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The Grand Finals of Australian racing is The Championships and it finally comes around this Saturday with Day 1, highlighted by four spectacular majors, the pick clearly being the Doncaster Mile (1600m). The weather is fine, the track is heavy (8) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.


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Race One (2:10) : Widden 150th Anniversary Stakes 1100m:

Back Me: 9 Alizee (Bet Now: $3.40) tried to qualify for the Slipper by winning the Magic Night and she looked to travel well in the run and to her credit she gave a really good kick but was no match late for Tulip, who ran a beauty in the Slipper. That looks a good form reference for this. One of the hardest to beat.
Big Danger: 7 From Within (Bet Now: $6.00) has been given a freshen up since racing in the Reisling where she led at a decent clip and just failed the bottomless track behind Frolic in what turned out to be the right Slipper reference. Trial win since was outstanding and if she brings her A Game, she’s right in this.
Long Shot: 6 Dissolution  (Bet Now: $18.00) is the very interesting runner here. First starter for Herald Ryan who is well bred and has some big hitters in the ownership, so expect this colt to be well prepared for his debut. Trialled up well recently at Warwick Farm and did it quite nicely. Looks the value in the race.



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Race Two (12:45) : China Horse Club Carbine Club Stakes 1600m:

Back Me: 4 Theanswermyfriend  (Bet Now: $3.00) looked a good thing on paper when racing over 1400m at Flemington two weeks back and he lived right up to that expectation with a dominant win, leading all the way and spanking his rivals, and was running through the line strongly, so the mile here is no issue. Maps very well and stable doesn’t bring them to Sydney for nothing.
Big Danger: 2 Eusebio (Bet Now: $4.20) is a talented youngster for Godolphin who hasn’t raced since the Canberra Guineas where he was in a sticky spot in the run and early in the straight, but he got the split and dashed through for a dominant win. The mile poses no issue for me here and is one of the hardest to beat.
Long Shot: 3 Flying Jess (Bet Now: $18.00) finished down the track behind Theanswermyfriend in that race mentioned above and just forget she went around. The Magic Millions Guineas winner was ridden far too close to the speed and was left gassed in the straight. She is much better when ridden quiet and allowed to finish off. She can bounce back here.



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Race Three (13:20) : Schweppes Chairmans Handicap 2600m:

Back Me: Pretty keen to see what 3 Aloft (Bet Now: $3.90) does here. Robert Hickmott trained galloper Resumed over 1800m at Flemington three weeks back where he was given a peach of a steer on the pace by Ben Melham and rated the horse to perfection, kicking on strongly for the win. Overseas form at 2400m+ reads very well for this, he has fresh legs and stable has an unbelievable strike rate in Sydney.
Big Danger: 5 Alegria (Bet Now: $7.00) comes through the Epona (1900m) a fortnight back where I thought she was okay in defeat behind the up and coming mare Consommateur. The rise in trip should suit her ideally and gets right down in the weights. Rises in depth, but I think she has to be seriously respected.
Long Shot: 4 Pentathlon (Bet Now: $16.00) is a very good stayer from NZ for John Wheeler who should be included in multiples here. he comes through the Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie where he stayed on okay late in the piece despite never being a winning threat. Small field will aid his cause here and keep in mind he did finish top ten in the Melbourne Cup.



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Race Four (13:55) : Newhaven Park Country Championships Final 1400m:

Back Me: I’m going to stick solid with 4 Cogliere (Bet Now: $13.00). Taree Heat winner who has since raced in the Darby Munro and just put a line through that run because he was hopeless on the heavy surface. The heat win was very impressive because he was off the bit a fair way out and was chasing a good one in Shotgun Roulette yet rounded her up late and was strong to the line. Keep in mind he is a proven Stakes performer on this track, with efforts behind Twist Tops, Skylight Glow and even Capitalist.
Big Danger: I’m not sure how good 6 Caerless Choice (Bet Now: $8.00) is, but there was alot to like about the way he won the Scone Heat. Was wide most of the way and seemingly in trouble on the turn after racing wide no cover but he surged hard late under Mitch Bell to grab Nic’s Vendetta on the peg. Looks specifically targeted for this race for some time and Paul Messara is a very good trainer.
Long Shot: 16 Shotgun Roulette (Bet Now: $19.00) can certainly turn the tables on Cogliere with the right run. Given a peach of a ride by Corey Brown at Taree and really it deserved the win, but perhaps she just got to the front a tad early and that left her a sitting shot for the three year old. She has run well at Randwick previously and in general, when she’s been brought to town. Fast run 1400m is perfect for her.



Race Five (14:30) : The Green Guys PJ Bell Stakes 1200m:

Back Me: 8 Prompt Response (Bet Now: $9.00) is a high class filly that is resuming for the Waterhouse/Bott yard. Ran some ripping race during the Spring and was finally rewarded at the end with a strong win in the Summoned. Trial wins leading in have been very encouraging, home track and has fresh legs.
Big Danger: 12 Zumbelina (Bet Now: $8.00) is a gun filly for Chris Waller. Took all before her during the Spring/Summer where she won a stack of races and was very impressive each time. Comes here off the back of a couple of sharp trial efforts and she looks ready and forward enough to go well fresh. Tough ask against a crack bunch here, but I’ll take the gamble.
Long Shot: 16 Exocet (Bet Now: $34.00) is a talented filly for Team Freedman who should be respected big time here. Resumed over 1200m at the Valley where she got a mile back in a slowly run race yet finished off with purpose behind Viatrix. She will eat up this trip, and the slight give in the ground is perfect.



Race Six (15:10) : Inglis Sires’ 1400m:

Back Me: I think this race depends on how well 15 Tulip  (Bet Now: $5.00) has recovered from the Slipper gutbuster. Recent history says that the best run from the Slipper goes on to win the Sires’, and for mine, Tulip was clearly the best run of the race. She was four/five wide no cover for the entire trip in a strongly run affair, so she really had no right to stay on, but she did and was surging late despite being hampered. As I said, if she has recovered from that, I think she wins, and comfortably.
Big Danger: The second best run from the Slipper was 14 Frolic (Bet Now: $3.80). She did an amazing job to get as close as she did to She Will Reign. Got chopped out early on, losing severe momentum, then had to hug the rail, which probably wasn’t the place to be, yet she rallied and finished off strongly. She has had Sires/Champagne written all over her for some time, and she finally arrives here. I
Long Shot: 16 One More Honey (Bet Now: $26.00) is the best roughie in the race here. She hasn’t raced since Feb 25 in the Sweet Embrace where she really surged hard late and finished best in a really good finish. Stable has pencilled this race in since and dodged the Slipper. She has the fresh legs, so I think she’s right in this.



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Race Seven (15:50) : BMW Australian Derby 2400m:

Back Me: I said post race that the only way that 3 Inference (Bet Now: $4.20) will turn the tables on Gingernuts is if we get a firmer track, and that is indeed what we have got so I am going with Inference. He was gone 1000m out in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) yet still found a way to pick his feet up and in the end run a second, a well beaten one, behind Gingernuts. The 2400m is perfect for him, as is the drying conditions, and the big tick is getting back to Randwick.
Big Danger: 2 Gingernuts (Bet Now: $3.10) is the obvious threat. NZ Derby winner that came here with a good reputation and lived right up to that with a dominant Rosehill Guineas triumph. The worry I have with him is that he has been up a very long time, and previously, NZ runners have won the Guineas, but have found the Derby a bridge too far after the Guineas. If he has come on, or held his form/condition, he’s a clear threat and the one to beat.
Long Shot: If this was a Heavy 10, I wouldn’t take $1001 for 1 Prized Icon (Bet Now: $11.00), but the weather is getting better, as is the track, so he comes right into consideration. Legless on the bog surface in the Rosehill Guineas, then on a somewhat firmer track last week, he was much better in the Tulloch (2000m) when second to Jon Snow. If the sun continues to shine and we get something like a soft 5/soft 6, he is a serious contender here.



Race Eight (16:30) : Darley TJ Smith Stakes 1200m:

Back Me: Touch of Makybe Diva and the Melbourne Cup about 1 Chautauqua (Bet Now: $5.00) here, because if he is to win here, which I think he will, it will never be done again. Winning this great race back-to-back is already a wonderful effort, but three on the bounce would be unbelievable. Comes back to the 1200m after testing the water for the Doncaster and was found out yet ran well I thought behind Winx in the George Ryder. I think back to 1200m is perfect. The worry I have is the speed. I don’t see them going hard here. But he has overcome that before.
Big Danger: You had to be impressed by 14 Russian Revolution (Bet Now: $4.20) and what he did in the Galaxy (1100m). Everything that could go wrong pre race did despite some heavy, heavy support from the punters. He was then caught four and five wide no cover, was under pressure and looked gone but he surged hard to grab stablemate Redzel. He’s a serious colt who appears to map very well here and he does get the weight pull on the older horses.
Long Shot: I am not going to drop off 6 Fell Swoop (Bet Now: $16.00), especially if we get a firmer surface. He comes through the Galaxy where he looked completely legless on the bog track behind Russian Revolution, but if you watch the replay, his final 75m was very good. He does meet Russian Revolution 3kg better off here and has the extra run under the belt, plus he ran a beauty in this race last year.



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Race Nine (17:10) : The Star Doncaster Mile 1600m:

Back Me: I think the obvious choice here is 2 Le Romain (Bet Now: $5.50). He has been outstanding in three runs this Autumn, winning his first two, including the Canterbury Stakes (1300m), before going to the George Ryder (1500m) where he bumped into an up and coming mare called Winx. He has a fab record at the mile, especially at Randwick, he’s well weighted, Bowman back aboard and the stable has a great strike rate in majors. Ticks the boxes for me.
Big Danger: Real sense of timing once again with 5 Happy Clapper (Bet Now: $8.50). I thought there was a touch of arrogance about his win in the Newcastle Newmarket (1400m) last time out. He beat nothing, but he was ridden against his normal pattern and he dashed right away. That could be the key for him here, because he normally flops out the back and runs on. That Newcastle effort showed that he can sit handy and still finish off. Big tick here.
Long Shot: If 13 Sense Of Occasion (Bet Now: $71.00) was to win here, it would be one of the great training feats of the modern era. He of course was fist up in the Villiers (1600m) where he was given an absolute peach by Ben Melham to get the job done before failing due to the bias in the Gosford Cup. The plan has always been to have this ready fresh for the Doncaster. Loved his first trial, and the second trial was a good hitout. He doesn’t deserve to be $51.



Race Ten (17:50) : TAB Adrian Knox Stakes 2000m:

Back Me: 4 High Impulse (Bet Now: $7.50) is the interesting runner here. James Cummings trained filly that absolutely trotted up last time out over 1800m at Hawkesbury, winning by over five lengths without being fully extended in a maiden that did look to have some depth to it. Trialled last week at Warwick Farm and looked very good behind Group l performer Arod. Big watch here.
Big Danger: 9 Baysa (Bet Now: $8.00) is a handy looking filly for the Chris Waller camp. On the quick back up after racing over the mile at Goulburn last Thursday but there was a touch of dominance about her win. This race is generally won by a filly on the up, and this girl fits that criteria. Serious winning hope.
Long Shot: 6 Fallacy  (Bet Now: $21.00) is a Queensland visitor for Toby Edmonds who should be respected here. She is a filly showing good promise for the stable and should eat up the 2000m here off the back of a gritty win over the Doomben mile on a bottomless surface, aided by a peach from Jeff Lloyd. Has upside and is versatile racing pattern wise.



BEST BET: Race Seven Number 3 Inference

NEXT BEST: Race Six Number 15 Tulip

VALUE: Race Four Number 4 Cogliere



Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):

Leg One: 1, 2, 3

Leg Two: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 14

Leg Three: 2, 5, 6, 13, 14, 16

Leg Four: 3, 4, 5, 6, 9

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