Eleven of the country’s best three-year-olds have been confirmed as starters and we are set for an outstanding edition of the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Graff has returned to racing in brilliant condition again this time and has opened the $3.50 favourite in Golden Rose betting after drawing ideally in barrier 4.
Graff showed above-average ability at the trials prior to making his debut in April, and immediately stamped himself as a horse to following a dominant win over 1100m at Rosehill.
Having continued to step up in grade with a smart win in the Clarendon Stakes (1300m) at Hawkesbury, plans for a campaign geared towards the Group 1 JJ Atkins were shelved when the horse kicked the stalls prior to the running of the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) and was forced back into the paddock.
He showed no ill-effects when he resumed this time for easily his most impressive performance and win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) in late August and while he did suffer his first defeat in the Group 2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) last time out, he was completely luckless and still managed to finish second.
The step up to 1400m looks ideal and he will be extremely difficult to beat once more.
There’s already been plenty of interest for Lean Mean Machine in early 2018 Golden Rose betting and the colt is the $5.50 market mover at the time of publish, having opened at $6.
Lean Mean Machine is another horse that showed plenty of potential through two-year-old campaign and placed twice at Group 3 level, before breaking through for his first black type win in the BRC Sires’ Produce.
While failing to fire in the JJ Atkins (1600m) two weeks later, the Zoustar colt absolutely flew home to beat many of his Golden Rose rivals in The Run To The Rose a fortnight ago and will only improve from the performance.
The step up in trip is also a big plus and he can take a position within the field from barrier 7, before calling on his big turn of foot in the straight.
Chris Waller will be offered three legitimate chances of winning the 2018 Golden Rose after also confirming The Autumn Sun ($4.50) and Zousain ($8.50) as starters.
The Autumn Sun was undefeated through his two-year-old season and returned to the paddock a Group 1 winner, having taken out the JJ Atkins.
The Redoute’s Choice colt was a complete forgive run in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) first-up two weeks ago after being checked near the 300m, and he’ll fight out the finish of this race on class alone.
Zousain won the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) most notably as a two-year-old and worked home well to finish second behind The Autumn Sun in the JJ Atkins.
He raced quite greenly in The Run To The Rose first-up and tired late to finish fourth but with natural improvement, he certainly looks up to a race of this quality.
There is a case to be made for every horse in 2018 Golden Rose betting including Group 1 winner Seabrook ($11), talented colt Jonker ($11) and the well-bred Long Leaf ($26).