Black type racing returns to Royal Randwick on Saturday and the Group 2 Missile Stakes headlines the ten-race program.
The rail will be set out five metres around the entire course and at publish, we’re faced with a track rated in the Good (4) range.
Race 1 - 11:15am
ClubsNSW Western Metropolitan Handicap (1400m)
Diamonds’n’Stones takes his place in the first on Missile Stakes Day second-up, and I’m confident that he will be in the finish.
The Brazen Beau gelding was a strong and consistent performer for the Hawkes stable last time, but he clearly needed the run when he finished fourth, beaten two lengths by a fit Fastconi here when fresh.
He is yet to miss placing at this point of his prep and he appears primed to strike.
2 Units Diamonds’n’stones
Race 2 - 11:50am
Cliff Clare Handicap (2400m)
I’m happy to back Harpo Marx to bounce back in the second on Missile Stakes Day.
The Galileo gelding charged in to score a lovely win here two back, but was a little flat when going around as favourite at Rosehill last time out.
I think that getting back to the mile and a half at Randwick will prove ideal, as will the booking of James McDonald.
4 Units Harpo Marx
Race 3 - 12:25pm
Highway Class 3 Plate (1800m)
Rebellious Miss has been outstanding this prep and she is ready to tackle a Highway race.
The Rebel Raider mare returned to winning form in BM50 company two back and franked the effort with another bullish performance in NBM58 company at Nowra last time.
She’s rock-hard fit and gets the services of Hugh Bowman this week, and we can have an each-way play at the price.
2 Units E/W Rebellious Miss
Race 4 - 1pm
Billy Camer Handicap (1500m)
He has been a little frustrating, but he gives a sight every time that he steps out, and I cannot see past Great House in the fourth at Randwick on Saturday.
The Galileo gelding returned from a short break to win over 1800m at Rosehill in June and has placed at his two subsequent starts, only just missing here last time.
I like that he has been freshened and sent back to the trials since that effort, and I think he can return a sharp performance over the 1500m.
4 Units Great House
Race 5 - 1:35pm
Midway Handicap (1800m)
There is a case to be made for a few runners in Race 5, including Bazooka.
Bazooka doesn’t win out of turn, but he also rarely returns a poor effort, and he has been a typically consistent performer since resuming this time.
His last-start effort for second behind the talented Yiyi at Rosehill suggested that a win isn’t far away, and I think he can get it this week.
3 Units Bazooka
Race 6 - 2:15pm
Ray Selkrig Handicap (1200m)
Irish Angel looms as a key winning chance in the sixth at Randwick on Saturday.
The Not A Single Doubt mare recorded an impressive win at Canterbury when fresh and has finished second at each of her two subsequent starts.
This is a small rise in class, but a lot of her rivals are returning to Saturday company from midweek races, and she’s another whose claims on winning have been boosted by the booking of James McDonald.
3 Units Irish Angel
Race 7 - 2:55pm
Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m)
In my opinion, the Missile Stakes is the first real indication that the Spring Carnival looms, and a classy field of sprinters has been taken for the Group 2 feature.
Three-time Group 1 winner Kolding has won at this point of his prep previously and I think that his class edge will take him a long way towards winning.
The Ocean Park gelding was a typically strong and consistent performer in some of the autumn’s best races, and added the All Aged Stakes to his mantle most notably.
3 Units Kolding
Race 8 - 3:55pm
Listed Rosebud (1100m)
This year’s Golden Rose shapes as a fascinating contest, and the series begins at Randwick with the running of The Rosebud on Saturday.
With a case to be built for nearly every horse, I’m going to have something on In The Congo.
The Snitzel colt stamped himself as one to watch when winning on debut on the Kensington course here with something in hand, and he only just missed when a nose second in Saturday company here last time.
He has been freshened since that effort and returned an eye-catching trial here last week.
4 Units In The Congo
Race 9 - 4:15pm
Little Wings Handicap (1100m)
I’m going to give Lancaster Bomber another chance in the penultimate race on Missile Stakes Day.
The Denman gelding has been tough and consistent in three starts back this time, but another win remains elusive, and it is fair to say that he was a little flat last time.
He should be nearing peak fitness for this contest, and he is drawn to receive every chance under Nash Rawiller from barrier 4.
3 Units Lancaster Bomber
Race 10 - 4:55pm
ATC Thank You Jockeys Handicap (1300m)
Kingsheir hasn’t been seen at the races since September, but has had the benefit of a couple of trials in the lead-up to his return, and I am happy to have something on him in the last at Randwick.
The Kingman gelding was a consistent performer during his debut prep, missing the minors once in five starts and winning twice.
He gets into this well under the conditions and can fight out the finish.
2 Units Kingsheir