Australian Racing Preview – Queen Elizabeth S. at Randwick & more!
It's Day 2 of The Championships at Randwick and Mitch Lamb looks at the full card of loaded various Group level races.
Day Two of The Championship from Royal Randwick in Sydney and after a highly successful first day last weekend, the scene is set for what arguably appears to be a better day’s racing, on paper at least, with four outstanding group ones, highlighted by a Queen Elizabeth Stakes full of intrigue.
The meeting will be “Australia A” for TwinSpires players, so let’s take a look at every race on the card, on what’s likely to be a rain affected track, and hopefully find a few collects for players!
RACE 1 – FERNHILL HANDICAP, LR - 9:35PM ET
2YO HANDICAP, 1 MILE
Hopefully can get the day off to a good start with Postcode. He was dropped down to maiden grade last Saturday at Hawkesbury and was dominant from the front and gave nothing else a chance in the race. I see no reason why the mile would be an issue here – his dam is by Westerner, the champion French distance horse and winner of an Ascot Gold Cup. I expect them to deploy similar tactics here and be aggressive early, lead and dictate proceedings. He’s a big, strong colt and the weight shouldn’t bother him.
Untamed looks the obvious danger off a nice effort in the Baillieu, but he’ll be giving Postcode a start, so unless something else really annoys Postcode in front, then he’d want to be good to run him down.
- Win – No.1 Postcode
RACE 2 – SOUTH PACIFIC CLASSIC, LR - 10:10PM ET
3YO HCP, 7 FURLONGS
Decent group of three year olds engaged here, some with some a good amount of upside to them.
One of those is Indy Car – the Anthony Cummings trained gelding flashed potential in his forst preparation, including a fantastic debut win, followed by an unlucky fourth in Saturday grade, before perhaps just coming to the end of things in the G3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle.
Spelled immediately, he had two very quiet barrier trials before we saw him on raceday again, and didn’t he return with a bang at the Kensington circuit! He was dropped out to last and was probably some 15 lengths from the leaders as they turned for home, but aided by a fast pace up front and a wonderful Tommy Berry ride, Indy Car weaved a passage through some traffic to score right on the line – it was the win of a very talented horse. If he has come on from that, he’s a huge chance here at what will be almost double figure odds.
Wouldn’t be shocked to see Yao Dash improve quickly second up and he is the class of the field, Hilo looks to have come back in good order, while Mirra Vision is a filly with ability.
- Win – No.9 Indy Car
- Exacta (Box) – 1,2,9
RACE 3 – PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL - 10:45PM ET
3YO+ SET WEIGHTS, 7 FURLONGS
Much like its Country counterpart from last Saturday, the Provincial Championships Final is a special conditions race, in that it’s restricted to horses that are trained in specific regions of New South Wales, this time the “Provincial” category which is essentially the next level down from “Metropolitan” standard – so places larger out of Sydney areas like Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast. Again, these horses have qualified for this final by racing in heats located in their region, and must have run in the first three to gain a spot here.
Asharani has always shown talent, and although the race was set up for the backmarkers at Newcastle last start, she had the race in her keeping as soon as they straightened and it was really a softish win even if the margin was only half a length in the end. I’m not seeing a heap of early speed here, so I wouldn’t want her to be as far back in the run as she was there, but even if she’s worse than midfield when they turn, she possesses a quality turn of foot, and that, combined with her class, can get her home.
Dangers, and they are mostly well in the market, include the horse she beat last time out in Through The Cracks, Animate and Electric Girl, with the two best roughies being top weight McCormack and Oxford Tycoon.
- Win – No.10 Asharani
- Exacta – 10,12/1,4,10,12
RACE 4 – PERCY SYKES STAKES, G2 - 11:20PM ET
2YO FILLIES, SET WEIGHTS & PENALTIES, 6 FURLONGS
A good mix of proven fillies and a handful that have shown they have stakes potential in limited number of starts, some just the one.
The proven ones mostly come out of the Golden Slipper – Away Game, who’s been as consistent a juvenile as there has been this season, was a brave runner-up there, whilst the other three in Dame Giselle, See You Soon and Muntaseera all ran fairly to varying degrees.
I have to say thought, I was most impressed by Swats That’s win at Bendigo on debut, when she beat two stakes performed fillies home, and it did it with relative ease. She sat wide, just behind a solid speed, and when she worked into the clear after straightening and was asked for a supreme effort, she went bang, and the race was all over in a few strides with the margin only getting greater as they got to the line. The big question marks here are the opposite way of going having come from Victoria, as well as the probable heavy surface, but at her likely double figure quote I’m willing to see if she can overcome those factors.
- Win – No.5 Swats That
- Exacta – 1,5/1,2,5
RACE 5 – ARROWFIELD SPRINT, G2
3YO, SET WEIGHTS, 6 FURLONGS, 11:55PM ET
Perhaps this race lacks a little bit of depth compared to some previous editions, but there’s still some top class 3yo sprinters engaged here.
Cosmic Force, on his day at least, is probably the best pure sprinter in the field, and I’m prepared to give him one more chance here, although he is certainly testing the patience. I think he should have won first up, but a combination of no pressure up front to Villami, giving that filly 5 kilograms in weight, and perhaps James McDonald just waiting a touch too long to get him going, led to his defeat. He was then caught wide and got very tired late in The Galaxy against the older horses.
We know he handles the heavy, he races well at Randwick, he draws to get a nice trail into this just behind a hot speed, and he’s extremely well under the set weights conditions. If he doesn’t perform here then I’d be very disappointed.
His stablemate, California Zimbol, is a fantastic little filly and looms as a big threat, and Dawn Passage will be the one charging late if they really overdo it up front.
- Win – No.1 Cosmic Force
- Exacta (Box) – 1,4,12
RACE 6 – AUSTRALIAN OAKS, G1 - 12:30AM ET
3YO FILLIES, SET WEIGHTS, 1 ½ MILES
Good renewal of the premier fillies classic in Australasia, with a genuine top class galloper in Probabeel engaged, a stayer on the rise in Colette, and a last start G1 winner in Shout The Bar. A lot will depend on how this race is run – if it’s a genuine staying test, and I am leaning towards that being the case, then Probabeel and Shout The Bar could be found out. I don’t see it concerning Colette, but I have to say she’s been very well found in the market now as 2-1 seems very short. She’d be my top pick, but not sure I could advocate going hard at that quote given she started the same price in the Adrian Knox last week where she looked an absolute moral and duly saluted easily.
Outside of her, I thought Quintessa held on extremely well for third in that same race when she got left in front a long way out after racing up closer to what was a pretty hectic speed, and she’s worth a spec at 25-1. Toffee Tongue, who split Colette and Quintessa there has plenty to learn still but she can certainly stay. While the best deadset roughie in the field is Victorian filly Contrition, who’s definitely got ability and was very good from well back in the field the last part of that farcically run Vinery Stud Stakes which Shout The Bar won.
- Win/Place/Show – No.6 Contrition & No.9 Quintessa
- Exacta (Box) – 4,6,7,9
- Trifecta – 4/6,7,9/1,3,5,6,7,9,12
RACE 7 – SYDNEY CUP, G1 - 1:15AM ET
3YO+ HANDICAP, 2 MILES
Not a deep Sydney Cup, and just feel like the race fell away a little the past fortnight after looking like it was going to be a fantastic edition of it, but we still see some genuine class staying talent with the two at the top of the weights in Mustajeer and Young Rascal, and I, for one, can’t see how one of them doesn’t simply prove too good for his rivals.
So, in saying that, I guess it’s no surprise that they are the two clear picks in the market, and given one is double the price of the other one, I’m going to have put Mustajeer on top. Kris Lees has found the key to him straight away after the former UK gelding stayed here post his Cups runs in the Spring in Melbourne. He tried hard behind star mare Verry Elleegant in The BMW and I’d just not want to see it ridiculously wet for him as it may dull what is a very good turn of foot for a stayer.
Young Rascal was fantastic winning the Manion when staving off the much lighter weighted Mugatoo – he’s yet to be tested at this sort of trip but class alone will have him there.
Best of the rest is the most genuine two-miler in the field in Azuro, then I’d give The Chosen One some hope as Murray Baker is a genius with the stayers.
- Win – No.1 Mustajeer
- Quinella – 1,2
- Trifecta – 1,2/1,2,6,7/1,2,4,6,7
RACE 8 – QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES, G1 - 1:55AM ET
3YO+ WFA, 1 ¼ MILES
There’s one big question you have to answer for this year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes – will the real Danon Premium show up? Because if the answer to that is yes, his form is just simply too good for his rivals here.
Horses he has either beaten or been runner-up to in his past five starts include Almond Eye, Indy Champ, and last year’s Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux, who he comfortably accounted for over this trip in March of 2019. That is well and truly good enough to win this race and win it easily. Reports are he’s settled in fine and the 7-2 on offer for him is more than a fair price and one I’m willing to dive into.
Addeybb was all heart holding off Verry Elleegant in the Ranvet at his Australian debut and no doubt he would have improved off that. On top of that the wet track will be in his favor.
Very Elleegant is absolutely flying and the only question is this being her third run in four weeks and now she has to come back from the mile and a half.
The two Kiwis, Te Akau Shark and Melody Belle, are all class and go in the mix, whilst Master Of Wine is obviously very promising but this is by far his biggest test to date.
Great race, but I am all in on the Japanese star to continue what has been an amazing run for them in Australia over the past 6 months.
- Win – No.1 Danon Premium
RACE 9 – QUEEN OF THE TURF STAKES, G1 - 2:35AM ET
3YO+ F+M, SET WEIGHTS, 1 MILE
Always a superb betting race and it’s arguably become the number one fillies and mares event in the country.
Traditionally, you need a very high class filly to win the race, and you not need look any further than Alizee, the top weight this year as an older mare, who won the race two years ago as a three year old. Funstar is as good, arguably better, than Alizee was at the same age, and I think they have definitely pulled the right rein here in dropping her back down in trip to the mile of this, rather than pushing on with a run in the Oaks. She has drawn awkwardly, but I get the feeling James McDonald will be keen to ride her a touch more quietly then what has been happening, and if he can slot in midfield somewhere with some cover, I think she will run down this lot and prove she is the superior filly of her generation, despite what happened in that ridiculously run Vinery Stud Stakes where she pulled up on speed.
There’s a few at odds worth including in exotics – Noire is racing extremely well this prep without much luck, Miss Fabulass has put together back to back solid runs in this grade, whilst I think Amangiri is going to give a massive sight here too.
- Win – No.17 Funstar (Best Bet)
- Exacta – 8,13,17
- Trifecta – 17/8,11,13,14/8,11,13,14
RACE 10 – SAPPHIRE STAKES, G2 - 3:10AM ET
3YO+ F+M, SET WEIGHTS & PENALTIES, 6 FURLONGS
Superb race to end the card on as a full, and very even, field of mares line up over the sprint trip.
Luck in running is going to play its part for sure, but I can envisage Manicure getting a beautiful run here from gate 2. We know she’s good enough, being a dual stakeswinner and placed in several more, and I thought she was very game first up in the Star Kingdom when splitting two high quality males in Vegadaze and Kementari – if she repeats that effort back against her own sex, then she’s going to give this a massive shake at double figure odds.
Heaps of other chances, and for my exotics I’ll be making sure I include Manicure’s stablemates Savatiano and Soothing, as well as Winter Bride and Madame Rouge, but there’s probably a few more you could throw into the mix as well.
- Win – No.9 Manicure (Best Value)
- Box Exacta – 3,6,9,12