Group 1 racing returns to the calendar this Saturday with the running of the Winx Stakes (1400 metres) at Randwick.
The racing excitement continues this weekend with action from across the country. Here’s your best bets.
Eshtiraak has had plenty of racing for an early season four-year-old, with 21 career starts to his name. He won four races as a two-year-old and was competitive at Group level. As a three-year-old, however, his form waned to the point where he only ran a placing once in 11 starts, and in the last eight of those he was never closer than four lengths from the winner.
Eshtiraak looks to have recaptured the form of his early days this prep, building up to his last start win after running third and second upon resumption. His second was splitting Ringerdingding and Royal Order, both subsequent winners – Ringerdingding is currently favourite for the Sandown Guineas on Sandown.
He can go on with things now that he’s got that winning feeling back, and his form compares favourably to everything else in the race. Fred Kersley claims 2kg’s on him, and should be able to slot in in the second or third pair, if not midfield three wide with cover. The wide barrier will hopefully mean better odds.
Bet: 5.Eshtiraak – win
We mentioned Royal Order in the race above, and he takes his place in Race 7 at Moonee Valley, but we’re going to back a horse to turn the tables on that horse.
Ruomaza ran second to Royal Order last start, and they had two separate stories to tell after the event.
Royal Order drew wide and was able to take a position just worse than midfield, three wide with cover, but had plenty of galloping room to build momentum in the straight. Ruomaza was on the rail and got shuffled back around the home turn, and had to do some ducking and weaving in the straight.
There was a length between the two horses there, which might have been reversed if we swap the runs, and now Ruomaza meets Royal Order 2.5kg’s better for the experience. Both horses look capable of city wins in their future, having both been lightly raced, but we’ll back Ruomaza to turn the tables this time around.
The Sandown Cup over 3200m was brought back a few years ago, to be run on Zipping Classic day.
What we have seen in each of these races is that if there was a horse from the Melbourne Cup running in the race, then that was the one to beat.
Vengeur Masque is the only horse from the Melbourne Cup represented this year, and while he was beaten a long way, it’s still the best form race for this far weaker event. After all, the Melbourne Cup is the greatest two mile race in the world.
His lead-up form had been very solid, and often better than it looked on paper thanks to some good sectionals that showed he was running well for when he found the right assignment.
Not many of those that were racing in the first quarter of the field in the Cup held on in the run to the line, and remember that the winner Cross Counter came from near last, and second placegetter Marmelo was back near the tail too. Vengeur Masque’s run wasn’t bad for this much softer assignment, and at $9 the win and $2.80 the place with BetEasy he appeals as an each-way bet.
Bet: 1.Vengeur Masque – each-way
Bons Away has been racing in great heart all preparation but is yet to register a win for the campaign. The Doveton Stakes looks like the race he can break through in.
Osborne Bulls has some claims to be called the best sprinter in the land, and it was a great shame we didn’t get to see him in the VRC Sprint Classic on Saturday to stake his claim. Any form around him is great form, and Bons Away was second behind him in the straight race on Derby Day.
Before that he had been chasing Eduardo all campaign, and that horse could well win a Newmarket Handicap in four months time down on the minimum.
There is good speed in the race, which should help set it up for a swooper like Bons Away, and from barrier 10 he’ll be ready to be brought to the outside once they head for home, and the long straight at Sandown helps the backmarkers run down those in front of them.
Bet: 3.Bons Away each-way – $5 / $2 with BetEasy
The racing carnival caravan moves onto Perth after the Melbourne spring, for their set of Group 1 races. The R.J Peters Stakes is the key Ascot lead-up to the Group 1 Railway Stakes in a fortnight’s time, and the local horses will be vying to assert themselves before the interstate raiders arrive.
Action is seen as one of the most likely WA horses to stave off the challengers from the eastern states, and takes his place in the R.J Peters accordingly.
The WATC Derby winner from last season has returned in good style this campaign with a couple of second placings where he has been running on from the back at 1400m both times.
Action gets an extra 100m to show his wares here, and while he rises 4.5kg’s on his last start run in the Asian Beau Stakes, the others he beat home from that race are here and rise significantly as well, and this event looks to lack depth.
Look for Action to stamp himself as a winning threat when the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town come around.
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