Tips by Brad Gray
Brad Gray’s tips and insights for Royal Randwick on Saturday. There are winners to be found for nine races!
We get another look at the G.O.A.T in Winx as she lines up in the $500,000 Group One Colgate Optic White Stakes (1600m). The Randwick card also features the G2 Shorts (1100m) where Everest contenders Redzel, Invincible Star, English and Brave Smash will clash.
The rail is in the True, the track is expected to race in the Good range and the first set to jump at 12:10pm.
|Race 1 – 12:10PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
They’ll hum along in this 1000m Highway Handicap. 2. Rhyming Puppet should be able to tuck in behind this speed first up since April and be presented with his opportunity. The five-year-old has won three on the bounce, all on his home track Canberra, but deserves his shot at this level now. The latest win was over 1200m so unlike a few of these that will be walking to the line, he’ll have something more to give. No official trials but Nick Olive wouldn’t be coming to town if the horse wasn’t tuned up. It’s an even race but he’s the one still with upside and maps perfectly.
Danger: 1.Equal Balance will be charging home. It’s just whether they’ll run him off his feet over 1000m and the bird will have flown by the time he hits top gear. The four-year-old was very good last start behind Common Purpose with Punters Intel revealing an 11.50s final 200m, which was among the best of the day. You must respect 4.Lifesaver, if not just for the fact he is trained by Matt Dunn who places his Highway horses so well. Not sure where he lobs from the wide draw though with so much speed underneath him. Can’t see him getting in. 10. Sei Stella is another lightly-raced Canberra galloper resuming here and has upside.
How to play it: Rhyming Puppet WIN ($7.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 2 – 12:50PM SCHWEPPES HERITAGE STAKES (1100 METRES)|
1. Santos maps to trail what looks to be a very hot speed on paper. This is our first sighter of him as a three-year-old but his two trials suggest he has come back well. It’s not going to be easy lumping 59kg but the race looks to set up perfectly. Hugh Bowman steers and from barrier 1 will be able to sum things up in the first couple of hundred metres. I’ve got him just tucked in behind on the fence. His first up win in the Pierro Plate over the Randwick 1100m (which is what he tackles here) was exceptional. He then fell in at short odds to win the Skyline before flopping in the Golden Slipper, but plenty of star three-year-olds have done that. The drier the track the better for him. Blinkers go on for the first time (he didn’t wear them in the trials). Profiles to make a winning return.
Danger: 3. Neutrality is easy to find off a very strong showing in the San Domencio Stakes first up behind current Golden Rose favourite Graff. The times backed everything up too. Punters Intel reveals the San Domenico was run 6.5L faster than the other 1100m race won by Za Zi Ba, and a whopping 9.5L the last 600m. This Sebring colt is still a work in progress, with the tendency to overdo things. He is fast, there is no denying that but the last 100m is going to be the worry. Especially with the likes of 4. Charge and 6. Omar wanting to eye-ball him.
How to play it: Santos WIN ($3.70 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 3 – 1:25PM SHOOT OUT MILE (1600 METRES)|
The form guide for 7. Instant De Reve reads a duck egg last start but he never got a crack at his rivals. He was well supported too ($9-$6), starting hard in the market. From what we’ve seen of him in his two Australian starts so far, he is a keen-going horse. He has thrown his head around on both occasions taking a sit. Drawn 11 here and with very little speed in the race, outside of 3. Goodfella Tommy Berry might have his hand forced. Chris Waller has indicated a preference of teaching the horse to settle in behind horses but I can’t see that happening in this. If he leads, rolls along and finds his rhythm there’s a good chance they won’t catch him. Don’t let him get under your guard.
Danger: 5. Another Dollar did enough first up behind Best Of Days over 1400m. She seems to be the forgotten four-year-old of Chris Waller’s team. She went within a whisker of winning the Queensland Oaks with stablemate Youngstar prevailing in a tight finish. The mile is still probably a touch on the short side, and she’ll come into her own third up 2000m, but this race sets up well for her. Kerrin McEvoy will stalk the leaders from barrier 1. Goodfella is honest and although you’ll never see him putting a field to the sword, if they gift him the lead here, like they did last start when he won, he’ll be in the money. 4. Muraaqeb next best but drawn awkwardly.
How to play it: Instant De Reve WIN ($19 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 4 – 2:00PM BOWERMANS OFFICE FURNITURE SHORTS (1100 METRES)|
1. Redzel is everything you want in a horse. He’s tough, absorbs pressure, makes his own luck and perhaps most admirably, is so incredibly consistent. He returned in dominant fashion taking out the Concorde Stakes first up, as he starts the trek to his Everest defence. The margin may only read a length but at no stage in the race did he look like he was going to be beaten. From the 800-200m Punters Intel reveals Redzel ran 31.66s. He makes it look all too easy too. Kerrin McEvoy was still swinging off half way down the straight. He’ll tighten up again from that after parading with plenty of improvemtn. His last 200m was 1.5L superior to that of 9. Invincible Star who was no match for Redzel late and looks up against it turning the tables.
Danger: That said, I’m not ready to completely give up on Invincible Star. Upon reflection, James McDonald perhaps rode her too conservatively. Her asset is her speed. In his defence, she was first up and has an Everest to conquer herself down the track. With the run under the belt though, co-trainer Adrian Bott has suggested they’ll take the hand break off here and let her stride. She started favourite too, remember. 5. Ball Of Muscle has run second in three straight editions of The Shorts (behind Rebel Dane, Takedown and Redzel). He was outstanding at Caulfield first up holding off Voodoo Lad and 2. Brave Smash. 4. English’s winning chances took a blow with the barrier draw.
How to play it: Redzel WIN ($1.80 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 5 – 2:35PM BILL RITCHIE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
5. Invictus Prince ran second to Winx last start. That’s right, second to Winx. Behind him in third and fourth were D’argento and Kementari. Back in sixth was Unforgotten. He started $151 and surprised everybody except trainer Matt Smith. He has always believed the import was a top liner. Sure, we’ve got to see the six-year-old do it again to prove he is the real deal but at the odds on offer, I’m happy to gamble that he is. Prior to his Winx Stakes effort he ran fourth to Philosophy in a BM84 before running 12th in a BM82. Perhaps it took him a few runs to settle into Australian life. His trials before his debut were outstanding. In an ideal world, he probably tackles the mile now. Alas, he stays at 1400m but has had a four week gap between runs, which saw Smith send him to Wyong for a tickover trial. A win in this books him a spot in the Epsom.
Danger: 2. Pierata had a minor setback which saw him scratched from the Tramway Stakes. Trainer Greg Hickman has since reported that the four-year-old hasn’t missed any work but it’s caused a re-think of Pierata’s spring. It’s never ideal. I’d expect him to ease from the $3.10. Not to say he can’t win, but he can do so without me at those odds. The speed here looks okay, even without Flow, which will give 12. Paret his chance. He is fifth up back to 1400m and racing well out of his grade but he is a horse still on the up and possesses a booming finish. 8. Siege Of Quebec went awful last week but the wet track was blamed. Can he bounce back just seven days later? Thought 4. Tom Melbourne was going to Newcastle but here he is! He’ll finish top three.
How to play it: Invictus Prince WIN ($7.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 6 – 3:10PM COLGATE OPTIC WHITE STAKES (1600 METRES)|
There’s nothing left to be said. Too strong, too fast, too good. All eyes will be on 6. Winx with the champion mare priced $1.10 to keep her winning sequence intact. On what we saw of her first up in the Winx Stakes, there is no evidence of any chinks in her armour as a seven-year-old. No matter the track, distance, conditions or barrier, she overcomes everything thrown her way. This will be 20 Group Ones and 27 straight victories.
WINX OUT: Chris Waller will be hoping 8. Unforgotten can fill the Winx void for the stable once her racing days are over. Of course, Winx is irreplaceable but Unforgotten is a budding star in her own right. She has seamlessly made the transition from a filly to racing at weight for age as a four-year-old. Last start she pointlessly beat her Chelmsford rivals. 1. Le Romain is the early favourite in the Winx Out market but expected a touch more from him in the Tramway Stakes last start after winning so well first up. He can certainly bounce back, and maybe that first up win took a bit out of him but I’m firmly with Unforgotten.
How to play it: Unforgotten WINX OUT ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 7 – 3:50PM DARLEY TEA ROSE STAKES (1400 METRES)|
9. Madam Rouge is a very classy filly. She only won a midweek BM71 first up but it was the manner in which she did it, stamped her quality. She sat wide the trip, crept into the race and still found at the finish. James McDonald had so much confidence in this filly to pull that off. In fact, the hoop opted to ride her over Outback Barbie, who he rode in the Silver Shadow and the Furious. There is something certainly about this daughter of Zoustar. The day she won at Warwick Farm last preparation she ran faster time than Lean Mean Machine who won on the same day over 1000m. She has got natural speed too if called upon and with a lack of pace here, ideally she settles outside of 12. Symi and gets her chance to control the race from the front. It’ll take a good one to run her down from there.
Danger: Sires Produce winner 1. El Dorado Dreaming, now trained by Kris Lees (ex Ben Smith), really caught my eye in her most recent barrier trial. Loved her response when the jockey gave her a little niggle to set after Global Glamour. She looks to be humming. 5. Pretty In Pink measured right up in the Furious Stakes last start, with Punters Intel revealing she won one of five runners to break 11s for the last 200m split. The trick with that race is trying to separate the pure sprinters from those looking for further. 7. Futooh has snuck under the radar here after a great return in the Silver Shadow. She’s one desperate for the 1400m and mile of the Flight Stakes.
How to play it: Madam Rouge WIN ($10 TAB Fixed Odds) and El Dorado Dreaming WIN ($8)
|Race 8 – 4:30PM THE AGENCY REAL ESTATE KINGSTON TOWN STAKES (2000 METRES)|
Tried to cut this race up a few different ways but kept coming back to the obvious – 5. Avilius. He possesses a turn of foot few sprinters would be unable to match, let alone middle distance horses. He looked in all sorts of trouble in the Premiers Cup, strung up half way down the straight but 100m later when he finally saw clear air, he had the race shot to bits. Punters Intel reveals the Gofolphin import ran his 400-200m in 11.15s, and that was despite not being clear until the 300m mark. Glyn Schofield said the five-year-old emptied out over the concluding stages of the race too. He’ll be cherry ripe now third up and three weeks between runs is perfect. This is an important race for him as he prepares for a shot at The Metrop. Convinced he is a Group One winner in waiting.
Danger: 15. I Am Serious has to be in the mix off her effort behind Avilius last start when sharply up in trip. She gets weight off him and will be well in front of him in the run. 8. Sedanzer was outstanding first up in the Chelmsford Stakes. She was only off a seven week freshen from a Queensland campaign but has never really fired a shot first up in the past. Second up that’s a completely different story. She is four from four. The mare, also Metrop bound, has drawn very wide but Tim Clark should be able to slide across with 3. Classic Uniform. 4. Libran has never been better on the back of two great runs. The query is whether he throws in a flat one now third up. 11. Patrick Erin is only second up here, having missed the Chelmsford, but loved his fresh run.
How to play it: Avilius WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds)
|Race 9 – 5:10PM E GROUP SECURITY HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Can make a strong case for 9.Manhattan Mist at double figure odds. The last time we saw him he beat 3. Marsupial as Gosford, giving him 0.5kg and starting equal $2.70 favourites. They clash here with Manhattan Mist meeting him 6kg better, is double his price in early markets and has drawn a lot kinder. It’s a head scratcher but let’s take advantage. The Kim Waugh-trained five-year-old has never finished worse than second in seven career starts and deserves his shot in town now. Prior to Gosford he ran a brave second to Just Dreaming in the Provincial Championships qualifier, despite covering a stack of ground. Just Dreaming is no slouch. Have mapped Manhattan Mist to be in the first four, whether that’s outside of the leader or just tucked in behind, he’ll get his chance.
Danger: Still not convinced 2. Trekking gets a strong 1200m. All three of his wins have come over 1100m and think he is much more dynamic over the shorter trip. That’s not to say his class won’t get him over the line here though. Punters Intel reveals that last start behind Don’t Give A Damn he ran a very sharp 400-200m split before peaking on his run. Marsupial was beautifully placed last campaign, with the gelding operating certainly playing a role in his consistency. Sticky draw but he’ll be motoring home. Tactics will be telling on 8. Dissolution from the wide draw but he’s good enough to give this a shake at odds if he gets the early breaks.
How to play it: Manhattan Mist EACH WAY ($11 TAB Fixed Odds)