Tonight looks as good as Saturday
MY how the wheel can turn and the view can change.
Remember when Sydney was only a city for day time racing.
Under lights? No way. Maybe a fleeting peak of black-type races at night nearly two decades ago, but the common view since then was the Harbour City never had
“event” tag to change tradition and old-time thinking. Think again. Tonight’s Canterbury card is as good as you will ever see still only a handful of hours into a new year.
In fact, you could argue that apart from the obvious bigger prizemoney, it’s every bit as competitive as tomorrow’s feature metro meeting on Randwick’s Kensington course.
Mind you, that’s a minor miracle in itself.
It was only a couple of years back, the “Kenso” was a minefield of kickback and criticism, and almost on its last financial legs.
But dogged persistence, turf science, and oodles of patience all rolled into one paid enormous dividends, and Kensington is finally holding up as a solid alternative to Randwick’s course proper.
Yet, for the first time in a long time, I’m just as excited about tonight as tomorrow.
Let’s face it, I’ve always considered Canterbury the superior all-round betting track in Sydney, and supportive promotions to help drag people through the gates are now proving a summer sizzler.
But for purist, consider this:
Tonight, 84 runners (minus emergencies and before scratchings) accepted to start, including a two-year-old fillies race with nine debutants on show; a BM 74, two BM 72s and two 70s.
Race 7 – 74 Handicap over 1250m for the older horses – boasts nearly $2 million in collective prizemoney across 11 runners.
Race 6 for the stayers over 1900m has earnt the field nearly $1.6 million for connections.
The last race the fillies and mares over 1100m totals near $600K in earnings across just eight runners.
Tomorrow, racing for the standard $125,000 in prizemoney, only 95 runners are likely to line up across nine races – one BM 88 for the sprinters; four 78s; a good Open Handicap and moderate BM 72 punctuate card that also kicks off with a twoyear-old dash.
Race 7 commands more than $3.2 million in prizemoney earnt by 10 runners; $1.7 million is the collective
of 11 runners in the feature Summer Sprint; $1.4 million earnt across the Royal Randwick Handicap (1300m) Race 6.
You get the picture? There’s not a big difference, again proving just how far night racing at Canterbury has come in 2018.
Tonight, on what should be a Good 4/Soft 5 rating, I’m keen Godolphin-trained Pindus ($4.80) second-up in Race 2, the Summer Night Racing Plate (1100m).
He was a little flat-footed when heavily backed resuming behind the smart Sheriff at Goulburn, but fitter now and back in town, Pindus can shake off the “groomsman” tag – four seconds from five starts and become the groom.
And now that’s he’s got a taste for the Sydney way with two close seconds at Kensington in slightly stronger grade, Victorian four-year-old raider All Too Royal ($3.50) can add to an already impressive CV with his fourth career win in nine starts in Heat 1 of the Canterbury Night Sprint Series (1100m) Race 4.
Tomorrow, talented Godolphin four-year-old Regent ($4.80) can make it two wins in three starts in race 6, the BM 78 Handicap (1300m).
After sailing down middle to win in heavy ground under a big weight at Warwick Farm two runs back, Regent was again good from well back in what will prove to be a strong BM 78 form-line three weeks ago at Randwick. Stablemate Astoria ($5.50) who has also attacked the line in his last couple against stronger opposition is a huge danger, so cover the quinella.
And save some value for Warwick Farm mare Nicci’s Gold ($6.00) who looks very well placed to win the lucky last, Race 9, the BM 78 ATC Handicap (1550m).
Competitive in good company up to 2000m late winter, she powered home third-up to beat high-flying The Art Of The Bar last start, and while admitting she has a bigger advantage in wet ground, this looms as the ideal trip fourthup.
Neil Evans thinks Regent is one of the best bets at Randwick tomorrow.