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The Group 2 Expressway Stakes is this week's feature race on the card in Sydney on what is sure to be a soggy day at Rosehill.
There's the possibility of severe storms throughout the day on Friday and up to 10mm of rain expected on Saturday, which means we are likely to be racing on a very wet track.
Despite only having a field of eight runners, four of those are speed horses that like to settle at the front of the pack so it could be a battle for the lead early on.
It would be ambitious tactic against the older horses but there's every possibility we could see King's Troop attempt to lead from barrier 7, provided he doesn't miss the start again. Our Boy Malachi will up up there to contest it, as will Tiger Tees from the inside gate and after leading all the way to record a dominant win in the Summoned Stakes, Solicit could also attempt to lead here.
That leaves Generalife to take up a position just off the speed, along with Big Money who should settle further back than what he did last start. Forget is another horse that can race up on the speed but with the speed likely to be hot from the time the gates open he may settle a bit further back. River Lad will likely settle at the rear of the field from barrier 8.
As aforementioned, there's only 8 runners set to line up here but I can make a genuine case for about 6 of those so it looks slightly more competitive than what the market suggests.
RIVER LAD: He's one of the only ones I can't make a case for here. He has a decent 2nd up record and also some good stats on wet ground but with the top weight against some good horses I can't see him winning this.
TIGER TEES: The wet ground improves his winning chances as he is a mudlark but I just think he's past his best. First up last campaign he did run reasonably well to finish just 1.7 lengths behind Terravista but despite the rain I'm happy to watch him go around here.
GENERALIFE: Looks very short to me. Not convinced he races at his best first up and not convinced he is as good on wet ground. When he is at his best he is definitely good enough to win but there's too many queries for me to jump into him at $3.50.
OUR BOY MALACHI: I would be very keen on him to win this if he wasn't having his first run back after bleeding. His record speaks for itself with 6 wins from 7 starts first up, 4 wins from 5 over the distance and 3 wins from 3 starts on wet ground. But coming into this first up from a bleed on a wet track in a race with lots of speed in it may be a tough ask.
BIG MONEY: I think he comes into this as a decent chance. Much better suited 2nd up here and his run first up was good enough under the big weight. 3 wins from 5 starts when 2nd up and he's placed in 7 out of 8 runs in the wet. Could be a nice each way bet.
FORGET: Won a trial quite nicely coming into this but he generally takes a few runs to hit his straps. Not sure the wet ground will favour him and probably better suited at 1400m.
SOLICIT: She's returned to her best in her past two campaigns after being on the brink of retirement. She's got a good record first up and has a couple of wins on wet ground but it's whether the 1200m is just a touch short for her. Will likely take a sit today and expecting her to run a big race.
KING'S TROOP: Bombed the start at the Gold Coast so put a line through that run. Has a 2nd placing to Japonisme on debut on Heavy ground but that doesn't convince me that he will handle it. Would have liked to have seen him run better first up for me to consider him a chance here.
There's no doubt that if OUR BOY MALACHI returns at his best he should be winning this but I have my concerns. It's not an easy task to come into this race first up from a bleeding attack on what is sure to be a wet track and in a race that looks full of early speed. We know he will jump and run, but there looks a few others that might try and do the same. I know he's trialed well coming in to this but race day is a different kind of pressure. I think the market will tell us the story with him - I wouldn't be surprised to see him blow a gale in the market before the race, and when Hawkes runners drift, they normally run accordingly.
The $3.50 about GENERALIFE looks a touch short to me. When he is at his best he is definitely capable of taking care of this field but he's a bit hard to catch. My thought is he isn't normally at his best at his first run back from a spell and I also remain unconvinced that he's at his best on a wet track. For those reasons I'm happy to look at him as more of a place chance.
SOLICIT poses as a nice each way option with my only concern being the 1200m. Her record first up from a break is quite good and in her last two campaigns she has run 1st and 2nd at her two first up runs. She's got a decent record on rain affected tracks and her latest win was in dominant fashion. We might see her sit on the leaders' backs instead of leading but she should run really well.
The one at double figure odds that I think may stand a sneaky chance is BIG MONEY who comes into this 2nd up from a spell. He was underdone first up and carried the big weight but still ran quite well and he's proven in the past that he improves significantly at his 2nd run back. He's only ever missed a place once on wet ground and with the speed I'm expecting, he should get every chance to run on. At the $12 quote I see him as a great each way bet.
TIGER TEES' best days look behind him in my opinion, so despite the wet ground I am happy to watch him go around, while RIVER LAD rates as more of a place chance than a winning chance. The 3 year old KING'S TROOP is obviously the least exposed runner but the wet ground could test him, as will the pace that is sure to be set by the older horses. FORGET is likely to need 1400m and might struggle against this field.
2nd OUR BOY MALACHI
3rd BIG MONEY
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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