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The Mounting Yard: Chipping Norton Stakes Day preview

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Roar Guru
28th February, 2019

This Saturday’s metro racing in Sydney heads to Randwick, with the feature being the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes headlined by the legend Winx.

The Surround Stakes is the other headliner of the card, at Group 1 level for the fillies over 1400 metres. There’s four other group races, including three group two’s and the bureau predicts it to be 27 with a chance of showers – so there’s no excuse not to head down to the track and start punting!

Race 1
The first on the card, like usual, is the TAB Highway over 1600 metres at a class three level.

This is one of the worst highways I’ve seen for a long time, but there’s still a winner to be found and I think Weston represents some value here.

The Matthew Dunn-trained gelding brought decent form down from Queensland, winning and placing in a similar grade, and he didn’t get to show us anything in the Highway a fortnight ago when he was caught three wide for the entire trip.

From barrier five he should race on the speed in a race without any in it, and he’ll keep plugging away. Represents value in a weak and open field.

Haames is next pick. He’s been pretty unlucky in his last few starts, and he goes well on soft tracks, which we are likely to see here today.

He never saw daylight last start in the Highway that Fui San won, and if he got out and went close in that race, which I think he would have, he’s price would probably be halved today. He’ll sit a bit closer today from barrier four and be one of the back markers running on. Onemore Sapphire could add some value into the exotics.

He broke his maiden at Port Macquarie last start over 1500 metres, and he should have more scope for improvement than some of the others in this field. He’ll appreciate the rise to a mile, and be another one who’s running on.


Recommended bet: Each way bet on #6 Weston.

Race 2
The next on the card is a Benchmark 88 handicap over 2000 metres. I’m very bullish on the chances of Looks Like Elvis in this.

His form lines in Sydney leading into this were really good, running two lengths behind Mapmaker, and then running a length off Cisco Bay over the mile.

His performance at Flemington against the much hyped Schabau was tremendous for a race like this, and the wetter it gets, the more I’ll be putting on.

He maps perfectly to get a lovely run off of an extremely hot speed for a 2000-metre race, and with even luck he’ll be hard to beat.

Cosmologist has to be a threat. He’s a winner this horse. He won over this exact same trip, also on soft ground last preparation, before beating Tamarack over 2400 metres, before going out for a spell.

He ran fourth resuming behind Penske and Harmattan at Randwick over the mile, and he’ll appreciate getting up to 2000 metres again today.

From barrier ten he’ll have the speed to cross and he maps to get a really sweet run behind the front few, and we know he can get the distance. He’s the main danger. Rodrico is the best of the rest.


He has come back okay this preparation, running four and five lengths off New Universe and Samadoubt in respective races over a mile. He looks like he’s been searching for a rise in trip and he gets it here. He’s another that maps to get a lovely run behind a hot speed. Not out of it.

Recommended bet: Big each way bet on #10 Looks like Elvis.

Jockey Glyn Schofield rides Avilius

You can’t spell Royal Randwick without Randwick! (AAP Image/Simon Bullard)

Race 3
The Skyline Stakes for the two year old Colts and Geldings, at group two level is up next. Pretty confident the winner will come out of the top three, and I’m going with Microphone.

He ran really well over 1000 metres behind I am Immortal two starts back, who wasn’t disgraced in the Blue Diamond, and then made it two wins from three starts in the Talindert when she dashed away to win by two lengths eased up on the line.

He ran really good times in that race, and he maps to get a beautiful run on the back of the leader in Fiery Red. Good chance.

Castelvecchio is next best. He won at big odds on debut at Canterbury, before absolutely destroying the likes of Accession and Dawn Passage in the Inglis Millennium a few weeks ago.

In this small field he shouldn’t be too far off them in the run, and he’s a blue blood, being by Dundeel and a half to Group 1 winner Maid of Heaven. I think he’ll run well at the 1200 again, and the soft track suits. Good chance.


Accession is the best of the rest. He’s run two starts back beating Avon River by four lengths was brilliant, and he ran wide for most of the trip in the Inglis Millennium. He should get a lovely suck run behind the front few and have the first crack at them in the straight.

Recommended bet: Would think playing exotics around #1, #2 and #3 would be the way to go in this.

Race 4
We’ve got the fillies two year old group two now, which is the Sweet Embrace being raced over 1200 metres.

I think the market has got it right again here and the winners will come out of the top three. Found it hard to split them so I landed on what I view as the value runner in Super Oasis.

She won a trial under hard riding at Warwick Farm before running at Kensington on debut over 1000 metres.

They ran a quicker time in that maiden than they did in the Gimcrack, which is obviously a pretty good form line for this race.

She’s bred by Exceed and Excel and out of Puzzle so she’s no doubt going to be talented, and at the price of $6.50 I think she represents pretty good value as an each way proposition.

Anaheed is next best. She won by four lengths on debut in the Victory Vein Plate, and then was unlucky at Caulfield in the Blue Diamond preview where she couldn’t get out until the last 100 metres of the race. She maps fantastically in this race, to get a suck run behind the leaders, and she’ll get the first crack at them down the straight.


Amercement will probably start shorter than she is at the moment and while she does have a good chance of winning, I just don’t think she represents any value.

She came steadily in the Gimcrack on debut, and then was impressive in winning the Widden Stakes after coming from near last. She’ll probably go back to last again from the wide barrier, and she’ll be charging home late.

Recommended bet: Each way bet on #7 Super Oasis.

Trapeze Artist wins Race 7, all Aged Stakes Day.

Racing at Royal Randwick. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Race 5
The fifth on the card is the Liverpool City cup for the three year olds at group three level, over 1300 metres.

Gem Song shapes as one of the better bets on the program here, and is over the odds at the $4 quote. He’s a future star this Colt. His form last preparation was outstanding, beating the very talented Royal Celebration, and then getting narrowly pipped by Mickey Blue Eyes in the Dulcify Quality.

He resumed in the Eskimo Prince and won it easy in the end coming through on the rail. He should be better for that first up run, and he’s two from two second up. He’ll run midfield in a small field, and be close enough to strike in the straight.

Very big chance. Think Ever Loyal is over the odds here, the Kiwi raider. He finished third in the Riccarton Guineas as a three year old, and resumed by narrowly missing in the Concorde.


They took him to Ellerslie before coming out here to build some confidence, and he won that by a length and a half. He will appreciate the soft and possibly heavy track on Saturday, run on the speed and be hard to run down.

Dreamforce is the best of the rest, but he doesn’t represent much value at the $3.60 quote. He finished off last preparation really well, running second to Sircconi at Caulfield, and then beating Widgee Turf in the Chatham.

He didn’t get a great ride from Bowman in my opinion first up and was untested to the line, and from barrier six he’ll sit on the speed and be in it for a long way.

Recommended bet: Pretty sizeable win bet on #7 Gem Song.

Race 6
We get to the feature on the card, which is the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes over the mile under weight for age conditions. Not much to say about this race apart from the obvious, and that is Winx will win.

She faces a pretty weak field again in this, apart from the people’s horse in Happy Clapper. She resumed in fantastic order, beating Happy Clapper and Egg Tart by two and a half lengths, and I think it’ll be Déjà vu on Saturday.

The only worry is getting boxed in, but from barrier four Bowman will get her in a nice spot, and the Equine champion of the world will give them another smacking.

Recommended bet: Just watch the great mare do what she does best.

Winx Hugh Bowman

Winx. Kind of a big deal. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Race 7
The other Group 1 on the card comes here in the seventh, with the Surround Stakes over 1400 metres for the three year old fillies at set weights. Pretty keen on Pohutukawa here, and she shapes as one of the best bets on the program.

She only had the two runs last preparation, beating Ballet Baby at Warwick Farm, before going to Flemington to win at listed level over this exact trip against Madam Rouge. She resumed in the Light Fingers Stakes and ran a length behind Nakeeta Jane and Madam Rouge after striking interference in the straight, and from barrier seven she maps beautifully to sit midfield with cover in the run.

With even luck she wins this easily, and it’s another feature win for the Godolphin Blue. Nakeeta Jane is the big danger.

She had three runs in the Sydney Spring, beating Ranier and Kolding in what turned out to be a hot maiden over this distance, and then narrowly missing Oohood and Fiesta to finish third in the Flight Stakes over a mile.

She resumed in the best fashion possible, by storming home to claim Madam Rouge on the line in the Light Fingers Stakes. She is another who maps well to get a good run in midfield from barrier six, and she’ll be letting down strongly late.

Fundamentalist is probably the best value. She’s been a bit of a bridesmaid of late, with three seconds in her last five starts.

She ran two lengths off Mystic Journey in the Fillies Classic, then ran a length off Shillelagh in the Empire Rose. She was beaten a length by Amphitrite in the Vanity second up, and she should be ready to peak third up and make her own luck on the speed from barrier five.


Recommended bet: Pretty big win bet on #12 Phutukawa.

Race 8
We’ve got the last of the group two races here, in the Guy Walter Stakes over 1400 metres for the Mares.

I think two horses represent pretty good value and I can only see one danger to them, and one of them horses is Noire for Chris Waller and Hughie Bowman. Her form last preparation is excellent for a race like this.

She beat Youngstar in the Shannon Stakes over this trip, before running two lengths off Best of Days in the Kennedy Mile. She resumed here over 1200 metres last start and really savaged the line. From barrier six she maps to get a lovely run behind the leaders, and she’ll be hard to hold out.

Bella Martini is one of the big threats. She had no luck last preparation when she kept drawing the car park and therefore getting caught wide, and really, it was a pretty good effort for her to only run a length off Shillelagh in the Empire Rose.


A race day with Winx is far better than a race day without Winx. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

She resumed here in the Triscay a fortnight ago when she got back from yet another wide barrier and hit the line hard. She draws a touch better today and she should get a nice spot either on the speed or just off it, and she’ll be there for a long way. Manicure for team Godolphin is the only danger.

She’s come back in pretty good order, beating Demerara at listed level resuming, and then getting narrowly beaten by Invincibella in the million dollar Magic Millions race on the Gold Coast.


She came back to Sydney in the Triscay, and she narrowly lost to Alassio who is a $9 chance in this race. She draws all the favours today and all she needs to do is run out a strong 1400 metres to be in the finish.

Recommended bet: Each way bet on #2 Noire, and it’s worth saving on #4 Bella Martini.

Race 9
The last of the day in both Meetings I’ve covered comes here in the ninth and penultimate race, which is a benchmark 88 handicap over 1200 metres.

I think we’ve found one we can get out on in the form of Serene Miss. She’s won six of her eight career starts, and only missed the top three once. Her form last preparation was brilliant, beating Sexy Eyes at Canterbury, before going on to win the Provincial Championship qualifier and the Provincial championship, after travelling very wide in both of those races.

She’s drawn out today but she has shown she can race wide and still show a blistering turn of foot, so Collet has the easy job of switching her off in the run, and producing her late. She’s three from three first up and I can’t see that unblemished record changing today. Spin is one at odds who I wouldn’t leave out of the last leg in the quaddies.

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He went well in the Roman Consul on a heavy track last preparation, and he battled on well in the Red anchor stakes at the Valley when it was near impossible to run on. He wasn’t disgraced resuming in a much better race than this, and he gets in well at the weights.

He’ll be charging home late. Renewal is the best of the rest. He’s form last preparation was pretty good, running three lengths behind Don’t Give a Damn, and then running a length off Drachanfels.

He’s two from three fresh, and he looked ready to go in a recent trial win. He’s another one who will be running on strongly.

Recommended bet: Decent each way bet on #2 Serene Miss.

BEST BET: Race 7 #12 Pohutukawa.
SECOND BEST BET: Race 5 #7 Gem Song.
BEST VALUE: Race 1 #6 Weston.