This year’s Group 1 Randwick Guineas meeting will be held at Warwick Farm due to the renovation of the Randwick race course. Warwick Farm was rated a Good 3 on Thursday and with overcast weather for the next 2 days, the track should border on Good 3/Dead 4 on raceday.
In the opening event at Warwick Farm (Sydney Race 1, 2200m), premier trainer Chris Waller has 3 horses in the race. The top weight Permit has not returned to the form which made him the favourite for the Sydney Cup last autumn. And he does have 59kg to contend with. Marden is the form horse of the Waller’s trio. His victory last start over this course and distance was very good. He has gone up in grade on Saturday but down 2kg in weight. From barrier 4, Peter Robl should be able to settle Marden just behind the leader and get a cushy run.
In the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (Sydney Race 3, 1200m), top weight Ichihara is the class runner in the race. His last start 2nd to Bennetta in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes over this distance was impressive. Hugh Bowman has decided to stick with Ichihara and that’s a good sign. From barrier 1, Bowman will take Ichihara to the lead and could prove hard to catch. Currently at $5.50 (fixed odds), I believe Ichihara is over the odds and she represents a good bet.
In the Group 3 Sweet Embrace Stakes (Sydney Race 4, 1200m) I like the Waller-trained impressive filly Calming Influence. Her last start 2nd over this course and distance on a Heavy track behind the colt Good Job Bro (favourite in the Skyline Stakes) was a good effort. Back to firmer footing on Saturday will suit and from barrier 2, Jim Cassidy will ride her up with the speed. Current favourite the Clarry Conners-trained Assail is resuming from her let-up, but she has never raced beyond 1100m. With the experience racing at Warwick Farm and over 1200m, I believe that would give Calming Influence an edge.
In the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (Sydney Race 6, 1600m), there are some real quality engaged in the race. It’s a Dundeel is a good horse but his main target this autumn is the ATC Derby. Rebel Dane has been racing well and his last start 2nd being able to get so close to Pierro has really shown his quality. The horse I have been really keen on is the Waterhouse-trained Proisir. Ever since his demolition job on the Newcastle Spring Stakes field last Spring (won by 6 lengths), I’ve been tagging him as a future Group 1 winner. He was running out of condition behind Pierro & Rebel Dane in the Hobartville Stakes being 1st up over 1400m on a Heavy track. He’ll strip much fitter on Saturday and on a dryer track, I reckon Proisir is the horse to beat in the Guineas.
By Owens Wong, Editor