The Grand Finals of Australian racing is The Championships at Randwick and it kicks off for 2021 this Saturday with a bumper ten race program. The weather is fine, the track is soft (7) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
Doncaster Mile 🏆: View the Field and Odds for the Doncaster Mile
Australian Derby 🏆: View the Field and Odds for the Australian Derby
TJ Smith Stakes 🏆: View the Field and Odds for the TJ Smith Stakes
Race 1. (11:35) Kindergarten Stakes 1100m
This is a very open edition of the Kindergarten. I’m going to play a relatively straight bat and go with 3 King Of Sparta (Bet Now: $7.00 TOP ODDS). Missed out on a Golden Slipper berth after an unlucky fourth in the Silver Slipper, so I like that the stable have freshened up. Loved his recent trial behind Billiondollarbaby, who bolted up at Canterbury on Wednesday, so a tick for the trial form. Just hope gate one is used so he can hold the back of likely leader Vandoula Lass.
8 Vandoula Lass (Bet Now: $4.80 TOP ODDS) is the key threat. She did little wrong in her opening prep. Smashed the clock when a sharp debut winner at Sandown. Then came here when leading and looked home for the most part, but was nabbed late by a tough nut in Rocket Tiger. Interesting she resumes without a trial, but is in the right camp.
10 Lovemetender (Bet Now: $15.00 TOP ODDS) can be a knockout chance at odds. She resumed on the Kenso track when wide no cover on speed. Was entitled to drop away and to an extent she did, but mostly stuck on and was good in defeat behind subsequent Stakes winner Najmaty. Runner up went on to win the Wellington Boot so the form around her reads well and she looked to be trucking in a tick over trial.
Race 2. (12:10) Carbine Club Stakes 1600m
4 The Irishman (Bet Now: $2.70 TOP ODDS) has done little wrong since arriving in Australia. Showed good ticker to win at his Australian debut at Warwick Farm. He then went to the Phar Lap and measured up quite well I thought when a narrow second to Hungry Heart. That form reads well, clearly, and the tick over trial was a nice piece of work.
Good test here for 12 Kiku (Bet Now: $3.90 TOP ODDS) but she’s flying for Chris Waller. 2/2 to start the prep. Defied an alarming betting drift to win fresh at Warwick Farm. Then went to the Kenso where she was backed late and she was dominant, careering away to win well. She deserves a crack at blacktype and is in the right camp.
3 Embolism (Bet Now: $15.00 TOP ODDS) deserves another chance. Danny O’Brien trained three year old that just missed in the Australian Guineas. He then went to the Phar Lap and was pretty plain behind Hungry Heart in what was a fast run race. This looks more his level and an improved showing is on the cards.
Race 3. (12:45) Country Championships Final 1400m
I think it would be fair to say this is the weakest Country Championships Final since the conception began. I am treating this as a very strong Highway, I do feel that $51+ for 13 Charmmebaby (Bet Now: $17.00 TOP ODDS) is crazy and I’ll definitely be having something on her at the big odds. She lit up the Scone track when winning the Qualifier there. Then went to Rosehill and though safely held, her late splits behind Yao Dash were solid and we saw that horse bolt up in a Group ll last Saturday. Just reads so well for this.
3 Art Cadeau (Bet Now: $2.90 TOP ODDS) has been favourite for this race since day one and can understand why given he’s just so consistent and rarely runs a bad race. He won the opening Qualifier of this Series when finishing best to win at Goulburn. Tick over trial here was good and he looks one of the hardest to beat.
Joe Cleary has targeted this race for 5 Rothenburg (Bet Now: $9.00 TOP ODDS) and I think he’s going to be a leading chance. He got his spot in the field via the Wildcard at Muswellbrook when second to Plonka. He paraded like he would improve with the run and that is how it panned out, just peaking on the run. He’d love a decent drop of rain to hit.
Race 4. (13:20) Adrian Knox Stks 2000m
3 Flexible (Bet Now: $4.20 TOP ODDS) on top for me. James Cummings trained filly that is racing like she will eat up the 2000m. Ran over 1800m on the Kenso track a few weeks ago and worked home with real purpose late, producing the best late splits of the race when a close up third to Joigny. Bigger track, 2000m, upside and stable used this race to win the Oaks last year with Colette.
2 Chequerboard (Bet Now: $11.00 TOP ODDS) has been up a little while, but comes here with fresh legs and is in form given her last start resulted in a dominant Tasmanian Oaks triumph, albeit in a pretty thin race. But, she’s proven over a trip and looked in good order last week in a tick over Tatura trial to get her ready.
1400m straight to 2000m is an ask for 8 Obvious Step (Bet Now: $34.00 TOP ODDS) but she has the David Payne polish. Showed good ticker to win two back at Hawkesbury before racing on the Kenso track where she got back to near last in the run and was never really a winning threat, but liked the way she closed off. She’ll make a staying horse for sure with time. Whether it’s here I’m not sure.
Race 5. (13:55) Chairman's Quality 2600m
2 Concert Hall (Bet Now: $15.00) is a quality mare from NZ who is a proven stayer, so at the odds, happy to speck her each way. She ran in the Bonecrusher at Group l level at Ellerslie last time out and worked home pretty well from the back behind gun mare Melody Belle. Does no work from the draw and she does get the best staying rider this country has produced in G Boss to steer.
Is 11 Selino (Bet Now: $6.00) starting to work it out? Not sure he can be a Sydney Cup contender, but this race is well within reach. First two runs this prep were sit/sprints so the runs were a bit inconclusive. He then went to the Manion Cup and ran a much improved race when a closing fifth to Favorite Moon. Gets to 2600m, hard fit now…gets his chance to win one.
9 Collide (Bet Now: $11.00) is getting towards D-Day. Didn’t think he was too bad fresh behind Mount Popa, but I expected a lot more from him in the Manion Cup. He got back in the run and failed to fire a shot in a pretty plain effort. He’s better than that and perhaps the big track, up in trip might well see him improve, but he needs to.
Race 6. (14:30) Atc Sires Produce 1400m
3 Lightsaber (Bet Now: $8.00) will give you a great sight from in front. Led throughout to win the VRC Sires at Flemington. The overall time and form is somewhat of a query, but him in isolation, he looks a real professional who does everything right, puts himself on speed and gets every chance. He’ll run a beauty.
8 Four Moves Ahead (Bet Now: $4.60) is a filly I do have a slight query on at 1400m, but the soft draw will offset that I feel. She was gallant in defeat in the Slipper after sitting wide no cover. Nash just couldn’t get her into the right spot but she didn’t stop trying. She’s had two gut busters to start the prep…is there upside?
In terms of a horse that will improve fitness wise from the Slipper, it’s clearly 2 Captivant (Bet Now: $13.00). He paraded with condition under the belt and despite that, I thought he ran super in defeat behind Stay Inside. I think he needs a dry track to go close to winning, so the forecast for midweek will be telling and how much rain hits. If the track come Saturday is Soft5 or better, I think he’s a definite winning chance.
Race 7. (15:15) Australian Derby 2400m
Can’t get away from 16 Montefilia (Bet Now: $3.40). The Rosehill Guineas didn’t rate so well, but her run was an exception I feel given she was 1400m to 2000m second up with four weeks off since the resumption. It just screams out of a filly being targeted for a race. Could well be the Oaks next Saturday, but think she’s good enough to win this.
3 Sky Lab (Bet Now: $4.00) is the one from the Rosehill Guineas in terms of the boys I’d be following leading into this. He has looked a Derby horse for over six months and he arrives in the big one as one of the hardest to beat. His Rosehill Guineas run was enormous. Swap the runs with Mo’Unga and swap the result I feel. Has that busted him though? And they walked home relative to the day, so there are a couple of queries. But, stable is in form.
10 Explosive Jack (Bet Now: $16.00) has the Maher/Eustace polish and we know their record in 2000m+ races, especially 2400m, is just so compelling. He ran in the St Leger trial at Bendigo and was very good from the back when second to impressive winner Liquero. Progressive three year old who will have no issue if this becomes a slog.
Race 8. (15:55) TJ Smith Stakes 1200m
I am one who does pot 1 Bivouac (Bet Now: $3.60) because there is/was talk he is the best sprinter in the world, which is just rubbish. The key to him is backing him in the Grand Final. Go back through his form over the last 12 months. Golden Rose he won, Newmarket he won and VRC Sprint Classic he won He is just a Grand Final horse and the TJ has been the target race since the Spring before jetting to the UK.
2 Nature Strip (Bet Now: $3.40) is in a great frame of mind for Chris Waller. He smashed the 1000m Randwick track record last start in the Challenge Stakes. The problem was there was a horse that beat him, Eduardo, in such a high rating race. That horse bolted up in the Galaxy, so the form reads well, and the tick over trial suggests he’s spot on.
9 Libertini (Bet Now: $9.50) is flying. She comes out of a suspect race, the William Reid, but given how the track played, I thought she was the run of the meeting given she was back near last in the run and forced quite wide on the turn, which was quicksand. She gets conditions to suit and be can be so explosive.
Race 9. (16:35) Doncaster Mile 1600m
I think bad luck is the only thing beating 1 Mugatoo (Bet Now: $4.80). Kris Lees has him absolutely flying, which was confirmed when he took out the All Star Mile under a 12/10 steer from Bowman. Looked great in a piece of work between races last week at Newcastle and given his record/class, I think he’s thrown in at the weights.
I can understand why 18 Yao Dash (Bet Now: $12.00) is popular given he is right down in the weights and has the right racing pattern. That was clearly evident last Saturday in the Prelude where he led throughout and bolted up. The bias…did it flatter him? I think to an extent yes, but he was still sharp and his style will give him every chance.
2 Avilius (Bet Now: $11.00) is another that is just so well weighted and I can’t believe he is the price he is. I think a half decent steer, he wins the George Ryder instead of an unlucky third. The resumption behind Verry Elleegant was a beauty so convinced he is flying and he does appear to be effective when trained as a miler.
Race 10. (17:10) PJ Bell Stakes 1200m
I think the James Carr is a more suitable race for her in two weeks, but a fast run 1200m should be ideal for 4 Matchmaker (Bet Now: $14.00). I thought she was good in defeat in the Darby Munro, making ground late out wide after getting back in the run, which wasn’t exactly the spot to be. If he can get a decent three wide drag up, she’ll launch late.
3 Marboosha (Bet Now: $7.50) is a quality filly for Team Snowden that deserves another chance. Electric win down the Flemington straight prior to racing in the Darby Munro. Did she run out a strong 1200m? Perhaps not, but she was coming off a pretty slowly run at Flemington so you’d like to think the Darby Munro will toughen her up for this.
The Maher/Eustace camp have done a fab job with 2 Macroura (Bet Now: $4.60). They have kept this filly in her lane. Haven’t thrown her in the deep end. Placed her to advantage and with that, she’s a multiple Stakes winner, with her last start being a win in the Typhoon Tracy. Against her own age/sex, she’ll take beating.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Nine Number 1 Mugatoo
NEXT BEST: Race Four Number 3 Flexible
LONG SHOT: Race Three Number 13 Charmmebaby
Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):
Leg One: 1, 2, 3, 10, 16
Leg Two: 1, 2, 3, 9
Leg Three: 1
Leg Four: 1, 2, 3, 4
$50 Investment = 62.50% of the dividend if successful
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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