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The Sydney Autumn Carnival officially wraps up this Saturday at Randwick with Sydney Cup Day. The weather is overcast, the track is heavy (8) and the rail is out two metres for the entire circuit.


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Race One (11:25) : Stratum Star Retires To Widden Handicap 1100m:

Back Me: 3 Silence (Bet Now: $7.00) is the big watch here. There was plenty to like about his debut win at Newcastle. He showed an electric turn of foot when asked for the effort and despite racing greenly, he was far too good for them. I like that the stable has sent him straight to town, a sign of confidence perhaps.
Big Danger: 5 Siam (Bet Now: $7.00) is a Godolphin youngster that is first up here. He ran twice during the early part of the Autumn, starting off on debut with a fourth to Catchy before going to Ballarat when running second to subsequent Stakes winner Ducimus. Loved what I saw in a recent trial and he looks to have furnished out beautifully into a lovely colt.
Long Shot: 2 Darhad (Bet Now: $8.50) is a smart looking colt for Team Hawkes. Inexperience beat him on debut before running third next time out. Given a freshen up and ran at Randwick on Boxing Day where he copped heat on speed and tired late when fourth to One More Honey. Recent trial win was outstanding and if he is anywhere near right, he’ll take some beating.



Race Two (12:00) : Schweppervescence Handicap (78) 1200m:

Back Me: 3 I Thought So (Bet Now: $2.40) put together several strong efforts before going to the Gosford Guineas where he was given a charmed run and loomed large but was nailed right on the peg by Tribal Wisdom. Little break between runs looks ideal and he has the form on the board. Key threat.
Big Danger: 7 France (Bet Now: $8.00) is a talented youngster that resumes for China Horse Club and Team Snowden. Might have only won the one race last prep but he did run some very nice races behind above average three year olds. Trialled up well behind Tempt Me Not and I think a market watch should be advised.
Long Shot: 6 Calabasas (Bet Now: $6.00) is a smart three year old for the Kim Waugh yard who comes through the Provincial Championship Series where he placed behind Clevedon Bay in a heat before running well without luck in the Final. Peak fitness now and strikes a very winnable race here. Happy to include him here.



Race Three (12:35) : ATC Heritage Centre Handicap (78) 1600m:

Big Danger: 2 Black On Gold (Bet Now: $3.60) is a lovely candidate for the QLD Derby and he looks set to run a ripper here off the back of an outstanding first up win at Newcastle where he was back in the run but once Penza gave him clear air, he really attacked the line with purpose. Should only improve off that and rates highly.
Big Danger: 1 Sizzling Bullet (Bet Now: $4.80) is a stablemate of Black On Gold who could be heading down an identical path. He was a month between runs when racing in the Rosehill Guineas and he struggled on the bottomless track behind Gingernuts. Trialled up well since behind stablemate Vanbrugh and this is a big drop in grade.
Long Shot: 7 Oklahoma Girl (Bet Now: $4.00) backed up her encouraging first up run at Newcastle with a pretty impressive display in winning at Warwick Farm. Looked in a bit of trouble on the turn but once Doyle got fair dinkum, she got through it comfortably and won well. Takes on a couple of ripping types here, but she has the fitness edge.



Race Four (13:10) : Schweppes Randwick Royale Handicap (78) 2400m:

Back Me: 8 Richard Of Yorke (Bet Now: $2.20) looks one of the better bets on the card for me here. Chris Waller galloper that has been campaigning in Victoria and has been doing quite a good job this prep, the latest effort being at Bendigo (Metro) when second to Hans Holbein. That race was run at a brutal speed, so the gap between runs looks perfect and he has dodged the wet tracks.
Big Danger: 7 Paragon (Bet Now: $5.50) is a tough stayer for the John Sargent team who could prove hard to beat here on speed. He copped serious heat on speed two back at Warwick Farm over 2200m when nutted late by More Energy before dropping back to 2000m at Hawkesbury where he attempted to lead all the way but just got pipped near the peg. Looks the leader and given his racing style, the booking of Avdulla is a big tick.
Long Shot: 4 Doc Holiday (Bet Now: $11.00) also comes through that More Energy and you can make a case for him at odds. He was only second up there and he fought on quite well I thought on a testing track. He is the horse with upside and does meet Divine Sanction better at the weights here, plus the 2400m is more ideal for him. Can easily make a case at a price.



Race Five (13:45) : TAB Highway Handicap (Class 2) 1400m:

Back Me: 7 Only Choice (Bet Now: $5.00) is a smart customer for the Kurt Goldman yard. Ran a beauty on debut at Goulburn before going to Orange where he was a heavily backed fav and didn’t let his supporters down with a dominant win. Looks very progressive and he can go right on with it. Keen on him.
Big Danger: 6 Alot Like Home (Bet Now: $8.50) is an up and coming gelding for John McLachlan at Taree and he has to be regarded highly here. Toughed it out strongly to break the maiden tag on his home track two back before racing at Coffs Harbour last Saturday where he was very impressive against the older horses. Confident he can measure up here.
Long Shot: 3 Not For Export (Bet Now: $9.00) is a proven Highway galloper who does have the runs on the board. But more so given the fact he ran an absolute bottler last time out in the Country Championship Final when sprouting wings late to run third to Free Standing and producing one of the runs of the day. If he is at least held his form, he’ll go close.



Race Six (14:20) : ATC Membership Handicap (85) 1600m:

Back Me: 9 Grand Dreamer (Bet Now: $2.80) trialled up well on a couple of occasions prior to resuming at Ballarat where there was plenty going against him and that is how it panned out when finishing fifth to Curragh. That was 1400m, and he is a horse suited at this trip and slightly further, so second up at the Randwick mile looks ideal and he is a leading contender.
Big Danger: 2 Montauk (Bet Now: $3.70) was once known as an absolute pest for the punters, and he did show that to some extent last prep, but he did win a couple of races and attacked the line. Comes here off a seven week freshen up and looked to trial well recently at Warwick Farm, plus he does like racing here.
Long Shot: 3 Himalaya Dream (Bet Now: $16.00) is up there with Tom Melbourne in terms of being the most frustrating horse in Australia, but this is a race where he could surprise at odds. Hasn’t raced for four weeks since resuming at Rosehill and really struggling to pick his feet up behind Be Like Dad. Much better on top of the ground and is a three time second up winner.



Race Seven (14:55) : Ranvet Handicap (90) 1000m:

Back Me: Very keen to see 6 Nieta (Bet Now: $2.00) resume here. She was one of the real stars of the Winter, stringing together a number of wins before running a game second to the Group l performed Kuro in the Starlight. Has really caught the eye in her two trials leading in and she is a bomb when produced fresh.
Big Danger: 1 Sir Bacchus (Bet Now: $6.50) is the big watch here. Talented sprinter that resumes for Chris Waller with an eye towards feature success in Brisbane. Performed quite well during the Spring, with the best effort being a win on Manikato Night at the Valley when beating Redkirk Warrior, the subsequent Newmarket winner. Been given two trials to prepare, and last prep he only had the one leading in, so perhaps a sign he is forward enough to sprint well fresh.
Long Shot: 5 Ziggy Willie (Bet Now: $13.00) had a two run prep in the early part of the Autumn and was very good at Rosehill first up behind Hireoglyphics before being a big flop at Kembla Grange. Trialled up well at Rosehill late last month and if you go on his Rosehill effort, I’d say he go close to winning this.



Race Eight (15:35) : Schweppes Sydney Cup 3200m:

Back Me: 12 Lasqueti Spirit (Bet Now: $13.00) just looks ideally set up to take this race out. Three year old filly taking on the older horses, but her efforts this time in have been outstanding, most notably in the Oaks. Nothing was leading and winning, yet she ran along at a brutal speed as always and fought on very gamely but was just no match for Bonneval. The feeling has always been the further the better with this girl, so the two miles will be ideal.
Big Danger: Obvious threat has to be 6 Big Duke (Bet Now: $3.00). Got the verdict in the stewards room in the Manion Cup (2400m) but won the race on his terms in the Chairmans (2600m) in what was a farcical contest given the very slow tempo in front, which suited this horse perfectly given he does have a turn of foot. That won’t happen here and he has been up for a very long time, and the fiasco of this race a fortnight back. They are the negatives, but Weir does have a remarkable knack of keeping these horses up in work for a long period of time.
Long Shot: 8 Annus Mirabilis (Bet Now: $31.00) is the Adelaide Cup winner who has been up for a while, but I don’t think he should be ruled out of the mix here. Just put a pen through the Mornington Cup effort. He was racing on concrete and the bias was against him, so he really had no hope. Stable wouldn’t run unless he was sound enough and come through the run well, and he has ticked the two miles box.



Race Nine (16:15) : Tab.com.au Handicap (78) 1400m:

Back Me: 7 Dreamforce (Bet Now: $4.80) is a talented galloper for the John Thompson yard who resumed at Newcastle over 1200m in what was a very messy race with several unlucky runners, with Dreamforce being one of the key ones. You could make a strong case he should have won. That followed a couple of okay trials, but the first up run indicated he has come back in super order.
Big Danger: 4 Supply And Demand (Bet Now: $2.80) resumes here for the Waterhouse/Bott stable off seven week freshen up. Last raced over the mile at Warwick Farm on an absolute bog where he led all the way and absolutely spanked them in the process. Been given two trials since to keep his fitness levels up, and the Randwick 1400m does look ideal.
Long Shot: 10 Pianissimo (Bet Now: $9.00) was completely unwanted in betting when resuming at Warwick Farm but nobody told the horse that as he finished best on the shifty track to get the job done. He can be hit and miss at times, but that win was somewhat of a surprise. I’ll take the gamble and respect that he did win first up knowing there’s improvement.



Race Ten (16:55) : #theraces Handicap (76) 1400m:

Back Me: 10 Countess Marinov (Bet Now: $4.20) isn’t one of mine, but in a thin race, I’ll go with her in the last. She was heavily backed when racing over 1400m at Warwick Farm last time out where she sat near the speed and tried hard, but just lacked the turn of foot to go with Gretna. Does meet that mare better at the weights and draws a more ideal gate.
Big Danger: 7 Gretna (Bet Now: $3.30) had dropped off the boil a bit in recent times, but she bounced back to her best with a dominant all the way win over 1400m at Warwick Farm, aided by a lovely on speed steer from Tommy Berry. Now that her confidence is back up and running, she could show us her best, which is blacktype class.
Long Shot: 2 Via Napoli (Bet Now: $4.80) is a handy mare that resumes for the Chris Waller yard. Put together some nice efforts during the Summer, including a win at this track/distance over the Stakes performed Anisha before running second to recent JRA Plate winner Top Of My List. Two trials to prepare, so she has had a good grounding to run well first up.



BEST BET: Race Seven Number 6 Nieta

NEXT BEST: Race Nine Number 7 Dreamforce

VALUE: Race Eight Number 12 Lasqueti Spirit



Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):

Leg One: 1, 2, 5, 6

Leg Two: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12

Leg Three: 4, 7

Leg Four: 2, 3, 5, 7, 10

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