A couple of solid meetings were conducted on Monday at Taree and Wangaratta.
Want to fix the drought in regional Australia? Schedule some of Sydney’s biggest races in the country.
I shouldn’t be complaining about the rain, because we definitely need it, but year after year Sydney lets the racing world down with dismal weather when the big races roll out.
Take tomorrow’s card, for example. A great program of racing at Randwick that will be ruined by a quagmire of a track.
There’ll be scratchings galore and some horses will be simply no chance due to the state of the surface.
Meanwhile, at the true capital of Australian racing, there will be a firm track and only a hint of drizzle at Caulfield’s Group 1 meeting.
This is the time of year where things start to get dead serious as a punter. Virtually all the top line horses have resumed from their spells and we are starting to assess form lines.
Those who followed last week’s preview should have full pockets, with four of the five suggested bets returning a collect. If you spent $20 per selection you would have made a tidy $115 profit.
Let’s hope that run continues tomorrow. Good luck if you’re having a flutter.
Track Good 4 at time of writing. Rail out three metres.
Race 5 at 2.55pm: $160,000 Group 3 How Now Stakes (1200m)
The John and Chris Meagher mare Pippie will start the short-priced favourite here for a good reason. She’s in serious form. The way she led all the way here over the same distance a few weeks ago was pretty special. The four-year-old was backed off the map that day, too. She’s the horse to beat and will probably do so again comfortably.
This is a good race with some quality mares, but the only rival with enough class to beat Pippie in this kind of form is Bella Martini. She’s first-up since May when she ran third in the Group 1 Sangster at Morphettville. She’ll need the run, with a poor first-up record to date.
Suggested bet: Pippie (4) to win.
Race 6 at 3.35pm – $160,000 Group 3 Foundation Cup (2000m)
A good race with a few horses that will be eyeing the Caulfield Cup later this spring. There’s not a standout horse in the race, but I can tell you that the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Wolfe will lead, with the Lloyd Williams-owned veteran Valac also vying for the front, so I’m expecting a genuine tempo.
With that in mind, I’m looking for a reasonably fit horse and one that can definiely run the 2000m. Imported galloper Super Titus fits the bill. He’s won over 2385m in the UK and was superb when winning The Heatherlie over 1700m three weeks ago. From barrier two, Craig Williams only has to be off the fence and in the running line to get his crack at running over the leaders.
At this time of year, you can trust the big trainers to have their horses cherry ripe and David Hayes knows a thing or two about winnning good races. I’m confident Super Titus will be right in the finish.
Suggested bet: Super Titus (11) to win.
Race 7 at 4.15pm – $500,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m)
As far as Group 1 races go, this is a stinker. For punters, it’s okay as there’s plenty of value if you like a runner, but none of these horses will ever be considered a champion.
The favourite is Begood Toya Mother, who was run down in the Group 1 Memsie here three weeks ago as an $11 shot. The fact it’s $2.70 here says a lot about the difference between the Memsie and this. I’m not going to be backing a horse at that quote when he was running around in Benchmark 78 races in the winter. It’s not that I don’t like Begood Toya Mother, he’s just a horrible price.
The Team Hayes and Dabernig mare Amphirite is going to give you much better value for your dollar. She wasn’t far off in the All-Star Mile in the autumn behind some genuine Group 1 horses and look like she returned well behind Pippie in the Cockram. This is the perfect kind of race for her.
She carries a small weight and gets the services of a good jockey in a big event. She’ll give them a head start, but watch her fly home down the outside. At the $8 mark, she’s a good each-way prospect.
Suggested bet: Amphirite (12) each-way.
Track Heavy 9 at time of writing. Rail in true position.
Race 6 at 3.15pm – $500,000 Group 2 The Shorts (1100m)
Santa Ana Lane has been scratched due to the bog surface so that has taken some interest, but it’s still an elite race. One horse I’m wary of backing is Redzel, even though he loves the slop and was impressive first-up. A comment from Peter Snowden suggested he might be flat from that run, with all eyes on The Everest next month. Don’t let me stop you from backing him if you like him, but I’m looking elsewhere.
The Greg Hickman-trained Pierata could be the winner. He ran second to Nature Strip in the Group 1 Galaxy in the autumn on a bog track, so you know he can run well under pressure on a wet surface. He hit the line nicely last time at Randwick and this looks like a good race for a horse with aspirations to win The Everest.
Honestly, there are about six hopefuls here, so if you like something, have a go because there’s some value in this race.
Suggested bet: Pierata (3) to win.
Race 7 at 3.55pm – $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m)
Form is temporary, class is permanent. That’s why I’m going to give Avilius one last chance here. I wouldn’t say he’s been badly out of form, he’s run fourth in a Group 1 on resumption and second in a Group 2, but he hasn’t been as eye-catching as he was in the past. However, this is a big field and there’s a wet track.
Last prep, Avilius won two Group 1s on a bog track. The bigger field should create a more genuine tempo and I can see Kerrin McEvoy storming down the outside at Randwick to win here. Bookies have offered a reasonable price around the $3.50 mark and that looks the goods.
One horse I don’t want to be on his Dreamforce. Even though I tipped him last time and he won, he was gifted the lead that day and his main rival got too far back. I can’t see that happening again tomorrow.
Suggested bet: Avilius (2) to win.