PB Lawrence Stakes and Warwick Stakes: Spring come early

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    Winx is already one of Australia's best horses. (AAP Image/David Moir)

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    It’s spring racing come early in Melbourne and Sydney this Saturday.

    Winx is the headline act of the day, as she has been now for the best part of two years, resuming in the Warwick Stakes at Randwick. At Caulfield, we’ll see what is shaping as the best edition of the P.B Lawrence Stakes for many a year, with seven individual Group 1 winners in the field. Not bad for winter!

    Since crossing over from Perth, Black Heart Bart has made the Caulfield 1400m circuit his own in the finest traditions of a horse like Regal Roller, who won the Lawrence Stakes in 2004.

    Black Heart Bart has won the Memsie, Orr and Futurity, all Group 1 races, over this track and distance, and while the Lawrence is only a Group 2, he can complete the set of weight-for-age 1400m events at the Heath.

    He’s tricky to assess given he’s looked in need of the run in his last two first-up efforts for Darren Weir, but they were over 1200m, and he’s far better suited at 1400m.

    Hartnell is the other star horse resuming in the Lawrence, sent to Melbourne early this preparation to avoid the mighty Winx. He’s run second to the great mare four times, and chased her home another three times besides. Fair enough to escape her clutches now.

    Hartnell’s last two first-up runs have been over 1400m, and provided two of those seconds to Winx. His case is an easy one to make based on that alone. Any cut out of the track advantages him over Black Heart Bart.

    A couple of Weir imports are the other horses in single figure odds in the early betting, behind the two stars.

    Humidor went from talented three year old Kiwi to genuine Australian WFA performer in his four year old season, taking out the Australian Cup in the autumn before running second to Jameka in the BMW. He’ll be steaming late, and is short odds to be the eye-catcher of the field.

    Ex-Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom has better credentials over the shorter trips than his stablemate, and his first-up second, beaten narrowly behind Black Heart Bart in the Futurity earlier this year, says he’s in the race.

    Star Exhibit is another Weir recruit, but one that plied his early trade in the west rather than overseas. He was a Perth cup winner over 2400m before Weir sprinkled his fairy dust to deliver a first-up victory in the Anniversary Vase over the 1400m back in April. Another horse that can win, but will also be watched with interest from a futures perspective.

    Something says this batch of classy Weir runners will be seeing a bit of each other over the next few months.

    Of the other horses in the race, Gailo Chop has obvious class and is proven on Australian soil, but the early money is saying not yet. He goes in a box first four of all Weir runners, if you’re so inclined. Amelie’s Star, yet another from the Weir yard, will find more suitable races.

    He’s Our Rokkii was a good handicapper that has so far been found wanting at WFA. He’ll likely have been set for this to pick off an early, potentially weak Group 2, but Hayes and co couldn’t have predicted he’d run into this sort of field.

    Charmed Harmony will ensure a genuine tempo and stick on gamely as he always does. Abbey Marie can defy the odds first-up at 1400m, and hopefully gets back on track this prep. Montoya’s Secret came from nowhere to win a Group 1 against the fillies in the autumn, and is a watch.

    The race should be run in a manner for every horse to have their chance, but with both Black Heart Bart and Hartnell sure to settle in the front half of the field, those trying to come from behind and get passed both will find it too tough an ask.

    Selections: 1.Black Heart Bart 2.Hartnell 3.Tosen Stardom 4.Star Exhibit

    We’re about to embark on a campaign for Winx that could see her heralded as the best horse Australia has ever seen, and it’s hard not to get giddy thinking about it. It’s rare for a horse to completely transcend the punt in this sport of ours, but she does it.

    We’ll all watch again, waiting for Bowman to unleash her majesty, and hoping that she’s come back even better than ever. What a pleasure it will be to witness her once more.

    But the Warwick Stakes is a β€œrace”, and there are other horses in it.

    winx-hugh-bowman-horse-racing-cox-plate-2016

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Foxplay won a Group 1 against mares and a few Group 2s in her own class as a three-year-old filly, but stepping up to open WFA company is a big step. It will be good to get a handle on where she sits against some of these honest battlers.

    Inference is in the same category as Foxplay, a Randwick Guineas winner looking to find his place through the spring. The wraps on him are big, and we want to see something pleasing through the line.

    Antonio Guiseppe will be placed correctly at some point in his campaign, and will be looking to show that he can win a race when that time comes. Ecuador is coming off a prep where he was twice Group 1 placed at 1400m, so deserves some respective for those looking for a place bet here.

    Selections: 1. Winx 2.Foxplay 3.Ecuador 4.Inference

    Scattered throughout Melbourne and Sydney are a host of top class juveniles looking to make a stamp as three-year-olds – Catch, Tulip, Invader and Formality, among others.

    It’s not always easy for the early season three-year-olds to carry penalties and win, for those tempted to back the form from when they were two to carry over. Buyer beware in that situation. Look for something on the minimum that has made the necessary improvement over winter.

    We’ve also got Lankan Rupee racing in Adelaide as he looks to continue his comeback. There are also some other classy black type events on both programs.

    We really do have a winter delight on Saturday. Racing, welcome back.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • August 18th 2017 @ 8:48am
      Razzar said | August 18th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      Good preview Cam.

      The PB Lawrence could become a tricky event, because of a few factors.

      Charmed Harmony seems to be the only runner to control the tempo. How that pans out could determine whether it becomes a sit/sprint affair.

      Black Heart Bart definitely ticks a lot of boxes, it’s his pet dist and loves track. Unless it deteriates to a soft. $3.25 rating

      Hartnell: In my humble opinion, I have a concern whether he will handle Caufield. I good risk for mine. $10 rating.

      Tosen Stardom should land just behind the pace here after the 2 scratchings. Looks good threat to Bart when the sprint comes on. $9 rating

      Humidor will be well back, not the place to be, but with good run can wind up late. Classy type. $8 rating

      Montoya’ s Secret is my long shot chance here, should sit somewhere midfield and with so many runners first up.
      She’s not out of it. $15 rating

      R9
      Ozi Choice was forced to lead last run after Majestic Duke was scratched. Likely now to sit just behind speed.
      Looks like an eachway all-dayer for mine. $6 rating

      Portman is in this race as well. I recently commented is he the real deal? He did win two starts ago, albeit getting a nice run compared to some. Then last run was flat. Tomorrow should tell us where Portman is at.

      Good luck Punters.

      • Columnist

        August 18th 2017 @ 11:22am
        Cameron Rose said | August 18th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        Good to be back Razzar.

        Concern on Hartnell is a valid one, and you could easily see him losing a length around the home turn.

        The other thing in BHB’s favour is that he’ll have been set for the early WFA swing, while Weir has a lot more options when they get to a mile plus.

        Quite keen on Santa Ana Lane as an each-way bet in R8 at Caulfield. Lyuba will be tough to beat in one of the early races too.

        • Roar Guru

          August 18th 2017 @ 12:04pm
          Nathan Absalom said | August 18th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          Yeah, I think Santa Ana Lane is a good chance, although wary of the Japanese import and Souchez.

          One to watch in Saturday is the 3yo Invader taking on the older horses in the Show County. He was most impressive when sprinting past them in the Sires which might well turn out to be a good form race.

          • Columnist

            August 18th 2017 @ 1:59pm
            Cameron Rose said | August 18th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            Invader definitely a watch, obviously resuming in this to avoid carrying weight against the 3yo’s.

        • August 19th 2017 @ 9:38am
          Razzar said | August 19th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          I think with Santa Anna is your getting the touch good price, compared to the squeeze prices of Vega Magic; has won on soft. But probly nothing like a Caufield soft. Plus May get downgraded again before r8.

          Brave Smash may have good credentials, but at the price and lack of trak experience, is worth the risk.

          I’ll be very interested to See what Souchez brings today. Has some ability, should get back. But first time on soft. But I really respect the Lonhro breed on wet tracks, and if they’re getting out wider as the day passes. Might take a value quinella with SAL. Good luck today.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 18th 2017 @ 4:29pm
      JOHNY BULLDOG said | August 18th 2017 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

      What a great time of year…some serious investing to be done…good luck gents!

    • Roar Guru

      August 18th 2017 @ 8:58pm
      kv joef said | August 18th 2017 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

      Nice work Cam. A real watch and see with so many nice horses returning. Curious to see how Deploy and recently relocated The Virginian go in the Show County

      Alizee is a big, useless thing with obvious talent but i’m not sure her first-up softie would do her any favours. Both Formality and Champagne Cuddles are quick 100%ers, it is only a small field but a good future reference.

      I’ve liked Comin’ Through from the early days. he is honest and i’m sure the Flem Carbine winner will make his mark in suitable races this spring. Trapeze Artist was an autumn find and GRyan is certainly asking him a question FU with 61kg but his trial a couple of weeks ago behind Champagne Cuddles was a beauty.

      Certainly, the next couple of saturdays will have plenty to look at and should set the spring up nicely πŸ™‚ . Will be tuning into ‘the Rup’ gift in Adelaide too. i thought he was terrific first-up, you could see he wanted to win and when he is like that – watch out …

    • Editor

      August 21st 2017 @ 5:10am
      Tristan Rayner said | August 21st 2017 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      Great to see you back Cam!

      Gee Hartnell was impressive!

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