The Randwick Guineas meeting will be held at Royal Randwick this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Heavy 8 on Thursday and with further showers in Sydney leading up to the weekend, Randwick is likely to remain in the Heavy range on raceday.
The consistent filly Anaheed could well be the horse to beat in the Fireball Stakes (Sydney Race 4, 1100m). This Team Snowden-trained 3YO won the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes brilliantly when 1st up four weeks ago. She was then beaten by a wide gate (15) in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. Anaheed has a good record at Randwick having won 3 times from 5 starts at the venue and she has no problem handling wet tracks. From barrier 8, Kerrin McEvoy will go forward and settle just behind the leading bunch. Currently at $8.00 in the fixed odds market, Anaheed is a good value bet.
Expect Nature Strip to return to his best in the Challenge Stakes on Saturday (Sydney Race 6, 1000m). The Waller-trained speedster failed to run on when resumed in the Lightning Stakes three weeks ago. Waller decided to bring the gelding back to Sydney and gave him a freshen-up. Nature Strip has a terrific record over 1000m with 6 wins from 10 starts at the trip and he had won on a Heavy track before. James McDonald will take the 5YO straight to the front from the inside gate (1) and Nature Strip will prove hard to catch.
Castelvecchio is a high class colt and he will give the Group 1 Randwick Guineas a shake on Saturday (Sydney Race 7, 1600m). After finishing runner-up in the Champion Stakes in the Spring, he ran an eye-catching 2nd to champion Japanese mare Lys Gracieux in the Cox Plate. Castelvecchio has been set for the ATC derby so the 1400m Hobartville Stakes he resumed in was a bit short. However, he still sprinted the fastest last 200m of the race in 11.62 secs. Stepping up to a mile suits him much better and he has never missed a place from 4 starts at Randwick. Kerrin McEvoy will let the 3YO find his feet early and Castelvecchio will be sprinting home strongly.
By Owens Wong, Editor