Head to Head

A de­tailed pre­view of Satur­day’s fea­ture Group 1 with Shayne O’Cass and Ray Hickson

The Sportsman Weekend - - News -


SO: Last back to back Good­wood win­ner was Mus­kett Belle in 1911/12. Doesn’t mean any­thing to Black Heart Bart’s chance I know but just say­ing. The horse has won Group 1’s at his last two, he’s freshup here to con­cen­trate on his ti­tle de­fence and is a damn fine chance to do it. That draw was a big help bar­ring bad luck in the straight.

RH: It was 100 years since horse won the New­mar­ket first-up un­til a cou­ple of months ago so his­tory can be bro­ken. And Bart is im­pos­si­ble to knock. Aside from the Cox Plate he’s run first or sec­ond ev­ery time since he came Perth. Just re­mark­able. I think we agree he’s clearly the best horse in the race, the ob­vi­ous to beat and en­ti­tled to be favourite.


SO: This guy beat Black Heart Bart in the Aus­tralia Stakes as you well know Hickson and he beat him by 2-lens. Ad­mit­tedly, that was when Mala­guerra was first-up and that’s he is at his most deadly. Had the time off since the TJ on April 1 where beat half of them home.

RH: There is dead set two of Mala­guerra. He was al­ways go­ing to be too nippy for BHB com­ing off a Cox Plate prep but it’s a dif­fer­ent sce­nario here. Bart tow­elled him up the next time they met. The ques­tion comes down to this – do you trust Mala­guerra pro­duce his best. If you do, he’s a su­per chance. don’t, easy to lay. I fall slightly to­wards the lat­ter.


SO: I know he ran sec­ond in the Oak­leigh Plate dur­ing this prepa­ra­tion but the McKay was a re­turn to form for this horse and brought him back into Good­wood con­tention. He is 3s 2w at the t/d was 5th in the 2016 at his only un­placed run.

RH: I re­mem­ber declar­ing him ba­si­cally a moral the start be­fore the Oak­leigh Plate and he was

first horse beaten. Then turns it all around. flops a cou­ple more times, then he runs

re­spectable race in the McKay as noted. Not re­li­able enough for me to get keen.


SO: I would have given him a sneaky chance un­til he drew the 21 gate. He’ll come in one or two horses on race day but it’s still a very awk­ward draw for a horse with on­pace ten­den­cies.

RH: It is go­ing to take a spe­cial ef­fort for him win this. Do they com­mit to try­ing off­set it by go­ing for­ward? Does he have the pace at 1200m to do that in open com­pany given his supreme per­for­mances have been at 1400m and a mile? Do they rein­vent him as a back­marker? Too many ques­tions. Has the abil­ity to win but faces some mas­sive hur­dles.


SO: He is a Wylie win­ner and ran a great race in the Ir­win but, in re­al­ity, they are rung or two below the Good­wood and cer­tainly when a horse like Black Heart Bart is in­volved. Lit­tle bit of trivia, this guy is by I Am In­vin­ci­ble who had Takeover Tar­get wor­ried un­til late in that fa­mous 2008 Good­wood.

RH: I have to say he was the best of good things beaten in Ir­win. He went around out­side fence, vir­tu­ally, and still fin­ished a length from the win­ner. That said it’s go­ing to take a mas­sive per­for­mance for him to get back, or even sit wide mid­field, and run them down with twice the op­po­si­tion as last time. Not to men­tion a lot more depth.


SO: Well, she just keeps win­ning Hickson! I didn’t give her any chance in the Sap­phire and even less Sang­ster only be­cause I liked some oth­ers in both races at the time. What do they say about in form mares? The gate was a big as­sist.

RH: I re­call say­ing she could be com­pet­i­tive in the Sang­ster with a bit of luck and they cer­tainly took luck out of mix by go­ing to the front im­prov­ing her po­si­tion. She could con­ceiv­ably land on lead again and take run­ning down. No knock.


SO: These two WA horses, past and present, namely Vega Magic

First Among Equals in­ter­est me enor­mously but I can’t quite line them up against each other. We spoke about that very thing on Wed­nes­day morn­ing so I will hand over to you for the judg­ment.

RH: I have a strong opin­ion about Vega Magic. If he’s rid­den to use his speed by ei­ther lead­ing or sit­ting on the pace then he is a gen­uine win­ning chance. His abil­ity to roll is his as­set. We watched his first-up run from last prep, which (with due re­spect) was a ma­jor case of pi­lot er­ror so that can be over­looked. His two jump outs since join­ing Lind­say Park have been sound and he cer­tainly is good enough to win.


SO: Weir is an ab­so­lute ma­gi­cian and I never say never about any­thing he sad­dles up but I’d be a bit sur­prised if he could get Rageese over the line. I mean he’s no Black Heart Bart.

RH: Far too enig­matic for my lik­ing and beaten six lengths by Mal­ibu Style, an­other WA horse, last time. Now as handy as Mal­ibu Style is, tak­ing on Vega Magic is a cou­ple of steps up let alone con­sid­er­ing Bart. Can’t win.


SO: There’s a few good, tough SA lo­cals hop­ing to fend off the in­ter­state challengers, and this fel­low is one. What a horse, he’s com­mem­o­rated his 50th start with a Group 3 in the McKay – amaz­ing. That draw – ouch!

RH: Seems like he’s been around for­ever and you could ar­gue he is in ca­reer best form. He did over­come the out­side to win last time but he’s go­ing need all the favours at this level. This is his third shot the Good­wood – fourth in 2013 and sixth in 2014 so he prob­a­bly won’t dis­grace him­self.


SO: Holy smokes he was good at Wagga in the Town Plate. Granted that was a Wagga Plate and this is Group 1 Good­wood but me­thinks they’ll run this race pre­cisely like that, pres­sure up front, swoop­ers may reign. He’s a player.

RH: As a for­mer big fan of this horse I don’t like rul­ing him out. But as you rightly said, this is a Group 1 not an open class coun­try sprint. Granted it was a big ef­fort with 61kg and he strong on the line but his form prior sug­gests he’s not ca­pa­ble of win­ning this.


SO: We’ve kind of hope­fully got a bet­ter grip on this horse and his some­time neme­sis Vega Magic by now. Me? I am still up in the air with what to do with them. The bar­rier hasn’t helped this fel­low but Luke Nolen does (help that is).

RH: Nice horse and ca­pa­ble of com­ing from off the speed, so the bar­rier isn’t overly im­por­tant to him. Ran down a horse called Ma- dassa in the Northam Stakes firstup and that horse hadn’t raced for two years. He’s fin­ished be­hind Vega Magic in three of their four meet­ings but if he re­peats the ef­fort from the time did beat him, the Win­ter­bot­tom, could be a sneaky each-way chance.


SO: One of my favourite horses! He crashed through the $1m mark last start, at start 51 I might add, when he won MP. He’s won back to back Listed races and re­mem­ber, I tipped him on top in the 2014 Good­wood and he ran 3rd at $41 or some­thing like that. He should go in all triffys.

RH: To be blunt, he can’t win this race but you can just seen him stick­ing on from bar­rier one and run­ning third or some­thing like that. Just like he did in 2014. Fly­ing and he will run to his best. If that’s good enough cause an up­set then luck him.


SO: I liked him the McKay, plenty of oth­ers did too. He ran pretty well, only a length from Karacatis at the fin­ish. Any chance he had of win­ning though I think dis­ap­peared when he drew 20. That’s made it harder than it needed it to be.

RH: Agree, and his only chance is if he’s rid­den like he was at Morn­ing­ton two starts back and press for­ward to get up out­side the leader. I sus­pect he might be at end of his prepa­ra­tion but with a bit luck you could see him run­ning a place.


SO: Mount Gam­bier gal­loper who has won half of his 14 ca­reer wins here at Mor­phettville. He’s also seven the trip. He beat Karlovasi and Riziz in Ma­trice first-up but hasn’t re­ally been ul­tra com­pet­i­tive in three runs since.

RH: He’s a solid Listed class sprinter who you’d as­sume will get his chance in the run from a nice gate. But it’d be a Vi­enna Miss-like up­set (re­mem­ber her last week) if he won.


SO: To quote you ‘you’re a sucker for Kaeper­nick’. Con­cur Hickson, I was also a sucker for Old North and look how that turned out! You know what you get with Kaeper­nick. We’ve seen plenty of him. He’ll be back with the last few, he’ll come to the out­side and he’ll ei­ther win by a nose, or run 8th beaten 1 1-2/-lens.

RH: I don’t think I need to say a lot in re­ply there Shayno. We all know Kaeper­nick’s abil­ity and con­vic­tions. He’ll need all the breaks to win this in my view.


SO: Re­mem­ber I was talk­ing about I Am In­vin­ci­ble and Takevoer Tar­get in the Good­wood be­fore? I In­vin­ci­ble was trained at the time by Peter Mor­gan who sad­dle­sup this lightly-raced 5YO son of All Amer­i­can, I can’t find a spot for him. Can you?

RH: This horse is prime ex­am­ple of how tough the racing game can be. He has all abil­ity in the world but lost two years through in­juries. His ef­fort first-up at Caulfield was out­stand­ing and he has a very sharp turn of foot. While I’d love this to be 1400m for him win would not sur­prise me at all. In ad­di­tion Mor­gan go­ing close as a trainer, he should have a Good­wood as jockey to his name but in 1967 was un­able make the weight by a pound on even­tual win­ner Pi­cargo only to have the win­ning jockey weigh in a pound over­weight. Talk about bad luck!


SO: Seems like he’s been racing for ever and ever but he’s only a 4YO! He’s had 24 runs in that time, he must be a sound horse loves be­ing in the sta­ble. He’s got great num­bers and he did beat Vid­dora in the Manihi two runs back.

RH: Handy enough horse and comes through that bunched fin­ish in the McKay. I can only see him be­ing trapped off the track here and that will make it very hard.


SO: I saw on Ron ‘Duff ’ Duf­ficy’s Twit­ter ac­count that he was all over this filly in the Eu­clase. She was $13 into $10 and won so cheers to the Duff. All credit to the filly, she’s ob­vi­ously come back well but a three-year-old filly at Group 1 SWP? Hard to do.

RH: Yeah I have to agree, this is a big step up for her. If you treat this like the Sang­ster, can she beat Se­cret Agenda and Vid­dora? If the an­swer is no then she’s not a win­ning chance here ei­ther.


SO: If there was a filly that could win a Good­wood though, it would be Missrock. If you like Se­cret Agenda then have to have at least a sec­ond look at Missrock who was 2nd to her over here in the Sap­phire then 4th in the Sang­ster. I ex­pect run a race with light­weight.

RH: She does keep punch­ing above her weight and on that form line you’d have to give her a place chance.


SO: He’s got some record - 12s 6-0-2 and was/is re­ally pro­gres­sive. Big run fresh in the VOBIS Sprint the key fac­tor gere is 2s 2w sec­ond-up. He’s got to take an­other quan­tum l eap here t o win a G1 Good­wood but it’s not im­pos­si­ble.

RH: I reckon he’s a real smoky in the race. He has big fin­ish on him when he’s in form and his first-up run, and sub­se­quent (race-like) bar­rier trial were both ex­cel­lent. I know there are bet­ter per­formed horses at stakes level but he’s been set for the race and he’s the best at each-way odds for mine.

Se­cret Agenda

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