Well, here we go again. After a set of storms that even Noah and his ark would have been happy to avoid, Rosehill is preparing to host five Group 1 races.
Slightly different fields will greet us than what had been assembled last week, but all of the major players will be seen, and a few more besides.
While the track may not be as bottomless as it would have been last week, the best that can be hoped for is probably at the lower end of a soft rating, perhaps into the high heavy.
The Golden Slipper was the only race to be locked away, from field to barrier draw, so most of last week’s preview still stands. O’President is the only scratching.
Only one horse in this field has seen a heavy track, Four Moves Ahead from the John Sargent stable. She is also bred to enjoy wet conditions, registered a win accordingly on that very wet ground, and has since won on a soft track at Stakes level too. Whatever ground is presented, Four Moves Ahead is a big chance from a lovely middle-wide draw.
The Blue Diamond form can always be trusted in a Slipper, with one or two out of it always running top five in the Slipper. Artorius hasn’t been seen since his win there, and is now a questionable five weeks between runs, but Anamoe and Arcaded have both subsequently won group races in Sydney out of it, and that fitness edge may prove crucial.
Anamoe is by a very good wet track sire in Street Boss, has drawn wide which must be favourable, and James Cummings will have left something in the tank for this race. Rachel King could ride a rocking horse to victory at the moment too.
Behind Anamoe in the Todman were spruik horses Profiteer and Stay Inside. The former is carrying stable confidence, and Mick Price is not known for talking up any slow ones, while the latter may be in inferior ground from gate 3. Can see Mallory popping up at odds as the late swooper if Collett can find the right lane.
Selections: 1.Anamoe 2.Four Moves Ahead 3.Profiteer 4.Mallory
George Ryder Stakes
The George Ryder has a bigger field this week – Arcadia Queen has come out, but Star of the Seas, Think It Over and Mizzy have joined the fray.
Avilius had been heavily backed in last weeks event given he was best suited to very heavy going, and the bookies have installed him favourite again. If we are in the slow range and others can get through it well, he may not have the edge over 1500m though. He was exceptional first-up and a repeat has him right in the mix.
Funstar gets promoted as the more traditional sprinter-miler that often comes to the fore in this race. In six runs at 1500-1600m, four of them at Group 1 level, she has two wins, two seconds, and beaten 0.5 lengths fourth in the Chipping Norton last start. She ticks every box.
Dawn Passage is always in the mix for this type of race, versatile in racing style and on any given ground. Mizzy is in career best form on dry ground, but hasn’t usually translated that when the cut is out – if she’s ever going to handle it, it’s now. Dalasan and Junipal are at their best on soft tracks, have shown they can match horses in this class, and appeal as a nice roughies if they are fit enough to run to their best.
Selections: 1.Funstar 2.Dawn Passage 3.Avilius 4.Dalasan
Order of Command, a $26 chance, has been added to last week’s Galaxy field, and while the barrier draw has been redone, the main chances have all drawn similarly. The compressed weights this time around also mean favourite Tallieur is 1kg worse off.
Everest runners Eduardo and Haut Brion Her are the class runners of the field. They met twice in the spring, on wet and dry ground, and it was to the latter’s advantage both times. Haut Brion Her gets a weight advantage since those meetings due to Eduardo’s outstanding first-up win in the Challenge Stakes.
Both have imposing wet form, and Haut Brion Her is a first-up flyer. They have both drawn inside-middle gates, and will be eye-balling each other on the speed.
Tallieur is the rising star down the bottom of the weights, already proven as a gun wet tracker, and an 1100m specialist to boot. Getting the right horse into these Group 1 handicaps with a minimum weight is an art, and James Cummings may have perfected it with this mare.
The above three are awfully hard to split, but the prospect of a potential soft track instead of heavy is enough to promote Haut Brion Her to the top.
Wild Ruler commands attention as a three year old and a renowned winner. Being by Snitzel helps his cause, and his effortless first-up win promised more to come.
Easy Eddie shouldn’t escape notice, having run third in this race on a heavy track behind Nature Strip two years ago – he showed first-up that he was back, behind the smart California Zimbol, and he is better on wet than dry.
Splintex has talent but is perhaps a level below Group 1 standard. He enjoys wet tracks at this time of year though, and has run against the very best. Bella Vella and Fabergino are serious sprinting mares, and good old Jungle Edge will run top five if it’s a heavy 10, without question.
Selections: 1.Haut Brion Her 2.Eduardo 3.Tallieur 4.Easy Eddie
While only five horses accepted to greet the judge last Saturday, this weekend sees a more rounded nine horse field, with some high quality additions including winners of a Cox Plate, ATC Derby, VRC Oaks and Golden Eagle – all of which are better on wet ground than dry.
Addeybb made a name for himself as a UK visitor at this time last year, taking out this race and the Queen Elizabeth, forcing Verry Elleegant into second both times. Both horses went onto greater heights in their respective hemispheres through 2021, and it will be a pleasure to see them renew their rivalry.
They are both absolute swimmers, as well as high class WFA horses, and it is going to take something special to force them out of the quinella.
Collette is an outstanding mare that needs plenty of give in the track to produce her best, and she will get that here. She has mixed it with Veery Elleegant twice this campaign, and is one-all with that horse, so is the most likely to present the two favourites with a serious challenge.
Sir Dragonet has been well under the odds and failed to inspire in two runs since his Cox Plate win on testing ground. Perhaps a rise to 2000m will see him back to his best, but you’d want to see it first before tipping in with any confidence. Master of Wine had a nothing spring and the jury is still out. Miami Bound ran very well in the Australian Cup, and is the one that could round out the top four.
Selections: 1.Addeybb 2.Verry Elleegant 3.Collette 4.Miami Bound
The Rosehill Guineas field has grown with a handful of runners added into the mix, expanding the field to 15.
The most interesting of these is Grandslam, who is coming off a stunning six length win in the Alistair Clark on All Star Mile day at Moonee Valley.
His quality had been confirmed with a placing in the Caulfield Guineas in the spring, and there’s no reason he wouldn’t try his luck from the front again in a race devoid of much natural speed. If left alone, he could run away with it again.
Mo’unga is the firm market-elect from Grandslam and Lion’s Roar.
Lion’s Roar sailed home from last in clear running to take out the Randwick Guineas. A second-place finish in the Spring Champion back in October confirms the step up to 2000m will be no problem.
Mo’unga was in traffic behind Lion’s Roar, and was the obvious flashing light out of the race. He did beat Lion’s Roar in a Newcastle BM64 early in the season too! Both of these each won their first race on heavy tracks, but haven’t seen one since.
Lunar Fox appears underrated again after his $301 win in the Australian Guineas and fourth placing in the All Star Mile at $51. I’d back Mugatoo, Russian Camelot and Behemoth to beat Lion’s Roar and Mo’unga at WFA. And while the track for the All Star Mile reads soft 6, it was surely a heavy 8 at least at that stage. Lunar Fox is in the zone, and should be respected.
Montefilia was a star of the spring, is a dual Group 1 winner already, and really comes into her own at 1600m – 2000m. The step up from 1400m to 2000m shouldn’t be an issue, and her return run in the Surround was as pleasing as could be. If she gets through the ground, she may well be the one to beat.
Selections: 1.Montefilia 2.Lunar Fox 3.Grandslam 4.Lion’s Roar
After a week’s forced hiatus, and the Sydney autumn calendar pushed back by seven days, punters will be itching to find a winner among the high quality fields assembled. Good luck to all.