PLENTY of attention has been directed towards the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield this Saturday, but the best horse in Australia will be running at Randwick.
2015 Cox Plate champion Winx will headline the Group 1 Chipping Norton where bookmakers have the mare at $1.30 in the win market. That means there is plenty of value for the other 11 horses in the field and this is what punters will look towards.
The nine-race card also features the Sweet Embrace for the two-year-olds where the undefeated Scarlet Rain prepares for the Golden Slipper. The Surround Stakes for the three-year-olds is another top class race featuring the likes of Stay With Me, Ghisoni and Heartlings.
Racing remembers Guy Walter in the Guy Walter Stakes where Solicit won’t have to worry about taking on Winx this time around.
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Race 1 – All Too Hard R82 Handicap (2400m)
Punters will need another cocktail if the Chris Waller-trained gelding can’t win this. The imported six-year-old has been backed and beaten in all three starts in Australia and the money has come for it again. It opened at $4.60 and has been bet into $4.20. It ran on well enough behind Allergic last start and it should find this more to its liking.
Dee I Cee is a former New Zealand runner, now with Gai Waterhouse. The four-year-old was flashing home behind Testashadow last start and it brings New Zealand Derby form into this race. The son of Istidaad ran fourth behind Mongolian Khan in the Derby and that came over the same distance as it faces here. At $7 it should be respected against a moderate line up.
Springbok Flyer hasn’t done much wrong this campaign with multiple placings and back-to-back wins. The Chris Waller-trained stayer has led them all the way at its last two and it held off a strong challenge from Defrost My Heart last start. It looks a genuine hope at $5.00.
Tip: Dee I Cee to win ($7) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 2 – Pro-Ride Skyline Stakes (1200m)
Godolphin colt Telperion was an impressive last start winner at Randwick and punters took notice. The son of Street Cry loomed up to the field at the 200m mark and when straight past them with ease. Along with fellow John O’Shea-trained Souchez, Telperion has drifted out slightly in the market, but it remains the toughest to beat.
Souchez is the second-string Godolphin runner as William Buick is riding, but it was a strong winner on debut at Rosehill and that form has been franked since. It hasn’t drawn well in barrier eight which is concerning over this distance, but it still remains a win chance at $3.60 after opening at $3.50.
The money has come for Good Standing which was narrowly beaten by Yankee Rose on debut. The James Cummings-trained colt led the field as a $19 shot and was bombed on the line. It has since had two trials for a win and a placing, and the addition of Hugh Bowman is a big indicator of ability. It opened at $7 and has tumbled into $4.80.
Race 3 – Tab Highway Handicap C3 (1600m)
Coolcat Dancer is on the second line of betting at $4.20 after running second in the Highway Handicap last start. The Richard Clarke-trained gelding has won three from 15 starts and it wasn’t expected to run as well as it did last time out, but it should be respected against a similar field. That run did come on a heavy track so watch for any drifting in the market.
The best-backed runner in the field is Appoint Percy at $2. The Luke Pepper-trained gelding ran at Canterbury in a good grade last start and managed to run Tower Of Song to within a length. That’s a mighty effort having won at Albury its start prior and it deserves to be the short favourite in this. Top chance.
Sculptures has only won twice from 14 starts and it hasn’t ran well for awhile now, but it gets its first look at the distance and that should suit nicely. It’s on the thin end of calculations here, but the odds of $151 make it worth an each way bet.
Race 4 – Les Johnson Memorial Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m)
Twist Tops scored a mighty win in the Inglis Classic last start and bookmakers are offering a nice each way price for this. The Kris Lees-trained filly is a $6.00 chance despite having good form to its name and it has drawn nicely in barrier six with one of the best sprint jockeys in the saddle. We expect its price to stay around the $6.00 mark and it should pay a decent place dividend.
In The Vanguard has plenty of support and is the current $3.80 favourite. The John Sargent-trained filly was too good for its rivals on debut when it won by 2.5 lengths. The daughter of Encosta de Lago looks to have a bright future, but we query whether this quality of field is too much, too soon. Prepared to risk at the low price.
Scarlet Rain has yet to taste defeat in two starts and it showed its class last time out at Randwick. The Waterhouse-trained filly led on a heavy track and defeated Twist Tops by 1.3 lengths which should be good form leading into this. Drawing wide isn’t ideal, but it could ping the gates and prove tough to run down. Solid chance at $4.40.
Tip: Scarlet Rain to win ($4.40) at WilliamHill.com.au
Race 5 – Coolmore Surround Stakes (1400m)
Stay With Me resumed with a fifth in the Lightfinger last start and that run was better than it looked. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained filly settled back with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle before working home late and connections would have been very pleased. It won the 1000 Guineas at Caulfield last preparation and it will find this level of racing to its liking. The opening price of $4.60 has dropped to $4.40 and we expect that price to drop further.
The unbeaten Ghisoni faces its biggest test to date and bookmakers have been forced to ease its opening price a touch. The John O’Shea-trained filly has won both career starts in good fashion, but its best win came in rating 73 grade and it faces a serious field in this. It has drawn well and it looks untapped, but the $2.70 is a touch short for our liking. We’re predicting its price to drift into the $3 range.
Perignon was a stylish last-start winner at Randwick and the Lightfinger will be a good guide for this. Gerald Ryan lines up the filly which placed in behind Speak Fondly on three occasions last preparation and that’s no disgrace to its form line. Hugh Bowman takes over from Tim Clark in the saddle and bookmakers are keeping it safe at $4.20.
Tip: Stay With Me to win ($4.40) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 6 – Guy Walter Stakes (1400m)
The Ron Quinton-trained Peeping was forced to carry 59kg last start and it now drops down to 56kg for this. The four-year-old managed to finish second behind Sultry Feeling and it should derive great benefit from that run. It’s a five-win mare from only 12 starts and that consistency is what punters love. Well backed to beat the favourite at $3.80.
The current favourite is Solicit which carried plenty of support to beat Winx last start. The Gerald Ryan-trained mare pushed Winx to within a length which is no mean feat and it will appreciate taking on a field without the Cox Plate winner involved. It has yet to win at Randwick which is an obvious concern, but it loves this distance and it is well weighted to score. $2.40 chance after opening at $2.50.
Amicus showed its class last start by winning the Breeders Classic at Randwick and it has won twice second up. Chris Waller lines up the talented four-year-old which does tend to mix its form, but it showed some grit to win last start and that could flow over for this run. Bowman sticks with and it looks a solid each way proposition at $7.00.
Race 7 – Precise Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m)
We first must talk about Winx which will likely win this race, but punters aren’t getting a great price at $1.30. The 2015 Cox Plate champion was a tough winner fresh up and there are some pundits thinking the Chris Waller-trained mare could go unbeaten throughout this campaign. That could happen and this race looks an easy target as it’s filled with resuming stayers, but only multi-bet punters will enjoy the odds.
Hauraki ran well fresh up behind Winx and it has won second up in the past. The son of reset goes best on this track and although it prefers longer distances, it has the ability to find a sprint at the mile. It won’t win this race, but the place price of $2.60 is worthy of consideration.
Hartnell has been well backed to cause an upset at $6.50. The John O’Shea-trained gelding is a seven-time winner from 21 starts, but it has been a long time between drinks and it is unplaced in two runs on this track. We wouldn’t take the odds on offer and would suggest waiting for a better price on the day. Chances improve if the predicted rain hits early.
Tip: Hauraki to place ($2.60) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 8 – Liverpool City Cup (1300m)
Big Money couldn’t have been more impressive when winning at Randwick last start and it usually puts two good runs together. The Rodney Northam-trained gelding beat a similar field last start and the extra distance will give it more time to wind up in the straight. It’s currently at double-figure odds at $10 which is good value.
Rich Enuff wasn’t quite good enough for new trainers Peter and Paul Snowden last start. The former Melbourne hopeful finished third in a close finish behind Big Money and many are thinking it should improve with the run under its belt. It has drawn well in barrier two and will likely sit on the pace, so the $5 doesn’t look all too bad.
Famous Seamus will need things to go its way from barrier 12, but it’s not lacking class. The seven-year-old won at Sandown last time out and it has solid form fresh up. It loves this track and distance with four wins coming at the 1300m and it could add some value for multiples.
Race 9 – Schweppes Handicap (1200m)
Meursault opened at $3.60 and has come into $3.00 on the back of good support all week. The Godolphin runner is coming off a strong last start second placing and it will find this field easier than recent targets. It has placed in three from four on this track and we’re expecting a good effort.
Nancy is a lightly-tried mare which has plenty of talent on its day and it is well weighted to make a winning return. The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained mare was a last start winner before being spelled and it has a good record fresh up. It likes slightly longer than the 1200m, but consider here at an each way price of $4.40.
My Favorite is a Hong Kong import which ran well for fifth at Randwick last start. The six-year-old has had only seven starts, but it has won four and placed in two so it has a wealth of ability. It looks well suited to this race and despite the big weight it has been given, punters have backed it in from $10 to $7.00. Looks a solid chance.
Tip: Meursault to win ($3.00) at Sportsbet.com.au