By Brad Gray
Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Day 1 of The Championships at Randwick on Saturday.
The rail is in the True and the form has been done for a Soft/Heavy track.
|Race 1 - 12:10PM WIDDEN KINDERGARTEN STAKES (1100 METRES)|
1. Rulership holds the key to this race. Historically, the Kindergarten suits those two-year-olds dropping back from Todmans, Slippers or Blue Diamonds. This colt fits that bill having run eighth in the Blue Diamond when caught in the wrong part of the track at Caulfield and subsequently found to be lame. Forgive him that. He has been freshened since with a tickover trial. The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained juvenile was brilliant on debut at Randwick and with Nash Rawiller on board. It’s very similar circumstances on Saturday. The only differences for Rulership here is this is over 1100m, the same distance of the Blue Diamond Prelude which he nearly pinched only for Hanseatic to gun him down, and it’ll be a wet track on Saturday. If the son of I Am Invincible brings his A-game others here will need a big new PB to beat him.
Dangers: 5. Doubtland was very raw on debut but love how he flattened out late once he was balanced up. It was the win of a smart youngster. That was on a Soft 7, albeit on the Kensington surface, so should handle whatever the track throws up with rain forecast for Friday. Even if he doesn’t win on Saturday, it’ll pay to follow this Team Hawkes-trained galloper. 4. Damaged hogged the headlines post Warwick Farm last start but Forbidden Love’s (scratched) times a race later, for the fillies, compared relatively well. Damaged was certainly dominant but it puts a little question mark over his head given how well found the Godolphin two-year-old is. The Kiwi 2. Not An Option trialled too well to not run well in this, but presumably settles last from the draw.
How to play it: How to play it: Rulership WIN ($2.70 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Rulership winning at Randwick on debut
|Race 2 - 12:45PM QUINCY SELTZER CARBINE CLUB STAKES (1600 METRES)|
3. Reloaded has had the blinkers on for his last three starts and has measured up in much stronger company than this. In the Hobartville and Randwick Guineas he was flattered by slow tempos but he was finishing around horses like Brandenberg and Castelvecchio, the favourites for the Doncaster and Derby. His run in the Rosehill Guineas last start out to 2000m was a beauty, trucking into the race from the second half of the field before letting down to run third. It’s curious that James McDonald jumps off to ride the stablemate 4. Kubrick but not reading anything into that, and not much is lost with Nash Rawiller taking over. Box seats and gets every possible chance.
Dangers: 5. Grand Piano makes the leap to Group company for this first time but having pinned his ears back to win both of his starts this time back, he deserves a shot. Loves how the son of Lord Kanaloa savages the line and should relish the mile, especially with the cut out of the ground. This looks a race short on genuine winning chances but 2. Promotions warrants the market respect he has having won the Canberra Guineas last start beating subsequent winner Chat. We know the wet holds no fears, but doubt the mile will either. Kubrick on the other hand has shown he doesn’t go a yard on soft or heavy tracks so expect him to drift.
How to play it: Reloaded WIN ($2.10 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Reloaded in the Rosehill Guineas last start
|Race 3 - 1:20PM NEWHAVEN PARK COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL (1400 METRES)|
6. Julian Rock was a comfortable winner of his Moruya qualifier, with trainer Jean Dubois admitting afterwards it wasn’t the ideal lead in having missed a key gallop. The runner up 8. Al Mah Haha subsequently franked the form in taking ground off Electric Girl at Kembla Grange. Has had a similar length freshen up here with an eye catching tickover trial at Hawkesbury in between. Julian Rock’s form prior to that win was very strong too, scoring a big win at Randwick over 1300m in a BM70 before settling for an unlucky second behind No Escape with Stella Sea Sun in third. The barrier isn’t as daunting once you take the emergencies out which should allow regular rider Jean Van Overmeire to slot in midfield. Loves wet tracks.
Dangers: Looking at the ratings 1. Bobbing is exceptionally well treated under the set weights conditions. Last year’s Provincial Championships winner is a huge threat but he’s always a low percentage play given how one dimensional he is. The wide draw isn’t a factor, in fact it’s probably a plus affording Koby Jennings to balance up and click through the gelding’s gears. Was only 2.5L off Quackerjack in the G2 Villiers last preparation when hard in the market. 2. Two Big Fari won the Wild Card just as Country Championships winner Artlee and Noble Boy have done in the past. It’s just a matter of how much work he’ll have to do to cross to a forward position.
How to play it: Julian Rock WIN ($7 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Julian Rock winning his Moruya qualifier
|Race 4 - 1:55PM TAB ADRIAN KNOX STAKES (2000 METRES)|
3. Colette brings provincial form but she has been brilliant in winning her last two starts. Two back she relished getting out to a trip at Newcastle, trouncing her rivals. That’s when it all suddenly clicked for her. James Cummings then backed off the Hallowed Crown filly with this race in mind. She dropped back to the mile at Kembla Grange off a five week freshen but still won in a similar manner. Punters Intelligence reveals that her last 400m (22.64s) was 4.5L quicker than the next best. Would be very surprised if she doesn’t take another giant leap forward here, out to 2000m. She is already on the fourth line of betting for the Australian Oaks next week, and expect her to vindicate that on Saturday. Exciting filly.
Dangers: The market looks to have this race pretty well cornered with 2. Paradee the biggest threat. Danny O'Brien's filly is a last start stakes winner and has won three of her past four. That should be four too, as she was luckless at Sandown second up. Had no right to win in the manner she did at Moonee Valley last start having been forced to cover ground and circle the field. Beat Diasonic comfortably prior to that with that gelding since running third to Quick Thinker in the Tulloch. 13. Maia Nebula was beaten a long way by her stablemate Colette but has a very good grounding for this. Place hopes for 1. Fascino, 10. Betcha Flying and 15. Quintessa.
How to play it: Colette WIN ($2.25 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Colette winning at Kembla last start
|Race 5 - 2:35PM SCHWEPPES CHAIRMAN'S QUALITY (2600 METRES)|
It’s a predictable formula for 3. Gallic Chieftain now but it works! A couple of runs in Melbourne on firm tracks to get a fitness base before Archie Alexander sends him up to Sydney chasing wet tracks and throws the blinkers back on. This is the seven-year-old’s third preparation for the Ballarat-based trainer. The two previous third up efforts at Randwick saw him win this race last year beating the subsequent Sydney Cup winner Shraaoh before over the spring he just failed to reel in Come Play With Me in the G1 Metrop. Here’s the chestnut again getting his favourable wet conditions and thought his two lead in runs, despite suggesting otherwise on paper, were every bit as good as past campaigns. History to repeat. Would be surprised if he missed top three.
Dangers: 12. Gayatri is busting to win now third up after two excellent runs this time back. Was luckless first up before just missing in the Epona. Wants this trip now having been so successful over the staying trip last preparation which ended with a fourth behind Shared Ambition over 2800m at Flemington. The form guide suggests she handles all conditions but convinced she is better on top of the ground. She’d be on top if we were looking at a Good track. There wasn’t much between 1. Mirage Dancer and 5. Carif in the Tancred last start with Carif getting a 3kg swing. 2. The Chosen One is trending the right way but is too well found.
How to play it: Gallic Chieftain EACH WAY ($8.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Gallic Chieftain winning the Chairman’s last year
|Race 6 - 3:15PM INGLIS SIRES' (1400 METRES)|
It used to be a very simple recipe in finding the Sires winner, where all you had to do was find the best Golden Slipper run from a horse wanting 1400m. It’s not that easy any more with only two of the past six winners coming via the rich two-year-old sprint. Still, it’s an irresistible form line which has me labelling 1. Mamaragan one of the best bets across the meeting. It was only his second ever start when filling a placing in the Slipper. Sure, he didn’t have to go around a horse but he held down third comfortably. That strength through the line suggests the extra 200m is right up his alley now. Drawn low with Nash Rawiller in the saddle, the son of Wandjina will be making his own luck.
Dangers: 5. Glenfiddich profiles as the best longshot on the back of a gap job at Mornington last start. Was all around the money in the Blue Diamond lead ups only for a slow getaway to cost him any chance in the grand final. All five of 7. Aim’s career runs have been over 1200m. He has been crying out for the extra trip, just didn’t look completely comfortable in the soft ground last start. Tom Marquand is a big loss for 3. Prague which is no knock on Brenton Avdulla, but a nod to how well the suspended Englishmen clicks with the horse. When he can be banged out on speed, he can grind his rivals into the ground. Love the way 8. Ole Kirk trialled and there’s plenty to like about his two career runs.
How to play it: Mamaragan WIN ($2.80 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Mamaragan in the Golden Slipper
|Race 7 - 3:55PM BENTLEY AUSTRALIAN DERBY (2400 METRES)|
3. Warning hasn’t finished any closer than fifth in his three lead ups but the Victorian Derby winner has been ticking over perfectly with the 2400m in mind. All three races have been run at pedestrian speeds and he doesn’t have the acceleration to go with the sharper horses. That was again evident in the Rosehill Guineas where, on the back of a masterclass from Craig Williams, 1. Castelvecchio dashed too quickly for Warning. Warning’s 400-200 (11.62 vs 11.17) was three lengths inferior to Castelvecchio but he was clawing that back late with little between the pair’s last 200m split (11.73 vs 11.64). Warning, of course, crushed his rivals in the spring out to 2500m, which, significantly, was on a wet track. Would expect Tommy Berry to make sure this is a true staying test. Mahogany in 1994 remains the last dual Derby winner but Ace High came agonisingly close two years ago and Warning is every bit as good as Ace High was.
Dangers: Castelvecchio has an exceptional record at 2000m and doubt the 2400m will pull him up as he attempts to emulate his old man Dundeel. The jockey merry-go-round continues on Castelvecchio with James McDonald the latest to get leg aboard. No knock on the horse but he was a touch flattered by the ride last start and because of that, is well found. 2. Shadow Hero was not suited at all in the Rosehill Guineas when too far back. Don’t judge him off that but the demons of the Victorian Derby still linger. He could be too brilliant for the extra journey but has raced twice at Randwick for two Group One wins. The last three Tulloch Stakes winners have won the Derby so certainly respect 6. Quick Thinker but he bumps into a very talented trio.
How to play it: Warning WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
Look at Warning warming up late in the Rosehill Guineas
|Race 8 - 4:35PM TAB T J SMITH STAKES (1200 METRES)|
1. Nature Strip is the best sprinter in the country when everything falls into place for him. We were reminded of that in the G2 Challenge Stakes at Randwick last start albeit over 1000m, but his two prior runs over 1200m were exceptional. One of them was the VRC Classic down the straight where he scorched his rivals while the start before that in The TAB Everest he clocked 55.88s for the first 1000m! It was 33.82s for the first 600m followed by a 33.77s last 600m. That’s serious speed, and sustained. Drawn barrier 1, if James McDonald is allowed to build into the race Nature Strip is going to be near impossible to peg back. The key will be the first 300m or so. There are a couple of possible candidates to be aggressively ridden early but none with his natural early brilliance.
Dangers: Don’t think we’ll be seeing 7. Bivouac at Moonee Valley again anytime soon. His Newmarket win prior to last start was outstanding. He handles the wet and will have something to chase here, as opposed to making the running himself like in the William Reid. 3. Santa Ana Lane couldn’t have done much more first up over 1000m. Santa’s last three second up runs have seen him break the Randwick track record, smoke his rivals in last year’s TJ and just miss in The Everest behind Yes Yes Yes. This has been the main target for 9. Exceedance all preparation. His two runs this time back have been plain but has beaten Bivoauc fair and square twice on wet ground. 2. Pierata is also a big hope while the barrier hurts 13. Loving Gaby’s claims.
How to play it: Nature Strip WIN ($3.60 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
Nature Strip winning the Challenge Stakes
|Race 9 - 5:15PM THE STAR DONCASTER MILE (1600 METRES)|
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for 20. Prince Fawaz this autumn but he showed what he is capable of in the Rosehill Guineas last start when pushing Castelvecchio. Prior to that he had loomed as the winner in the Randwick Guineas (running the fastest 400-200) but peaked on his run, finishing 1.5L off the favourite here in 19. Brandenburg. There isn’t as much between them as the market suggests. Map wise, Jean Van Overmeire should just be looking for Glen Boss and Brandenburg’s back and the draw gives him that chance. In 2013, Sacred Falls ran second in the Rosehill Guineas before knocking off Pierro in the Doncaster. With due respect to 1. Melody Belle, there are no horses of Pierro’s class in this very open Doncaster. It should really be $10 the field.
Dangers: The George Ryder has provided five of the past six wins so respect fellow three-year-olds 8. Super Seth and Brandenburg, both draw beautifully, but the strongest form reference any of these horses offer is via the Ranvet. 18. Nettoyer was beaten a long way but hardly disgraced. The tempo was against her with Addeybb, Verry Elleegant and Avilius beating here home. Her first up win suggests she has returned better than ever. 12. Imaging bounced back to win the Ajax but 9. Yulong Prince’s run was every bit as good. The South African Group One winner is a smokey to give Chris Waller Doncaster number seven. 17. Shared Ambition isn’t a miler but kept fresh, he’s classy enough and low enough in the weights, to run well.
How to play it: Prince Fawaz WIN ($19 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Prince Fawaz matched is with Castelvecchio last start
|Race 10 - 5:50PM DE BORTOLI WINES P J BELL STAKES (1200 METRES)|
2. Rubisaki only has to hold her form to keep the picket fence intact. The Patrick Payne-trained filly has been up since November but has only had four runs, winning all of them. The most encouraging aspect is that she continues to improve each time she steps out which suggests she isn’t about to throw up an ‘end of the preparation’ run. Two back she zipped through the wet to win the Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm before being sent back to Melbourne where she arrogantly won at Flemington over 1400m, giving her rivals a start and a beating. Has to drop back to 1200m but the rain affected surface negates that somewhat. Nash Rawiller picks up the ride. Rubisaki’s placement in this should see favourite backers end Championships Day 1 on a winning note.
Dangers: If there is a sleeper here it’s 7. Heart Of The Oak. Gerald Ryan’s filly was scratched at the gates at Warwick Farm in the race Rubisaki won which threw her preparation out. First up she beat Positive Peace, a mare that has won five straight since! Heart Of The Oak’s run in the G1 Surround was plain but forgive her that. The blinkers go on for the first time and James Innes Jnr has ridden her three times for three wins. Just wish she drew a gate. 4. Akari was found to be a tier below the top fillies early in the autumn before failing to get the mile in the Kembla Grange Classic. She’s back sharply in trip but capable of figuring at odds. 6. Wayupinthesky has the opposite problem, having to stretch to 1200m.
How to play it: Rubisaki WIN ($2 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
BEST BET 🚨
"She only has to hold her form to keep the picket fence intact."@BradJGray says we're going to have to be patient in waiting for @royalrandwick's best bet on Day 1 of #TheChampionships @tabcomau pic.twitter.com/ARb4BqAQv7
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) April 2, 2020