The Sportsman Weekend
Time for the public to be back on track
IT’S time. In my opinion, time for the public to be allowed back to track.
Country venues now, then provincial and finally metropolitan – by Saturday October 2 for Group 1 Epsom Day; but I’ll settle for the Everest showpiece on October 16.
Of course, numbers capped and some restrictions in play – along with the mandatory double vaccination tick – so life can go on and on, and on.
I doubt anyone needs any more incentive or encouragement to support the gates being opened but if you’re still thin in intestinal fibre, a quick look at tomorrow’s The Shorts (1100m) will surely bring you on board.
It may be a small field, but I doubt there’s ever been so much sprint quality at the pointy end.
And don’t think this is all about speed; yes, there’s a couple who can rocket out; but from the 600m it’s a tactical battle of chess on four legs.
Take a few seconds to salivate what is potentially the highest rating Group 2 sprint in history – before working out who wins:
Nature Strip v Eduardo v Masked Crusader Rothfire – and that doesn’t even include Group 1 winner Gytrash and Lost And Running both at early double figure odds.
Some $18.5 million in combined prizemoney across only eight runners; 71 (47 per cent)
wins from 152 starts – and many of those, of course, at Group 1 level.
And that’s tempered by the inclusion of Canberra’s Handle The Truth (9 wins from 30) and provincial mare Adelong (8 wins from 18), both 200/1 shots who somehow snuck in the side door when the bouncer wasn’t looking.
No question the value is super talented five-year-old Lost And Running ($10.00) who resumes off two smart trials. Never beaten fresh or secondup in four runs, and relishes soft ground.
Mind you he’s never bumped into something like this before.
Given seven-year-old powerhouse Nature Strip ($2.40) relaxes even better now and doesn’t need to be bustled through early, he must still be the great measurement.
In fact, this should stack up beautifully sitting behind resuming speedster Eduardo ($8.00) who will surely zip over from a wide gate and take control.
An arrogant first-up win in the Group 3 Concorde (1000m), Nature Strip drops 2.5kg for this and I see him landing the one out, one back spot outside of Rothfire ($5.00), and behind leading pair Eduardo Lost And Running.
The giant ‘X’ factor late of course is whether Masked Crusader ($4.80) can get off their backs in the straight and run over lot. I doubt it.
□ MY THE SHORTS TIPS: 1. NATURE STRIP; 2. Rothfire; 3. Masked Crusader; 4. Eduardo
It’s easy to forget the Group 1 George Main Stakes over the famous mile is actual headline race with a headline making six-year-old mare who can put them to the sword.
Verry Elleegant’s return in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) behind Mo’unga was terrific and of course the winner then ran a bottler in Group 1 Makybe Diva at Flemington last Saturday.
Second-up from a low draw in ideal Soft 6/7 ground spells danger for the rest and the rail being out a very tricky 7m for this entire distance only adds to Verry Elleegant ($2.20) making a slashing statement.
If there’s value danger, it’s seven-year-old Cascadian ($10.00) who will again settle back and finish like a train on his preferred soft surface.
□ MY GEORGE MAIN TIPS:
1. VERRY ELLEEGANT; 2. Cascadian; 3. Think It Over; 4. Hungry Heart
In the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on what will likely be a Soft 5 or 6, you wonder how some of these even got a start.
Put that aside and star Kiwi mare Probabeel ($5.50) can make it two straight this preparation despite a tricky inside draw for reasons.
Firstly, there’s enough early inside speed to pull her into a forward position, eliminating the danger of being shuffled too far back by those coming across.
Secondly, she drops 3kg from the first-up win in the Group 3 Cockram for what is a weak edition and her secondup form is unrivalled.
□ MY SIR RUPERT CLARKE TIPS:
1. PROBABEEL; 2. Behemoth; 3. Sierra Sue