By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Saturday’s meeting at Royal Randwick. Selections based on a good track.
|Race 1 – 12:55PM BUSHFIRE APPEAL RACE DAY 25TH JANUARY HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
3. Splintex has had to work in both runs back for close thirds to Superium and Hightail, that’s the Discharged form that stood up last week. Has the speed to perhaps sit outside Witherspoon and has the class to stick his head out. Still a shade short in the market with scratchings but on top.
Dangers: 2. Witherspoon is very fast and it’d surprise if she doesn’t lead. Rail out 11m will suit her and just has to back up that big first-up win a month ago. Small question marks on her scratching from last week and whether there was an issue. 5. Aquitaine faces a tricky map but can’t fault her will to win, up 4.5kg is some concern. Can’t leave out a horse on the way up like her. 4. Omar next best, he is trialling well and has won at 1000m fresh in his last two preps. In easier class though.
How to play it: Splintex WIN ($2.15 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Splintex runs third in the Gosford Guineas on December 27
|Race 2 – 1:30PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
9. Magnarock started $51 and was a bit stiff not to get close in a Highway two weeks ago at 1100m and that’s the same race 14. Alternative Facts was also unlucky in fourth. Big price difference for two similar runs and Magnarock has the better gate.
Dangers: 3. Zardoro is better suited at 1200m and is always competitive at this level. This is his 14th Highway start and he’s been top three in eight of them. Read trainer Terry Robinson's comments here. Don’t undersell 2. Assault’n’bathory from the wide gate too. He’s a go forward horse so the barrier might not matter so much, though he will need the breaks getting across. Country Championships bound and pay to keep an eye on him.
How to play it: Magnarock E/W ($11 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Magnarock runs second and Alternative Facts fourth at Randwick on December 28
|Race 3 – 2:05PM BISLEY WORKWEAR HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
4. Special Reward will win this race if he brings what we’ve seen in his two trials this time in to the track. Big effort at his first run for Kris Lees back in November, blew the start and raced wide on the pace and rallied when he looked beaten to finish close up. Sped away for a big win in his Newcastle trial and imagine from gate one he’ll lead and take some catching. Catch jockey Aaron Bullock's comments here.
Dangers: 2. Cradle Mountain showed last prep he could excel around 1400m with a couple of brave efforts at that trip after a patchy start to the campaign. Liked his trials, he’s a good horse capable of going close if right. 1. Passage Of Time is back in distance from an all the way win at 1400m. There’s a 1400m stakes racing coming up in a couple of weeks so likely he’s heading that way. Not sure he can give 5kg and a head start to Special Reward but he’ll be there. 6. Southern Lad finally draws a gate and is close to a win. He did a lot of work last time and fought on so well. With an easier run he’s a good chance though there’s a bit more depth in this.
How to play it: Special Reward WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Special Reward wins a trial at Newcastle on December 30
|Race 4 – 2:40PM JANUARY CUP (2000 METRES)|
She’s a clear favourite and rightly so, 1. Luvaluva relished the step to 2000m and roared away to win the Summer Cup on Boxing Day beating several of her rivals here and she ran her last 600m in 34.62 (Punter's Intelligence) or two lengths faster than her rivals and the only horse to break 12 seconds for the last 200m (11.89). She does meet them worse at the weights going up to 59kg and this race will be run differently but she has the quality to overcome it. Read jockey Koby Jennings' comments here.
Dangers: If there is a danger it might be 6. Aqua D’Ivina who should have gone close to winning at Gosford and does appear to be looking for 2000m. The 6kg difference gives her a fighting chance. 4. Taikomochi is the likely leader and will give a sight as usual, meets the favourite 3kg better at the weights, while 3. Sir Plush backs up after a fighting third over 1550m last week but has five lengths to make up on Luvaluva from the Summer Cup before that.
How to play it: Luvaluva WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Luvaluva wins the Summer Cup at Randwick on December 26
|Race 5 – 3:15PM RANVET HANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
4. Napoleon Solo is the best horse in the race and has found a contest with plenty of question marks hanging over it. He was huge winning at Kembla in November then a month between runs and he found himself back last with 60.5kg in a moderately run race and couldn’t sprint with them. Down 3kg and draws kindly and is worth another chance.
Dangers: 2. Sondelon won well first-up then six weeks between runs and did plenty of work before knocking up in a strong race two weeks ago. Better set up here and he can improve. 1. White Boots doesn’t often finish out of the top four and it’s worth forgetting his second-up effort where he settled right out of the race and didn’t make an impact. Expect he’ll be closer and has each-way hopes. 3. Cuban Royale has been racing well in the Provincial series and could give some cheek. Raced wide in the Final there at Gosford and only beaten a length . Drops 4.5kg.
How to play it: Napoleon Solo WIN ($3.80 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Napoleon Solo runs fifth at Randwick on December 21
|Race 6 – 3:55PM TAB VENUE MODE HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Happy to give 1. Cinquedea another chance backing up after and even effort last week in stronger grade. It was a strangely run race with the leader dominating and that doesn’t really suit his style. Draws well for him to get cover and has the same weight as two back when he was very unlucky in this class. His best is good enough.
Dangers: 8. Rocha Clock is the most promising horse in the race and if she steps away okay can be dangerous. Up 3.5kg for chasing home the smart Mr Dependable last time. Logical threat. Read trainer John O'Shea's comments here. 3. Bigboyroy led in the same race and boxed on okay though Rocha Clock got the better of him late. Expect he’ll look to lead again and has claims. 6. Academy went back first-up, his usual patter is to be forward, and worked home okay. Tactics information will be crucial, good enough to feature.
How to play it: Cinquedea E/W ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Cinquedea runs fourth at Randwick on January 4
|Race 7 – 4:35PM SCHWEPPES HANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
5. Helga put the writing on the wall that she’s close to a win with a ripping first-up third over 1200m, running some very slick sectionals late including 34.07 for her last 600m (Punter's Intelligence), a clear three lengths faster than anything else. Jumped fast there then was taken back from a wide alley but drawn much better and up in trip will be a lot handier. Very winnable race for her. Read jockey Chris Williams' view here.
Dangers: 11. Seles attacked the line very well also when resuming at 1400m so the distance isn’t as significant to her chances. Back to mares grade, though, and drawn well again, down 2kg, gets every chance. 1. Asharani produced a big finish late to down Word For Word, who has been beaten again since, second-up and carries the same weight here. Must be respected. 3. Statuesquely probably leads them, she’s finding one or two better all the time and that’s the only concern. Bit of a test of her will to win here but can give a sight.
How to play it: Helga E/W ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Helga runs third at Randwick on December 28
|Race 8 – 5:20PM HEINEKEN 3 HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
13. Charretera has the form around him to say he’s a chance to break through with a 6.5kg drop on a solid third behind Leviathan last start. Chased home Discharged and Something Fast in two previous runs and showed last time he can be ridden handy, which he appears to have the chance to do again. That being the case he should be in the finish.
Dangers: 5. Phaistos has been a punching bag for Something Fast at his last couple and he looked a bit flat at the mile last time. Back to 1400m suits and there’s every chance he could fire up. 1. Strome has the best turn of foot and best to forgive last time on the quick back up. Field falling away is going in her favour, needs luck in the way the race is run but in this if she gets it. 2. Toryjoy beat Strome two starts back then led and overdid it before knocking up at G3 level at Gosford. Can be hit and miss but chance to bounce back as the lead looks hers if she wants it.
How to play it: Charretera WIN ($3.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Charretera runs third at Randwick on December 28
|Race 9 – 6:00PM SKY RACING ACTIVE HANDICAP (1800 METRES)|
7. Mr Dependable is going to be the shortest priced favourite of the day and it’s a bit hard to go around him. Was happy to sit second over the mile second-up and dropped them when asked and it appears 1800m will only help his cause. Drawn nicely as he’ll be able to glide across and either lead or sit outside and if that occurs he’ll likely be too good again.
Dangers: 4. Occupy is flying this time in and did a big job to win the Provincial Final at Gosford. Expecting the bigger track to suit him. Tried at 2000m on this track in May and ran a fair fifth to Wolfe. Has a case to run well. 2. Matowi put two good runs together and with the Something Fast form can be around the mark again but lacks the dash of the favourites. 13. Seeingisbelieving is a tough on pacer who shouldn’t be far off the speed and has the strength to hold on for a place at this level. Better for the run at the mile too so he’ll no doubt be fitter.
How to play it: Mr Dependable WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Mr Dependable wins at Randwick on December 28