The Golden Rose Stakes has developed into one of the most anticipated races of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival and we are set for a fascinating contest at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
It is Graff that has opened as a narrow favourite for in-form trainer Kris Lees, but Chris Waller has a very strong hand and his three runners occupy the next three lines of Golden Rose Stakes betting.
Can Graff record a maiden Group 1 or will the Waller trio prove too strong? We have analysed every horse in the field and our complete 2018 Golden Rose Stakes tips can be found below.
Lean Mean Machine
Lean Mean Machine returned to the races with a win in The Run To The Rose and there was plenty of merit in that victory. He was held up and almost lost his balance when he was checked at the 300 metre mark, but he was still able to savage the line. The step-up to 1400 metres will suit him, he won the Sires’ Produce Stakes in Brisbane over 1350 metres, and he maps to get a nice run in transit with Tye Angland in the saddle. He is the horse to beat.
The Autumn Sun
It was tough to know what to make of the first-up effort of The Autumn Sun. There was no doubt that he was luckless in the run and he would have won the race with clear running, but he did give the impression that he was looking for a step-up to a mile rather than a drop back to 1400 metres. He is a star in the making and I still think that he is the horse to beat in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas as well as the Victoria Derby, but I’m unsure about him at 1400 metres.
Zousain was the disappointing runner in The Run To The Rose. He was well-backed in the lead-up to the race after a couple of impressive trials, but he looked to overrace in the middle of the contest and he was never really able to get into the race. The Zoustar colt is sure to improve on that performance, but he still needs to find a number of lengths to turn the table on Lean Mean Machine.
Graff is set to go into the 2018 Golden Rose Stakes as a clear favourite. He was caught wide throughout the Run To The Rose and he was still able to hit the line nicely to finish second behind Lean Mean Machine. Jason Collett will be able to settle him in a lovely position just behind the speed from barrier four and he will have the run of the race. There is no doubt that he is one of the leading contenders and he will be in the finish, but I don’t think there should be as much as there is between him and Lean Mean Machine in betting.
Sandbar was unable to match the turn-of-foot of Lean Mean Machine, Graff, Jonker and Zousain in the Run To The Rose. He does look to be at a level below the leading three-year-olds and it would surprise if he could turn-the-tables.
Santos returned to the races in the Heritage Stakes last Saturday and he never got a shot at his rivals in the straight. That is a far from ideal platform for the Golden Rose Stakes, but he is a horse that does have some upside.
Jonker returned to his usual tactics when he took up the running in The Run To The Rose and it did take Lean Mean Machine and Graff a while to run him down. In saying that, I would be surprised if he was able to run out a strong 1400 metres and The Run To The Rose was probably his change to beat those horses.
Long Leaf returned to the races with a promising effort in the Vain Stakes, but he never able to get into the contest in The Run To The Rose. I think that he is a better horse than that effort suggests, but he does map to get a long way back in the run and I’m not convinced that he is up to this level.
Danawai finally recorded a maiden race win in the Ming Dynasty Quality before he failed to fire in the Stan Fox Stakes. He didn’t look to enjoy the heavy track and I am happy to put the pen through that run. There is no fitter horse in this field and he does make his own luck right on the speed, so he does look a better chance than the $51 currently on offer suggests.
Tcahikovsky has been given a barrier trial since he failed to fire in the San Domenico Stakes. That barrier trial was good and you have to respect Team Snowden, but he has never shown anything to suggest that he is up to this level.
Seabrook is the x-factor in the Golden Rose Stakes field. She returned to the races with a nice performance in the McNeil Stakes and she will definitely improve with the step-up to 1400 metres. Fillies have an awful record in the Golden Rose Stakes, but there is no doubt that the Champagne Stakes winner had talent and she could be the major danger to the leading contenders.