The Festival Stakes meeting will be held at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday (2nd Dec). The course proper was rated a Heavy 8 on Thursday and with overcast weather in Sydney leading up to the weekend, Rosehill is likely to be racing in the Soft range on raceday.
Todd Howlett-trained Tanglewood deserves his top weight of 61kg and he’s the one to beat in the Highway Handicap (Sydney Race 4, 1100m). The lightly raced 4YO has good first-up record and he ran away with a 5 ½ lengths win first-up last preparation at Taree under 60kg. The gelding is still on the up and Aaron Bullock knows the horse well. Bullock will sit one off one back and give Tanglewood every chance to win the race.
Rustic Steel is the highest rated horse in the Festival Stakes and he should win accordingly (Sydney Race 7, 1500m). The Kris Lees-trained Deep Field gelding has been racing against strong oppositions like Ellsberg, Cisco Bay and I Am Me and a slight drop in class on Saturday should provide a great opportunity for a breakthrough win this campaign. The 6YO should be much fitter being third-up on Saturday and he is a notable wet tracker having three wins and two 3rds from six starts on Soft tracks. Sam Clipperton will drop back in the field and bide his time and Rustic Steel will fly down the Rosehill straight.
Malkovich was scratched from The Warra last week due to the Heavy track and he should have conditions to suit in the Starlight Stakes (Sydney Race 8, 1100m). Malkovich will be first-up on Saturday and he won well in the Hawkesbury Rush first-up in the autumn. The 6YO has good record on Good and Soft tracks and 1100m is his pet distance with four wins and five 2nds over the trip. And the gelding has two good trials in preparation for his return. Rachel King has previously ridden the horse and she will be back on board on Saturday. King will go straight to the front and Malkovich will prove hard to catch.
By Owens Wong