Here’s my take on all the Group race for Sydney and Melbourne. Another massive day headlined by the Newmarket and Australian Cup at Flemington.
As usual Spright caught the eye when a fast finishing fifth in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. She is down in grade and against her own sex, but rises 5.5kgs. Not a lot of speed in this, which could work against her. Sweet Scandal will take improvement from her first-up run behind Alassio and has just 53kgs and is one of the main chances. Winter Bride trialled very well on the Gold Coast and was consistent last preparation. Resin is a winner at Group 3 level, resuming and not knocked about in two trials.
Best: Sweet Scandal. Dangers: Spright, Resin.
Estijaab won this race last year before going on to win the Golden Slipper. A win here for Exhilarates will no doubt tighten her quote for the Slipper. The Magic Millions winner was given an easy trial in preparation for this and Exhilarates should be right there at the pointy end. Anaheed was very game winning last week. Query on whether she can handle the back-up. Decent support Tenley, this is his toughest test but unbeaten in two starts.
Best: Exhilarates. Dangers: Tenley, Anaheed.
Former Weir juvenile Yes Yes Yes went enormous in a recent Canterbury barrier trial. Race jockey Blake Shinn kept him wide throughout and did not release the brakes. Yes Yes Yes finished second to race rival Dubious in the fastest 895m heat of the morning. Wide alley a slight concern for Yes Yes Yes, but he looks destined for big things. Time To Reign made amends after a luckless first-up run to come out last start and blow them away in the Silver Slipper. Time To Reign is ideally drawn and is the one to beat.
Best: Time To Reign. Dangers: Yes, Yes, Yes, Bellevue Hill.
Star sprinter Redzel resumes and he has looked awesome in winning a Canterbury trial last month. Class runner, with great first-up record. Last year’s Golden Slipper winner Estijaab was a brave second to Fiesta when resuming. She will have taken improvement from that run and tackles seasoned older sprinters for the first time. Ball Of Muscle rarely runs a bad race when fresh.
Best: Redzel. Dangers: Estijaab, Ball Of Muscle.
A dry track is the key here for topweight and favourite Trapeze Artist. He was average, Behind Alizee, when resuming in soft going. Trapeze Artist has won two trials since and being an entire he may have needed them. He’ll strip a lot fitter now and looks the one to beat. Although a beaten favourite last start, Brutal turned in an outstanding effort running third to Eckstein in a Group 3. He was wide throughout and was very tenacious despite the tough run. Brutal faces his toughest test, but he’s drawn the rails. If he is locked in a battle with Kementari, give me Brutal any day. Pierata runs his best races here, but couldn’t fit him in top three.
Best: Trapeze Artist. Dangers: Brutal, Kementari.
The Autumn Sun is a star on the rise. He won against the pattern at Rosehill, coming from well back in the run. Unbeaten in two runs here and should beat these.
Nakeeta Jane was not entitled to win the G1 Surround Stakes last week. Wide run in transit yet still found plenty at the end. Big ask for a three-year-old filly to back-up, especially after such a torrid run. Expecting a decent tempo, which should suit Aramayo and he will be better for two runs from a break.
Best: The Autumn Sun. Dangers: Aramayo, Nakeeta Jane.
Girl Tuesday has performed poorly in her last two runs, latest unplaced behind Penske. She wears a tongue tie this time is third-up so definite D-Day.
Harmattan finished third to Penske, she’s honest and will be improved for the run. Luskintyre Lass has been solid, good barrier and gets the gun run. All To Soon turned in a solid first-up run and will be better for it. Luvaluva is a proven performer at Group level. Ran well first-up and extra 300m in her favour.
Best: Luvaluva. Dangers: All Too Soon, Harmattan.
La Tene dictated terms and led all of the way to win at Sandown last start, she’s only a pony but is very game. She Shao Fly was her own worst enemy when third to Pelican at the Valley. She overraced and didn’t handle the turn well, but did best work late. Dalasan has won only two starts in Adelaide. Latest covered a heap of extra ground when pushed very wide on the home turn. Will probably get back in the run, which may not suit here.
Hawker Hurricane was flat in the Blue Diamond and should appreciate the bigger track, but would have liked him to have done more at Caulfield.
Best: She Shao Fly. Dangers: Hawker Hurricane, Dalasan.
Take the Everest and any other sprint in the country and it doesn’t get much better than this. Unfortunately for punters it is a race with a stack of chances.
Osborne Bulls finished second to In Her Time in the Newmarket (1000m) here last start. Osborne Bulls came from last so extra distance will suit him and he loves the straight six. Eduardo jumped from a wide gate in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield and ran a super race for third behind Booker. Eduardo’s wide gate could work in his favour here and Booker is impossible to knock. Redkirk Warrior won this race first-up last year, but hasn’t really fired this time over slightly longer trips. Santa Ana Lane is quality and should be nice and sharp after a couple of jump-outs. Graff is a nice colt and deserves respect on his first-up fourth to In Her Time and he meets her 3.5kg better.
Best: Osborne Bulls. Dangers: Santa Ana Lane, Graff.
Angelic Ruler and Zoubo fought out the minor placings behind Qafila in the G2 Armanasco last start. Zoubo had the slightly tougher run and from barrier two she could box seat.
Angelic Ruler has won five from 10 and placed four, so why they are adding blinkers this time is a little puzzling and could work against the filly. A positive gear change for The Closer. She led in the Vanity won by Amphitrite and knocked-up in the straight after overracing. The Closer wears a cross-over nose band, which should help her settle and run an improved race.
Best: Zoubo. Dangers: Angelic Ruler, The Closer.
Avilius had the saloon passage in the Peter Young Stakes, at Caulfield, when he cruised home against many horses that he meets here. Class animal great barrier again and Avilius should be peaking, but not a fan of his short quote. There was a lot to like about the way Shillelagh worked home for sixth to Avilius. Her two Group 1 wins were at this track and she is looking for 2000m. Ace High is another that will appreciate the step-up to 2000m. He was a grinding third to Avilius and has to respected on that run. Night’s Watch made ground in that race, fitter now and comes into this third-up.
Best: Shillelagh (each-way). Dangers: Avilius, Night’s Watch.
Main chances in this came through the Mannerism (1400m) at Caulfield last start and the best run in the race was Naantali. She was three deep early and four wide from the 800m and still fought strongly for second to Jamaican Rain. Naantali should get a cushy run this time from barrier three and looks one of the best for the day.
Spanish Reef worked home well without threatening and extra 200m in her favour. I Am A Star was three deep from the 600m and had a tough run, she tired late, but improvement would not surprise. Rider lost his stirrup iron on Futooh last start, so pay to forget that run and she has to go in the mix.
Best: Naantali. Dangers: Spanish Reef, Futooh.