Tips by Brad Gray
Brad Gray's tips and insights for TAB Epsom Day at Royal Randwick on Saturday. There are winners to be found for nine races!
The rail is out 3m and the track is currently in the soft range, with rain forecast for Saturday. The first race is the G3 Keeneland Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) and is set to jump at 12:25pm.
|Race 1 - 12:25PM KEENELAND GIMCRACK STAKES (1000 METRES)|
6. Diddles doesn’t come via the Kensington set of trials so looks to have managed to slip under the radar a touch. The Clarry Conners-trained two-year-old looked a runner in her two outings, showing blistering early speed to find the front comfortably before running through the line. She couldn’t have done much more. The latest of those was on Monday at Warwick Farm where she never looked to be out of second gear, winning by two lengths. Off the trials of her rivals, would be surprised if any of them had the toe to match her. What is under the hood when the pressure goes on at the top of the straight we won’t know until after Saturday but she’s a good gamble at the odds. Her pedigree backs her up, being by Snitzel from Magic Millions winner Mimi Lebrock.
Danger: 9. Mayaaseh looked the standout filly from the Kensington set of trials. It was a typically professional display from the Snowden-trained youngster. The daughter of Exceed and Excel began quickly, travelled sweetly outside of the leader and looked to have plenty still up her sleeve, holding a 0.8L margin to her rivals. Corey Brown sticks. She has drawn wide but looks to have enough speed to cross and be handy. The only knock really, is how well found she is in the market. Always respect Chris Waller-trained two-year-olds this early in the season. Last year Fiesta should’ve just about won the race, and started double figure odds. So don’t discount 11. Originaire.
How to play it: Diddles WIN ($7 TAB Fixed Odds) and SAVE Mayaaseh ($3.60)
Diddles winning her Warwick Farm trial - September 24
|Race 2 - 1:05PM ARROWFIELD BREEDERS' PLATE (1000 METRES)|
Tackling the Breeders’ with a lot less confidence than the Gimcrack but siding with 10. Krameric. Chris Waller won this race last year with Performer. This colt doesn’t look to have the same race sense as Performer but certainly doesn’t lack for ability. He raced keenly in his first trial at Rosehill but once he found his rhythm, he bounded clear in the straight. It was then off to the Kensington set, where again he wanted to get on with the job and veered off around the home bend but once he balanced up under Hugh Bowman, found the line nicely under riding. He doesn’t look to be a bombproof two-year-old by any stretch but you’re getting a big enough price to find out if his talent alone can get him home.
Danger: 6. Exceed The Stars is your bombproof juvenile and why he finds himself the race favourite. The Mark Newnham-trained colt has shown versatility in his two trials, the first in which he sat behind the speed before letting down and then sitting outside of the leader. The margin was only narrow to 7. Fiery Red, who was under more pressure, in that latest trial win but there was a huge gap back to third and time-wise it was comfortably the quickest of the Kensington set. Thought 9. King’s Champ, 11. Lionsgate and 3. Covert Ops were the best of the rest off their trials, two of those with Gerald Ryan and the other Peter and Paul Snowden.
How to play it: Krameric WIN ($9.50 TAB Fixed Odds) and Exceed The Stars WIN ($3.10)
Krameric's latest trial at the Kensington set - September 17
|Race 3 - 1:40PM LONDON AUSTRALIA UNDERWRITING DULCIFY QUALITY (1600 METRES)|
I learnt my lesson with Miss Fabulass last start, jumping off her too quickly. Forgive a good horse one bad run. One more time. Forgive a good horse one bad run. With that in mind, I’m giving 4. Madam Rouge the chance to bounce back from a poor performance in the Tea Rose, where she was hard in the market. The daughter of Zoustar carried a big boom into the race after a dominant first up win at Canterbury despite travelling wide the trip. There were genuine excuses for her flop too, pulling up lame and with Chris Waller suggesting she will be better ridden with cover. There isn’t a great deal of speed in the Dulcify so still can’t imagine Madame Rouge being too far away from the inside draw. Take out her Tea Rose run and she is a lot shorter in the market than what is currently on offer.
Danger: 1. Gem Song was very impressive last week at Rosehill, showing a devastating turn of foot when finally clear. Punters Intel reveals a last 200m of 11.29s which was the quickest for that split across the entire day. He has always given the impression he’d relish the mile and the strong Gooree colt showed last start he can carry weight. Tipping Jason Collett has the option of hunting forward if he begins well. 2. Cloak looks the leader here and nearly pinched the Spring Stakes from the front out to the mile last start. Forgive his run two back on shifty ground. 8. Mickey Blue Eyes will love the mile and comes off a solid Bendigo win. Has past form around Graff. 5. Whitely is a talent but misses the start while 6. Purple Sector caught the eye with a dominant display at the provincials.
How to play it: Madam Rouge WIN ($7.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Madam Rouge's Canterbury win first up
|Race 4 - 2:15PM YULONG AUSTRALIA HILL STAKES (2000 METRES)|
This race looks tailor made for 10. Egg Tart, third up out to 2000m. The four-year-old mare has impressed in her two runs back, running a luckless fifth first up in the Tramway Stakes before being faced with the task of chasing home her star stablemate Winx in the George Main. She rattled home to run third in the second fastest last 600m split (33.74s). She looked to have the measure of both 9. Ace High and 2. It’s Somewhat on that occasion and that duo look the two logical dangers to her here. Last preparation she only really hit her straps when getting out to staying trips. That won’t change this spring. If she’s a genuine Caulfield Cup chance, she’ll want to be putting these away and any rain around only strengthens her claims.
Danger: It’s Somewhat’s run behind Egg Tart was better than it reads on paper. Punters Intel tells an interesting story. Winx gave him windburn at the top of the straight in the George Main with It’s Somewhat clocking the slowest 600-400m split in the race. They dropped him when they quickened but he picked himself up to run 11.10s his 400-200m (fourth quickest) and then his last 200m of 11.40s (third quickest). He should find himself closer in the run from the inside draw. He’ll need to settle in front of Egg Tart to beat her. Ace High wasn’t suited staying at the mile. He boxed away in typically brave Ace High fashion. Out to 2400m is when we’ll see him come into his own though.
How to play it: Egg Tart WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds)
Egg Tart, Ace High and It's Somewhat in the George Main
|Race 5 - 2:50PM SANTOS COFFEE PREMIERE STAKES (1200 METRES)|
On face value you’re entitled to think 2. Trapeze Artist was a shade disappointing first up but it was a terrific return. Here’s why. Carrying 61kg first up on a heavy track, Punters Intel reveals the current TAB Everest favourite made a surge between the 600m and the 200m, running the fastest splits in the race for those sections, 11.72 and 11.54, before bottoming out his last 200m running 12.10 which ranked fourth. To the eye, the four-year-old looked to grind home into third but his last 600m was the equal quickest in the race (to that of Epsom runner Shillelagh) clocking 35.36. Back on top of the ground and with the run under his belt, he’ll take holding out here and if he produces a performance anywhere near his TJ Smith Stakes win, he’ll beat these. That peak will more than likely come October 13, but tipping he won’t be far off his top second up.
Danger: 1. Redzel just makes it look all too easy. First up in the Concorde Stakes he ran a blistering 600m split between the 800-200 where he clocked 31.66, and Kerrin McEvoy didn’t move on him. The race was already over. What brings him back to the pack for me a touch though, is not so much the well-publicised setback which saw him miss The Shorts as he is a horse that does his best kept on the fresh side, but rather the 1200m. 7. Invincible Star will keep him honest. 5. In Her Time is a genuine winning chance and loved her trial while 3. Santa Ana Lane’s first up run at Caulfield was outstanding.
How to play it: Trapeze Artist WIN ($3.70 TAB Fixed Odds)
Was Trapeze Artist disappointing first up?
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) September 26, 2018
|Race 6 - 3:25PM DARLEY FLIGHT STAKES (1600 METRES)|
2. Miss Fabulass is hard to knock on the strength of her Tea Rose win. Historical trends can often be misleading but think there is relevance in seven of the past 10 favourites winning the Flight Stakes. Simply due to the form being so exposed. The Princess Series means we get a couple of looks at how these fillies stack up against one another. The best past of Miss Fabulass’ win last start was her last 200m with Punters Intel revealing she ran her last 200m in 11.09s which was a length quicker than anything else in the race. She was strung up in between runners turning into the straight with her 600-400m split ranking 11th of 12. The tempo was only gentle in the Tea Rose and although there’s a little more speed here, it’s unlikely to rip her out of her comfort zone. The only knock is the price. She did win the Tea Rose at $10 remember.
Danger: The second quickest closing split in the Tea Rose was 9. Maid Of Heaven (11.23s) and she’s the wildcard here. It was an outstanding effort from this Mark Newnham-trained filly after a setback saw her sidelined and miss the Furious Stakes. Not only did she do what she did off a five week break but also jumping from maiden midweek company. There is immeasurably upside in this daughter of Smart Missile and she’ll eat up the mile. 3. Fiesta is too honest to discount but it’s hard to see her turning the tables on Miss Fabulass while the soft draw should give 4. Pretty In Pink her chance. 6. Futooh was luckless in the Tea Rose and is a place chance.
How to play it: Miss Fabulass ($2 TAB Fixed Odds) and Miss Fabulass/Maid Of Heaven QUINELLA
Miss Fabulass was dominant but look for Maid Of Heaven too
|Race 7 - 4:05PM TAB EPSOM HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Outside of Winx, 7. Unforgotten is the most exciting mare in the country. She’s a star and her best is still well and truly ahead of her. Chris Waller scratched the four-year-old from the George Main Stakes, worrying that fourth up staying at the mile she wouldn’t be sharp enough. It’s been four weeks since we saw her win the Chelmsford but that won’t worry her. She won an Oaks over 2400m fourth up after a 1500m and 2000m lead up. She was strung up in between runners in the Chelmsford, still running 11.13s for her 400-200m, the fastest in the race, before dashing home her last 200m in 11.33s. Her acceleration was immediate. Like what we saw from her first up too, behind Winx. She was eating up the ground behind 3. D’argento on that occasion and suspect her turn of foot will be too sharp for the talented grey.
Danger: There’s not a great deal between D’argento and 2.Pierata talent-wise. They’ve met twice before, in the Hobartville Stakes and Randwick Guineas, and Pierata holds a 2-0 record. Both of their lead up runs had merit too. Pierata was six weeks between runs tackling the Bill Ritchie and despite being wide the trip, went down fighting to 16. Siege Of Quebec giving away 4kg. Pierata will be able to use the draw to park in behind the speed. D’argento, who J-Mac rides over Pierata, will need some luck from barrier 1 but his boxing second in the Theo Marks over 1300m will have him spot in for the mile. Waller has purposely kept him fresh as he profiles as a 2000m horse. Go back and watch his Doncaster run over the Randwick mile if you need convincing of his quality. 4. Shillelagh and Tom Melbourne musts for multiples.
How to play it: Unforgotten WIN ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds)
Unforgotten winning the Chelmsford
|Race 8 - 4:45PM THE HEINEKEN 3 METROPOLITAN (2400 METRES)|
Surprised about the odds on offer for 2. Big Duke after running a cracker in the Kingston Town Stakes, which looks the strongest form reference for this year’s edition of the Metrop. The seven-year-old rattled home from last to run fifth, and Punters Intel reveals he was one of only three horses to break 34s (33.75s) home the last 600m, the others being Avilius and 3. Libran. Big Duke grows a leg in Sydney with six starts here for three wins and two placings. The only miss was that eye-catching last start effort when fifth. One of those placings was in last year’s Metrop when second to Foundry as a well-supported $5 chance. Draws perfectly in 8 for Brenton Avdulla to park him midfield. Don’t be too swept up in the romance of carrying featherweights, with four of the past five winners carrying 54kg or higher.
Danger: That said, there is no denying 10. Brimham Rocks is the one that looks to have ‘beaten the handicapper’ this year. He is the highest rated horse on the minimum and his three runs this time in have been fantastic. He drops 4kg from the Kingston Town when second to Avilius (with Kerrin McEvoy riding him 1kg overweight at 51kg). 16. High Bridge couldn’t have been more impressive in his two midweek wins. He was a hurdler overseas so stamina is no issue but how about that turn of foot! 6. Patrick Erin is humming and if the track was wet becomes a genuine winning chance while the aforementioned Libran has never been going better. 1. Auvray and 17. Opposition for the mutiples. Loathed to underestimate Lloyd Williams with 7. Midterm.
How to play it: Big Duke EACH WAY ($11 TAB Fixed Odds) and Brimham Rocks WIN ($5)
Big Duke chasing home Avilius in the Kingston Town
|Race 9 - 5:25PM SNITZEL SPRINT (1200 METRES)|
The last start Canterbury win of 10. Coruscate really made me stand up and take notice. It was an outstanding victory, spotting his rivals a start and nonchalantly rounding them up. In second there was Za Zi Ba, who although is no star, was a dominant Saturday winner the start prior to that. First up the four-year-old won well at Warwick Farm. He promised plenty as a two-year-old but had failed to go on with the job, until now. The penny looks to have dropped and although he rises sharply in grade here, he looks destined to at least get to this BM88 level. He has drawn the extreme outside but being the last race of the day, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them thundering down the middle. Three-wide with cover would be ideal.
Danger: Perizada was excellent last start in the G2 Sheraco chasing home Invincibella, who many would argue (including me), should have won her subsequent start too. The form out of the race is strong, franked by Noire and Champagne Cuddles since. Perizada can be a little hit and miss but on her day, she’s a handy mare and better than benchmark grade. 4. Akasaki has had very little go right in his last couple of runs. This sets up for him to run well at big odds. 8. Isorich, 12. Noble Joey and 5. Crafty Cop will ensure a good gallop here which leaves 15. Problem Solver vulnerable but she is such a tough, honest filly.
How to play it: Coruscate WIN ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Coruscate rounding up his rivals last start