The first of four Group Races on today’s card is the G3 Eclipse Stakes. A relatively small field of ten runners will face the judge but there are some smart types amongst them and several good formlines exposed, so expecting a good race and that is reflected with a competitive early market.
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1. GREY ASSIGNMENT – G Boss (10)
Qld galloper who went within a whisker of making it four wins on the trot last start when collared right on the line by Éclair Surprise in the Listed Diamond Jubilee (1800m) on Cup Day. Had every chance in the run last start from an inside draw and might have to do a little work or need a some luck from the outside gate today but, has run 1st or 2nd in twenty-one of his thirty-six starts so no doubt if Bossy can find a spot, will be competitive.
2. SHEWAN – D Dunn (9)
Winner of last year’s G2 Herbert Power (2400m) who lines up here after an even effort behind Mourinho and Midnight Martini (won last Saturday) at Moonee Valley three weeks back. Has been chasing home some smart ones in his four starts this prep and will appreciate taking on the today’s line-up but just don’t know if he’s going as well as he can this time in.
3. INVEST – P Mertens (8)
A 4yo mare who was winner of the G3 Doomben Roses (2000m) earlier this year and looked ready for this trip now after her last start seventh of thirteen (beaten 2.3) in the G1 Myer Classic (1600m) at her third run in this prep. She’ll get back and not well in at the weights but look for her to be doing her best work late and not without some hope.
4. STAR OF GISELLE – K McEvoy (2)
A Reset mare who has won a RST 89, the Listed Race Tech Stakes and, at her most recent start, the G3 Tesio Stakes in her last three starts. She tackles this trip for the first time in her nineteen starts and does rise in weight (up 2.5kgs on last start) and class but should never right off a mare in form.
5. ÉCLAIR SURPRISE – D Tourneur (7)
Lightly raced 5yo gelding by Blackfriars who has always demonstrated above average ability and at his most recent start, overcame interference and an awkward position to secure victory with a last stride win over Grey Assignment in the Listed Diamond Jubilee on Cup Day. Meets that horse 1.5kg worse at the weight but believe, compared to some of his rivals today, he’s still on the improve and this trip on a big track, looks ideal. Look for him to be steaming home.
6. STRIKE THE STARS – C Williams (1)
Four year old gelding from Anthony Cummings yard who competed at the top level as a 3yo and has had four runs back this season but still, only has the one win from his sixteen starts. He found them too slick two starts back in the G3 Moonga Stakes before a better effort in a RST 95 event, where he carried 60kgs, finishing third behind Good Value and Galah. Step up in distance does suit him but does seem to find a couple better than him in most starts.
7. ULUNDI – (6)
He was well held in the JRA Cup and G1 Toorak Handicap before a fair event at his most recent start, after three weeks off, where he finished fifth (beaten 3.7) behind Nicooise in a RST 89 under 60kgs. He has followed a similar lead up to this race as he did last year – where he finished third behind Rothera and drops 6kgs on last start. Might be one for multis.
8. TAI TAI TESS – N Hall (3)
She was competitive in the Listed Race-Tech Stakes two starts back, chasing home Star Of Giselle and Oasis Bloom before getting too far back from her wide draw last start, when eighth of sixteen (beaten 3.5 lengths) behind Kasane. She will be in a far more prominent position from a better draw today but hard to see her holding some of these challengers off late.
9. KASANE – (4)
She had no luck in the Listed Race-Tech stakes two starts back before making amends on Cup Day where, from the inside draw, she tracked the leader throughout and got out at the right time to register a half length win at 25/1. Should get a sweet run again from good draw but taking on a Group race for this first time and fancy she’ll have to improve a lot on her last start.
10. NICONOISE – M Walker (5)
Very well bred son of Redoute’s Choice who appreciated the step up in distance last start to record a solid victory on Oaks Day in a RST 89 event over 1800m. Another who steps up to tackle a Group Race whilst showing some winning form and does appear to have a bit more upside than others in this race in a similar situation.
Star of Giselle ($3.60 fav) goes to the lead with Grey Assignment coming across from his wide draw. Star of Giselle appears to be improving with each start this prep and think she’ll have to again here given that she tackles this trip for the first time and rises in weight. Grey Assignment will keep her honest. As mentioned above, never wise to knock a mare in good form but did think the early quote might be a bit skinny given the above factors. Éclair Surprise is great value at $7.00 and will appreciate the trip and circuit. He’ll be hitting the line hard. Invest ($16.00) and Ulundi ($17.00) might to be able to add some values for multiple players.