A splendid program of racing is on the cards this weekend, with a total of five Group One races plus a number of interesting Group Two and Three competitions.
At Flemington, a good pointer to the cups and Cox Plate, the Turnbull Stakes is the feature race. Run over 2000 metres the Turnbull Stakes has been won by some seriously good horses – Let’s Elope, Sunline, Makybe Diva, Vo Rogue etc etc. December Draw won it last year, carrying a light weight, before being sidelined with an injury. He’s in the field this time and demonstrated he was getting back to his best, running third in the Underwood a fortnight ago. Voila Ici, the horse that accompanied Black Caviar back to Australia after her Ascot jaunt, could steal the show. He ran second in the Underwood, narrowly beaten by impressive New Zealander Ocean Park, who is not in the Turnbull field, . Other top chances are Linton who will appreciate the extra distance after beginning his spring campaign in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes and running fourth, and his stablemate Winchester an US import. The winner of that race, Happy Trails cannot be dismissed out of hand, nor can Green Moon who ran second to him. Rekindled Interest managed to run third in the Dato Tan, a race he won in 2011. It’s a tough race to call, as most of the field has potential, like Australian Derby winner Ethiopia, and the consistent Southern Speed who beat Manighar in the Makybe Diva Stakes and finished fourth in the Underwood.
Mosheen will be contesting the Group Two Blazer Stakes (1410 metres). Worth watching to see if she has recovered her form.
On to Sydney for the Epsom Stakes meeting…
The first of the Group One races is the Spring Champion Stakes a 2000 metre race for three year olds. It seems to be a race between the Gai Waterhouse trained Proisir and New Zealander It’s A Dundeel, rather favouring the latter who is a son of High Chaparral and a Zabeel mare. He is unbeaten in four starts, just as Proisir is over three. Throw in Honorius, Lunar Rise and Lazer Flash as possible challengers for the minor placings.
The Flight Stakes for three year old fillies is the next on the card. Run over 1600 metres, Dear Demi will probably start as the favourite. Longport, Norzita and Jade Marauder fought out the finish in the Tea Rose Stakes so must be considered good chances, so too the Waterhouse trained Urban Groove who has won her only two starts, albeit in weaker company.
Can Shoot Out win the Epsom Handicap? There’s every chance that he can. It’s run over 1600 metres and on his favourite track and he appears to have resumed in fine form, winning the Group One George Main Stakes first up. Quite an achievement! His stable mate, consistent old trooper Rangirangdoo who ran second on that occasion is running in this as well. Can Chris Waller score the quinella again? Secret Admirer ran third in the George Main and is once more a serious contender and likely to run a place. Whether the likes of Ambidexter and Rolling Pin, who are in great form, are up to the class of the aforementioned is yet to be seen. For some reason Fat Al is favoured – the Waterhouse factor, no doubt – but he has been a bit disappointing of late.
The Metropolitan, a race for stayers trying to qualify for the Melbourne Cup is run over 2400 metres. Efficient was top weight, but it was announced yesterday that he was being retired, due to injuring his leg once more. Sorry to see him go, as I have fond memories of his 2007 Melbourne Cup win, but I am glad as well that the old boy will now lead a peaceful life in the paddock - a five star paddock according to Nick Williams - with his old friend Zipping.
So who are the main chances in The Metropolitan? Well, Lamasery is the top pick followed by Glencadam Gold who is in great form. Other chances are Stout Hearted, Kelinni and Buxted who all have good form over the distance.
The final race on the cards at Randwick is the Group Two Premiere Stakes and it has attracted a super field. You’ve got Rain Affair, Streama and Satin Shoes for a start, and I’m really pleased to see Pear Tart back on the track. She was impressive during the Queensland winter carnival winning the Queensland Guineas and the Tatts Tiara, so I’m really interested to see how she goes in this race.
So that takes care of my Saturday afternoon entertainment. More interesting than usual as I’ve entered once more in Sky Racing’s Star Stable competition and also a similar one on Sportal. Neither are as good as the original Super Stable competition on Racing & Sports, but they do offer monetary rewards, rather just fame and glory.
Update: Saturday night
As expected it was a fantastic day of racing. The major races were taken out by Green Moon (Turnbull), It’s A Dundeel (Spring Champion), Norzita (Flight Stakes), Fat Al (Epsom) & Glencadam Gold (Metropolitan).
Mosheen demonstrated that she was back on track winning the Blazer Stakes, but Pear Tart was unsuccessful in the Premiere Stakes.
Another big Saturday is coming up next weekend with the Caulfield Guineas meeting, starring Pierro & More Joyous, and no doubt several others.