The Doncaster Handicap – Australian Derby meeting will be held at Randwick this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Soft 5 on Thursday and with further showers forecast for Sydney leading up to the weekend, Randwick will no doubt be rain-affected on raceday.
Mamaragan looks the horse to beat in the Inglis Sires’ (Sydney Race 6, 1400m). This John Thompson-trained colt is the best credential 2YO in the Sires’ field having won the Group 2 Skyline Stakes before finishing 3rd to Farnan & Away Game in the Golden Slipper. Saturday is only his third career start so he is bound to improve further. The way he finished in the Slipper proves that the 1400m should suit and he has shown that he can handle the wet track. Nash Rawiller will park just behind the leaders from barrier 2 and Mamaragan should have no problem taking out the Inglis Sires’.
Castelvecchio is a very classy horse and he has been set for the Australian Derby all along (Sydney Race 7, 2400m). This Richard Litt-trained 3YO showed his class when he finished 2nd to the champion Japanese mare Lys Gracieux in the Cox Plate in the Spring. He was apparently looking for further when he resumed in the Hobartville Stakes and then the Randwick Guineas. Once he stepped up to 2000m last start in the Rosehill Guineas, he duly returned to the winner’s circle. Being 4th up on Saturday, Castelvecchio is ready to run out a strong 2400m. He has proven at Randwick as well as in wet tracks. James McDonald will settle wherever the colt feels comfortable and Castelvecchio is the one they all have to beat.
Melody Belle has won 10 Group 1 races and she could well add the Doncaster Mile to her resume (Sydney Race 9, 1600m). This 5YO mare loves the mile with 4 wins and a placing from 6 attempts at the trip and she has a super record on wet tracks with 11 wins from 16 starts in the condition. Barrier 14 (into 11 taking out the emergencies) may not be a disadvantage by the time the Doncaster Mile (Race 9) comes around as the rail could get chopped up by then. Regular rider Opie Bosson knows the horse really well and he is likely to settle somewhere mid-field in a race with moderate pace. Watch her finishing the race off strongly down the long Randwick straight.
By Owens Wong, Editor