NOTE: RACES are assessed for a Good 3. All horses considered starters unless notified by Thursday at 1 PM. (N/R) denotes no rating.
MATTHEW Dunn went within a nose of claiming an 11th TAB Highway when 3. LIFESAVER (63) was narrowly beaten past the post and in the steward’s room by plunge horse Another Sin in an 1100m re - newal here two weeks back. We know the winner is highly regarded given that he steps straight into today’s San Domenico. As for Lifesaver, he’d won his only two runs before coming to Sydney. Should get a lovely and prominent run from the alley. 7.
MOSSMAN GORGE (61) is trained by Matthew Dale who has won his connections nine Highways. Moss - man Gorge was 3rd to Gunnison in the Lightning Ridge there at home in Canberra, then ran last and was spelled after his Black Opal tilt. Re - sumed with an all the way dominant win in a Kembla 1000m C1 on Aug. 10; can you believe he started $5? True. 1. NIC’S VENDETTA (71) has raced in eight Highways winning one and placing three times. Found the 1500m beyond him l ast start; freshened back in trip.
TOMORROW i s the fifth time I have had 8. MARIQUITA (66) on top and maybe the last time too. Not that for a moment has she been running badly, far from it, but so much has to go her way — well two things, tempo and clear running. Interesting look at the beaten margins and see how they are diminishing in size; 3.3-lens, 2.8-lens, 1.5-lens last time 0.6-lens. At the same time her distances are i ncreasing (all bar one); 1200m, 1350m, 1200m 1400m and 1500m tomorrow. Down in class, up in distance equals tick , tick , boom! 6. ELOUERA (68) shares Mariquita’s racing pattern. The Nowra mare ran a huge race at $101 when 0.7-lens third to Philosophy and 1. AWOKE (74) here on Jul. 29 but plenty of punters (me included) let her get under the guard when she backed it up with a win over some handy types at $31 two weeks later here/1400m. We’re not going to get 100’s or 30s or anything like that but it’s not like she’ll be 6/4 either. Outside of the two backmarkers, I am interested to see how the Godolphin mare 2. CHATUCHAK (74) goes at the 1500m. She’s a good honest mare, drawn 2 and is peaking.
WOW, what a fantastic race this is. Have you ever seen a better Bm78?! Kris Lees has taken over a good number of the Gooree horses now that James Cummings has gone to Godolphin. One of those is 4.
SKYLIGHT GLOW (80) who was a pretty high class filly from her 3YO days. As well as running third on this day last year in the Ming Dynasty, Skylight Glow was also 0.3lens runner-up to Foxplay i n the Tea Rose and a distant third in Flight. Skylight Glows returns here off two smashing trials (man they were good!) but you’d have to be a bit worried by the 11/11 barrier. Bowman rides at least. 11. MARSUPIAL (68) is a 3YO taking on the older horses but well up to task . As a matter of fact, this son of Street Cry and Koala (hence the name) was 0.2lens behind Spieth in a deep 800m heat at Randwick on Aug. 14 and that was straight after he won a WF so James Cummings has the colt in great order. Every other horse is a chance, truly, and while I am 3. TANGO RAIN (77) then 10. LADY JIVAGO (73) in tip order, would seriously advise including 5. PUMPKIN PIE (79) and longshot 9. FLY FORWARD (70) in the exotics.
2. VAUCLUSE BAY (77) was $1.85 into $1.75 here on Aug. 12 and beaten 21-lens; he was found to be suffering the effects of cardiac arrhythmia and ordered to trial which he did at Randwick on Monday morning he went around no problems. We have to ignore the last run and go on the fact that he won his previous two, both here at home, one of them against Arbeitsam. In
second win of the sequence, Vaucluse Bay had 4-lens to spare over 11. MORE THAN FABULOUS (68) who is a game competitor in anything and everything he contests. The downside is that is 3 from 40 now 0 from 23 on good tracks even though he placed 10 times on good. Form suggests he will need it wet and that’s not guaranteed. 3.
NOT A GYPSY (75) is third up now off a good run, great ride, last start t/d two weeks back in the race where Vaucluse Bay had those issues. Tough little race to get one’s head around.
IF 4. CENTRE PIVOT (94) is going to win another decent race in NSW, I reckon this will be it. I have been following the horse’s progress this whole campaign and actually tipped him in Civic first-up at $41. To cut a long story short, he is ‘9704’ in his four runs this campaign but I am adamant that he’s going better than that and when I spoke to his trainer Peter Robl by phone on Wednesday morning, I was so glad (and not at all surprised) that he confirmed my be - liefs. For more, see page 2. 2. CLAS
SIC UNIFORM (98) deserves to win this race after those back back seconds i n the Winter Challenge and Premier’s Cup Prelude beaten a nose in one and about 5-lens in the other. He is a red-hot on-pacer so barrier 2 big assist and he is as fit as hands can make him with four excellent runs into this. Has to be close now surely. 3. SINGING (95) is the i ntriguing runner. The Kris Lees trained French equine is 6s 2-2-0 first-up. One of those first-up runs was in last year’s P remier’s Cup when runner-up to his outstanding stablemate Sense Of Occasion.
I WASN’T Robinson Crusoe but I declared 9. MAHALANGUR (63) at Newcastle; he was $2.60 into $1.75 and I think the TAB bet $4 or some - thing Fixed? True. On breeding, on trainer (s) and on the trials, he was a $1.10 shot won accordingly. He was my Caulfield Guineas horse going into the race so of course he is best bet in the Ming Dynasty.
10. THY KINGDOM COME (63) is a 3YO that we will hear more about this preparation. He’s an oil painting, so much like his dad Lope de Vega. He’s got classic 1600m/2400m written all over him. He’s got a bit of class as well. The John Thompson trained colt has raced three times; Breeders’ Plate, Canonbury then Pago Pago. Forget all that — he’s a 3YO spring and autumn. For what it’s worth, I am betting Mahalangur (win), Thy Kingdom Come (exacta/ quinella) and had no firm opinion on ‘ bronze’ but I do have a healthy respect for the two Team Snowden horses 2. ASSIMILATE (71) and 3. HYPNOTIST (71).
SOUNDS like I am Robin Crusoe this time with my San Dom pick 4.
CHAUFFEUR (80), no one around me in the office here is buying my theory that he has done enough to win, he will be ready and he will run over the top of them. I know the general consensus is that wants more ground and he being aimed at Golden Rose, etc, but it’s not like he is going to be 15-lens off the lead and needs 400m get going. If he is within say 4-lens at the turn and in clear running, I am trusting his barnstorming finish (and The Gun) to do the rest. I reckon the $12 is great value myself. The tip around for 1.
PARIAH (84) is massive and I can see why, he’s a super colt but $2.80 him up against $16 the stablemate
2. TAKING AIM (82) is out of sync IMO. The depth of form re Pariah is beyond that Taking Aim, true, but he (Taking Aim) is just your good old fashioned tough and genuine Choisir colt. I love the way he goes about his business. I was all but ready to have
5. CONDOR HEROES (75) on top until he drew 9 of 10. He has mas - sive gate speed I know but it’s still wide. That said, it could all change dramatically if they scratch a few on race morning and the speed drops out and he comes in 3 horses.
HERE’S little bit of useless but fas - cinating trivia about my top pick 13. KNOW HOW (62) and that is that the combined age of his sire and damsire is, wait for it — 70! His dad, Desert King is alive and well aged 23 but his dam- sire is the deceased immortal Bletchingly who would be aged 47 now. To put into some perspective what a rare horse Know How i s, Bletchingly daughters de - livered 2158 named foals, only 22 of that number are still racing — Know How being one. Re his chances winning; he justneeds those breaks to go with him f or a change, he should have won 8 10 races not 4. The Tim Martin trained 12. MAP
MAKER (66) was given a 10/10 ride by Deanne Panya last start which enabled the horse to finish runnerup to i n-form Smart Missile. Panya hands up Corey Brown to - morrow who will likely give the horse the same sort of run from barrier 5. Have to respect the aforementioned
2. SPECIAL MISSILE (82) who is aiming for 5 straight tomorrow, you don’t see too many horses do that anywhere let alone in Sydney.
SPEAKING of unlucky, 3. SIR BACCHUS (89) hasn’t always enjoyed the best has he. The Waller trained grey probably isn’t all that well served drawing close to the rails and combine that with him some - times getting a little too far back , it’s hard to win under those circumstances. Sir Bacchus has 4 alley to - morrow — I am banking on Bowman to get the job done. I am actually quite keen to tell the truth bearing in mind that Sir Bacchus is 6s 3-1-0 at Rosehill and 9s 5w over the trip.
2. SUPREME EFFORT (90) always trials well before he races but even for him, those last two at Gosford and Newcatsle were terrific and super encouraging to go to the races with. The Kim Waugh trained son of Shaft is 6s 2-2-0 fresh, he loves this trip and tries every time steps out on to the track . 6. MOGADOR (83) is always thereabouts, make that usually but just can’t crack it for a third win. Not he’s not good enough to win races — he was massive in the Ramornie, but just isn’t converting.