source: Sky Racing World
Australia’s elite gallopers continue their spring campaigns this Friday night, Sept. 28, at Royal Randwick racecourse for Epsom Day, one of the most prominent race days on the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival calendar. For several horses, this weekend marks the final stop on their journey to the country’s showpiece events: the TAB Everest (Oct.12), W.S Cox Plate (Oct.26), and the Melbourne Cup (Nov.5).
The G1 Epsom Handicap features D’Argento and Unforgotten and will be their final run before their showdown with Winx next month in the Cox Plate. The G2 Premiere Stakesincludes six of the twelve contenders for the richest race on turf – the $13 million (AUD) Everest – and will be the key prep race for handicappers to analyze. Friday night’s Randwick card also features the G1 Metropolitan Handicap and the G1 Flight Stakes.
Other group races scheduled include the G2 Australia Hill Stakes, the G3 Breeders’ Plate, the G3 Keeneland Gimcrack Stakes and the Listed Dulcify Quality. The best horses in Australia will be on show and with an average field size of 14, there is plenty of value on offer for handicappers.
G1 TAB EPSOM HANDICAP
Contested over a mile at 4:05 p.m. Sydney time (2:05 a.m. EDT, or 11:05 p.m. PST on Friday night), this year’s Epsom Handicap is headlined by Rosehill Guineas winner D’Argento and Unforgotten as the 16/5 and 7/2 favorites to inherit the title from the last year’s winner Happy Clapper.
With Happy Clapper sidelined from the Epsom with injury, victory is calling the Chris Waller stable yet again. Having already won three of the last five Epsom races, the title slipped from Waller’s grasp last year when his runner Tom Melbourne was defeated by Happy Clapper. Waller is back with a group that not only includes D’Argento, Unforgottenand Tom Melbourne (22/1) but also Shillelagh (20/1), Single Gaze (60/1), Mister Sea Wolf(25/1), Religify (70/1) and Paret (34/1). Trifecta players could even look to box the nine Waller runners as Waller has run the Trifecta over the Randwick mile before.
D’Argento‘s jockey James McDonald is confident and commented “He’s a Group 1 winner with 52.5kg on his back, he’s beaten the handicapper and is trained by Chris, which is even better.”
Pierata, the 19/5 rival for D’Argento and Unforgotten, looks to bounce back from a no-show in the Tramway Stakes. He will line up alongside the Godolphin stalwart Hartnell(19/1), who makes his first return to handicap racing since finishing 20th in the 2017 Melbourne Cup. Gai Waterhouse, the most successful Epsom trainer, is sending in Arbeitsam (25/1) and Siege of Quebec (12/1) to bring home her eighth win.
G2 PREMIERE STAKES
Reigning Everest champion Redzel, along with Trapeze Artist, are tied for the top odds heading into the Premiere Stakes, raced over 1200 meters (6 furlongs) at 2:50p.m. Sydney time (12:50 a.m. EDT, or 9:50 p.m. PST on Friday night). Both runners are listed as 2/1 in the final lead up to their ultimate spring target two weeks later. Outside of the two favorites, other Everest names on the odds list include the Gai Waterhouse-trained Invincible Star (7/1), last year’s Premiere winner In Her Time (5/1), Shoals (8/1) and Santa Ana Lane (6/1).
A win at the G1 Concorde Stakes had Redzel poised to be the favorite going into the Everest but after withdrawing from The Shorts due to muscle soreness, bookies installed Trapeze Artist as 4/1 favorite after his pleasing third behind Home of the Brave. Redzel is now at 5/1 to complete a back-to-back and possibly become the second highest earner in Australian racing behind Winx.
With the Everest less than two weeks away and 11 runners now confirmed, the significance of the Premiere Stakes as a form race for the world’s richest turf race is becoming more evident. With one starting position still vacant and set to be filled by slot holders Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, the anticipation will only build over the next two weeks.
G1 THE METROPOLITAN AND G1 FLIGHT STAKES
This year’s G1 Metropolitan has attracted a capacity field, with a potential fifth victory for Gai Waterhouse (with Sedanzer (25/1)) and back-to-back wins for trainer Liam Howley (with Midterm (15/1)) on the cards. Chris Waller’s dominance will also be felt in The Metropolitan. Two of his acceptors, Brimham Rocks and Libran, lead the market at 4/1 and 10/1, respectively. They are backed up by stable mates Patrick Erin (11/1), Alward (40/1), The Lord Mayor (13/1), High Bridge (8/1), Opposition (40/1) and Jake’s Hill (70/1). The Metropolitan will serve as a crucial indicator for punters looking for further guidance ahead of the Melbourne Cup.
In the Flight Stakes, the G2 Silver Shadow Stakes winner Fiesta (13/2) and New Zealand-bred Pretty in Pink (5/1) will challenge the field favorite Miss Fabulass (1/1). This will be a rematch following their intense clash in the G2 Tea Rose Stakes in mid-September.
Live coverage from Randwick this Friday night is available on the TVG television network, where fans can watch the stars of the turf make a run toward Australia’s spring majors. The Epsom Handicap, Premiere Stakes and Metropolitan can also be streamed on ADW platforms, accepting standard US bet types, such as BetPTC.com. Free past performances and expert picks on all races are available for BetPTC members under the ‘handicapper’s page.’
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In Australian races, the field is assembled in order of weight.
a Primer from Sky Racing World
The following is a quick guide to help you to better understand the main differences between Australian racing and the rest of the world. Here is some good info on watching and handicapping Australian horse races.
If you bet on horse number 1 ‘down under,’ don’t go looking for it to start from the inside gate. There is just as much chance that it could be drawn in post 16. In Australian races, the field is assembled in order of weight. The horse carrying saddlecloth number 1 always will have been assigned top weight or equal top weight. If there are 24 horses in a race, the horse carrying saddlecloth number 24 always will have been assigned the minimum or co-minimum (set-weight races notwithstanding). Once the horses are assembled in order of weight, the draw for post position takes place.
This will prove the biggest initial challenge to players here, primarily because of the differences in the way races are written. Because there are very few claiming races in Australia, many races are designated for horses which have won the same number of races. Most horses start out in maiden races. When they win, most will then come back in a Class 1 handicap, which means non-winners of two races lifetime .
The best pointer to use when handicapping an Australian race – given that many races in the past performance lines will read Hcp (Handicap) or Mdn (Maiden) – is to note the value (purse) of the race or the track class. All Australian tracks simulcasted are designated a “track class” of either (in order of quality) Metropolitan, Provincial, or Country. These designations can be found in the official past performances lines next to the track name as (m),(p), or (c).
Watching a Race
The style of Australian racing is more European than American. First, all races are on the turf. Racing is conducted both clockwise and counter-clockwise depending on the region of the country. A good trip plays an even greater part in the outcome of a race in Australia than it does here. There are several reasons for this – primarily, the larger fields, slower initial pace and tighter racing. When handicapping, pay attention to starting points and layouts of each track. The length of the stretch and tightness of the turns can differ greatly between tracks and have a definite impact on race tactics and outcome. The player looking to identify a track bias will have to do it on a day-to-day basis. Unlike tracks in other parts of the world, it is very rare for a racetrack to race on consecutive days.
Because of the larger average fields, there are now 24 betting interests available. Rarely will you see a field of 24 go to the post, the Emirates Melbourne Cup (GI) is an example of a race that allows for 24 runners. A few times a week, there will be races that allow for 20+ runners, one can usually find these on Tuesday/Friday nights where we feature racing from the top level metropolitan tracks in and around the major cities.
When watching the races, saddlecloth numbers can sometimes be difficult to see. It is best to identify your horse of interest by the color of the jockey’s silks. These colors are available in the program right above the past performance lines. As a bettor you will also find that races from Australia can take quite a bit longer to go official. Due to international simulcast regulations a more comprehensive review and verification process of the results is required before official payouts are made.
The Listed McKell Cup at a mile and a half highlights the card at Randwick this Saturday (Friday night USA) but we’ll go away from that staying race and find another.
There could be some Queensland Derby implications coming out of the 1 1⁄4 m BM79 and one of those is Live And Free.
Sitting behind the pace at Rosehill three weeks, Live And Free could not have been more impressive surging away late. He defeated some decent horses in that and on breeding alone, he will only grow more heading toward the Derby. Adding Brenton Avdulla again is a help too.
Later taking a leap of faith in the wonders of the Snowdens as they have taken over the training of I Thought So who runs in the At Sea Hcp over 5 1⁄2 f.
He ran a lot of decent races last time in but didn’t win. Off two confidence building trial wins, he has a very winnable weight too. The draw lets him be wherever they want to put him.
Can play at the odds but the market will tell a huge tale here given the circumstances of the move in stable. Love to get to an each way price if possible.
BET OF THE DAY (1): Race 6B #3 Live And Free @ $2.50
BET OF THE DAY (2): Race 8B #8 I Thought So @ $4.00
Race 1C Australia (Flemington) Friday, June 9, 2017. EUGENE GORMAN HCP ($100K) 9:45pm EDT (8:45pm CDT, 6:45pm PDT) W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 2yo OPEN. 5 1/2 furlongs, Apprentices Can Claim. Picks: 10-3-2
#10 SIA (5/1 ML) won her debut for the red-hot Lindsay Park connections, and is the first foal for the crack distaffer Hips Don’t Lie (Stravinsky). Expecting good things with the wide draw. #3 Counterplay (7/1 ML) is a very successful racehorse, but draws the hated rail. Hopefully she can find cover and move at the right time. #2 Lone Eagle (2/1 ML) ran a big speed figure at Sandown Lakeside, but he may find Flemington horses to be quite a bit tougher.
Race 3C Australia (Flemington) Friday, June 9, 2017. BRUCE GADSDEN HCP ($100K) 10:50pm EDT (9:50pm CDT, 7:50pm PDT) W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super, Pick 3 (3C, 4C, 5C) OPEN. 5 furlongs, Apprentices Can Claim. Picks: 6-4-2
#6 ROUGH JUSTICE (7/1 ML) and #4 Military Reign (9/2 ML) appear to be the controlling speeds, especially important at the 5 furlong distance at Flemington. At least one horse will be in the exacta. #2 Santa Ana Lane (5/1 ML) owns the best speed figures.
Rosehill is a Good 3 (similar to North American “firm”).
Race 2A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, June 2, 2017. 6 furlongs. PRO RATA ATC MEMBERSHIP (BM78) ($100K) 10:00pm EDT (9:00pm CDT, 7:00pm PDT) W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 3yo BM78. Picks 1-3
#1 NEW UNIVERSE (2/1 ML) has been hugely successful since coming to Sydney, winning his first two Australian starts for Trainer Chris Waller. Being that he’s 4 for 5 lifetime and has the best recent speed figures makes him a very logical favorite. #3 Dissolute (6/1 ML) has a good in the money percentage and the speed figures are OK for the red-hot Darren Beadman/Godolphin operation.
Race 3A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, June 2, 2017. SCHWEPPES (BM78) ($100K) 10:35pm EDT 9:35pm CDT 7:35pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super, Pick 3 (3A, 4A, 5A) 4yo+ M BM78. 7 1/2 furlongs, Apprentices Can Claim. Picks 1-3
#2 Payroll was a big scratch in here, but #1 DAGNY (5/2 ML) is in winning form and seems to be on the improve for Chris Waller. #3 Wahng Wah (4/1 ML) has a good win percentage and speed figures close to Dagny’s for the always competitive Kris Lees stable.
Tonight’s Track: Royal Randwick (near Sydney)
Expected ground: “Soft 6” (softer than good ground)
Note: I am unable to download the Australian PPs I use to make selections tonight, so I am employing video replays from racingnsw.com.au.
Royal Randwick – Race 1A (9:10 PM Eastern, 8:10 PM Central, 6:10 PM Pacific) 2yo 7 furlongs set weights, Purse AUD $100,000 Picks: 7-5-3-2
#7 ICON OF DUBAI (5/1) was extremely wide and had to make a premature move to get position. Well bred for the distance, maybe he can turn the tables tonight. #3 Sambro (3/1) and #3 Padraig (8/1) also ran well in Icon of Dubai’s last race, but Sambro got a soft trip near the lead and Padraig was able to save a lot of ground once he got to the front. #5 Lord Cecil (5/1) is the fresh face. He has already tried $125,000 stakes company on the Gold Coast at 6 furlongs. He may do better at 7 furlongs, being a son of Animal Kingdom. He is in his first Australian crop of runners.
Royal Randwick – Race 6A (12:20 AM Saturday Eastern, 11:20 PM Central, 9:20 PM Pacific) 3up 6 furlongs BenchMark 78 handicap, Purse AUD $100,000 Picks: 2-12-10
#2 HEAVENLY ANNA (3/1) has really good HEAVY track form (2 wins), and the ground at Randwick is a Soft 6 tonight so maybe that will help. She also drops from a tough Group 3 on GOOD ground (similar to firm in the USA) at Scone into a very weak BM78 race, a level she has already won. She is allowed to race tonight because an APPRENTICE jockey (read: not as good as a journeyman) gets to claim nearly 7 pounds off and that qualifies her to enter. #12 In Times of War (6/1) and #10 Sisken (10/1) are in good form but have yet to run a competitive race at this level.
As of this writing, both Rosehill (A track) and Flemington (B track) are reporting “Good 3.”
Race 1A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, May 19, 2017. JOHN MILLER HALL OF FAME HCP ($100K) 9:25pm EDT 8:25pm CDT 6:25pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 2yo OPEN, 6 furlongs Apprentices Can Claim. Picks 3-1
#3 ADSUM (6/1 ML) had a solid trial on May 8th, and comes to the races for Team Hawkes with their “go to” jockey, Tommy Berry. If this horse is real his odds will be a lot closer to 3/1. #1 Viridine (7/2 ML) has a win under his belt for the red-hot Godolphin operation under ex-champion jockey Darren Beadman. This appears to be a two-horse race.
Race 1B Australia (Flemington) Friday, May 19, 2017. SAINTLY HALL OF FAME TROPHY ($100K) 9:45pm EDT 8:45pm CDT 6:45pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 2yo OPEN, 7 furlongs. Apprentices Cannot Claim. Picks 2-5-4
#2 GRANDIOSE (4/1 ML) looks like a horse that loves to win races, and this field isn’t stacked. Choice. #5 Salsamor (9/1 ML) has won at the taxing 7 furlong distance. #4 Hecta (5/1 ML) doesn’t have fast track form but he did win his debut and is bred for the distance.
Race 2A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, May 19, 2017 2A GEORGE MOORE HALL OF FAME-BM73 ($100K) 10:00pm EDT 9:00pm CDT 7:00pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 3yo BM73. 7 furlongs Apprentices Can Claim. Picks 7-4
#7 PASSAGE OF TIME (9/2 ML) is lightly raced and gets in very light at 122 pounds, compared to the 131 pound high weight. I also like the class drop from BM76 to BM73. #4 Samadoubt (7/1 ML) is also dropping from the same BM76 into this spot, and is second off the layoff. He has the back speed figures to be a threat with nominal improvement.
Race 3B Australia (Doomben) Friday, May 12, 2017 3B SINGAPORE T.C MEMBERS’ HCP (AUD $100K) 11:26pm EDT 10:26pm CDT 8:26pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super, Pick 3 (3B, 4B, 5B) OPEN Listed Race, 1 mile. Apprentices Cannot Claim. Picks 2-5-10
#2 JUNGLE PRINCE (5/1 ML) appears to be in very good form and has the speed figures to back it up. He has run well up to a mile and a half so I expect a strong effort tonight. #5 Cantbuybetter (3/1 ML) showed good form against top mare Single Gaze in his last start. He’s a contender for the top two positions. #10 Sultan of Swing (25/1 ML) looks slightly outclassed, but has good early speed and gets top jockey Kerrin Mcevoy to ride.
Race 4B Australia (Doomben) Friday, May 12, 2017 4B MOET CHAMPAGNE CLASSIC (AUD $175K) 12:06am EDT 11:06pm CDT 9:06pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 2yo OPEN SW Group 2, 6 furlongs. Apprentices Cannot Claim. Picks 11-2-4
#11 SHE’S OUR STAR (12/1 ML) is very well bred and her speed figures are marginally competitive. She has a good post and should be considered a threat, even as she’s coming into this race off a four and a half moth layoff for respected trainer Tony Gollan. #2 Snitzcraft (3/1 ML) owns the recent form and best early speed; she may go off as low as 8/5 here as a very solid chance. #4 Pah Terie (16/1 ML) appears to be the best deep closer in the race and he can definitely add value to the exotics wagers.
Race 7B Australia (Doomben) Friday, May 12, 2017 7B JAMES BOAG’S PREMIUM DOOMBEN (AUD $700,000) 2:04am EDT 1:04am CDT 11:04pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super OPEN Group 1, 6 furlongs. Apprentices Cannot Claim. Picks 12-3-1-5
#12 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION (7/2 ML) is (7-5-0-0) lifetime and has put in some top performances. I think he will do very well on the expected “soft 7” ground. #1 Fell Swoop (16/1 ML) is the top-rated horse in here and his record at six furlongs is quite good (9-4-2-2). #3 Takedown (16/1 ML) has been a bit dull, but I know this huge animal has the talent and I like Brenton Avdulla riding him for the first time. #5 Music Magnate (4/1 ML) won this race last year when it was run at a longer distance (6.75 furlongs last year vs. 6.0 furlongs tonight) and at 6 furlongs he’s never been off the board (7-4-2-1).
Race 1A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, May 5, 2017 1A FRESH FOR KIDS HCP ($100K) 9:40pm EDT 8:40pm CDT 6:40pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 2yo OPEN 5 1/2 furlongs Apprentices Can Claim. Picks 2-3-13-14
#2 MADAME MOUSTACHE (4/1) has the best speed figures in here, and has faced the best competition. She seems well spotted here. I have no idea why she’s 20/1 in the ML, she will be 4/1 or shorter at the off. #3 Darhad (6/1) showed speed and tired on “Heavy,” but her “Good” surface races are quite respectable. #13 Blonde Intuition (8/1) and #14 Envy Of All (10/1) show good efforts in maiden races, but this is a considerable step up in class to “Open 2 year olds.”
Race 4A Australia (Rosehill) Friday, May 5, 2017 4A FRESHMARK (BM76) ($100K) 11:25pm EDT 10:25pm CDT 8:25pm PDT W, P, S, Ex, Qu, Tri, Super 3yo BM76. 6 furlongs, Apprentices Can Claim. Picks 1-8
#1 ZUMBELINA (4/1), 134 pounds last two races on “Heavy” were admittedly bad, but if we look back to her races on “Good” surfaces she has never lost (3-3-0-0). I am hoping for a bounce back to her better form. #8 New Universe (6/1), 124 pounds is an import from New Zealand, and many of these types run well in Australia. Both of these horses are trained by Chris Waller, so watch the betting. Usually his LONGER ODDS horse in this situations runs the best of the pair.