The nine-race card is headlined by the Listed Winter Cup (Race 6). The track is currently rated in the Soft range and the rail is in the 6m position.
We've previewed every race on the card below.
Best Bet: Race 8 - (12) Sylvia's Mother
Best Value Bet: Race 7 - (2) Nicci's Gold
The first of a number of short-priced favourites for the day here, in the form of (5) Rotator. She resumed with a 0.1L defeat over this track and distance two weeks ago and I think the form out of that race will ultimately prove strong. Exceedence finished back in 3rd and he really could be anything. Rotator has drawn well in barrier 3 here and she is bound to have improved off that first up run. THe soft track will pose no problems - she's had one start on a soft 7 previously, which was a narrow defeat to Amercement in the Widden Stakes. She's the one to beat. It wouldn't shock me to see (4) Minted produce an upset though. He was a well-backed favourite on debut at Kembla Grange but pulled up lame. He bounced back with an easy victory at Warwick Farm last start, leading all the way to win by 1.8L. The horse he beat then came out during the week and won impressively, so the form has stood up. He'll hold the lead from barrier 1 here and should give a good sight in front. I gave (7) Intrepidacious a chance last weekend but she was scratched due to the heavy track. She was an easy winner on debut back in October but failed to reproduce that kind of performance in two starts last prep. She's been out for another spell and returns today with two good trials under the belt. She actually started shorter in the market in the Widden Stakes compared to Rotator, so clearly she has some ability. If she brings her best to this race, she can cause an upset. In summary, Rotator is the one to beat, but I think you're brave to be taking $1.75. I'd rather have something small on Minted and Intrepidacious at the odds.
Highway Handicaps are always tricky but the market makes this one particularly difficult. (14) Galapagos comes up the even money favourite. He ran 3rd in a very hot form race last start behind Kolding and Quackerjack. Kolding went on to win the Queensland Guineas (Group 2) and Quackerjack came out and won last weekend, so that kind of form for a Highway Handicap is incredibly strong. Galapagos was beaten near enough to four lengths, but he still appears quite clearly the horse to beat. The difficult thing is there are a few at decent odds outside him that have winning claims too. (7) Legion of Boom wasn't beaten far in a Highway last start, running on well from the back of the field. He drops in weight for today's race and isn't hopeless. (8) Vigorish finished 2nd in that same race. He probably prefers it firm rather than wet but he deserves respect. (15) Onemore Sapphire was only 0.4L behind Virogish when finishing 4th in that same race. He's third up today and did win at this stage of his last preparation. I'll trust the strength of Galapagos's form here and take the shorts, but if playing trifectas and first fours, throw in numbers 3, 7, 8 and 15.
Based on his last-start win, (4) Asterius is clearly the horse to beat here, but the slight query is the drop back from 1500m to 1300m. He's yet to win below 1400m in his career. With that said, the way he's returned this preparation suggests he's in the best form of his career and he was so dynamic winning last start that I'm willing to bet he'll handle the drop back in trip. Barrier 1 is a big help; he should be able to make use of that barrier to sit handy in the small field. (1) Tactical Advantage really should have three wins from four starts this preparation and he comes into this off a narrow victory over 1200m here last start. He rises in trip, which should be fine for him. The weight is no issue, as he proved last start. The notable thing is Jason Collett rode him to victory last start but chooses to ride Asterius today. (2) Sir Bacchus could be the smokey to keep an eye on. He's fresh off a spell and his first up record is reasonably good. He goes well on rain-affected ground and he's trialled well leading into this. He's got a poor record at this distance which is the main issue, but he gets in with a very winnable weight after the claim for Sam Weatherley. (8) Fragonard next best.
Three main interests for me in this race, which is a competitive one. (2) Charlayne bounced back to her best form with an impressive win against her own sex at Randwick three weeks ago. She won by 1.8L and pulled up 2/5 lame, so the effort was very good. She's had the three weeks off and has trialled between runs. Jason Collett sticks with her and even though she's got weight to carry, draws awkwardly and takes on the boys, I think she can be competitive once again. Stablemate (7) English looks the hardest to beat. He's two from two this prep, including a last-start win over this track and distance. He draws well in barrier 5 today and there's no reason he can't make it three from three for the campaign. The value could be the Canberra horse (5) Handle The Truth. He's won five of his nine starts and is undefeated from three runs when first up from a spell. He's won a couple of Highway Handicaps and a BM70 in town, but this is probably the hardest race he's contested. Even so, this could be his best chance of winning a race like this and at double figure odds he's worth considering. I backed (6) Ljungberg first up but I'm jumping off today. He drops in weight and draws better, but I expected a better run from him fresh and this is a competitive affair. (10) Snow Valley has been well-backed so respect the money. Backing Charlayne, saving English and something small on Handle The Truth.
Another short-priced favourite here with (10) Quackerjack the current $2.25 favourite. He's been in great form this prep, with two wins and two placings from four starts. He led all the way to win over the mile last weekend carrying 60.5kg. Down in weight to 57kg today on the one-week back-up and he'll put himself up on speed from the wide barrier. I'm not sure he'll be able to control the race with some speed drawn underneath him, but he's undefeated on wet ground so far and should be fighting out the finish again. Whether I'm prepared to take $2.25 is a different issue. (6) Roman Son appeals at $41. He's had two runs back from a spell and he didn't get clear at any stage in the straight last start. He gets the blinkers back on third up today and he's undefeated from two starts at this distance. he has a horror draw in 17 but at huge odds he's not without a chance. (8) Mister Belvedere is an interesting runner from the Maher/Eustace camp. He won his Australian debut at Cranbourne and he's only going to continue getting better as he steps up in trip. The stable have a better record at Randwick than they do at Rosehill so I'll bet around him today, but he's been backed early and I'd expect him to run well. (7) So You Win and (12) White Boots are chances, while (1) Tip Top is the blowout at $81. He's never finished out of the top two when third up from a spell. Tricky race overall and I won't be getting heavily involved. I think there's enough reason to be cautious about taking short odds for Quackerjack, so I'll just play small each way on Roman Son.
Looks a race between the top three in the market. (4) Hush Writer produced a very impressive effort when winning first up over 2400m. He defeated (7) High Bridge by 0.2L on that occasion. It was a very strongly run race, which probably helped Hush Writer in the end, but it also set the race up nicely for High Bridge coming from the back of the field. High Bridge gets a 2kg weight swing on Hush Writer today, but Hush Writer is sure to be fitter with that first up run under his belt, so it makes for an intriguing affair. Tim Clark takes over on Hush Writer today, which is a positive, and he might even find himself leading. (1) Yogi will be attempting to do what Hush Writer did by winning first up over 2400m. He was last seen finishing down the track in the Sydney Cup in April. He should have no problem with the distance and he did win impressively first up last prep, so he's definitely capable of winning this. He does have to carry the top weight though.
Four horses to highlight for me. (1) Paulita has claims at the top of the weights. She was beaten 4.5L first up but that was in a very strong form race behind Kolding and Quackerjack. That was also her first run in Australia. She finds an easier race here and she'll be better for that first run back. She's also undefeated on soft ground (if the track is still soft by this stage). (2) Nicci's Gold looks a great each way bet at $9.00. She ran well first up over 1400m here behind Reelem In Ruby. She was beaten 2.2L but that was a good effort considering she's only ever placed once from six starts when first up from a spell. Her second up record is significantly better, with three wins from five starts. She really comes into calculations if the track is still in the soft range by this race. If it is, she's probably the best each way bet of the day. If it's been upgraded to good, she still has claims but probably isn't as strong a winning chance as she would be on wet ground. (10) Sweet Victory is another that ran well first up. She was beaten 2L behind Charlayne over 1200m. She has a good second up record, draws well and the rise in trip should suit her too. She's another that would prefer if the track was in the soft range still. (12) Zavance has progressed with each run this preparation and comes into this third up from a spell. Again, she'd prefer wet ground rather than a firm track and if she gets that, she's a chance at $13.
(12) Sylvia's Mother is the short-priced favourite at $1.90 and probably deservedly so. It's a big field numbers-wise but one with only a few chances. She's a winner of four of her six career starts and last time we saw her she started a well-backed favourite in Group 2 company. That race was won by subsequent Group 1 winner Nakeeta Jane. If she runs anywhere near her best here, she'll win. (13) Zonk and (14) Drachenfels are the two clear value chances in the race. Zonk won easily first up and the horse she beat then won his next start easily (he's also the $1.75 favourite in the last race today). She then weakened to finish midfield behind Charlayne last start, but she carried 59.5kg on that occasion and if you look at her career record, she tends to run poorly when second up from a spell. Her third up record is good though, with three 2nd placings from three starts, so expect her to bounce back today. Has a good record at the distance, carries just 53.5kg and will run well on any surface. At $11 she's a good hope of at least running a place. Drachenfels was completely luckless first up, when checked in the straight and held up without clear running for the final 200m. He's got a good second up record with three top-two finishes from four starts. Jason Collett takes over today and at $19, he's definitely worth including in your numbers.
(2) Kapajack somehow opened $1.50, which was a ridiculous price. He's been pushed out to $1.75 but I think we might see him start closer to even money by the time the race starts. He won by 1.8L last start over this track and distance and in this same grade, so based on that he deserves to be favourite, but he's got a few things to overcome today. Tommy Berry is replaced by 3kg apprentice Brock Ryan and he starts from barrier 1, which is a negative for this horse as he tends to get back. With even luck, he's definitely your most likely winner, but at that price, he can go around without me. A couple at big odds to throw in your numbers (and quaddies) are (7) Mapmaker and (9) Damlatia Prince. Mapmaker has had no luck in two starts this preparation and he tends to find form third up from a spell. He's worth an each way ticket at $18. Speaking of no luck, Dalmatia Prince was a case in point first up, when held up the entire straight behind Kapajack. He was beaten 5L but he never got a crack at them. He was 100/1 that day and has a terrible second up record so a win is unlikely, but he was beaten less than a length second up last prep and we'll never know how close he would have got to Kapajack first up if he got any daylight at all. (12) Metamorphic is likely to be my main bet in the race at $8.00. He was good first up at Canterbury and comes into this second up with Jason Collett on board. He's a bit of a non-winner but he gets his chance today. (10) Destiny's Own and (13) Niccochet others to include.
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