The first Group 1 of the Sydney season is upon us at Rosehill.
We have a nine-race card, the rail is out 2m, and the track is in the soft range, but we may get an upgrade to a Good 4.
Quaddie (Races - 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 13 – 5,9 – 10 – 1,7,9,11
Wide Play: 1,13 – 4,5,9 – 1,2,7,10,11,12 – 1,3,4,7,9,11,12
BEST BET – Race 6 No13 OMEI SWORD
NEXT BEST – Race 1 No7 LONGKISSGOODNIGHT
BEST ROUGHIE – Race 7 No5 COUNTERATTACK
Race 1 12:10pm POCKIT BLOCK-IT HANDICAP 1500m
LONGKISSGOODNIGHT (NEXT BEST BET) strikes a winnable race at her first time in Sydney. This is quite a weak mares grade race for a Saturday. She has been running good races in Melbourne without winning and when Team Hawkes switch states with horses, they usually get a result out of them.
ROSALEISHA did a good job first-up on a heavy track with a big weight. She had only had the one soft trial leading into that and out to 1500m second-up after that tough first-up run should hold her in good stead here.
STILETTOED VIXEN won well after a drop in grade last start. She steps up in grade here but mares have a knack of holding onto form. Wolfgram stays aboard and ideally she would like it to get wetter, which looks unlikely here.
LABDIEN keeps Bowman here and comes out of what looks to be a strong race last start. It would be foolish to dismiss a Waller runner at home in a race such as this.
SELECTIONS – No 7 LONGKISSGOODNIGHT, No 6 Rosaleisha, No 2 Stilettoed Vixen, No 1 Labdien
Value Runner No 6 Rosaleisha
Race 2 12:45pm SCHWEPPES HANDICAP 1800m
I have to give DUBAIINSTYLE one last chance on the quick backup after his efforts on a testing track at Randwick. He gets Moreira here, which can be looked at as a positive and a negative for punters. At the current price he deserves one last chance.
ANTONIO GIUSEPPE has put together two strong wins at his last two starts. He rises sharply in weight here, but that has been ousted to a degree with the booking of Bowman. He has won his last two races on rain-affected ground and this is a true test for him on a drier surface.
LANCIATO missed a run recently due to heavy ground, but has also had an issue according to the trainer. I’m trusting that he is right to go otherwise he wouldn’t be here. He profiles well for a race such as this, as well as the step up to 1800m. Being back on top of the ground should suit him well.
SALTHOUSE could be a sharp improver at his second start in Australia for Godolphin. He was quite good fresh and gets McDonald here.
SELECTIONS - No 3 DUBAIINSTYLE, No 5 Antonio Giuseppe, No 8 Lanciato, No 4 Salthouse
Value Runner No 4 Salthouse
Race 3 1:20pm #THERACES HANDICAP 1200m
SIR BACCHUS should really be winning this race if he is to go onto bigger and better things this preparation. His first-up win was fantastic and he should only improve from that. Bowman stays with him and there should be no concern with the weight given he carried 60kgs first-up.
BULLRUSH faces his acid test here and puts his unbeaten record on the line. His last win at Randwick was fantastic as he was fending them off left and right late. He has had two very good trials leading into this and is the only possible danger to the toppie.
SUSPENSE was tested at a higher grade over the carnival and was found wanting a touch. He has had two solid trials leading into this and will be one to watch out for later in his prep.
UNEQUIVOCAL will more than likely be the flashing light run here. The form through the Championships races has been super-hot and she was unlucky in the provincial final. She will be another to watch out for second or third-up.
SELECTIONS – No 1 SIR BACCHUS, No 4 Bullrush, No 5 Suspense, No 8 Unequivocal
Value Runner No 8 Unequivocal
Race 4 1:55pm TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP 1200m
Happy to take the punt on FUEL here first-up from a spell. He has always looked like a horse with above average ability and showed that in his last-start run in the Canberra Guineas. He resumes with no trial and Williams has engaged a few runners here. As this is his second race prep, if his race sense has improved, he can be a player here.
QUATRONIC was good winning at the midweeks in Brisbane last start and Dunn has found Bowman here. That race in Brisbane was pretty weak, but he has a great winning strike rate thus far in his career. He has a big weight to contend with and this being his first time in Sydney makes him a concern.
RAISED A LEGEND gets another chance after a last-start failure. I’m putting that down to the heavy track as he was really well-supported that day. His previous highway form had been quite good and back on top of the ground he gets his chance.
FIFTEEN SUNFLOWERS ran up to the solid betting move last start when just touched off at Rosehill on unsuitable ground. She gets back on top of the ground where she has a fantastic record and from the soft gate she should be in the finish.
SELECTIONS – No 12 FUEL, No 2 Quatronic, No 6 Raised A Legend, No 7 Fifteen Sunflowers
Value Runner No 12 Fuel
Race 5 2:35pm KINGSTON TOWN STAKES 2000m
You have to side with the Waller runner here in MCCREERY, who is coming off a soft yet dominant win in the Rowley mile at Hawkesbury. He stays on the minimum here and gets Moreria, who hopefully has found his Sydney mojo by Race 5. He is an adaptable horse who can go forward or sit mid-field, so there are plenty of options right from the jump. I feel as if this horse is of the ‘He’s Your Man’ ilk and if he wins this he could be competitive in an Epsom. If he is to be, he needs to win this.
ALLERGIC just had no luck when it was required last start. McDonald had given him a peach but he was just stuck between runners when he needed to get going. He is adaptable in most conditions and Saturday’s track should be perfect for him. McDonald does have a sticky gate to contend with early on as he will need to make a decision as soon as he jumps. Given that he breaks cleanly, he should get across and be hard to run down.
JUNOOB has been carrying big weights since his return to racing, but has performed quite well. He would want it to dry out a little, but he is racing with renewed vitality and with even luck he should be there or thereabouts.
SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD looks to be the only other possible here. He is first-up but did win fresh over the course and distance last preparation. He goes up 3.5kgs from that though and this looks to be a stronger race.
SELECTIONS – No 4 MCCREERY, No 3 Allergic, No 1 Junoob, No 2 Sir John Hawkwood
Value Runner No 4 Mccreery
Race 6 3:10pm DE BORTOLI WINES GOLDEN ROSE 1400m
Going against stats and recent history here by making OMEI SWORD my BEST BET of the day. Fillies don’t have a good record in the Golden Rose; 32 fillies have run in it since 2003, with Forensics (2008) the only winner. When looking at the SP profile of said fillies and the strength of race, I’m overlooking this stat. Waller held her back from the Furious last week as he had a good hand in that race and this filly would have made a mess of Foxplay. I think that she is a good thing here. She was a dominant winner first-up in the Silver Shadow when hardly asked for an effort. Stepping up to 1400m only suits her even more than 1200m first-up. She has drawn a cosy gate and if Moreria can find clear running from the 500, she won’t be run down.
ASTERN, who is apparently going to go back from the wide gate, is the only possible danger here if he goes forward. If he goes back, he won’t be getting past Omei Sword.
SELECTIONS – No 13 OMEI SWORD, No 1 Astern, No 4 Divine Prophet, No 12 Yankee Rose.
Value Runner No 7 Impending
Race 7 3:50pm TASK RETAIL THEO MARKS STAKES 1300m
This looks to be a cracking race and although they meet at level weights from their last meeting where he was beaten, I’m going with COUNTERATTACK as the roughie over Southern Legend. That was in the Sebring on Golden Slipper day and CA was coming off a setback where he was scratched before the Newmarket and had no luck whatsoever in the run. He then went to Queensland and smashed them in the Fred Best before a forgivable Stradbroke run. He has been trialling the house down and with Bowman aboard first-up he is well primed for a first-up run here.
SOUTHERN LEGEND took all before him last prep and was a fantastic winner when resuming over 1000 with 60kgs. He steps up well in grade here, but gets that offset by only carrying 53kgs. He has the race fitness over CA here and will prove a tough test.
SELECTIONS – No 5 COUNTERATTACK, No 9 Southern Legend, No 8 Old North, No 4 Tycoon Tara
Value Runner No 5 Counterattack
Race 8 4:30pm IRRESISTIBLE POOLS SHERACO STAKES 1200m
This is a cracking race and it is hard to find a top four here, but after her first-up run I’m happy to go with DIXIE BLOSSOMS, who just couldn’t get to Pearls last start. From the gate, I expect Clark to roll forward and dominate the race, with race fitness on the mare’s side. If he does that, they won’t be running her down.
RAVI took all before her last prep and deserves a crack at stakes grade here. She has been trialling the house down and with residual fitness on her side she will be in the race for a long way.
DENMAGIC had a fantastic preparation during the late autumn and winter with not much luck. She hasn’t been helped by the gate here and after a solid trial with even luck and a clear run she will be flying at them late.
PEARLS was fantastic first-up when winning. She draws a double figure gate for the first time here. She goes up 3kgs for that win as well. I’m not enthused with the drop back to 1200m for her either as I’ve always thought that 1400m was her best distance.
SELECTIONS – No 10 DIXIE BLOSSOMS, No 12 Ravi, No 11 Denmagic, No 1 Pearls
Value Runner No 11 Denmagic
Race 9 5:10pm ROSEHILL BOWLING CLUB HANDICAP 1400m
Tough race to finish the day off, but we’re leaning to BALMAIN BOY, who is fresh after two nice trials. He was tested against the big boys last preparation and was just that level off them. He is a group horse at his best and this could be his time to shine. He is yet to win shorter than a mile, but off his trials he has turned a corner and should be thereabouts.
TOWER OF SONG looks to have found a winnable race here. She has been very good in her first two runs back and at the 1400 third up she looks a threat with Shinn aboard.
COOLCRAFT enjoyed the drop in grade last start and was a good winner at Canterbury. He has been competitive at Saturday level before and this is a winnable race for him.
FABRIZIO is well weighted after the claim here. He was a strong winner fresh and Jennings stays aboard here. He is two from two second-up and looks to make it three from three here. He looks to take up the running from the barrier and is the one they have to run down.
SELECTIONS – No 11 BALMAIN BOY, No 9 Tower Of Song, No 7 Coolcraft, No 1 Fabrizio
Value Runner No 1 Fabrizio