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The Sydney autumn carnival finishes for another year with Saturday’s Sydney Cup Day.

Hopefully, the weather gods will smile on Randwick and a good track will be the order of the day.

As always, Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has done the form as he aims to end on a high note.

NOTE: This preview has been updated to reflect the wet track at Randwick.

Here is his preview of tomorrow’s eight race program:

Race 1 – Listed James H B Carr Stakes (1400m)

Big field to start the day. The main form race looks to be the P J Bell Stakes, which was run at Canterbury two weeks ago. The beaten contingent from that race will have a hard time turning the tables on RED TRACER. She sat three wide last start and was the only horse to come from off the pace to win. Has great form around the likes of Parables and Obsequious and really should win. A horse that could present a complete blowout result is I WALK THE LINE. Missed the start badly in the P J Bell and was never in it. Won two races over staying trips by big margins last prep, and she’ll be greatly improved. At massive odds, she’s a must include in all multiples and could be worth an each way ticket. PALOMARES is ultra consistent, she has drawn badly again which won’t help but Randwick will probably suit more than Canterbury. If she reproduces her five length win over Adelaide Guineas winner Booklet from Melbourne Cup day here, she could beat this field easily. Next best, go ZUTARA who is probably on a Queensland Oaks preparation. Should go alright.

UPDATE: This race should pretty much stay the same with a wet track. For fourth, go for FLOKKATI instead of Zutara.

Numbers: 1-10-2-6

Race 2 – Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m)

Usually a race for the second stringers, but recent winners include Group 1 winners Dariana, Clangalang, Freemason, Dodge, Might and Power and Juggler.  Gai Waterhouse looks to have a very strong hand here. NEEDS FURTHER looks like he’ll relish 2000m. Gai keeps talking about the spring carnival with this horse – not sure if she is thinking Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate, but I reckon he could be that class. I think he’ll win here. PRAECIDO was good in the AJC Derby, albeit beaten more than seven lengths by Shamrocker. He’s heading to the SA Derby and will appreciate the drop in class from what he’s been racing recently. FAST CLIP was good in the Tulloch Stakes – I really doubted he would run 2000m but he proved me wrong. However, I would prefer to be on the stablemate. For a roughie, go with HARD LIQUOR. May have been lucky to win last start (or the runner up was unlucky) but I still think he’s shown some promise and will relish this distance. Might actually be an okay form race, this one.

UPDATE: This race should stay the same. Go with the same top four.

Numbers: 3-2-1-10

Race 3 – Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m)

I think Kris Lees will reap the benefits of missing the Doncaster with HIDDEN WONDER. She loves the Randwick mile, including a fourth in the Epsom Handicap last year. She was good behind My Kingdom of Fife in the Royal Parma, and I’ve rated him highly in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Should go very close. SWORN TO SECRECY was terrible in the Storm Queen but perhaps she may just be a mile filly! Gets down to 52kg here, she can win. KIMILLSY has shown glimpses of her best form from her three year old days. Tends to run her best races third up – she ran second to Samantha Miss in the Tea Rose Stakes third up, while she won at Rosehill last year third up too. It’s been a great training performance from Kim Waugh to get her back towards her best. She’ll be in this for a long way. For fourth, look at LITTLE SURFER GIRL. For a filly bred to get 2000m at least, she seems to struggle at 1600m. But she’s racing like she wants the extra trip so she’s a horse for the multiples.

UPDATE: Hidden Wonder is even better suited on a wet track in my opinion. She looks the winner, while Sworn to Secrecy does look good on a wet track too. Happy to go with Kimillsy third, but Little Surfer Girl has been scratched, so we’ll change to a wet tracker in SKYERUSH.

Numbers: 3-10-7-5

Race 4 – Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m)

The first of our Group 1s and it is the first chance for the two year olds over a mile. It’s quite noticeable how many of these are not actually bred to get over a distance, so I’m not sure how this race will stack up in the future. One who is bred to get the distance is HOUSTON BENEFACTOR. Being by Encosta De Lago out of a half sister to good NZ mare Princess Coup, she should relish the distance. Most remember her run two starts back where she bombed the start by six lengths, but weaved through the field and hit the front only to be run down by Exceed and Exalt. She should have won by many lengths that day. Her run last week behind Streama, still over an unsuitable trip, was very good too. The back up from such a heavy track is a query but I reckon she is tremendous value at around $14. She can be the second maiden to win a Group 1 this carnival, the first being Absolutely in the AJC Oaks. Biggest danger looks to be PANE IN THE GLASS. Big run last start when horses had trouble making up ground. Most horses who ran the way she did last start would be favourite here. Alas, she isn’t but I expect she’ll be well backed. Biggest danger to Houston Benefactor. HELMET had everything go right last start. I think he is way under the odds at $2.80 and while he should be around the mark, I reckon he is a risk here. Next best DISPUTES.

UPDATE: Houston Benefactor was fantastic on a wet track last week. Doubt she’ll have any problems. Pretty hard to find any horse with wet track credentials in this race so best to leave it I think.

Numbers: 12-9-1-11

Race 5 – Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m)

By no means is this a vintage running, but it is a competitive race. I think that’s what we’ve been missing recently, big fields that are great spectacles. This race should fit that bill. There are quite a few progressive types here, might be a good pointer for the spring. We won’t be getting $151 here but MY KINGDOM OF FIFE was mighty impressive in the Royal Parma Stakes. I’ve got Hidden Wonder on top in the Emancipation and Bold Glance ran third in the Doncaster. I think he can win here and go on to the Doomben Cup – he might be a Cups horse in the spring. SYREON is in a purple patch of form, unbelievable run in the Doncaster, arguably should have placed. 2000m suits him at this stage of his career. Follow a horse in form! WALL STREET has been terrible in two runs over here but I think they are excusable. He’s looking for more ground now in my opinion and he’s one of the only weight for age winners in the field. A form reversal wouldn’t surprise. Three year olds have a great record in this race and while I don’t think this crop of three year olds is very strong, RETRIEVE has been a model of consistency outside of his flop in the Tulloch Stakes. At what is likely to be his last run in Australia, he can win. Very open race but I’m looking forward to it!

UPDATE: My Kingdom of Fife’s European form suggests he is better on top of the ground. That said, he is an unknown quantity so I may as well leave him. The rain brings Syreon into it big time. Unfortunately I have to strike Wall Street from my selections, he despised the wet last week. So let’s bring mudlark GINGA DUDE in for third. Keep Retrieve for fourth. Would have Sacred Choice in but she’s a big query at 2000m.

Numbers: 5-7-4-14

Race 6 – Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m)

Many will argue with me, but I reckon this is one of the better Sydney Cups of recent times. It does look to be a Cup for imports. Very keen on LARISTAN here. The gate is the only query. He has looked like he is screaming for 3200m based on his runs in the Australian Cup and The BMW. Has more scope than many here, and I think 3200m will see his transformation. All eyes on the Melbourne Cup after tomorrow! COUNT ENCOSTA was very impressive when running fourth in the Chairman’s Handicap. He finished off very strongly, always a good sign for 3200m. Still some query at the trip but he’s working towards a big run here. C’EST LA GUERRE and MOURAYAN look very nice chances. C’est La Guerre’s best career run was when third in the 2008 Melbourne Cup behind Viewed and Bauer. He seems to be a couple of lengths better the Sydney way of going. Mourayan was a bold run in The BMW. It was a great run for 3200m. Next best is Above Average, who I think will be even better in the spring. Bring it on!

UPDATE: Damn! Was hoping to see a firm surface for Laristan. Hawk Island is the best wet tracker in the race but he won’t run 3200m on a bog track, so risk him. Mourayan has been scratched, so throw in ABOVE AVERAGE for fourth. No confidence though. C’est La Guerre in particular is one who loves it slow but hates it heavy.

Numbers: 10-15-2-5

Race 7 – Group 1 All-Aged Stakes (1400m)

This has to rank as one of the best races this carnival! I’m pretty keen on HEART OF DREAMS here, especially if it is a dead track. At 1400m, he’s yet to finish outside the top four. A good speed here should give him his chance to run home strongly. Nice bet at the $14.  ALL SILENT is a really interesting one. His second up stats are really solid – the only time he missed a place second up was last preparation, when he ran 37 lengths last on a heavy track. He hates wet tracks, so it was a total forgive. He has taken a while to get over his overseas sojourns, but if he is anywhere near his best he can give this a real shake. Was actually a really good run in the T J Smith, if it stays a good or dead track he could be the blow out. Should not be the outsider. RANGIRANGDOO has fitness queries over him, but the way he won the George Ryder was impressive. He’ll be improved further and I hope he goes well. I’ve never been a big fan of the horse, but his win in the George Ryder really impressed me – to do that at his second start in almost a year, wow. HAY LIST is a deserved favourite. 1400m is a query and I’m not sure how much improvement he’ll have in him. His heart may have been broken by Black Caviar last start, because he gave his absolute all. Will be interesting to see how he comes through it. If he reproduces his last run, he probably wins. Next best Melito and Shoot Out in one incredible race.

UPDATE: Happy to stick with Heart of Dreams but All Silent and Rangirangdoo are out now, which is very disappointing. I’m going to promote SHOOT OUT to second, very nice stats on a wet track. MELITO goes to third, she goes alright on a wet track and she’s got good form. By default, Hay List stays in for fourth – I reckon he’s a risk on the wet track though.

Numbers: 4-5-11-3

Race 8 – Listed Hall Mark Stakes (1200m)

Tough race to close out the carnival. There are queries over most of these. I’m going with a horse that is very hard to catch – KENNY’S WORLD. He settled last in the Challenge Stakes and really had no chance the way the race was run. His second up stats are great, he’s won a G3 over this track and distance and a good to dead track should be ideal. Looks one of the better bets on a tough card. Glen Boss has been the headline rider this carnival and he can finish with a win on RECOUP DE FORTUNE, who’s probably heading to Queensland. Very good horse fresh and he’s right down in the weights here. Expecting a big run. Have to love MOTSPUR‘s first up record. His two trials leading in have been great, the first one he finished a close up third – boom horse Sincero was second – while he won his latest trial by four lengths. Will be primed here and looks well suited. For fourth, go for MARQUARDT. She needs pace, which she should get here. Still reckon she needs further – there’s a few races coming up where she’d be really well suited in my opinion – but she can definitely run a place here.

UPDATE: Kenny’s World loves it wet, becomes an even better bet. Relegate Recoup De Fortune to fourth – he has won on a wet track but it will be a tough ask first up – and put Motspur in for second. For third, go with PRINCE BRAEMAN. Very good stats second up and on a wet track so he’s worth including. Take Marquardt out.

Numbers: 2-4-6-15

BEST BET: R8, No. 2 Kenny’s World
NEXT BEST: R2, No. 3 Needs Further
BEST VALUE: R7, No. 4 Heart of Dreams

Written by Andrew Hawkins

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