The rail goes to the true position for the program with the track being a Soft 5. Last time out at Rosehill (August 25), the rail was out 6m the entire and the surface was soft but the track appeared to play fair with winners coming from all parts of the track. Punters should do their form around the soft conditions with more rain forecast for Sydney in the lead-up to Saturday.
This race should be run at a genuine tempo. Speed horses look to be Zousain (8), Graff (13), Performer (1) and Jonker (4) while Smart Elissim (2) and Sandbar (10) won’t be far off either. Lean Mean Machine (7) has raced at the back of the pack for most of his career due to bad barriers but has proven he can overcome that. Long Leaf (9) will get back as well.
The Key Runners:
1. Zousain – J. McDonald (57.5kg) (Barrier 8): $4*: This horse really shone at the back end of his two-year-old season so it is interesting to see how he has come back at three. Warmed up for this with a win in ‘that’ trial containing Chautauqua at Rosehill on August 25 while he was a distant second to Everest-bound Invincible Star in his other trial. Was dominant in the soft going when winning the Champagne Classic during the Brisbane Winter Carnival before finishing close seconds to The Autumn Sun and Lean Mean Machine in the Sires and JJ Atkins respectively. The money has already started coming for this bloke too so could pay to get on!
2. Lean Mean Machine – T. Angland (57.5kg) (Barrier 7): $15*: The price is definitely generous for a horse of his ability but might be a shade below where some of his main rivals are at this point. Went for a spell after finishing down the track in the JJ Atkins but prior to that stormed home from near the tail to win the Sires at Doomben. Will get back in the field and was outpointed by Zousain in a recent trial when fifth beaten nearly two lengths. Is definitely the each-way value here but needs speed on to be a chance.
3. Graff – J.Collett (57kg) (Barrier 13): $2.50*: Lightly raced colt who is the new kid on the block. Was brilliant in sitting behind the leader Neutrality before blowing him and the rest of the field away in the San Domenico a fortnight ago at this track. Has won on Good and Soft conditions previously and steps out to 1400m for the first time. Did win over 1300m at Hawkesbury back in April so the distance shouldn’t be a concern. This is his biggest test to date as the field is loaded with depth. Is he up to it? You have to take $2.50 to find out.
4. Performer – H. Bowman (57kg) (Barrier 1): $7.50*: Just where is this bloke at? He was one of the standout juveniles last year before going wayward in the Todman and failing in the Golden Slipper. Did have two trials prior to resuming in the San Domenico behind Graff in which he beat Fiesta and Legend Of Condor in one of those. Was beaten clearly by Graff last start but you have to remember he was stuck three-wide the trip and still finished third! From barrier one he should get a cosy run and with Bowman aboard there won’t be many excuses if he doesn’t perform.
8. Long Leaf – T. Berry (56kg) (Barrier 9): $11*: Does get back in its races so the barrier won’t be too much of a concern. A winner of three from eight starts, Long Leaf has run into some quality types throughout his career and done well against them. The Fastnet Rock colt finished second to Tony Nicconi in the Vain Stakes first-up and beat home Native Soldier, who then franked the form last week by smashing his rivals in the McNeil Stakes. Will need the breaks to go his way but if they do, watch for his to coming home hard at the finish.
Long Leaf ($11*)
While Graff is the one to beat, I don’t want to take $2.50* about him in this field. It may turn out to be value but at this point, I’d rather take the $4* about Zousain because there has been a move for him already. Nibble at Performer and Long Leaf at their respective prices for a chop out.
See all our tips for Rosehill