There is a hint of Autumn in the air at Royal Randwick on Saturday as a number of Group 1 winners do battle in the Expressway Stakes.
It is Alizee that has opened as a clear favourite in Expressway Stakes betting, but she won’t have things her own way against a strong field that includes Golden Eagle winner Kolding and Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi.
We have analysed the entire field and our complete 2020 Expressway Stakes tips can be found below.
Kolding is the most interesting runner in the Expressway Stakes field. He stamped himself as a genuine superstar with his wins in the Epsom Handicap and the Golden Eagle and is clearly one of the best horses in this field. The question is how forward is he for his return to the races? Chris Waller-trained horses are rarely at their top for their first-up runs and this is short of his pet distance. I expect him to find the line nicely, but I would be surprised if he won.
Glenall has been racing very consistently and he performed well without winning in the Starlight Stakes, Razor Sharp and Christmas Classic. He maps to get a lovely run in transit from barrier five and I like the fact that Team Hawkes have given him a barrier trial between race starts and he is always thereabouts at Royal Randwick. I think that he is a better chance than the current price suggests.
Special Reward has been scratched from the Expressway Stakes field.
Vegadaze finished second behind The Autumn Sun in the Hobartville Stakes last year, but has only had the one race start since. That was in the Missile Stakes and he did finish at the tail of the field. His barrier trials have only been fair and I would need to see something out of him before I could back him in a race of this quality.
Alizee is the horse to beat in the Expressway Stakes. She absolutely flies first-up, she has recorded four wins from five fresh starts, and she won this race in dominant fashion 12 months ago. The Sepoy mare wasn’t disgraced in any of her starts in the Autumn and this is the weakest race that she has contested since her Missile Stakes victory. Hugh Bowman can settle her off the speed and she has the turn-of-foot to finish over the top of her rivals late.
White Moss will return to the races for the first time since she failed to fire in the Kingsford-Smith Cup in May last year. Her two barrier trials ahead of her return to the races have been excellent and she is capable of a high-rating performance on her day. In saying that, she normally takes a run before she is at her best and I can’t see her matching it with the likes of Alizee fresh.
Irithea returned to a semblance of her best form to finish second behind Invincibella in the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares Quality and she looks the obvious leader in this contest. She would need to go to another level to win, but the Bjorn Baker stable is flying and she should be in this race for a long way.
It will be interesting to see how Kubrick fares in the Expressway Stakes. He was disappointing at Group 1 level in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas, but he was able to bounce back to his best to win the Bondi Stakes. I think that he will be better over further and I don’t think that he is sharp enough to win this race first-up.
Standout is a lightly-raced colt with serious upside. He started his racing career with three straight wins and he chased home the talented Cosmic Force to finish second in the Roman Consul Stakes. His trials ahead of his return to the races have been strong and it would not shock if he went to another level this campaign. The Exceed And Excel colt is the main danger to Alizee.
Kiamichi claimed an upset win in the 2019 Golden Slipper, but she was unable to replicate that sort of form during her Spring Racing Carnival campaign. She was sent to the spelling paddock following flat efforts in the Toy Show Quality and the Furious Stakes and it is tough to know what to make of her this campaign. $21 seems around the right price.