It’s the first day of The Championships in Sydney and it is a racing fan’s dream with some of the best horses in the country facing off in some mouth watering Group 1 action. The day is headlined by the Doncaster Mile and the TJ Smith Stakes. There are also two other Group 1s with the Australian Derby and the Inglis Sires. Add in a nice support card down at Caulfield and there’s plenty of winners to be found across the day!
There has been sporadic rain all week in Sydney with the track currently rated a Heavy 8, but expecting they will be racing in the soft range tomorrow.
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Keen to back (4) The Irishman here in the Carbine Club over 1600m. He was last seen only being narrowly beaten by Hungry Heart who we all know came out and won the Vinery last week. He beat home Impecunuious that day, who also ran well last week. Should be ready to peak here stepping out to the mile and draws perfectly in gate 5. Looks to be a horse with plenty of upside and think we still haven’t seen the best of him yet.
Thinking that (6) Mozzie Monster can turn the tables on (1) Annovisto here after their last start. Mozzie Monster got too far back and had too much to do but still flew home very encouragingly. Gets a nice weight swing on her main rival here and should be able to be ridden a touch more positively from barrier 5. Annovisto does manage to get fired up during her races and there looks to be a bit of pressure engaged here which might be to her detriment. Think all these factors are in favour of Mozzie MOnster and looks a good bet at the current price vs the favourite.
This is one of the best races I’ve seen for a while with the 2021 TJ Smith Stakes attracting the best sprinters our country has to offer at the moment. The top of the market is dominated by the usual suspects in Nature Strip and Bivouac but they have also been joined by the flying 7 year old Eduardo, who has found a new lease on life under Joe Pride. Masked Crusader, Libertini and September Run are the new blood on the block and look the most likely to take down the big guns.
I’m keen to be with (1) Bivouac who is a favourite of mine and looks to get every possible chance to turn his form around here. Admittedly he hasn’t been at his best this prep but is a 3rd up specialist and looks ready to fire. Will get the dream run from gate 2 in behind a hot speed set by Nature Strip and Eduardo and should be the one ready to peel off their heels in the straight and explode. Smashed Nature Strip 3rd up last prep and I don’t like the fact Eduardo gets the booking of a jockey who has never ridden him before. This might be the last time we see ‘Biv’ in Australia and I am hoping he can put it all together here, because we all know his best can win this race. (9) Libertini is the best of the value runners for mine. Was huge fresh in the William Reid where she was caught wide and did well to keep coming for 3rd. Has been kept on the fresh side for this and if the track can dry out enough, she is a winning chance.
The second of the feature races on Day 1 of The Championships is Sydney’s Premier Handicap, the Doncaster Mile. Another cracking field has been assembled here and as always there is no shortage of winning chances. Mugatoo is the clear bookies favourite after an impressive win in the All Star Mile and now comes back to Sydney in search of another triumph over the 1600m. Last start Group 1 winner Mo’unga is on the second line of betting while the Kiwi 3 year old Aegon is next.
With all that being said, I’m keen to be with a pair of Godolphins who look ready to peak tackling this race 3rd up from a spell. Both (2) Avilius and (10) Cascadian have been good in their two respective starts this preparation and while wins have been few and far between, today they both look to be winning chances. Avilius was beaten less than half a length by Verry Elleegant fresh before flying home in the George Ryder to narrowly be beaten. Slight step to the mile suits and he is one of the best wet trackers in the field. Cascadian has been building to a big performance and I think he will be one of the best suited runners the way this race is going to pan out. Should be plenty of speed on up front and he gets the services of Jamie Kah to weave him a passage in the straight. Think you can back them both and return something on the race.
I think (13) Funstar is the best value in the race. Returns to her beloved Randwick and has a great record over this track and trip. Wouldn’t mind seeing them roll forward from the wide gate and hopefully get carted into the race. If she can find a nice spot in running I think she can go very close.
Heading North to round out the day and find something to hopefully bring us home strong (or get out). (5) Gem Of Scotland looks a massive chance in a very open race here over the 1350m. You couldn’t miss her first up performance where she was a massive eye catcher before being a touch disappointing at the Gold Coast. Don’t think she enjoyed racing there and now gets back to her favoured Doomben circuit. Is 2/2 3rd up and is a horse with plenty of ability. Think the $6.50 is a great bet.
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