The Championships Day 2 will be held at Royal Randwick this Saturday (17th Apr). The course proper was rated a Soft 5 on Thursday and with fine weather in Sydney leading up to the weekend, Randwick will be racing on a Good track on raceday.
The Paul Perry-trained Pandano has everything going for him in the Provincial Championships Final and he looks the horse to beat (Sydney Race 3, 1400m). The 4YO gelding has been in terrific form winning his last two starts with victory in a BM88 handicap over the Randwick mile before taking out the Newcastle qualifier easily. Pandano has a good record over 1400m and champion hoop James McDonald will take over the rein in the final. Beautifully drawn in barrier 6, McDonald will sit one off one back in a trailing position and Pandano will be too classy for this field.
English import Spirit Ridge could be the forgotten horse in the Sydney Cup (Sydney Race 7, 3200m). The Mark Newnham-trained 6YO has acclimatized well and the gelding has taken out the Summer Cup – January Cup double earlier this year before a freshen up. Two starts back, Spirit Ridge just got nosed out in the Sky High Stakes before a nice 5th in the WFA Tancred Stakes. He has good grounding in preparation for the two miles and will drop a massive 7.5kg on Saturday. Newnham will take the blinkers off for the first time which surely will help the gelding to settle better for the marathon trip. Robbie Dolan knows the horse well and he will go straight to the lead from barrier 2 to control the pace. Together with his light weight, Spirit Ridge could prove hard to catch.
Champion gallopers Verry Elleegant and Addeybb will go head to head again in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sydney Race 8, 2000m). In this same race last year, these two gallopers also fought out the finish with Addeybb prevailing narrowly. Since then, Verry Elleegant has won the Group 1 Winx Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Caulfield Cup and Chipping Norton Stakes. And last start in the Ranvet Stakes, the mare has turned the table on the English galloper. Verry Elleegant is racing in career best form and the anticipated Good track would suit the mare better than Addeybb. In a small field, James McDonald will settle just behind the leaders and Verry Elleegant is the one they have to beat.
By Owens Wong, Editor