It’s one of the biggest racedays at Royal Randwick each year and we’re set for another huge edition of Epsom Handicap Day this Saturday.
The rail will be left in the true position around the entire course and at publish, we’re faced with a track rated in the Good (4) range.
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Race 1 – 11:50AM – Midway Handicap, (1000m)
I am happy to give Lancaster Bomber another chance in this week’s Midway Handicap.
Lancaster Bomber has been a strong and gutsy performer throughout his career, and while his failed to fire in BM88 company last time out, his form prior to that run was good.
I concede that he’ll need to be very good to beat home a couple of these, but we can have an each-way play at the price.
Race 2 – 12:25PM – Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes, (1000m)
The fresh crop of two-year-olds fillies will contest this year’s Gimcrack Stakes and all twelve entrants are on debut.
There is simply too much that can happen in a race like this one, so I am going to stay out of it and watch, with a view towards something later in the season.
Race 3 – 1:00pm – Group 3 Breeders’ Plate, (1000m)
The same race but for colts and geldings, and all fourteen are on debut here.
I am happy to employ same tactic as previously referenced in the Gimcrack write-up.
Race 4 – 1:35pm – Benchmark 88 Handicap, (1600m)
I’m confident that Brookspire will bounce back into winning form at Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day.
The Chris Waller-trained mare was excellent during her three-year-old season, and she went to the paddock after finishing midfield in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks.
Her resuming effort and win on the Kensington track here suggested that she was in for another big prep, while she did finish fifth in her second-up assignment, she was only a length and a half behind the winner.
Fitter third-up and under the conditions of this race, she’ll take plenty of beating.
Race 5 – 2:10pm – Group 2 Hill Stakes, (2000m)
A smart but talented field will contest the $1 million Hill Stakes including Think It Over, who has opened out odds-on favourite.
He is a Group 1 winner and a very smart horse, but given the depth of talent engaged, I am actually going to take him on this week, and I think that the race looks a good one for Keiai Nautique.
Keiai Nautique won a Group 1 race in his native Japan earlier in his career, and while he was given little hope of a competitive run on debut in Australia in the Winx Stakes, he mustered a lightly turn of foot to finish a close fourth.
He was a little flat in the Makybe Diva Stakes second-up and at the opposite way of going, but with improvement and getting further out again, I think he’ll be hard to hold out.
Race 6 – 2:45pm – Group 2 Premiere Stakes, (1200m)
He finished down the order in The Shorts last time, but he kept all of his best work for late, and I am more than happy to stick with Masked Crusader in this year’s Premiere Stakes.
The Toronado gelding has always hinted at Group 1 ability, but he finally began to realise it in the autumn of this year when winning the William Reid Stakes and finishing a luckless second in the TJ Smith Stakes.
His first-up run in The Heath this time was outstanding, and I am confident that he will return something a little closer to that performance this week.
Race 7 – 3:25pm – Group 1 Flight Stakes, (1600m)
This is a typically strong and open edition of the Flight Stakes and there are several winning chances engaged, including Swift Witness.
She stamped herself as a filly to follow during her two-year-old season, and Swift Witness returned to the races this time with an eye-catching performance and win in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes.
She was a little flat second-up, but stuck on well to fill the minors in the Tea Rose Stakes last time, and getting out to a mile at this point of her preparation looks suitable.
I am also going to have a saver on She’s All Class.
She’s All Class was excellent in the two-year-olds Magic Millions races in summer, and finished second in her only autumn start at Group 2 level.
She is yet to show her best in two starts back this time, but Chris Waller has a knack for getting them going at the perfect moment, and she will be ridden by James McDonald.
Race 8 – 4:05pm – Group 1 Epsom Handicap, (1600m)
It’s typically one of the better betting races of the Sydney Spring Carnival each year, and we will be treated to another outstanding and open edition of the Epsom Handicap on Saturday.
That being said, I think that Mo’unga is a star on the rise, he is exceptional form, and I think that he will carry topweight to another win.
He broke through for his first victory at the highest level in the Rosehill Guineas back in autumn, but it was his resuming effort and win in the Winx Stakes this time that underlined his class.
He only just missed in the Makybe Diva Stakes last time and will take further improvement into this race.
I’m also going to have something on Dalasan each way.
There has been merit in each of his first two starts back this time, but he has been set for this race, and it is the sort that he is likely to pop up in.
James McDonald rides from a good draw and at around the $19 mark, we can back him each way.
Race 9 – 4:45pm – Group 1 The Metropolitan, (2400m)
The Metropolitan looms as the perfect race for Montefilia.
She was a star of the 2020 Spring Carnival when recording consecutive wins in the Flight Stakes and the Spring Champion Stakes, and while Montefilia wasn’t able to build on her CV in autumn, she still raced extremely well in some good contests.
She has improved for two starts this time, placings in both the Chelmsford Staskes and the Kingston Town Stakes, and fitter third-up, getting out to a mile and a half, it really does look ideal.
Race 10 – 5:20pm – Cleanaway Handicap, (1200m)
This is an outstanding race to end the day and a tough one from a betting perspective, but I am going to have something on Fender each way.
Fender has been a great horse for the Cavanough stable since debuting, and he has returned plenty of competitive performances in good races.
He finished third in the Ramornie Handicap in July, returned from a freshen-up to finish sixth in a hot edition of the Show County Quality, and I like that he has been back to the trials since that run.