The first of four Group races on the card for Flemington this week is for the 3yo’s – the Danehill Stakes. A full field of seventeen runners will storm up the Flemington straight among them, Romantic Touch who is first up since claiming the G1 JJ Atkins Stakes during the Brisbane winter carnival. Current favourite in an open market is Gregers at $5.00, just in advance of a host of others including Safeguard, Longma, Scandiva, Hill Spy and Il Cavallo.
1. ROMANTIC TOUCH – G Boss (17)
Smart son of Northern Meteor who has won three of his five starts, the last two when leading all the way. We haven’t seen the Gai Waterhouse trained galloper since he claimed the G1 JJ Atkins and surprisingly for a Waterhouse runner, has only had one trial in preparation for his return. Drawn the outside gate here but that could prove to be advantageous.
2. SAFEGUARD – C Williams (7)
Unbeaten colt by Exceed and Excel who returned to racing from an eighteen week break with a nose win over Fast’n’Rocking (who won well last week) in the G3 Vain Stakes three weeks ago. He positioned himself up on the speed in the Vain and from the centre of the field here, Williams will be able to select which side of the straight he wishes to go to. Won well on debut here over 1000m back in December and trained at the track, so has good experience with the straight course.
3. CHURCHILL DANCER – S Baster (16)
This David Hayes trained galloper rounded out his Autumn campaign with, as 15/8 fav, a third to The Huntress in the Listed Catanach’s Stakes at Caulfield in April. He returned with a second to I Am Titanium on the Geelong Synthetic track three weeks ago under the steadier of 60kgs. His one win from six starts has come over this track and trip but the quality and depth of this field should find him out.
4. WHISKEY ALLROUND – J McDonald (3)
The son of All Bar One commenced his career for conditioner Tony Gollan with three straight wins this time last year. He was then spelled and taken to Sydney for a shot at the premier 2yo races. He ran a head second to Sweet Idea in the Silver Slipper Stakes on a heavy track before leading and fading to finish eighth behind Criterion in the Todman Stakes. That was the last time we’ve seen him but judging by his two recent barrier trials in QLD, and the fact that his trainer, who has had plenty of success up the Flemington straight in recent years, as elected to start him, a forward showing would not surprise.
5. CHARLIE BOY – M Rodd (5)
Competed in the premier 2yo Sydney races during the Autumn and finished mid-field in the Gold Slipper, Sire’s Produce and at his most recent start, the Champagne Stakes. The Gerald Ryan representative has had two barrier trials in readiness for his return, running second in both. Generally likes to get back in his runs but would think the straight course would suit him. Look for him to be finishing hard late.
6. POLANSKI – D Yendall (6)
He was only fair on debut in a Cranbourne Maiden (1000m) back in March and again average at his next start in a Mornington Maiden (1200m) however, trainer Robbie Laing had no hesitation in entering the son of Ratki in a 1400m Open Class race at this third start, which he duly won. He proved it no fluke by repeating the dose over 1600m at the start after and was then spelled. He has a winning barrier trial under his belt but the 1200m and this grade, might found him out first up.
7. THE BOWLER – M Zahra (4)
We haven’t seen this son of Testa Rossa since he led all bar the final hops when second to Honey Street Gold in the Listed Taj Rossi (1600m) here at Flemington in July. That was his sixth race start and he’s won two of them for trainer Tony Vasil – both on heavy and both at the provincials. Would be happy to wait for him to get into something longer and easier.
8. HOOKED – C Symons (1)
He made a good impression by winning his first two starts in good style up Brisbane during April of this year in. The Casino Prince colt representing Patinack Farm, then competed in some of the major 2yo races over the winter carnival and was just off the place-getter in G2 Sire’s Produce (won by Zoustar) and JJ Atkins (Romantic Touch). Generally likes to get back in his runs so the inside gate may prove tricky.
9. THERMAL CURRENT – (11)
He has only been able to win a Geelong Synthetic Maiden from five starts however, his efforts in races such as the Blue Diamond Preview and last start, when third behind Fast’n’Rocking in the McNeil Stakes, suggest this son of Exceed and Excel has above average ability. He settled in a beautiful position last week in the McNeil, just off the pace and looked set to launch his challenge when hampered by the eventual winner. A good sized colt, the quick back-up should give little cause for concern.
10. ÉCLAIR BIG BANG – D Tourneur (10)
Son of Savabeel has won both of his starts to date for his trainer, Adelaide based Phillip Stokes. He fell in two weeks ago in a BM 72 at Morphettville Park carrying 58.5kgs on a slow track at his first run back from a twenty week spell. Trainer has had plenty of success (Éclair Surprise) bringing horses across to Victoria and would think that’s more an indication of his chances here rather than his last start performance.
11. HILL SPY – B Melham (14)
Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon took his charge to Adelaide in July to make his debut where at 8/11 on, he duly saluted. He was then brought back and entered in the Vain Stakes of three weeks ago. The son of O’Reilly was doing his best work late out wide and ran third (beaten 1.4 lengths) behind Safeguard and Fast’n’Rocking. That effort has certainly caught the attention of punters who have rushed in to take his opening price of $10.00 with him now firmer to a $7.00 chance.
12. IL CAVALLO – (15)
Well bred son of Choisir from the Peter Moody yard who has started favourite in each of his three starts to-date. Of those races, he’s won one, his first, a midweek Hillside Open race back in March. He returned to racing in the G3 Vain Stakes three weeks ago and from a wide barrier, jumped well to sit on the speed. He held on to run fourth behind Safeguard, Fast’n’Rocking and Hill Spy. Had to commit from a wide gate last start and would like to see if he can improve if ridden of the speed. They get their chance to try this tactic from his wide draw here.
13. THIS IS WAR – D Dunn (9)
Dash For Cash gelding who, in three starts in town, was well accounted for on each occasion. Looking for a maiden win, his Trainer Shawn Mathrick found a 975m Maiden race at Swan Hill where, at 2/1 favourite, he registered his first win. Massive rise in class and needed to be winning at Swan Hill by panels to be competitive here.
14. LONGMA – C Newitt (2)
Well bred Sebring colt trained by Mick Price who, when winning by eight lengths, made quite an impression on debut in a Werribee Maiden back in July. That was on a heavy track and this race is a gigantic leap in class but he was ultra impressive on debut and have to respect the fact the Price immediately tipped him out with a view of coming back for races like this during the spring. The markets are certainly taking no chances with him and have opened him up at $7.50.
15. SCANDIVA – (8)
Winner of the G2 Magic Night Stakes last season and backed that up with an outstanding on-pace effort to finish second to Guelph in the G1 Sires Produce Stakes. The impeccably bred daughter of Fastnet Rock returns to racing from a fourteen week spell for trainer Anthony Cummings who has given her a quite barrier trail well over a month ago now. She likes to race handy to the speed and is a tenacious competitor.
16. KISS A ROSE – (12)
She won on debut for trainer Peter Moody back in December of last year in very good fashion. We then didn’t see the daughter of Sebring until three weeks ago when she stepped out in the G2 Quezette Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield and she picked up exactly where she left off. She circled the field and finished hard to arrive right on the line and claim victory over Metastatio. Has obvious ability, will have come on since her last run and despite taking on the boys for the first time, will no doubt apply herself very well.
17. GREGERS – C Schofield (13)
Ran fourth in this year’s Blue Diamond at her second start before being sent for a spell by trainer David Hayes. The Commands filly returned with a soft win at Moonee Valley before returning to that track again and beating six competitors in convincing style in Open company a fortnight ago. Appears to have a tonne of natural ability but did run around a little last start and up the Flemington straight, there is a lot of open space to potentially get lost in.
Kicking off with the favourite, I’d be happy to shop around her at her current quote. No doubting the authority of her two most recent wins however, this is a step up in grade and with this being her first look at the Flemington straight, she may be lacking a bit of experience. A few here that represent good value for mine are;- Starting with the colts and geldings, Hill Spy ($7.00) was finishing hard behind Safeguard (who had every chance in the Vain Stakes) and Fast’n’Rocking (won last week) and the extra 100m metres of this race and the opportunity to wind up down the big Flemington straight, play into his hands. From that same race the unbeaten Safeguard who will strip fitter again for his victory, is a professional horse, with a professional jock on board. From six, he’ll be in a position to strike. Of the fillies, stick with Kiss A Rose (very good first up and will go on with it) and Scandiva (tough competitor who has been in work for a while now and should be ready to go).
- HILL SPY
- KISS A ROSE