With the Sydney Autumn Carnival all but over, we are now full steam ahead into the winter. Randwick-Kensington is the host this weekend, with a challenging nine-race card that is sure to give the punters plenty of headaches. The rail is in the 2m position and it is expected that being on-pace will be a slight advantage, although Randwick-Kensington is one of the fairest tracks in Sydney.
With rain forecast for Thursday and cloudy conditions for Friday, it is expected that the track will start in the slow range with a chance of improvement on race day. The highlight of the afternoon is the TAB Benchmark 88 over the 1400m, where Bandersnatch is billed the early favourite at $3.30.
Bandersnatch was fancied to run well last weekend in the Hawkesbury Guineas but was scratched at the gates when he was found to have a wound to his off high cannon. The son of Casino Prince is lightly raced, but it is clear the Gerald Ryan stable has a high opinion of him, and he should be ultra-competitive in the 1400m event on Saturday.
The curtain-raiser to the main event is the Quincy Seltzer Benchmark 88 over the 1250m. Godolphin three-year-old Hilo has opened the favourite at $3.30, in what looks to be a race with very little depth. The Lonhro gelding is coming off a commendable third behind boom gelding Indy Car and the filly Icebath in the South Pacific Classic at Randwick. His main rival in the race is the talented Written Tycoon gelding Hightail and with both horses drawn beside each other, the battle for the run throughout will be hotly contested.
Best bets for Randwick-Kensington on Saturday, May 2
Race 1 2yo Handicap 1000m 11:40AM AESTWild Ruler to win $2.70 with SportsbetThe winner of the $500,000 Inglis Nursery makes his return to the track for the first time since December and he is very well placed. The son of Snitzel should be nice and forward after two solid trials and will be right in the thick of things from the get-go. Drawn out in barrier seven, jockey Kerrin McEvoy will put the colt in a prime position behind the moderate pace.
The only query around Wild Ruler might be the soft going. Although he is untested on the soft tracks, we are hoping his class and position in running can get him through. Besides, there is still a chance it could be a good track.
Race 3 Highway Handicap 1400m 12:50PM AESTJailbreak to win $4.20 with SportsbetWe like the set-up in this TAB Highway Handicap for this gelding. He has been very consistent this preparation and has ended up with a much better draw than last start. The gelding drew barrier 10 in that race and the plan was to find cover, but Nash Rawiller ended up further back then he wanted. When he got free in the straight, he ended up finishing like a rocket, running the quickest last 600m of the race in 34.14 and fastest last 200m in 11.48.
The step up to 1400m is ideal for Jailbreak. He has drawn much better this time and should get the required cover from barrier four. His main danger, Toro Toro, has drawn wide and although he is the favourite in the race, Jailbreak meets him a kilogram better off and, as stated earlier, will appreciate the 1400m a lot more than his rival.
Race 7 BM88 Handicap 1250m 3:25PM AEST Hightail to win $3.80 with LadrbokesThis horse is very classy and probably would have started a lot shorter had he trialled better. While he only finished fourth in his one barrier trial over 1045m, the runners in front of him were ridden out hard as well. Although he only had the one trial, he would have a small amount of residual fitness from January, when his last preparation ended.
First-up last preparation over the same distance, Hightail was 0.2 lengths off the talented gelding Diamond Thunder in the Magic Millions Wyong Stakes, and what price would he be in this race? With form last preparation around talented horses like Alligator Blood, Eleven Eleven, Splintex, and Leviathan, just to name a few, he should go very close if he hits that mark. He is mapped nicely just off the speed and with Hugh Bowman aboard he should be right in this finish with even luck.