By Brad Gray
Don’t forget to snap up tickets for your chance to have a horse running for you in The Kosciuszko and share in the $1.3 million prize pool. Buy them before midnight Sunday at your local TAB, club, racetrack or from your online TAB account.
Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Randwick on Saturday.
The rail is out 8m and the track should continue to improve. Form has been done for a Soft 5.
|Race 1 - 12:10PM STRAWBERRY HILL STUD HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
The winner of this is entitled to feel a touch aggrieved they don’t collect a Group race such is the depth here! There’s no telling how good 3. Funstar could be, as is the case with many of her rivals, but she is the one that jumps off the page as potentially having star quality. We’ve seen her twice, on debut she put away a moderate field at the midweeks without much fuss before beating Leviathan despite being held up in a sit and sprint affair. She exploded across the line and won going away, posting the fastest last 600m of the meeting (33.88s). Leviathan beat Lucicello comfortably back in June, albeit when she was ridden to lead, which ties the form in through 1. Superium. Chris Waller has made no secret how highly he regards this filly. Love her will to win too. She jumped straight to the front in her trial and went to the line under a hold.
Dangers: 2. Pandemic possesses explosive acceleration which last start saw him clock a last 600m of 32.37s and a stunning 10.63s last 200m when he was finally fully clear. Has to stretch that brilliance to 1300m now, out from 1100m. 6. Maddi Rocks gave Pandemic a start from a wide draw there, running fast splits between the 600-400 to get into the race before Pandemic zipped clear late. She maps to settle in front of Pandemic this time and looks suited out in trip. Superium lost the Up And Coming on protest. He’s very classy but might be looking for further than 1300m. Could position outside of the leader here to offset that, though. 4. Yao Dash was extremely strong through the line on his Canterbury debut and the second horse (Petronius, beaten a long way) has since won. 5. Mocambo is a smart horse and is the rank outsider!
How to play it: How to play it: Funstar WIN ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Funstar’s win at Randwick before a break
|Race 2 - 12:50PM TAB HIGHWAY CLASS 3 HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
6. Press Box has won three straight since swapping Rosehill for Bathurst with Dean Mirfin taking the ex-Waller trained mare through her grades in the country. In all three of her preparations for Chris Waller, her first up run was the best of her campaign. That sticks in my mind here, tackling the race off a 12 week let up. She has never finished out of the money in four of her fresh runs. A snippet of her class can be gained by looking at her third career start, when just missing to stablemate Aperitif, where she beat home So Taken and Call Me Royal. Her three wins since being transferred were all dominant and in handy time. The timing looks right to cash in on her as she attempts her first Highway Handicap. Finds Nash Rawiller who will bounce her out to be in the first half dozen.
Dangers: The drier the better for 5. Nicconita. She possesses a big finish when everything plays out for her. 12. Lady Demi went to the line untested last start. She’s flying but suspect she is a touch more dynamic at 1100m. 9. Rioli didn’t have much luck last start but draws to give away another big start. The chances don’t end there.
How to play it: Press Box EACH WAY ($9.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: EVEN
The last time we saw Press Box at the races
|Race 3 - 1:25PM MIGHT AND POWER FOR CPA SPRINT (1100 METRES)|
1. Bleu Roche starts with a clean slate for the Snowdens having formerly been with Matt Laurie in Victoria and what she produced in her most recent trial suggests she’s ticking over nicely. The four-year-old sat outside of Con Te Partiro and shook her off, before star filly Libertini came rushing down the outside. She was accepted for the Toy Show won by Mizzy a fortnight ago but scratched then again was withdrawn last Saturday due to the heavy track. Reading between the lines, the stable had a much harder race mapped out for her originally so she is clearly impressing at home before dodging a wet track suggesting they don’t want to waste a run. Now she finds herself in a very winnable BM72 for fillies and mares, despite having to lump 60kg being a Group winner as a three-year-old. Kerrin McEvoy rode her in the latest trial and sticks here.
Dangers: 5. Bare Naked Lady wasn’t comfortable on the heavy track last start. Wyong-based trainer Tracey Bartley has freshened her up since then, with nine weeks between runs. On her better runs last campaign, which include a narrow second to Notation at Canterbury and a fifth in the Inglis Guineas behind Wild Planet, Military Zone and Signore Fox, she’s very hard to beat in this. 4. Kawakini responded to the blinkers going on last start, charging home to score at the midweeks. 3. Miss Invincible looks too well found as race favourite.
How to play it: Bleu Roche WIN ($3.70 TAB Fixed Odds) and Bare Naked Lady ($6) Odds & Evens: ODD
That trial behind Libertini – Aug 12
|Race 4 - 2:00PM SYDNEY MARKETS HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
3. Baller finished eighth first up but was only 1.7L away from Deprive and Trope in the G3 Show County where he started hard in the market having been well supported. After travelling sweetly into the straight he didn’t quicken with those that fought out the finish, feeling the pinch late. Anthony Cummings said post-race that despite the three trials, he probably needed a fourth. Trope ran his last 200m in 10.70s so Baller’s 11.31s was made to look rather pedestrian. There was more merit to the run than meets the eye. The four-year-old now drops back to BM78 grade and finds Nash Rawiller. Baller showed his quality last campaign when thrown in the deep end in the G1 Galaxy finishing a brave fifth having sat wide behind Nature Strip on the heavy track. If he wants to play any role over the carnival, he should beat these.
Dangers: 7. All Too Free looks to have returned in career best form. She chased home Black Magnum first up before beating Shock Alert next time out. That horse has run well in his two subsequent runs. Such is the make up of this race, she only has to hold her form to be in the money again. 4. Master Ash showed signs at the trials he can recapture his early form, which saw him win a Group Three at his fourth start, albeit beating Danawi. He didn’t come up at all in two runs last campaign so you have to take him on trust. This is the easiest grade of race 2. Murillo has contested in his three Australian runs but he hasn’t exactly been savaging the line.
How to play it: Baller WIN ($2.25 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODD
Baller in the G3 Show County first up
|Race 5 - 2:35PM DARLEY FURIOUS STAKES (1200 METRES)|
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where 2. Libertini is beaten, hence the very skinny quote. Given she won the Silver Shadow at $1.50 and the second horse there, Flit, has dodged her, it’s entirely justified that she opened $1.20 with TAB Fixed Odds. First up Tommy Berry only got busy on the three-year-old for about 150m having towed him to the 200m mark herself. She still had the arrogance to win eased down. Her sectionals matched the stunning visual nature of the win with Punters Intelligence revealing a last 600m of 32.74s. Her 400-200 was 10.53s and that was without any urgings from Berry but when he pushed the button she responded with a final 200m of 11.07s. She stopped the clock not far off Santa Ana Lane’s track record. It was a breathtaking win and over the same track and trip this week, but with a run under her belt, we can expect something special again.
Dangers: 4. Villlami didn’t get any peace in front in the Silver Shadow first up, having to sit outside of the leader. She raced keen in the middle stages but was only nailed by Flit and 5. Let It Pour in the final stages. She was entitled to feel the pinch late with her last 200m (11.47s), two lengths inferior to Let It Pour. Villlami can only come on from that and should be able to turn the tables. Let It Pour has run in two deep races this campaign and been right in the finish. She’s still a maiden but that won’t stop her running top three once more. 1. Kiamichi gets in very well at the set weights. Her race was over after she stepped away slowly first up. She made no impression thereafter so the jury is still out on firmer tracks but she’ll be much more comfortable rolling along in front.
How to play it: Libertini WIN ($1.18 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: EVEN
Any excuse to watch this again… Libertini first up
|Race 6 - 3:10PM FORUM CONCORDE STAKES (1000 METRES)|
Bullish about 3. Nature Strip. Thought his recent trial at Rosehill when he went after 1. Redzel cruising to the line for James McDonald was outstanding. It’d be foolish heading into this thinking all of his kinks have been ironed out but Chris Waller has certainly worked some magic in terms of getting the five-year-old to relax. It’d be interesting to see what eventuates should he jump a length in front but imagine Plan A will be to sit in behind the leaders and the perfect barrier (2) affords him that option. Redzel, 4. Sunlight and 6. Zoustyle could all make some kind of play in the early stages for the front. Nature Strip has already won a Group One for Waller, falling in to claim the Galaxy but that was on a heavy track, and over 1100m. His record over 1000m is 7:5-1-0. Will he get 1200m at the top level? You can debate that until sundown but it’s not important in assessing his chances here. The other thing to consider is how much more Nature Strip and his connections have to gain from winning this. For many others here, it’s a pipe opener for The Everest in six weeks.
Dangers: Consider the 1000m very much a specialist trip, and although I’ve got a query over 5. Graff being at his best over the journey, his form hints otherwise. He was only a length away in the Lightning, albeit down the straight, closing hard. If the sting stays out of the track it certainly aids his chances. 2. Pierata looks to be humming judging by his trials but would need a genuine wet track to win over 1000m. 4. Sunlight is such a determined mare. What she achieved as a three-year-old was amazing. It was over a year ago but Nature Strip beat her by six lengths in Adelaide over 1000m giving away 7kg. Loathed to underestimate Redzel and he is two flared nostrils away from being five from five over the Randwick 1000m, but need to see him do it after a poor autumn. Have to oppose 6. Zoustyle at the early odds away from home and in this company for the first time.
How to play it: Nature Strip WIN ($2.30 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODD
Nature Strip trialling behind Redzel – August 20
|Race 7 - 3:50PM BOB INGHAM CHELMSFORD STAKES (1600 METRES)|
1. Avilius was a long way off his best in the G1 Winx Stakes first up but no one expected him to be, tackling an unfamiliar 1400m journey. It was a bunchy finish, in a race won by outsider 2. Samadoubt, with less than a length covering the first four home, but he oozes quality. He’ll bounce back out to the mile. That was his first loss in six starts in Sydney. Sectional-wise his last 600m of 32.85s was two lengths faster than the next best, which was 12. Unforgotten (33.22s). Liked the way the Godolphin import moved into the race between the 400 and the 200m, showing neat acceleration, before his run levelled out over the final stages. Imagine he was kept very fresh to tackle the shorter trip there so he should improve plenty from it. He’ll appreciate some give in the track too, which he should still get on Saturday.
Dangers: Samadoubt has drawn wide but shouldn’t have too much trouble rolling across to lead again. He was wound up in the Winx Stakes so caught a few of his rivals at the right time. Avilius should turn around the 0.9L margin but he’ll give another sight in front. 14. Con Te Partiro was really strong through the line over 1200m behind Deprive and Trope. That was with the blinkers on, and it eradicated the flat spot we saw from her in her first Australian preparation. They come off here out to the mile second up. Touch wary of 15. Girl Tuesday flattening off second up having been so explosive first up but it’s three weeks between runs, having dodged the wet track last week in a race over 1900m. Outside of that, keep an eye on 3. Finche smoking home late while 16. Nettoyer’s first up record is deceptive. She has never kicked off over the mile.
How to play it: Avilius WIN ($2 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Avilius hitting the line behind Samadoubt
|Race 8 - 4:30PM HARVEY NORMAN TRAMWAY STAKES (1400 METRES)|
4. Dreamforce is seven now but he has improved every time he has returned. He proved himself a genuine Group One horse over the autumn in running third to Winx and Brutal in the George Ryder at weight-for-age, albeit a distant third, before running second in the Doncaster, again behind Brutal with Hartnell and Kluger filling third and fourth. Both of those runs were on wet tracks too, not his preferred going. John Thompson had planned on resuming over 1200m but scratched from the Show County due to the wide draw. He didn’t want to bust him. Instead he went back to the trials and looked very sharp, jumping quickly to take up the running. Dreamforce’s best asset is being able to absorb pressure and still quicken from in front. He’ll have 13. Penske and 7. Archedemus (would have preferred a wide draw for him) for company up front but he should get his chance. Like the booking of Nash Rawiller.
Dangers: 2. Te Akau Shark has a mighty reputation to uphold coming across the ditch. He looks to have earned it, however, showing blistering closing speed to claim his two Group wins. He resumed over 1200m on a wet track and lost no admirers, running the fastest closing splits across the day behind Endless Drama. He’ll get back and be rattling home. Tricky to line him up which makes me a little reluctant to dive in at the short odds. 14. Eckstein fits into this race very nicely with 54kg having carried 59kg in the Winter Challenge last start. She beat Rowley Mile winner Gaulois prior to that despite sitting deep. Eckstein looked to trial better than 3. Kolding but much of that can be attributed to residual fitness. Has won four from four as a gelding. 5. Mister Sea Wolf always run well fresh. 8. Invincible Gem can win off her two excellent runs. Perhaps they drive forward to offset the wide draw.
How to play it: Dreamforce EACH WAY ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: EVEN
Dreamforce in the Doncaster behind Brutal
|Race 9 - 5:10PM NEXON HANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
There are certain patterns with the Chris Waller yard, one of those being his knack for developing mares after they embarked on Oaks campaigns. Think Winx, Unforgotten, Youngstar. 15. Re Edit strikes me as another likely type set to take the next step at four. She started hard in the market in the Queensland Derby, the last time we saw her, but didn’t fire, having come to the end of her campaign. Her run prior to that in Group Two company against Kenedna and Sixties Groove was outstanding from in front. The daughter of Camelot has always been an eye-catching trialler and that didn’t change this time around. Her second trial mightn’t have looked like much but it was on a heavy track and won by Enticing Star with Trekking in third. She gets her chance here first up over 1500m with the featherweight of 49kg after Brock Ryan’s claim.
Dangers: 6. Sweet Deal has won two on the bounce, showcasing a brilliant burst of acceleration to win two back in a sit-sprint before lobbing in the right spot outside of the leader last time out. he is flying and Nash Rawiller has clicked with the mare. Has to be positive again from the wide draw. 10. Dealmaker and 18. Carif closed off behind her. The gelded version of Dealmaker ran 33s flat for his last 600m, the quickest in the race. Draws very wide but has come back well. 8. Scarlett Dream savaged the line first up last campaign against the bias of the day.
How to play it: Re Edit WIN ($5 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
Re Edit’s first of two trials – Rosehill 20