Early in the season it is always hard to get a handle on the 3yo races as number of promising gallopers return for the spring riches and the Up And Coming Stakes this weekend is certainly a case in point. Six of the eleven runners have opened at a single figure price in early markets with Peter Moody’s Better Land the favourite at $3.80, firming in from an opening prince of $4.20, after his last start second in The Rosebud. Winner of The Rosebud, Scissor Kick, is on the second line of betting at $5.50 and is one of two runners in the race for trainer Paul Messara with his other galloper Panzer Division ($10.00) being kept safe in markets as well after an impressive debut win. Godolphin are represented by Kumaon ($9.00) and Meursault ($6.00) with the latter also kept under wraps since he too won handsomely on debut back in May.
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1. VALENTIA – T Berry (10)
Got the gun run to take out the G2 Skyline Stakes last prep, defeating Mr Bogart by half a length, registering his second win from only his third start and forcing his way into the G1 Golden Slipper. The Fastnet Rock colt only battled on the heavy conditions in the Slipper though and ran twelfth, 7.5 lengths, behind Mossfun. Hasn’t raced since then (April) but has looked smart in two barrier trials over the last month, the most recent of which he won defeating stablemate Nayeli by half a length. Wide gate and the probability of more rain in Sydney this week are what may work against him here though.
2. KUMAON – J McDonald (1)
The son of Lonhro only missed a place once in five starts as a 2yo, claiming second in the G2 Pago Pago and third in the G1 Champagne Stakes – both races ran on rain-affected tracks. He resumes here off a seventeen week spell with no public trials but from gate one with an in-form jock aboard, he’ll be capable of running a bold race first up.
3. SCISSOR KICK – T Angland (5)
Impressively won a Canterbury restricted race first up from a spell for trainer Paul Messara before taking the step up in class in good style, claiming the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) a fortnight ago. Sitting behind the speed jockey Tye Angland, who sticks with him here, angled him through a gap as they topped the rise and the son of Redoute’s Choice extended well, winning by 3/4 of a length. Drawn to get a similar run here and may still be open to further improvement.
4. LIBERATION – T Clark (3)
Broke his maiden status first up this prep in emphatic style, leading all the way to record a 2.3 length win over Inz’N’Out Rosehill. The well bred colt trained by Gai Waterhouse was then sent out an odds-on favourite and his next and most recent start and at the 150m, seemed to full of running and doing it easy. Unfortunately for punters who took the shorts though, he drifted out in the run to the line, causing interference to the second horse and despite holding on to be first past the post, lost the race in the Stewards room. Has plenty of ability but still learning about racing and any chink in his armour will be exposed at this level.
5. MEURSAULT – K McEvoy (9)
The Godolphin camp have been very patient with this son of Medaglia D’Oro. He was given two trials back in November/December, performing well in both before a break and returning with two more trials before making his debut in a 2yo Quality race at Hawkesbury. Despite a betting drift (4/1 – 15/2) he jumped straight to the front from the inside gate, leading all the way to record a comfortable 3 length win. Steps up in class here and has drawn awkwardly in nine but would but has been kept safe in early markets and best to treat him with plenty of caution.
6. SHOOTING TO WIN – S Clipperton (8)
Started favourite for his debut in a Kembla Grange Maiden and won well, closing from mid-field to win by 1.8 length. The Northern Meteor colt, who is the younger sibling of promising galloper Deep Field, then made it two wins from as many starts with a long neck win in a Canterbury restricted race on a slow track. Hasn’t raced since then, ten weeks ago now, but would respect the stable’s (P & P Snowden) decision to kick him off here.
7. BETTER LAND – G Schofield (7)
Peter Moody’s colt returned from an impressive Sale Maiden in April, with an eye-catching run in the Listed The Rosebud Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago. From a wide gate the Shamadarl colt was posted three deep just of the pace in the run and lost a length rounding the turn however, he continued to pull ground of the leaders and was finishing strongly on the line, running second to Scissor Kick by 3/4 of a length. Second up, an extra 100m and better run in transit, should see him finishing hard again and rate a leading chance.
8. LORD BECKWORTH – J Lloyd (6)
From five start to date, the Not A Single Doubt colt trained by Paul Perry has recorded one win, a Wyong Open (1350m) where he finishing strongly from the tail of the field to defeat Good Prince and Shaftesbury. His other starts, most of which have been in Listed or Group company, have seen him run into a wet track and/or settle too far back. Prepared to see what he offers first up.
9. PANZER DIVISION – K O’Hara (2)
Stable-mate to Scissor Kick, also by Redoute’s Choice, he made a strong impression at his only start when taking out a Kembla Grange Maiden (1200m) by 3.5 lengths. Settled on the pace at Kembla and drew away from his rivals who were headed by subsequent city winner Bascule. He is drawn to get a similar run here. The Kembla win was back in July and he’s been kept fresh for this by his trainer who should have a good gauge on his abilities given the recent performance of Scissor Kick. Wouldn’t dismiss him too lightly.
10. HERO I AM – J Collett (4)
Former Kiwi galloper who had his first Australia start for his new trainer Chris Waller in last fortnight’s The Rosebud (1200m). From the inside gate, he settled three back on the fence and made his run home along the rails, with the best of work coming over the final 100m. He finished fifth (1.3 lengths) behind Scissor Kick and Better Land with both horses coming down the centre of the track. Can only be better for having had that run, which was his first for four months and gave the impression a longer trip would be to his liking.
11. ROAD TO SHANGRI LA – B Avdulla (11)
Road To Rock colt who will be making his debut. He is a half brother to good performer Winter King and has had five trials since December of last year for trainer Anthony Cummings. Picked a very competitive race to start his career in and the outside gate will be of no assistance. He’ll have to be very smart to win this.
Liberation will push forward with Kumaon keen to hold his inside draw and Scissor Kick from gate five should again find a nice position in running. Hard to know with a great deal of certainty what the outside horses, many whom have led in their previous races, will do here (Meursault, Valentia, Better Land). Can’t see any reason why not to stick with Scissor Kick here. Last two wins have been good, still improving and drawn to be in the box seat. It was a big run from Better Land last start and although drawn a little awkwardly again here, he’ll be right in the mix with any luck. Hero I Am was good behind the above two in the Rosebud and shouldn’t be overlooked. Two horses here with the same credentials, Meursault and Panzer Division. Both impressive winners on debut a few months back after which their respective trainers, who have plenty to gauge them against, saved them for a crack at some good races like this. Both should be closely monitored.
- SCISSOR KICK
- BETTER LAND
- HERO I AM