Although it seemed improbable, if not impossible two months ago, the end of the NSW Autumn Carnival has officially arrived with the two day running of the Scone Cup feature albeit spread across two tracks, 250km apart, with two distinctly different sets of riders. But we do what we do in these crazy times, and the important thing is we got there.
Hats off to all involved and now with a significant flattening in the curve we migrate over the northern border to Brisbane where it would appear racing officials in the Sunshine State went the early crow in pulling the pin on several of their features.
But one of them that is still on is the time honoured Stradbroke Handicap and whilst last year’s winner Trekking looks right on target after his Goodwood victory, it might be time to start looking down the weights for this year’s winner.
Hightail: (Bris Race 8) Just one of many gun juveniles in the Snowden yard, this Written Tycoon gelding is building nicely for a lightweight tilt at the feature handicap. Found the line strongly Saturday in the Guineas to claim the in-form The Odyssey in the final bounds. His run suggested the stretch to 1400m will be no issue and he is sure to be one of the favourites in the lead up Fred Best Classic over 1350m for 3yo’s in a month’s time.
Dawn Passage: (Syd Race 4) Another 3yo who may be heading toward a crack at the Group 1 Stradbroke. Dawn Passage was without luck in his first two runs this campaign but picked up a couple of tasty consolations in the dual country guineas features. Never better than three deep in the Hawkesbury Guineas, he still exploded away from his opposition and then made a meal of them Saturday in the Scone Guineas after enjoying a much smoother run in transit. Highly talented galloper who was only a shade off the very best three year old’s in the land in the Spring and that sort of formula normally stacks up alright in a QLD winter.
Fituese: (Syd Race 8) Looked the bet of the day on paper and didn’t let punters down. Debatable whether connections press on to the winter and out to the seven furlongs given her brilliance over the short course which may well see her go around on Stradbroke day, but in a race like the Mick Dittman at set weights for 3yo’s over the 1000m.
Lashes: (Syd Race 5) Didn’t do her reputation any harm with a gallant second first up Saturday. Speed machine Adelong always had the drop on her with their respective racing patterns, as well as having the benefit of a run under her belt. Beat the rest comfortably. Imagine she goes around again in the same race in a fortnight where she will be hard to beat, and even harder to topple again once she gets to six furlongs.
Brave Song: (Syd Race 6) His racing pattern lets him down but he is capable of producing a withering finish on par with some of the best sprinters going around when he is right, and his run on Saturday certainly was the best of his last two preps. Only the flying Ranier stood in his way of a return to the winner’s circle which won’t be too far off. A somewhat forgotten horse in Stradbroke betting, it is worth remembering he went to the line on consecutive occasions with Trekking this time 12 months ago, the second of which was this corresponding meeting last year which proved to be the spring board for Trekking’s first Group 1 success. The Godolphin star is now a multiple Group 1 winner who has a job ahead of him to defend his crown whilst this bloke may have escaped the handicapper’s watchful eye.
Amangiri: (Syd Race 8) Dwelt at the start in a race where half the field seemed to want to be in front, then found herself trapped three deep and wanted to do a few things wrong. Never a factor in the run on. A much better mare when she is allowed to dictate. I think we can forgive her on that and I expect she’ll bounce back particularly now she is hard fit.
True Detective (Syd Race 4) Burst onto the scene early doors but has failed to live up to expectations. Just a Saturday horse at best.
Graff: (Syd Race 6) Was probably on his third D-Day Saturday. Definitely run out of chances by now.
Sunlight: (Adel Race 8) Plenty of cover, no excuses this week. One of the first horses beaten on the turn. Would suggest connections are having a serious think about her future.