Well what a wonderful race this is. Even with the scratching of Hay List, the race is still jam packed full of proven and potential stars. Where to look? Who to back?
The obvious is Snitzerland. She looks to have improved since the spring after an impressive win first up. A few of the good horses that she beat first up meet her much better at the weights, like Howmuchdoyouloveme and Decision Time, but is a couple of less kilos enough to make up for an eased down 3 length win? Snitzerland beat All Too Hard this track and distance last time in. What odds would he be in this race? This magnificent little filly has a wide barrier and will need to use some energy early, but she should be right in the finish. She is a really good chance, but $3.00 is getting very short in a field so full of chances.
Sea Siren is a three time Group One winner and in the spring she beat Snitzerland home easily in the Patinack Farm Classic. However, that was months ago and Snitzerland had been racing well, but needed a spell by then. Sea Siren has trialled twice without much fanfare and really not very well. She has been overseas and sometimes mares take a little while to bounce back from a big trip away. She is sure in with a big chance this week, but perhaps the mare is better suited at the 1200m. Her best performances have been at the 1200m and above. Unfortunately another mare has confirmed her presence in the 1200m Group One T.J. Smith thus making it very hard for horses like Sea Siren to win that race.
Temple Of Boom won this race last year and goes down 2kg for having not won a race since. He can explode off a hot pace and an 1100m handicap is almost guaranteed to be run at a hot pace. He won this race from nowhere last year and has very similar form going in this year. These Boom horses, both Temple Of and Spirit Of rarely run a bad race, so look out for this Queenslander to be storming home.
Bel Sprinter. The wildcard. The potential second best sprinter in Australia that never does the same thing twice in a row. He runs well then the next week misses the start. He wins looking like Todman then the next week he goes under as favourite. When he puts his best manners and galloping effort together on the one day he is a star. Can he do it on Saturday? $16 must temp us to at least hope he does. He was equal favourite for the Newmarket last year before being scratched on the day before the race. That edition of the Newmarket was won by Hay List by an inch from another hard sprinter Buffering. The fact that Bel Sprinter was fancied in the market in a field of this quality shows he certainly has talent. Really, his talent is currently untapped. If it all comes together, he certainly can win; if he puts his mind on the job, the $16 will look like highway robbery.
Verdict: Every horse has claims to win this race. These types of races where we can get double figure odds on horses that are usually favourites seem to be occurring fairly regularly during this carnival. It is great for the industry in that the fields are so full of chances, but it does make it hard to pick a winner.
4th. Sea Siren will run well, but might need the run.
3rd. Snitzerland is a real trier and she will look the winner at some stage.
2nd. Temple Of Boom will be running on. If they go really hard in front, the Queenslander may have the dash to get past them late.
1st. Bel Sprinter. Should he have his head on the job, jump well, and not suffer bad luck, he can win. $16 is too good to refuse.
By Zeb Armstrong