It’s Rosehill’s biggest day of the year, and one of the best days on the racing calendar. Yesterday, we looked at the Golden Slipper and George Ryder, but there are still another three Group 1s to go.
The Ranvet Stakes winners list isn’t exactly a who’s who of Australian weight-for-age racing over the years, albeit some very good horses have won it, including some of the greats.
The biggest surprise is that Lonhro never won this race, despite being the dominant middle-distance performer in Sydney in the early 2000s.
Hartnell, nominally Australia’s second-best horse, is the clear market-elect in this eight-horse field, despite flopping badly in the Chipping Norton Stakes behind Winx last start. It was clearly his worst run for 12 months, where he didn’t look to handle the heavy track, and thus it’s hard to be confident he will here.
Preferment ran last in the Chipping Norton, and has completely lost the form that has delivered him four Group 1 wins.
Antonio Guiseppe is a mudder that rose to prominence in the spring when running second in the Metropolitan after stringing together the wins in restricted grade. He’s returned in good enough order, and has fitness on his side to make an impact.
The Victorians have made the trip north of the border to make up half the field.
Stratum Star and The United States both enjoyed good runs and ran well accordingly in the Australia Cup, albeit no match for Humidor and Jameka.
The United States was a bit weak late, and may have peaked for fitness at the 100m. His one genuine wet-track run was on debut in Europe, so he’s an unknown on a shifting surface. Stratum Star was his usual honest self, but isn’t quite strong enough at 2000m in Group 1 WFA class, and he would prefer firmer ground.
Our Ivanhowe is first-up from the Melbourne Cup, and has 2000m Group 1 WFA form, beating proper horses like Hauraki and It’s Somewhat in the Doomben Cup last year. Those close to the horse will tell you that he should thrive on this ground.
He’s Our Rokkii has never raced on a bottomless track, but has always enjoyed the cut out. Unless he motors through it, he doesn’t have the class to win this sort of race.
Sofia Rosa is the lone mare in the field, and is coming off a Group 1 third in New Zealand, where she was hitting the line over an unsuitable distance. The ATC Oaks winner never came up in the spring, but may be ready to show her wares now, and has four soft-track wins to her credit.
One of Stratum Star and Antonio Guiseppe will lead them along, with the other sitting off, while Hartnell should settle behind this pair, and be difficult to beat if he responds after his poor performance last start.
1. Hartnell 2. Antonio Guiseppe 3. Sofia Rosa 4. Our Ivanhowe
The Galaxy is always an open affair, just as its Melbourne counterpart, the Oakleigh Plate, is and this year is no exception.
The first five home from the Challenge Stakes, run on a heavy 10, are all here.
English won that race, saving many lengths on the corner as the rest of the field fanned wide. It meant she didn’t get the best ground for much of the straight, and also hit the front earlier than ideal, so it was a win full of quality.
Her biggest problem here is she meets her main challengers up to three kilograms worse at the weights from that race.
Redzel just couldn’t reel in English over 1000m after being three wide on the speed, but 1100m is his specialist distance, and he is also at his best when leading alone, something he couldn’t do in the Challenge. He’ll be hard to catch if he can dictate.
Supido was doing his best work late down the outside rail, and his third to Black Heart Bart in the Goodwood last year sticks in mind. A handicap is much more suitable for him at this stage in his career, and he’s a live threat.
Felines had had enough late when running fourth in the Challenge, either peaking on her run or throwing in the towel on the heavy track. She’s got some quality about her, and wouldn’t shock. Jungle Edge, fifth in the same race, is going to find it tough.
The Oakleigh Plate is the other key lead-up race, providing three runners. Faatinah ran second at big odds, Miss Promiscuity ran fifth at triple figures, and Fell Swoop had a rare down day in sixth.
Faatinah and Miss Promiscuity are hard to catch at the best of times, let alone on such wet ground outside their home state. Both have drawn well, which will help them take up the forward positions they like.
Fell Swoop had a rare downer, and is still searching for that first Group 1. He’s only had one win in the last year and a half now, and it’s getting harder to find him one.
Music Magnate is the top weight, and was fairly plain in the Canterbury Stakes last start behind Le Romain and Chautuaqua, even allowing for Kerrin McEvoy not heading directly for the outside rail upon straightening.
Big Money has always found the step up to Group 1 level beyond him, and will likely do so again here. He has four soft-track wins to his name, but they were a long time ago and not on really wet tracks.
Heatherly was fractionally disappointing in the Lightning first-up, but was much better suited dropping way back in grade the next start, winning like the good thing she was. She’ll be right on the speed again, like many of these, and the question is whether they will destroy each other’s chances.
A trio of three-year-olds are suiting up for the Galaxy, with one of them, Russian Revolution, the early market-elect. He also happens to be the only first-up horse in the field.
Russian Revolution has four wins from five starts, two of them on soft tracks, and his only loss was when beaten two lengths in the Coolmore Stakes on VRC Derby day. He has claimed the scalp of Astern in his time, and is respected for all the right reasons.
Glenall isn’t quite as credentialled from his three career starts, but why not have a crack at the stumps after his second in the Fireball on the heavy 10. Missrock had a couple of false starts this campaign before finally resuming, and winning first-up over 1100m coming off a VRC Oaks run was a wonderful training performance.
1. English 2. Redzel 3. Russian Revolution 4. Supido
The Rosehill Guineas over 2000m is the other Group 1 on the Golden Slipper program.
Prized Icon has proven a very consistent Group 1 horse over his 15 start career, claiming a couple of them along the way. He went to Melbourne last start to avoid the wet, running second in the Australian Guineas, so will be hard to back here.
Seaburge ran well in the Australian Guineas too, and the only time he’s been at 2000m was in the Mackinnon when he secured a Group 1 WFA placing. Anaheim put in a huge run down at Flemington too on a day when it was rarely seen for horses to make ground. If he gets through the ground, he is right in it.
So Si Bon and Land of Plenty were also fair in the Australian Guineas, and have flukers’ hopes.
The Randwick Guineas, ludicrously run on the same day as the Australian Guineas, is the other key lead-up.
Inference won the race in the final strides after settling last and taking the widest route home, getting the paint from the outside rail rubbing all over him. It was one of several Tommy Berry gems on the day, but was he flattered?
Comin’ Through went the other way home for third at Randwick, the innermost runner around the turn, but then a couple of lengths in arrears at the post after not finding the best going.
The unlucky runner there was Impavido, who was going at least as well as Inference when building momentum in the straight, until he ran into a wall of rump and could go no further. He picked up well again to attack the line when clear.
Harper’s Choice was sixth in the same race, and a fair run it was down the middle of the track. It’s hard to assess the merits of such runs, but he seems about his right quote.
Sizzling Bullet is the fresh Waller horse on the scene, and can be lined up through Harper’s Choice, who he beat a month ago when they were contesting a benchmark 69.
Gingernuts is the interesting runner, as the Kiwi’s always are at this time of year. He’s coming off wins in the Avondale Guineas and New Zealand Derby, and will have no trouble staying the trip if it becomes a hard slog.
1. Impavido 2. Anaheim 3. Inference 4. Comin’ Through