Almanzora set to score
NOTE: RACES are assessed for a Good 4. All horses considered starters unless notified by Monday at 1 PM. (N/R) denotes no rating.
1. I’M A LEGEND (N/R) is absolutely on his last chance here. The son of Nicconi has placed at 5 of his 6 runs which for some, may be acceptable, but bear in mind that he has started; $3.20, $10 into $8.50, $4, $2.40 and $2.30 and lost everyone. That’s 50 per cent ‘beaten favourite’. He won a trial at Randwick over 1045m on Jul 13 but was ridden out to get passed ‘stayer’ Maria Victoria (see Race 2). On top here by default. 2. BE MINDFUL (N/R) is a very handsome son of Pierro part-owned by Bob Lappointe and trained
Chris Waller. This fellow is 3s 0-2-0 and was 4th at the other one, the debut here over 1250m on a Heavy 8. Be Mindful certainly hasn’t done much wrong but you wouldn’t want to be backing him, or the toppie, for sheep stations here. Neither has been exactly what you would call ‘savaging the line’ to this point. 3. MY KING’S COUNSEL (N/R) was 4th to Gayatri and Be Mindful at Newcastle on Jun 23 – about 0.8-lens behind Be Mindful. This Nick Moraitisbred gelding trialled reasonably well over 1200m on Jul 6.
I WAS quite keen on 4. SAFE LANDING (N/R) when he debuted at WF Jul 11 and was a bit surprised he opened at $11 much less drifted to $14 by virtue on the fact that has trialled well back in Feb but more to the point had Hugh Bowman riding. Bowman gave him all favours from gate 2, the son of Magic Albert just couldn’t reel in Taygeta thus clocking-in 1.8-kens 2nd. Safe Landing was scratched from two races at his home track at Goulburn on Monday and that doesn’t shock me because when I saw the noms for this, I was certain that Kurt Goldman would chose this – nothing to fear here. The aforementioned 7. MARIA VICTORIA (N/R) is a daughter of Medaglia D’oro out of Queensland Oaks winner, Zagalia (by Zabeel). The John Sargenttrained filly has placed at 5 of her 8 runs, three of them the 2100m to end her last campaign. Granted she will get up over that kind of trip again but as I alluded to in the opening race preview, she was pretty good in her Jul 13 at Randwick which followed 2nd to Chautauqua’s half sister Mulberry Walk in a Hawkesbury heat on jun 26. 1. COLTRANE (N/R) is a Denise Martin/Chris Waller gelding by Nicconi out of a Pentire mare. The horse opened his second campaign on a very encouraging note when closing 3rd to speed machine Cosimo in an 1100m maiden at Wyong on Jul 14. Looks open to improvement.
CANNOT wait to see the most interesting horse racing all day (IMO) namely 4. ENGLAND (N/R) who you can read about in our Sydney Trial Column on page 94. Now that he drew barrier 4, I had to mark England’s prospects ‘up’ and obviously delighted to have Kerrin McEvoy on top. I reckon he might turn out to be a pretty good horse this one but he has certainly found himself in very deep race to debut in. How can one find fault with the respective debuts of 2. DANAWI (N/R) and 3. SNEAKING TO WIN
(N/R). The latter deadset should have won here on Jul 4, he didn’t, but was still the run of the race, nay day. And as for Danawi – the son of Epsom winner Secret Admirer – faced the breeze in a very, very fast run 1200m at Randwick on Anzac Day beaten only by the potential best 3YO in Australia next season – The Autumn Sun. I reckon we might see a real eyecatcher here from the Godolphin colt 6. CLOAK (N/R) whom I peg as a sort of Spring Stakes, Spring Champion even VRC Derby horse in the spring. This is too strong (I think) for him just to zoom home over top of but I suspect he’ll be zooming none the less. Ditto that last bit for 1. EXCELTIC (N/R). Crikey, this is a deep race. Whoever wins is good horse, if it’s England – he’s real good horse!
2. IMANUI (73) is going well again this preparation and looks ready and able to strike a blow now third-up. The Ron Quintontrained 5YO came from 15th of 15 first-up to finish 3.7-lens away from Manolo Blahniq and co in a 1300m race at Randwick on Jun 16. Imanui was 1.8-lens 4 of 7 here after that over 1550m with 60.5kgs on his back. It was a very honest effort from a very honest horse. It’s time now for Imanui to step out to 1900m. was 0.2-lens over 1800m at Rosehill last campaign then 2.6-lens behind Alward and Up ‘N’ Rolling in a decent Bm82 over 2000m there three weeks later so you have to say he is effective at the trip, or at very least, will run it in this company – surely. 6. FANTASTIC MAN (69) was quite pleasing first-up despite what the 9 of 12 might indicate in that Newcastle maiden. The John Thompsontrained Redoute’s Choice son came to WF 18-days later and ran a positive 0.6-lens 3rd over the mile. Has won here but unplaced all three at or around 1900m but ‘Failed to Finish’ in one of them. Blake Shinn sticks from the Farm run. The Chris Waller pair of 4. RAQEEQ (72) and 8. SHADAL (67) will have admirers and for good reason. Raqeeq is not hard to find and with Bowman on, I am thinking he is going to be very, very popular TAB punters so he might be unders so it is a price thing not a talent thing. My little issue with Shadal is that I thought/ expected he might win easier last start but at least he won.
THE system horse here is 1. BANNER SEASON (71). The system being one of my personal favourites – first-up out of a Derby (or an Oaks depending). Banner Season was last seen finishing 12-lens 11 of 16 in the Queensland Derby at $41 having won over 1850m and 2200m two runs prior. Bear in mind that he resumes over 1550m here and with the aid of an easy trial over 900m on Jul 12. I suspect he still has a bit of residual fitness in his body. Kris Lees has enticed Kerrin McEvoy to ride and who knows, maybe the horse can make some use of barrier 2 thus get a ground saving run? Breeding buffs may like to know he is three-quarter
Ruling Dynasty and his 3rd Dam is none other than Dancing Show (USA). 3. CARLUCA (70) hit his best stride at WF last start third-up in a mile race where it paid to be on pace as he was, as is his custom. Carluca’s racing pattern accounts for why the son of Vollitant is 5s 1-1-1 at Canterbury; the same as his t/d record as it happens. 4. HE’S A GIVEN (70) celebrates 50th start tomorrow and may very well make it a day to remember for his band of owners trainer Clarry Conners. This gelding is 9s 1-2-2 at the venue and 5s 0-2-1 at the t/d. He went within a whisker of winning at WF over 1400m last start and we know he’s pretty effective at the 1550m here.
JAMES Cummings holds the aces here with his two fillies namely 8. ALMANZORA (70) and 9. ESCHARA (70) who as you can no doubt see, both have the same benchmark rating at this stage of their careers. I think I am on safe ground however in saying that Almanzora is the superior horse, certainly she has depth to her form that her stablemate doesn’t. For instance, Almanzora beat Aqua D’Ivinia and Sanctioned on debut then was 5th to 2018 The Everest runner Shoals in the G2 Percy Sykes and finally 4th in the Listed Woodlands at Scone. This daughter of Lonhro has trialled twice and they have both been outstanding not least her Jul 13 nose 2nd to Siege Of Quebec and ahead of She Will Reign. Eschara meanwhile is a Street Cry so has the scope to go onward and upwards as she ages. Her trials have also been tick-worthy. The way I see it, is that Almanzora is better suited at the 1100m than Eschara. I hate to have to tip against one of my favourite horses in 11. BLOWING KISSES (68) whom I have to admit, thought would be a Group winner by this stage of her career. She’s very well bred (Redoute’s Choice – Eskimo Queen) and moves so beautifully. She’s deadly fresh and the trials have been ace, won last one.
1. SAMADOUBT (78) was my ‘best bet’ when he resumed at Randwick on Jul 7 in a very tough race. No one else seemed to share my enthusiasm – he was $16 out to $21 back into $19. The Bjorn Baker-trained chestnut got back and covered some extra ground too but was 2.5-lens from Noble Joey She Knows, it was an eye-catcher to say the least. The reason I made him ‘XXX’ bet on the card that day was that he was deadset trialling the house down before hand but maybe I over estimated his prospects first-up because he was 5s 0-2-0 fresh going into the race. Bear in mind that is 3s 1-1-0 second-up. Better still, he 4s 2-1-0 at the trip and 2s 1-1-0 at the t/d. The win was a big win, 2nd was a narrow one to Passage Of Time. 9. SAVVAN (73) was a shade disappointing when 4th in the 1400m Bm85 at HQ on Jun 23. I was super keen her given that she 2nd to Noire before and Savatiano prior again. I think the freshen and back to 1200m are keys. She trialled really nicely in a deep heat too in between. Nothing wrong with the blokes who have been riding her but James McDonald goes on tomorrow and you can bet trainer John O’Shea is happy about that. Others chances go to 3. GHOSTLY (76) but he’s drawn right out, 5. FANNING (74) who has trialled well since he finished down the order in the Samadoubt race from last start. Respecting
6. SMARTEDGE (74) and 10. MEGA MALL (72).