The Winter Challenge meeting will be held at Rosehill this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Soft 7 on Thursday and with showers forecast for Sydney on Saturday, Rosehill is likely to be racing on a Soft track on raceday.
Hugh Bowman can take out the opening event at Rosehill on last start winner Smart Image (Sydney Race 1, 1200m). This Team Snowden-trained colt won on debut on the 8th July over 1200m on a Soft 6 track. And that race experience would do Smart Image the world of good. The 2YO has shown that he can handle both the distance and the Soft track so that’s a real plus. With a fair bit of pace in the race, Bowman will drop back in the field and Smart Image will overpower this field in the straight.
Lillemor looks the horse to beat in the Xtravagant At Newhaven Park Sprint (Sydney Race 2, 1200m). The John O’Shea-trained 3YO has been very consistent having run 4 placings in her last 5 start, with the only unplaced run coming from last start when she finished 4th over 1100m. The 1200m is the pet distance for this filly and she can handle any track conditions. The in-form apprentice Louise Day will claim 3kg which drops the weight for the filly down to 53.5kg. From barrier 6, Day will go forward and sit outside Willowheart and Lillemor will be hard to catch.
The Waller-trained Order Again was very unlucky in the Winter Stakes and Sam Clipperton is looking to make amend in Saturday’s Winter Challenge (Sydney Race 7, 1500m). Last start in the Winter Stakes, Clipperton could not obtain clear running in the straight until the last 75m and once in the clear, Order Again flew home to finish a close 3rd. The gelding finished 4th over the Randwick mile three starts back and he did a good job having beaten all but Trumbull here at Rosehill in the Civil Stakes four weeks ago. Though he won on Heavy tracks before, the drying track may actually suit the 6YO better. And the way he finished off last start, the extra 100m will really suit. Clipperton will settle just behind mid-field and Order Again is gong to fly down the middle of the track in the run home.
By Owens Wong, Editor