Out of the last 15 Open age Group One races held in Qld, Victoria or NSW, 9 have been won by three-year-olds. The three-year-olds this season just simply seem to be better than the open class horses. Of the 6 Group Ones that were not won by three-year-olds, one was the Sydney Cup, two were won by Black Caviar, one was the Queen Elizabeth where It’s A Dundeel went down as the $1.40 favourite, one was the Coolmore where Norzita was beaten by two inches and the other was the Queen Of The Turf that had no three-year-old in it.
To say the three-year-olds this season have been dominant is an understatement; and in this week’s Group One race, the Doomben Cup, there is only one younger horse running. Hippopus, the Gai Waterhouse trained staying three-year-old is coming back in distance from the VRC St Leger and is heading to the tight Doomben track for the first time. There is a lot against this son of High Chaparral, but he is a three-year-old. He can stay all day and he has weight relief under the late autumn WFA conditions. He has to be the logical choice right?
Only one female horse has won this race in the last 12 years. That mare was Cinque Cento who was trained by Peter Moody who also trains the favourite for this year’s race, the mare Lights Of Heaven. But records are made to be broken and Lights Of Heaven is in great form and deserves to be the favourite. Moody’s other runner, the former star Manighar is flying according to the master trainer. In the press, Peter seems more confident about Manighar returning to his best than Lights Of Heaven defying history. That is music to the ears to those of us who don’t mind a multiple Group One winner at double figure odds.
Chris Waller is training winners everywhere every day at the minute and his good horse Foreteller is flying and looks ideally placed in this race. Lamasery has been ticking along nicely also and has form at this distance around some really good horses; while consistent mare Secret Admirer is another who is flying and appears ideally suited under the WFA conditions.
So where do we look? Manighar is the best horse in the race but he is out of form a little while Hippopus is a three-year-old and the record shows he will run well. The good news is that they will both be at double figure odds so we can back them both.
4th. Lights Of Heaven. A gun mare who loves QLD and is the deserved favourite but there is plenty of value around her. However you can’t buy beer with value so always remember it is better to back a $4 winner than a $10 5th placegetter.
3rd. Secret Admirer. She always throws in one huge run each preparation. That run has not come so far this time in so maybe it will be this weekend. Secret Admirer has been in the top company in every one of her starts and she rarely runs a bad race.
2nd. Manighar. Pete Moody is quoted in the press that if this horse was at his best he would be $1.80 and would win by half a lap. By that rational if he is 85% at his best he should win by 100 yards. Hopefully this reigns true.
1st. Hippopus. He is a three-year-old and that is the best credential a horse can have in an East Coast Group One race.
By Zeb Armstrong