The Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes is one of the feature races on the card at Randwick on Saturday and it sees the return of dual Group 1 winner Pride Of Dubai.
Randwick is currently rated a Soft 7 and there's the possibility of a shower on Saturday so I'm expecting it to remain around the Soft 5 range.
Pace in the race looks good with Zoutenant, Spill The Beans and Voilier all capable of leading. Tarquin and Pride Of Dubai should get comfortable runs in midfield while Counterattack will most likely settle near the rear. Wolf Cry may need some luck slotting in from barrier 8.
PRIDE OF DUBAI: Blue Diamond and Sires Produce Stakes winner as a 2YO but was forced to miss the Spring through injury. Has had two trials leading into this but he's had 10 months off and has to carry 60.5kg first up. Might pay to look elsewhere today.
TARQUIN: Was defeated by Torgersen last start when he was first up from a 8 month break but Torgersen was at peak fitness so he should be able to turn the tables. He's got the ability, gets a great run from barrier 3 and has residual fitness so should be right in the mix.
COUNTERATTACK: Took his game to the next level last prep with the blinkers on, which culminated in a placing behind Japonisme in the Group 1 Coolmoore Stud Stakes. Good first up record and good record at the track; won't mind the rain either. Big chance but might need luck from barrier 2.
SHARDS: Won over 1300m last prep before stretching out to 2500m for the Derby but didn't see out the trip. First up here and will probably find these too sharp.
TORGERSEN: Beat Tarquin last prep but he was having his sixth start of the campaign as opposed to Tarquin who was first up off an 8 month spell. Generally has proved to need a run to get going so happy to look elsewhere.
ZOUTENANT: Having his first start for Gai Waterhouse here and that means he'll be ready to fire first up. Had a trial leading into this where he beat home Rebel Dane and he did finish 2nd behind Exosphere last prep. Might lead from barrier 1 and could give a big sight.
VOILIER: Racing well and is rock hard fit after 3 runs this preparation so that could give him a slight edge on some of the others but he would need to improve to be a winning chance.
WOLF CRY: Big winner of the Magic Millions Maiden at the Gold Coast. Finished 3rd behind Vancouver on his debut and has showed he's got the ability to go to the next level. Will need a slice of luck from barrier 8 but he's good enough to be there at the end.
SPILL THE BEANS: Could be ready to go to the next level this campaign. Finished 2nd to Counterattack last prep and might be able to turn the tables here if he pinches a break. Trialed well leading into this and must be included.
LE ROMAIN: Won nicely first up on the heavy track last start but would need to improve once again to challenge here. Does have proven ability on the wet track though which could be important if we see more rain.
CANNYESCENT: Another one that won on a wet track last start but this is much harder than what he faced and barrier 11 makes life difficult for him.
I get the feeling we should save our bets on Pride Of Dubai for later in his preparation. He hasn't raced for 10 months, is coming off an injury which forced him out of the Spring, lumps 60.5kg here and the Snowdens have said he will probably need the run. His ability should take him a long way in this but he might just find one or two too sharp.
Wolf Cry is coming off an impressive win on the Gold Coast and he's always shown he's had the ability to match it with these. If he gets luck slotting in he might be too good.
Counterattack will need luck and a good ride from barrier 2 given he tends to settle back in the field. He's been well backed early so it will be interesting to see if Chris Waller has him tuned up for this.
Others at bigger odds worth including are Zoutenant, who is having his first run for Gai Waterhouse, Spill The Beans and Tarquin.
Backing Wolf Cry but if the rain comes it might pay to stick with Counterattack who is better suited to the wet surface.
1st WOLF CRY
3rd PRIDE OF DUBAI
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