The rail goes out to the +7m position after playing fair in the +4m position two weeks ago. There has been plenty of watering done to the track over the past week, so horses who like to get their toe in a bit (Winx) will not be disadvantaged.
Speed in this race looks good with Religify and Cabeza de Vaca kicking up from their inside gates and Classic Uniform coming across from 8. Kementari looks to get a great position on the back of Oriental Runner along with Ace High. Winx doesn’t have to be too far off her rivals with plenty of get-back runners engaged.
The Key Runners:
7. Kementari – G.Schofield (58.5kg) (Barrier 7): $7.50*: Was definitely the best middle distance 3yo of his generation and still looks to possess that real X-factor now as an entire. Had two good trials before going down narrowly to Pierata first-up in the Missile Stakes over 1200m here two weeks ago. After a questionable ride by G.Schofield on that occasion he looks to map better here and can only be fitter out to the 1400m. Was only 1.6L off Winx in the George Ryder at their only meeting and has a fitness advantage here. Don’t think he can overthrow the mare but a stand out second pick.
8. Ace High – T.Angland (58.5kg) (Barrier 10): $35*: Unlucky not be a dual derby winner last season after winning the VRC Derby convincingly then going down by the narrowest of margins in the ATC Derby. Two trials have been good leading into this run, finishing 2nd in his most recent (0.4L in front of Winx) over 1000m. Goes very well fresh for a stayer, with a record of 4:1-1-0 first-up. Speed and map will suit. Definite hope for third.
9. D’argento – J.McDonald (58.5kg) (Barrier 9): $23*: The other boom 3yo of his generation steps out for the first time as an entire here. Has been well-held by Kementari both times they met as 3yo’s over 1400m and 1600m. Interestingly for a 2000m G1 winner, his 1400m defeat in the Hobartville was the pick of those two runs. He’ll be spotting some of his key rivals lengths here. Could have a battle on his hands with Ace High for that third spot. Look for him hitting the line.
10. Winx – H.Bowman (57kg) (Barrier 5): $1.20*: Not much you can say that hasn’t already been said about her past performances. Shooting for 26 straight wins, she’s arguably trialled better than ever prior to this campaign. A good mare can improve even at the age of 7 and she might just be the best we’ve ever seen. However, we saw last Spring that she can be vulnerable first and second-up. Only 0.2L separated her and Foxplay in this race last year and Kementari would have far more than 0.2L on Foxplay. But we’ve seen time and time again, she always does what it takes to win and I don’t see that changing here.
Playing a straight bat with the Winx/Kementari exacta and trying to extract some value out of Ace High possibly hanging on for third.