What a fantastic race! A quality collection of fillies and mare have gathered for what is sure to be, an enthralling race. Sydney’s leading trainer declared last spring, after Catkins was narrowly defeated by stable-mate Red Tracer in the G1 Myer Classic, that her victory at the elite was only a matter of time away. Punters think that time is this weekend and despite having drawn gate 14 and being assigned 58kgs, she opened up $4.80 before firming to $4.30. She’s the only runner as of Wednesday evening, under the double figures which means there is some exceptional value to be had on some of her very well performed rivals.
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1. CATKINS – J Bowman (14) 58kgs
A super honest mare by Dubawi who has won both of her starts back from a spell. She produced a typically tenacious effort to run down Steps In Time in the G2 Breeders Classic (1200m) and then always having the G3 Wiggle Stakes in her keeping after settling just behind the pace, before going on to record a comfortable two length win. Never runs a bad race and hasn’t missed a place in her last ten starts, all bar one of which have been at Group or Listed level. It is hard to see her not figuring prominently despite the weight and gate.
2. ROYAL DESCENT – N Rawiller (13)
Although not recording a win in any of her five starts during her spring campaign, she put together a very strong preparation. She returned to racing in the G2 Millie Fox (1200m) and settling at the tail of the field, just wasn’t able to pick up the leaders on a slow track over that distance but her last 100m was good. She’ll enjoy the conditions of this race, 1500m/strong tempo and is a call mare. Look for her to be steaming home late.
3. DEAR DEMI – D Oliver (10)
This well travelled and raced mare just keeps improving. She placed in the G1 Caulfield Cup and Mackinnon Stakes last spring and returned with a fantastic third to Catkins in the G3 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago. She’s won two from four second up and recorded close-up placings on the other races included a third to It’s A Dundeel in the G1 Underwood Stakes. She finished unplaced in this race last year as a 3yo filly despite being sent out a 13/2 chance but on her form since then, cannot be left out
4. STEPS IN TIME – J Cassidy (7)
Bold front-running mare who led all bar the last bound when caught right on the line by Catkins first up in the G2 Breeders Classic (1200m). Catkins has recorded another strong win since whilst this Joe Pride trained galloper has been kept up to the mark with a very sharp 1200m trial just over a week ago. Cassidy has a very good record on this mare (9: 5 – 1 – 0) and she led bar the last 15m in last year’s race under 57.5kgs. She’ll give them something to catch and it’ll be only the last 50m that’ll test her.
5. ARINOSA – G Schofield (4)
This time last year, the daughter of Dash For Cash was in sensational form, winning the G3 Birthday Card Stakes and G2 Sapphire Stakes in blistering style. She’s only managed one further win in five starts since then but hasn’t had a great deal of luck in either run back from a spell recently. She was held up in the straight with plenty to offer in the G3 Bellmaine Stakes before getting back in a race and on a track that favoured those handy. Better than her last few runs would suggest but at her best when on the outside of horses and could find herself in traffic from gate 4.
6. FIRE UP FIFI – D Browne (12)
A smart Queensland mare who won the G2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last spring, finishing well to defeat Peron and Catkins. She returned from a spell by running sixth (1 ¼ lengths) behind Tiger Tees in the Listed Falvelon Quality under 59kgs at Eagle Farm before heading south for the G3 Wiggle Stakes a fortnight ago. She was camped in a good spot behind the leaders on the turn but was caught a little flat-footed top of the straight before being squeezed out over the final stages, finishing fifth (3.9 lengths) to Catkins. Like the Blazer Stakes, there’ll be plenty of speed here and 1500-1600m is very strong.
7. HANA’S GOAL – C Williams (15)
Adding another dimension to already intriguing race is this 5yo mare from Japan. She hasn’t raced since finishing third in the G3 Challenge Cup (1800m) in December of last year with her last win coming in the G3 Kyoto Himba (1600m) over a year ago in January. Williams has ridden in all her preparation work but faces a tough task from an outside gate.
8. SHARNEE ROSE – B Avdulla (1)
Surprised everyone when, as a 50/1 shot, she finished well to claim the G3 Golden Pendant (1400m) defeating Red Trace (2nd) and Appearance (4th) in the process. Like she was in the Golden Pendant, she is third up from a spell with her two recent runs suggesting she’s on track to produce a strong showing. She finished well in the G2 Breeders Classic (1200m) to run fourth behind Catkins and was better again in the G3 Wiggle, again behind Catkins, closing well through the centre of the field to finish two lengths away. Meets Catkins 2.5kgs better here and might could the right kind of run from inside gate with a touch of luck.
9. SWEET IDEA – T Berry (9)
Made it three wins in a row and five from ten starts overall, with a ¾ length victory in the G2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) before having her chance during the run in the G3 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago. That was only the second time she has contested a race beyond 1200m and was only able to hold her position in the run home, finishing seventh (2 ¼ lengths) behind Thump. Will take up a prominent position again but the 1500m might test given her last start effort.
10. BONARIA – T Clark (8)
A Melbourne mare trained by Pat Hyland who will visit Sydney for the first time, very much in form. She should be unbeaten in three starts this prep after an unlucky third in the G3 Bellmaine Stakes was followed by wins in the G3 Mannerism Stakes and G3 Schweppes (1600m) at her most recent start. Has had the run of the race at her last two outings but is drawn well enough to get a similar position here. Just may found the step in class a shade too strong though.
11. A TIME FOR JULIA – G Boss (3)
Bossy has won this race twice in the past five years (Aloha – 2011 and Typhoon Tracy – 2009) and has a good chance of making it three from six with this Peter Moody trained galloper. She had three runs back from a spell, winning the G3 Bellmaine Stakes first up before a very good second to Red Tracer in the G2 Millie Fox Stakes. She was then installed the 2/1 favourite for the G3 Roy Higgins Tribute (1200m) and didn’t let punters down, finishing hard from mid-field to register a head win over Lilliburleo. Hasn’t been beyond 1400m but will get the right run to see it out from gate three and is stellar form.
12. LONGPORT – J Ford (5)
She resumed from a successful spring carnival by running last in the G2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m), finishing 4.4 lengths from Red Tracer. Her second up record is much stronger and she’ll also appreciate a drier surface to compete on. She’s also been kept up to the mark with a winning Warwick Farm barrier trial just over a week ago. Mixed it successfully with the leading 3yo’s fillies last season and will take up a good position from her draw.
13. WHITE SAGE – J McDonald (11)
John O’Shea’s galloper resumed this campaign with a perfect five wins from five starts in including the Listed Festival Stakes, over this track/trip. She kicked of in the G2 Breeder’s Classic as the 11/8 favourite and finished third to Catkins before getting back in the G3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) and holding her spot in the run to the line, finishing seventh (4.2 lengths) from Terravista. Better suited back to her won sex and showed too much potential last time in to be dismissed lightly.
14. REAL SURREAL – C Brown (16)
Her two runs back from an extended spell of twelve months have been first rate. She only finished 1.2 lengths (4th) behind Sweet Idea in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) before only failing by a neck in the Surround Stakes (1400m) when second to Thump. Has had a nice run in each of those races in behind the speed, but the barrier draw hasn’t been kind and no matter where she goes from gate 16, she’ll need to do a lot of work to be winning.
15. GYPSY DIAMOND – K McEvoy (17)
She belied her odds of 50/1 by hitting the line in real good style in the G2 Light Fingers Stakes, finishing second to by ¾ of a length to Sweet Idea. She was then good again in the Surround Stakes, claiming fourth (1 ½ lengths) behind Thump and Real Surreal. She closed well in the Surround, a race dominated by those up on the speed and is clearly going well but well enough to counter the widest gate in a field of seventeen?
16. LUCIA VALENTINA – C Schofield (6)
A former New Zealand galloper that is now with Newcastle trainer Kris Lees who would’ve been very pleased with Australian debut a fortnight ago. Lining up in the G2 Surround Stakes, she was an unwanted prospect at 50/1 but snuck home along the fence to grab third behind Thump and Real Surreal. Adding further credit to the run was the fact that the fence was probably not the ideal spot to be that day. Fitter, drawn well and has the jockey of the moment on board.
17. SCORPIO QUEEN – C Newitt (2)
Gold Coast Les Kelly prepares this Choisir mare who on New Year’s Eve, claimed the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Toowoomba. After a run on the Gold Coast then a few week off, she lined up in the G3 Wiggle Stakes and did much better than many of her more fancied rivals by finishing fourth (3.5 lengths) behind Catkins. Generally gets back in her run and will have a lot of smart traffic to negotiate if she were to win here.
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Cracking race with the majority of the field a genuine chance of bobbing up. She’s a good horse, her record is as solid as it gets but just can’t get past the 58kgs and gate 14 with regards to Catkins, especially when asked to take 3/1. Dear Demi always goes around at a price over the odds and that might be the case again here. She was 13/2 last year and since then, has won a G3 and been placed in Open G1’s three times. Her first up run was good as is her record at this track. Similarly, $10.00 about Royal Descent given what she was able to produce over the spring in top grade races, is appealing. She ran third, beaten a half length, in the G3 Tramway Stakes second up last time in. A Time For Julia should get a lovely run and at $21, worth taking the punt on her seeing out the trip and Sharnee Rose appears to be spot on for this and, compared to many others, has fared much better in terms of the draw. Hard to dwindle this field down to four selections and would recommend, going as wide as you can afford!
- DEAR DEMI
- ROYAL DESCENT
- SHARNEE ROSE
- A TIME FOR JULIA