We’re set for a blockbuster day of racing out of Royal Randwick Racecourse for Day 2 of The Championships. Saturday’s 10-race program is headlined by four Group 1 races, with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes featuring the greatly anticipated clash between Anamoe and Dubai Honour. The top-shelf racing doesn’t end there, however, with the Australian Oaks, Sydney Cup and the Queen Of The Turf Stakes all assembling terrific fields for us to dissect.
The rail is out +4m the entire circuit after racing in the true position last weekend. That, to go along with another wet surface, should make for an intriguing day of racing, set to get underway at 11:40am AEST.
Keep reading for our free race-by-race preview and quaddie selections
RACE 1: LISTED FERNHILL HANDICAP (1600M)
The two-year-olds step out over the mile in the opener at Randwick and we’re keen to be with Tom Kitten coming back to Sydney. He headed south of the board to take on Veight in the Group 2 Sires Produce at Flemington on March 11 and was an unfortunate victim of circumstances. He copped severe interference after Jamie Kah and Craig Williams were dislodged from their respect mounts, resulting in Tom Kitten getting knocked further back to the rear of the field. We’re putting a pen through that performance and taking him off his maiden victory at Warwick Farm on February 2, beating home race rival, Make A Call, in the process. They’re the main two we want to follow in this race and with the price of Tom Kitten too good to ignore with online betting sites, we’ve lent in his favour. Both Tom Kitten and Make A Call pose a huge threat to the race favourite, Inhibitions, and we wouldn’t talk you out of backing both for a result on the race.
Stylised is set to resume after a 178-day spell and is in with a big chance to chalk up his second career win. He finished his first campaign in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes and finished less than two lengths off the eventual winner, Sharp ‘N’ Smart. It was a bold step from maiden company prior to that and now with some racing and maturity under his belt, Stylised looks to have come back in terrific order. His trial at Rosehill on March 27 indicated he’s ready to do something first-up, and at this price, Stylised is one of the better each-way bets on the Randwick program. Zac Lloyd takes the reins and will be looking to press forward from the wide draw, giving followers a big sight turning for home.
Lazzago is the forgotten horse in this two-year-old feature. The $7.50 on offer seems a big price after a total forgive run in the Group 1 Golden Slipper. Prior that that she’s had two wins, both at Randwick, and the second of them in rain-effected conditions. We respect Black Opal Stakes winner Autumn Ballet, but the form hasn’t come out and done the job, while even a horse like Militarize – another forgive run from the Slipper – took out the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes last Saturday. We just can’t have them that far apart in the market, and with some classy performances on her side, Lazzago looks beautifully placed by the Chris Waller yard. She’ll be getting back in this field and will need to be at her best to get over the top late, but we think she can.
RACE 4: PROVINCIAL-MIDWAY CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL (1400M)
Audette is a big price and has caught our eye coming out of the Gosford qualifier behind the favourite, Kayobi, on March 16. She ran into second on that occasion over the unsuitable 1200m and subsequently went on to score a win at Warwick Farm on March 29. She wanted to roll off the track late and should won in more dominant fashion compared to what the 0.1-length margin may suggest. She loves conditions on the worsening side of the Soft range and should feel at home coming into this race, despite it being tougher than what she’s seen in the past. Barrier six looks ideal for this mare out of The Factor.
Aft Cabin is a clear best bet of the day and should be very hard to beat in this three-year-old sprint. He comes here freshened up after three runs for James Cummings, culminating in a lacklustre performance in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas. We love that the stable has taken him back to the trials, and he now finds a 1200m race that, with all things even, he should have on a platter. Zou Tiger warrants plenty of respect after beating home Aft Cabin in the Hobartville Stakes and Randwick Guineas; however, Aft Cabin gave Zou Tiger wind burn in the Eskimo Prince over this course and distance. The scratching of What You Need leaves this race thin overall, and we think the even money on offer for Aft Cabin could be value come Saturday afternoon.
The first of four Group 1 races is the Australian Oaks for the three-year-old fillies, where Pavitra ($3.80) is a clear favourite coming out of the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes. Fireburn ($8), Polygon ($9) and Pierossa ($10) will be looking to turn the tables, while Pennyweka ($5) will be after a New Zealand Oaks and Australian Oaks double.
The stayers will be stepping out at Randwick for the Group 1 Sydney Cup, which looks a wide-open affair. Cleveland ($3.80) holds the call with King Frankel ($8) and Gold Trip ($8.50) seeing plenty of support. Can the internationals take out another Group 1 staying contest? The market seems to think so.
It’s been built as a race between two horses and the market seems to agree, with Anamoe ($2.50) and Dubai Honour ($2.50) sharing favouritism for an epic edition of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The Japanese are here to spoil the party with Unicorn Lion ($11), while Cascadian ($13) is likely to relish the conditions.
The final Group 1 on Day 2 of The Championships will see the Australian debut of Alcohol Free ($3.50), who brings elite European form into the fold for the Queen Of The Turf Stakes. Will she prove too classy for the girls? Or can the likes Levante ($7.50), Sirileo Miss ($5.50) and Fangirl ($10) cause a minor upset?
The last race on the program sees a short-priced favourite in Zapateo, but we think Princess Grace holds outstanding each-way value to send punters home happy. Her form in America is around Group 1 quality, and outside of her never racing on Soft track conditions, we think she’s at an overs price heading into this finale for the fillies and mares. Her barrier trials have only indicated a horse ready to be competitive heading to the races. This daughter of Karakontie has barely put a foot wrong, only missing the frame once in her 14 career starts. We concede she’s an unknown commodity in this field, but at the price on display, she’s an each-way bet for us to end the day.