The COVID crisis in Sydney has seen 2021 San Domenico Stakes Day moved to Kembla Grange and ten races will be contested on Saturday.
The has been plenty of inclement weather in the area this week and at publish, the track is rated in the Heavy (10) range, while the rail will be set out 4 metres 1100m-W/P and 2 metres the remainder.
Race 1 – 11:30AM – Highway Class 2 Handicap, (1400m)
Arnaqueur faces a rise in class, but he harbours plenty of upside and can win again.
The Jean Dubois-trained colt showed ability during his debut prep, winning on debut and finishing midfield in both the Fernhill Handicap and the Champagne Stakes.
He saluted again here at Kembla when resuming and will take plenty of improvement into this race.
Race 2 – 12:05PM – Midway Handicap, (1300m)
Royalzel is chasing a hat-trick of wins when he steps out this weekend and looks well placed to pull it off.
The Snitzel colt has made just five appearances at the races since debuting in May, but he has hit the ground running, winning on three occasions.
I like that he has trialled since his most recent appearance and win at Listed level, and he’ll obviously relish the drop in class.
Race 3 – 12:40pm – Peltzer Special Achievement Handicap, (1500m)
Pensato has improved for two starts back from a spell and can return to winning form on San Domenico Stakes Day.
The Godolphin-trained mare needed the run when she finished at the tail of the field at Randwick when fresh, but I thought that there was a lot to like about her last start effort for fourth in a similar race here a fortnight ago.
With further improvement, from the good draw and with a light weight in tow, this looks a beautiful race for her.
Race 4 – 1:15pm – NSWROA Trophy, (2000m)
I’m going to give Great House one last chance at Kembla Grange on Saturday, getting back out to the 2000m.
He’s proven to be a bit frustrating for punters this prep – he almost always races well, but has won just once in four starts back.
He was briefly freshened and dropped back in trip at Randwick last time, but I think that race will have brought him right back on, and he’ll get some relief in the weights on Saturday under Brock Ryan.
Race 5 – 1:50pm – Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality, (1500m)
This is a strong edition of the Ming Dynasty Quality, but I thought that it looked a really nice race for Subterranean.
He has clearly been the most talented of fresh sire Rebel Dane’s crop so far, and Subterranean enjoyed a quality two-year-old campaign that was highlighted by a win at Group 3 level in Queensland, and a credible fifth placing in the Group 1 JJ Atkins.
He raced home well to finish fourth, beaten less than two lengths by Tiger Of Malay in the Up And Coming Stakes here when resuming a fortnight ago, and I’m confident he’ll take big improvement into this.
Race 6 – 2:30pm – Group 3 San Domenico Stakes, (1100m)
The Golden Slipper winner Stay Inside has been confirmed to make her return in the San Domenico Stakes, but I simply cannot see past the second-up Paulele in this race.
Paulele hinted at talent during his two-year-old campaign and ended his season with a win in the Kindergarten Stakes, but he returned with an utterly bullish display in The Rosebud three weeks ago, and he should only improve second-up.
James McDonald rides from a good draw and the query is obviously the softer track, but I think his obvious class might carry him a long way towards winning regardless.
Race 7 – 3:10pm – Group 3 Premier’s Cup, (2000m)
An open field will contest this year’s Premier’s Cup and I think there’s some serious value to be taken here.
British import Youn Rascal went AWOL during his first full Australian preparation, but I thought his resuming effort (and first for Richard & Michael Freedman) was decent, and he’s going around at a serious price in this race ($34 at publish).
The Intello gelding announced himself to the Australian racing community when arriving under the care of William Haggas during the 2020 autumn, winning the NE Manion Cup and starting favourite in a Sydney Cup, though finishing seventh.
He didn’t fire a shot for Archie Alexander, but I think he’ll take plenty of improvement from his fifth placing in the Prelude to this race, and he loves a wet track.
Race 8 – 3:50pm – Ranvet Handicap, (1200m)
This is another open race with several winning chances, including Zakat.
Zakat simply doesn’t know how to run poorly, and he has made races like this one his bread and butter, knocking off plenty of above-average gallopers along the way.
He returned a competitive effort to fill the minors in a similar race here two weeks ago and he has a very impressive second-up record.
The $15 we are getting at publish looks to be well and truly over the odds.
Race 9 – 4:30pm – ATC’s Most Winning Owner Godolphin Handicap, (1000m)
The talented Andermatt will resume in the penultimate race on San Domenico Stakes Day and looks beautifully placed to strike.
Andermatt has been a great horse for Godolphin since making his debut and he is yet to taste anything but success at this point of his preparation.
James McDonald could have ridden about six horses in this field and has chosen to partner Andermatt, and I am more than happy to follow that decision.
Race 10 – 5:10pm – ATC Thank You Owners Handicap, (1500m)
Kingsheir was an impressive winner when resuming and looms as the runner to beat again in the last on San Domenico Stakes Day.
The Kingman gelding has been a consistent performer during his lightly-raced career and Team Hawkes have been patient with him.
There’s little doubt that his fresh effort this time was the best of his career so far, and he looks to be in for a very nice preparation.