Group 1 stars step out at Randwick trials

In The Congo racing news
In The Congo (Steve Hart)

A number of Group 1 performers stepped out at the Randwick trials on Thursday morning, including Golden Rose Stakes winner In The Congo.

With plenty of rain around Sydney and 10 races scheduled for Saturday, the 17 trials at Randwick this morning were moved to the Polytrack, and as usual, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott had a prominent showing.

In the second trial of the morning, open gallopers stretched their legs over 1080m, which saw In The Congo prove too zippy in what was his second outing for the autumn.

The son of Snitzel was able to lead all of the way in the trial – just like he did when defeating Anamoe in the 2021 Golden Rose back in September over 1400m.

Tommy Berry rode the three-year-old today, keeping him off the rails before giving him a little bit more rein in the concluding stages, which saw the colt boot clear of his rivals under light riding.

The Peter & Paul Snowden-trained California Zimbol closed off well from the back to finish within a length of the Group 1 winner.

It was a Waterhouse & Bott victory in the third heat as Embracer led throughout to win the 1080m trial in slick time (1:03.99), defeating an eye-catching Signore Fox.

Racing NSW revealed after the running of Trial 3 that Embracer bled from both nostrils for the first time, which means he will not be eligible for any upcoming Autumn Carnival races.

Signore Fox was right out the back in the trial, but Berry brought him to the outside and he really worked through his gears late to finish 2.5 lengths away in second.

The six-year-old entire placed third in last year’s Stradbroke Handicap behind Tofane and Vega One, so he will be looking to win his maiden Group 1 in next weekend’s Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, where he is a $51 chance.

Queensland Derby winner Kukeracha finished the trial off well to run fourth under James McDonald, looking on-track for a preparation which could see him back in Queensland for a tilt at the $1.2 million Q22 in June.

Just four horses contested the fourth trial of the morning, with another Waterhouse & Bott runner proving too slick. Too Much Caviar got the job done by just under half a length to the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Steinem, while Arbitration and 2021 Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Shaquero finished last, just 0.6 lengths away from the winner.

Steinem was the most impressive runner in Trial 4, finishing off strongly in what was her first public outing for this preparation. The mare holds nominations for both the Doncaster Mile and Queen of the Turf during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

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