After a solid result last week, Sydney racing takes a dip behind an exceptional Moonee Valley card.
The Thousand Guineas has been moved back to the Wednesday after several years of having it run on the Saturday just gone.
There hasn’t been a standout filly announce herself in this generation, so an even field has been assembled and a competitive betting race presents. Connections of each horse will think they are some sort of chance for a Group 1 win or placing on their pedigree.
The Flight Stakes at Randwick is the Group 1 lead-up race, and it’s rare that they Sydney form doesn’t stack up down south. Hinged and Swift Witness ran second and fourth respectively in the Flight, behind Never Been Kissed, who has since run second to the rising star Profondo in the Spring Champion on Saturday.
Splitting Hinged and Swift Witness in the Flight was Startantes – that filly was coming off a Golden Rose run where she was a length behind Artorius and just under three lengths from Anamoe, and beat Captivant – those three colts just ran the trifecta in the Caulfield Guineas.
With Hinged finishing a couple of lengths in front of Swift Witness, it’s easy to like her as the filly to beat. The face that she has three wins on wet ground with some rain forecast only adds to her appeal.
The Thousand Guineas Prelude would normally be expected to provide quite a few runners, but being an awkward three and a half weeks beforehand now makes it harder.
Bon’s A Pearla, Heresy and Elusive Express ran the trifecta there. Bon’s A Pearla was a surprise winner at $31 coming off maiden grade. Heresy carried weight and was coming off a McNeil run where she finished alongside Artorius and has also been narrowly beaten by good sprinting filly Gimme Par.
Elusive Express was the eye-catching run from that Prelude, coming from last to close within a length of the quinella, and she has since franked the form by winning the Edward Manifold. She chased down Yearning there, and to tie it all up with a ribbon, that horse was beaten a couple of lengths by Jamaea at the start of September, who was about a length or so behind Startantes in the Golden Rose.
If everything pans out equally and the merit of each horse can be judged on their performances in the last 4-6 weeks, then of the above batch, Hinged is still the one to beat after tying all that form together.
The Jim Moloney at Sandown on Underwood Stakes day, won by Queen of Dubai in another boilover, is the other key lead-up. It was a classic top-and-tail race, with the winner putting in a bold front-running performance, while the favourite Zouzarella was coming from last to try and catch her. Zouzarella couldn’t do it, but didn’t lose any admirers in the process. Finishing behind them were Fortunate Kiss and Literary Magnate, both of whom would surprise as winners here.
Barb Raider is the left-field horse with a bit of x-factor given she wasn’t nominated for the Thousand Guineas along the way and has paid a late entry to get in. This speaks to how progressive she has been, coming off two big wins. Two starts back she beat Adele Armour at Sandown, and that filly was beaten 3.5 lengths in the Manifold behind Elusive Express and Yearning, so again we have to think it’s inferior form to the Flight Stakes.
Cuban Link is coming off a benchmark 64 win, but looks a fair bit of overs at $41. Two starts back she had Glint of Hope in her wake when winning her maiden, and that filly was third in the Manifold, so she ties right in and must be some hope from a perfect draw.
Achira is the despised outsider of the field, and doesn’t look quite good enough coming off a Goulburn maiden win, although a few starts back she wasn’t far off Von Trapp, who ran so well in the Tea Rose but failed in the Flight Stakes.
Queen of Dubai will lead them along, but must have question marks over her stamina being by a Blue Diamond winner out of a Fastnet Rock mare. There are a few others that can press forward too, including stablemate Swift Witness from out wide so you’d like to think the pace will be genuine enough for every horse to get their chance.
Selections: 1.Hinged 2.Zouzarella 3.Elusive Express 4.Heresy
There’s a handy support card on offer away from the Thousand Guineas too, highlighted by the Coongy Cup. All eyes will be on Floating Artist to see if he can peel off his fourth win in a row and slide into the Caulfield Cup with the winners exemption. He looks awfully hard to beat and will be the anchor for many multi’s.
The Blue Sapphire Stakes will provide a key lead-up for the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby day. At least we have more than three runners this year.
Profiteer is the headline horse, a speedy youngster that hasn’t learned how to harness it yet. Jigsaw is a rock solid competitive horse. Port Louis has plenty of talent, and his runs behind Captivant and Tiger of Malay in April and May recommend him for this. The chances don’t end there with a few of these yet to reach their ceiling.
The Ladies Day Vase closes out the meeting, and Sirileo Miss looks far and away the one to beat. She’s come back in outstanding order carrying big weights in lower grade, and had Embolism behind her last start – that mare ran a very good fifth in the Toorak on Saturday behind the likes of I’m Thunderstruck, Tofane and Superstorm.