The Championships are on the horizon, but first we have three juicy metro cards at Randwick Kensington, Sandown Lakeside and Doomben to tackle this Wednesday.
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Track: Soft 6
Rail: +3m entire
Wednesday racing on the Randwick Kenso, an entrée to Saturday’s main event on the big track. We’re preparing for the surface to remain in the Soft range, while this track typically has a slight leaning towards on-pace/rails in run but nothing extravagant.
Speed map/race shape: The early speed looks to come from Devachan who will look to emulate what she did on debut by crossing from wide to lead them up.
Advantaged runners: Six of ten babies on debut here. The most impressive of those at the trials has been DEEP SEA – twice running second, most recently behind Lyre. She’ll be setting out after DEVACHAN who went down at odds on at her only start, she’ll be better for the outing. The Snowdens had a throw at the stumps with FAMOUS on debut in the Pago Pago, that didn’t work out but the track was bottomless and this assignment is far more suitable.
Speed map/race shape: Geissler and Georgina Gold both have the potential speed to lead and should be able to take this up from Haunting Spirit and Word For Word.
Advantaged runners: No debutants! PINUP MISS was the best of the off-speed runners when chasing home Fasika on debut. She’s won again at BM70 grade so the form stacks up. DISCO MO is one of three runners for Anthony Cummings and looks his best hope, he was stuck in the quicksand on debut. HAUNTING SPIRIT also endured a torrid run on a biased track at Goulburn and can improve with a soft inside suck run, while WORD FOR WORD has claims based on his most recent effort behind Cossetot in January.
Speed map/race shape: Just eight acceptors but a good deal of speed in the race regardless. Goldfinch and Consider It Done may just have too much toe for Mossman Gorge and Puppet Master. This makes things much easier for The Tenor to slot in midfield from the wide draw.
Advantaged runners: GOLDFINCH is an excellent fresh sprinting mare, the problem here is how much pressure she’ll need to absorb. Interesting to note that she’s won five times but never carried more than 56.5kgs. Regardless, we’re anticipating they all take each other on and set it up for run on horses like THE TENOR who had too much to do first up. His record suggests he will appreciate the sting out, as did TRAUMATISED when beating CONSIDER IT DONE convincingly at Hawkesbury. There’s a similar race shape on the cards here. This is a step up for NOVEMBER MAN but it is hard to ignore the way he won at Goulburn.
Speed map/race shape: A couple of the speedier fillies in Dame Kiri and Galway Girl can take up this 1400m affair and settle into a nice rhythm quickly. Perhaps Zourhea and Red Chandelier can settle behind them but there’s not a lot of speed to challenge the leaders.
Advantaged runners: There’s a lot to like about DAME KIRI and she looks beautifully placed in her first city assignment. She demonstrates excellent racing manners and put them away in professional style at Newcastle last start – she gets the chance to control the race up in trip. GALWAY GIRL has similar characteristics but perhaps isn’t quite as appealing here. SURE KNEE has two city wins to her name and mingled in reasonable company, ZOURHEA drops back to a much suitable assignment and gets an ideal run, as does RED CHANDELIER.
Speed map/race shape: The tempo will depend on emergency Regal Stage gaining a start. If he does, he and Quick Finance will go forward and attempt to cross Budderoo Knight kicking up on the rails. That will allow Common Purpose a cart across to join Vedder in the trail.
Advantaged runners: Many punters will allow the lightly-raced VEDDER one more chance after being burned twice this prep. He gets plenty of favours here behind the solid tempo, as does COMMON PURPOSE. He missed a run when scratched recently but only needs a slice of luck slotting in early to contend. REGAL STAGE is rock hard fit but still only in his first prep – if he isn’t made to work too hard early he’ll take catching. Of those running on from midfield and beyond, COLOMBINA and THE LION are the major contenders, but there’s a handful of others with hopes as well.
Speed map/race shape: Despite the big field, we expect this lot to find their positions in running fairly easily. King Tomlola is a noted leader and we may see Fireman Sam I am up there with him. Each of Braces, Smart As You Think, Foreign Territory and Righteousness can be handy – the latter two are listed as emergencies and may not run.
Advantaged runners: Capacity field of 11 plus six emergencies for the 1800m event. KING TOMLOLA overdid it on the Heavy in Saturday grade last time but this race is far more suitable. It is a similar story for SMART AS YOU THINK who did it tough in the Epona. They look the major on-pace contenders and will be in the sights of BOOMTOWN RAT (3rd 0.7L to BRACES last start) and SCREAMARR (backing up from last Wednesday) running on from the back. FOREIGN TERRITORY deserves respect returning to the scene of his last win.
Speed map/race shape: Reasonable pressure at the pointy end here but it all comes from the low draws. Catmosphere can lead from Restrained, while Calculated, Coterie and Quackerjack should all be handy.
Advantaged runners: This is RESTRAINED’s biggest test to date, but he looks ready to tackle city company. The Lohnro gelding is unbeaten in three provincial starts and will be prominent throughout. So too will COTERIE who was inexplicably poor in the Canberra Guineas. Forgiving that run, she brings arguably the best form to this race. PUMPKIN PIE returns from a short spell and the stable is humming at present, QUACKERJACK is better over further but should get a few favours from the inside alley and GRIMOIRE brings a last start win at this level and a close recent second to Tonsor to the equation.
Speed map/race shape: Like in Race 5, Regal Stage is an emergency – he’ll lead if he’s here with Full Recognition for company. The majority of the outer half have early decisions to make – expect Nacho Libre, Agassi and Lord Heron to be the most aggressively ridden.
Advantaged runners: FULL RECOGNITION chased home Classique Legend and Green Aeon at his first two starts, then mauled a provincial field to break his maiden. He’s got ability and can be prominent throughout here, but won’t want to get caught jostling with REGAL STAGE early. There’s a bit to like about the closers if the pattern allows it. LIGULATE is fit and found his range this prep, QUADRIGA was in the wrong part of the track last time and NIGHT FALLS must be watched closely as another ex-Weir runner.
Track: Good 4
Rail: +6m entire
Weather: Fine, cool
Our third straight Wednesday on the Lakeside track, where we expect the surface to dry into the Good range come race day. The rail moves out to the six-metre position and if recent events are anything to go by then on-pace will again be preferable.
Speed map/race shape: Seven of the nine having their first go. Too much guesswork in this speed map.
Advantaged runners: Hard to get too caught up in this race with so many unknowns. WEDGETAIL wasn’t quite up to stakes company in his first prep and went down as an easing favourite first up. He is on notice here. HE’LL HAUNT US struggled against better on debut and is a candidate to improve sharply. Of the debutants, DESERVED has made the best impression with two trial wins. Relying on the market may not even be of use here!
Speed map/race shape: Three go-forward horses here but My Biddy should beat them off to lead Camilla Lucinda, with Prepare To Win grabbing the leader’s back. Expect Williams to steady the tempo if he finds the front on My Biddy and turn it into a sit and sprint.
Advantaged runners: Disappointing turn out among the fillies and mares. That said, MY BIDDY makes a compelling case. Craig Williams has a superb strike rate riding for uncle Doug Harrison and the brought up a double last week. As for the horse, she’s a speedy ex-Tasmanian who has switched camps after three runs this prep. In two of those runs she knocked up in Group 3 company, in the other she was beaten a length by Mystic Journey. Nothing here brings form close to that level but both PREPARE TO WIN and PRIVATE LOUNGE drop out of Saturday grade, KINGS BROOK was a first up Valley winner and MISS VIXEN started favourite against Clarice Cliffs two starts ago.
Speed map/race shape: Noted on-pacer Chorus should bounce to the front from barrier one and there looks to only be minimal pressure. Perhaps See Me Exceed and Dalswinton can also race handily in the eight-horse field.
Advantaged runners: If CHORUS gets an easy run in front, she might be hard to haul in. This isn’t a huge rise in grade but she will need to be on her game to hold out ANDAZ, who is tackling the easiest assignment he’s faced in years. The 3kg claim for Queensland apprentice Stephanie Lacy is huge. SEE ME EXCEED was well beaten behind a good one here a fortnight ago but 1400m may be more her go these days. LAZY BEAR handed Chorus her only defeat this prep, but was handed plenty of favours that day and this shapes up differently.
Speed map/race shape: A bit more pressure in this one. Canelo and Cilauro prefer to race handily but they’ll need to make tracks from wide to do so. The likes of High Ratio and Helvetian might not make that too easy for them though.
Advantaged runners: All eyes will be on the market to determine how assertively GOLDEN HALO will be ridden from barrier one. Teo Nugent has his work cut out from the inside barrier but this filly is clearly the standout and brings Anjana form. It is hard to knock the efforts of HIGH RATIO last start after sitting outside the leader, depending on how the early stages pan out he may get a perfect one-one sit. Keep an eye on LASSITER who rounded them up stylishly on debut at Bendigo, if she’s come on from that she’s a live hope.
Speed map/race shape: Team Williams sends three to the midweek distance event to make things interesting (read: unpredictable). Conventional speed maps have the trio of Sirkos, Latin Beat and Pour Vous all handy, while Fanciful Toff and Argyle Belle will also be handy.
Advantaged runners: Fair play to FANCIFUL TOFF who has found a nice little spot at this distance range. He’s beaten LATIN BEAT home at their last two starts, most recently THE DELPHI got the better of them both. All three have been handed significant weight imposts here. Of Lloyd’s crew, POUR VOUS makes the best case – he’s lightly raced and enjoyed a nice fitness-building run at Flemington. That form brings EL DON into the equation. ETNA raced in inferior ground last time at Morphettville and should be judged on his two strong runs prior, he’s a previous win at this distance range in France. FUTURE SCORE is untested at this trip but has been building into it nicely judging by his last two efforts.
Speed map/race shape: There’s a few who wouldn’t mind racing forward here. Samoon is the main speedster and stepping up in distance she’ll cross over to lead. Expect True Magic to settle outside her, while jostling for the ‘gun run’ may lead to a three-wide line forming.
Advantaged runners: This is a really good fillies race littered with winning form. We’ll be referring back to it for a while you feel. NESSUNA FIDUCIA maps for a kinder run here – she was a little keen and things didn’t really go her way first up. TYSONIC arguably did it tougher though and beat her home. They’ve draw one-two today. LIVEINTHEFASTLANE couldn’t match it with Pohutukawa at Kembla but that’s no knock, she beat NORDIC SYMPHONY by a lip prior. If they’re making up ground from the back then DARK CONFIDANT comes into the equation, she’s a Pierro filly with considerable talent but may spot them a big start. Don’t discount ZARGOS either who is a candidate for a major form reversal here.
Speed map/race shape: The wide runners in Desidero, Judy In Disguise and Scramjet provide the early speed, while Hardern and Royal Thunder receive lovely trips just behind them.
Advantaged runners: Looking towards the three-year-olds in a field with a few old mates. ADANA was luckless in the Alister Clark and couldn’t keep up in the Guineas prior. He plummets in grade here and if Lane makes use of the good draw will be difficult to hold out. SCRAMJET is at the other end of the spectrum, stepping up from a dominant Class 1 victory, but has an ideal racing pattern. JUDYINDISGUISE is entitled to improve sharply after absorbing plenty of pressure first up. A few of their rivals have had a few chances, but we’re prepared to give another to each of BOLTOUTOFTHEBLUE, ROYAL THUNDER and WEAPON.
Speed map/race shape: Analytica went forward on debut and will likely to the same again here along with Debate, Igniter and Ocean Essence in an even tempo.
Advantaged runners: We may well have saved the best for last – most of these will win a Saturday race one day. But things are tricky here because the best ‘form’ comes via the back-markers, specifically RONAN’S ROCK and BIG NIGHT OUT who could have too much to do. ORCEIN also brings Saturday form but this map is a car crash for him. Perhaps it is IGNITER then who holds the aces. His Spring form reads a win, placings behind Mr Quickie and Declares War, and two further runs chasing home Ringerdingding. He may get the ‘right run’. MAKFI AMOUR deserves respect as the only horse to ever beat the progressive Stocktaka, as do DEBATE and OCEAN ESSENCE. Tricky finish!
Track: Soft 5
Rail: +9.5m entire
Weather: Possibly light showers
We’re back at Doomben again, but this time the rail has been taken all the way out to 9.5m for the entire course. This should see a likely leader-advantaged pattern prevail early, but there is the risk in high pressure races of riders overdoing it and bringing closers into play.
Speed map/race shape: This speed map is a lottery. Neither of the two fastest horses on paper, Aengus and Max The Dream, have raced for three years.
Advantaged runners: Our job is to talk it up but races like this at metro at metro level test the creativity. FLOWER OF LOVE is an ex-Waller horse with reasonable NSW metro form. She and FEARLESS QUEEN, who returns from a short spell and enjoyed a reasonable first prep, should settle handily enough and come into contention late. Respect to AENGUS who has clearly endured issues but was a well-supported commodity at his only career start, coming in June 2016 at Morphettville as a two-year-old.
Speed map/race shape: Hit Snooze has found his groove as an on-pacer and should lead from Shooting Love who can use the inside draw to advantage.
Advantaged runners: This is much more like it! HIT SNOOZE has proven her wares as a bold front-runner beating three of today’s rivals in her last two starts. That said, she only met THIRD MARTINI over 1200m and that horse was mowing her down late – advantage to the Martini over 1350m here. The other major form line comes from a fortnight ago behind Zac Attack. FA FA ran second there but SHOOTING LOVE was arguably more impressive on debut when dragging the field up to the runaway leaders. She will be better for the outing.
Speed map/race shape: William draws the pole marker and that should give him the chance to hold the lead from Pistolero. There’s a number of runners keen to be handy, which may mean the likes of Coral Coast and Willy Be Lucky settle further back than they’d ideally like.
Advantaged runners: There’s a handful of runners here with Benchmark ratings of 50 and below. Two of the better commodities are PISTOLERO and TAVISFACTION. The former broke his maiden last start at Toowoomba by eight lengths on wet ground, but remains an unknown over 2000m+. That hands the advantage to Tavisfaction, who stepped up sharply in distance to break his maiden at this track and distance a fortnight ago. He can go on with it here. CORAL COAST was outclassed in Listed company last time and is a major contender, but could get a long way back from the draw.
Speed map/race shape: Not a great deal of speed to speak of on paper, with Hard Yaga and Lucky Fix the fastest of the exposed runners. Not too much trial speed form the debutants.
Advantaged runners: Five of 12 make their first race day appearance. VEGA ONE is the most experienced running in the field and the most overdue for a win. At his first run for Tony Gollan he jumped at $1.40 but came up second best against Millard Reaction, who blitzed them again last Saturday. HARD YAGA was twice placed in his first prep and the sting out is no concern, the track pattern may suit him here. BRAHMA ARMOUR and LOTZA nest best.
Speed map/race shape: Solid early speed from out wide with the emergencies Loves Woger Wing and Morgause keen to scoot over and lead. But if they don’t get a run, Lashoni can take things up from Kitty Damour and Roxy’s A Star.
Advantaged runners: This is the fillies division of the three-year-old maiden, with just two first starters. LASHONI finished third to Millard Reaction/Vega One last start. She’s desperate for a win with six placings from nine and from an on-pace position gets her chance. FAST AND HOPEFUL has shown she handles a wet track and ran second in a recent trial to one of today’s debutants BOOM COUNTY who looks above average. She and fellow first starter DIVINE MISS BOOM come from a bloodline producing outstanding results.
Speed map/race shape: These front runners could get away with murder. Kilmacurragh, Shauquin and Six Sigma should settle top three in running in a leisurely tempo. Downloading and Toga Picta will head the rest of the pack.
Advantaged runners: Hard to knock the work of SIX SIGMA last start. He stepped up to this track and distance and dominated from the front, this shapes up as a very similar outing. KILMACURRAGH is the other on-pacer worth considering, he has been banished by the Hawkes stable and may benefit from the change of scenery. His best Sydney/Melbourne form stacks up well. THE CANDY MAN has had a few months in the paddock following a productive summer campaign. He’s better over further but if he can extricate himself from a potentially awkward position back on the fence he’s the strongest finisher here.
Speed map/race shape: Solid tempo set up by the runners jumping from wider gates. Napoleon’s War should have the most early toe of them all, but any of Alfie Junior, Armet, Lefkas Island and Portsea can go across with him and keep him honest.
Advantaged runners: Of the on-pacers, NAPOLEON’S WAR makes the most compelling case as a last start mile winner in similar grade on the Heavy. He was only second up there too. But we may see some of the run-on horses advantaged here by the pressure up front. BELLE ROC will need a clever ride from barrier one but she’s the filly on the way up among this lot and is knocking on the door of a win. LEFKAS ISLAND and CERTAIN DOUBT were both taking ground off in-form winners at their most recent starts and must be considered, while SORNJA comes into the picture if you’re willing to forgive her last start flop.
Speed map/race shape: Some bold front-runners will ensure they run this 1200m assignment at a decent clip. Dinnigan and Zollikon Miss possess the most early toe, with Emerald Kingdom and I Dream Of Green making them work for the top.
Advantaged runners: DINNIGAN is the ex-Waterhouse speedster now under the care of Tony Gollan. She returned from a year off the scene with a win here and go back-to-back under good front-running jockey Brad Stewart. She won’t want to come under too much pressure otherwise the race could set up nicely for I DREAM OF GREEN who should trail her from barrier one. His form ties in with ENTERPRISE MARCH who has also acquitted himself well in better company this preparation. BACHELOR’S ART was out-paced over 900m last time out and can improve here.