By Ray Hickson
Ray Hickson’s tips and insights for Tuesday’s Royal Randwick meeting. The track is a Soft 7 and may improve a further, and the rail is out 4m the entire.
|Race 1 – 12:00PM TASK RETAIL PLATE (1800 METRES)|
It’s been a big few days for trainer David Payne and owner John Cordina and despite a heavy track query it’s hard to go past 8. All Too Soon coming back to a maiden and up to a more suitable trip on her closing third at Randwick behind Warranty. That was on a soft 6 and she was only getting warm at the finish. Her dam Gallant Tess had no issues with heavy ground so I’m happy to err on the side of her handling it. With the track improving she is very well suited.
Dangers: If All Too Soon doesn’t win I’m not sure who will. 11. Strome bumped into a pretty handy one when third at Hawkesbury a couple of weeks ago. While beaten eight lengths she made some good ground late and has to be an each-way chance. 7. Zeppelin gave a sight on the speed at Canterbury on an improving soft track and will possibly find the early lead here too. Heavy track failure was in the Fernhill so happy to overlook that and judge him on this one. 9. Highway hit the line well for an improved third in the same race and the extra ground might suit.
How to play it: All Too Soon WIN ($2.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
All Too Soon finishes strongly for third at Randwick – October 28
|Race 2 - 12:35PM APN OUTDOOR PLATE (1200 METRES)|
I’m a little less confident about 11. Epidemic on a heavy track but I have to stay with her after what happened to her at Canterbury first-up. She trialled well, beating a subsequent city winner, then stepped out on race day and was stuck three and four wide in a six horse field and was still fighting hard on the line. Her dam Mnemosyne was fine with soft ground and the improving track is a plus. Down 3.5kg and if she handles the going she will take stopping.
Punter’s Intel: Epidemic covered more ground than any other horse (+8m) in her race at Canterbury and still ran the second fastest last 600m of 35.85.
Dangers: 8. Tunero wasn’t disgraced in a strong maiden at his only start and while his wet track ability is unknown he has to go in on suspicion off a nice second trial. 6. Seaway has come up short for a horse with one 798m trial and not a lot else to go on. If the price holds then he's worthy of some respect. 1. Almighty Crown has trialled well enough to suggest he can run a race on debut as well.
How to play it: Epidemic WIN ($2.70 TAB Fixed Odds).
Epidemic’s luckless third at Canterbury – October 18
|Race 3 - 1:10PM RIGHT2DRIVE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
In a race with little to no wet track form I’m going with what I think might be the best horse in the race in 1. Higher Ground. He’s obviously going to excel over further than 1400m but this could be more like a mile and he finished off his debut behind Cuba at the Farm in the manner of a horse looking for it. Plenty to like about him going forward and he’s the one to beat for mine.
Dangers: Chris Waller still has a very big hand after scratchings. 4. Plagiarist is staying bred but has done more than enough in his two recent trials to keep him on your radar on debut at 1400m. 2. High Point chased home Easy Eddie at his only start and the form has been confirmed. Some query on the soft ground but one to keep in mind. 3. Mustafa had a tough run on debut in the Brian Crowley and we didn't really get to see what he's made of. Back to a maiden he could jump out of the ground.
How to play it: Higher Ground WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds).
Higher Ground’s eye-catching debut at Warwick Farm – October 25
|Race 4 - 1:45PM MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS ACT HANDICAP (2400 METRES)|
This will be a real staying test. If he gets through the ground okay then there’s no reason 3. Ready For Success can’t win again. He worked hard when touched out two starts ago then dominated from the front at the Farm last time and was never threatened. He was narrowly beaten on a soft 7 at Canterbury a while back so he might be fine and he certainly hasn’t raced better. We’ll get a good sight anyway.
Dangers: 4. Wine Bush had his chance to run down Ready For Success and couldn’t but he did beat the rest comfortably at the Farm. I did try to talk myself into him again but he’s now 1 from 18 and though he’s a couple of kilos better off I don’t think it’ll come down to weights, it’ll be who handles the track best. Wine Bush has a couple of heavy track placings so he is in the mix. 2. Doukhan was outclassed in the St Leger though did run on fairly. Three of his four wins have been in the wet so he might have his chance to find some form in the lowest rating race he’s contested for some time. Next best 7. Hoof Hustler who staged a form reversal when ridden in front at Kembla. Has an NZ heavy track win to his name so could go on with it now.
How to play it: Ready For Success E/W ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Ready For Success defeats Wine Bush at Warwick Farm – October 25
|Race 5 - 2:25PM MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS QLD HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Tricky race with a number of horses with some convictions and a few resuming. 6. Savvan was excellent when she returned at Randwick a month ago, charging home from near last behind Chalk in what was a solid BM80. She has handled heavy ground previously and was kept up to the mark with a nice trial on October 31. She’s yet to win below 1550m but on a wet track this will be a bit more testing than your standard 1200m and that gives her a big chance. She’s a little shorter than I’d hoped though.
Punter’s Intel: Savvan conceded over 22m to the leaders at the 800m at Randwick first-up.
Dangers: 4. Drachenfels has had one heavy track start for a third at the Farm in March and while he only beat one home last time at Canterbury he was less than half a length from the winner as he closed off late. Tends to make hard work of things but is pretty consistent and the logical threat. 9. Aquatic has to go in your quaddies and is a big watch for me. He has a second to Memes on a heavy 8 at Randwick from back in June and form around the likes of Passage Of Time and Arbeitsam from the winter. Sure to be finishing off strongly. 2. Sharpe Hussler could show up here with blinkers on first-up. Two heavy track wins and an Eagle Farm soft 7 placing prove he’s fine in the wet and you’d think he wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t ready to run well.
How to play it: Savvan WIN ($3.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
Savvan charges home first-up at Randwick – October 7
|Race 6 - 3:40PM MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS VIC HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
I was with 11. Star Sensation with the blinkers on at Canterbury second-up and she romped in. Admittedly she had three rivals there and takes on the older horses this time but she’s a progressive filly down in the weights and she shouldn’t get too far back in the run. Only heavy track start was in the Reisling back in March behind Frolic and She Will Reign. We’ll overlook that as a pointer and assess her wet track credentials on her last start win. Very good each-way chance.
Dangers: 1. Rosa Carolina is looking for a wet track and it wouldn’t surprise to see her be a sharp improver. Only beaten a couple of lengths in a strong form race at Canterbury a few weeks back and she was solid behind Passage Of Time at Rosehill before that. Beaten a lip on a heavy 8 at Randwick back in April at Listed level. Definite chance. 14. Lope De Lope has only had the four starts and the only wet track she’s struck resulted in a heavy 9 win at the Farm in June. Liked her second trial, though she was tested a bit late, and she could surprise. 6. Kawakini had a confidence booster at Nowra first-up, soft ground is fine for her and she had some solid Saturday class form last time in.
How to play it: Star Sensation E/W ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Star Sensation’s easy second-up win at Canterbury – October 27
|Race 7 - 4:25PM SCHWEPPES CHOISIR HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
12. To Excess is starting to look like the real banker of the day with five rivals to contend with. Sure he didn’t quite get the 1200m last time at Randwick but he didn’t have the best run being back and wide before sweeping to the lead 200m out. He was only touched out in the last stride so let’s not be too hard on him and he only has 1100m this time. He’s hard fit, handles the wet and gets in on the limit. It’s a shame apprentice Jean Van Overmeire can’t take any of his claim. Clearly on top for me.
Punter’s Intel: To Excess ran the fastest last 600m (35.68) of his race but was let down by the third best last 200m of 12.64.
Dangers: 11. Samantha should be better for two runs back and comes out of a midfield finish in the Nivison behind White Moss. She was a Listed winner over this course on a heavy 10 in March and has her chance to find her best form here. 4. Oxford Poet is a chance of getting control up front in the small field as he did at Port Macquarie. Yet to win below 1200m but gets a good chance. 2. Big Money has trialled up well for a first-up run. Handles the soft and if he can reproduce his close second to Le Romain from back in February he'd be in the finish
How to play it: To Excess WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
To Excess is run down late at Randwick – October 28
|Race 8 - 5:05PM GIRVAN WAUGH HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
12. Smooth Whiskey was the horse beaten by the barest in a photo finish at Warwick Farm a couple of weeks back and if it had gone her way her record may look a bit better than the 1 from 16. She pulled a couple of lengths off the winner to just miss there and her wet track form suggests she should be okay. I’d like to see her put one away in town and this looks a good chance for her. She’s certainly weighted to turn the tables on the winner from the WF race.
Dangers: 6. Our Belisa has some mixed wet track form but an improving track helps and she’s in excellent touch this time in showing versatility and fight. While I doubt she’ll beat Smooth Whiskey home she has to be considered. 2. Gauguin will find this a bit easier than last start behind Mortar Platoon. Any improvement in the track will be a plus and he could give a sight on the speed. 5. Crosley Hotshot hit the line well second-up, probably still wants more ground but is some chance.
How to play it: Smooth Whiskey WIN ($3.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Smooth Whiskey and Our Belisa hit the line locked together at Warwick Farm – October 25
|Race 9 - 5:40PM PRECISE AIR HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
I think 4. Istria can send us home a winner. She hit the line well behind Slow Burn two starts back then went to Newcastle and rounded up her rivals on a soft 5 with ease. Her heavy track second placing was at Warwick Farm behind Oklahoma Girl and so long as barrier one is no disadvantage to her then she’s very much the one to beat. Josh Parr is riding well so he’ll put her in the right spot. She won’t get a better chance to win a city race.
Punter’s Intel: Istria reeled off an impressive 10.95 from the 400-200m at Newcastle.
Dangers: 5. Pianissimo has been just fair, you’d say, in three runs back but she hasn’t been too far away and what gives her a very good chance to feature is the wet ground. She’s had eight starts on soft or heavy for two wins and four placings so this is also her chance to win a race. 14. Maddison Avenue is up a bit in grade but she’s going very well out of town, has a couple of soft track wins and races on the pace. It certainly wouldn’t surprise to see her give some cheek. 3. Conarchie comes through the Osborne Bulls race at Canterbury and didn’t finish far from Slow Burn there. Second-up form is pretty ordinary but he is effective in the wet and can’t be left out of the multiples.
How to play it: Istria WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Istria wins easily at Newcastle – October 21