Spillways’ only win from six starts Australia to date, was his only start at Randwick and the former imported galloper looks like he’ll make it two from two when lining up in the G1 Metrop this Saturday. He is the $4.60 favourite just in advance of Chris Waller’s top-weight, Junoob ($5.50). Spillway was luckless last start in the G3 Naturalism Stakes whilst Junoob comfortable won the Hill Stakes. The only other runner under double figures is La Amistad – Makybe Diva’s sister, at $7.50. She only contested the Hill Stakes last start but being out the back in a slowly run race meant her opportunity was limited. She’s had four starts at 2200m and beyond for three wins and whilst they’ve been in weaker company than this, the lightly raced 5yo mare has continued to improve with each run during her career and can bolster that record even further here.
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1. JUNOOB – B Shinn (3) 58kgs
Led the opposition a merry dance from out in front last start in the G2 Hill Stakes (2000m), dictating the pace throughout to win by 1.8 lengths. Was in great form last prep over the middle distance races and claimed the Randwick City Stakes and G3 Neville Sellwood in consecutive starts before rounding out the campaign with close up finishes in the WFA Hollindale Stakes and Doomben Cup to Streama on each occasion. Drawn well with in-form jock aboard and will be right in the mix.
2. BAGMAN – H Bowman (12) 58kgs
No questions about this bloke’s fitness given that he has been in work since May and will be lining up for his tenth start this prep but the racing is doing him no harm judging by his recent performances. He was doing his best work late when third (1.4 lengths) in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and again was finishing better than most when, off a slow pace, he charged through late for third again in the G2 Hill Stakes (2000m). This is his first go at 2400m, he’s drawn wide and has a hefty weight given his best win was a Listed race however, hard to ignore him altogether off the back of last start.
3. SPILLWAY – J McDonald (9) 57.5kgs
Rounded out last prep with an emphatic 2.5 length win at Randwick in the JRA Plate (2000m) and has returned in great order for trainer partnership of Hayes and Dabernig. He dived through late to just missing claiming the G2 P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first up before working home well from last, under gentle riding only, to finish fourth (1.7 lengths) behind Dissident in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m). Had no luck whatsoever last start in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) won by Gris Caro and went to through the line in seventh (2.2 lengths) under a hold. Last two starts could’ve easily have read better than what the do and rates very highly here.
4. OPINION – T Angland (14) 56kgs
Home steadily from the tail of the field second up in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) before running a better ran than his tenth placing in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) would suggest. He settled last and with no luck, tried to way through the field along the fence. Should’ve finished much closer than the 4.7 lengths from winner He’s Your Man than he did and should relish the step up now to 2400m. Warrants a much closer look at the $17.00 currently on offer.
5. TRAVOLTA – J Parr (2) 56kgs
Honest galloper who likes to roll along out in front but under big weights has been finding it hard to hold of the challengers late. After showing the field the way in the Newcastle Cup, he battled on for fourth (2 lengths) behind Disclaimer before again, as 7/2 favourites, failing to see the trip out in the Colin Stephen (2400m) when fifth (1.6 lengths) to Deane Martin. Gets a little bit of weight relief here and a favourable draw but he does meet a stronger field and the challengers will be coming thick and fast the last furlong again.
6. BRIGANTIN – G Schofield (11)
Got the right distance and a dry surface for the first time this campaign in the Newcastle Cup (2300m) and displayed significant improvement to run second (1.8 lengths) behind Disclaimer. Should be fitter again now fourth up and will enjoy a drop of 2.5kgs from the Newcastle Cup. He produced some good runs over the course of the last 12 months since coming to Australia and the imports can often find their past form at their second local campaign. $21 about his chances seems a bit more generous than expected.
7. LA AMISTAD – C Brown (6) 55.5kgs
Due to her star sister, this lightly raced mare has big and sometimes unfair expectations to live up to, as was the case when second up from a spell she was sent out the 7/4 favourite in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) before finishing midfield behind He’s Your Man. Last start saw her settle back in the field but with the leader Junoob dominating the pace to his liking in the Hill Stakes, she did as well as she could’ve late in finishing fourth (3.6 lengths). Now gets to the right distance for the first time this campaign and there was enough in her run last start to suggest she’ll be competitive here.
8. OUR VOODOO PRINCE – J Moreira (6) 55.5kgs
Won each of his first three Australian starts in good style and his return to racing was anticipated when he lined up in the G3 Show County (1200m). It was too short and wet for him and under 60kgs at his following starts, couldn’t reel in St. Jean in an Open Handicap over a mile at Moonee Valley. Finally looked to find a suitable race last start, the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), where he secured a lovely track into the straight but his run seem to peak late and he finished eighth, 2.3 lengths behind Gris Caro. Needed to see him finishing more strongly last start to warrant consideration here.
9. ARALDO – J Lloyd (16) 55.5kgs
Resumed from a tenth month spell in the Listed Australian Bloodstock Stakes (1700m) where, from the tail of the field, the former import worked home as well as could be expected, finishing seventh (6.4 lengths) from winner Stipulate. He then stepped up to 2000m of the G3 Naturalism Stakes were again, from the second half of the field, he steadily made up ground to run sixth (1.7 lengths) behind Gris Caro. Winner of the Listed Bar Cummings (2520m) third up last prep and will enjoy getting to the 2400m of this trip. Wide gate however will see him settle near last and require a big run to be winning here.
10. KINGDOMS – L Cassidy (5) 55.5kgs
The 5yo gelding is going well for Brisbane trainer Brian Smith after having been previously cared for by John O’Shea. Three good runs, including victory in the Listed Centenary Mile, in Queensland this campaign prepped him fro a return to Sydney where he finished strongly to run second to He’s Your Man in the G3 Kingston Town Stakes. Ticking over nicely at the minute, better than when he ran tenth (3.3 lengths) in this race last year, and rightfully bookies have kept him safe in the market.
11. WISH COME TRUE – T Clark (4) 55.5kgs
Former import who returned from a promising initial local campaign during the Brisbane carnival, with a solid fourth in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) where he made steady ground from midfield to run fourth (3.6 lengths) behind Greatwood. Off that run, he started one of leading chances in the G3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) but had to endure a tough run throughout from the widest gate. He’s effort to run third (1.9 lengths) behind Disclaimer was full of merit. Will get a much softer run here and will strip fitter again. Compared to the price posted for Disclaimer here, seems to be over the odds.
12. DEANE MARTIN – C Munce (10) 55.5kgs
New Zealander galloper who recorded his first Australian win at this third local start, with a neck win in last week’s G3 Colin Stephen (2400m) It was a tough on-pace effort but this race and his previous start over 2400m was also strong when fourth (4 lengths) to Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 2 Avondale Cup. However this race is stronger again and he actually has an extra 0.5kgs to carry.
13. DISCLAIMER – C Reith (15) 55.5kgs
Found himself in the right place throughout in the G3 Newcastle Cup and took advantage of the run, his fourth this campaign, by finishing strongly and recording his first Australian by 1.8 lengths. Won’t find any easy run from gate fifteen on Saturday though and that’ll mean he would’ve had to come again since that win.
14. TUPAC AMARU – S Clipperton (13) 55.5kgs
Dour type who will have no problems with the trip but the class will found him out. The winner of one of his fourteen starts, he has had three runs back from a spell with the closes he has got to the winner being his last start when finishing 7.3 lengths from Disclaimer in the Newcastle Cup.
15. IGGI POP – J Byrne (1) 55.5kgs
The Savabeel 6yo has had three starts since he claimed the Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) back July with his latest run an encouraging second (neck) to Deane Martin in last week’s Colin Stephen (2400m). He settled three back the fence and was still coming on the line. He’ll be fitting again and from and from an inside draw can run a cheeky race.
16. KHALID – (7) 55.5kgs
Imported galloper who has won one of his nine starts in Australia. His last start, only second local run at a distance over 2000m, was a handy sixth (3.6 lengths) in the G3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) where he was one of only a handful of horses to make ground in the run home. That said, this is tougher again, he rises 1.5kgs in weight and needs to improve by at least half a dozen lengths on last start to be even competitive here.
RACE OVERVIEW AND SELECTIONS
Big field should ensure a pretty good tempo up front. Interesting to see that the two favourites – Spillway and Junoob get to a race beyond 2000m for the first time in Australia but their respective lead up form is good and each of a bit of class about them. One horse that will run the trip right out is Opinion – who ran second in this year’s Sydney Cup (3200m) and who had no luck last time out in the Kingston Town Stakes. He’s not to be underestimated at $17.00. La Amistad can improve sharply here with a more genuine pace whilst Brigantin is another at value who shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.