Race 1 - 12:30pm
This is not a particularly strong edition of the Aspiration Quality and The Pinnacle may never have a better chance to record a black-type win. She hasn’t been beaten far in both her race starts this campaign and she should be at peak fitness third-up. The So You Think mare never runs a bad race and will be in the finish once again.
2 Units The Pinnacle
Race 2 - 1:10pm
The market has zeroed in on Houtzen, I Am Excited and Jorda and it would surprise if the winner came from outside those three horses. I Am Excited does have the fitness edge over her rivals and she was excellent first-up in the Spark Of Life Handicap. In saying that, it is tough to bet against speedy filly Houtzen. She is capable running her rivals ragged in these contest and her trial ahead of her racing return was excellent. This is a race that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Race 3 - 1:45pm
Estijaab was enormous in defeat in the Silver Slipper Stakes. She was challenged for the lead throughout and they went very quick early, but she was still able to fight on bravely and she was only narrowly denied by the talented Sunlight. On exposed form she does have a clear edge over the rest of this field and it is no surprise that she will start this contest as a dominant favourite.
Outback Barbie was excellent in the Magic Millions Classic and she won a barrier trial at the Gold Coast by a dominant 9.5 lengths. She looks like the obvious danger, but it is very tough to bet against Estijaab.
Race 4 - 2:25pm
Performer has recorded two wins from as many starts and he is right up there with the leading Golden Slipper contenders. He won the Breeders’ Plate on debut – a race that is generally a very strong guide for the Golden Slipper – and he returned to the races with a tough win in the Canonbury Stakes. Chris Waller has given him a barrier trial between starts and that is always a positive lead from the stable. Performer really does look like the real deal and he can maintain his status as a leading contender for the Golden Slipper with a win in the Todman Stakes.
5 Units Performer
Race 5 - 3:00pm
Redzel was not beaten far in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and he will go into the Challenge Stakes as a dominant favourite. The Snitzel gelding has an excellent record at Royal Randwick – five wins from eight starts – and there is no doubt that he will be very tough to beat. The question is whether you can get him as short as the current price of $1.50 and for me the answer to that question is no.
There does look to be plenty of speed in the Challenge Stakes and that could play into the hands of English. She has won this race two years in a row, she is unbeaten over 1000 metres and we know that she is capable of a high-rating performance on her day. This could prove to be an ideal race for English and she really does look like the main danger to Redzel.
1 Unit English
Race 6 - 3:35pm
This is an intriguing edition of the Canterbury Stakes and you can make a case for just about every runner in the field. It has now been a while between wins for Global Glamour, but this race does look to set-up very well for her. She led at a very quick tempo in the Apollo Stakes and she was entitled to knock-up late, but she toughed it out and was only narrowly denied by Endless Drama. That performance suggests that she is back to a semblance of her best form and she does have a genuine fitness edge over the rest of this field.
Happy Clapper is the class horse in this field and his recent barrier trials suggests that he is fairly forward for his return to the races. He produced a high-rating performance to win the Tramway Stakes first-up in the Spring and a repeat of that effort would make him very tough to beat. The inside barrier draw is some concern and he will need some luck in running at the right time.
1.5 Units Global Glamour
1 Unit Happy Clapper
Race 7 - 4:20pm
This is a truly outstanding edition of the Royal Randwick Guineas. Kementari will start the race as a clear favourite, but he does look under the odds at his current price. He has done nothing wrong in either the Eskimo Prince Stakes or the Hobartville Stakes, but he doesn’t look like he is crying out for a mile and the likes of D’argento and Pierata were flying at him late.
D’argento does look like the horse that will relish the step-up to 1600 metres and he is the horse to beat. He made up over two lengths on Kementari in the final 200 metres of the Hobartville Stakes and he still has improvement in front of him. The wide barrier draw is not a concern as that should ensure that he finds clear running late and he can finish over the top of his rivals.
The x-factor in this race is Peaceful State. He is on the quick back-up after his second place finish behind Grunt in the Australian Guineas and he does have the advantage of having had a race start over a mile. If he travels to Sydney well and is able to repeat his last start effort, there is no reason he can’t be in the finish at juicy odds.
2 Units D’argento
1 Unit Peaceful State
Race 8 - 5:00pm
There are plenty of winning chances in what is a strong edition of the Wenona Girl Quality. Sugar Bella has recorded five wins from six race starts and she faces her toughest challenge in this race. There is no doubt that she has plenty of talent, but I am happy to take her on at the current price.
Slow Burn has had issues during her racing career to date and she is also stepping-up in class, but she does have an excellent first-up record. The wide barrier draw should ensure that Tim Clark rides her aggressively and that is when she has been able to produce her best form. This could be the preparation that she delivers on her potential.
1 Unit Slow Burn
Race 9 - 5:40pm
I am happy to oppose a number of the leading chances in this race and there are a couple of horses that appeal at juicy odds. Patrick Erin has raced well in New Zealand and he heads into this race with plenty of residual fitness following his tough fourth place finish in the Wellington Cup. If he brings his best form from New Zealand to Australia, he will be right in this race and he has the benefit of Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Auvray is a quirky horse and this is still short of his best, but if this does turn into a staying contest he will have a genuine chance. He found the line nicely in the Parramatta Cup and he is another horse that does have a fitness edge over the rest of this field.
1 Unit Patrick Erin
¼ Unit Auvray