From Marc Conners
Horse: Rebel Rama
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 6, The Agency Real Estate Hcp) Rebel Rama drops back to benchmark grade after finishing midfield in the Listed January Cup, won in track record time by Naval College. While she excels on rain-affected ground, which she won’t get on Saturday, she is in a good space. The race last start, they don’t run that fast. I’m sure it upset a lot of the horses and I don’t think she ran badly. She finished 7th and she didn’t drop off, she held her ground, so I was happy enough with her run. She drops back to a benchmark 88 now, which is probably where she needs to be at the moment. I just wish she’s drawn a barrier (gate 8). We keep drawing bad barriers and that forces us to go back so we’ll have to decide what we do Saturday.
From Gayna Williams
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 3, Highway Hcp) Overlord did win a Rosehill Gardens Highway with 58kg after a 3kg claim for Hannah Willliams last August, trialled impressively enough at Orange (1100m) three weeks ago. And significantly Overlord’s best form is fresh-winning twice first-up and placings. Michael (Heagney) got off him after the trial and said he really got through the line nicely, not really extended, he’s won twice first-up, he’s where we want him with a good gate (2) on Saturday. We booked Jake (Barrett) because I like young riders in form and confident; Hannah (Williams) did have a prior engagement in the same race. Apart from Jake’s form and claim, drawing an inside gate was really important first-up. If we’d have drawn out with that weight we’d have looked for something else.
From Joseph Ible
Horse: Patrika Mist
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 2, Midway Hcp) Patrika Mist is looking to complete a hat-trick at Randwick on Saturday. She went to Sapphire last year and won a Class 2 very stylishly. She looks the right sort of horse to take down (to Sunday week’s Bega Cup at the Sapphire Coast), I don’t think it’ll be the strongest Big Dance qualifier so she might be a really good chance in it. I always thought she would reach this sort of level. Earlier this prep I thought she’d plateaued and wouldn’t go on with it but after a poor performance after her fourth run back we gave her month freshen and just changed a few things with her. She’s come back in great form since. She’s just found her sweet spot this preparation, she hasn’t missed a beat since last start. We’ve been having a crack at the Midways for a while, running a few placings and being thereabouts but it was good to get a win. Zac (Lloyd)’s initiative is what won the race the other day, he rode her beautifully, but there could be more pressure in this race. Thankfully she’s drawn favourably and I guess it’ll be a lot up to Jett (Stanley) but we’ll be positive without wanting to get into a speed battle. With the claim she gets in not too bad at the weights (57.5kg) considering her win last start.
From John O’Shea
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Carrington Stakes) Maximal has been off the scene since the 2022 Mackinnon Stakes, and been gelded in that time, and it’s very much a starting point for the dual Group 1 placed import. He’s been off a while so he’s going to take a run or two to get back to proper fitness. He might find a couple too sharp over 1400m but his trials have been pleasing, and coming back a gelding he seems a happy and enthusiastic horse. A run with promise, building, where he will take good improvement would be acceptable as we work to races at 2000m and maybe beyond.
Horse: Waihaha Falls
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Carrington Stakes) He probably didn’t have a lot of luck through some of his runs through the last 12 months. Even last time he drew out and had to go right back but he was electric coming home. The 1400m at Randwick is perfect for him, he appreciates being fresh and he has a race like this in his capabilities.
Horse: Zou Tiger
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Carrington Stakes) Zou Tiger was placed in the Randwick Guineas last year but missed the spring. He flopped in his return at Canterbury but the signs were there in his narrow defeat at Rosehill two weeks ago that he’s on track. He was really disappointing in his first-up run but we were really happy with how he was coming into his second run so we took him on trust. He took a good step forward, a five length step, and hopefully he can take another step forward. He’s starting to reach peak fitness and perhaps gather a bit of confidence that he might have lost. This race looks a lovely option for him and on his best form he’s well up to this grade. He raced with purpose last start and maybe just got a bit tired late. He’s back to a track he’s effective on, a distance that looks ideal and we see no reason why he wouldn’t run well again.
From Robert & Luke Price
Horse: Cuban Royale
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Carrington Stakes) Cuban Royale will be chasing a slice of Carrington Stakes history when he bids to become the first horse to capture back-to-back wins in more than 30 years. Cuban Royale was successful 12 months ago off the back of a summer campaign but has been given a different preparation this time around, freshened up following The Gong in November and tuning up for Saturday’s Randwick assignment with a closing last-start 5th over 1300m at Rosehill. This has been his grand final target. The horse had a really good prep last time without winning a race, and then his run the other day was full of merit. He ran close to the fastest sectional in the race and I couldn’t be any happier with him. He saw the course proper on Saturday and again Tuesday at Kembla, and I thought he really set the track alight. There looks a little more depth to the race this year than last year, but a lot of the other horses are first-up, so we will see what happens. This horse looks amazing in his coat and he gets around like a three-year-old, so there are plenty of races left in him.
From Danny Williams
Horse: Atmospheric Rock
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 3, Highway Hcp) Atmospheric Rock will kick off in the TAB Highway if he gains a start, as third emergency. He’s only won the one race but has placed in three Highways and was a close 4th in a 1200m Randwick Highway back in September. He needs to elevate his rating. I think he’s going as good as I’ve had him but he’s a funny horse. Looking at his work this (Wednesday) morning, we worked him over a shorter distance and let him run up, I’m frightened he might be too dour for the 1200m and already looking for the 1400m.
Horse: Bandi’s Boy
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 8, Precise Air Hcp) Bandi’s Boy hasn’t raced since a game 3rd in the Barn Dance behind I’ve Been Tryin’ back on November 7 and the Precise Air Handicap is a starting point but an important one for the preparation. We’ve had a program set out for him, he’ll have three runs going into the Country Championships. He’s going to have a lot of improvement ahead of him, albeit he wasn’t out a long time. I said to the owner it’s not a matter of placing him where he can win this preparation, it’s a matter of making sure he’s had the right preparation going into the qualifying race. If he wins along the way good and well because he would still only be a Class 3 horse if he won one race. So he’s going to get in at the right weight and you’ve got to have all that in mind when you’re heading for these restricted races with set weights. We’ve removed all the gear to try and get him to settle. The plan would be to ride him a bit more conservative and let him get back and find the line with the long term outcome to get the 1400m strong. I’m expecting him to run a bold race but I’m not confident of him being ready to win at this stage.
From Ross McConville
Horse: Either Oar
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 10, Expect It All This Autumn At ATC Handicap) Either Oar was a dynamic winner first-up at Randwick under Zac Lloyd before a gallant 3rd over 1200m at Rosehill two weeks ago. It will make the job easier (from barrier 2). If she can relax up near the front of the field and get in a great rhythm, hopefully nobody annoys her. The more she’s left alone the better she is. That claim (3kg claim from Jess Del Frari) will be good for her. She’s not a bad horse to ride, hopefully she will make her own luck. If everything works out well it’d be great for Jess and for us too.
From The Editor
Sydney Race 3 – Barradas
Sydney Race 6 – Louisville
Sydney Race 7 – Tamerlane