This weekend sees Group 1 racing on the card for the first time in 2017, and JustHorseRacing has you covered with everything you need to know about each and every runner in the field. Don’t miss a beat as we analyse each starter to get you in the know for every Australian Group 1 of the year.
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1. Hartnell (12) – Craig Williams
Craig Williams was the last jockey to win on Hartnell when he was first up over 1400m in August last year. The 7 year old has only missed a place once over the distance from 5 goes and is placed 4 from 8 when first up. The Godolphin runner was disappointing towards the end of last prep but there is no reason why the dual group-1 winner won’t be competitive. Has a best time of 82.92 over the journey and was 2nd to Testashadow in a recent Warwick Farm Trial over 1000m.
2. Black Heart Bart (3) – Brad Rawiller
Bart loves Caulfield. He was won 5 times from 9 starts here, placing in a further 3. He has won 4 out of 6 at this track and distance, coming in for the minors in the other 2. 1400m is pet distance for the first of Darren Weir’s runners, not once missing a place in his 14 starts to date over the journey. The 7-year-old is a 5-time group 1 winner, aided by jockey Brad Rawiller who has won 6 races in total aboard the ex West-Australian. He has previously clocked an 82.21 for the journey, running sub-11 second splits in the final 600 over the distance in the past. Summer wasn’t overly disappointing, finishing runner up in the Railway Stakes. Won this race in 2016.
3. Tosen Stardom (14) – Damian Lane
Will have plenty of admirers after massive wins in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap and Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes where he defeated Happy Clapper. It is a step back in distance for the Japanese import who is yet to win under the mile however his massive turn of foot proves he is capable. Ran a 36.12 over the final 600 when coming from 12th to win at this track in October, running a best time of 82.84 in all runs over 1400m to date.
4. Brave Smash (6) – John Allen
Another Japanese import and another runner for Darren Weir. Brave Smash needs to improve on the Australia Stakes effort where he finished 5th of 6, almost 4L behind Thronum. It was the first time the 5-year-old has missed a place in Australia however, finshing runner up in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes and Listed Testa Rossa Stakes, breaking through in Australia in the Listed Chandler McLeod Stakes. Most impressively, Brave Smash was just 1L off Redzel in the Everest. He has had just one crack at the 1400m trip, running it in 86.86 on a heavy track when finishing runner up.
5. Lord of the Sky (10) – Damien Oliver
Winner of the Group 3 Standish Handicap in January, beating Flippant and Chamois Road. The 7-year-old has twice been placed in-group 1’s without winning, scoring 3 victories to date in group 3 company. Lord of the Sky has not won past 1200m however has won 6 races from 14 starts at the track. Won an 800m trial at Cranbourne by almost 3L on the 5th of February. Best time 82.75 over 1400.
6. Tshahitsi (11) – Brendon McCoull
Really good strike rate with 12 wins and 4 minor places from 26 starts. The Tasmanian has won 3 listed races from 5 starts and gets his first crack at a group 1 this Saturday after very handy Victorian form as of late, winning the listed Barton Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield last start. Has won 7 from 11 over the distance, with jockey Brendon McCoull winning 10 races from 17 starts aboard Tshahitsi, placing 82% of the time. Has run 82.40 over the 1400m journey.
7. Mr Sneaky (13) – Kerrin McEvoy
The 4-year-old by High Chaparral was less then 1L off Santa Ana Lane when runner up in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m in October last year. Beat Tosen Stardom, So Si Bon, It’s Somewhat and Lucky Hussler in that race. Has been placed in 13 out of 16 career races and goes into this weekend in form after finishing runner up to Thronum in the Australia Stakes on the 26th of January. Has not missed a place over 1400 with big gun Kerrin McEvoy to ride. Fastest average speed over 1400 in the race, running an 81.58 when winning at Flemington in March last year. Big chance to win a group 1 this year.
8. Thronum (8) – Mark Zahra
Flying after winning the Group 2 Australia Stakes however is yet to win past 1200m, in fact finishing 12th of 14 in his only attempt at the distance, finshing in a time of 84.76. That was just 1 of 2 runs Thronum has not been placed in to date though, with the Snitzel colt winning 5 races and placing in another 3 from 10 starts. Mark Zahra has won 2 from 3 on Thronum thus far.
9. Dollar For Dollar (7) – Jamie Kah
One of the most successful trainer-jockey partnerships in the country again combine in a group 1 with Jamie Kah taking the ride for Tony McEvoy. Dollar For Dollar has been ever-so consistent winning 7 of 14 career races, placing in a further 3. Nothing but good signs for the 5-year-old gelding by High Chaparral, Kah has won 5 races from 6 starts on him, with Dollar For Dollar winning 4 races from 6 starts over 1400m, placing in other runs. The South-Australian visitor is yet to be tested in group 1 company but has been successful in his only run in group company to date. Ran the 1400m journey in a very smart 82.20 when winning at Flemington in November last year.
10. Single Gaze (1) – Kathy O’Hara
Last go over 1400 the mare was 8.2L off Vega Magic and Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes. Has won 1 from 4 first up however won a 900m trial at Canberra on the 19th of January. The last win for Single Gaze was over 2200m on the 3rd of June last year in the Group 2 P J O’Shea Stakes at Doomben. Most notably the runner up of last year’s Caulfield Cup, the Kathy O’Hara ridden galloper hasn’t been all that far away over 1400 in the past, finishing runner up in the 2016 Magic Millions 3YO Guineas as well as the 2016 Group 2 Surround Stakes. Single Gaze will be very competitive from an inside draw, previously running the 1400 in a best time of 81.44, hitting the line extremely well at each try over the distance.
11. Shillelagh (2) – Michael Dee
Group 1 winner Shillelagh is Chris Waller’s only runner in the field, with the 6-year-old mare coming off a group 1 victory in the Cantala Stakes at Flemington on November 4, overcoming the ever-present Tom Melbourne by 0.2L. Shillelagh is a previous winner first up, and has placed 4 times from 8 goes at the distance. She was placed in Group 2 Tristarc Stakes in her last go at the track and distance drawing barrier 11, expecting improvement from the soft draw this time out. Best time over 1400m is 82.26. Has been placed in 10 of 19 starts to date.
12. Abbey Marie (4) – Luke Nolen
Redoute’s Choice mare Abbey Marie has just the 3 career wins to her name, all consecutively following her debut in March 2016. Miraculously won the Group 1 South Australian Oaks over 2000m and has not won a race since. Beat Lyuba over this track and distance in her second ever start in a time of 87.81. Will be aided by a good draw and big-game player Luke Nolen on board. Finished 6th in last years Caulfield Cup.
13. Jester Halo (9) – Christine Puls
The 5-year old mare was a last-start winner over the track and distance in a benchmark 84 on the 27th of January. Has been placed in her last 6 runs with a very impressive career record of 6 wins from 13 starts with a further 3 minor places. The Darren Kolpin trained galloper has not yet been tried at group level or in listed company for that matter. 1400 is pet distance, placing 5 times from 6 starts winning 3. Will be competitive with a best time of 82.40 over the journey and will be looking to go back-to-back and claim her first group 1 win.
14. Mighty Boss (5) – Michael Walker
The bottom-weight in the Lankan Rupee colours will carry only 55 and a half kilos, after his most recent victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas. The Mick Price trained galloper romped it in at $101, beating Kementari and the very fancied Catchy. Mighty Boss was a winner by almost 3L in a 1200m trial at Geelong recently, winning 1 from 2 races first up to date. Has previously won over 1600m however best result over 1400 is a 7th of 11, finishing in a time of 83.28. The 3-year old has had just 6 career starts so far, also winning his maiden at Sale on debut in July last year. After his most recent outing you’d expect him to be hitting the line very strongly.
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