THE UNDEFEATED ATLANTIC JEWEL RETURNS
Atlantic Jewel, possibly the best racehorse to run in Australia over the last few years not named “Black Caviar,” resumes her undefeated career (7 for 7 lifetime) in Friday night, August 30th’s race 8A at Caufield in the MEMSIE STAKES (Group 1 for the first time), facing many horses that may well need a run, and/or are being pointed for races much farther than 7 furlongs (1400m).
Of course, there’s a catch – she hasn’t raced since April 28th, 2012!! Everything I have read says she’s fit and ready for the Memsie, but do note that her trainer, Mark Kavanagh, entered up and coming SUPER COOL in the race as well. As Bob Baffert once said, “the hidden entry always wins.” I would encourage curious fans to either watch this race live (like I plan on doing), or catch the replay free at australianracing.com.
ANGLE #1 OF THE WEEK In the States, we don’t write a lot of 5 furlong races for older horses, with the exception of turf sprints at Churchill, Del Mar, Calder, Gulfstream Park and Canterbury Park, and even then they are usually curiosities. In Australia they write these races all the time, and if you look at the ‘career boxes’ of some of these horses, it will be apparent that some Aussie sprinters relish the shorter distance.
Going into last week’s 3A race from Moonee Valley, BROKEN had raced at 4 and 3/4 furlongs, 5 furlongs and 5 and 1/2 furlongs (combined) 24 times, for 7 wins, 2 seconds and 8 thirds. Not a very bad record, and it had won a graded race at 6 furlongs in good time in its last start. Despite this, it was dismissed at 11/1 in the North American pool before splitting horses and getting up late to win.
ANGLE #2 OF THE WEEK Be very wary of betting an Aussie horse first time off the layoff. Most Australian trainers will use the first race off the layoff largely for exercise, and then go for a top try second or third time off the layoff down the line. The one BIG exception is if the trainer has won with the horse first time off the layoff in the past, he or she may try to get the horse ready to win “first up.”
ANGLE #3 OF THE WEEK Wide post positions (‘bad barrier draws’) can lead to a horse being 3-wide or worse going into the turn, without a horse in front of the wide horse to block the wind (the Aussies call this ‘3 wide/no cover’). Unless you think the jockey can overcome this obstacle, it is better to focus on horses that have posts 1 through 6, where your preferred selection can save the ground.
PICKS, PICKS, PICKS!!!
RACE 2A (Caulfield) Vain Queen looks to have the most talent, but she’s first off the layoff and she doesn’t have a big speed figure edge anyway. #9 ANGELS BEACH (9/2 ML) comes off a nice return race and should be double tough for this effort. Same trainer and sire as Black Caviar adds to the appeal.
RACE 3A (Caufield) #5 ROMAN TREASURE (15/1 ML) came back in a razor tough 5 furlong sprint down the Flemington straight – not her game. 2nd time Aussie for Peter Moody (she used to race in USA Grade 1s), she draws nicely in barrier 4 and really does not have to improve much to win. Risky, but certainly possible at good odds. Lady Melksham (5/2 ML) drew badly in post 15, but appears to be the main danger.
RACE 5A (Caufield) #13 THE GREAT SNOWMAN (12/1 ML) might be a bit of a ‘stab,’ but he’s race fit, gets in with only 119 pounds, and his jock has been red hot lately. Does not have to improve much to win and the value will be there. Favorite Starawberry Boy has always been an an underachiever and he appears vulnerable first up at the tricky 7 furlong distance.
RACE 5C (Rosehill) #3 VELROSSO loves Rosehill and Chris Waller just broke the record for the most wins by a Sydney trainer. 7/2 odds would be gift, but if you can get it take it.
RACE 6A (Caufield) #7 POCKET ROCKETS can flat out fly and was very unlucky to lose at Moonee Valley last time. Wide draw should be OK because jockey Craig Williams will work out a trip. Favorite Samaready needs to prove that she’s back to her excellent two year old form.
7A (Caufield) #13 SPACECRAFT (10/1 ML) stretches out after getting chewed up on the pace going 7 and 1/2 furlongs (1500m). Comes back in 7 days – a strong Aussie angle, and switches to excellent speed jock Stephen Baster. The Cleaner might go with him, but he looks more like route speed while Spacecraft is definitely sprint speed. Spacecraft is definitely worth a few bucks “on the nose.”
7C (Rosehill) #9 WORDS ARE WEAPONS (7/1) won like a good thing for young trainer Sam Kavanagh (son of trainer Mark Kavanagh) on August 14th, and it was later divulged that this horse was specifically sent to Sydney to take advantage of their handicap races. Note the horse is very versatile – it can lead, stalk, or come from mid-pack. Only slight improvement is needed to win.