By Ray Hickson
It hasn’t taken long for the Golden Rose to establish itself as the go-to Group 1 race of the spring for the three-year-olds and the 2020 edition promises to live up to that standard.
Established in 2003, replacing the Peter Pan Stakes (a Group 2 event), the inaugural Golden Rose carried no Group status had to carve its own identity.
Within two years it was a Listed race but by 2009 had been granted Group 1 status and since its move into late September is now also an important pointer to the TAB Everest with last year’s runner-up Yes Yes Yes taking out the country’s richest race at his next start.
A year prior the race was conducted twice, due to the equine influenza outbreak in 2007, and the first of those, held in the autumn, went to Forensics who stands as the only filly to win the race to date.
Four geldings have won the Golden Rose – In Top Swing, Doonan, Paratroopers and Manawanui – and every victorious colt has found a place at stud, aside from last year’s winner Bivouac who remains in training but surely finds his way to a career as a stallion.
Rothfire, a gelding, is favourite for this year’s $1m Golden Rose (1400m) coming off his brilliant win in The Run To The Rose, a race that has produced seven of the last 11 winners with five of them completing the double.
Bivouac wins the 2019 Golden Rose
Who are the major contenders for the 2020 edition?
Rothfire (Robert Heathcote) – He was the star of the Queensland winter taking out the JJ Atkins Stakes at Group 1 level at 1400m and went up a notch with his strong win in the Run To The Rose at his Sydney debut earlier this month. He has the speed to lead a race and showed in both his past two wins he’s very effective trailing a strong tempo and those assets make him very dangerous in any sprint race.
Mo’unga (Chris Waller) – the real wild card of the Golden Rose if the stable elects to send him to this race having removed him from the Gloaming Stakes entries. Unbeaten in three starts and really announced himself as a talent with his very strong win in the Dulcify Quality over 1500m at his first appearance in city company. It’s not easy to come back to the 1400m and take on the elite but both Trapeze Artist and The Autumn Sun did that prior to their Golden Rose wins.
North Pacific (Team Hawkes) – Was handed a hefty rap for his runaway win in the Up and Coming Stakes on a heavy track and somewhat backed that up with a game third in the Run To The Rose back to 1200m on a dry track. On what we’ve seen to date the 1400m will be right up his alley and if there’s reasonable give in the ground he’d be a major player. If not, he may only be a place chance as he has leeway to make up on the pair who beat him home last start.
Ole Kirk (Team Hawkes) – This colt had the flashing light on in both starts this preparation, saying he’s crying out for 1400m, with placings in the Rosebud and Run To The Rose. In the latter he recorded the meeting’s fastest last 600m sectional as he roared into second behind Rothfire. Effective in the wet but seems more dynamic on a dry track, either way he’s a contender now he’s back to 1400m and worth noting he’s already Group 1 placed at a mile.
Peltzer (Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou) – It’s fair to say this colt has been forced to do a lot of chasing in his two runs this spring and would benefit from a more moderately run affair. Looked smart last season winning his only three starts and lost no admirers in the San Domenico chasing a flying Anders. Held his ground well in the Run To The Rose and not prepared to underestimate him this time.
King’s Legacy (Peter & Paul Snowden) – The Group 1 Sires’ and Champagne winner from the autumn was run off his feet in the Run To The Rose but he did run the second fastest last 200m of the race, so while he finished last it was a sound enough effort. The tempo may well be crucial to his chances because we’ve seen he can sprint with the best of them, it’s just a matter of whether he can be in touch and travelling.
Early TAB betting (as at 2pm Monday):
$6.00 North Pacific
$9.00 Ole Kirk
$15 King’s Legacy, Mamaragan.
Favourites – 5 (shortest $2.40 Denman in 2009)
Longest priced winner - $41 Trapeze Artist (2017)
Barriers – 1 (3 wins), 12 (3 wins), 6 (2 wins), 9 (2 wins), 14 (2 wins).
Fillies – 1 (Forensics, 2007 edition run in autumn 2008) from 41 starters
Current trainers: Peter Snowden 3, James Cummings 2, Chris Waller 2, John O’Shea 2.
Current jockeys: Hugh Bowman 5, Kerrin McEvoy 2, James McDonald 2.