Punters believe Lankan Rupee can make it three consecutive Group 1 wins with Mick Price’s galloper opening up the $3.80 favourite. Despite there being eleven individual winners entered in the race, only two other runners opened under double figures – Buffering ($6) and Gordon Lord Byron ($8).
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1. BUFFERING – D Browne (2)
Rounded out his last prep by winning three G1’s in a row and returned as a 9/4 chance in the G2 Challenge Stakes (1000m). As he always does he took up the lead position but uncharacteristically, he was under pressure early in the straight and battled away to finish seventh (1.7 lengths) behind Villa Verde. Will jump forward again and his record demands he be forgiven for last start.
2. GORDON LORD BYRON – C Williams (11)
A globetrotting 6yo Irish gelding who added an Australian win to his resume with a strong finishing head win in the G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) a fortnight ago. Got a nice run in the George Ryder but thought that effort would see him suited in a race like the Doncaster (1600m) rather than the 1200m sprint conditions of this race.
3. LANKAN RUPEE – C Newitt (1)
Mick Price’s galloper took out the G1 sprint double of the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap earlier this year, winning each race in emphatic style. He set the pace before extending well and leaving some well credentialed sprinters in his wake. Drawn the inside gate here is not ideal but he is flying and only needs an ounce of luck during the run the one they need to beat again.
4. SPIRIT OF BOOM – M Rodd (15)
Despite being a 6yo stallion, Trainer Tony Gollan has never had this son of Sequalo going better as his last start maiden Group 1 victory will attest. After finishing second to Lankan Rupee in both the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap, he finally had his moment in the sun when taking out the William Reid Stakes narrowly from Fontelina. Form is rock solid and probably will start over the odds again but will be finishing hard.
5. REBEL DANE – G Boss (7)
Gary Portelli’s galloper won the G3 Show County first up last prep, keeping his perfect fresh record intact. Two starts later, he claimed the G1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) defeating Fontelina and Solzhenitsyn. Boss, as he did before the commencement of last campaign, has ridden the son of Californian Dane in his one trial he has had in preparation for this return. He should get a lovely run behind the speed from seven and his chance in the run home.
6. TIGER TEES – (4)
Unlike his run in the G2 Premiere Stakes (1000m) two starts back, Joe Pride’s 6yo gelding got a lovely run in the G1 Galaxy Stakes a fortnight back and made the most of that opportunity, winning by a head. He’ll get a lovely run again from four and whilst he is going well, he faces a tougher field here under WFA conditions.
7. BEL SPRINTER – G Schofield (9)
Since competing in Singapore last year, the son of Bel Esprit hasn’t run a place in six starts with his best effort being a fourth in the G2 Challenge Stakes two starts back. His most recent start came in the G1 The Galaxy but from an inside draw, he got too far back in the run and finished eighth (4.6 lengths) behind Tiger Tees. Drawn a little wider out here which will help, as would a dry track but just hasn’t fired like we know he can in the last 12 months and has to be taken on trust.
8. SHAMEXPRESS – D Oliver (17)
Pushed Snitzerland first up in the G1 The Lightning (1000m) before drawing inside, not ideal, in the Newmarket Handicap and finishing fourth (4 ¼ lengths) to Lankan Rupee. Draw awkwardly (7 of 10) in his most recent start, the G1 William Reid Stakes and sat handy to the speed. He fought on strongly and was involved in a tight finish, running fifth but beaten only a half a length. Drawn more than awkwardly here though and needs to run down some very smart sprinters.
9. FONTELINA – J Bowman (3)
She was disappointing first up in the G1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), finishing second to last behind Lankan Rupee but bounced back to her best form at her next and most recent start, with an unlucky nose second to Spirit of Boom in the G1 William Reid Stakes. Should’ve won last start but found too much trouble in the short Valley straight. Gate three should see her camped behind them and her previous efforts in G1 WFA races, whilst not producing a win as yet, have all be good. Has to be conceded a place chance.
10. FAMOUS SEAMUS – T Clark (8)
After a good run in the G2 Challenge Stakes first up from a spell, he was touted a genuine chance in the G1 Galaxy Stakes at his following start given his solid second up record. Sent out a 9/1 chance, he settled four back on the fence but was under pressure early and failed to improve his position, finishing ninth (4 ¾ lengths) behind Tiger Tees. Will find this no easier.
11. SESSIONS – K McEvoy (20)
Just found the 1000m of the Challenge Stakes a touch too slick first up but was finishing well from the tail of the field to run sixth (1.6 lengths) behind Villa Verde. He then drew the second to widest gate in the G1 The Galaxy and settled three wide with cover midfield in the run, before peeling out in the straight and again finishing well, running fourth behind Tiger Tees who enjoyed a sweet run. Unfortunately the barrier draw hasn’t been kind again and that makes is job tough.
12. AERONAUTICAL – J Kissick (5)
The 5yo trained by Lionel Cohen has ability, but can prove hard to catch. He flashed home here first up last prep to run a nose second to Sessions in the G2 The Shorts before two starts later, taking out the Listed Razor Sharp Stakes. Interesting to see an Apprentice on him here but Kissick has ridden him in his two trials he has had in preparation for this race, his first since running ninth of twelve in the G1 The Lightning Handicap.
13. SEE THE WORLD – (18)
Contested his first G1 race in his thirty-five starts last fortnight in The Galaxy and things didn’t go well for Joe Pride’s galloper. As per usual, he settled back in the run but after losing a plate and being galloped on during the race, he could only manage seventh (3.9 lengths) behind Tiger Tees. This race is no easier and from eighteen, can’t see him running the calibre of this sprinter down.
14. SNITZERLAND – B Avdulla (21)
She won a much deserved G1 when successful first up in The Lightning before a game effort in the G2 Challenge Stakes four week later. Gerald Ryan’s mare sat on the pace, worked hard to get the better of the leaders and was only collared on the line by Villa Verde who had a lovely run behind her and the last shot. Draw here will test here, obviously there’s plenty of speed here and can’t see her crossing them without that early effort being detrimental to her chances.
15. STEPS IN TIME – (13)
She won her ninth race and her first G1 with success in the G1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) three weeks back, courtesy of a daring Jim Cassidy ride. She is out her best when in front and rolling along but against such a smart field of dedicated sprinters, doubt very much she’ll get that chance to fulfil that role here.
16. ZOUSTAR – J Cassidy (6)
Took all before him last spring, winning two G1 races including the Coolmore Stud Stakes where he accounted for Not Listenin’tome and Villa Verde comfortably. He retuned in the G1 Canterbury Classic (1300m) and big things were expected of the son of Northern Meteor but those who took the 13/4 quote, would’ve never been happy in the run. Zoustar settled closer to the speed and appeared to race keenly before offering little in the straight and weakening to run eight of ten, 4 ¼ lengths behind Appearance. His Trainer Chris Waller has given him a searching gallop since then and he is obviously a better horse than his last start would suggest but still yet to prove himself against the older horses.
17. SWEET IDEA – T Berry (19)
Winner of the G2 Light Fingers Stakes, she was a little disappointing at her following start in the G2 Surround Stakes where, from an on-pace position, she finished seventh (2.3 lengths) behind Thump. She was back to her best at her most recent start though, sitting second in the run to Steps In Time and chasing tenaciously when that horse opened a big lead passing the 500m, only to miss by the narrowest of margins. Will go forward but against this field from a bad draw, faces a tough challenge to hold on to her position.
18. VILLA VERDE – J McDonald (12)
She was transferred to Anthony Cummings stables with immediate success. Given a lovely run throughout the race by McDonald in the G2 Challenge Stakes, she finished too well for Snitzerland, winning by half a length. She then started from the widest gate in the G1 The Galaxy and produced an outstanding effort from near last on the turn, finishing hard to run third (1.5 lengths) behind Tiger Tees. Obviously enjoying her time with Cumming and from twelve, McDonald should be able to tag a runner into the race and produce her at the right time. Represents good each way value at $17.00
19. IRISH FLING – (16)
New Zealand galloper who was safely held when making her Australian debut in the G1 The Galaxy, finishing last. Harder race here and a worse gate – no.
20. FLAMBERGE – (14)
He took benefit of having had his first Sydney start in the G3 McCarten Stakes (1100m), by following it up with a win last week in the G3 Sebring Stakes (1200m), leading all the way to defeat Hot Snitzel by a head. Much harder here though.
21. PERON – J Moreira (10)
Smart mare who has won six of her eleven starts. She’s also ran second in G2 and G3 Fillies and Mares races but hasn’t contested a race of this quality before and will be doing it, ambitiously, first up from a spell.
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Backing Lankan Rupee – or Newitt for that matter, to be able to negotiate the inside gate. He should camp behind them and showed in the Oakleigh Plate win, that he doesn’t have to lead. He is the leading sprinter in the country at the moment and will confirm that fact here. Rebel Dane goes well fresh and Portelli would have this race singled out for him some time ago. He’ll be ready to produce and Boss visiting Sydney recently for the trial is a positive sign. Villa Verde has been going very well and had she drawn some sort of gate last start, we would’ve been referring to her as a Group 1 winner. That title may not come here either – it’s a tough race – but she’s going too well to leave at her price. Hard to leave Spirit of Boom out give his strong form references to Lankan Rupee whilst Buffering can bounce back with a much stronger run here.
- LANKAN RUPEE
- REBEL DANE
- SPIRIT OF BOOM
- VILLA VERDE