By Brad Gray
On the back of a brilliant five length romp at Canterbury Park, Smart Melody has rocketed into Golden Rose calculations with TAB posting her a $15 chance alongside Golden Slipper winner Estijaab.
Brenton Avdulla, who rode Estijaab in the Golden Slipper, gave punters an insight into how highly he rated the performance of the Kris Lees-trained filly in his pre-race interview with Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“I’ve ridden the Slipper winner this season and I know she is a late two-year-old but that’s one of the best two-year-old performances I’ve had anything to do with, especially coming off a 900m win,” said Avdulla.
“I was just worried if she was sustained speed and whether she’d settle over 1100m but to her credit once I asked her to come back, she relaxed really well for me.”
Smart Melody winning at Canterbury
In the TAB market that opened Wednesday afternoon, The Autumn Sun is the $6 favourite for the Group One Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens to be run on September 22, ahead of Performer and Blue Diamond-winner Written By, both at $11.
“It’s scary to think how much upside there is to The Autumn Sun as we’ve only seen him at the races three times,” said TAB’s Gerald Middleton.
“We also didn’t really get to see the best of stablemate Performer in the autumn and is another colt expected to make a big impact next preparation.”
Two contenders that could be of interest to punters are Oohood and Zousain, priced alongside Smart Melody and Estijaab at $15. Their respective trainers Tony McEvoy and Chris Waller have already confirmed that the $1m three-year-old feature is a target race for both of them.
There was little between Zousain and The Autumn Sun in the JJ Atkins at Doomben and Waller has always maintained that Zousain has an uncanny resemblance to his sire, Zoustar, who won the 2013 edition of the Golden Rose, beating Dissident.
TAB have also opened a market for what will be the first Group One of the Sydney spring carnival, the $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 18.
No prizes for guessing who has opened favourite with the race’s new namesake posted at the imposing odds of $1.10. A win there would be the Winx’s 26th on the trot.
“While Chris Waller has yet to map out her path, Winx has won this race the past two years and how fitting would it be for her to win the ‘Winx Stakes’ to break Black Caviar’s record,” added Middleton.