You know you’re in form when you have to forego the ride on First Seal due to her assigned weight but yet pick up the ride on unbeaten colt Sweynesse. Blake Shinn piloted First Seal to victory in the G2 Tea Rose Stakes and last week’s G1 Flight Stakes in the past three weeks but will be out to deny her another Group 1 this week when he is legged aboard Sweynesse. The pair dominate the race which is of limited depth with First Seal $1.80 and Sweynesse $3.80. Only one other runner given a chance in the race is Panzer Division at $7.00.
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1. SWEYNESSE – B Shinn (3)
Kept his perfect record intact with a comfortable length victory in the G3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) a fortnight ago where, as he did at the previous start in the G3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle, he bided his time at the back of the field before rounded them up with a strong finish. Distance will pose no problems and has the services of the in-form Blake Shinn. Will be there at the business end.
2. VALENTIA – T Clark (5)
Sat outside of the leader second up in the G3 Ming Dynasty but couldn’t improve his position in the straight on a heavy track, finishing fifth of nine and four lengths behind Panzer Division. He led his seven opponents in the G2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) but wasn’t able to withstand the challengers of quality colts Shooting To Win and Scissor Kick and finished third (3.1 lengths). Step up to 2000 would appear a concern but stable has a winning knack of meeting such challengers.
3. PANZER DIVISION – T Angland (9)
Judge managed to find a margin in a photo finish between this colt and his stable-mate Scissor Kick in the G3 Up & Coming (1200m) before making up for the decision going against him by winning the G3 Ming Dynasty (1400m), leading all the way to defeat Shooting To Win by 1.3 lengths. Trainer Paul Messara than entered him against the older horses in the WFA G1 George Main Stakes (1600m) where, after sitting second in the run, he fought on gamely against the elite gallopers, running fifth (2.6 lengths) behind Sacred Falls. Draw here makes it a little awkward for him but he has met most challenges put to him thus far and hard to imagine another horse in this field doing better than he at his last start.
4. HAMPTON COURT – J Parr (7)
Led the field and was able to set his own pace but couldn’t withstand the finishing effort of Sweynesse in the G3 Spring Stakes (1600m) two starts back, finishing fourth (two lengths). He then lined up the 6/4 favourite in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m), a race of limited depth, where punters would’ve been concerned early in the straight as he was in desperate need of a run from behind the leader. He got out and closed well late to win by three quarters of a length, crossing the line strongly. The 2000m shouldn’t worry him but a few better class gallopers may.
5. POUNAMU – G Schofield (2)
An argument could’ve been easily made that he should’ve beat Sweynesse in the G3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle two runs back after having no luck in the straight and closing well to finished second, a long neck away. Had his chance to prove that theory last start in the Gloaming Stakes (1800m) but after securing a lovely run throughout, proved no match for Sweynesse over the final furlong and finished third, 3.8 lengths away. Hard to see him turning the tables on that horse here.
6. LIE DIRECT – (8)
The half-brother to Group 3 winner Darci Be Good recorded his maiden victory, at his second race start, by finishing too well from the tail of the field for eight opponents in a Kembla Grange Maiden over 1400m. He then closed steadily at his only run since, when third (1.5 lengths) to Balmoral Baby in a Kembla Grange Class 1. By Zabeel, longer trips will be what he’ll be best at in the future but doubt he’s ready for a Group 1 just yet.
7. DRUM ROLL – K O’Hara (6)
Warwick Farm trainer David Vandyke took this Authorized gelding to Mudgee for his first start where he started the odds on favourite for the Maiden to be run over 1400m. He came from near last to win by three quarters of a length before again as odds on favourite, he finished hard late in a Goulburn BM 55 (1600m) at his only start since. He couldn’t quite reel the leaders in at Goulburn running third (1.6 lengths). Been taught his craft by Vandyke but a race of quality has come upon him too quickly it would appear.
8. FIRST SEAL – J Collett (4)
Caused a boil-over when she defeated the more fancied pair of Winx and Earthquake in the G2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) before proving the win no fluke by trouncing her rivals in last week’s G1 Flight Stakes. She travelled sweetly throughout in the Flight Stakes and travelled up to the leaders topping the rise with plenty in reserve before putting the issue beyond doubt. Improving lengths with each run and that spells danger for the boys here.
9. PRESS REPORT – W Costin (1)
The Lee Curtis trained filly crossed from a wider gate last week in the Flight Stakes to sit second outside of the leader during the run. She couldn’t improve her position from there in the run home and finished fourth, close to five lengths behind First Seal and Winx. That was her fifth run in this time with her only placing coming with a win, secured in the Steward’s room, over Liberation in an Open class race at Rosehill over 1300m.
Waterhouse pair of Valentia and Hampton Court set the pace with Panzer Division pushing forward and First Seal getting the box seat. Hampton Court will offer plenty of cheek in front but both First Seal and Sweynesse will be closing fast. Shinn will be keen to pressure the filly early in the turn and try and nullify the good turn of foot she has. It’ll be interesting to see how show digs in for the fight if that’s the case.
- FIRST SEAL
- HAMPTON COURT
- PANZER DIVISION