Sydney Championships 2022: Day 2 Spot Plays
Sydney’s autumn racing carnival hits its zenith this weekend with the second and final day of The Championships.
Day 2 is on Friday night, Eastern Time, April 8, (Saturday afternoon, April 9, Australian Eastern Time). The 10-race, A$11.1 million (about $8.3 million) card includes four Group 1 races, three Group 2s, two Listed races, and the $500,000 Provincial-Midway Championships Final.
As with last week, the track is set to be a heavy 10 — in other words, very wet. Also, as with last week, be very careful with any horses that might be new to the carnival and assess if they can handle the wet.
American mare Lighthouse comes to the track once more, this time in the Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1). She put up a great run considering her position in the weights when fifth in the Doncaster Mile (G1) last week. Back to weight-for-age and against fillies and mares, she should have a fantastic chance.
Another horse with an American connection is Zaaki, one of the favorites for the 1 1/4-mile Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1). He began his career in England with Mohamed Moubarak, who is now based in the United States. After four starts, he was transferred to Sir Michael Stoute before being sold to Australia, where he has improved out of sight.
At his best, Zaaki is arguably the best horse in Australia around a mile to 1 1/4 miles. But it’s debatable how well he will handle the very heavy track that is likely for the Queen Elizabeth S. in a hot field.
So, with that said, it’s time to have a look at the Group 1 races.
Race 6: Australian Oaks (G1), 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), 3-year-old fillies
No staying three-year-old filly has clearly asserted herself as leading the division, so there’s plenty of possibilities here. #1 Hinged is the best-performed filly in this race, but given her pedigree there must be serious doubts about her ability to stay 1 1/2 miles. #2 Gypsy Goddess, however, shouldn’t have any such problem. She was a nice third behind Fangirl and Hinged in the Vinery Stud S. (G1) and being by Tarzino, should relish the extra trip. #4 Honeycreeper should also be considered, while it could be worth having a look at #5 Le Villi; she was sixth on good ground in the New Zealand Oaks (G1) and has won on heavy ground.
- $10 win/$20 show: #2 Gypsy Goddess
- $10 show: #5 Le Villi
Race 7: Sydney Cup (G1), 3,200 meters (about two miles), 3-year-olds and up
The traditional two-mile test looks competitive. However, if form holds, then #4 Stockman will be exceptionally tough. Two starts back he won the Sky High Stakes (G3), and he was then second at weight-for-age in the Tancred Stakes (G1), finishing ahead of Sydney Cup race rival #1 The Chosen One, whom he meets on 5kg better terms. #5 Crystal Pegasus will have supporters after winning his last four, as will Adelaide Cup (G2) winner #2 Daqiansweet Junior, who is proven at two miles. There are plenty of other chances, but Stockman seems the logical choice.
- $10 win/$20 show: #4 Stockman
Race 8: Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1), 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), 3-year-olds and up
One of the most open renewals of this race in recent years. It may have a big bearing on Australian Horse of the Year, with candidates including 11-time Group 1 winner #6 Verry Elleegant, All-Star Mile winner #2 Zaaki, outstanding three-year-old #9 Anamoe, Ranvet Stakes (G1) winner #8 Montefilia, and fast-improving Tancred Stakes (G1) winner #7 Duais.
I have extreme doubts about Zaaki and significant doubts about Duais on heavy going, and it remains to be seen if Montefilia can confirm the form with Verry Elleegant in the Ranvet. With all these factors, I’m going with Anamoe to make use of the weight advantage he gets as a three-year-old.
- $10 win/$30 show: #9 Anamoe
Race 9: Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1), 1,600 meters (about one mile), 3-year-old and up fillies and mares
U.S.-owned mare #2 Lighthouse has been one of the quiet achievers of the Australian autumn, winning the Coolmore Classic (G1) and finishing second in the Canterbury Stakes (G1). She finished eighth last week in the Doncaster Mile (G1), but she wasn’t well placed at the weights. Back to her own gender and at weight-for-age, she is a great chance.
The big danger on form is clearly George Ryder Stakes (G1) runner-up #1 Colette; there will also be support for Doncaster Mile third #3 Icebath and the unbeaten Victorian #14 Yonce, who has shown great potential but is yet to contest a black type race and is unknown on heavy ground.
- $10 win/$10 show: #2 Lighthouse
- $1 box quinella: 1, 2, 3, 14