The feature race of the day sees a fantastic bunch of proven and some very promising 3yo’s line up for the $1M Gold Rose Stakes. First run in 2003, Darley have won four Golden Roses including last year’s race with Epaulette. This year their sole representative is Sidestep ($13.00). Early favourite is Tony Vasil trained Prince Harada ($4.60) from Fast’n’Rocking ($5.00) and Cluster ($6.00) the only other two runners in a field of seventeen under double figures.
1. SIDESTEP – K McEvoy (3)
Hasn’t enjoyed any luck in either run back from a spell. He got squeezed out at crucial stage in the San Domenico Stakes before finishing well to run 1 ¼ fourth to Va Pensiero then he finished last of fourteen to the same horse a fortnight ago in the Run to The Roses. He was injured in a severe check shortly after the start in the Run To The Roses that saw him relegated back to the tail of the field. Not the ideal preparation for a race like this but at his best, would be better than a $13.00 chance.
2. FAST’N’ROCKING – B Prebble (5)
He finally cracked it for a win at his ninth and most recent start with a comfortable two length victory in the G3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield (1200m) a fortnight ago. That followed an excellent and unlucky first up effort behind Safeguard in the G3 Vain Stakes. The David Hayes trained galloper has returned as a 3yo in great style and delivering on the ability he showed as a 2yo. He has experience on this track (ran second to Criterion in the Todman Stakes), a world-class Jockey and perfect draw and good form. Hard to like his chances here.
3. CRITERION – C Reith (6)
The winner of the Todman Stakes as a 2yo, who then subsequently performed well in both the G1 Golden Slipper and G1 Champagne Stakes (finished sixth in both races), returned to racing in the Run To The Roses a fortnight ago. He had three trials leading into his return and was expected to hit the line better than what he did when eleventh of fourteen (beaten 6.7 lengths) behind Va Pensiero. He rattled home to win the Listed Black Opal Stakes second up last prep off a better first up run. Will strip fitter again, enjoy the tempo of the race but will have to shown significant improvement on his last effort.
4. ZOUSTAR – J Cassidy (17)
Won his first three starts, including the G2 QLD Sires Produce Stakes and went within a half length of keeping his perfect record intact when second to Romantic Touch in the G1 JJ Atkins (1600m) during the Brisbane winter carnival. The son of Northern Meteor returned to racing in the Golden Rose and settled wide, with cover before peeling out rounding the turn to stake his claim. Like many horses at Rosehill a fortnight ago, he found it hard to pick up the leader from off the pace and finished fourth (beaten 1 ¾). He’ll strip fitter again and has plenty of natural ability but will face a tough test from a from a horror draw.
5. DISSIDENT – T Clark (14)
Peter Moody trained galloper’s both efforts since resuming from a six month spell, have been full of merit. He resumed by chasing home Eurozone in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) finishing second before finishing second again in the Run To The Roses (1200m) where, after a nice run throughout from a good draw, he closed in good style to run Va Pensiero within head on the line. Both runs would indicate he’s spot on for a big run here where the step up to 1400m and the anticipated good speed are both favourable. He’s a big striding horse who likes to wind up so the track, which it hasn’t done in recent weeks, will have to enable back-makers to finish well.
6. AUSSIES LOVE SPORT – (16)
After coming close in four previous races, the well bred son of Redoute’s Choice (half brother to Mrs. Onassis) finally broke his maiden status two starts back with a strong on-pace win over this track/trip. He immediately backed that win up with another equally strong effort to win in the G3 Ming Dynasty at Randwick last week. Both wins have seen him settle on the pace and whilst he’s form is still on the upward curve, to follow a similar patter here may require some work early from a poor draw and that could tell late.
7. WINDJAMMER – N Berry (11)
Resumed with a good win under 59kgs in a BM 72 for his trainer Bjorn Baker and in two subsequent runs – the G3 San Domenico and G3 Run To The Roses, not much as gone right for the son of Bernardini. He was caught wide in the San Domenico and hung on the turn before finishing well to claim third behind Va Pensiero before having no luck getting clear room in the Run To The Roses where he still managed to finish 2 ¾ behind Va Pensiero again. Has the ability but just need that little bit of luck in the run to show it. A good each-way chance at $26.00.
8. EUROZONE – J Parr (2)
Won on debut at Canterbury in June and backed that up with another win at his next start in Open company at Rosehill three weeks later. The Bart and James Cummings galloper than resumed as a short 2/1 favourite in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) and from the front, denied all challenges to record a 1 ¼ length win over Dissident. Off that win he was sent out as favourite again in the G3 Run To The Roses but from a handy position, weakened over the final stages to run eighth (beaten 3.9 lengths). Last start was his first on a Good rated track and would have to wonder if he is as effective on that surface, compared to one with the cut out which was the case in his first three starts/wins.
9. PITCREW – B Shinn (4)
Gai Waterhouse runner who won his first three starts (on Slow, Heavy, Slow) before stepping up in class at his most recent outing, the G3 Up And Coming Stakes. From a good draw he got back (had been racing on speed previously) to be running three back on the fence but had his opportunity in the run to the line to finish closer to winner and stable-mate War, than his fourth (beaten 2.9 lengths). He’ll take advantage of his good draw today but should find a few too good for him at this level.
10. DRAGO – P Robl (13)
A very promising Danehill Dancer colt from the Anthony Cummings yard that has caught the eye in each of his five starts thus far. He produced a very good finishing effort on a day when not many were able to, at his most recent start in the Up and Comings Stakes, running the winner War to within ¾ length. That was his first run for twelve weeks and would be expecting that the step up to seven furlongs, the solid pace up front, he’ll be storming home (track permitting) out wide.
11. BULL POINT – G Schofield (12)
Winner of two of his five starts for trainer Gai Waterhouse, the colt by Fastnet Rock had his chance in the run two starts back when competing in the Listed The Rosebud and finished fourth (beaten 2 lengths) to Eurozone. At his last start a fortnight ago over this track and trip, he was outbobbed on the line in a BM 75 event by Stamina Has given a good account of himself on each occasion but his one attempt at black type level previously, saw him come up a few lengths short and would expect that to be the case again here.
12. WAR – T Berry (10)
He made his debut back in October last year, running second to Whittington in the Listed Breeders Plate. We then didn’t see the colt by More Than Ready until August of this year and it was an inauspicious return, running a plain sixth in a midweek race at Canterbury. That effort didn’t deter trainer Gai Waterhouse from entering him in the G3 Up And Coming Stakes at his next and most recent where, from the front, he led his rivals throughout to score by ¾ length. He’s drawn awkwardly in ten if they are looking to take, as would assume they would, a forward position again and he’ll be kept honest by several runners looking for a similar position.
13. PRINCE HARADA – J Bowman (1)
Won impressively at Ballarat on debut for Trainer Tony Vasil in maiden class and repeated that performance at his next start a month later in a Moonee Valley Open class race. Immediately given a freshen-up by Vasil after the Valley win with a few of the Spring races in mind. The son of Haradasun confirmed it a good decision with an unlucky second (beaten two lengths) behind Fast’n’Rocking in the McNeil Stakes at Caulfield a fortnight ago. Copped significant interference at a crucial stage last start and should have definitely finished closer to the in-form Fast’n’Rocking. Can only be fitter again for that run and is still on the up.
14. THERMAL CURRENT – B Rawiller (8)
He was taken to the Geelong Synthetic track by trainer Peter Moody to break his maiden status two starts back and he backed that up with a third to Fast’n’Rocking in the McNeil Stakes a fortnight ago. He too suffered interference in the McNeil and probably should’ve finished closer again. He’s settle in or close to the lead in his past two but his best runs for mine have come when he has been able to settle early and come from off the speed. From eight, he should be able to track the speed throughout and produce a finish. Not to be underestimated at $17.00
15. INTO THE RED – (15)
Queensland trainer Kelso Wood looks after this son of Not A Single Doubt who he brought to Sydney after a comfortable 2 ½ length win at Eagle Farm, for a tilt at the G3 Run To The Roses. Like he has done for this race, he drew poorly in the Run To The Roses but his finishing effort was pleasing enough given the class of event and that the winner dominated from the front, to run seventh (beaten 3.4 lengths). He’ll be giving them all a start again from this gate and need to produce a big finish to be winning here.
16. CLUSTER – J McDonald (7)
Made his debut back in April of this year at Canterbury and on that effort, where he finished sixth behind Zoustar, you wouldn’t have thought he was capable of producing the two runs he has since returning to racing in August. He flashed home along the fence to run third to Va Pensiero in the San Domenico and although finishing fifth, produced an even better run when circling the field in the Run To The Roses to run fifth (beaten 1.9 lengths). The track and race itself didn’t lend to his position in the field last start and from seven, over an extra 200m, he’ll be able to settle in a good position today. Appears to be peaking at the right time.
17. MARSEILLE ROULETTE – K O’Hara (9)
Won on debut back in January but failed when taken to Melbourne for the Blue Diamond Prelude and again when brought back to Warwick Farm and was spelled. The colt by Zizou returned with an effort that belied his quote of 40/1 with a solid on-pace in the Run To The Roses to finish third, beaten a length. He’ll go forward again but will have plenty of competition for that spot and need to produce a career best to be winning here.
There will be plenty of speed with Waterhouse representatives Marseille Roulette, War, Pitcrew all looking for a forward position with Aussies Love Sports and Bull Point from wider out coming across. This group should produce a lovely trail for horses that include our selections, Fast’n’Rocking and Cluster. Fast’n’Rocking is the form reference for the Melbourne runners and the colt by Fastnet Rock has come back a better horse. Cluster’s two starts over the past month have been first rate and he’ll get a good run from his draw as well. He’s lining up for start number four only and still very much on the improve. Not sure the inside draw, given that the lead will be hotly contested here, will be advantageous to Prince Harada. Bowman will need to get off the fence at the first available opportunity. Looking wider for some value and have settled on Dissident and Windjammer. Both have been good in their last two starts and give the impression that a solidly run 1400m will be ideal to them both. Let’s just hope the track, which has favoured those handy to the speed in recent weeks, gives them their chance.