By Brad Gray
Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Saturday’s meeting at Royal Randwick.
The rail is in the True, the track is expected to race in the good range and the first set to go at 12:30pm.
|Race 1 - 12:30PM WENONA GIRL QUALITY (1200 METRES)|
There is no doubt that in my mind that 1. Spright has never raced better. The five-year-old mare is right at the very top of her game at the moment. Her last four runs have all been at the very top level – the Moir, Manikato, VRC Classic and Oakleigh Plate. Three of those are of course weight for age. She wasn’t there making up the numbers either. She wasn’t far away. So here we have a mare with WFA Group One sprint form dropping back to her own sex into a Group Three. In her latest effort, which was first up for 11 weeks, she powered to the line in the Oakleigh Plate to run fifth. She lumps 59kg and will give away a start but there looks to be enough speed up front and she only has to hold her form to give these windburn.
Dangers: 3. Winter Bride beat Ellicazoom and Booker in her two Melbourne wins last campaign. Forget her Flemington flop. She wasn’t the same horse ridden that close. Big threat! 6. Sweet Scandal missed the kick in the Triscay last start. It’s unusual for her. Like the way she attacked the line despite finding herself in an unfamiliar position. Her last 600m of 33.72s was the third quickest in the race (Punters Intelligence). Expect her to begin cleanly here and take up the running. 5. Resin and 4. La Bella Diosa, outstanding first up last preparation, are in the mix too.
How to play it: Spright WIN ($3.30 TAB Fixed Odds)
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|Race 2 - 1:10PM TOKYO CITY KEIBA FIREBALL STAKES (1100 METRES)|
4. Jonker’s spring preparation is pretty much a wipe. The David Atkins-trained colt struck three wet tracks. Despite not being suited he still chased bravely. Those form lines through Graff and Lean Mean Machine will stack up here. Was particularly taken by his second up run in the Run To The Rose when a gutsy third despite working hard early. Forget his Randwick effort when he raced fiercely. He was 32 weeks between runs when kicking off last campaign and only 19 weeks here. Has trialled twice and was really let run in the latest of them, bolting in. James McDonald will stalk what looks a very hot speed from the inside draw. Open race but worth a ticket at the odds.
Dangers: 6. Baller was confidently supported first up and got the job done nicely. Punters Intelligence reveals a sharp dash of 10.99s from the 400-200m won him the race. He looked to feel the pinch late so can only improve second up. Slight query staying 1100m, perhaps wanting 1200m? Probably nit-picking. 12. Prophet’s Thumb hit the line hardest behind Baller there and has to be a knockout hope here with the speed on up front. 2. Sandbar appears to be better suited in the last man standing type scenarios as opposed to sit and sprints, so expect him to improve sharply. 9. Trope is untapped.
How to play it: Jonker EACH WAY ($11 TAB Fixed Odds)
Jonker’s effort in the Run To The Rose
|Race 3 - 1:45PM ASTUS AUSTRALIA REISLING STAKES (1200 METRES)|
Loved Darren Beadman’s description of 4. Tenley after her last start win. She is the “sleeping giant” of the Godolphin two-year-olds. Well, she is certainly awake now because she couldn’t have been any more impressive scoring over the Randwick 1100m last time out, giving her rivals a start and a beating. Punters Intelligence highlights that her last 600m of 33.77s was three lengths superior to the next best in the race. Her strength through the line suggests she’ll be better again out to 1200m. Needs to stand up here if she is genuine Golden Slipper contender but confident she will. She will have a fitness edge over stablemate 1. Exhilarates. Godolphin to the fore again!
Dangers: Exhilarates’ time in the Magic Millions was nothing flash but sometimes you just have to trust your eye. Not often do two-year-olds win like that, charging home from last. Especially at a tight track like the Gold Coast. The Snitzel filly is already five runs into her first preparation so I am assuming that she has been given a pretty easy time of it leading into this. She’ll tighten up plenty from the run. 10. Wayupinthesky trialled brilliantly recently and although there is nothing of her, two-year-olds can get away with being pint-sized. 3. Vincere Volare looks likely to measure up on the back of two dominant Doomben wins. 2. Anaheed backs up after winning the Sweet Embrace.
How to play it: Tenley WIN ($3.80 TAB Fixed Odds)
Tenley winning the Pierro Plate last start
|Race 4 - 2:25PM UNSW TODMAN STAKES (1200 METRES)|
9. Bellevue Hill was originally pencilled in for the Black Opal having romped in on debut in the nation’s capital for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott but the stable have elected to instead tackle the Todman Stakes. That’s a confident leg up, given the ACT feature looked to be at his mercy. More on that debut, the Pierro colt ran three lengths faster than the 1000m maiden for older horses on the same day. His trials were certainly nothing to rave about but the blinkers did the trick, sharpening him right up. Tim Clark will cruise across from the wide draw and just keep on running. There’s real x-factor about this horse and the Pierro’s generally get better with racing and over more ground. Will he measure up? Happy to take $9 to find out.
Dangers: 2. Time To Reign has the runs on the board having taken the scalp of Tassort in the Silver Slipper Stakes. That was a big turnaround form his Warwick Farm run, albeit without getting any favours in the run. He is back on top of the ground here. The only other knock is the short price. Nobody missed the trial of 4. Yes Yes Yes. It was a beauty. The Rubick colt has found a home with Chris Waller (ex-Weir) and pulled Blake Shinn past Dubious. The blinkers come off and have mapped him to be out the back. He is already qualified for the Golden Slipper so no need to bust him in the lead up.
How to play it: Bellevue Hill EACH WAY ($9 TAB Fixed Odds)
Bellevue Hill’s scorching Canberra win
|Race 5 - 3:00PM HYLAND RACE COLOURS CHALLENGE STAKES (1000 METRES)|
7. Estijaab looks to be flying. The Golden Slipper winner went enormous first up at Warwick Farm having missed the spring. Fiesta reeled her in late but Brenton Avdulla was of the opinion that if it was a dry deck she wouldn’t have felt the pinch as much and won. She’ll come on plenty from the outing and her tickover trial since was a ripper. She travelled sweetly in behind stablemate Tell Me and once Avdulla gave her a little niggle she zipped quickly. Fillies have won five of the past 11 editions of this race. It’s a tricky race to map but can’t imagine Esitjaab will hand up to Redzel so expect her to settle outside of 2. Ball Of Muscle. 1. Redzel is the benchmark there is no denying that but he is $1.60 against Estijaab’s $4, so willing to take the gamble.
Dangers: Redzel can make you look like a fool when you tip something to beat him. He’s bombproof. The only time he has ever been beaten over 1000m at Randwick in four runs was in the 2017 Challenge. English got the bob on the line. He won this race last year at $1.40 in track record time and made it look oh so easy. He’ll play stalker in behind the two leaders. 3. Jungle Edge ran second to Redzel last year. He’ll keep trying regardless of the conditions, pace or his rivals. 5. Viridine resumes a gelding. Looking for improvement from him having trialled well.
How to play it: Estijaab WIN ($4 TAB Fixed Odds)
Estijaab trialling at Rosehill – March 1
|Race 6 - 3:35PM CANTERBURY LEAGUE CLUB STAKES (1300 METRES)|
Don’t forget about 5. Shoals. The mare took her racing to a whole new level last time in. Her slashing second in the Premiere Stakes over 1200m, which saw her start favourite in The Everest, proved she is up with the best sprinters in the country. Her last 600m split there was a Winx-like 32.52s. Her last 1000m was a freakish 53.83s. That’s frighteningly quick. Could go on for a page about how sectionally brilliant the run was but we’ll leave it there. She flopped in The Everest but it was the heavy track. First up last time in she ran over 1000m behind Nature Strip at Moonee Valley and was run off her feet. First up over 1300m presents a completely different set of circumstances. She can only get better as a late four-year-old and will be smoking the pipe in behind watching it all unfold in front of her.
Dangers: 1. Trapeze Artist, 2. Pierata and 3. Kementari resume their rivalry having run 1,2,3 in the Randwick Guineas on this day last year. There’s generally not much between Pierata and Kementari and doubt that changes here. Kementari has the benefit of the run under his belt, running second in the Orr Stakes. He had every conceivable chance though. He needs to start turning his run of near misses into wins. In fact, the Guineas last year is his last win. Pierata missed the kick in his trial so had an excuse but still would have liked to have seen more from him. Trapeze Artist lays claim to being the best sprinter in the country, it’s just that he is a “target horse” in Gerald Ryan’s own words. His preparation has been mixed up this time in to negate that flat second up run but he’ll go around without me here before I jump back on the wagon in the TJ Smith.
How to play it: Shoals WIN ($7 TAB Fixed Odds)
Look at Shoals in the Premier Stakes!
|Race 7 - 4:20PM MOSTYN COPPER RANDWICK GUINEAS (1600 METRES)|
1. The Autumn Sun has had this race at his mercy for six months and here he is, predictably a raging hot favourite. The colt has his knockers but he can only beat what he is up against and few would argue that he should be seven from seven. First up he only just reeled in 3. Vegadaze late but was completely unsuited. First was the muddling tempo and second was the wet track. He ran his last 600m in 33.93s (Punters Intelligence) which was four lengths quicker than the next best in the race. He has a real will to win. In his favour this time is the step out to the mile, dry deck and 8. Fundementalist keeping Vegadaze honest in front. Kerrin McEvoy should be able to settle midfield from the draw too.
Dangers: There probably isn’t as much between 7. Nakeeta Jane and The Autumn Sun as the market suggests but she still has her work cut out. The filly has overcome muddling tempos herself, particularly in the Surround last start. She is still on an upward spiral and should only be really starting to hit her straps out to 1600m. The draw dictates where she’ll be though. She’ll have to come from behind The Autumn Sun to beat him. Out the back with her will be 9. Miss Fabulass. She is going much better than the form guide suggests. The quick back up might knock her tendency to overrace out of her. Don’t sack her yet. 3. Vegadaze is tough, honest and can only be in the finish somewhere again. The $2.10 to place is quite appealing.
How to play it: The Autumn Sun WIN ($1.55 TAB Fixed Odds)
The Autumn Sun in the Hobartville
|Race 8 - 5:00PM TEED UP GOLF TOURS ASPIRATION QUALITY (1600 METRES)|
Might be jumping on 2. Nettoyer a start too early but at the odds, she is worth a ticket. Her finishing positions this time back don’t do her justice, she has come back as well as ever. She followed the same path last autumn, backing up in this race after running in the Guy Walter and went super. She was slow out that day and Rachel King took off early to put her in the race. It was a big effort to finish as close as she did. I Am A Star and Alosia were both nominated but didn’t accept which has really compressed the weights. Those at the top of the field are very well in. From barrier 1, hopefully Blake Shinn can have her stalking the leaders. That might be optimistic but would like to see her closer given the lack of speed in the race.
Dangers: For that very reason 7. Luskintyre Lass has to be respected. She should get on pace favours. She is six weeks between runs, albeit with a tickover trial in between, so probably needs a cosy lead to not be found out late. That said, she has won two on the bounce and strikes a very winnable Group Three. 12. Eugene’s Pick is the only other mare here that could test her for speed. 3. All Too Soon ran second to Seaway first up but was a touch flattered given the lack of speed in the race and she found herself in the right spot. It maps the very same way for her here but staying at 1600m is a knock, as well as good ground.
How to play it: Nettoyer EACH WAY ($9 TAB Fixed Odds)
Nettoyer in last week’s Guy Walter
|Race 9 - 5:40PM THE LUXURY NETWORK RANDWICK CITY STAKES (2000 METRES)|
How many of these stayers were flattered by the wet track and hot speed in the Paramatta Cup? Probably most of them that fought out the finish. It’s the complete opposite set up here with very little speed engaged and a firm track. 9. Emperor’s Way loomed to win that race but faded to run fifth. He was four weeks between runs there and the wet track was against him. Can see him parking in behind the speed here from barrier 1, with Glyn Scholfield being positive early, which will give him his chance. It’s a terribly open race but there are a few ticks in this five-year-olds corner. That’s enough to lean me his way at double figure odds.
Dangers: Want to be very forgiving of 10. Shraaoh’s finishing position first up over 1500m. It was of course a trip well short of his best and it was a race completely dominated from the get-go by those on speed. He is a classy animal and looked very good in winning on his Australian debut for Chris Waller at Flemington, albeit over 2800m on heavy ground. 11. High Bridge ran up to his lacklustre trials in the Parramatta Cup but in his defence, his best Australian form is on top of the ground. We could see sharp improvement from him. 7. Hiyaam was dynamite as a three-year-old when rolling along out in front. Surely this is the race to re-adopt those tactics.
How to play it: Emperor’s Way EACH WAY ($11 TAB Fixed Odds)
Look for Emperor’s Way looming up last start
All the fields, form and replays for Saturday’s Royal Randwick meeting