The Daily Telegraph racing editor Ray Thomas and Sky Thoroughbred Central’s form expert Ron Dufficy debate all the big-race chances at the Golden Eagle meeting at Rosehill Gardens and for Derby Day at Flemington on Saturday.
Race 3, No.1: SEGALAS
Race 4, No.11: ARCHANNA
Race 6, No.13: SHE’S IDEEL
Race 9, No.13: SURREAL STEP
Race 4, No.11: ARCHANNA
Race 9, No.5: STOCKMAN
Track: Heavy 8. Rail: true.
R1: TAB HIGHWAY (1200m)
Dufficy: Blitzar looks quite impressive. He bolted in at Dubbo last start and his two barrier trials have been outstanding. I know he hasn’t got any wet track form on raceday but his latest trial on a heavy track was excellent. I’m happy to be with him. I’m interested in Choccy Gaf. He is only a three-year-old and has had no trial after 88 days between runs but resumes off a win, likes it wet and has some nice form lines around him finishing alongside Montefilia two starts back. Art Cadeau has to go in for sheer consistency. He found the 1000m too short for him first-up but still ran well. Depth That Varies did a good job making a long, sustained run last start and is in the mix.
Thomas: Art Cadeau will be improved by that Kembla comeback run and is ready to break through for a deserved win. He’s very genuine, handles soft-heavy track and the stable knows how to win these races. Monica’s Star is lightly raced but showing promise and was impressive storming home to win at Port Macquarie when resuming. King’s Trust was on the worst part of the track last start and can improve at odds here. Your selection, Ronnie, Blitzar, does rate as one of the main chances.
R2: SCHWEPPES HCP (1400m)
Dufficy. I like Obvious Step. She was very good at big odds in the Reginald Allen Quality last start, she has a win in town on a heavy track and has to be considered here. Air To Air was a late nomination for this race but only has to be close to her best form to win. I would prefer her on a soft rather than heavy track. Perfect Radiance is a nice filly whose only defeat was by Peltzer on a heavy track. She appears big odds for this race. Nicci’s Fling also comes out of the Reginald Allen where she hit the line quite nicely and has some soft track form as well.
Thomas: I like Fortune Seeker’s attitude. I know this is a jump in grade but she fights hard and wants to win. She’s protecting her perfect race record and her competitive nature ensures she is right in this contest. Enchanted Heart attacked the line strongly to win at the midweeks. Talented and hard to beat despite creeping up in the weights. Last start winners Perfect Radiance and Colonel are improvers who can make their presence felt here.
R3: TRESEMME HCP (1200m)
Dufficy: I’m very keen on Segalas here. He has had 38 days and a barrier trial between runs but gets the claim, he has some good wet track form and I think he is going to be very hard to hold out. Miss Einstein was unlucky first-up last campaign and I expect her to be running on hard late. Willowheart is an honest mare, she is back in distance but maps well from the draw and handles all conditions. Misteed has nice wet track form and should improve.
Thomas: Segalas did enough first-up to suggest she is in for a good campaign. She does handle rain-affected conditions and this is her optimum distance. Let It Pour is very fit, makes her own luck racing on speed and she will run well. Trajection is resuming today, she always races well fresh and the stable is in form. The well-bred Saas Fee ran well behind Intrepidacious at Warwick Farm when resuming and is an improving mare.
R4: FUJITSU GENERAL HCP (1900m)
Dufficy: Archanna is a nice mare, very fit and she did bolt in with her maiden on a heavy track at her debut. She will be hard to beat. The danger is Quintessa. She is a grinding, on-pace mare who did run third in the ATC Australian Oaks on a heavy track so she should be close up at the finish here. Across Dubai ran an improved race last start, he has run well on a heavy track previously and the 3kg weight swing he has on Kirwan’s Lane brings him in at odds. Kirwan’s Lane is heading in the right direction having won both races this campaign.
Thomas: I agree, Ronnie, Archanna, is the one to beat. She’s in great form, running down Nimalee at Canterbury then was held up at a vital stage and was unlucky not to have beaten She’s Ideel at Randwick. This looks the right race for her, distance suits, she handles the wet tracks and just needs even luck in running. She’s my bet of the day. Kirwan’s Lane is flying this campaign and is the main danger. Quintessa and Navy Cross are not out of this race. Both will go forward and settle on speed and will take running down.
R5: RENDR DELIVERY SPRINT (1100m)
Dufficy: I’m going with the consistent mare Switched here, Ray. She is a tough sprinter and has been placed in all seven starts on heavy tracks. She is third-up off a win and at her peak. Macroura is an impressive filly. She is resuming here off two trials and although I was not 100 per cent sold on those trials, she did win her first three starts and go to a Group 1 race at her debut race campaign last season. Mo’s Crown is trialling well and is a talented sprinter when right. Irish Songs is a good long shot as he ran well in The Kosciuszko and was impressive winning the Wagga Wagga Town Plate on a heavy track back in June.
Thomas: Switched is reliable and consistent. She turns up on raceday and gives her all every start. She gets in well at the weights after the claim and her wet track form is very good. I also have Macroura as the danger. She showed natural talent in her debut race campaign last season and is effective on soft-heavy tracks. Plaquette is racing in very good form and watch for her charging home late. Mo’s Crown has good first-up form and his recent trial suggests he is in for another good campaign.
R6: ROSEHILL GOLD CUP (2000m)
Dufficy: She’s Ideel is coming back from 2600m but she is a strong mare with no weight, her soft track form is great and she will be hard to hold out. House Of Cartier is ticking along beautifully for a race like this. She has been good at her last two starts and is ready for 2000m. We can forget she did win the Wagga Gold Cup on a very heavy track before being disqualified. Wu Gok is one of the best wet trackers going around with eight wins on heavy tracks. I think he should be around the mark considering the track conditions. Nimalee is an improving mare, her soft track form is ok and she could easily shape up here.
Thomas: I like Nimalee. She is an emerging mare who is ready for the step up to 2000m now after three very good runs this campaign. She gets all the favours from her inside draw and is very effective on soft tracks. She’s Ideel is going to have to go back from her wide gate and is likely to be giving Nimalee a big start from the turn but she will be powering home. Think It Over comes into this race off his good Craven Plate win and rates highly again. The Candy Man is unbeaten in four starts on heavy tracks and could be the surprise packet if he gets his preferred track conditions.
R7: YES YES YES STAKES (1300m)
Dufficy: I think it has to be The Everest form with Gytrash. It’s a big tricky for him at 1300m, wide draw and on a heavy track but he is a class sprinter and his soft track form is good. The worst track he has been on was a soft 7 at Flemington but he bolted in that day in the Creswick Stakes. I have to be with him. Haut Brion Her is the danger. She ran out of her skin in The Everest, the track and distance here is ideal and she is two from two on soft tracks. Eduardo is the big improver. He needs to settle better than he did in The Everest, obviously, but he has been untouchable on wet tracks in the past and has won at 1300m. Deprive is fresh blood and will be running on strongly.
Thomas: Gytrash is one of the nation’s elite sprinters as he has shown in Sydney this spring winning the Concorde Stakes and finishing a very good third to Classique Legend in The Everest. The barrier is the concern but if Jason Collett can get across and find cover, Gytrash’s acceleration and class should get him home. I also expect Eduardo to bounce back off his The Everest flop when nothing went right. His form prior to his last start defeat was outstanding and is going to take catching. Haut Brion Her only has to reproduce her effort in The Everest to be in the finish. If the track conditions improve into the soft range, brilliant filly Dame Giselle’s chances soar.
R8: GOLDEN EAGLE (1500m)
Dufficy: I just feel Bottega is getting out to big odds. He should have won both runs back this spring, he gets into a nice spot from the draw, and he should be okay in the going. I want to be on him around $21. Colette has been beautifully set-up for the Golden Eagle. If this race becomes a real slog she will come into her own being an Oaks winner. She has been so good on a wet track in the past. Riodini is going to settle on speed and is an emerging type who was terrific in the Epsom. Funstar has to go in the numbers as she is a class mare, loves the wet and has had a nice trial since the Epsom. She just needs luck getting across from her wide draw and she will be hard to beat.
Thomas: Funstar and Alligator Blood are the class runners in the Golden Eagle and I have them fighting out the finish. Funstar has been racing well without winning this spring. She raced wide without cover and was unlucky to be run down by Wild Planet in the Theo Marks before another second, this time to arch rival Probabeel in the Epsom. Funstar has to overcome another horror barrier but with any sort of luck in running, her superior wet track ability will kick in. Alligator Blood has been prepared specifically for this race and there is improvement off his Silver Eagle second placing. The promising Criaderas doesn’t have any early speed but he does boast a powerful finish. Riodini finished right alongside Funstar in the Epsom, he’s advantaged by the draw and enjoys racing on rain-affected tracks.
R9: QUAYCLEAN HCP (1400m)
Dufficy: Surreal Step enjoys a big drop class here from the Silver Eagle where he just got tired in the last 100m. He is one from one in the heavy, his other two wins in the soft were great, and I think he can perform well, I have a big query on Greek Hero. He’s an import having his second preparation in Australia, his trials have been great and he’s a very genuine horse with the right form. The wet track seems okay for him. Coterie gets a nice run and back in distance suits him.
Thomas: I don’t mind Stockman at odds here. He had to go back to last from a wide barrier and wasn’t suited by the slow race tempo before unplaced when resuming at Randwick. He’s drawn more favourably today, he enjoys rain-affected tracks, and he will be strong through the line. I’d prefer this race to be a mile or even a touch further for Stockman but I still feel he is great each way value. Surreal Step is fitter and should be hard to beat, Zakat has drawn the car park but doesn’t know how to run a bad race, and Fender is a risk at the trip but will be in this race for a long way.
R5: EMPIRE ROSE STAKES (1600m)
Dufficy: Mystic Journey is a class mare who returned to winning form in the Stock Stakes at Moonee Valley. Now she has found form she can hold it in a race like this. I don’t mind the look of Pretty Brazen. It has taken her a while to get back up to a mile for her Grand Final, she is one from one at the distance and is the best value in the race. Shout the Bar is the big improver. If she finds the front on her own, she can give a big sight. Odeum is a talented filly coming off her Thousand Guineas win and gets in with a light weight.
Thomas: Vanna Girl is working her way back to top form and there were encouraging signs with her third in the Craven Plate. Flemington will suit her racing style and the booking of Hugh Bowman is significant. Forbidden Love is an underrated filly, drops 10kg on her stakes win at Randwick, and can run a big race here. Mystic Journey and Odeum come off impressive last start wins and will be hard to beat.
R6: COOLMORE STUD STAKES (1200m)
Dufficy: Tough race. I’m going with the Sydney three-year-olds and I’m leaning Farnan’s way. I think we have to be forgiving for his first-up run, he has had a little issue since but hopefully if he is anywhere near his best he will be hard to beat. September Run is two from two down the straight at Flemington and the extra 100m won’t pose her any problems. Wild Ruler is drawn out which is ideal as he will be ready to pounce racing on top of the speed. The local, Swats That, is going great and will run well again.
Thomas: There is real confidence in the Farnan camp that he will bounce back to his brilliant best. Farnan has been trialling sensationally all spring and if he brings that form to the races he will be too good. Doubtland enjoys the straight track and is over the odds. Anders will be fitter after his Caulfield loss and I also have Wild Ruler finishing top four.
R7: VICTORIA DERBY (2500m)
Dufficy: I’m a fan of Cherry Tortoni. We didn’t see the best of him in Sydney but he bounced back to win the Vase last start. He’s still a raw talent but the big stretches of Flemington will suit him. Young Werther is the favourite and has had an interesting program going into the Derby at just his third start and with a month between runs. It is not going to be easy for him but he does look a quality three-year-old. Let’s Karaka Deel gets the favours on speed and will run a good race. Albarado comes off a good win in the Norman Robinson Stakes last start and has hit his straps at the right time.
Thomas: We are on the same page with Cherry Tortoni. He’s an emerging staying talent and showed his true form winning the Vase. He gives the impression 2500m won’t be an issue. Let’s Karaka Deel is a promising stayer and there is improvement in him after Caulfield. Young Werther might be the best horse in this race but his interrupted preparation and inexperience makes him a risk. Johnny Get Angry is a bolter who can run a competitive race.
R8: CANTALA STAKES (1600m)
Dufficy: Another tough race. I’m not going to give up on King’s Legacy. He just wasn’t himself in the Caulfield Guineas, I know he is better than that and I’m happy to be with him. He does have big-race jockey Glen Boss on board. Fifty Stars likes Flemington and third-up at a mile is perfect for him. Rock does no work from the inside draw which helps him to run the mile right out. Cascadian has been desperate to get to the big Flemington track and I’m convinced he is going much better than what his form suggests.
Thomas: I was on Rock in the Epsom and I’ve got to give him another chance. Rock just couldn’t get into the race at Randwick but from his soft draw, he can settle closer in the Cantala and he is a strong finisher. Cascadian has had no luck this spring and has drawn off the track. I don’t mind the barrier provided he gets cover early because he won’t strike any “traffic” problems this time. Buffalo River looks hard to beat and I also feel King’s Legacy deserves another chance.
Originally published asRay and Duff: Roughie can swoop on Eagle
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