Zoustar returns to racing and lines up against a quality field in the Canterbury Stakes this Saturday at Randwick. He opened $2.50 in early markets on Wednesday evening and although still holding the call, has already eased to $2.80. Early firmers have been fellow 3yo Not Listenin’tome ($4.50 – $4.20) and Red Tracer ($5.00 – $4.60). Appearance has draw wide here but for horse that has won two G2’s in the past month in impressive style, represents great value at $7.00
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1. MY KINGDOM OF FIFE – G Schofield (5)
We haven’t seen this Chris Waller runner race since he claimed the G3 Craven Plate (2000m) back in October 2011. The now 9yo won the G3 Doncaster Prelude (1600m) and ran a head second in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) when resuming from spells in the past but neither effort came off a break of 130 weeks. Wouldn’t expect him to finish in the first half of the field.
2. SACRED FALLS – T Berry (2)
The winner of last year’s G1 Doncaster Mile during the autumn, the son of O’Reilly rounded out his spring campaign with a third to Toydini and Speediness in the G2 Crystal Mile (1600m) before finishing fifth and within a length of Boban, in the G1 Emirates Stakes. He has looked good in two recent trials, the most recent of which he won just over a week ago. He’ll get back in the run, be doing his best work late but against such a smart field, will find the task of running them down too great. Wait for him to get to a mile or beyond.
3. TOYDINI – B Shinn (9)
The Bernardini gelding had to carry 60.5kgs when resuming in the G3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) three weeks ago. As expected, he settled at the tail of the field and his jockey Blake Shinn, was mindful not to be too hard on the horse first up. He finished eighth of nine and 4 ¾ lengths from winner Terravista, who won the G3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on the weekend. Toydini has won the G3 Cameron Handicap and G2 Phar Lap – both over 1500m, at his second up runs his past two campaigns and will no doubt strip much fitter for his run in the Southern Cross however, this is a level up again on those wins and over 1300m, would expect he’d find one of two too slick.
4. SPEEDINESS – D Oliver (4)
Colin Scott’s Testa Rossa gelding returned from a thirteen week spell by running sixth behind Appearance in the G2 Expressway Stakes (1200m). He showed good improvement from that run to run second at his next and most recent start, again to Appearance, in the G2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago. Would’ve much preferred to see him step up in distance rather than return to 1300m of this event but a genuine speed and a soft track, would help. He is an honest galloper but hard to see him turning the tables on Appearance and a place chance again, his best.
5. RAIN AFFAIR – J Collett (1)
Returned from a break in the G2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) last month and, after two solid barrier trials, was rated a leading chance at $5.00. The 6yo by Commands jumped from a wide gate to lead but capitulated late to run a disappointing last, over eight lengths from winner Appearance. Hasn’t raced since but was given a solid hit-out in a Warwick Farm barrier trial a fortnight ago, which he won by eleven lengths. Only won one from his last eleven starts but during that time, he has run second behind Black Caviar, Atlantic Jewel and All Too Hard. At his best would have to rate a legitimate chance but hard to take him with any confidence on recent efforts.
6. APPEARANCE – K McEvoy (10)
The 5yo Commands mare has been dominant in her two wins back from a spell. She rounded them up when resuming in the G2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) to win going away by 1 ¼ lengths before producing another strong finishing sprint from near last on the turn, to claim the G2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) where she defeated Speediness by 1 ½ lengths. Fourth in the Apollo was Boban who won the G1 Chipping Norton Stake (1600m) on Saturday. Guy Walter has got his triple G1 winning mare flying this time in and ideally prepared to add to her to make it four wins at the elite level.
7. STREAMA – G Boss (8)
She returned to racing four weeks ago in the G2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill four weeks ago. Carrying 59kgs in the set weights race, she was caught flat-footed and under pressure when the field of seven turned for home and picked up the pace. Catkins, who won again on Saturday, defeated Steps In Time by a narrow margin with Streama coming again on the line, finishing fifth and four lengths away. Her second up record is much stronger and includes a victory in the G1 George Mains Stakes (1600m) which was also four weeks after her first up run.
8. RED TRACER – N Rawiller (7)
The 6yo mare won her third consecutive G2 Millie Fox Stakes in emphatic style a fortnight ago, when resuming from an eighteen week spell. She camped behind the speed and only needed to be ridden hands and heels over the final furlong by Nash Rawiller to score a 1 ¾ length win over A Time For Julia. She’s undefeated at this trip in four starts and has won three from six at this track including the G2 Premiere Stakes (1200m). Red Tracer ran narrow seconds to Appearance in the G1 Coolmore Classic giving her 2.5kgs, and in the Queen Of The Turf last autumn. Her previous attempts in Open G1 races have come over a mile, here over 1300m, expect her to give a much greater sight.
9. ZOUSTAR – J Cassidy (3)
The Northern Meteor colt made it six wins from eight starts when saluting in the G1 Coolmore Stakes on VRC Derby Day last year. That was his second Group 1 win and he achieved it in grand style, finishing over the top of his ten rivals to win by a comfortable two lengths with Not Listnen’tome in second spot. Takes on the older horses for the first time in his career but has the CV and all the credentials required to make the step up a winning one. He ran fourth first up last prep in the G3 Run To The Roses (1200m) but went on to blossom into a top-liner after that run. He hasn’t been asked to a great deal in two barrier trials, in which regular rider Jim Cassidy has been aboard, and will take a great deal of holding out.
10. NOT LISTENIN’TOME – J McDonald (6)
A very promising galloper from the Team Hawkes training operation that will line up for only his sixth race start. The 3yo son of Dylan Thomas returned from his spring campaign with a comprehensive four length win in the G3 Zedative Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield three weeks ago. It was his third win of his career and added to his two placings, both second, one behind Zoustar in the G1 Coolmore Stakes on VRC Derby Day last year, beaten two lengths. That effort came in his first preparation and has come back a stronger horse and in very good order.
What a way to follow up the Guineas! Rain Affair leads and at his best, would give them plenty to catch as he should be able to set is own pace but he has let punters down regularly in the past. Not Listnen’tome will go forward along with Red Tracer and Streama with the trio drawing gates 6, 7 and 8 respectively. Handy to the speed could be the right spot to be. Not Listenin’tome already has a second placing to Zoustar last spring and has come back in great order and Red Tracer and Streama both wouldn’t know how to run bad races. Being Darley’s number one rider, Kerrin McEvoy replaces Shinn on Appearance despite Shinn doing a wonderful job on the horse in her past two outings. McEvoy’s combination with Appearance does include a win in the G1 Queen Of The Turf but, that’s the only victory from his five rides. Drawing ten is also not ideal but she is in the best form of her career and at the moment, almost capable of anything. Zoustar, this will be his first test against the older horses and we’ve seen a few smart galloper in recent weeks, need the run first up. He does have all the attributes required to win this first up but if he is to be a touch vulnerable this prep, you would think first up would be the run.
- RED TRACER