Super Saturday – Epsom/Turnbull Stakes Day: Live blog, tips and updates
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With 18 Stakes races and five Group Ones, Super Saturday is one of the best days of racing in the world. Join us for a live blog, tips and updates of all the action from Flemington and Randwick from the first race at 12.10pm AEST.
On this day last year, the winners of the 2011 Caulfield Cup (Southern Speed), Cox Plate (Pinker Pinker), VRC Derby (Sangster), VRC Oaks (Mosheen) and Emirates Stakes (Albert The Fat) raced.
It’s no surprise that today’s racing has been dubbed ‘Spring Preview Day’. By the end of the Carnival, we probably won’t be talking about what unfolded on Super Saturday but it will shape the next six weeks more than any early spring meeting.
I wrote earlier in the week that an Australasian-trained horse would win October 20′s Caulfield Cup and I’m 95 percent sure that horse will running at either Randwick or Flemington today.
By the end of the meeting, we will know who will start favourite in the $2.5m 2400m handicap.
Many of the key Caulfield Cup hopefuls line-up in Flemington’s only Group One of the afternoon, the Turnbull Stakes (2000m, set weights) at 4.20pm.
From a Caulfield perspective, keep an eye out for Winchester, Niwot, December Draw, Zabeelionaire, Southern Speed, Voila Ici, Linton, Moudre, Zurella, Sneak A Peak and Seville.
The Cox Plate favourite will almost certainly be Pierro (who races in next week’s Caulfield Guineas) but some of his main dangers also line-up in the Turnbull. Cox Plate aspirants include Ethiopia, Rekindled Interest, Happy Trails and Green Moon.
In Flemington’s support card, keep an eye out for light-weight Melbourne Cup chances in the Bart Cummings (2500m, Listed, handicap) at 2.20pm.
Maluckyday ran second in the 2010 Cup and continues his path to November here, while Exceptionally could be Australia’s best chance at claiming the great handicap. But if she doesn’t win the Bart, her tough task to make the 24-horse field is made even harder.
In the Blazer (1400m, Group Two, mares, set weights) at 3.00pm, four-time Group One winner Mosheen will aiming to find her best form after a slow start to the spring, while the Thousand Guineas winner could well emerge from the Manifold (1610m, Group Two, fillies) at 3.40pm.
Last year’s Thousand Guineas victor was Atlantic Jewel and her half-sister Commanding Jewel will start favourite in this key fillies lead-up.
Just who will be the standout sprinter in the spring is a major unknown but the Group Two Gilgai (1200m, set weights) at 5pm may go some way to revealing the answer.
Bel Sprinter’s form in Melbourne is almost unblemished and he will be looking to build off his impressive first-up victory at Group Three level three weeks ago.
There are four Group Ones set down for decision at Randwick where a sell-out crowd will be on hand at the construction site. Randwick’s on-course facilities are in a state of redevelopment but that shouldn’t affect a cracking meeting.
The first of the Group Ones, the Spring Champion (2000m, three-year olds) at 2.40pm, pits undefeated colts Proisir and It’s A Dundeel against each other.
I’m sure both these three-year olds are going to make outstanding older gallopers so this shapes as the most exciting race of the day.
Proisir in on a Cox Plate trail, while It’s A Dundeel is the VRC Derby favourite. Don’t be surprised to see either of these two horses win major Group Ones in the next 12 to 18 months.
The Flight Stakes (1600m, Group One) for the fillies at 3.20pm is widely-open affair. There has been no standout among the three-year old girls this season so this race is definitely up for grabs.
Longport beat Norzita on protest two weeks ago, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Dear Dear (who was fourth on that occasion) turn the tables. Perhaps, Gai Waterhouse’s progressive, unbeaten filly Urban Groove can spoil the party.
The Epsom Handicap (1600m, Group One) at 4.00pm is one of the more time-honoured races on the calendar and a typically large field will assemble at the famous Randwick mile to decide the $500,000 purse.
Shoot Out was exceptional first-up when beating Rangirangdoo in the Group One George Main (weight-for-age) at the track and trip but both horses give significant weight to the up-and-coming Ambidexter and Fat Al who have always promised to win a race of this quality.
Perhaps the best each-way chance is Said Com, who is already placed at this level, and at the Randwick mile when second in Mosheen’s Randwick Guineas earlier in the year.
The final Group One of the afternoon is the Metropolitan (2400m, handicap). The imported Glencadam Gold is a key Caulfield Cup player who is undefeated in Australia and Lamasery ran third in this race last year but this time around arrives via a weight-for-age victory in the Hill Stakes (2000m, Group Two) a fortnight back.
On that occasion, Lamasery accounted for the conservatively-ridden Mourayan who ranks as one of my top locally-trained Melbourne Cup chances. Mourayan races in the Craven Plate (2000m, Group Three, weight-for-age) at 2.00pm and would need to win with authority to frank the opinion I have of him.
The Randwick card closes with the Premiere Stakes (1200m, Group Two, weight-for-age) at 5.20pm.
There are several Group One winners engaged and while Rain Affair isn’t one of them, he will draw most of the punter’s attention. A five-length recent trial win is the best indication that the fiery bay is back to his best after a poor first-up showing at Warwick Farm last month.
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