The preliminary races will begin this weekend for the Melbourne Autumn carnival, including the Blue Diamond Previews for the 2YOs and the Swettenham Stakes.
Partly Cloudy in Melbourne. The Caulfield track was rated a Dead 4 on Thursday and the track should remain in the Dead range on raceday.
Shower or two forecast for Sydney. The Warwick Farm track was rated a Good 3 on Thursday and should stay in the Good range on raceday.
The Blue Diamond preview for colts & geldings (Melbourne Race 3, 1000m), there isn’t much between the top two – Kuroshio and Thermal Current. With Kuroshio resuming from a spell, Thermal Current could have a fitness edge having finished a closed 2nd at Flemington over 1000m a fortnight ago. The 3kg weight pull would also put Thermal Current in a winning position.
The Blue Diamond preview for fillies (Melbourne Race 4, 1000m) features the current Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Miracles Of Life. Apprentice jockey Lauren Stojakovic rode Miracles of Life to dominant wins at her only two starts, the latest a nine-length romp at Morphettville that promoted her to Blue Diamond favouritism. From barrier 6, she will go forward and settle outside the likely leader Montsegur. The Peter Snowden-trained Montsegur scored an impressive victory (winning by 3.3 lengths) in her debut at this track and trip four weeks ago. She has shown tremendous speed leading from start to finish and running fast time. From the inside barrier, McEvoy will take Montsegur to the lead and prove hard to run down. Currently at $4.00 fixed odds, Montsegur is my pick for the BD fillies preview.
In the Swettenham Stakes (Melbourne Race 6, 1400m), the form horse is without doubt the favourite British General. Glen Boss has ridden the 5YO for his past 3 wins, all over 1400m. Boss has obviously developed an affinity with the gelding and he will be back on board British General on Saturday. From barrier 2, I can see Boss using the same tactic in the past 3 starts, going straight to the lead. The rail at Caulfield on Saturday will be back to the true position so it could well favour the leaders and British General could prove hard to run down.
The feature race in Sydney is the Australia Day Cup (Sydney Race 6, 2400m). The Waterhouse-trained Reuben Percival has plenty of mileage under his belt. He is fit so the barrier 14 probably wouldn’t worry him as much as he will go forward and settle just behind the leaders. He did well finishing 2nd last start in the Gosford Cup (2100m), beaten only half a length by Moriarty. 2400m on Saturday looks perfect for him and he did record a victory from his only start over this track and distance. Reuben Percival is ready to make it two from two on Saturday.
By Owens Wong, Editor