The Roar
The Roar


Saturday Sure Things: Championships Day One preview

Jockey Craig Williams rides Criterion to win Race 9, The Queen Elizabeth Stakes. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Roar Guru
31st March, 2017

The grand finals of Australian racing are the Championships and it finally comes around this Saturday with day one highlighted by four spectacular majors, the pick clearly being the Doncaster Mile (1600m). Here is my look at the bumper ten race card.

Race One: Widden 150th Anniversary Stakes 1100m
Alizee on top for me here. She was runner-up in the Magic Night where she tried hard but ran a narrow second to Tulip. Looks very well placed here. From Within has the Slipper form next to her name and this is easier. Dissolution is on debut and has looked sharp at the trials. He reprints value.

Alizee on top, ahead of From Within, Dissolution and Condor Heroes.

Race Two: China Horse Club Carbine Club Stakes 1600m
I’m pretty keen here on Theanswermyfriend. Absolutely spanked them last time out over 1400m at Flemington and this stable doesn’t bring them to Sydney for nothing. Eusebio was given a peach of a steer to win the Canberra Guineas and I don’t see the mile being an issue. Flying Jess ran down the track behind Theanswermyfriend but was ridden too close to the tempo. With cover, she can improve.

Clearly with Theanswermyfrien, to beat Eusebio, Flying Jess and Mr Sneaky.

Race Three: Schweppes Chairmans Handicap 2600m
I’m siding with Aloft, who was given a lovely on speed steer first up over 1800m at Flemington and got the job done. Quickly up to 2600m is the issue, but the stable are having a hot Sydney Carnival.

Alegria comes through the Epona where she battled away strongly and the step up in trip is a big tick. Pentathlon hasn’t really done much this time around, but did run in top ten in the Melbourne Cup.

Aloft the one for me, over Alegria, Pentathlon and Kinema.

Race Four: Newhaven Park Country Championships Final 1400m
Cogliere at $41 is on top for me. Won the Taree heat and finished down the track in the Darby Munro but failed on the bog surface. He can bounce back hard here and the depth in the Taree heat was strong.


Watch out for Caerless Choice. He didn’t look happy at all on the heavy track at Scone but still finished best. His trial win since was outstanding. Nic’s Vendetta ran second in that Scone and how he didn’t win, I still don’t know. He has since trialled well and went very nicely behind Stakes performer Ravi.

Each way with Cogliere, to beat Caerless Choice, Nic’s Vendetta and Perfect Dare.

Race Five: The Green Guys PJ Bell Stakes 1200m
Prompt Response is a ripping filly for the Waterhouse/Bott yard, having run some crackers during the spring and got the deserved win in the Twilight Glow. Trials leading in have been quite encouraging.

Zumbelina was the find of the summer and was tipped out with an eye towards the autumn. She looks ready to go fresh. Exocet was very good fresh against the bias at the Valley. She is the best roughie.

Going with Prompt Response, to beat Zumbelina, Exocet and Raiment.

Race Six: Inglis Sires’ 1400m
The best horse from the Slipper generally wins the Sires, and for mine, that was Tulip. She was amazing given how wide she was in the run. She only needs normal luck to go close.

The second best run from the Slipper was Frolic, who worked home powerfully along the inside. She’s always had Sires/Champagne written all over her. One More Honey really attacked the line to win the Sweet Embrace and has been freshened up with an eye towards this and the Champagne.

Confident in Tulip, to beat Frolic, One More Honey and Invader.


Race Seven: BMW Australian Derby 2400m
The only way that Inference can turn the tables on Gingernuts is if the track is firmer, and, touch wood, it is. Inference did a mighty job given he was off the bit 1000m out in the Rosehill Guineas yet still found. He will eat up the 2400m.

Gingernuts was a dominant winner of that race but generally that New Zealand Derby doesn’t quite stack up in the ATC Derby. Still, a key threat. If the track does dry up, Prized Icon comes right into play. It’s a similar path to the Derby in the spring and last week was encouraging.

Inference, just, ahead of Gingernuts, Prized Icon and Anaheim.

Race Eight: Darley TJ Smith Stakes 1200m
History to be made for me with Chautauqua. He’s the best horse in the race and is fit and ready to go off the back of a pleasing effort in the Ryder where he chased the great mare. Back to 1200m is ideal and despite the lack of early speed here, I’ll side with him. Russian Revolution was an amazing winner of the Galaxy and maps very well here. He will take some beating. Best roughie here is Fell Swoop, who was good through the line late in the Galaxy. Gets Moreira also which is a big tick.

Landed with Chautauqua, to beat Russian Revolution, Fell Swoop and English.

Race Nine: The Star Doncaster Mile 1600m
The obvious choice is Le Romain. Had outstanding preparation this autumn and deserves to end it with a Doncaster win. A horse that loves Randwick, and ticks all the boxes for mine.

Happy Clapper was ridden a touch upside down in the Newcastle Newmarket but was still dominant and he has fresh legs. I tipped Sense Of Occasion in the Villiers and a Melham gem got him home. He’s first up here and has trialled really well leading in. $51 and better is silly odds.

Going with Le Romain, over Happy Clapper, Sense Of Occasion and I Am A Star.


Race Ten: TAB Adrian Knox Stakes 2000m
High Impulse interests me here – was the dominant maiden winner over 1800m at Hawkesbury and has trialled up well since. Baysa was very good to my eye last week at Goulburn and has that sense of timing about her. The long shot is Fallacy, who slogged it out strongly over the Doomben mile and whose stable should always be respected.

High Impulse on top in the get out, to beat Baysa, Fallacy and Face Like Thunder.