This Saturday we head to Rosehill, where the Sydney Autumn carnival starts to heat up.
We’ve got a nine-race card, with seven races being at group level, including the Group 1 feature in the Coolmore Classic, featuring the likes of Fiesta and El Dorado Dreaming.
The Magic Night Stakes and the Pago Pago are the Group 3s for the two-year-olds heading towards the Slipper.
The bureau predicts 70mm of rain today, and 45 on Friday, which would indicate it will be at a minimum a soft track, so expect most of the punters to be doing wet weather form.
It’ll take a brave soul to brave the Sydney conditions during a storm, so if you are at the track, you deserve a winner!
The first on the card is a Benchmark 88 handicap. A pretty open race to start the day here, with some progressive types going around, and the Hawkes runner in Mahalangur ticks a lot of boxes here.
It took a while for the penny to drop with Stallion, only winning one of his first six starts. Once it happened, though, he was impressive, winning a Benchmark 70 at Warwick Farm, and then beating Articus in a Benchmark 88 at Randwick. He was beaten by Don’t Give a Damn at the end of his last preparation, who he faces here, but he won’t get such an easy time in front today, so I can see the tables being turned there.
He’s won two from two on soft tracks, and is two from three fresh. He maps to get a lovely run, and with even luck, he represents well each-way value at the $6 quote.
Star of The Seas looks a big danger but is at rock-bottom odds. He won two from two last preparation before being spelled, and he’s come back in pretty good order. He stormed home to finish half a length off Mossman George at Kensington, and then beat the rest of the field bar Archedemus last start, who beat him by two lengths.
He might have needed that run, being the first time at 1300 metres, and I expect him to strip fitter third up.
You Make Me Smile seems overs in this market. He won three in a row, including a very good win over the talented Diplomatico two starts back, before going too hard out in front the last start at Randwick in a Group 3 behind Dreamforce.
He’ll go to the front and stepping back in class here, he can run a big race.
Recommended bet: Small plays on both #7 Mahalangur and #4 You Make Me Smile who both seem overs in this market.
The first group race on the program comes here in the second, with the Maurice McCarten Stakes over 1100 metres. There are only four or five live chances here, and I’m siding with Easy Eddie.
He draws out but Robbie Dolan will have no trouble settling him just off the speed. His form from last preparation is excellent for a race like this. He beat Bel Sonic at Warwick Farm, who was in the market for a good race at Flemington until being scratched and then went on to beat Intuition, who won down the straight at Flemington in the spring.
He got pipped by Tactical Advantage in the Takeover Target, and he’s had an eight-week letup since then, and trialled really well, untouched behind Goldfinch at Warwick Farm. If he can get across and get a nice run, he’ll be very hard to beat.
Fiery Heights probably represents value at the $7 quote. He beat Isaurian at listed level about three months ago now, and then beat the likes of Dothraki home in the Magic Millions sprint. From barrier one he’ll go straight to the front, and he’ll be hard to run down.
Trekking is the best of the rest. His form in Melbourne has been good, beating Kemono over 1200 metres at Caulfield, and then he got no luck whatsoever behind Brave Song, again at Caulfield.
He goes well first up, winning two from five, and he has the benefit of two trials leading into this. Just can’t have him at $3.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #4 Easy Eddie.
The first Group 4 for the two-year-olds comes here in the third, with the Magic Night Stakes over 1200 metres for the fillies. An interesting race when thinking about the Golden Slipper next Saturday, and with even luck, Athiri will be there.
I’m very keen on this filly today, and think the $3.90 on offer is a steal. She won easily against Accession here on debut, and also beat Stronger, who won last Wednesday, before going to the Blue Diamond Prelude, where she ran three wide the trip, and still finished under a length away from the winner in Lyre.
She then went to the Blue Diamond, where she was caught four wide again, and once she steadied up she chased hard to finish a length behind Lyre again. She finally draws a good gate here, in barrier one, and as long as she can get the run when she needs to, I can’t see her losing this.
Still Single has been impressive without winning in her last two runs. She was narrowly beaten by Deep Chill at Warwick Farm, before being unlucky in the Sweet Embrace, and she still finished under a length off the winner in Anaheed.
She draws wide, but if she can get some cover in the run, she’s improving with every run and can run a very bold race here.
Amercement is the best of the rest and seems overs at $17. She came from last to win the Widden Stakes against Rotator two starts back and then chased steadily behind Anaheed after making up nearly seven lengths in the straight. She’ll be storming home.
Recommended bet: Big win bet on #4 Athiri, and playing exotics around #4, #5, #8, #10 and #2.
Now it’s the boys’ turn to strut their stuff in the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes. I am looking outside the fancied runners here, and like two at double-figure odds.
Yulong Savings is one of those. He trialled really well in the lead up to his debut run at Bendigo, where he won by nearly four lengths with a leg in the air over Asateer.
He then went to Flemington over 1000 meters down the straight, and was probably unlucky not to win the race after being shifted out on by Cheer Leader at the 150-metre mark. He did well to balance back up there and dive at Mockery on the line, but he missed by a neck.
He draws barrier 14 today, but if Jason Collett can get him across, he’ll go very close.
Lubuk is well over the odds here at $27. He was unlucky not to win at Doomben on debut when he got held up, and then he stormed home to beat the rest of the field bar Exhilarates, who’s still one of the favourites for the Golden Slipper next week.
He came to Kensington last start and finished four lengths off them, but he needed that run after having an eight-week break, and he should have learnt a lot about the Sydney way of going.
He draws well from barrier eight, the 1200 metres will suit, and the Tony McEvoy stable has to be respected.
Cosmic Force is the best of the rest. He’s resumed pretty well, running a length behind Bivouac, and then finishing second to Microphone and beating Castelvecchio home in the Skyline.
He should be able to get a nice spot in the run, but he’s awkwardly priced at $5.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on both #4 Yulong Savings and #5 Lubuk.
We reach the first Group 2 of the day and what is the best race on the card, the Phar Lap Stakes over 1500 metres for the three-year-olds.
I’m steering clear of Verry Elleegant at the current price of $4 due to her poor racing manners and inconsistency, but I’m siding with another Waller runner in the form of Zalatte. This one is a very promising filly.
Her form last preparation was understated. She beat Baller, who is going to be a group horse in his own right, in a Benchmark 76 at this track, and then went on to beat Welsh Legend at Randwick, who goes around at $35 in this.
She resumed in the Surround Stakes, where she never got a run in the straight, but once she saw clear air she hit the line hard, finishing just under three lengths off Nakeeta Jane and Fundamentalist, who have both franked that form since.
She will have no problem with a wet track if it does pan out that way, and she maps perfectly from barrier four. I’m happy to back her on an each-way basis at $6.50.
Ranier looks over the odds to me in this. He obviously had a good spring last year, winning both the Gothic Stakes and the Carbine Club against Wild Planet.
He resumed in the Manfred, in what was a glorified trial over 1200 metres, and he ran really well in the CS Hayes Stakes over 1400 metres. He got knocked around a bit in that race, and still closed off strongly.
He was outclassed in the Guineas, but the barrier never gave him a chance anyway. He comes back to Sydney, draws okay from barrier eight, and he’s going to be rock hard fit heading into this.
Seabrook is the other main danger. She went really well last preparation, running a length behind Amphitrite in the Guineas, and then only finished two lengths away when going up against the older horses in the Empire Rose. She came home steadily in the Surround Stakes, and she should be better for that run. Not out of it.
Recommended bet: Good sized each-way bet on #12 Zalatte.
The Sky-high Stakes is the next to dissect, a Group 3 over 2000 metres for the stayers. I don’t think this deserved to be called a group three, to be honest, but I’ve found one down the bottom at mammoth odds who can run a good race in Rodrico.
His last two runs haven’t been too bad for this race. He finished four lengths off Samadoubt at Warwick Farm two starts back, and then was blocked for a run at Randwick over 2000 metres in a Benchmark 88.
He was never really pushed out in either of those runs, and the wet track can be the great leveller. He’s never missed the top two from four starts on a heavy track, which is what they expect it to be on Saturday.
He draws well from barrier three to sit on the speed, and he’ll be in this for a long way. Libran seems to be a big danger. He didn’t do much resuming, in what was a glorified trial in the Chipping Norton, but he has an outstanding second up record.
The last two times he was second up, he won the Kingston Town at Randwick, and then finished second in this race last year to Auvray. He draws well to sit midfield, and he should have plenty to give in the straight.
Samadoubt is the best of the rest. He beat New Universe over a mile three starts back, and then failed horribly over 1900 metres, in the Parramatta Cup, two starts back at this track. He bounced back in the Canberra Cup though, leading all the way, and he’ll try to do that again here.
The only query is the horrible track record at Rosehill.
Recommended bet: Small each way play on #13 Rodrico.
The feature of the day comes in the Coolmore Classic over 1500 metres for the fillies and mares. It’s one of the more open races you’ll ever see, and you could pick ten horses and still lose, but I’ve landed on Eckstein.
She’s an underrated mare out of the Kurt Goldman stable in Goulburn, and hopefully the town is celebrating tomorrow night. She was far from disgraced in the Empire Rose last preparation, running only two lengths behind Shillelagh, and then went to the Matriarch and went down by a length in a bunched finish to Kenedna.
She resumed in style, winning the Southern Cross Stakes at Randwick over 1200 metres in front of Brutal, but she was a bit one-paced over 1400 metres behind Alassio in the Guy Walter.
She’s been set for this though, and she’s won two from four third up. She’ll get a good run in the middle of the field, and be closing strongly off of a fast run 1500 metres.
I’ll be on Fiesta as well. She was unlucky basically all last preparation, running behind Oohood in the Flight Stakes, and Miss Fabulass in the Tea Rose.
She resumed well, beating Estijaab in the Inglis three-year-old sprint, and she was never going to win being caught four wide with no cover in the Surround Stakes. She only carries 52.5 kilograms, and she should settle off them from barrier 12, and be storming home when it matters.
Moss Trip is the best of the rest. She won the Inglis Guineas at Scone last prep, along with the James Carr Stakes. She resumed at this track in the Millie Fox and came home steadily to finish a length off them.
She will be better for that run, the mile suits, and a bold run wouldn’t surprise from the good gate in barrier seven.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on both #4 Eckstein and #16 Fiesta.
The last of the Group 2 races comes here, in the form of the Ajax Stakes over 1500 metres.
There are only five live chances in this race, but I’m comfortable taking the $7 on offer for Seaway. I’ve been a knocker of his throughout his career, but since being gelded he’s been impressive, winning a Benchmark 88 resuming at this track, and then winning the James Ruse Handicap over 1500 metres at this track.
This is no doubt his toughest test to date, but if we do reach a heavy track, it’ll do him wonders, having never missed the top two on a soft track and finishing second in his only try on a heavy in the Queensland Guineas.
The top two in Land of Plenty and Dreamforce are giving him five kilograms, and he maps perfectly to get the sweet run on the speed. He’ll be hard to beat.
If it does rain, Fifty Stars is the other one you want to be on. He resumed well in the Australia Stakes, finishing three lengths off Whispering Brook, and the CF Orr was a forgive run after discovering mucus post-race.
He won impressively in the Blamey over So Si Bon, and he’s never been beaten on a soft or heavy track. He’ll be running on strongly.
Dreamforce is the best of the rest. He finished off last preparation beating Widgee Turf in the Chatham at Flemington, and resumed in the Southern Cross where he just never got a run at them. He bounced back in the Liverpool City Cup, leading all the way, and will try to do that again here with minimal pressure up front.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #11 Seaway, and if the track is a heavy, have something on #3 Fifty Stars.
The lucky last on the program is a Benchmark 78 handicap over 1900 metres. I’ve narrowed this down to three chances, and Fun Fact represents some good value at the $13 quote.
He was out-sprinted resuming against Handle the Truth over 1200 metres, and then came out and put in a really good performance at Benchmark 70 grade over 1550 metres, where he never got out until the 150-metre mark, and then flashed home to finish half a length off the winner.
He went to Kensington on a Wednesday, and finished second, a length behind Foreign Territory, after Blake Shinn went too early on him around the bend. Jason Collett jumps on him today. He draws well from barrier five, is rock hard fit, and he will hopefully be mowing them down late.
Supernova is the big danger. The Hawkes yard doesn’t generally get many imports in, but this bloke seems like a smart horse.
He was winning rating 85 races in England before coming out here, and his first Australian run was outstanding over 1500 metres behind Sondelon. He chased hard to finish two lengths away and draws to do absolutely no work from barrier two today.
He’s never missed the placings second up, the rise in trip suits, and with even luck he’ll be hard to beat.
Frankly, Awesome is the best outsider at good odds. The Kris Lees camp obviously has a high opinion of her, placing her in the Spring Champion Stakes at Group 1 level last preparation, where she ran six lengths off the winner.
She was out-sprinted resuming over 1300 metres at Warwick Farm, but she came home a lot better over 1400 metres behind Scarlet Dream and Lady Elizabeth. She’ll appreciate the rise in trip third up and will be running on strongly.
Recommended bet; Win bet on #3 Supernova, and #12 Fun Fact is worth saving on.
Best bet: Race 3, #4 Athiri.
Second best: Race 5, #12 Zalatte.
Best value: Race 7, #4 Eckstein.
Best roughie: Race 6, #13 Rodrico.