By Owens Wong, Editor
The spring weather has provided perfect tracks for both Sydney and Melbourne, with Good 3 rating for Rosehill and Mooney Valley.
The feature races in Melbourne on Saturday are the McEwen Stakes and the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes while Sydney features the 1st Group 1 race of the season, the Golden Rose for 3 year old.
In the Group 3 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (Melbourne Race 5, 1000m), it looks a match race between the in-form No.2 Golden Archer and the resuming No.4 Bel Sprinter. Golden Archer has been winning 2 of the past 3 starts since resuming. But he is coming back in distance and this is his 4th run this preparation, may find 1000m a bit sharp now. Bel Sprinter will drop back behind mid-field but there will be 4 other horses together with Golden Archer looking for the lead. The pace will be hot so Bel Sprinter certainly will not be disadvantaged being a back-marker. Also Bel Sprinter has never been beaten 1st up and over 1000m. He is the logical bet for the McEwen Stakes.
The Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam (Melbourne Race 6, 1600m) is a significant pointer every year in terms of locating the Cups and the Cox Plate horses, e.g. Rekindled Interest won this race last year before finishing a close 3rd in the Cox Plate, and 5 years ago (2007), Lloyd Williams owned ‘Efficient’ finished 3rd in this race and won the Melbourne Cup later that spring. Co-incidentally, Lloyd Williams also owns this year’s favourite, ‘Green Moon’. I believe Green Moon is the deserved favourite after his slashing 1st up effort in the Memsie Stakes 2 weeks ago. He came from 3rd last around the turn and charged home to finish 5th. Perfect 1st up run for a Cup horse. However, I do have slight doubt on Green Moon handling the tight Mooney Valley track. Green Moon is a horse that needs a spacious and roomy track (just like most of the European imported stayers). Last year’s winner Rekindled Interest looks the one. He didn’t have much luck in the Memsie but his affection for Mooney Valley will help turning this race in his favour. I’ll stick with the tried and true Mooney Valley horse. Rekindled Interest for me.
The Group 1 Golden Rose (Sydney Race 6, 1400m) is a great race to unearth future Group 1 winners if they were not already Group 1 winners themselves. Horses like Paratroopers, Racing to Win, Denman, Manawanui and Helmet have all placed in the Golden Rose. This is such a significant race that it was promoted to Group 1 status last year and rightly so. This year’s Golden Rose is also full of potential. I believe potentially the best horse in the field this year is the favourite No.10 Nechita. She has been unbeaten in her 2 career starts and displayed scintillating acceleration on both occasions. Looks a very good horse in the making. However, I have always been mindful that a 3 year old filly takes on the colts in Spring time. Physically fillies are simply not as mature as colts during this time of the year. At $2.20, Nechita is just too big a risk to take. Personally, I really like the Snowden trained No.6 Albrecht. I reckon he is a promising colt and I believe he has been somewhat under-rated. He won the Up and Coming Stakes easily and the horse who finished 3rd in that race, Tatra, had franked the form by coming out and winning at Warwick Farm last week. Currently at $8.00, I think Albrecht is a very good each-way chance. The danger will come from No.4 Kabayan. You can never underestimate Gai’s horses in the Group 1 races. Kabayan finished a good 2nd in his 1st up run in Melbourne last start, but I have a question mark on the class of his opposition in that Melbourne race.