Race 1 - 12:10pm
Group 3 Widden 150th Anniversary Stakes (1100m)
The Kindergarten Stakes is always an interesting betting race and the 2017 edition is no exception. There are plenty of winning chances in this race – as the market suggests – but the value looks to be Property. He won the Blue Diamond Prelude over 1100 metres and he was far from disgraced in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes. The freshen-up will have served him nicely and he has the benefit of Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
1 Unit Property
Race 2 - 12:45pm
Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m)
I have this pegged as a race in two between Theanswermyfriend and Eusebio and I am happy to back them both. Theanswermyfriend is capable of reeling off some punishing sectionals and he makes his own luck right on the speed. There is no doubt that he will give his rivals plenty to chase. Eusebio has gone from strength to strength this preparation and there was plenty to like about the way that he won the Canberra Guineas. He will get a long way back, but he looks as though he will relish the mile and he will be flying home late.
2 Units Eusebio
2 Units Theanswermyfriend
Race 3 - 1:20pm
Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m)
This is a very interesting edition of the Chairman’s Handicap. The Big Duke is a clear favourite and is obviously the horse to beat, but I am happy to take him on at his current price. Kinema has been left a touch flat-footed in each of his race starts this prep and he clearly didn’t like the heavy track. This is a better surface and he is now reaching a more appropriate distance range. Polarisation is set to make his Australian racing debut in the Chairman’s Handicap field 2017. The Sydney Cup is definitely a better race for him, but he is a talented horses that has form around a number of quality gallopers. Charlie Appleby has an excellent record in Australia and it would not surprise to see him produce another winner.
1 Unit Kinema
1 Unit Polarisation
Race 4 - 1:55pm
Country Championships Final (1400m)
This really does look like an excellent race for Perfect Dare and with any luck in running whatsoever he will be very tough to beat. He was absolutely dominant in his qualifier at Grafton and before that he finished a very close second in the Magic Millions Cup. The Fastnet Rock gelding has genuine city form and at his best he has a clear class edge over the rest of this field.
3 Units Perfect Dare
Race 5 - 2:30pm
Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m)
The PJ Bell Stakes has drawn a capacity field and this really is one of the most interesting races of the day. Raiment was excellent first-up in the Birthday Card Stakes, but I can’t get her as short as her current price in this field and I am keen to back a couple of horses at juicy odds. Sweet Sherry returned to the races with a very brave effort in the Moomba Plate – she was caught in the worst part of the Flemington straight and she handily beat all the other horses in her division. She is a filly with plenty of speed and she has been underrated heading into this race. Zumbelina goes into this race first-up and is sure to improve off this effort, but she has a massive amount of upside. She finished her last preparation with four straight victories and she really could be anything. I am willing to take the gamble at the juicy odds.
1 Unit Sweet Sherry
1 Unit Zumbelina
Race 6 - 3:10pm
Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m)
This is one of the most interesting editions of the Sires Produce Stakes in a number of years. Frolic is currently on top of betting and there is no doubt that she is the horse to beat. She made up a great deal of ground late to finish second behind She Will Reign in the Golden Slipper and she looks as though she will relish the step-up to 1400 metres. The wide barrier draw is an advantage as it gives her the opportunity to wind up late.
The two value runners in the 2017 Sires’ Produce Stakes field are the Team Snowden-trained duo of Invader and Gunnison. They both fought out the finish in the Todman Stakes and it would not surprise if we saw a repeat this weekend. Both horses look as though they will be better suited over this longer journey. They are both over the odds.
2 Units Frolic
1 Unit Invader
1 Unit Gunnison
Race 7 - 3:50pm
Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m)
The winner of the New Zealand Derby has gone on to win the Australian Derby the past two years and Gingernuts has every chance to repeat that again in 2017. He relished the 2400 metres to win the New Zealand Derby and he was too good for his rivals in the Rosehill Guineas. There is no reason that he can’t improve again and that will make him very tough to beat.
The value runner in the 2017 Australian Derby betting market is Prized Icon. Prized Icon is a horse that thrives with racing and he will be having his third start in as many weeks. He returned to a semblance of his best form in the Tulloch Stakes last weekend and it would not surprise if he exploded over the 2400 metres of the Australian Derby on Saturday.
3 Units Gingernuts
1 Unit Prized Icon
Race 8 - 4:30pm
Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m)
On a day full of extremely difficult betting races, the TJ Smith Stakes may be the most difficult of the lot. Chautauqua has won the past two editions of the TJ Smith Stakes and I am backing the big boy to make it three on the trot. He has obviously had a much different preparation for the race in 2017 and he might not have the speed for this anymore, but the lack of pace in this race is an advantage and at anywhere near his best he has a clear edge over the rest of this field. Two of the three best performances of his career have come in this race.
The main danger is Russian Revolution. Nothing went right for him in The Galaxy, but he was still able to come away with the victory and he should improve on that performance. There really is not a great deal of speed in this race and Kerrin McEvoy will have every possible chance to dictate from the front. There is no better judge of pace in Sydney and Russian Revolution will be very difficult to catch.
2 Units Chautauqua
1.5 Units Russian Revolution
Race 9 - 5:10pm
Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m)
This really is a fantastic edition of the Doncaster Mile and it is simply an outstanding betting race. You can make a case for just about every horse in the 2017 Doncaster Mile field and because of that I will be going very wide with my selections. Le Romain has been in outstanding form this preparation and being beaten by Winx is no disgrace. He never runs a bad race and he is sure to be in the finish. I don’t want to lose on the race if he gets the job done.
The horse that is weighted to win the race is Spectroscope. He has recorded two effortless victories since arriving in Australia and he has an enormous amount of upside. Joao Moreira jumps on and he will be storming home late. $13 is well and truly over the odds.
Another horse with a great deal of upside is Redkirk Warrior. He won a Newmarket Handicap in dominant fashion first-up and Lindsay Park is confident that he will be ever better over 1600 metres. History suggests that you can’t win a Newmarket Handicap and a Doncaster Mile, but history said that you can’t win a Newmarket Handicap first-up and he did just that.
Two horses that are worth a small bet at very big odds are Arod and Dibayani. Arod has been inconsistent since he arrived in Australia, but his best form would have him right in this race. Dibayani is a non-winner but he thrives in these big-field handicaps and he was only narrowly denied in the Epsom Handicap in the spring.
2 Units Le Romain
1 Unit Redkirk Warrior
1 Unit Spectroscope
1/2 Unit Arod
½ Unit Dibayani
Race 10 - 5:50pm
Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m)
The Adrian Knox Stakes is easily the weakest race on what is an outstanding day of racing. This is not a race that I am particularly keen to get involved in, but Almalita is a horse that does appeal at double figure odds. She is the fittest horse in this race following her win at Newcastle over 2300 metres and she makes her own luck right on the speed.
1 Unit Almalita