Fantastic all-group stakes card at Rosehill this evening (Saturday in Australia), including the first leg of Australia’s 2-year-old Triple Crown, the G1 Golden Slipper. There’s no Black Caviar, but it will be a fantastic day of racing with the track likely rated Good 3. My thoughts on the prime contenders, with some longshot hopefuls tossed in for good measure:
1A The Schweppervescence (G3, 2yo, 7f) 9:45 p.m. EDT
Her improving form makes G2-placed Flying Snitzel a logical choice; her dam Hula Flight won the G1 Metropolitan Handicap over the talented Nothin Leica Dane. Mildly concerning is her going up six pounds in weight, but she is the most proven horse in the field. Humble Power, Fiveandahalfstar, and Rise To The Top come out of the same 7f race, but don’t necessarily look too threatening here, although with blinkers added, Fiveandahalfstar should run closer to the pace. The filly Dear Demi has won over this track and looks to enjoy the extra ground.
For a longshot chance, the lightly-raced Toydini by Bernardini (out of the G1 Doncaster runner-up Johan’s Toy) should like the firmer surface and turn the tables on Smart Man who defeated him last time.
2A Sebring Stakes (G3, 3yo+, 5.5f) 10:25 p.m. EDT
He’s been away from the scene since October 2010, and it’s been even longer since Mic Mac has won a race (August 2009), but he’s put in two solid barrier trials in advance of this start, so I would not be surprised to see him win. Poor Temple of Boom has had no luck of late, clashing with likes of Black Caviar and Hay List, but those races were on the Flemington straight track. G2-placed Do You Think also comes in off two sharp barrier trials, with Blake Shinn aboard for Bart Cummings.
For a bit of a price, Zaratone is a worthy bet, with a great record at this distance and over this track.
3A Vinery Stud Stakes (G1, 3yo fillies, SW, 10f) 11:05 p.m. EDT
At set weights, Oaks winner Mosheen looks tough to beat here; she’s won two straight G1 races (Australian Guineas and Royal Randwick Guineas) and has already run farther. G1 Flight Stakes winner Streama will take a lot of play as well, but this will be her first attempt beyond one mile; a place chance. My longshot play here is New Zealand-bred Thy, an O’Reilly filly whose half brother Solid Billing finished third in the G1 Sydney Cup going two miles. With the potent combo of trainer Peter Moody and jockey Luke Nolen, she’s a big chance especially after just missing last time out going this distance. Big step up in class, though.
4A Myer Tulloch Stakes (G2, 3yo colts/geldings, 10f) 11:45 p.m. EDT
Rekindled Alliance is the likely post-time favorite and has some quality about him; his full brother Rekindled Interest ran third in the G1 Cox Plate and won the G2 AAMI Vase over 10f. He should come flying late. Undefeated Strawberry Boy takes a huge step in class and distance, but if he can carry his early speed the distance he’s a likely wire-to-wire winner. Gai’s got another top contender in Compass who’s already proven at a route; his dam is a half sister to superstar Makybe Diva. A Waterhouse trifecta? Possibly, with Satirical Boy enjoying a huge drop in weight off his last win; his unraced dam is out of 10f listed winner Sardegna, and a full sister to 12f G2 runner-up Samoa.
5A The BMW (G1, 3yo+, 12f) 12:25 a.m. EDT
What a marvelous stayers’ race, pitting in-form Americain and Manighar against one another, along with the nice mare Southern Speed. Those three recently met in the G1 Australian Cup, with Manighar eeking out the win. I’d expect those three to mix it up again today, but for a price, good ol’ Precedence is worth a flyer longshot bet.
6A Inglis Queen of the Turf (G1, 3yo+ filles/mares WFA, 7.5f) 1:05 a.m. EDT
The shocking death this week of Pinker Pinker takes some thrill out of this race. Chances are More Joyous will successfully defend her title, but last-out G1 Coolmore Classic victress Ofcourseican could give her a late run for her money; she’s got an excellent record over this course, but meeting at equal weights probably favors More Joyous. Making her third start this cycle, King’s Rose finished brilliantly in the Coolmore Classic, and actually gets some weight relief. While not likely, I would love to see hard-trying Yosei get another G1 victory.
7A AAMI Golden Slipper (G1, 2yo, 6f) 1:50 a.m. EDT
The field of 16 is evenly divided between colts and fillies, but only one stands out as the post-time favorite, the undefeated More Than Ready filly Samaready. To say her runs thus far have been impressive would be an understatement; she’s displayed a brilliant turn-of-foot, gutsy toughness and won all four of her races with ease, including the G1 Blue Diamond against males. Her dam is a half sister to multiple G1 winner County Tyrone (Queensland Derby, Metropolitan Handicap, and Sydney Cup) who won as far as two miles, so it’s exciting to think of her future career. Craig “Froggy” Newitt will be challenged breaking from the 11 barrier post, but that should be her only challenge. My top pick. Trainer Gai Waterhouse has five entries, led by the undefeated Lonho colt Pierro with Nash Rawiller up. His dam is also a half sister to a multiple G1 winner, Laverock (Prix D’Ispahan, Gran Premio del Jockey Club Italiano), so his future stretching out also looks promising. He breaks from the rail post, though, which could be a little problematic.
Of the remaining male contenders, Epaulette looks promising after his narrow defeat to Pierro last out; his three-quarter brother Helmet was a multiple G1 winning juvenile. The fillies’ contingent looks very powerful, beginning with Gai’s undefeated Fastnet Rock filly Driefontein, as well as No Looking Back and Snitzerland, both of whom have been clearly defeated by Samaready. All three are serious exotics choices.
For my longshot pick, thought, I’m rooting for the maiden Exceed and Excel colt Narcissus to break out with a placing here; his Snippets dam Hasna finished third in this race back in 2003 after being blocked for a run, and then convincingly won the next two legs of the Triple Crown for Gai Waterhouse: the G1 Sires’ Produce Stakes and G1 Champagne Stakes. Oh, and did I mention Hasna’s second damsire is Foolish Pleasure?
8A George Ryder (G1, 3yo+, WFA, 7.5f) 2:35 a.m. EDT
It could be a huge night for trainer Gai Waterhouse, and 3-year-old Niagara is her hope in this race, although he’ll have to win from the far outside 16 barrier against seasoned campaigners. Off his recent good form against Manighar, last year’s victor Rangirangdoo has a strong chance to repeat, as he loves this track and the distance. King Mufhasa defeated the late Pinker Pinker last out in the G1 Futurity Stakes, but in three previous efforts he’s never managed to finish better than third at Rosehill, including the 2010 George Ryder. The mare Secret Admirer is in sharp form and gets a good barrier. For a longshot, look no further than Monton with Craig Newitt aboard.
9A HKJC Stakes (G3, 3yo+, 10f) 3:10 a.m. EDT
Maules Creek is in excellent form, and a lightweight compared to the more experienced campaigners like Zavite who takes a real class drop here. For a big price, I’m willing to wager on Gai’s duo, Western Symbol and Charing Cross.