The first Saturday of Sydney Racing’s pompously named The Championships takes place this weekend at Randwick racetrack and features four Group 1 races - the time honoured Doncaster Mile and Australian Derby as well the Inglis Sires and T J Smith Stakes.
There’s something for everyone in the schedule with the Inglis Sires being a race for two year olds over 1400 metres, the Derby, a 2400 metres race for three year old stayers, the Doncaster a top class 1600 metres competition for middle distance runners, and the T J Smith a sprint over 1200 metres.
The first of the Group 1 events to run is the Inglis Sires and has attracted a field of 12 colts/geldings and 3 fillies. I’m interested in seeing how Encryption performs and whether he can emulate his ancestors and take home the Group 1 prize. His dam Guelph won the Sires in 2013, his granddam Camarilla in 2007 and his grand sire Octagonal won it in 1995. So it would be fitting if Encryption could do the family proud.
He’ll have to beat classy fillies Oohood and Seabrook, the former in particular who ran third in the Blue Diamond Stakes and second in the Golden Slipper at her last start and surely deserves a win.
The Australian Derby has been won over the past three years by New Zealand invaders - Jon Snow (2017) Tavago (2016) and Mongolian Khan (2015) so it’s quite likely that Kiwis will take home the prize this year.
There are 7 New Zealanders in this year’s Derby with the Murray Baker trained New Zealand Derby winner Vin De Dance being the pick of them. He’s one of the few runners to have won over the distance. Victoria Derby winner Ace High has been a tad disappointing so far this autumn, but he is proven over 2400 metres so has to be the best of the locals, along with Levendi, and Tangled and Furore who ran second and third in the Rosehill Guineas.
Redzel, who narrowly lost to Redkirk Warrior in the Lightning Stakes, is the top pick for the TJ Smith Stakes. Chautauqua won the race the last three years in succession, but is not part of the field, after he refused to leave the barriers in several trials recently, and has subsequently been sent for a long spell.
Despite Chautauqua’s absence it looks a classy field with mares, In Her Time, Global Glamour and English being Redzel’s main rivals. Also in with a chance is Brave Smash and Trapeze Artist, both with good recent form.
Happy Clapper, Humidor and Kementari are the three top chances in the Doncaster Mile, though one of the other runners such as Tosen Stardom, Lanciato or Prized Icon could steal the show. The last three year old to win the Doncaster was Triple Honour in 2008, so can the beautiful Kementari, with a generous weight advantage over the older horses, succeed ten years later?
It looks a great day of racing, run on a good track, which I shall watch at home with interest.
*Update Saturday Evening*
As expected is was an interesting race meeting with one sensational result, when 100/1 shot El Dorado Dreaming took out the Inglis Sires, winning by a nose from the favourite Oohood, with 50/1 shot Outrageous finishing third.
Ace High, fighting out a thrilling finish in the Derby, was defeated by a nose by Levendi with Tangled several lengths behind running third.
Redzel was rolled in the TJ Smith by the three year old Trapeze Artist. In Her Time ran third.
And the Doncaster was won by the tough Happy Clapper from Comin’ Through and Arbeitsam.
So my analysis above was not all that out except for the Inglis Sires.