Royal Randwick Racecourse sets the scene for one of the biggest race-days on the NSW calendar this Saturday. A massive 10-race program is lined up for punters, headlined by The Everest (1200m), The Kosciuszko (1200m), and the inaugural running of the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m). The scintillating racing doesn’t stop there, with plenty more black type scattered around the card, in what’s sure to be an incredible day.
Conditions should be perfect as we head into the weekend, with no rain expected to hit the course proper. The rail is out +3m and the ground should be a genuine Good 4, so it should be a fair playing surface throughout the afternoon. The first race is set to get underway at 12:30pm AEDT.
Keep reading for our free race-by-race preview and quaddie selections
Race 1: ATC St Leger Stakes (2600m)
We kick-off the program with the ATC St Leger Stakes (2600m) for the stayers, and we’re confident the best version of Cleveland will prove too classy for this lot. Visually, he’s been slightly disappointing in his last two starts, being beaten a combined 10.6 lengths across the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) and Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) respectively. The son of Camelot drew horrible gates on both occasions though, unable to show his quality. He’s well-weighted here against some key rivals, and with a much softer draw from barrier four with James McDonald aboard, Cleveland will prove hard to beat.
The second race is a wide-open BM78 which has us searching for some value, and we’re more than happy to have an each-way ticket on the Bjorn Baker-trained six-year-old, Dynamic Impact. His form doesn’t jump off the page; however, it does read with some class. He was far from disgraced chasing home Kibou first-up over 1200m at this course on September 16, before doing the same behind Airman a fortnight later at the same track and trip. Both those horses are right in the market for features later in the program, so with a massive step back in grade and an extra 200m to gather up his rivals, Dynamic Impact looks perfectly placed to figure in the finish on Saturday.
This race is for the three-year-old fillies, and since we were quite keen to be with Kundalini had she run on Wednesday, we’re going to stick with her heading into the weekend. Her first-up effort at Canterbury on September 13 was run without much luck, as the daughter of I Am Invincible raced wide without cover for a crucial stage. She maps to tuck in just behind the speed this time, and although she needs to carry top-weight against a class group of girls, Kundalini has the form from her two-year-old campaign to suggest she’s not out of place here.
Tom Kitten is one of the better bets of the day as he steps out in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m). He was charging through the line in the Listed Dulcify Stakes (1600m) on September 30 and simply ran out of time to chase down his rivals from the position in the run. We can’t imagine Nash Rawiller landing in a spot worse than mid-field this time, and with the 1800m coming at an ideal time in the preparation, Tom Kitten should blow them away on Saturday.
The Kosciuszko (1200m) brings together a field of 14 country-trained gallopers vying for their chance at the $2 million prize packet on offer. Opal Ridge has been the long-standing favourite for the race, and it’s easy to see why. The four-year-old mare comes through some elite form during the winter months, finding zero luck as the runner-up in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1300m) before being held up for a run in the Group 1 Tatts Tiara (1400m) on June 24. The Luke Pepper barn have been wanting to keep her fresh for this race ever since, and with an unblemished record first-up of three starts for three wins, Opal Ridge must be the starting point in this year’s Kosciusko.
The Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) is the perfect appetizer for The Everest (1200m) and has brought together a strong field of 16 sprinters. Vilana gets the nod for is as he makes his return from a 126-day spell for the James Cummings yard, and the now five-year-old boasts outstanding credentials in a race like this. The son of Hallowed Crown has a first-up record of (4:3-1-0) to go along with an undefeated record of three starts for three wins at Randwick. He won at this track and trip in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) to kick-off his previous campaign, so if he can replicate something similar, Vilana will test these.
The Everest (1200m) is worth an astonishing $20 million and has all 12 slots filled heading into Saturday. Think About It has surged into favourtism at $4.60 after opening on equal terms alongside I Wish I Win ($5). Last year’s runner-up Private Eye is on the third line of betting at $6, while Cylinder has seen some support into $8.50. Double-figure odds are available for every other runner as we get set for a mouthwatering clash.
Ruthless Dame did more than enough on resumption in The Shorts (1100m) on September 16 to warrant following. The daughter of Tavistock took a sit worse than mid-field before bolting home down the centre of the course over an unsuitable trip. She’s one of only two Group 1 winners engaged in this field, so provided Jason Collett can manage clear running from barrier three, Ruthless Dame can utilise her class here to secure victory.
There’s $5 million up for grabs in the inaugural running of the Group 1 King Charles III (1600m). Mr Brightside is undoubtedly a fair favourite heading into the weekend; however, we want to make a case for European import, Light Infantry Man. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this lightly raced son of Fast Company in Australia, as he was ultra-competitive in the Golden Eagle (1500m) in 2022. Ever since then Light Infantry Man has taken on nothing but class in the UK, managing minor placings behind the likes of multiple Group 1 winners Inspiral and Modern Games. He’s drawn to get a soft run in transit for Zac Purton, and at the price, Light Infantry Man is worthy of an each-way ticket.
The Group 3 Angst Stakes (1600m) finishes our blockbuster afternoon of racing and we’ll be hoping Renaissance Women can send followers home with a victory. She was impressive first-up chasing home Unspoken in BM88 company and was given a mighty task from near-last turning for home. She didn’t shirk the task, however, careering through the line with plenty of running. She draws to gain a more economical run this time, and with Joshua Parr re-appointed, we think Renaissance Women can blouse her rivals late in the day.