In Her Time looks primed for Sydney
The focus Saturday at Royal Randwick falls squarely on the Everest, but the 10-race card includes nine other stakes, among them three worth $388,700 each.
Headlining the undercard is the Sydney Stakes, which, at six furlongs, is something of a consolation prize for sprinters not quite up to Everest snuff. Directly preceding the Everest as race 7, the Sydney has a full field of 14 entrants plus four alsoeligibles, but even in that bulky group In Her Time appears to stand out.
In Her Time, a 5-year-old mare, rose from the handicap ranks to become a Group 1-level sprinter during her 4-year-old campaign, and her lone start at age 5 produced a decisive course-and-distance win in the Premiere Stakes last month. Second in that race was English, who is less than 10-1 to win the Everest. With an alert break from a decent post in the Sydney, In Her Time will take plenty of beating.
Impending defeated In Her Time in the Group 1 Stradbroke last June at Doomben but has a poor draw on the far outside for the Sydney. Better positioned in the gate is Takedown, who was fourth behind In Her Time in the Premiere but has past form to improve on that performance.
Happy Clapper is the deserving favorite for the Group 3 Craven Plate over 1 1/4 miles, though the connections of 12 horses are willing to take him on. Happy Clapper, the mount of Blake Shinn, has had the misfortune of running against the great Winx in five of his last 15 starts, and two races ago, in the Group 1 Colgate Optic White Stakes over one mile at Randwick, he finished second to her, beaten a respectable 1 1/4 lengths. On Sept. 30, Happy Clapper beat nine foes in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap, but that was another one-mile race, and if Happy Clapper’s backers have a concern, it’s his ability to comfortably stay another quarter-mile. Sense of Occasion looks like the one who could score an upset.
Long-distance Aussie racehorses don’t abound, but 11 of them are entered in the listed St. Leger over 1 5/8 miles, race 6 on the program. Big Duke is the morning-line favorite, and while his best races last year came on heavy ground, he exits a secondplace Group 1 finish over good going at Randwick. Big Duke’s first two races this season were at one mile, his third at 1 1/4 miles, and Big Duke appears to need at least 1 1/2 miles for his best. Auvray, a longer price, won a 1 1/2-mile Group 3 at Rosehill in his most recent start and enters this race in the best form of his career.