Group 1 Surround Stakes preview & tips | Saturday, February 25

What 2023 Surround Stakes
Where Royal Randwick Racecourse – Alison Rd, Randwick NSW 2031
When Saturday, February 25, 2023
Prizemoney $600,000
Distance 1400m
Status Group 1
Conditions Set Weights
2022 Winner Hinged (1) | T: Chris Waller | J: Brenton Avdulla (56kg)

The Surround Stakes is one of the two Group 1 feature events on Saturday afternoon, and this is for the three-year-old fillies.

In a field of 13, In Secret will look to continue her dominance amongst the three-year-old ranks having finished off her spring with a Coolmore Stud Stakes triumph. We also see the return of the Chris Waller-trained Zougotcha, who finished her campaign in stylish fashion by winning the Group 1 Flight Stakes.

Surround Stakes odds

Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes winner In Secret has opened a dominant favourite at $2.20 for her second-up assignment, while the returning Zougotcha has the second line of betting shared with the Annabel Neasham-trained Sunshine In Paris at $6. You’ll be getting double-figure odds everywhere else you look as Melbourne raider Ruthless Dame ($13) makes her first trip north of the border, with Fireburn ($16) the best of the other market hopefuls on the online betting sites.

Surround Stakes speedmap analysis

You only need to reference the Light Fingers from two weeks ago to get an idea of how they’ll settle in the run on Saturday afternoon. Cinderella Days will be pinging the lids again to be a likely pacemaker with a soft barrier draw, while we think North Star Lass will be mustering speed to sit outside the leader. Hugh Bowman takes the reins on In Secret and should get the perfect one-one position from barrier four. Sunshine In Paris will be sitting somewhere in the top half of the field, while Sheeza Belter will be positive from an awkward draw as well. Fireburn, Zougotcha and Wolverine will have no choice but to be dragged back from their wide draws to ensure they don’t get cast wide without cover.

Surround Stakes form & tips

In Secret goes on top in this year’s Surround Stakes and is one of the better bets of the day at Randwick on Saturday afternoon. Her form jumps off the page with success in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, while she returned a winner with relative ease in the Light Fingers. She missed the start before a no-panic ride was produced by Nash Rawiller, seeing him cut the corner on the star filly and weave a gap late to score. All things considered, it was a pretty soft win, and now looking to the 1400m for the first time since being a runner-up in the Golden Rose to Jacquinot on September 24, she looks too good to go past in the Surround Stakes.

Zougotcha is the fly in the ointment, although she gives up a fitness edge to In Secret. She’s got class on her side, though, with a Group 1 on her resume – something a lot of fillies in this race don’t have. First-up at 1400m after a 145-day spell is a tough ask, and if she does pull it off, it’ll be some training effort from Chris Waller. James McDonald does take the reins, which is interesting as he had elected to be on her in the Light Fingers had she gone around, so he clearly has a big opinion of her this preparation. A win wouldn’t shock by any means.

Sunshine In Paris has been a model of consistency this preparation and proved her spring form was no fluke when stepping out nicely in the Light Fingers. She got every chance to knock off In Secret when getting the revs up earlier than she did in the straight. There are question marks as to whether she can turn the tables, especially since she had the fitness edge last time. She’s a quality type, but she might just be running into a couple superstars.

The horse at a blowout price with some X-factor is Ruthless Dame. She comes out of the Manfred Stakes when running third behind Jacquinot, who went on to win the CF Orr Stakes – albeit in controversial fashion. She should get a solid tempo to sprint off this time, while the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace team doesn’t travel its horses for a holiday. If there’s a danger at odds, it’s her.

2023 Surround Stakes selections & best bets


$100 betting strategy
$100 win In Secret (#1) @ $2.20 with Ladbrokes

More horse racing tips

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments