This Saturday we are again at Randwick where we wrap up the Autumn Carnival.
We’ve got a nine-race card in store for us, with the time-honoured Champagne Stakes and All Aged Stakes headlining the program. There are four Group 3s on the program. The rail is out four metres, and the bureau predicts it to be 23 degrees and sunny. Let’s find some winners.
The Highway races are back, now that the Championships have concluded, and we kick off the day with one here over 1200 metres. I’ve landed on Gold Touch, in a very open race. It took a while for this Mare to break her maiden, but I think she’s really turned the corner now that she has.
She resumed winning brilliantly at Canberra, by three lengths over 1000 metres. The 1200 metres will suit more here, and she draws well from barrier four. She’s overs at the $11 quote.
Al Mah Haha is the obvious danger. He was brilliant in the Goulbourn Championship qualifier, beating Noble Boy, who went on to actually win the Country Championship a few weeks ago. He trialled well in the lead up to this race, but the big query is whether he can give the rest of the field five kilograms and still win. Not many horses can.
The Drake isn’t the worst at odds either. He was unlucky not to finish closer to Amortia two starts back, who is the favourite here, and he did well to finish within a length of the winner last start after travelling wide. He’ll be finishing strongly.
Recommended bet: Small each way play on #8 Gold Touch.
We’ve got a benchmark 88 handicap in the second over 1200 metres. I’m prepared to take the $5.50 on offer for Tribal Wisdom here. His form from last preparation was impressive.
He ran half a length off Peacock at Rosehill, before going on to beat Osborne Bulls, at this track, who has since gone on to finish in the placings in multiple Group 1 races. He resumed on a heavy track in the Galaxy, which he didn’t handle, and he gets back to a good track here, and should be fitter for that first up run. If Kerrin McEvoy can get him some cover during the run, he’ll be hard to beat.
Charge is one of the big dangers. He beat Ringerdingding last spring, on a leader’s biased track at the Valley, before finishing a length off the talented Gem Song when resuming at Warwick Farm. He failed in the Oakleigh Plate last start, but he drops in grade substantially here, and he should get a good run from barrier five.
Man From Uncle came home steadily in some high-class races in the spring, and if they overdo it up front, he’ll be running on strongly.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #2 Tribal Wisdom.
The Frank Packer Plate is the next on the program at Group 3 level over 2000 metres. Amangiri shapes as one of the better bets on the program, and I actually think the $2.70 on offer at the moment is slight overs.
Her last two starts before last were simply outstanding, winning a maiden at Kensington by three lengths, and then beating the older horses by five lengths at Hawkesbury. She had to do a power of work to get to the front last start in the Adrian Knox, and she was only nailed late, to go down by under half a length.
She draws better today from barrier five, and she’ll be very hard to run down after getting a nice run on the speed.
I’ll be investing a fair bit on the exotics in this race, because I can’t believe that Fun Fact has opened up at $17. He never was given a chance last start, in what is probably a better race than this behind Ringerdingding and Dealmaker, and I thought he was unlucky not to win in his previous two before that. He’ll get a better run today from barrier six, and will be in it for a very long way.
The Chosen One is the other horse that has to go into the exotics. He’s a group three winner back in New Zealand, who finished a length off Arrogant a few starts back. He was strong through the line in the Derby last start, which is a pretty good form line for this race.
Recommended bet: Sizeable win bet on #11 Amangiri. Playing exotics around #11, #4, #1 and #2.
The James Carr Stakes at Group 3 level over 1400 metres is the next on the program. The form out of the PJ Bell Stakes from two weeks back does seem to be the way to go here, and it does seem like a two-horse race.
Into The Abyss shapes as a very good bet here. She finished a length off Pohutukawa in the Spring last year, which obviously means she has talent, and she was definitely the pick of the bunch in the PJ Bell, only narrowly going down to a fast finishing Multaja. She draws to do no work from barrier one, and with even luck she’ll be hard to beat.
Laburnum shapes as the only danger. I thought the consecutive seconds behind Eugene’s Pick and Final Award were pretty good form lines for this, and she never had a chance after being posted five wide without cover in the PJ Bell. She draws wide again, but with any luck from the wide gate, she’ll go very close.
For anyone playing exotics, My Xpression might be the one to fill the placings. She’s a Group 3 winner back in New Zealand, and she can improve off that first Australian run in the PJ Bell.
Recommended bet: Sizeable win bet on #4 Into The Abyss, with a saver on #6 Laburnum.
The JRA Cup comes here in the fifth at Group 3level over 2000 metres. In a race with three-quarters of the field being live chances, I landed with Our Libretto on top. She’s a very promising mare, and it is possible that she’ll be the one flying the Australian flag in the cups during the spring.
She was very unlucky not to have finished closer to Kenedna and Miss Siska in the Matriarch last spring, which has obviously turned out to be a strong form race. She reeled off really good late sectionals last start to win at Caulfield, and she has won third up previously.
She’ll be better over further, but that hasn’t stopped her winning these types of races before.
The Lord Mayor is another one with a good chance. He should be properly wound up for this now, after a very good win in the Toowoomba Cup last start. The wide barrier is the big query about him.
Haripour beat Valac last preparation over this trip, and he has seemingly come back a better horse this preparation, with a commanding victory in the Golden Mile last start at Bendigo. He’ll be better again rising to 2000 metres.
Recommended bet: I’ll be staying right out of this one. Impossible to have any confidence.
One of the two Group 2s comes here in the sixth, with it being the Champagne Stakes for the two-year-olds over 1600 metres. I’ll be backing two of them here, and one of them is the clear second elect in Castelvecchio.
He’s had a brilliant two-year-old season, evident by a win in the Inglis Millennium three starts back, before flashing home for third in both the Skyline and the Sires Produce. He’s been screaming out for the mile for a while now, and he gets it here. He’ll be storming home.
There are obviously some queries surrounding Persan, but the $41 on offer at the moment is silly. He flashed home over 1400 metres at Newcastle on debut, before not handling the heavy track at Rosehill in the Baillieu Handicap two starts back. He fell last start in the Fernhill Handicap when he was going to at least finish in the top three. He’s another one screaming out for the mile, and if he has overcome the issues he had from the fall, he’ll be right in this.
Outside of those two, Loving Gaby is a big threat. I think she’s unders in the market at the $2.50 quote, but she did narrowly beat my on top selection home last start in the Sires Produce and is another that will appreciate the rise to the mile.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #1 Castelvecchio, with a saver on #7 Persan.
The feature of the program comes here in the seventh with the All Aged Stakes over 1400 metres at Group 1 level. My best for the day comes here in the form of Osborne Bulls.
He’s obviously been a bridesmaid this preparation, along with being unlucky, finishing second in the Lighting, The Newmarket and The TJ Smith. It took In Her Time, Sunlight and Santa Ana Lane to beat him in those races, and there’s nothing even close to that standard in this race. He gives every indication that he’ll run out a strong 1400 metres, and with even luck from the inside gate, he’ll be very hard to beat.
If there is a danger, it’ll be Pierata. He resumed well in the Canterbury Stakes, before unleashing one of the better finishes you’ll see, to just miss against Nature Strip in the Galaxy. He was disappointing in the TJ Smith, but he deserves a Group 1, and it wouldn’t be a big shock to see him in the finish here.
Godolphin brings over D’bai here, after winning a group two at Meydan three weeks ago. However, our sprinters are the best in the world, and he’d have to improve to get past Osborne Bulls and Pierata.
Recommended bet: Sizeable win bet on #2 Osborne Bulls.
The last of the group races comes here with the Hall Mark Stakes over 1200 metres at Group 3 level. I just can’t bring myself to take the odds-on pop in Home Of The Brave, and due to the price differential, I’ve went with his stablemate in Virdine.
I think he’s come back a much better horse this time in. He flashed home over 1100 metres resuming against Ball Of Muscle and Redzel, before struggling due to the heavy track in the Galaxy. He was impressive in his trial leading up to this run, and he’s got either the fitness edge over a few here, or the class edge. He looks overs at the $7.
Home Of The Brave is the clear danger. He beat Trapeze Artist last preparation, before finishing a length off Jungle Cat in the Rupert Clarke. He’s won four from seven fresh, and he’s been very good since coming to Australia. Can’t take him at the $2, but he’ll be hard to beat.
Easy Eddie could run a solid race. He’s low flying this preparation, beating She Knows last start, before running a very tough third behind Nature Strip and Pierata in the Galaxy. The top three in the market should be fighting it out.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #4 Virdine.
The lucky last on the program comes here, with a benchmark 100 handicap over 1400 metres. My best value bet of the day comes here, and I’ll be having a pretty big play at Snippets Land.
His last three starts have been brilliant. He flashed home against Dreamforce in the Liverpool City Cup, who subsequently went on to run third in the Doncaster, before winning the National Sprint at Canberra. He came down to Melbourne in the Anniversary Vase, in what is a stronger race than this, and just had absolutely no luck. He draws well from barrier seven to get a nice run, and I think the $14 is well overs.
Take it Intern is the big danger. He was pretty good in his first Australian preparation, beating A Shin Rook by two lengths, and he was far from disgraced behind Kaonic and Life Less Ordinary on Cup day. He draws well, has trialled well in the lead up to this race, and generally runs well fresh.
Sweet Scandal is the best of the rest. She was impressive without winning in both the Triscay and the Wenona Girl Quality. She didn’t handle the heavy track last start, but she draws all the favours here and gets back on top of the ground. Should be running well.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #3 Snippets Land.
Race 7 #2 Osborne Bulls.
Race 3 #11 Amangiri.
Race 9 #3 Snippets Land.