With the Melbourne Fall Carnival finished, the action moves to the main Sydney-area tracks, Royal Randwick and Rosehill. Geometrically Royal Randwick is a huge track with wide turns (think Belmont), while Rosehill has tighter turns (think Aqueduct’s “outer” course). It is rare for a horse to run equally well at both tracks, so pay attention to the “career box” for any clues.
RACE 5B (Randwick) – 12:37 PM EDT – The “Challenge Stakes”: This race is only a 5 furlong Group 2, but many trainers are using this race as their main prep to the $2.5 Million, 6 furlong T.J. Smith Stakes, also at Royal Randwick, set in a few weeks.
Unlike Flemington, the 5f and 6f stakes will be run around a left-handed bend (the opposite direction of Melbourne and Western Hemisphere racing), which MIGHT give #7 Snitzerland some trouble, as she recently has been racing in Melbourne. However, her trainer is based in Sydney and I expect her to be acclimated to the “Sydney way of going.” Usually the winner of the Lightning Stakes is the top sprinter in Australia and by any ranking she has to be in the top three. Big chance.
#6 Tiger Tees is sharp and is trained by the best speed trainer in Sydney, Joseph Pride. Should gun from post one and could well have the lead in deep stretch.
#1 Buffering, last I read, is NOT pointing for the T.J. Smith, but the lucrative sprint races in Hong Kong. As such, I do not think he is fully cranked for this race and may well finish out of the money. I definitely would not bet him at short odds.
RACE 7B (Randwick) – 1:47 AM EDT – The “Royal Randwick Guineas”: I LOVE #2 El Roca in this spot. Note he comes back on 7 days rest, which is a STRONG show of confidence. He just lost to crack OLDER sprinter Terravista while parked 3 wide, running a career top speed figure. Drops in class to face only 3 year olds and he picks up ace Sydney jock Hugh Bowman. Post 14 is admittedly a bad deal but this horse showed in his last race he can run well while parked wide. 3/1 in a 14 horse field, to me, seems aggressive. I would assume El Roca will be second choice at 9/2 odds.
#7 Bull Point ran well in a 7f Grade 1 vs. older in Melbourne, but his training team is based in Sydney and he will be fresh and acclimated. Most likely from post 9 he will be the 7/2 favorite, high enough odds to use him in the exotics.
#5 Eurozone has had his moments and with his pressing style he figures to get the “run of the race” from post 4. A good horse for the trifecta, but I have seen this horse run a few times and I know my top two horses have more talent. I would put his odds at 5/1.
RACE 8B (Randwick) – 2:22 AM EDT – The “Guiness Canterbury Stakes”: #6 Appearance is a super filly, already have won $1.3 Million in prize money. Her last two races have been explosive, leaving the talented Boban in the dust both times. I fully expect her to crush these.
On raw talent, #9 Zoustar is the best horse in the race, but his team’s goals are (1) the $2.5 Million T.J. Smith, and (2) winning a big race at Royal Ascot in June. I just do not see him being fully cranked up here. Aggressive trifecta players might want to keep him out of the win and place slots.
#5 Rain Affair is probably the best speed horse in the field and he won his barrier trial by “only” 11 lengths. When a horse wins its barrier trial by 3 lengths or more its connections mean business.
#10 Not Listenin’tome has been beaten by Zoustar, but that was last fall, and his win at Caulfield on Feb 22 was dynamic. This horse needs Group 1 black type and I expect his connections to have this horse ready to run out of his skin.