Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for racing at Randwick on Saturday, September 21st.
The Group 1 George Main Stakes headlines the meeting in Sydney, while the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes headlines racing at Caulfield (click here for our Caulfield preview). Before You Bet are running a FREE competition to win some Betfair merchandise; see the competition tweet below and for more details, click here!
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Best Bet: Race 7 - (2) Avilius
Best Value: Race 8 - (1) Shraaoh & (12) Haripour
Completely uninspiring Highway Handicap to start with. There was only one horse that took my attention when I went through the field and that was (14) Marokawa. He bolted in to win by nearly 4L two starts back at Scone and then he came to town to line up in one of these Highway races last start. He finished second last, beaten 5.5L, but put a line through that run because he never once saw daylight in the straight. The winner of that race was Lady Demi who we backed on the day, and she's been very competitive in a number of Highways these past few months. I think that's a good form reference for a Highway like this, and quite often the best form for Highways is previous Highway races. Drawn off the rail today so won't have any traffic problems, and Glen Boss takes over from James Innes Jr. Not a bad each way bet at $7.00.
Very competitive race and I could quite easily back three or four runners in this. (1) Murillo improved last start and comes into this third up with the blinkers applied for the first time. It's also the first time he's raced on Heavy ground in his career so it will be interesting to see if that combination of factors sparks a win out of him, because he's been pretty disappointing in Australia to date. (5) Final Award looked to have a barrier trial first up at the midweeks. He carried the full 61.5kg and settled at the rear of the field. He ran home in the best 800m-200m sectional but wasn't competitive. Second up, down in weight and up to 1400m looks a really positive set of conditions. Both of his career wins have come at this distance and the form out of his first up run has proved very strong, with Rock continuing on his winning ways. I expect we'll see a much improved from Final Award today. (6) Lisdoonvarna is another that looked to have somewhat of a barrier trial first up, though he was pretty competitive, finishing 3rd. He carried 61kg with the 3kg apprentice on and the saddle slipped shortly after the start, so his effort was pretty good in hindsight. Down in weight, the regular senior jockey goes back aboard and he's got a good record on heavy ground, so I'd expect him to run well too. (10) Super Star Bob was unlucky first up at Wagga. He comes to town now and gets Kerrin McEvoy aboard. He's been competitive in races similar to this in town in the past, so as long as he handles the wet ground, he's a chance. (12) Cisco Bay is one I'll definitely be having something on at $10. He's a swimmer this horse. All four career wins have come on Soft ground and this is his first go on heavy ground, though he has trialled well on it leading into this. I would have preferred if he was second up today but with conditions well in his favour, I think he's a big chance at each way odds. (13) Eugene's Pick had no luck whatsoever first up and also has winning claims.
Happy to be on (11) Junipal here. He was a good thing beaten at Moonee Valley last start after being held up until about the 75m mark. He charged into 3rd, beaten 0.3L and with any clear running at an earlier stage he would have won. He won his start before that, so he's clearly going well. He's gone well on heavy ground in the past and should get his chance today. (15) Master Of Wine is becoming a bit of a frustrating horse, having run four placings from his four starts in Australia. They've elected to go with an off-side blinker for the first time in the hope it might switch him on a bit more. He's untested on heavy ground but has run well on soft ground, so with the light weight he really should be going close again. I think the complete blowout in the race is (12) More To Gain. He ran reasonably well first up on the heavy track at Rosehill behind Greyworm. He's got a good second up record and he's never finished out of the top two from four starts at this distance so he should improve on what he showed fresh. He's never missed a place at the track and he's got a decent record on heavy ground so at $51 he looks a huge price. (1) Penske pulled up 2/5 lame first up in much harder company. This is a big drop in class so he can find the front and give a bold sight.
Great little race this between (1) Libertini and (5) Funstar. At the prices, I probably won't be betting, and if I do it will be on Funstar at the $3.80. After last start, there's enough concern with me about Libertini running a strong 1400m, whereas Funstar is going to relish the trip and the track conditions. I've loved her since day one and I was on her first up. I won't be dropping off her after that effort and she should give Libertini a great race of things from the top of the straight. Libertini might well come out and blow them away but at $1.80 she will have to go around without me.
Another competitive race. (3) Avantage has never missed a place in her career so at $5.50 she looks a good each way play. She ran 2nd first up in New Zealand but she was softened up in the lead and was always going to be vulnerable late. She won during the Sydney Autumn on heavy ground over 1200m and that was in Group 3 company so she should be very competitive in a similar race like this. The difference is this is over 1400m; she's only raced once at this distance previously and that was when she won the G1 Sires' Produce in NZ despite sitting three-wide for parts of the race. (6) Star Of The Seas is a mudlark so the heavy track really suits him. He's undefeated from his three starts on heavy ground. He ran admirably first up behind the likes of Dreamforce and Te Akau Shark and that kind of form should see him right in the finish here. There's big wraps on (7) Cascadian who ran well on his Australian debut when first up from a year off the track. He's on track for some of the Spring features so he'd want to be going pretty close to winning races like this if he's going to qualify and be competitive in those. He did run the best final 600m first up and I think there were a few very handy horses in that race.
There might be one or two bubbles burst after this race. We have basically three equal favourites in the form of (2) Redzel, (3) Pierata and (4) Classique Legend. The biggest test is definitely for Classique Legend, because this will really tell us if he's up to the mark. He's just had the four career starts to date, and although he clearly looks like a Group 1 horse, they have to do it under the race pressure against horses such as this to really prove it. He's up against a few Group 1 winners here so this is his acid test ahead of next month's Everest. With that said, I think he's up to it. He should be unbeaten but for a poor ride from Kerrin McEvoy that cost him the race last prep. Other than that, he's won with authority. He had a minor setback a few weeks ago but he's returned to the trials and looks as good as gold so I'm going to go wtih him to upset a couple of the more accomplished big boys. Redzel is no slouch and if there's a chink in the armour of Classique Legend then he's probably your winner. He was tough as nails first up and looks back to his best. He goes well on the heavy ground as we know and he'll be a tough nut to crack. Pierata was huge in defeat behind Redzel first up, but he had it set up for him with the way the race was run. He might be scratched if the track is too wet. (8) In Her Time is certainly not to be overlooked, she's won five times when first up from a spell but whether she can do it fresh on a bog track is the main question. (7) Home Of The Brave will love the wet ground so it wouldn't shock me to see him run well first up.
I've been on him both times this prep without success but gee, (2) Avilius looks incredibly hard to beat. In fact, I think this may well be a two-horse race, with (11) Verry Elleegant the danger. Avilius hasn't had much luck in his two runs this time in, and both races haven't been an ideal set up for him. First up he just wasn't sharp enough over 1400m and Samadoubt got a cheap lead and managed to cling on. Then last start, Avilius was caught three-wide without cover toward the back of the field, while Samadoubt once again ran them into the ground from the front. It's a very different ball game today third up on a very heavy deck. Avilius is undefeated on heavy ground from his two starts on the surface, with a combined winning margin of 4.6L. Ideally, he would have been up to 1800m or 2000m today but he remains at the mile. In any case, I think today he finally finds suitable conditions to get back in the winners' stall. Verry Elleegant was terrible first up, running 2nd last behind Samadoubt in the Winx Stakes. Again, I think the heavy ground will make a huge difference for her today. She's won five of her six starts on wet ground and is undefeated from two starts on heavy. She absolutely smoked them on heavy ground over 1500m last prep, so if she can return to that sort of form, she'll be much more competitive. (1) Happy Clapper has finished top two in seven of his eight runs over this track and distance. He will be honest as ever but he's only placed in one of his three starts on heavy ground, so that's his concern. (3) Dreamforce was absolutely dominant first up but he got everything under the sun go his way on the day. He led on a day which was a leaders' highway, his biggest danger was a backmarker and it was firm ground. He's got competition for the lead here and he's yet to win from five starts on wet ground. (4) Samadoubt has returned as a new horse this prep. He won the G1 Winx Stakes first up before running them ragged in the G2 Chelmsford last start. He's got Dreamforce for competition in the lead today and he's never won from four starts on heavy ground, so he has to be a risk today. Avilius and Verry Elleegant for me.
Another really good betting race. I'm sticking with (18) Supernova who is a horse I've got a lot of time for. He did a good job coming from the back of the field first up at Hawkesbury. He produced a similar run first up last prep before an explosive win second up over 1900m on heavy ground at Rosehill. He jumps to 2000m today and gets a heavy deck once again, so things line up pretty well for him here and I'm happy to take $5.00. (11) Come Play With Me ran a great race on his Sydney debut. He just found one better on the day and that was his mudlark stablemate Wu Gok, who then came out and won the Wyong Cup at his next start. From the good draw, he should be really competitive again today. Outside those two, I think there's a couple at good odds to include. (1) Shraaoh looks a big price at $51. He ran second last behind Samadoubt first up in the Chelmsford Stakes over the mile, but that was just to blow out the cobwebs. First up last prep he ran second last over 1500m at Rosehill, and then he came out second up and ran 2nd, beaten a nose over 2000m. It's a very similar set up for him today, except today he's on heavy ground and carries top weight. He'd need to run to his absolute best to win but I think he can be hitting the line strongly late at big odds. (12) Haripour has a poor record at this track and at this distance, but he's got a terrific second up record, including a win last preparation. He was only 0.2L off Avilius last start and that form would see him be very competitive here! (16) Girl Tuesday is flying but probably needs firm ground, while (17) Scarlet Dream was sensational first up but is probably in the same boat. I'll be backing Supernova, Shraaoh and Haripour, while saving on Come Play With Me.
Three chances for mine to end the day. (2) You Make Me Smile returned to form with a return to Sydney last start. It was the You Make Me Smile I'd expected to see the start prior in Melbourne. Now that he's back in form I think he can stay in form. He loves this distance, he's won five times from 10 starts over the trip. He's got no problems with the heavy ground and he was only run down last stride by (7) Greyworm last start, who gives him a 1.5kg weight swing today. Greyworm has still only had eight career starts, resulting in four wins. The only time he's missed a place was first up when he was caught five-wide as the favourite. He did a good job to run down You Make Me Smile last start. He did get the run of the race on that occasion and it's a bit different from barrier 11 today, but he's a horse still with plenty to come and the speed should be on here. (9) Prime Candidate is in good form, much like the rest of the Bjorn Baker stable at present. He won two starts ago before being run down by Sweet Deal last start. Sweet Deal came out and won a G3 at Newcastle on Friday so that looks to be decent form. He should kick up on the inside to lead and he'll take plenty of catching, so long as they don't crucify each other up the front. Those are the three main winning chances and you could probably back all of them ($7.50, $4.50 and $4.40 respectively). Others to highlight are (14) Roheryn, who I think is way under the odds. He won first up but it was hardly impressive and he failed to back that up as the short-priced favourite last start. I'm very happy to take him on. (6) Improvement ran 2nd to him when he won first up and she was unlucky. That was her first run in 90 weeks and although it was a flashing light run, the form out of that race is hugely suspect.
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