Black type racing continues on Saturday at Ascot with the running of the Group 2 W.A.T.C Derby over the 2400m.
The Grant and Alana Williams team are looking to win the $400,000 feature for the fourth year in a row with the short-priced favourite Western Empire, while we’ve also seen some support for stablemate Reliable Star.
Our best bets for all nine races on WATC Derby Day can be found here.
Race 1 - 1:58pm
Westspeed Platinum Autumn Series Heat 2 (1100m)
City Circle returns on the quick backup after finishing a length second to Requisition over shorter last week.
She just weakened over the final 100m of that race, but the way she made up ground from midfield suggested to me that she’s looking for further now.
With four placings in seven starts over this trip, Neville Parnham’s five-year-old should be somewhere in the money once again.
1 Unit City Circle
Race 2 - 2:34pm
Pepsi Max Handicap (1600m)
Lord Lonsdale ate up the mile during the spring where he gapped his rivals by a length.
He was a little flat and misbehaved first-up over the 1200m last week, but he still finished off well for fourth despite racing wide for most of the trip.
The quick backup looks a lovely option for him now, and so too does the booking of Brad Rawiller.
Fitter in his second run back, he’ll take beating.
2 Units Lord Lonsdale
Race 3 - 3:19pm
Cool Ridge Handicap (1200m)
Kalalaroo doesn’t win out of turn, but he appears to have a serious class edge over most of this small field.
The son of All American was no match in the Group 2 WA Guineas and the Listed Sir-Ernest Lee Steere over the summer, but this does look a much easier race for him returning first-up from a spell.
Also have to be wary of the super impressive Kaptain Kaos. After winning his maiden by two lengths last month, he managed to go on with it by gapping his rivals by a similar margin over the same track and trip. Worth having a saver on.
2 Units Kalaroo
Race 4 - 3:59pm
Crown Perth Plate (1100m)
Featherweight should take a power of beating here after showing plenty in three starts to date.
He missed out on a start as one of the emergencies in last week’s Karakatta Plate, but this looks a much more suitable race for him to finally score his maiden.
The son of Snippetson ran well for a bold second on debut at Ascot back in February and was far from disgraced when fifth up to the 1100m in the Perth Stakes last time out.
Back in class, this is seemingly his for the taking.
2 Units Featherweight
Race 5 - 4:38pm
Amelia Park Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m)
Impossible to ignore the form of That’s Funny Az.
The four-year-old by Snippetson scored his hat-trick over this same track and trip two weeks ago where he put 1.5L between himself and Saturday’s rival Bogart.
He’s going great guns this time in work, and with only 1kg extra from another handy draw, I can’t find any reason why he won’t make it four in a row.
With little speed on offer, he should look to make his own luck on speed again and prove very tough to run down.
2 Units That’s Funny Az
Race 6 - 5:15pm
Solo Zero Handicap (1200m)
Some Sort gets the blinkers on looking to improve on his first-up third over the same track and trip two weeks ago.
He was no match for some fast finishers in that race, but that was likely the hit-out he needed after making only one start during the spring at Kalgoorlie.
The four-year-old son of Snippetson has won over this trip previously and placed on three other occasions. He’ll likely roll straight to the front and take some catching.
2 Units Some Sort
Race 7 - 5:50pm
Marjorie Charleston Classic (1200m)
Clairvoyance has opened at unbackable odds despite failing to catch River Beau last week over 100m shorter.
Even so, she’s still the one to beat in this race after storming home to win by five lengths in her first look at this trip last winter.
Dropping 2.5kg only enhances her claims, and with Chris Parnham steering from an ideal barrier, we should see her returning to the winner’s stall in triumphant fashion on Saturday.
Race 8 - 6:30pm
Group 2 W.A.T.C Derby (2400m)
Impossible to get away from Western Empire here following two impressive wins in the Listed JC Roberts and Melvista Stakes over the last month.
William Pike does have a little more work on his hands this time from the double-digit draw, but if he can park him just off the speed coming into the turn, there’s no doubt Western Empire’s turn of foot will put most of these to bed pretty early.
If you’re looking for one at value, Watch Me Dance looks to be it.
Stephen Wolfe’s filly showed real improvement for second last week to finish a length second to Typhoon Storm after racing on speed. She’s placed in four of her five runs over this trip and is also a previous winner third-up.
1 Unit E/W Watch Me Dance
Race 9 - 7:10pm
Furphy Handicap (1400m)
Downforce’s recent form makes for easy reading after winning over this track and trip by a comfortable margin three runs back.
He was caught a little wide in his latest but still did enormously well to run on for fourth. The four-year-old has been up for a while, but the wide gate should allow him to get back and run on with Steven Parnham back in the saddle.
2 Units Downforce