Last year trainer Gai Waterhouse produced Rain Drum first up from a spell to win the Shannon Stakes and this Saturday the Randwick trainer will be aiming to do the same with imported galloper Excess Knowledge. The 5yo stallion joined the Waterhouse stable at the start of the year and immediately attracted plenty of attention. He started favourite in each of his Australian starts earlier in the year and although he went down, narrowly on each occasion, he showed plenty of potential and that was reinforced by a smart trial win recently. He is $6.00 chance but all the early money has been for Joe Pride’s Rock Sturdy. His opening price of $4.20 was crunched as soon as it was posted and fell to as short as $2.90. To indicate just how open this race is, these are the only two runners under double figure odds. VRC Oaks winner Kirramosa has been another notable firmer, tightening from $17.00 into $13.00.
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1. NINTH LEGION – (14)
Sat on the speed but didn’t extend on the heavy track when seventh in the G3 Show County (1200m) before, on better ground, sticking on much better for a third (1.7 lengths) behind in-form pair Cluster and Bull Point in the Theo Marks Draw and weight, he jumps 4kgs on his last start, won’t make this easy for him.
2. ZEPHYRON – (11)
Held his position well first up when fifth (3 lengths) in the Theo Marks Stakes (1400m). Will be fitter for that run but his last three wins have all been at 2000m or longer and would expect he’ll need this run as well.
3. KIRRAMOSA – T Berry (4)
Ran a cracker race first up, off a nine month break, when sixth (1.7 lengths) behind Sweet Idea in the Missile Stakes (1200m). Avoiding wet tracks, it was five weeks until her next start which came in last fortnight’s G2 Theo Marks Stakes where she too held her position, finishing sixth (3.3 lengths) to Cluster. Better for that start and will be finishing hard but may need it a touch longer than this.
4. MIDSUMMER SUN – J Parr (8)
The Gosford Cup winner returns to racing off a twenty-seven week spell and has been prepped for his return by trainer Sam Kavanagh with two barrier trials. Hit the line well first up last prep, finishing within two lengths of Strike The Stars in an Open handicap over 1400m but meets a stronger field here and will need this outing.
5. JETSET LAD – A Allen (7)
Queenslander that won two in his home-state – the Listed Tatt’s Mile and an Open Handicap – before coming to Sydney for the Theo Marks Stakes. He found a nice spot in the run just off the pace but like most in the race, just held his spot in the run home and finished fourth (2.1 lengths). Going well at the minute but will find this race no easier than his last.
6. MR CHARD – G Schofield (13)
Big effort to fight back and win the Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury two starts back before starting a well backed commodity in the G3 Cameron Handicap at Newcastle last week. He was slowly away and that saw him at the tail of the field in a race that was dominated by the leader Hooked, who got away with a cheap run in front. Was only warming up late and best to go on his previous efforts which also include a second to Tiger Tees. Drawn wide here but a more genuine tempo will help him run a better race than this current price would suggest.
7. ROCK STURDY – C Brown (1)
Has started favourite in his last two outings but has found at least one better than him on the day. He couldn’t reel in Supreme Warrior and Spy Decoder on the heavy track before looming up to win the G3 Bill Ritchie (1400m) but finding Manawanui too strong late. On the quick back-up here and the inside gate may be a tricky draw to negotiate in a field of fourteen runners.
8. VILANOVA – T Angland (2)
Ran well first up, sneaking home along the fence from near the tail of the field to claim sixth (3 lengths) behind Lucia Valentina. He then travelled to Newcastle for the Cameron Handicap but was the victim of a slowly run race and was tightened up late. Best to forgive him that run but his racing pattern of getting back will require all to pan out perfectly for him.
9. RUGGED CROSS – J Cassidy (12)
Enjoyed the heavy conditions and wore down stable-mate Tougher Than Ever in a BM 95 (1500m) before having every chance when settling on the speed, in the G3 Cameron Handicap. That was his first go at a stakes race in Australia but may have been flattered a little given the way the race was run. This race much stronger and the gate won’t help but interesting to see Jim Cassidy, who rode Vilanova in the Cameron Handicap, onboard here.
10. TOUHGER THAN EVER – (3)
He ran third, his third placing in this past four starts, in the G3 Bill Ritchie Stakes last week, finishing 3.2 lengths behind Manawanui and Rock Sturdy who battled out the finish. Will take up a forward position from his good gate but when the pressure is on late, he get’s beaten more often than not and there’ll be plenty of challengers charging late here.
11. EPIC – S Clipperton (5)
The winner of his last two starts, and three of his last four, in his home state – all coming over a mile and in Open class. Going well and trainer Kelly Schweida is never far from the money when he travels interstate with a galloper. Whilst the rise in class will be a challenge, he is fit and will be in the right spot from gate five.
12. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE – K McEvoy (10)
An imported galloper who started favourite in each of his two Australian starts earlier this year where he finished second (head) and third (1.8 lengths), in BM 90 and Open class company respectively. Has had a good break and more time to settle in and looked very smart in winning a Randwick barrier trial a fortnight ago over 1200m. Always been some wraps on him and will be expected to run well here but still only has the one win from eight starts overall.
13. BEST CASE – B Avdulla (6)
Flashed home from well back in a race that suited those close to the speed first up in a Open class (1400m), finishing eighth (3.1 lengths) behind Entirely Platinum. That race was over five weeks ago now but form out of his return race has been solid and he has been kept up to the mark by trainer Anthony Cummings with a 1200m barrier trial last week. Well get back but is a promising galloper and will be finishing well.
14. LIBERTY’S CHOICE – T Clark (9)
After some indifferent performance early last campaign, the well bred son of Redoute’s Choice started to put it together during the Winter Carnival, running a close second in the G2 Qld Guineas and third in the Listed Daybreak Lover – both behind Sir Moments. Returned to racing a fortnight ago but drifted in betting for the BM 85 (1200m) from 11/1 to 16/1 and ran accordingly, settling last and not improving his position. Can’t entertain him on that effort.
Tricky race to map but with a couple of possible leaders draw wide (Ninth Legion, Liberty’s Choice) and Jetset Lad, Epic and Tougher Than Ever also taken up prominent positions, pace should be pretty good. Big money for Rock Sturdy but at his current price ($2.90) would be prepared to shop around him. Kirramosa is a class runner and will take good benefit from the Theo Marks run. From four, Berry should be able to secure a good run and at good each-way value, should give a good sight. Wouldn’t judge those who contested the Cameroon, Vilanova and Mr Chard too harshly either given the race was ran at a slow pace and they both settled at tail of the field. The Cameron has traditionally been a good pointer to this race.
- MR CHARD
- ROCK STURDY
- EXCESS KNOWLEDGE