The final Group 1 of the Sydney Autumn Carnival is the WFA All Aged Stakes. A field of ten will line up to contest the $400k feature with early favourite being Rebel Dane at $3.50, in from an opening price of $4.00, after an impressive second to Lankan Rupee a fortnight ago in the G1 T J Smith when first up from a spell. This race has been good to favourites in recent years with seven of the past ten successful. Also in his favour is his impeccable record at the 1400m. From three starts he has won two, including the G1 Rupert Clarke Stakes last spring, and finished a nose second to Champion 3yo Pierro in the Hobartville Stakes in the other. According to the market, his main danger will come from front-running mare Steps In Time ($5.50) with Weary, who is coming off a good third in the Doncaster Handicap, and 3yo filly Politeness, the next best at $8.00 each of two.
Special Offer: $650 FREE BET – Sportsbet
Special Offer 2: $250 FREE BET – Ladbrokes
Special Offer 3: $300 FREE BET – Luxbet
1. REBEL DANE – G Boss (10)
The Group 1 winner returned from a twenty week spell in the G1 T J Smith and produced a fantastic effort against a crack field. Not appearing to be entirely comfortable on the heavy track approaching the turn, the 4yo stallion saved ground near the fence and in the end, close well to run second to star sprinter Lankan Rupee by two lengths. No stronger form line in the country at the moment than Lankan Rupee and being second up on track that has to be better than the heavy 10 of last start, he looks the one to beat.
2. TIGER TEES – J Bowman (3)
The 6yo got the perfect conditions, a wet track, a good draw and a trail behind a solid pace, when successful in the G1 The Galaxy Stakes (1100m) two starts back. He lined up in the G1 T J Smith under almost the same conditions but a slightly stronger field and the WFA conditions, saw him come up a touch short but still finish a very credible fourth (3.5 lengths) behind Lankan Rupee. Again, he has draw ideally in three and will take up a good spot. He should still get some sting out of the ground but the WFA conditions are in place again for this race and this is only his second attempt at 1400m which is of some concern.
3. SHAMEXPRESS – B Shinn (2)
He went very close to registering his second Group 1 win when a half length second to Snitzerland first up in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington back February before two starts later, again getting within a length of the winner in a Group 1 race when third (0.6 lengths) to Spirit of Boom in the G1 William Reid. He had a three week break after that run before Danny O’Brien travelled his 4yo stallion to Sydney for the T J Smith Stakes. He got a long way back in the run, settling near last but on the heavy track and on a day when not many did, he made pretty good ground late, finishing seventh (4.6 lengths) behind Lankan Rupee. Will not get that far back this time around from gate two and a drier surface will help. This is only his third go at seven furlongs and his first since two attempts as a 3yo where he finished ninth and a close up fifth behind smart performer Epaulette. Fourth up from a spell, jumping from a good gate and given his effort last start, think he should be capable of seeing it right out.
4. WEARY – T Berry (11)
Kicked off his Australian career after arriving at the Chris Waller yard from Europe, with a very promising third (1.2 lengths) to Ecuador. The Astronomer Royal gelding has certainly delivered on that promise and at his next three starts, ran second to Messene in the G2 Ajax Stakes, won the G3 Doncaster Prelude and then, behind a pair of proven Group 1 performers, ran a great third in the G1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m). Has met each challenge given to him by his trainer with a great deal of success and faces another one here, lining up under the WFA scale. Making his task a little more difficult is the fact that he’ll be jumping from gate eleven and is likely to be giving some handy sprinters a start as they turn. Another big run wouldn’t surprise but the return to 1400m after a strong mile a fortnight ago, may have taken some zip out of him.
5. SNITZERLAND – SCRATCHED
6. STEPS IN TIME – J Cassidy (6)
After being pipped on the past first up back February by Catkins in the G2 Breeders Classic (1200m), the 6yo mare lined up in the G1 Coolmore Classic a month later where, under the guidance of Jim Cassidy, the pair produced a bold front-running display and were able to hold of the later challenge of Sweet Idea and win by a nose. She then didn’t handle the track in T J Smith last fortnight and finished thirteenth, close to ten lengths from Lankan Rupee. Cassidy has a great association with this mare having won six races on her, five at Stakes level, and provided the track isn’t too wet, she’ll give them something to chase.
7. HANA’S GOAL – N Rawiller (9)
Japanese galloper who has had two starts in Australian since arriving in February. She had no luck first up in the G1 Coolmore Classic where from last on the turn, she was stuck behind a wall of horses in the straight and went to the line untested, finishing fourteenth in the field of sixteen, 5 ¼ lengths from the winner. She then got a long way back in the Doncaster Handicap but was ok late, finishing sixth and 6.9 lengths from Lankan Rupee. She’s had excuses, blocked for a run and heavy track, at her two starts and sure we haven’t seen the best of her yet but it has been over a year and nine starts since her last win.
8. BENNETTA – J McDonald (5)
A smart mare who returned from her spring campaign with a third placing to Flamberge in the G3 Sebring Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill three weeks ago. She found herself in a lovely spot in the run, camped right be the leader’s – who went on to fight out the finish – but on a heavy track, wasn’t able to let down as well as we know she can and she finished third, 2.2 lengths from the winner. Second up last campaign (on a good track), she ran a long neck third to Sharnee Rose in the G3 Golden Pendant, crossing the line with Red Tracer (2nd) and beating home Appearance (4th) Needs a dry track to produce her best but steps up to Open company here and will find it tough.
9. ATLANTE – G Schofield (7)
Won three in a row back home in NZ, including the G1 NZ 2000 Guineas before commencing this campaign in three starts ago in Australia. The Fastnet Rock colt run a great second first up to Dissident in the G2 Hobartville Stakes but in two runs since, hasn’t been able to reproduce the same kind of effort. He had his chance in the G1 Randwick Guineas with a great run on the speed but could only manage sixth (3.4 lengths), again behind Dissident, before not being at all happy in the heavy conditions where, as 4/1 favourite for the G2 Tulloch Stakes, he ran twelfth and finished almost a dozen lengths from the winner Gallatin. Has to step up in class, came back from 2000m to 1400m and, take on the older horses at WFA for the first time in his career. He has plenty to do.
10. WOODBINE – K McEvoy (4)
Well bred 3yo who settled on the leader’s back last week in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m), his first run for close to a month. Approaching the turn the Gai Waterhouse trained galloper needed to get out and wound up but had nowhere to go with the leader and eventual winner Beauty’s Beast, dictating the pace. He couldn’t match the winner’s sprint home and finished second, beaten 2 lengths. He gives the impression that a genuinely run 1400m will suit however, takes on the older horses for the first time here and needed to be winning his lead up races before being considered here.
11. POLITENESS – D Oliver (1)
The Street Sense filly relished the heavy conditions and genuine pace up front last start in the G3 P J Bell Stakes (1200m) on ATC Derby Day a fortnight ago and zipped home from last down the centre of the track to record, what was in the end, a soft 1 ¼ length win over Cosmic Endeavour – an impressive winner last weekend. Gets a good weight advantage here on the rest of the field being a 3yo filly and the services of Oliver are also a plus. Connections would love to see another wet track to help their filly take the step up in grade she faces here and if those conditions prevail, she’s capable of producing a cheeky run.
Steps In Time leads out and should get the front position comfortably enough. The drier the track the better her chances are of holding off the challenges but keeping an eye on her throughout from his draw will be stable-mate Tiger Tees. He is in good form and he may get his favoured wet conditions again on Saturday. This race isn’t as strong as the T J Smith and he’ll be in the box seat all the way. It was hard not to be impressed with Rebel Dane’s effort first up against the benchmark of sprinting at the moment Lankan Rupee. Whilst he can get through the wet and will be competitive on any surface, think he’d be close to unbeatable on dry.
- REBEL DANE
- STEPS IN TIME
- STEPS IN TIME