Tonight here (Saturday in Australia) is the running of the final Group 1 stakes of the 2008-2009 racing season, the $500k G1 Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm (post time: 12:53 a.m. EDT).
Unfortunately, potential super filly Ortensia is scratched, after scans revealed she may have a slight tendon tear, and her connections have rightfully decided “better safe than sorry.” The other scratch is Kisani, which still leaves a field of 20 going postward over a “Good” surface. Talk about a quality G1 field! There are a total of 5 G1 winners in this race, including last year’s victress Absolut Glam and the very talented Forensics who retires to broodmare duty following this race. I really like the up-and-coming 3-year-old Galileo filly Saint Minerva, but this might be too short for her, so I’ll take a chance with Marveen, a recent $450k purchase at the Magic Millions National broodmare sale—she’s hardly ready to hang up the horseshoes yet. Absolut Glam hasn’t won in seven races since last year’s Winter Stakes, but to be fair all but one were G1 stakes vs. the boys and with the drier track she stands a good chance to repeat.
In the preceding races, I like Keano in the G3 W.J. Healy Stakes, and in the oddly-named Bangerang Quikpic in the Tatt's Cup.
Disappointment—and drama—as Takeover Target has scratched from Saturday’s G1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, due to a fever. It’s not the first time his trainer/owner Joe Janiak has scratched at the last minute, causing punters’ serious financial loss. Janiak has said Takeover Target will now aim for the G1 July Cup at Newmarket where he’ll likely hook up against fellow Aussie sprinter Scenic Blast.