Randwick plays host to a triple-header of Group 1 races this Saturday with the Epsom Handicap, Flight Stakes and The Metropolitan headlining a stacked nine-race card! Check out our race-by-race preview and betting tips for the day below.
You can also find our preview and betting tips for every race at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day HERE!
Best Bet: Race 9 - (8) Handle The Truth
Best Value: Race 8 - (2) Gallic Chieftain
The first two-year-old races of the season are always tricky ones to work out with every horse on debut, but I thought (2) Every Rose would be very tough to beat here for Mark Newnham and Josh Parr. She recorded the fastest time of the 11 heats at the Randwick trials a couple of weeks ago, albeit her trial was 5m shorter than some others. She ran 50.08sec for the 847m; she sat handy, was asked for an effort and extended away nicely to win by 1.8L. From the good draw, she should put herself right on speed and prove very hard to beat. (11) Ticket To Ride and (9) Stellar Pauline went to the line locked together in their heat, which was run in 50.17sec over 852m. It was difficult to split that pair but perhaps Stellar Pauline had a bit more up the sleeve. (4) In Flanders is a Godolphin filly on debut and it's always a big risk taking on this stable in the early two-year-old races, or any two-year-old races for that matter.
The boys version of the 2YO races here, so again, a tricky one to work out. Notably, James McDonald rode both (4) Beyliks and (7) Global Quest to trial victories and he chooses to stick with Global Quest. That's big in itself as JMac obviously has a big association with Godolphin as well as Chris Waller, and he leans to Waller's horse here. It's strange that Waller has a two-year-old up and running this early on in the season, but his trial was very good, despite being run in just a fair time. He cruised to the line under very little pressure and the style in which he did it was what was impressive. He draws well in barrier 3 and I think he's going to be very hard to beat. Beyliks is the sole Godolphin runner and as mentioned above, they are always right around the mark in these races. I won't be shocked one bit to see him win. (3) Belieber won his trial in strong fashion, putting up a 2.3L margin after leading. Again, Waterhouse and Bott will have their two-year-old charge tuned up and ready to win. (10) Nitrous was another impressive trialler in a decent time. He wasn't asked for much but found plenty when he was put under a bit of pressure. Drawn well, strong jockey and trainer combo, should go close.
It really pains me to tip this horse but if (4) Dealmaker can't win this then he's completely gone. He's a winner of just one race from 17 starts but he gets absolutely everything in his favour today. He's had three runs back this preparation, has settled last on each occasion and has run the best sectionals of the race in all of them. His racing pattern costs him but I think there's been reasons as to why he's settled so far back in his three starts this time in. First up he probably wasn't set to win and had the 3kg apprentice on, and his past two starts he's drawn the carpark which has forced him to be taken back. He's fit now and finally draws a gate which should allow him to settle much closer in the run. JMac sticks with him and I dare say he will be much more positive early in the race. The form behind Sweet Deal first up proved strong and Waller's intention was to get this horse into the Epsom, but he didn't make the field so he lines up in a consolation race of sorts here. Surely this is the day. I think we'll see sharp improvement from (3) Penske third up and up to the mile, while I'm happy to take on (5) Greysful Glamour who stays at the mile, which is a worry for me. (6) Shock Alert has a poor record at Randwick and Humbolt Current didn't exactly frank the form out of his last-start win. (8) Irukandji was given no hope last start so forgive him for that. He won his start prior so he looms as a danger to Dealmaker, but his record at Randwick is also poor, much like his stablemate. That's about the race, so really it's Dealmaker's to lose.
Hard to split (1) Funstar and (2) Probabeel who crossed the line together, separated by a bob of the heads in the G2 Tea Rose Stakes over 1400m here last start. They both come into this third up from a spell, so as the market suggests, it's basically a flip of the coin between the two of them. I'll stick with Funstar, who I backed in that race and who I've loved since her first trial. She made a fairly early move in that race and she was also without cover for the most part. There doesn't look to be any speed in this race at all so tactics will play an interesting part. I just think she might get first run on Probabeel who is likely to settle at the back of the field, and if that's the case the NZ mare might have trouble getting past her. It will be a fascinating battle! (5) Foxborough looks a good chance of running 3rd. She was beaten a nose over this track and distance in Listed company last prep. She blew the cobwebs out first up and peaked on her run late. She's been back to the trials and should be fit enough to run into 3rd.
Another fascinating little race. (2) Classique Legend deserves favouritism after his super effort first up behind Pierata. He went into that first up from a spell, giving away fitness to Pierata and Redzel, and was very brave in defeat. That was also following a small setback leading into the race. He should take plenty of benefit from that race and he should prove very hard to get past with even luck here. (1) Osbourne Bulls had four starts last preparation, all in Group 1 company, and ran 2nd on all four occasions. He's got a super first up record with three wins and a 2nd from four starts. And to be honest, he was unlucky in defeat first up last prep behind Sunlight. Interestingly, he resumes with the blinkers off for the first time. He'll get back and have to run them down but he's certainly capable of doing so. (6) Brutal adds a bit of intrigue to the race. He was last seen winning the G1 Doncaster Mile. He will probably sit just off the leaders from barrier 4. He's a very good horse but I doubt he'll be fully tuned up for this.
I really don't think there's a great deal to this race so if (9) Verry Elleegant is anywhere near her best then she'll be winning this. She was very disappointing first up but she improved last start to run 4th, despite being caught three-wide without cover throughout the race. She's third up now and up to 2000m, which is a distance she really should be effective at. There's rain predicted and if it falls it will only beneift her. James McDonald gave her a really strong push, basically declaring her, and this is easier than what she faced last start. She should be winning this if she's right. (1) Samadoubt will want the ground as firm as possible. (2) Life Less Ordinary looks the value at double figure odds. He's drawn the inside barrier and won easily second up last prep. He's also got a good record at this track and distance so expect him to improve and be a place chance.
It's getting a bit repetitive but I've got JMac on top again here with (4) Te Akau Shark. He was set an impossible task last start on a track that was both firm and a leaders' highway. He was one of the only horses to make significant ground that day and his run was full of merit. He gets a 3kg swing on (1) Dreamforce from that race and if the track is fair then I think the Shark can turn the tables. Last time he raced over this distance he won by 6L. Dreamforce draws the carpark but he should be able to slide across and find the front anyway, or at the worst, sit outside the leader. As mentioned, he resumed with a dominant victory here over 1400m where he led all the way, but the track was heavily favouring leaders on the day. With that said, he did back that performance up with a good effort to run 2nd behind Avilius in the G1 George Main Stakes over this track and distance last start. His overall record at the track and distance is very good, with four top-two finishes from five starts. The weight shouldn't be much of a worry - the last four winners of this race have carried similar weights. He looks a pretty good price all things considered. Outside those two, Chris Waller has a very strong hand. (9) Kolding looked gone for all money last start but surged the last little bit to get his head in front. He's now won five of his six starts as a gelding. The one he lost was a 3.5L defeat to Dreamforce when he was first up from a spell. He gets a 7kg turnaround in the weights here and the step up to the mile looks ideal. (14) Star Of The Seas has been set for this race. He had no luck at all last start behind Kolding where he was basically held up the entire straight. He probably needs to improve to win a G1 but he gets blinkers on again (he's never won without them) and drops to 50kg. (8) Mantastic is a complete blowout chance at $67. He had no luck at all last start in the Cameron Hcp at Newcastle. He's never missed a place at this distance and he's finished in the top two in all three starts when third up from a spell. (10) Rock is flying but he needs to go to another level to win this. Hard to knock the way he's going though. (15) Cascadian not hopeless but will need luck.
(12) Brimham Rocks must be very hard to beat here. If we go back to last preparation, he had placings behind the likes of Avilius (twice), A Prince of Arran and Yucatan (who was at his best), as well as a 2nd placing in this exact race, where he was beaten a nose. This prep he's had three starts. Two runs back he produced the fastest final 200m of the race in G1 company behind Samadoubt and Avilius, before going to Melbourne and bouncing back to form with a good win over 2000m. That was his first win below 2350m in his career, the other four victories have been between 2350m-2800m, so he's up to his peak distance here. He carries 1.5kg more than what he carried in this race last year, gets the same jockey on and draws well. On top of that, this is a race full of crawlers. (5) Stampede looks his biggest danger as he'll be bowling along out the front. The value in the race is clearly (2) Gallic Chieftain at $18. He's had two runs back this prep, the latest of which was behind Brimham Rocks at Caulfield. But he always needs those two runs before really hitting his straps third up. He's had seven starts when third up and has won four of them, including a G2 win over 2600m here at Randwick last preparation. He gets the blinkers back on and has clearly been set for the race. He's a great price.
Happy to stick with (8) Handle The Truth, who is a very good horse and one that's provided some good results for us in the past. He's first up here and he's won three of his four first up runs previously. That should be four from four but he had no luck in defeat first up last prep when caught three-wide without cover throughout. He cruised into the race that day like he was going to bolt in, but just got tired and overrun late. He then came out after that and bolted in on the heavy ground. His trials this time in have been outstanding and I'm very confident he'll go very close here at a good each way price ($6.50). (13) Reelem In Ruby looks the horse to beat. She's yet to miss a place from her seven career starts. She's trialled well, gets in light and draws well. If she's favourite at $3.70 then the $26 for (7) Strome is crazy odds. Strome beat Reelem In Ruby last preparation over 1400m and meets her 1kg better off at the weights today. She's got a good first up record and just needs some luck from the wide gate, as well as the track to allow horses to run on from the back.
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