Strong head winds on the day, two weeks of rain leading into the event and the inside 3m section being untouched for the last month makes for a diabolical track pattern to sort out. Suggesting they will use plenty of the track giving those back in the field their chance to slice through.
Plenty of speed on paper. Roughie Fuel will look to take up the lead from 8 with O’ So Hazy behind it. On their outside Don’t Give a Damn and The Monstar will show speed early. Awesome Pluck and Snitz should sit close enough from their inside draws. Ruthless Agent, Victorem and After All That will sit off mid-field with Suncraze, Belflyer and Sharpe Hussler all getting back.
1. The Monstar – T.Angland (60kg) (Barrier 9): $5.50*: Been up since May, but kept fresh with a few weeks between each run. Shortened significantly in early betting when running a bottler only 1.2L behind Pierata in the Group 2 Missile stakes over this course and distance three runs ago. Since then he has been safely held in in Group company, however this is a step down. Will absolutely relish the heavy going having won a Group 2 event on soft going over 1200m and a Listed race over 1100m by 5.8L at this track last year. In the mix but short enough at $5.50*.
2. Sharpe Hussler – K.McEvoy (58kg) (Barrier 12): $14*: Made up ground from the back last start behind Almanzora at Randwick over 1000m. There were excuses there as the gelding pulled up with a slow recovery. Prior to that he dismantled a good BM79 field at Rosehill over 1100m after being buffeted when jumping. Given a tick over trial prior to this run at Scone. He’s won 2 starts from 3 on the heavy and the camp (who are flying) are bullish. Respecting at odds.
5. Victorem – B.Looker (57.5kg) (Barrier 4): $3.90*: Winner of this year’s Country Championships comes here first up off two trials. He’s undefeated from his two starts at Randwick and likewise is 2 from 2 over 1200m. The strong tempo will suit as he pulled away from Don’t Give a Damn over 1400m in the Country Champs. Last seen running second as favourite in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas, only run down by Sambro late. Two genuine queries are the B.Looker finding trouble after being shuffled back from 4 and whether he’s fit enough first-up. Suspect he’ll ease slightly from the $3.90* on offer.
6. Don’t Give a Damn – K.McEvoy (57kg) (Barrier 10): $4.40*: Drawn ideally to roll across outside the leaders. Started this preparation in fantastic fashion running straight past the flying Trekking (won twice since) in a BM91 over 1200m at Rosehill. Was then caught 3 wide no cover the trip with 64kg on a heavy Rosehill track over 1400m and still only went down by 2.4L. That run will bring him right on for this back in distance. Trainer Danny Williams has said during the week that he’s working far better than he did when toppling Trekking first-up. Undefeated on soft track to boot, he’s the one to beat.
7. Suncraze – C.Brown (57kg) (Barrier 5): $20*: Genuine enigma this horse. Couldn’t have presented better when first-up at Rosehill but almost fell nearing the turn and finished tailed off. Has subsequently ran Trekking to 1L. He’s well performed on wet ground (4:1-2-0) but his racing pattern always means he’ll need luck. Did finish 4.5L behind Victorem in the Country Champs with subsequent respiratory issues. Given the respect we’re showing the Trekking form line this guy can’t be dismissed at odds. One for the exotics players.
Don’t Give a Damn ($4.40*)
Sharpe Hussler ($14*)
The Monstar ($5.50*)
Disappointed about the scratching of Care To Think as we were keen to bet up on Victorem and Don’t Give A Damn at good odds. With those two now coming up favourites we’ll have a strong bet on Don’t Give a Damn over Victorem based on position in run. Still chopping out on both Victorem and Sharpe Hussler.