The Chipping Norton Stakes meeting will be held at Royal Randwick this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with mainly fine weather in Sydney leading up to the weekend, Randwick will be racing on a Good track on raceday.
After running three consecutive seconds, Stellar Pauline is ready to breakthrough for her first career victory in the Sweet Embrace Stakes (Sydney Race 2, 1200m). After finishing 2nd in the Gimcrack Stakes on debut, Stellar Pauline was then racing against the colts and was beaten by stablemate AIm on 21st December here at Randwick. She then finished runner-up in the Gold Coast MM 2YO Classic. Team Snowden sent the filly over a 742m trial nine days ago where she duly won, sprinting the last 600m in 33.30 secs on a Soft 6 track. Brenton Avdulla retains the ride and from barrier 6, Stellar Pauline will settle somewhere mid-field. Expect to see her finish the race strongly.
Flight Stakes winner Funstar is resuming in the Surround Stakes and from all accounts, the Waller-trained filly has improved further since the Spring Carnival (Sydney Race 6, 1400m). The 3YO had a successful Spring winning back-to-back black type races with victory in Tea Rose Stakes and the Flight Stakes, beaten another good filly Probabeel in both races. And Probabeel has somewhat franked the form who has won twice in New Zealand since then including the Karaka Million for three-year-olds on 5th October. Funstar loves Randwick having won 3 times with a 2nd from 4 starts at the venue. In a race with a fair bit of pace, James McDonald is likely to go forward and sit behind the leading bunch and Funstar will prove too classy for this field.
John Thompson-trained Dreamforce is fitter on Saturday being 2nd up in the Chipping Norton Stakes (Sydney Race 7, 1600m). The 7YO ran a great race when 1st up in the Apollo Stakes having just got nosed out by Alizee. Dreamforce has a great 2nd up record having only missed a place once from 8 attempts. He is very effective at Randwick having won 5 times at this venue. Thompson will put the blinkers back on the gelding on Saturday to help him focus while leading. Blake Shinn will go straight to the front from barrier 4 to dictate the pace and Dreamforce will prove hard to catch.
By Owens Wong, Editor