One of the best race carnivals anywhere in the world will kick off on Saturday- The Randwick Autumn Carnival. And what a meeting it is! Three Group One’s, Two Group Two’s and Four Group Three’s will ensure first class thoroughbred action. But the highlight of the day is the $1.5 Million Australian Derby (2400m). The race has the makings to be an unforgettable one thanks to depth in the event and the intrigue surrounding it: Can Nash and Gai continue their sparkling form? The kiwis? Are they a chance? Can Strike The Stars turn his high quality trackwork form in to a major win? All of these questions will be answered at 3.35pm Sydney time.
Can All Too Hard increase his stud value with a Group One win in the ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m)? He won’t have it his own way, with the Golden Slipper winner Pierro backing up, along with stablemate Raceway. That is sure to be a special race.
And let’s not forget the T J Smith Stakes (1200m). Foxwedge will be looking for back-to-back majors after claiming the huge scalp of Hay List in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last month. If he is to do that, he’ll have to overcome the speedster Rain Affair and even the filly Hallowell Belle, who bounced back to form last start.
Once again, Sydney will turn it on again for the racing world this weekend.
Back Me: It is very hard seeing Ichihara getting beat here. Tough winner of the Magic Night last start and he should win here.
Don’t Back Me: Ptolemy ran ok on the Kensington track, but the form from that race does look very thin.
Big Danger: The 100m back in distance suits Agueda. She busts her gut each start and will run her usual honest. Don’t think she can beat Ichihara though.
Roughie: Dances On Stars has some form around some handy types eg Faustus, and his trials leading up to this have been quite solid.
Back Me: Keen on Fat Al. He was just simply outstanding in winning the Albury Guineas after sitting three and four wide throughout the race. Inside barrier here, should lead and the Nash Rawiller/Gai Waterhouse partnership is near unbeatable at the moment.
Don’t Back Me: I can’t say anything here because I think it is between Fat Al and Brambles.
Big Danger: Brambles was excellent when resuming at Hawkesbury. He sat last in a very slowly run race before pushing in to the clear and hitting the line powerfully. The 1600m is perfect and he has plenty of upside.
Roughie: So You Think’s brother Now You Know won’t reach the heights of his famous sibling, but he should get the perfect run here and finish in the top four.
Back Me: Without doubt the worst edition of this race in history. It is just disgraceful. I’ll give Plumm another chance because she has contested the better races recently, but there is no confidence.
Don’t Back Me: Full Of Spirit is a kiwi filly sent here for the Oaks, but her form in New Zealand isn’t that flash. She’ll be massive unders in betting due to the kiwi factor and James McDonald is riding.
Danger: This is the easiest race Secret Liason has contested for a long time. Weight is the major concern hence why she is not on top.
Roughie: Lightens got to the line well on the Kensington track a couple of weeks back. She’ll lap up the 2000m here and could certainly win
Back Me: I’ll tip Rain Affair, but he is not a good thing. He’ll have to work hard to win here, but he did that last start in awesome fashion.
Don’t Back Me: Small field helps Neeson, but the class worries me. Not sure if he can match it with a few of these.
Big Danger: The obvious danger is Foxwedge. Any horse that can beat Hay List is world class. Back on his home track, drawn well, he’ll give this a mighty shake.
Roughie: For trifectas/first fours, throw in Master Of Design, who closed off powerfully last Saturday behind Zaratone, and Hallowbell Belle, a classy filly who should get the run of the race from the rails barrier.
Back Me: This will be a race we won’t forget for a long time.Sticking with Pierro. Tough, gritty performance last Saturday and I think the 1400m will suit him even more. And he is in his backyard.
Don’t Back Me: Three horse race: Pierro, All Too Hard and Raceway. Forget the rest.
Big Danger: All Too Hard is a special colt and deserves a Group One success. In terms of betting, he’ll be way too short.
Roughie: The 1400m looks perfect for Raceway, but he is bumping in to a pair of cracking colts. He still should run a very good third.
Back Me: The best three-year-old filly in Australia, and the world, is here in the shape of Atlantic Jewel. Resuming from an injury-enforced spell, but if she is anywhere near right, she’ll just win and win with ease.
Don’t Back Me: Celts did win last start, but she only just held on. The Randwick 1200m will be tough for her with the weight.
Big Danger: More Strawberries has a super fresh record and has class. Won’t beat the top tip, but can still produce a strong first up performance as she heads towards Brisbane.
Roughie: Mid Summer Music was completely outclassed in the William Reid. Goes well second up and should be in the finish with some luck from the wide draw.
Back Me: Last chance for Strike The Stars. He has promised to win a big one and judging on his super effort in the Rosehill Guineas, he is peaking for this.
Don’t Back Me: I am just not sure about Rekindled Alliance. If he was to be a contender here, he should have won last Saturday.
Big Danger: Where do you look here? The obvious dangers are Laser Hawk, who was given a Nash Rawiller gem to win the Guineas. Ocean Park was super in that same race and Bossy sticks with him. And you can’t rule out Silent Achiever. Her run was brilliant considering the tough run she had.
Roughie: Got a couple here. Hoylonny was the eye-catcher in the Rosehill Guineas. Fitter, and the extra 400m look perfect. Definite knockout chance. And Ethipoia is a classy stayer on the rise. He is yet to win a race, but it would not surprise me if he won here.
Back Me: I think Efficient is one of the better bets of the day. He hasn’t won since the days of Moses, but his Australian Cup run was strong and when you look at the weights, he just looks very well placed.
Don’t Back Me: Just not sure about Muirfield. Certain horses need to be ridden by certain riders and Nick Hall does get the best out of this horse. If he was riding, I’d give this horse a great chance.
Big Danger: Once Were Wild won this race 12 months ago and looks to be firing well enough to do it again. She should set the speed and try her heart out, as she does so often.
Roughie: Older Than Time is going along nicely for the Sydney Cup. This will just tune her up for it. Anudjawan has only won the lone race, but he runs good, honest races and should do it again with Bossy riding.
Back Me: Going for some value with Illo. I think this is a good move by Bart to drop this horse back in distance because he just wasn’t attacking the line. If he brings his best form, he will give this an almighty shake.
Don’t Back Me: Just not 100% with Fast Clip at the moment. He did sit wide in the Ajax, but I thought he should have done a little bit more.
Big Danger: Raspberries had no luck at all in the Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley. Back in Sydney, firm track, ideal barrier, well weighted, hard to beat.
Roughie: If you want a roughie, back All Silent. Caught deep with no cover in the Newmarket at Newcastle yet stuck on well. Better barrier, Jim Cassidy jumps on, flies at Randwick and the mile.