Sydney however will be featuring a spring Super Saturday at Randwick with four Group One races on the cards as well as several Group Two competitions. The feature race is the Epsom Handicap over 1600 metres.
But first let’s consider the Turnbull Stakes, a Group One race over 2000 metres. It has a very classy field despite So You Think and Whobegotyou not being nominated. Shoot Out, Typhoon Tracy, Metal Bender and Shocking are among the quality runners, so it should be a fascinating race. I’m looking forward to seeing if Shoot Out, over the longer distance at Flemington, can redeem his reputation. He’ll have to beat Shocking of course, who loves Flemington and can certainly run the distance. Typhoon Tracy will be racing over 2000 metres for the first time in her career. She failed last year over 1800 metres in the Underwood Stakes, but her trainer seems confident that this year is different. Metal Bender, in his first race in Melbourne, managed to run third in the Underwood, but may appreciate the famous Flemington straight. He’s too good to leave out of the main chances.
Dariana who ran second to So You Think in the Underwood Stakes is likely to be competitive, and can’t be dismissed out of hand. The field also has Sydney Cup winner Jessicabeel, Victorian Derby winner Monaco Consul and Descarado, another son of High Chaparral, who ran second to Shoot Out in the AJC Derby earlier this year and Faint Perfume who, though failing to exhibit her usual brilliance so far this spring, may fire over the longer distance. In a word, a super field for what should be a super race. It was won last year by Efficient, who alas has been discounted from running this spring by the niggling injury that scratched him from the Melbourne Cup last year and the year before.
Former champion Weekend Hussler, after a long, injury forced, break, returns to racing in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes, a sprint over 1200 metres. Current sprinting star Hay List is entered for this race as well and will be hard to beat again. Let’s hope the Hussler comes back in good form and remains injury free.
Considering the Turnbull field, the Randwick Group One races seem lacking in class, not that you can really discount Danleigh or Black Piranha in the Epsom Handicap, or Trusting who ran a very good second to More Joyous last Saturday in the George Main Stakes, but it seems weak by comparison.
The Flight Stakes a Group One race for three year old fillies over 1600 metres looks much more interesting. More Strawberries and Parables staged a great battle for the lead the last time they met in the Tea Rose Stakes, with More Strawberries prevailing on that occasion. They meet again in the Flight Stakes and one would expect the same outcome, with perhaps Parables turning the tables on More Strawberries this time. Throw in Yosei who beat a bunch of talented colts in the Group One Sires Produce Stakes earlier this year, and you have another classy contender, along with Sasa who may also figure in the finish.
The Metropolitan – a Group One race over 2400 metres has the Gai Waterhouse trained Herculian Prince out to redeem his shocking run last weekend in the Colin Stephen Quality which was won by old timer No Wine No Song who is also entered in this race. The field in all is rather dull and uninspiring so I will not even attempt to speculate on its likely outcome.
The fourth (though not in the order of running) Group One at Randwick is the Spring Champion Stakes over 2000 metres for three year olds. Peter Snowden has a high opinion of his runner Retrieve in this and he certainly looks the top pick, followed by Erewhon and Praecido and Giresun.
Super Sydney mare Hot Danish showed she’d lost none of her dash when resuming two weeks ago, winning the Premiere Stakes by 2½ lengths. How can one go past her in the Group Two Lexus Shorts (1200 metres) this Saturday? Her main, though hardly threatening, competition appears to be Albert The Fat who won the BTC Cup in autumn, Demerit , Tickets, Shellscrape and fellow mare Montana Flyer.
Despite Grand Final fever continuing, though in a lower key fashion than last week, a good weekend of racing is in the offing.
Go Pies! Go Tracy! Go Shoot Out!