The feature race and fourth Group 1 on what is a cracking day’s racing at Randwick this Saturday, is the $3M Doncaster Mile. With such prize-money up for grabs, there is no surprise to see a capacity field of twenty two entered. In an extremely open affair, punters believe that Team Hawkes can continue their run of success and add this race to last week’s Golden Slipper victory with Messene. Looking for his eighth straight win, Messene is the early favourite just in advance of Weary, one of six runners for Chris Waller who is shooting for his fourth success in this race within the last seven years.
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1. BOBAN – G Schofield (19) 58kgs
Coming off five consecutive wins, including two G1’s, during his spring campaign, expectations were high for Boban when he returned to racing in early February. It wasn’t until this third run in though this preparation, when reaching the mile of the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes, that he broke through for a win, defeating It’s A Dundeel by a length. At his next and most recent start, the G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) he was last and widest in a race where the those who filled a place, all did so by making their runs closer to the fence and pace. He finished seventh (4.5 lengths) behind Gordon Lord Byron. A drier track than that of last start would suit but the weight and draw are not favourable and he’d have to be at his absolute best.
2. MY KINGDOME OF FIFE – C Newitt (7) 57kgs
The 9yo by Kingmambo has had two starts from a two and a half year break, where he has finished last and second to last, respectively, in the G1 Canterbury Stakes and G1 George Ryder Stakes. He made not impression on the field in the run home when contesting the George Ryder last fortnight and it’s hard to make a case for him here on that effort.
3. STREAMA – J Bowman (21) 56.5kgs
Guy Walter’s mare has found herself just a length or two off the pace in her three runs back from a spell. After being caught wide in the G1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) when sixth (3.6 lengths) to Appearance, the 5yo mare contested last fortnight’s G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m). She jumped well and found a good spot in the run but was under pressure earlier than most. Given how she was travelling, it was a surprise to see her run sixth (2 ¾ lengths). Her stats at this track and distance are excellent but she has drawn horribly here and doesn’t seem to be going as well as she has had in the past.
4. SACRED FALLS – Z Purton (14) 56.5kgs
The 4yo ran a great race first up in the G1 Canterbury Stakes, warming up nicely over the concluding stages to run fourth (2.1 lengths) behind Appearance. With that run under his belt and a slow track for the G1 George Ryder Stakes a fortnight ago, he started a well supported 6/1 chance. Drawing well, he settled three back on the fence and was happy to stay as the field fanned on the turn in search of better going. He had every chance in the run home but found a few a shade too strong and he finished fourth (1.6 lengths) behind Gordon Lord Byron and Speediness. Only win from eleven Australian starts came in this race last year but certainly has been competitive in major races since then and is on target to be in the thick of things again here.
5. HAWSPUR – J Cassidy (8) 56kgs
He finished well in the G1 Chipping Norton (1600m) behind Boban to run third (2 lengths) before again doing his best work late when fourth (2.4 lengths) behind Silent Achiever in the G1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m). A bit of a surprise to see him drop back to a mile race but, does get down in the weights for the first time this prep, has a good record on track with the sting out of them and drawn to be handy enough as the field turns for home. A smart galloper who cannot be dismissed.
6. TOYDINI – B Shinn (3) 56kgs
Guy Walter’s second runner, this 4yo by Bernardini has had three runs back from a spell. Two starts back he finished quite well to run fifth (3 ½ lengths) to Appearance in the G1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) before running fifth again (2.7 lengths) in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) last fortnight. The slow track conditions didn’t help last start and he’ll appreciate getting back to handicap conditions. He is going well and right on track for a race like this. He ran third to Boban in last year’ G1 Epsom Handicap and the drier the track the better.
7. SPEEDINESS – D Oliver (1) 55.5kgs
He went agonisingly close to winning a much deserved Group 1 win last start in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m). He settled back on the fence in the run and railed through nicely when the majority of the field drifted to the centre of the track but unfortunately for connections, overseas galloper Gordon Lord Byron, who had followed him through, finished a touch stronger and won by a head. Drawn the inside gate here so Oliver will need some luck in the run to obtain a run but he is in good form and can handle the wet track so the $21 has to create plenty of interest.
8. MOURO – L Nolen (5) 55kgs
He made it three win straight when, first up from a fifteen week spell, he claimed the G3 Tab Rewards Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in good style under 58.5kgs. Tony McEvoy then sent his 5yo stallion to Sydney for the G2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) where from the inside gate, he settled handy to the speed but was unable to improve his position from the turn, weakening to run seventh of nine and over five lengths from winner Messene. Despite the good draw and dropping to a weight he hasn’t seen in half a dozen starts, still needed to see more from him last start before including him among the hopes here.
9. ROYAL DESCENT – N Rawiller (20) 54kgs
She hasn’t missed a place in four starts at this track which includes a win in the ATC Oaks and a head second in the G1 WFA George Main Stakes. The well bred 4yo mare looks on track to maintain her record at Randwick judging by her fifth in the G1 Coolmore Classic last start. Drawing wide, she got back in a race dominated by the leaders, before circling the field and finishing well down the centre of the track. Unfortunately she has drawn wide again here and will be giving them a big start but with only 54kgs to carry and a genuinely run mile, she’s has a few things on her side to overcome that gate.
10. MONTON – S Clipperton (4) 54kgs
Hit a real purple patch of form a month ago, winning three of four starts before stepping up in grade to contest the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes and G2 Ajax Stakes at his two most recent starts. He finished fifth in both behind It’s A Dundeel and Messene. Gets in with a weight he hasn’t seen in a long time and drawn well but has failed to run a place in his last eight attempts at Group races.
11. DEAR DEMI – J McDonald (2) 53.5kgs
She ran her typically honest race when third first up behind Catkins in the G3 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) under 59kgs on a slow track before lining up in the G1 Coolmore Classic. She got caught in no-man’s land in the Coolmore, wide with no cover just worse than midfield. Given the race was run, she had no chance from there and would be best to forgive her eleventh (3.9 lengths) placing. Draws well here in gate two and with only 53.5kgs, will run better than her current quote of $41 would suggest.
12. FAT AL – (15) 53kgs
The 5yo son of Al Maher was transferred to Peter Moody’s yard at the start of this year and surprised most at his first run for the stable by finishing third in the G3 Tab Reward Stakes (1400m) at 25/1. He proved that run no fluke but winning the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo at his next start before being well accounted for in the G1 George Ryder Stakes last fortnight, running twelfth (9.1 lengths). Was reportedly galloped on last start and the drop to 53kgs is a big bonus but whilst he’s came back well, doubt it is well enough to be winning here.
13. SLOW PACE – J Moreira (22) 52.5kgs
Made his Australian debut in the G3 Newmarket Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle just over three weeks ago for trainer Kris Lees, and delivered a very promising third (half a length) behind Mecir. International superstar jockey Joe “the Magic Man” Moreira has been booked for this ride and will need to produce a masterful ride to get this home from the widest gate in a monster field.
14. HANA’S GOAL – K Maruta (16) 52kgs
Japanese star galloper who had her first run outside of her native land three weeks in the G1 Coolmore Classic (1500m). She got back in the run and wasn’t able to find her way through the wall of horse that were in front of her in the straight and was never tested, running to the line under a hold finishing fourteenth (5 ¼ lengths). Forget that run. Maruta has been brought out to partner the mare this race, she gets in with a feather weight and has won three of her last five over a mile.
15. LIDARI – C Schofield (6) 52kgs
Pinched the G2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) by being able to lead and set a casual pace two starts back before finishing midfield in the G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) last fortnight. Had to get back in the George Ryder but from gate six here and with only 52kgs, he settled closer to the speed, a position from where he tends to produce his best efforts.
16. DISSIDENT – B Avdulla (11) 51.5kgs
Peter Moody’s colt won the Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and G1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in consecutive starts leading into the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) last start where he started the 13/4 favourite. The son of Sebring however never looked comfortable and was niggled out a long way out from home to keep his position. He then only battled away in the run home to finish sixth (6.2 lengths) behind Criterion. The drop back to a mile is a good step and he was good in the G1 George Mains Stakes this track and distance last prep against older horse. In stronger form this preparation and with only 51.5kgs, should be finishing hard. Deserves attention as $17.00 chance.
17. MESSENE – C Brown (18) 51.5kgs
The lightly raced 5yo gelding made it seven straight wins with a comprehensive 2 ¾ length win in the G3 Ajax Stakes three weeks ago. Settling on the speed, she was too strong late for Weary who won the G3 Doncaster Prelude last weekend. Drops a further 3kgs on that win and despite drawing wide, will take up a forward position and prove very hard to run down.
18. EL ROCA – G Boss (17) 51.5kgs
Won the Listed Eskimo Stakes first up from a spell and has finished agonisingly close in three quality races since. A head second in the G3 Liverpool City Cup to Terravista, a nose defeat to Dissident in the G1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and a length third to Gordon Lord Byron in the G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), is as solid as it gets and with Messene, drawn his immediate outside, he’ll go forward. The last 50m, like it has been at his last two starts, will be his biggest challenge but with his light weight compared to his above efforts, he might be able to see it out.
19. WEARY – T Berry (13) 51.5kgs
The 4yo has impressed in each of his three Australian runs since joining Chris Waller’s stable from Europe at the end of last year. He settled much closer last start in the G3 Doncaster Prelude than he had done so previously, keeping leader and main danger Leebaz in his sights. He chased Leebaz tenaciously, who had picked up the speed heading into the turn and run him down to win by ¾ lengths. Showed good ability to be ridden outside of his normal pattern last start and still get the job done against a very smart horse. He’ll be better again when allowed to settle early and finish strongly. Continues to improve with each run and appears to peaking at the right time for this.
20. NINTH LEGION – C Williams (21) 51.5kgs
He was given a twelve week break after winning the G2 The Villiers (1550m) late last year and returned with a promising third behind Terravista in the G3 Liverpool City Cup. He didn’t enjoy the slow track condition at his next and most recent start though and after settling on the speed, only battered away in the straight before running eighth (five lengths) behind Gordon Lord Byron. He’ll shoot over from a poor draw and help to set what should be a good speed but even with what is a very attractive weight for a G2 winner, hard to see him holding off the challengers late.
21. MALAVIO – (9) 51kgs
Get a little further back than anticipated from a good draw in the G2 Ajax Stakes but closed steadily to claim third behind the in-form pairing of Messene and Weary. He then drew wide in last week’s G3 Doncaster Prelude and with 58kgs, was posted wide with only limited cover but again finished stoutly to run fourth (4.4 lengths) behind Weary and Leebaz. Has being going well behind the right horse and has the draw and weight required to run well.
22. GYPSY DIAMOND – K McEvoy (10)
John O’Shea’s filly has produced three great runs against her own age and sex since resuming from a spell in February. She finished well in both the G2 Light Fingers Stakes and G2 Surrounds Stakes, running second and fourth respectively, before contesting the G1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) last start. From the widest barrier, she had little choice but to get back to near last in the run but in a race dominated by the leader, she was always on the back-foot from that position. Her effort to run ninth (3.4 lengths) behind Steps In Time was a commendable one. Takes on the very best here though and would prefer her in her own company.
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RACE OVERVIEW –
Can’t knock the favourite’s form who continues to take the step up each time she is asked to and there has been no stronger stable over the past two months than that of the Hawkes’. It will be a remarkable feat to win eight straight, with the first of those wins coming in mid-week Canterbury BM 75 race, culminating in the G1 Doncaster Handicap. Sticking with some that are tried and tested at this level and Toydini, Royal Descent and Speediness, each at double figure odds, stand out. There respective form leading into this race has been very good and they each excel at the distance. Toydini and Sacred Falls come out of the George Ryder, always a good pointer to this race, with Toydini hoping for a drier track and Sacred Falls, more rain. Royal Descent has hit the line in great style at her last two, the most recent of which was unsuitably run. This event should play right into her hands. A strongly run mile on a big track, should see here hitting the line hard.
- ROYAL DESCENT
- SACRED FALLS
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