The Missile Stakes meeting will be held at Royal Randwick this Saturday (6th Aug). The course proper was rated a Soft 6 on Thursday and with light showers forecast for Sydney leading up to the weekend, Randwick will be racing in the Soft range on raceday.
Debut winner Conqueror from the Chris Waller yard looks the horse to beat in the Jockey Celebration Handicap (Sydney Race 4, 1400m). The 3YO colt certainly looked impressive when he took out a 2YO maiden back in February and after a good spell, he is going to go on with the good job. Waller has given him two trials where he won one and finished 2nd in the other and Conqueror should be ready fitness wise. And he has only been allotted with the limit weight of 53kg. William Pike will settle somewhere mid-field and Conqueror will showcase his good turn-of-foot and run over the top of this field.
Top weight Maotai is the best horse in the NSW Jockeys Reunion Handicap and he should win accordingly (Sydney Race 6, 1000m). The Not A Single Doubt gelding won well three starts back over 1200m on a Soft track at Randwick but then his form started to falter. He’s had been gelded since his last start and that should prompt him to race more genuinely. Up in the weight but down in class on Saturday with Hugh Bowman on board. Having drawn the rail (gate 1), Bowman is going straight to the front and Maotai is going to run them ragged.
Belluci Babe could upset race favourite Forbidden Love in the Missile Stakes (Sydney Race 8, 1200m). This Bjorn Baker-trained 6YO was very consistent in the autumn winning the Wenona Girl Handicap before finishing a great 4th in both the Group 1s The Galaxy and the T.J. Smith Stakes. The mare has a good first-up record with two wins and two 2nds from five attempts and she can handle any track conditions. Champion hoop James McDonald will be on board on Saturday and with a good gate (3), McDonald will probably settle a little closer in mid-field and Belluci Babe will be flying down the Randwick straight.
By Owens Wong