Horses to Watch at Randwick for King of Australia Final Round

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 2nd, 2016

In Friday night's Final Round of the King of Australia contest, 544 account holders will square off to determine who will win a trip for two to the Melbourne Cup (G1) on November 1, plus assorted other prizes.

Official, detailed rules for the Final Round can be found here, but essentially finalists must place $5 Win/Place bets on at least 12 races from a list of three tracks running tonight: Randwick in Sydney, Moonee Valley in Melbourne, and Eagle Farm in Brisbane. The player that records the highest gross winnings from all qualifying contest wagers will be declared the winner.

Having offered some opinions during the qualifying rounds, going one-for-three each time with a positive ROI both nights, I thought I'd take a look at the Randwick program for Friday, which includes five group stakes among its nine races. The biggest of these is the Chelmsford S. (G2), which marks the second start of the season for the ever-popular race mare Winx.

Winx is likely to be even-money or less, and I'm not about to oppose her in this field [Winx was announced as a scratch for the Chelmsford after this was written - ed], especially as early indications are the Randwick course will be very heavy (9 on a scale of 10 with a Penetrometer reading of 6.03 at this writing). Instead, better value is likely to be found in some of the other group tests elsewhere on the card. Here are a few horses I'll be watching:

Race 3 -- Ming Dynasty (G3) -- The notable colors of B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm will be carried by SWEAR, who won at first asking in April. Although it was at the provincial course of Hawkesbury, it was in a A$125,000 stakes, and he rallied from last to win by a neck, the kind of style that might be suitable on heavy going at Randwick. The lack of a recent race is a bit of a concern, but he appears to have loads of upside.

Race 6 -- Furious S. (G2) -- I AM A STAR has already won Group 3 events in South Australia and Victoria, and now seeks to add a group win in New South Wales. She's another that likes to rally from the back, doing so most recently in the Quezette S. (G3) at Caulfield in her first start of the season. Seemingly possesses the fitness edge to fend off several of these returning from spells.

Race 8 -- Tramway S. (G2) -- His career win percentage is a bit dicey (9.1%, 2-for-22), but DIBAYANI figures to move forward off his second in the Aurie's Star (G3) at Flemington last month. Not only does he stretch out from six to seven furlongs, but his second-up record is a solid 5-1-2-2. One of those placings was in the Chipping Norton (G1) over this course going a mile last February, where he finished only 1 1/2 lengths behind Winx. That's a good measuring stick in my book.

Best of luck to all finalists!