Tips by Brad Gray
The Championships are upon us! Tips and insights for Day 1 at Royal Randwick. There are winners to be found for 10 races.
|Race 1 - 12:10PM WIDDEN 150TH ANNIVERSARY STAKES (1100 METRES)|
Alizee was only 1.8L off Tulip in the Magic Night and it was only very late in the race that the margin was blown out. Back from the 1200m to 1100m looks to suit this half-sister to Astern. On debut she never got a crack at her rivals. Suspect she’ll be ridden quiet by the Magic Man from the wide draw but it’s only a small field and there looks to be plenty of speed with Condor Heroes leading and From Within and Sheikha keeping him honest. Tipping she’ll rip down the middle to blouse these.
Danger: Condor Heroes went around an odds-on pop at Warwick Farm and although he wasn’t exactly going away from Argemone on the line, he would have had plenty of improvement in him. He is very quick and could pinch it from the front. Solar Patch is the knockout after a debut that was better than it reads.
How to play it: Alizee WIN
Alizee’s second to Tulip last start
|Race 2 - 12:45PM CHINA HORSE CLUB CARBINE CLUB STAKES (1600 METRES)|
Theanswermyfriend has been a revelation this preparation. He was brilliant winning at Flemington last start and had no right to fight out the finish the start prior when attacked out in front. He should be able to carve across from his wide gate here and take up the running without too much pressure. The son of High Chaparral will want the mile trip now this deep into his preparation. The query is the wet track but with fine weather forecasted for Randwick, it won't be bottomless.
Danger: Not too dissimilar to Theanswermyfriend, Eusebio has jumped out of the ground this campaign. He is full of confidence and is traversing through the grades at a rapid rate. He won the Listed Canberra Guineas in dominant fashion last start and will be the one coming hardest late.
How to play it: Theanswermyfriend WIN and SAVE Eusebio
Eusebio’s Canberra Guineas win
|Race 3 - 1:20PM SCHWEPPES CHAIRMAN'S HANDICAP (2600 METRES)|
Aloft to continue the recent record of Lloyd Williams runners in Sydney over the past 12 months. We saw it again last week with Assign. They very rarely return to Melbourne empty-handed. Aloft had the pattern to suit first-up at Flemington but he still impressed with 60kg. Ben Melham sticks with him too. He’ll roll across to take up the running and you’d be very surprised if he didn’t improve significantly off his fresh run, which bodes well for the Chairman’s.
Danger: Big watch on New Zealander Rock On having his first start for John Sargent. He is a typical Kiwi stayer in that he’d do another lap if Brenton Avdulla asked him too. Avdulla has won the past two editions of this race (Tremec and Libran). If it turns into a real slog, he’ll be thereabouts. Big Duke got the verdict in the steward’s room last start and is a top hope again but looks short enough. The Manion Cup has provided eight of the past 11 winners.
How to play it: Aloft WIN
Big Duke’s Manion Cup win
|Race 4 - 1:55PM NEWHAVEN PARK COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL (1400 METRES)|
Perfect Dare should be too classy for these. He is a genuine black-type galloper having split Counterattack and Takedown as a three-year-old at Group Three level. While before romping home in the Grafton Qualifier, he went down a nostril to Testashadow in the Magic Millions Cup. Matty Dunn hasn’t raced him since, which is interesting, but you’ve got to trust the astute trainer knows exactly what he is doing. Hugh Bowman rides and he has drawn well. If there is a knock, it’s the wet track with all of his best form coming on firm tracks. Otherwise, he looks the winner.
Danger: Caerless Choice is unbeaten in four starts and will have plenty of improvement in him off his first-up win in the Scone Qualifier. He’s a very classy galloper. Outside of that, don’t discount Galaxy Warrior from running a big race or Lautaro who will be hoping for more rain.
How to play it: Perfect Dare WIN
Perfect Dare’s qualifying romp
|Race 5 - 2:30PM THE GREEN GUYS P J BELL STAKES (1200 METRES)|
A field of 18 fillies will thunder around Randwick here but that hasn’t tempered the confidence around Raiment. She was brilliant winning first-up and the Godolphin stable suspected she was vulnerable there off a freshen and just the one trial. Scary to think that she could improve further. Not that she has to though to win this. She’ll hunt forward to take up a spot and lets down on the wet as well as she does on dry ground. She should have rolled In Her Time last campaign, who subsequently won two Group Twos, such is her quality. Best of the day.
Danger: Zumbelina has won four from five and we still don’t know exactly how good she is. She’ll likely find 1200m on the shorter side but there is no doubting her potential nor class. Big watch on Medaille who has impressed in her trials and looks a much more mature filly now.
How to play it: Raiment WIN
Raiment went like a rocket fresh
|Race 6 - 3:10PM INGLIS SIRES' (1400 METRES)|
It’s big days like this where is often pays to not overlook the obvious. Frolic wins the Golden Slipper if you swap the runs with She Will Reign. She really ripped through the line giving the impression that she’d relish 1400m in the Sires’. She has drawn wide yet again but given her pattern, it doesn’t make too much of a difference. If Tommy Berry can get cover in a three-wide line and tag something into the straight, doubt anything here will be able to match her finish. She has been up a long time but all reports are that she is still thriving in her work. The Golden Slipper has provided 16 of the past 23 Sires’s winners and 11 of those finished first or second. Tick.
Danger: Tulip and Menari made their runs together in the Golden Slipper and an upheld protest saw Menari relegated to fourth. The drier the better for Menari who hasn’t look at all comfortable on wet but still run well.
How to play it: Frolic WIN
Golden Slipper – watch for Frolic, Tulip and Menari
|Race 7 - 3:50PM BMW AUSTRALIAN DERBY (2400 METRES)|
The more you watch the Rosehill Guineas the harder it is to see those behind Gingernuts turning the tables. He pricked his ears and throttled down at the finish so the 2.3L margin was actually flattering to his rivals. It won’t be a Heavy 10 which perhaps helps Inference but Gingernuts won the NZ Derby on a good track so he’ll still perform regardless of the surface. In fact, the stable think he is better on drier ground. If he jumps cleanly, don’t be surprised to see Opie Bosson give him a dig to settle near the front in a race lacking speed on paper.
Danger: Inference returns to Randwick where he was a brilliant winner of the Guineas. He’s a very classy stayer and he has a massive future ahead of him. He kept punching away in sloppy conditions at Rosehill.
How to play it: Gingernuts WIN
Gingernuts winning the Rosehill Guineas
|Race 8 - 4:30PM DARLEY T J SMITH STAKES (1200 METRES)|
Chautauqua chases a remarkable three straight TJ Smith victories but the bandwagon for the grey flash has never looked so bare. He chased hard in a fast race at Caulfield first-up before going down by a bob of the heads to Doncaster favourite Le Romain. He then kept finding the line behind Winx and Le Romain in the George Ryder. He can win and is creeping out to big odds. The drop back to 1500m to 1200m is obviously a query but the wet track helps this as it'll be harder for a whippet up the front to pinch it and set Chautauqua mission impossible.
Danger: Much has been made of the Galaxy win of Russian Revolution and rightly so. He wasn’t entitled to win given how badly he worked himself up pre-race. This is his first try in open age. He’s not only very good but very genuine. Spieth is the forgotten runner.
How to play it: Chautauqua WIN
Chautauqua’s Canterbury Stakes second
|Race 9 - 5:10PM THE STAR DONCASTER MILE (1600 METRES)|
Le Romain will jump favourite and it’s near impossible to poke holes in his case. The George Ryder is historically the right lead in race for the Doncaster and has provided the last three winners (all via Chris Waller). He is now a three-time Group One winner so 56.5kg doesn’t look a bad weight. It’s the same weight Sacred Falls carried to defend his Doncaster title in 2014. He was beaten a long way by Winx last start but she was so far gone he probably returned to the stalls thinking he won. Hugh Bowman has plenty of option from the barrier and can have him wherever he wants. Especially handy knowing this is Race 9 and the inside could be chopping out.
Danger: Don’t think Happy Clapper has ever been going better. He ran second to Winx in the Doncaster last year but rises 5kg this year. Shouldn’t be too far away from the inside draw. Redkirk Warrior has the talent to win this despite an unconventional Doncaster preparation. Endless Drama the knockout.
How to play it: Le Romain WIN
Le Romain’s second to Winx in the George Ryder
|Race 10 - 5:50PM TAB ADRIAN KNOX STAKES (2000 METRES)|
Mull Over raced wide at Scone when run down before bolting in out to the mile at Newcastle. She’ll be even better again out to 2000m here in the Adrian Knox. Isn’t it great to see a daughter of So You Think in the famous Dato Tan Chin Nam silks! She is out of Zabeel so it’s very encouraging to see what she has done already over the shorter trips. Tactics will be interesting for Glyn Schofield from barrier 14 but it could very well be the place to be come the last on the card.
Danger: James Cummings has a very strong hand here and Mull Over’s stablemate High Impulse looks the biggest threat. She ploughed through the wet to win by a space at Hawkesbury the last time we saw here. That was a month ago though. She has had a tickover trial since.
How to play it: Mull Over WIN
Mull Over romping in at Newcastle