The best racing news of the week for Queensland’s racing participants and fans came with the announcement that Racing Queensland had decided to run an abbreviated Brisbane Winter Carnival that will feature two Group 1 races on 6 June at Eagle Farm – the $350,000 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and $350,000 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m).
Races such as the Doomben 10,000, Queensland Derby and Queensland Oaks won’t be run during this reduced ‘carnival,’ but at least there’s something to look forward to.
Unfortunately, most southern-state-trained horses, such as the Victorian Wild Planet, won’t be heading north and, instead, will go for a spell to prepare for the Melbourne or Sydney spring carnivals.
The Sydney Autumn Carnival finishes off with two high-class Group 1 races, the $480,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) for the open sprinters and the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (1600m) for the two-year-olds. It’s bound to be a strong meeting at Randwick racecourse, and one that is likely to be run on a firm track – something foreign to Sydneysiders so far this autumn.
Racing continues on the Australian mainland, with only Tasmania unable to race at the moment.
Randwick track report
After the Rosehill carnival and The Championships at Randwick saw the tracks affected by consistent Sydney autumn rains, Saturday’s final day of the Sydney autumn carnival at Randwick racecourse looks as if it’ll be run on a track in the good 4 range and might even get to good 3 during the meeting.
On Thursday, the Randwick track was officially rated a soft 5 with little or no rain predicted and temperatures in the high- to mid-20s.
All Aged Stakes: A race for the ages
The Group 1 All Aged Stakes, run at weight-for-age at Randwick on Saturday, is shaping as one of the best betting races of the Sydney Autumn Carnival. That’s a big statement considering the wonderful, competitive racing we have seen at Rosehill and Randwick over the past six weeks.
This year’s race is the swansong for last year’s winner, Pierata, who is retiring to prepare for a spring dalliance with a herd of broodmares. Another win in the All Aged Stakes will make him more popular than an AFL or NRL footballer in a nightclub with a never-ending drink card.
The 2020 All Aged Stakes has been Pierata’s main target this autumn, and he’s shown he’s right on track with two outstanding lead-up runs in the Group 1 The Galaxy (fifth) and the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (fourth). Last year, Pierata finished second and fifth in those two races before winning the All Aged in a slick 1 minute, 20.54 seconds on a good 4 track – exactly what he will get on Saturday. He’s going just as well this year. Five of his nine wins have been at Randwick, six have been on firm tracks and he’s won three of his past six starts (plus two seconds and a third) over 1400m.
Since Pierata drew barrier 9 on Wednesday, he has held a strong position at the top of Sportsbet’s All Aged Stakes betting market, with his All Aged Stakes odds solid at around $4.50 at the time of writing – a very appealing price for punters.
The inside gate (barrier 1) is not the best draw for second-favourite Santa Ana Lane, although the three-year-old colt Bivouac should get a perfect run from barrier 4.
Anyone looking for an All Aged Stakes bet with some value should consider three other classy colts who will relish a firm track – Brandenburg, Super Seth and Glen Boss’s underrated Standout.
Boss said on radio RSN during the week that he thought Standout has all the talent to win and believes his (then) price of $26 was ‘way over the odds’. The chestnut has firmed into $19 and should keep trimming up.
All Aged Stakes tips: Pierata is poised to win again, but save on the three-year-olds, with a special mention for Standout to run a big race.
Champagne Stakes: Bowman’s back for another Group 1
After missing last week’s second day of The Championships due to suspension, star jockey Hugh Bowman will ride the Group 1 Champagne Stakes favourite, King’s Legacy. Bowman, who has 88 Group 1 wins to his name, was on the colt when he stormed home to win the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick two weeks ago.
It was such an impressive performance – especially in the way he hit the line – that it’s hard to see King’s Legacy not relishing the extra 200m of the Champagne Stakes 2020. He’s drawn perfectly in barrier 3 to get a nice run behind the pace and he deserves his place at the top of Sportsbet’s Champagne Stakes betting markets.
The only other horse testing him in the market is Melbourne colt Ole Kirk, who ran fourth in the Sires’ Produce Stakes. He looked uncomfortable on the wet track last time and will appreciate the experience of running the Sydney way.
Value punters should consider Untamed, a stablemate of King’s Legacy. He was impressive in winning at Randwick last week and is drawn perfectly in barrier 2. There have been plenty of examples of horses backing up in a week during this carnival and winning – including the Australian Derby winner Quick Thinker.
Champagne Stakes tips: Our preferred betting plan is to back King’s Legacy, and save on Ole Kirk and Untamed.
JHB Carr Stakes: Rubisaki could be special
It’s hard to ignore the form of the exciting three-year-old filly Rubisaki, who has won her five starts this preparation in Melbourne and Sydney.
Trainer Patrick Payne keeps raising the bar for this daughter of Rubick and she leaps over with ease.
She looks the stand-out bet of the day at Randwick in the Group 3 JHB Carr Stakes (1400m). Nash Rawiller retains the ride after winning on her in the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on 4 April. She has won six of her past seven wins (from nine starts) on wet tracks and her only ‘firm’ track win was on a Moonee Valley good 3, which is generally a forgiving surface for horses who don’t handle the hard tracks.
JHB Carr Stakes tips: With the chance of a firming track at Randwick, some punters might be encouraged to take on Rubisaki… at their own risk.
The best of the rest: Horses and tips across Australia
Race 3, number 2: Broken Hero (trainer Neville Stewart)
After a debut win at Beaudesert, Broken Hero was very good last week at Doomben when third behind the smart Minjee after working behind a fast tempo. There was a lot to like about the way he held his ground and this looks a better race for him.
Race 2, number 6: Clarice Cliffs (trainer Greg Eurell)
Clarice Cliffs is very good mare who doesn’t know how to run a bad race. Very good at Bendigo and will be improved by the run.
Race 5, number 5: Kubrick (trainer Chris Waller)
Kubrick returns from Sydney where he struggled in the best company on wet ground. Will get the right firm track here and looks to be over the odds in a very winnable race for a horse of his quality.
Race 7, number 4: Eduardo (trainer Sarah Zschoke)
Eduardo is a very good sprinter who, according to trainer Sarah Zschoke, had some niggling issues when last in work. At his best he will beat the field as he trialled very well recently.
Race 8, number 10: Realm Of Flowers (trainer Anthony Freedman)
Ran a huge race when a luckless behind stablemate Meuse at Morphettville two weeks ago. Realm Of Flowers is heading for the Schweppes Oaks and this is the perfect stepping stone.
Race 8, number 1: Spiritual Warrior (trainer Justin Warwick)
Good stayer who is in fine form. Importantly, Spiritual Warrior is trained by a genius with stayers and so will be primed to run a strong 3200m in this WA Cup.