By Owens Wong, Editor
This Saturday’s Sydney meeting will be back to the headquarter Royal Randwick and the Melbourne meeting will be held at Caulfield. Both tracks were rated Dead 4 at acceptance time and I expect both tracks to be rated Good 3 on Saturday.
The opening event at Randwick, the Gloaming Stakes (Sydney Race 1, 1800m) has No.1 Ninth Legion as the favourite. Ninth Legion finished a creditable 4th in the Golden Rose last week and if he can back up from last week, he is a chance in the race. The horse I like is No.2 Honorius. He goes up to 1800m 2nd up but that should be of no concern. Matter of fact, the extra distance could actually benefit Honorius. Currently at $6.00, my money will be on Honorius.
In the Coolmore Tea Rose Stakes (Sydney Race 4, 1500m), trainer Clarry Connors was keen on No.1 Dear Demi’s chances. She won the Furious Stakes in her last start and let’s see if she can continue with her victory in the princess series. No.6 Norzita had no luck two starts back as she couldn’t get any clear room in the straight. And last start, Norzita ran a good 2nd to Proisir. I am very excited on the formline of that promising Waterhous horse, Proisir. He came out on Wednesday and won the Spring Stakes at Newcastle by 6 lengths. On form and figure, I have to tip Norzita.
In the Group 1 George Main Stakes (Sydney Race 6, 1600m), the favourite No.5 Secret Admirer has finally come back to her favourite track. She has won 2 Group 1 races and she achieved both victories over the Randwick mile. However, under the WFA scale in spring time, the Hawkes trained 3 year old No.8 All Too Hard only carries 50.5kg. That means Secret Admirer will be given All Too Hard 6.5kg and the other older horses would be given him 8.5kg. More importantly, All Too Hard has been racing like a miler this preparation. He seems to lose his quick sprint but instead warming up late in his races. 1600m at this stage would be perfect. At 5.00 (fixed odds), he will be a good bet.
The focus in Melbourne will be the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (Melbourne Race 7, 1800m). This is a hot field with Group 1 winners Manighar, Sincero, December Draw, Ocean Park and Southern Speed all accepted for the race. The favourite No.1 Manighar is flying on the training track according to his trainer Peter Moody. So much so that Moody has decided to change his plan for Manighar to aim at the Cox Plate instead of the Cups. Last start, he ran a very good 2nd to Southern Speed for his 1st up run. After getting all the favour and a rail hugging run, Southern Speed could only beat Manighar by a nose. Personally, I can’t see Southern Speed beating Manighar again this spring. The interesting runner in the Underwood is the kiwi visitor No.13 Ocean Park. We had witnessed his brilliance back in the autumn when he raced wide along the whole race and yet still finished a close 2nd in the Rosehill Guineas. Ocean Park was victorious in his 1st up run in NZ in the Group 1 Makfi Stakes. Significantly, Jimmy Choux who was the runner up in last year’s Cox Plate could only be placed in the Makfi Stakes last year. Maybe Ocean Park could also go one better in the Cox Plate this year.