Without a Fight completed the rare Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double on Tuesday as star jockey Mark Zahra went back-to-back in the big one after…
There are five Group 1s on the Rosehill card this week, which is what makes Golden Slipper day such a special one on the racing calendar.
Add to that the All Star Mile down in Melbourne, and it’s a day for the purist.
The Golden Slipper is here again, and as ever a full field of colts and fillies will greet the judge for the mad scamper of two-year-olds.
Sydney form usually holds the whip hand when it comes to the Slipper, but the Blue Diamond is always well represented and those from it invariably run well.
Little Brose won what many would call a “messy” Blue Diamond this year, winning the race with some authority after breaking into the clear at the right time and putting the field away. He sits in a good spot for a juvenile, third or fourth pair, out of the speed battle, but not too far away. Drawn perfectly in 5, he’s there to run well.
Don Corleone and Steel City were unlucky behind Little Brose – whether they would have beaten him is up for debate, and might be settled on Saturday.
Don Corleone was back in the ruck when Little Brose made his winning break, trying to track that horse, and while he did attack the line once clear, he was also being held on the line.
Steel City came out of the Blue Diamond and brained them in the Magic Night last week. Before that, she had pushed highly regarded types like Red Resistance and Learning to Fly. Barrier 15 is her problem, and the reason you’re getting lucrative odds.
Barber had nothing when asked in the Blue Diamond, but had beaten Little Brose the start before. Arkansaw Kid ran a stylish third in the Diamond, but others were better. Godolphin’s Exploring was also there, but wasn’t up to the task and would need to find a lot to compete here.
Cylinder is the pick of the Sydney colts, and heads up favouritism in the Golden Slipper. Red Resistance was all the rage leading into the Todman and tried to dominate proceedings, but Cylinder proved too tough for him. He’s a street-fighter, and you always want one of those in your stable.
Red Resistance also has to jump from barrier 16 this time, so that’s a brand new challenge after racing in fields of five. He’s up against it.
King’s Gambit has started heavy favourite in all three career starts to date, but hasn’t been able to beat Cylinder or Red Resistance when they’ve met. There is no better “grand final” trainer combination than the Snowden’s though, and a few gear changes might do the trick.
Shinzo won the Pago Pago like a very good horse, sweeping down the outside. He draws gate one this time though, in a much stronger field, and for some reason has an international jockey on-board. That’s not usually a winning recipe at Rosehill, as we saw on Golden Eagle day in the spring.
Annabel Neasham filly Learning To Fly is the only unbeaten horse in the field, looking to extend her winning record from three to four. She beat Steel City back in January, and we’ve seen that form hold up. Learning To Fly hasn’t been winning by much, but has shown she can do it from the front and back, and the horses finishing behind her keep racing well.
It’s a really even Slipper year. The right run at the right time will be everything, on top of working out which horses are still improving and which have plateaued. The form-lines are mostly interconnecting too, which may help or hinder.
Steel City is the pivotal runner, having raced in both Melbourne and Sydney, against the boys and girls. She hasn’t reached her ceiling yet, but negotiating barrier 15 is a mighty tough ask. Otherwise she’d be on top.
Selections: 1.Little Brose 2.Learning To Fly 3.Cylinder 4.Steel City
The Galaxy, like the Oakleigh Plate a few weeks earlier, is always a cracking contest, with a variety of sprinters setting themselves alight over 1100m.
This year sees the grand old warrior Eduardo carrying 59kg’s, and trying to fend off all-comers giving away between 4.5-9kg’s to the entire field. He was good first-up in the Challenge Stakes to be just nosed out, but in his prime he would have put that field away quite convincingly.
Uncommon James, Asfoora and Zoustyle come via the Oakleigh Plate, held at Sandown this year.
Uncommon James was beautifully steered, pounced at the right time, and won well. Second-placed Lofty Strike has since franked the form by running second in the Newmarket last week. Uncommon James is a serious talent on the rise, and is perfectly placed in these handicaps.
Asfoora was also excellent, to be beaten only a length after settling further back than anticipated. If she had the run of Uncommon James, it’s likely she would have won, and now meets him 2.5kg’s better. Both horses can get the run they like from good barriers here.
Zoustyle set the pace in that Oakleigh Plate, setting it up for those behind him and just tiring late. He’s become an extremely genuine competitor and is always in the game.
Cannonball announced himself last week, the latest three-year-old sprinter to beat the older horses. We’ve seen it from Giga Kick, Jacquinot, Lofty Strike, In Secret in recent times as well. Bet against them at your peril this autumn.
Shades of Rose was last seen in The Everest behind Giga Kick, having peeled off four in a row before that. She’s trialled up well in being set for this assignment, and is one that certainly could have beaten the handicapper with 51kg’s on her back.
Mariama has probably found her level. Remarque has always had talent, and was disappointing at face value last time out in the Challenge but drops 7kg’s into the Galaxy. In The Congo keeps finding excuses, but needs another win having not saluted since the Golden Rose 18 months ago. He ran a big third in this last year.
Selections: 1.Shades of Rose 2.Asfoora 3.Uncommon James 4.Remarque
We are used to Anamoe start a hot favourite every time he steps out these days, and so he will prove once more. He’s already a five time Group 1 winner this season, is coming off what many say is his best win yet last start, and can be expected to make that six on Saturday.
But, who can step up provide a worthy challenge?
Artorius was back in town last start, taking out the Canterbury Stakes when attacking the line like he was on fire to wear down star NZ mare Imperatriz. It was his first win in two years, which was when he won the Blue Diamond beating Anamoe.
Artorius also ran Anamoe close as a three-year-old, being beaten a length in the Caulfield Guineas, and close-up behind him when they ran in the Golden Rose. He does have the talent, and perhaps his trip to the UK and further maturity now sees him with the application?
Fangirl keeps running into Anamoe, but will run her usual great race when on a good track. If something goes wrong with the favourite, she can win for sure. Levante brings Group 1 winning form over from New Zealand, and has proven she can mix it with our sprinters, but this is another level.
Can the three-year-old’s provide a boilover?
There were some doubts over the depth of Golden Mile’s Caulfield Guineas win, and while he has been running well against the older horses this prep hasn’t ever looked like winning.
Communist sprung a surprise in the Randwick Guineas, and now faces a sterner test. Osipenko won the Hobartville Stakes last start, and was the run of the race in the Caulfield Guineas behind Golden Mile, but is now a month between runs after a setback.
Selections: 1.Anamoe 2.Artorius 3.Fangirl 4.Osipenko
A small but select field has been assembled for the Ranvet this year with, unusually for a middle-distance WFA race in Australia, four horses vying for favouritsm. Godolphin electing to go to the George Ryder with Anamoe has certainly opened the race right up.
Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip resumed with a mighty performance in the Peter Young Stakes three week ago. He was a long way off the brutal pace being set but his stamina kicked in late to savage the line. If that run hasn’t flattened him, he’s the class act and toughest to beat.
Mo’unga, Hinged, Montefilia and El Bogedon have been chasing Anamoe around, and will enjoy the respite from that star galloper.
Mo’unga is a bloody good horse on firm decks, and has seven Group 1 placings since his last win in August 2021. There’s no Anamoe, Zaaki or Incentivize here, and we find out whether he still knows how to win.
Hinged is a hardy and talented mare, but is another that has a poor strike rate. She’s only had one win since her two-year-old days, and never saluted beyond a mile. She’s one that prefers wet to dry.
Montefilia was very good in the Chipping Norton first-up, but is another that doesn’t win out of turn. She does pop up in a Group 1 from time to time though, and is certainly capable of winning.
The visitors Dubai Honour and Raise You add to the level of intrigue. Dubai Honour brings the better credentials having chased some of the best there is overseas, and trainer William Haggas has an extraordinary strike rate on these shores.
Selections: 1.Dubai Honour 2.Gold Trip 3.Mo’unga 4.Montefilia
The Randwick Guineas at 1600m is always the key lead-up to the Rosehill Guineas stepping up to 2000m, but only four from that race will be here on Saturday, with only one of the placegetters.
Lindermann finished second in the Randwick Guineas, and was arguably the run of the race. He had to work early from a wide barrier on a genuine tempo, yet was still able to hold off all but the winner Communist, who had the perfect run in transit. He’s drawn stickily again, but 2000m shouldn’t worry him being by Lohnro.
Williamsburg finished off well for fifth behind Communist, but seems to need it wet to truly figure. Matcha Latte finished sixth and only battled fairly to the line after having had his chance. VRC Derby winner Manzoice finished eighth there, and will be looking to win admirers from an ATC Derby perspective.
Brosnan is the other horse that has had his lead-up runs in Sydney, on the one week back-up after finishing two lengths behind Zougotcha in the Phar Lap. He’s yet to prove he’s got the absolute class, but has struck a weak year.
Interestingly for a Sydney Guineas race, almost half the field including the two favourites are coming from Victoria.
Pericles was ultra-dominant at 1800m in the Autumn Classic at Sandown last start, putting away a handy Group 2 field with authority. It was the win of a three-year-old that had finally figured things out, and with the promise of more to come.
Elliptical has the runs on the board with second-place finishes in the Caulfield Guineas and Spring Champion in the spring. He was sitting too close to a hot speed set in the Australian Guineas, and hit the front too early in a race set up for those from the back.
There doesn’t look to be much pace on paper, which might afford Lindermann all the favours from the front.
Selections: 1.Lindermann 2.Elliptical 3.Pericles 4.Brosnan