Sydney racing will be held at Rosehill this weekend. The track was rated Slow 7 on Thursday and with light showers forecast for the next 2 days, Rosehill should be rated between Dead/Slow range on raceday.
Flemington was rated a Dead 4 on Thursday for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes meeting. Sunny weather forecast for Melbourne and the track should border on Good 3/Dead 4 on raceday.
The highlight of the Flemington meeting is without doubt the return of the unbeaten champion Black Caviar in the race named in her honour. The Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Melbourne Race 7, 1000m), seven rivals will be opposing the great mare who has won the past two Lightning Stakes. Given the WFA nature of the race, it’s almost impossible to see Black Caviar getting beaten and the fixed odds market ($1.05) has reflected her chances. Black Caviar looks all set to win her third straight Lightning Stakes.
In the Hilton Nicholas Handicap (Melbourne Race 4, 2000m), the Peter Moody-trained Elusive King has been racing consistently lately, placing in all his last four starts. He loves the 2000m having won or placed seven times out of ten starts over the distance. Stable jockey Luke Nolen will be back on board on Saturday and that’s another positive. Elusive King could finally break through for a win.
In the C S Hayes Stakes (Melbourne Race 6, 1400m), the favourite Royal Haunt has been very impressive. He has won three out of three and remains unbeaten. He was leading from start to finish in his last start over 1200m at Caulfield, and he simply kicked away from them in the last furlong winning by 4.3 lengths. Even though he has been allotted with barrier 12 on Saturday, there aren’t much speed in the race according to my speed map. Luke Nolen should be able to click Royal Haunt up to the lead or sit outside Force Command. 1400m looks suitable for him and Royal Haunt should keep his unbeaten record intact.
In the Royal Sovereign Stakes (Sydney Race5, 1200m), it looks a race between two unbeaten colts, Sacred Falls and Rebel Dane. Sacred Falls has won all six starts in New Zealand including the Group One 2000 Guineas, the colt has been transferred from Tony Pike to Chris Waller for his autumn campaign. It will be his first start in Sydney but to his advantage, his regular rider Leith Innes will be aboard the star colt.
The Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane knows his way around Rosehill having won his past two starts at the track and that would give him an advantage on Saturday. Portelli scratched him from Rosehill last Saturday week when the track was heavy and gave him a barrier trial the following Monday instead. Jason Collett, who has ridden Rebel Dane to all three of his restricted wins, retains the mount in the Royal Sovereign. On forms and figures, I am leaning slightly towards Rebel Dane.
By Owens Wong, Editor