There’s a total of 10 races for the occasion, with the rail heading back to the true position, and with warm days forecast leading into race-day, expect the course to be a genuine Good 4. The opening event is scheduled to get underway at 11:55am AEST.
Keep reading for our free race-by-race preview and quaddie selections
Race 1: BM72 Midway Handicap (1800m)
We kick-off the program in Midway company, where State Of America will be seeking to rectify his last start defeat. You can argue the son of American Pharoah was a good thing beaten at Canterbury on September 13, cluttered up behind a wall of horses when turning into the straight, trying to chase down race rival Our Maryanne. Once he got clear the four-year-old gelding was finishing best, and now with a 2kg swing in the weights, we’re confident State Of America can get followers off to winning start on Saturday.
We get our first look at the two-year-olds on Saturday, starting with the fillies in the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes (1000m). Lady Of Camelot was impressive winning her jump-out by four lengths at Randwick (Kensington) on September 18 and you had to appreciate the early toe she was able to produce. She pinged the lids and went straight to the front like most Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained gallopers tend to do, holding them off nicely through the line. James McDonald picks up the ride for race-day, and with her pattern seemingly a favourable one for the 1000m, we’re happy to land with Lady Of Camelot on top.
Now it’s the boys turn in the Group 3 Breeders’ Plate (1000m), with 14 colts & geldings to make their debut. Scampi was one of the more eye-catching performers on September 18 when coasting through the line under Jason Collett. He was able to take control from the jump, and when asked for minimal effort, the son of Blue Point put them away stylishly, scoring the jump-out victory by 2.6 lengths. Scampi seems to be maturing already for the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace camp, and we’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the finish here.
Renaissance Women is a terrific each-way bet in the fourth race of the card, and although the 1600m may be short of her best, she’s been going super in her work leading into Saturday. The mare by Reliable Man has made her way back to Sydney after a Queensland campaign that may have left a bit to be desired, starting a beaten favourite in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) and Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) respectively. The Bjorn Baker-trained galloper was far from disgraced, however, steaming through the line on both occasions. Her barrier trial was exceptional upon return and at the price, we’re happy to lean in favour of Renaissance Women.
The Listed Dulcify Stakes (1600m) is at set-weight conditions for the three-year-olds, where Tom Kitten looks extremely hard to beat. It sets up beautifully for the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) winner, getting to the mile after a bold effort in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m). He swooped from an impossible position to secure a third-place finish and the James Cummings-trained colt clocked some impressive closing sectionals doing so. He draws to get a much softer run under Nash Rawiller, and if he runs up to his best here, the set-weight conditions should be a massive favour to his chance.
It’s the final leg of the Princess Series, with the Group 1 Flight Stakes drawing a strong field of 12 fillies lining up. Kimochi is the horse we’ve stuck with throughout the campaign, and we can’t get off her now. She was sensational chasing home Tiz Invincible on a three-wide line without cover last start in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and finished a clear second despite the torrid run in transit. The winner was far too good on the day; however, this time Tiz Invincible has a tricky task to overcome from barrier 12, while Kimochi should get a lovely spot somewhere mid-field with cover drawn gate seven. French Endeavour and Tutta La Vitta both closed gamely in the Tea Rose as well, but Kimochi held ground well enough to suggest the 1600m will be no issue for the daughter of Brave Smash.
Think About It is set to return in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) and is already guaranteed a lot in The Everest (1200m) in a fortnight. That’s why we’re taking a risk on the first-up mare from the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott yard, Alcohol Free. She was purchased at a massive price tag for Yu Long Investments and was thrown in the deep end first-up in the autumn, finishing worse than mid-field in the Group 1 Coolmore Legacy (1600m). The Everest has always been a target race, with the European import winning the Group 1 July Cup (1200m) before her arrival. She’s classy enough and with Joao Moreira in the saddle, the each-way quote with online bookmakers is too good to pass up.
There’s been a dramatic shift in the market with online bookmakers in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) as The Inevitable is now the favourite at +550. Hope In Your Heart opened best with bookies has now drifted out to an +750 hope, while Nugget is now on the second line of betting at +650. You can find double-figure odds for every other runner engaged in what’s sure to be a wide-open edition of the race.
Online bookmakers have seemingly marked the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) a one-act affair, with Just Fine a short-priced commodity. It’s hard to disagree with the assessment, however, as Just Fine has put together two outstanding wins since arriving in Australia. His latest in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) was simply stunning, going on to score by 1.7 lengths and securing favourtism for this race back on September 16. They had every chance to rein him in but couldn’t round up the five-year-old gelding, who now with 50kgs on his back is going to be even tougher to chase down.
Kibou was sensational in the get-out stakes a fortnight ago at this course and distance, and we’re happy to stick solid with the son of Maurice. He went straight to the front and bolted clear of his rivals, with only the ultra-talented Garza Blanca chomping at his heels late. Kibou was too classy in the end though, clinging to victory and sending home favourite backers very happy. He can do something similar here to finish the day, and with some relief in the weights heading into BM94 level, Kibou may well prove too good again.