The Festival Stakes meeting will be held at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday (27th Nov). The course proper was rated a Heavy 8 on Thursday and with further shower forecast for Sydney leading up to the weekend, Rosehill is likely to remain in the Heavy range on raceday.
Tim Donnelly-trained Participator deserves his top weight and he looks the horse to beat in the Highway Handicap (Sydney Race 2, 1200m). This Contributer gelding has won both his career starts to date and is unbeaten over 1200m, winning his latest race by 4.5 lengths four weeks ago. Being out of a More Than Ready mare, Participator should have no problem handling the anticipated wet track. Beautifully drawn in gate 5, Mathew Cahill will park just behind the leading bunch with a cozy run. Participator will showcase his great turn-of-foot and overpower this field.
Tambo’s Mate is going to make it three wins on the bounce by taking out the Starlight Stakes (Sydney Race 7, 1100m). This Queensland visitor has won his past two starts at Doomben in good style after a close 4th in the Weetwood Stakes behind the promising Apache Chase. The 6YO has a good record at 1100m and is unbeaten on Soft and Heavy tracks winning all four starts in wet condition. Melbourne Cup winning hoop James McDonald will take over the rein on Saturday. With plenty of pace in the race, McDonald will settle mid-field from barrier 3 and bide his time. Tambo’s Mate will be ready to pounce rounding the home turn.
Class horse Ellsberg has only been allotted the limit weight of 53kg and he is a great light weight chance in the Festival Stakes (Sydney Race 8, 1500m). The 4YO has been competitive against Count De Rupee and I’m Thunderstruck this spring and Count De Rupee has franked the form by winning ‘The Gong’ last week. Ellsberg can handle any track conditions and he loves Rosehill. Having drawn a good gate (5), Rachel King will settle in the lovely one off one back position and together with his light weight, Ellsberg is the one they all have to catch.
By Owens Wong, Editor