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A de­tailed pre­view of Satur­day’s fea­ture Group 1 with Greg Splet­ter and Ray Hickson

The Sportsman Weekend - - News -

1. KENEDNA

GS: Thank the Gods this is hap­pen­ing at Doomben where we can bet up with some con­fi­dence, and while I reckon there’s a good thing in this race I have to give Kenedna some hope of knock­ing me off. It’s all changed for her since she turned three and has now won three of her last four in­clud­ing a tidy vic­tory in the Roses here two weeks ago. This is only an ex­tra fur­long but I’ve felt at her last starts that she was out of puff at the end of 2000m, and look­ing her breed­ing this is as far as she wants to go. Lucky for ev­ery­body that the meet­ing has been trans­ferred and race short­ened but even more so for this filly who would have needed a lift home at the 200m. No doubt she is the big­gest dan­ger but is far too close to favourite in bet­ting at $4.40.

RH: I must ad­mit I thought she was the good thing the Sch­weppes Oaks and she was beaten fair and square. She has ben­e­fit of a spin around Doomben and she got the job done, pos­si­bly not lov­ing

heavy con­di­tions on the day. I share your con­cerns about ex­tra dis­tance but at same time the Ade­laide form looks to be the right form. And what about John Allen? Wins Group 1s, fea­ture hur­dle races, he can do any­thing. Has to be in the top three.

2. EGG TART

GS: This is my good thing for the day, I think she is quite spe­cial and will make it six in a row here. She was sim­ply out­stand­ing in the Oaks at Mor­phettville where she gave them a big start and was held up vi­tal stage half­way up the straight. What im­pressed me most was her pick-up when she got clear from the sec­ond gear

in to hit­ting af­ter­burn­ers to run down Kenedna on the line. She was off bal­ance and back­foot, and it’s not of­ten you see a horse go up to top gear so quickly off al­most a stand­ing start. She did the same thing at Flem­ing­ton, al­beit against weaker op­po­si­tion,

run prior where they beat the third horse by 10 lengths. Su­per keen and she’s a $2.10-$2.20 pop for mine. She’s $26 in the Caulfield Cup, I’d win this and put her away an Ethe­real-like run at that.

RH: Let’s worry about Caulfield Cups in a few months time but if you’re that keen and she wins this race she may shorten a bit come Sun­day. It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to fault her and the fact this is 2200m around a rel­a­tively good Doomben and not hard slog 2400m on Ea­gle Farm beach is right in her favour. She should have won by prob­a­bly a length in Ade­laide and while I’m not quite as bullish as you she’s def­i­nitely the filly to beat.

3. DAWN WALL

GS: I took her on last start and to be fair it was a nice win, but it was against much weaker grade than this. The draw doesn’t help her ei­ther, but at least with­out a whole lot of speed en­gaged she might be able to push for­ward and take up a spot in the first three with­out spend­ing too much. No prizes for lay­ing a $7.50 pop but she is a place hope here at the top level.

RH: A stop-start prepa­ra­tion isn’t ideal go­ing into any race let alone a Group 1. But we shouldn’t for­get she started $4.40 in the Vin­ery at the Sydney Car­ni­val and was one of ATC Oaks favourites so she has some qual­ity Hugh Bow­man’s been knock­ing over Group 1s ev­ery­where this sea­son. She’s aided by the dis­tance change but it’s go­ing to take a gun ride. Each­way if you like her.

4. ANA ROYALE

GS: She’ll fur­nish into a nice stayer as well next sea­son. Scored very easy con­so­la­tion prize over the longer trip last start af­ter run­ning on nicely be­hind Egg Tart in Oaks. This is her ninth run since the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary and you’d have to won­der how much she has left in the cup­board, but her two most re­cent runs have been best so she might a Group 1 plac­ing in her yet. Strong place claims, but I can’t see her beat­ing my top pick.

RH: I dis­agree a lit­tle, I think she’s a big­ger dan­ger than Kenedna but would have wanted it to be 2400m to re­ally make me think about it. She was only beaten half a length Egg Tart and was clos­ing in fast. The fact she smashed an al­beit weaker bunch at her next start says it wasn’t any fluke. What I do agree with is that she could be one of the big im­provers into the spring and I’d be aim­ing at that 2000m mares race at Flem­ing­ton in Cup week.

5. INVINCIBELLA

GS: Now we get into a whole bunch that have ei­ther fin­ished close-up be­hind Kenedna or are just mak­ing up the num­bers, it’s been a while since I’ve seen so few gen­uine chances in a Group 1 race of this size. This filly plugged away in the Roses last time af­ter plug­ging away be­hind Dawn Wall at

Gold Coast and there’s noth­ing that piques my in­ter­est. Maybe if it was run on the heavy track across the road, but not in this.

RH: Chris Waller has seven run­ners in this Oaks and while I’d happily cross out at least a cou­ple of them this filly isn’t one of them. That said I don’t think she can win. So far through­out her ca­reer she’s been a length or two be­hind be­ing gen­uine Group horse but with the right run I could see her sneak­ing into a place. Fin­ish­ing a cou­ple of lengths from Kenedna and Dawn Wall isn’t ter­ri­ble form.

6. OK­LA­HOMA GIRL

GS: Even form up un­til the fast fin­ish­ing ef­fort in the Roses here last start where she flashed home only to go down nar­rowly to Kenedna. Copped a nudge in the shad­ows of the post but it didn’t af­fect the re­sult, and I think she may have been flat­tered by the state of

track as her best form has been in heavy go­ing. In a lin­ear sense she is prob­a­bly en­ti­tled to be $9.00 against Kenedna’s $4.40 given the mar­gin last time, but even if she gets past her to­mor­row she’ll still be star­ing at the rump of Egg Tart.

RH: She’s been touted as a Queens­land Oaks chance for while in Sydney and I thought she did no harm to those claims last start, giv­ing Kenedna that fright. Ob­vi­ously Egg Tart has sur­passed her in the last month or so. We know she’s tough, I think she’ll stay but whether she has the class that the favourite seems to pos­sess I have my doubts. She’s an­other of

each-way chances.

7. PER­ILOUS LOVE

GS: An­other filly who ran home well be­hind Kenedna in the Roses, but she got lapped by Dawn Wall the run prior when race was

to suit. She’s hav­ing her 12th start for the cam­paign to­mor­row and al­ready has some black type. On the same line as Invincibella and, to that ex­tent, I’d pre­fer to be on this one but she’s only the rough­est of place hopes.

RH: There re­ally isn’t a lot in her form to say to me that she can pick up two lengths on Kenedna and Ok­la­homa Girl, let alone down any­thing else high up in the mar­ket. If this were a tough 2400m at the Farm maybe she’d be a hope but it’s not and she isn’t one.

8. CROSS STITCH

GS: If noth­ing else she would need it to be soft un­der­foot to show her best but even that wouldn’t be enough. She’ll prob­a­bly lead, un­less one of the bolters wants to throw cau­tion to wind, but she’ll get swamped when they get se­ri­ous on straight­en­ing.

RH: When you own a nicely bred filly that shows some stay­ing abil­ity and we creep into June you never be­grudge an owner a throw at the stumps in Oaks like this. But that’s all it is.

9. PYGMY

GS: We should al­ways be re­spect­ful of the royal blue in this type of race with a lightly-raced up and com­ing filly. She has put two back to back now in much eas­ier grade but has ap­pre­ci­ated the firm sur­face and while I can’t en­ter­tain her as a win­ning hope she’d def­i­nitely be in my stand­out tri­fecta be­hind Egg Tart.

RH: She’s a filly in ca­reer best form and has cou­ple of wins against older horses to her name

those are big pluses, even if there’s a class ques­tion mark. The big mi­nus is the bar­rier so Tommy Berry will have to weave some magic there. I wouldn’t say no to her filling a plac­ing ei­ther.

10. ISN’T SHE EL­E­GANT

GS: Hav­ing been beaten eight lengths by Daz­zle Em Sid and six

Dreams Aplenty amid a cou­ple of low level vic­to­ries she is very eas­ily pegged. The $101 is

bit cruel, but I can’t man­age a place for her.

RH: I guess she’s a lit­tle bit like Pygmy, tow­elled up older horses last start but has been rac­ing C graders at three-year-old level. No real case from me for her.

11. SHARP SPEEDO

GS: Con­sis­tent filly who is out of her depth to­mor­row.

RH: An­other hav­ing a throw at the stumps and in her favour is the fact she’s hon­est and rac­ing well. But out­classed.

12. BLANCO CARA

GS: She’s a half sis­ter to Aus­tralian Derby win­ner Tav­ago and while her two vic­to­ries have been very low level at New­cas­tle they were both strong, and in be­tween them she ran on okay the Bracelet at the Gold Coast. Place hope at best, I’d throw her in that tri­fecta.

RH: I think she’s one filly that was des­per­ate for it to be 2400m across the road. I have agree that on her Bracelet run she’s a tri­fecta player and if I hap­pen to take a quaddie I might just throw her in for no other rea­son than Ja­son Col­lett seems to make a habit of knock­ing me out of them.

13. SHENAN­DOAH

GS: Not a bad run on the heavy track last start in Roses but beaten eas­ily at Flem­ing­ton. If they were run­ning a su­per­fecta on this she might get spot, but pass­ing oth­er­wise.

RH: Ah the old su­per­fecta. To be hon­est I don’t miss it. I thought she had her chance last time and while she was close up a win by her would be in the big up­set cat­e­gory.

14. BAYSA

GS: One of Chris Waller’s seven run­ners in the race but it’s about six more than he needs. Bet­ter placed mid­week and out of town.

RH: I’ve said it a cou­ple times, hav­ing a crack at the end the three-year-old sea­son. She did start hard in mar­ket in Adrian Knox April but didn’t han­dle the heavy. I could see her filling a mi­nor place she’s about fourth string Waller for me.

15. MIA ROSA

GS: Af­ter sort­ing through all that filler ma­te­rial we fi­nally get to one that has half a hope of caus­ing an up­set. Very lightly raced and she’s only had two starts this prep, most un­usual for an Oaks prep but they’ll be happy the race has been short­ened. Nice win in the maiden at Rand­wick com­ing from back, then again ran on Roses and wasn’t all that far Kenedna on the line. Never seen a dry track be­fore and if im­proves her – and if I’m wrong about Egg Tart then she might knock them all out at $34. I’d save on her.

RH: Def­i­nite knock­out ma­te­rial. I wouldn’t be too wor­ried about the prepa­ra­tion, Mike Moroney cer­tainly knows how to han­dle three-year-old stay­ers and stay­ers in gen­eral. The ques­tion, as you rightly note, is whether she’s a wet tracker and what we’ve seen is around the best she’s got or if she could im­prove on top of the ground. If that sort of silly price re­mains she’s worth a speck.

16. KIRINI

GS: No hope, ap­pro­pri­ately priced. RH: I thought she would have won a race by now this prep af­ter nice first-up run but she’s been rel­a­tively safely held. We’re talk­ing a Pablo’s Pulse or Dandy Andy up­set if she wins.

Kenedna (left) beat­ing Ok­la­homa Girl in the Doomben Roses

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