This Saturday features the Doncaster Mile meeting at Royal Randwick. The track was rated a Dead 5 on Thursday and with rain forecast for the next 2 days, the track could end up in the Slow to Heavy range on raceday.
In the Keith Mackay Quality (Sydney Race 2, 1200m), it looks a race between the 2 top weights, Everage and Major Conquest. The Craig Carmody-trained Everage has impressive wet track form being unbeaten in 2 starts on Heavy track. However, having drawn the widest barrier (barrier 10) could see her being trapped wide with no cover. Major Conquest has finished 3rd in both her career starts and though she has never raced on wet track, being sired by More Than Ready would ensure the filly to handle the anticipated wet condition. Major Conquest is a filly on the up and from barrier 6, Nash Rawiller will settle her just outside the leader and ready to pounce in the straight. Currently at $3.20 fixed odds, Major Conquest is my pick for this race.
In the Japan Racing Association Plate (Sydney Race 6, 2000m), the class runner in this race is without doubt the top weight Kelinni. His record includes a great 4th in last year’s Melbourne Cup and his last start 4th in the BMW was full of merit. None of the others in this race boost the same credentials. He also has reasonable wet form. Though Kelinni has been allotted 60kg, he hasn’t been too harshly treated in an open handicap with a 54kg limit.
In the Australian Oaks (Sydney Race 7, 2400m), we have some good fillies contesting the race. With the absence of Norzita in the Oaks, I’ll look at the fillies that have forms around the Cummings-trained filly. The Victorian Oaks winner Dear Demi ran a good 5th to Norzita from a long way back last start in the Storm Queen Stakes. She can stay and she is on target for the Australian Oaks. In the same lead-up race, NZ filly Habibi ran a super race to finish 3rd. She has good wet track form and she can obviously stay being a NZ Derby winner. She also shown good acceleration in the Storm Queen Stakes. With all these quality, Habibi looks the Oaks winner to me.
In the main feature of the day, the Doncaster Mile (Sydney Race 8, 1600m), it’s an open race with the favourite being the Waterhouse-trained super 3YO Pierro. The colt has been unbeaten so far this preparation winning 3 from 3. However, after the weights for the Doncaster have been raised by 1kg in order to meet the minimum top weight of 58kg, Pierro has been asked to carry 57kg. If he is to win the Doncaster, he will have to set a weight carrying record for 3YO. Currently Pierro is at $2.40 fixed odds and I believe that is under the odds.
I opt for an outsider in the Doncaster. The recent form for the Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails hasn’t been all that fresh, finishing 9th in his past 2 starts. But this 5YO has an affinity with the mile races. He ran a super 6th in last year’s Doncaster Mile coming from barrier 17. And during the Spring Carnival last year, he won 2 mile races including the Group 1 Emirates Stakes. And he has placed 4 times out of 5 starts on wet track. At $26.00, Happy Trails represents a great each-way bet.
By Owens Wong, Editor