Group 1 racing returns to Perth for the first time in 2018 and Ascot will host a huge edition of Railway Stakes Day!
The Perth Summer Carnival has continued to attract more and more interest from the country’s biggest interstate stables in recent years and in 2018, the likes of Darren Weir, Chris Waller and Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott will all be well represented.
The time difference means that the main feature races will not be run and won until the evening and the Railway Stakes is slated for 8pm AEDT.
Nine three-year-olds will step out in the first on Railway Stakes and there’s a case to be made for several in betting.
Reveille has opened race favourite but is yet to receive much attention in betting and is $3.50 out to $3.80 at the time of publish.
Like A Butterfly has improved through her two starts this time and has attracted the lion’s share of attention in betting; firming $7 into $4. The Blackfriars mare dusted off the cobwebs with a credible performance for fifth over 1400m first-up and mustered a good turn of foot to hit the line for third over 1500m at York last time out. The step up to a mile looks ideal at this point of her prep and I am happy to follow the money.
Twelve horses have been confirmed in the field for the second, but it really does look like Stageman’s race to lose. Stageman ($2.25) stormed home to win at this course and distance second-up in late October, before hitting the line well for second when finally offered clear running last time out. He is rock-hard fit and has the notable advantage of William Pike in the saddle for his fourth-up run.
The Nicconian ($5.50) will carry winning form into the race and looms as the biggest danger, particularly after drawing ideally (barrier 4) and being allocated a race-low 54kgs.
The first black type race on Railway Stakes Day will see nine three-year-olds seek their share in a $100,000 purse, including State Solicitor ($2.90). State Solicitor is yet to show his best through three starts this time, but this is easily the easiest race that he has contest so-far and he is rock-hard fit. William Pike returns to the saddle and he’ll be hard to hold out.
Prying Tom ($14) faces a step up in class, but he is seeking a fifth-consecutive win and will have conditions to suit. Pinzu has not been seen at the races since May but is a proven black type performer and is already a big mover in betting for third race ($16 into $10).
The early scratching of Ngawi has left ten horses in the field for this year’s Placid Ark Stakes and there’s a case to be made for several in the market.
Dance Music ($2.20) has opened a firm favourite and has continued to receive good interest since the market opened on Wednesday. The War Chant filly has returned three wins from only four career starts so far and was last seen winning the Cystic Fibrosis WA Plate (1100m) with relative ease. This is her hardest task to date, but she is drawn ideally and will be tough to beat.
Pike has elected to jump off Dance Music to ride Festival Miss ($6) in this race, and that simply cannot be ignored. The Bernardini filly has finished a close second at each of her first two starts this time and is primed for another big performance on Saturday.
Another race, another market dominated by a Grant & Alana Williams-trained, Bob Peters-owned and William Pike-ridden horse. Mississippi Delta ($2.80) was an impressive winner over a mile at Ascot two starts back before finishing a close-up second behind Queen Bey over 2200m last time out. The slight drop in trip is nothing of a concern and everything suggests that she’ll be fighting out the finish again.
The Jungle Mist Classic is shaping as one of the more open races on Railway Stakes Day and more than half the field has claims on winning.
Celebrity Dream ($3.50) has been competitive through two starts this time and looks ready to peak third-up. She’ll be ridden by Pike, but she’ll need to overcome an awkward barrier and topweight.
Misty Metal ($6.50) has improved through two starts this time and has so-far received the most attention from punters in Jungle Mist betting. This is a step up in class for the Oratorio mare, but she is another horse that should only improve third-up.
Seannie ($8) worked home well to win her first start since returning to Perth and she’ll take plenty of benefit into this. The Sebring mare has been a black type performer throughout her racing career and could go to another level with the Lindsey Smith polish this time.
This field for this year’s WA Guineas is outstanding and we’re set for a thrilling showdown between some of Perth’s best three-year-olds and a good contingent of interstate raiders.
The locally-trained Arcadia Queen ($2.70) has recorded three wins from four career starts and has opened the clear favourite in betting. The Pierro filly made a competitive transition to black type company when third in the Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) on November 6th before taking out the Group 3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) last weekend.
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott have confirmed Ulusaba in the field for this race and he could prove to be the value at $21. The son of Exceed And Excel has not finished outside the places through four starts this time and was last seen winning an 1800m race at Randwick on November 6th. The Sydney form typically stacks up well in Perth and he has plenty of options from the rails draw.
I will be happy to have something on each of these horses, particularly the each-way price on offer for Ulusaba.
Another outstanding edition of the Perth Summer Carnival’s first Group 1 and there’s plenty of value to be taken in Railway Stakes betting. There’s a case to be made for nearly every horse in betting, particularly the east coast raiders but two runners that have caught my eye are the Darren Weir-trained Peaceful Stakes ($5) and resuming local Material Man ($13)
Peaceful State has recorded several terrific results this year and finished second behind Grunt in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in autumn most notably, before stringing together a couple of nice wins at black type level. He’s continued to race well this time in and will enjoy a step back in class from his last-start third in the Group 1 Kennedy Mile (1600m) on Derby Day.
Material Man has not been seen at the races since June, but he was simply outstanding last summer and resumed in winter for smart wins in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m), Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m). He’s won three of four first-up and has trialled extremely well in the lead-up to this race.
I’ll be backing both runners – Peaceful State straight out and Material Man each way.
A tough way to end Railway Stakes Day from a betting perspective and several winning chances in this field of fifteen.
I’m leaning towards the Stephen Wolfe-trained One Short at current odds but wouldn’t want him a lot shorter than the $9 currently on offer. The Snippetson gelding resumed from a short spell to finish fifth over 1200m here two weeks ago and has a great second-up record; winning at this point of his prep last time in. He’ll enjoy the slight increase in trip and he could enjoy the run of the race from barrier 5.