Sydney racing returns to Rosehill this weekend. There are big fields going around in most of the races.
The track is currently rated a Heavy 8, but with fine weather forecast for the rest of the week we will get improvement from that. The rail is in the true position.
Race 1. TAB Highway 1500m
Chances of a return in a 20-horse highway feel slim, so I will sit the first race out.
Race 2. Turangga Farm Woodlands Stakes 1100 m
Shihonka ran well on debut closing off nicely for second. I like the form there behind Billiondollarbaby, who rates well having beaten Port Louis at the start prior. She stays at the 1100 m for this assignment and if Clark can get her away a touch cleaner than last time, she should be able to position handy enough from barrier 4.
SONNET STAR was great on debut taking gaps between runners to hit the line hard 1.3 lengths off Najmatty, who looks a decent horse. She would have to improve stepping up to the city from her last start at Wellington – but that win had merit, again hitting the line very strongly after having to switch runs at the top of the straight.
Ashema was very unlucky last start caught three deep without cover and can improve for a nicer run, which she will get from barrier 3. King takes over the reins. I would prefer her at 1000m, but with a soft run in transit she should still run well.
Bet: Shihonka win $7.50
Race 3. John Messare Handicap 2000m
Achiever led a fast gallop at his latest start when going up to the 2000 m with winkers on. He gave a good kick at the top of the straight in that Group 3 contest. A repeat of that effort would hold him in good stead in this BM78 race. He can be a little tricky to predict is the negative, but the start prior can be forgiven where he was caught three wide without cover the trip.
Lackeen is an interesting runner. His first two runs in Australia have left a lot to be desired, however his latest effort was much better.
He ran on well and hit the line strongly at Canterbury behind Mr Dependable. He is now five weeks between runs and up to 2000m, which is slightly unusual. He will get a soft run from barrier 3 with Clark on board.
Bet: Hedging win bets (70 per cent/30 per cent) Achiever $6 and Lackeen $9.50
How good is May racing? (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images for the Australian Turf Club)
Race 4. Emirates Park Denise’s Joy Stakes 1100 m
Mollycoddle has been running on well in relatively slow races. Staying at 1100 m second up here is a slight query. However, a quicker tempo is likely in this big field and that should suit well. She goes on all surfaces.
Expat draws beautifully in gate 3 with apprentice Tommy Sherry retaining the ride. There looks to be plenty of speed drawn wider so they may have to burn a few carrots early if they want to retain the lead. Otherwise, they may hand up and get the gun run in behind.
Her comfortable win last start back in February was franked with the second placed Hinchbeast going on to win at its next start.
Rock My Wand is hard to ignore with a third placing behind Instant Celebrity in its form lines, however that was at 1400 m and she has not been successful first up so she may be best followed a bit deeper into the prep. In any case I am expecting a decent run here from back in the field.
Bet: Mollycoddle e/w (value bet) $8.50/$2,90
Race 5 Inglis three-year-old Guineas 1400 m
Prime Star draws perfectly for this first up assignment. Although he has never won fresh from four attempts, he has finished second twice in much harder grade than this.
The restricted conditions look very favourable for him given he finished close to horses such as Rocketing by, Aegon and North Pacific last preparation. With Tommy Berry on from gate 6 it’s hard to see him not running a very good race.
Exoboom and Midland have decent enough form and look the other potential chances as the current markets suggest.
Bet: Prime Star win (best bet) $2.90
Race 6 Vinery Luskin Star Stakes 1300m
Lost and Running is the obvious pick here. He is currently odds-on in the market following an eye-catching win last start from the front. He won that by 4L without being pushed the final 100m.
Based on that he looks like he should get the 1300 m fine. The start prior he overdid it while caught behind runners and cost himself the win against Enchanted Heart, who then ran well to win her latest (listed) race.
He has drawn out wide in barrier 10 but without an abundance of obvious speed in the race it looks a good draw. He is not the quickest out of the gates so it will allow him to work into his rhythm and cross to the lead on his own terms. As the horse on the up, he gets in low at the weights.
Bandersnatch will likely look to come across with the favourite from the outside gate and is one of the chances in the race. The distance and surface present no issue and he has a 50 per cent winning strike rate first up from four starts. He won at Randwick in the Listed Carrington last preparation, which reads pretty well for this.
Eleven Eleven was caught wide without cover last start and still ran ok in higher grade. He was only 2.2 L off Splintex there, who goes around in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 this weekend. He maps much more favourably this start from gate 4 so will get his chance to re-find the winner’s stall.
Bet: Lost And Running win (next best) $1.65
Race 7 Kia Ora Stud Ortensia Stakes 1100 m
Fituese is extremely honest with six wins and two seconds from 11 career starts. She is unbeaten from three goes first up.
She does have to turn the tables on both Fiesta and California Zimbol from her Victorian campaign last spring. She draws wide in gate 13 but I’m thinking at this point in the day being wide may be an advantage given the high numbers of horses going around on the program chopping up the inside.
She should hopefully be able to drift back and find cover in a three wide line and then come home with a late run, assisted by the 53 kg light weight.
Fiesta found winning form again in Melbourne last Spring, including a group 3 victory on Derby Day. She clearly has the class for a race like this. Her runs this prep have been good without all the luck in the world. She had to switch paths for a run last start, probably to the more inferior ground. She finished fifth in the Group 2 mares race there and perhaps peaked out a bit late – so the drop back to 1100 m looks ideal.
Embracer won fresh at his first attempt as a gelding and has a good chance to add to his impressive record here from a nice draw.
Bet: Fituese win $4.20
Race 8 Tie the Knot Handicap 1100 m
Hulk draws ok in barrier 10 and should be able to find some cover from there. This appears to be his ideal trip and first up his record is favourable at 5: 1-4-0. He ran some strong races last preparation including a two-length win over Our Bellagio Miss, who he meets 2.5 kg better here.
Salina Dreaming is a hard horse to catch, but if she can replicate her first up run then she would be extremely hard to top here. She beat Rainbow Connection easily there, who has since placed twice in stakes company. Andrew Adkins takes the ride and will need to overcome a tricky draw.
De Grawin and Black Magnum are among the many other chances.
Bet: Hulk win $7.50
Race 9 Les Bridge Handicap 1400 m
It’s an extremely open race to finish the card. There will be 18 horses after scratchings so it is a very tricky race to pick a winner.
Fashchanel has form just behind April Rain and Harmony Rose earlier in the season, which reads pretty well for a race like this.
From gate 15 she will need her fair share of luck though, as will many others.
There are lots of chances, I will personally be going very wide in this leg of the Quaddie.
Bet: No bet. I will just watch the last.