last. The mare sprints well fresh and the 1200m on a Good deck is tailor made for her. She has been stretched out to 1400m in the past but her form suggests she is more dynamic over the shorter trips. Her only miss over this trip (5:2-2-0) was on a wet track. The market will give us a guide of how forward she is off a five week freshen. 1. Invincibella is using this as a launch pad to the Gold Coast, where she has won the past two years. History suggests that she’ll need this hitout to have her primed. Look for her late.
How to play it: Signore Fox WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Signore Fox rattling home last start
|Race 8 - 5:35PM HEINEKEN 3 HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
8. Something Fast jumps from a BM78 to a BM88 but when the market has 7. Phaistos as the danger, it’s not very daunting all of a sudden. Something Fast, of course, gave Phaistos windburn over the Randwick 1400m last start. Phaistos does meet Something Fast 4.5kg better off but has a 2.5L margin to make up. Something Fast went straight to the front, rolling along at a good clip, before sprinting quickly to put his rivals away. There was a so much quality about his last 200m split of 11.69s with Punters Intelligence revealing it to be the second quickest (Phaistos 11.66) of the race despite making the running. That was jumping from 1100 to 1400m second up too. The five-year-old is on trial at the mile but given last start, it shouldn’t offer an excuse. Confident he’ll win again.
Dangers: Phaistos will run well again, it’s just hard to see him turning the tables, even with the weight swing. Doesn’t look to have the upside of Something Fast. 5. White Boots only had one trial going into his first up run behind Something Fast. Typically has two so he may have needed the run and can improve sharply. 11. Spencer is on the back up after appreciating the drop in grade and step out to the mile last Saturday. This is tougher back up to BM88 company. 1. Cutadeel finished fourth behind 9. Matowi but was heavily backed and can only improve. There was merit in the way 10.Primitivo returned, running a sneaky eighth.
How to play it: Something Fast WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
How does Phaistos turn the tables on Something Fast?
|Race 9 - 6:15PM TAB HANDICAP (1800 METRES)|
Could be jumping on 9. National Guard one start too soon but willing to gamble at the double figure odds on what we saw first up. This four-year-old import was having his first run for Richard Litt, having formerly been trained by Aidan O’Brien, and had to go back to last over 1400m from the wide draw. Punters Intelligence reveals that his last 600m (34.28s), however, ranked the second quickest in the race behind only the runner up Phaistos while his last 200m (11.74s) was only bettered by the quinella Something Fast and Phaistos. Glen Boss was glowing in his appraisal after that run too, suggesting he’ll come into his own over further. Liked National Guard’s Nowra trial prior to that too. Curiously, he never raced beyond the mile in Ireland. Can settle closer from the low draw.
Dangers: Still convinced that 2. Mushaireb thrives in high pressure races. That’s what he got in the Villiers courtesy of Quackerjack and he stuck on gamely to run fifth. The six-year-old had a second wind across the line so 1800m looks a perfect progression. Will just want these leaders to roll along, which they should do. 1. Berdibek nearly landed the plunge first up over the mile, falling short behind Matowi. It was a lovely return from the grey but given everything pointed to him being primed fresh, there is some risk he flattens off a touch second up. Wary of that. The extra trip is in 3. Bobby Dee’s favour while 10. Raqeeq has improved sharply second up in the past.
How to play it: National Guard EACH WAY ($11 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
National Guard finding the line late