Race 1 - 12:45pm
It is rare to see such a small field engaged for the Highway Handicap. There is no doubt that Mate Story is the horse to beat and he has opened as a dominant favourite in the back of his win in another Highway Handicap event on February 3. The question is whether you can get Mate Story as short as his current quote and for me the answer is no. He is unproven at this distance and is a horse that has been known to throw in a poor performance. I don’t want to bet against him, but I can’t get him as short as his current quote.
Race 2 - 1:25pm
This is an excellent edition of the Pierro Plate and one of the best betting races of the afternoon. Legend Of Condor made his racing debut with an impressive win in the Victory Vein Plate in October last year and he has since trialed nicely at Rosehill Garrdnes. The Not A Single Doubt colt has a great deal of early speed and he will make his own luck right on the speed. He can still improve on his debut effort and if he does that he will be very hard to beat.
2 Units Legend Of Condor
Race 3 - 2:00pm
Emperor’s Way is racing in excellent form and he is the one horse in this field that still looks to have some upside – the rest have likely found their level. This is his first chance over 2000 metres, but his previous performances suggest that he will have no issue with the step-up in trip. He maps to get a lovely trail into the race with Glyn Schofield in the saddle and as long as he gets a bit of luck at the right time, he should be able to make it three wins on the trot.
2 Units Emperor’s Way
Race 4 - 3:10pm
Deploy was excellent during the 2017 Spring Racing Carnival and if he can return to the races in that sort of form he will be very tough to beat. He ran his rivals off their feet in the Show County Quality and the Theo Marks Stakes and he has the opportunity to do the exact same thing in the Southern Cross Stakes. Deploy is a horse that normally comes to hand fairly quickly, while some of his major rivals generally need a couple of runs before they perform at their best.
3 Units Deploy
Race 5 - 3:45pm
The Pinnacle returned to the races with a very promising effort at Rosehill Gardens and she will be even better suited up to a mile. She doesn’t win out of turn, but her best form does give her an edge over the rest of this field and she was excellent second-up last campaign.
The x-factor in this field is the import Berdibek. He will be better suited over further, but he has run some nice races in France and during his time with Godolphin John O’Shea had an excellent record with imports first-up in Australia. Berdibek doesn’t have the quality of Contributer or Hartnell, but this is not the strongest race and he is worth a gamble.
2 Units The Pinnacle
1 Unit Berdibek
Race 6 - 4:25pm
It would have been great to see Winx in the Apollo Stakes, bur her absence does make this a much more interesting betting race. Comin’ Through was excellent at the start of his 2017 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and this does look a nice race for him. The Fastnet Rock gelding has produced his best form when he has been able to press forward and settle right on the pace, which he should be able to do comfortably. He has not missed the placings in his five race starts over 1400 metres and his trial alongside the likes of Winx and Redzel at Rosehill Gardens on January 22 was nothing short of outstanding.
1.5 Units Comin’ Through
Race 7 - 5:05pm
This is a very open edition of the Triscay Stakes. Miss Gunpowder didn’t really come up during the Spring, but she has trialed nicely ahead of her return to the races and she is a mare with an excellent first-up record. Her best form is more than good enough to win a race of this quality and Jay Ford should be able to settle her in a position very handy to the speed.
1 Unit Miss Gunpowder
Race 8 - 5:45pm
The Light Fingers Stakes has drawn an outstanding field and it should prove to be a very strong form reference for the rest of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. Alizee has opened as a clear favourite and there is no doubt that she will be tough to beat. She took a couple of starts to get going last preparation, but she went on to win the Tea Rose Stakes and the Flight Stakes in impressive fashion. In saying that, she does look a touch short at her current quote and I definitely would not be diving in at that price.
Melody Belle is the x-factor in this field. She produced an excellent form when she made her Australian racing debut at Eagle Farm last year and she was dominant in the Mongolian Khan Trophy at Ellerslie on January 27. She does have the fitness edge over Alizee and there probably should not be such a big price differential between the two gallopers. I am keen to back Melody Belle, but save on Alizee in the process.
1.5 Units Melody Belle
1.5 Units Alizee
Race 9 - 5:20pm
Osborne Bulls is a very promising horse and it would not surprise to see him go to another level during the Autumn. He recorded four wins from five starts late preparation and the most impressive part was the way that he improved each time that he was seen at the races. Godolphin will have him nice and forward for his return to the races and with even luck in running he will prove tough to beat.
2 Units Osborne Bulls