An exciting nine-race card at Royal Randwick on Saturday is headlined by the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes.
The rail will be set out six metres around the entire course and the track is set to be rated in the good range.
Race 1 - 12:15pm
Schweppes Handicap (1100m)
Athiri will enjoy good improvement into her second campaign start and is up to winning at Randwick on Saturday.
The Godolphin-trained mare has been a great horse for the stable throughout her career, and while she doesn’t win out of turn, she also rarely runs a bad race.
She only just missed when a nose second to Fanciful Dream when resuming and this looks the perfect race for her to go one better.
4 Units Athiri
Race 2 - 12:50pm
Highway Class 3 Handicap (1200m)
It’s Me has recorded two wins from as many career starts and is the one to beat again in Saturday’s Highway race.
The Shamus Award mare put the writing on the wall with a dominant win at Scone on debut, and took a big step up in class with an even stronger effort and win here at Randwick two weeks ago.
Fitter third-up, the sky is the limit for this horse, and she will take a power of beating.
*UPDATE* It’s Me has been scratched from the Highway Handicap
5 Units It’s Me
Race 3 - 1:25pm
Quincy Seltzer Handicap (1300m)
Heart Of The Oak is another horse that will enjoy good improvement into her second-up start, and this looks a lovely race for her.
The Gerald Ryan-trained mare won three of her first four career starts and ran into some good horses during her autumn preparation, ending the campaign in a couple of black type races, albeit probably a bridge too far at that point of her career.
She ran home well to finish second behind Wandabaa when resuming at Rosehill last month and I think that she’s since had another trial.
There are many good horses engaged, but I am happy to be with this filly.
3 Units Heart Of The Oak
Race 4 - 2:00pm
Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m)
Just six horses will step out in the Concorde Stakes and betting suggests that Nature Strip will be winning ($1.40 at publish).
He is the world’s highest-rated sprinter, fourth overall, and he was typically excellent during his autumn prep this year when winning both the Challenge Stakes and the TJ Smith.
He can be a little vulnerable first-up and for that reason, I’m going to have a little bet on Gytrash.
Gytrash went to another level in autumn, winning the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning first-up and placing in each of the Newmarket, William Redi and The Goodwood in the wake.
2 Units Gytrash
Race 5 - 2:35pm
ATC Farewells Subzero Handicap (1500m)
Kinane was an eye-catching fifth, just a length and a half from the winner when resuming a fortnight ago, and he is up to winning this race.
The Reliable Man gelding enjoyed a fast rise through the grades during his autumn and winter preparation, breaking his maiden at Wyong before winning the Frank Packer Plate at his following start.
He was sent to the paddock after finishing third in the Gunsynd Classic in Brisbane, and lofty targets are on his radar this time.
4 Units Kinane
Race 6 - 3:10pm
Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m)
Thermosphere nearly won the Silver Shadow Stakes a couple of weeks ago, and she can go one better in the Furious Stakes at a lovely price ($8 at publish).
The Exosphere filly won the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes most notably in autumn, but her first-up run this time suggested that she has returned to the races a more furnished prospect this time.
This is an excellent race, but she has a fitness edge over a couple of key rivals and definitely looks to be the value.
2 Units E/W Thermosphere
Race 7 - 3:50pm
Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m)
This is another strong and open edition of the Chelmsford Stakes, and a horse like Finche has live claims on winning at a nice price ($17 at publish).
Finche announced himself to the Australian racing fraternity with a couple of eye-catching efforts in the 2018 Spring Carnival, including a close-up fourth placing in the Melbourne Cup.
He was similarly impressive last spring and his fresh record is good.
He is currently available at Melbourne Cup odds of $34, but I am expecting that to quote to firm after a big performance in this race.
2 Units E/W Finche
Race 8 - 4:30pm
Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m)
Queenslander Vanna Girl steps out in the Tramway Stakes off a brief spell and looks a winning chance, in what is a wide-open race.
There is no doubt that this is the harder race that she has been set for, but she could hardly have been more impressive throughout the Queensland winter and has won each of her last four starts, three in black type company.
She’s had the benefit of a trial, she’ll carry just 55kgs, and several of her leading rivals in the market weren’t particularly impressive when resuming.
The conditions of this race should also suit the resuming Greysful Glamour, who can take up the running from barrier 5, and who takes four kgs from the topweights
2 Units Vanna Girl
1 Unit E/W Greysful Glamour
Race 9 - 5:10pm
Bisley Workwear Handicap (1200m)
Zakat was an outstanding winner for us here a couple of weeks ago and I see no reason why we should jump off now.
The Lonhro mare has recorded three wins and seven minor placings from her twelve career starts so far, and raced away from her rivals last time out, at $15.
Fitter third-up and on top of the ground, I think she’ll only improve.
2 Units Zakat