SET your alarm (or maybe just Sky+ it…) as there is some top-class racing Down Under this Saturday.
There are four Group 1 races on a rich card at Randwick in Sydney, headlined by the A$2m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. We’ve previewed the big races and have some top tips.
5.30am – Group 1 Australian Oaks (1m4f)
There are two key form lines coming into the Australian Oaks – the Vinery Stud Stakes and the Adrian Knox.
SHOUT THE BAR and Probabeel fought out the finish to the Group 1 Vinery over 1m2f at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
The former was well-ridden on the front-end to win by a neck from NZ raider Probabeel, and at first time of watching she looked a little fortunate to land the spoils.
But that was only her fourth career start and she clearly relished the step up the 1m2f there, and having looked vulnerable at the furlong pole she pulled out plenty under pressure.
There is every chance she could improve further for this trip for legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse, and she is fancied to uphold the form, for all Probabeel is a big danger, particularly if the track dries out.
It was impossible not to be impressed with Collette in the Adrian Knox here last week as she stormed home from off the pace to win easily.
She has six of these fillies covered on that evidence, and it will be interesting to see how she handles this step up in class against some proven Group 1 opponents with the trip unlikely to be an issue.
SELECTION: Shout The Bar
6.15am – Group 1 Sydney Cup (2m)
This prestigious staying contest looks to be between a trio of familiar names.
Mustajeer won the Ebor last summer for Ger Lyons and warmed up for this with a rock-solid second in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes at Rosehill over 1m4f.
He will be happier over this trip and is a major contender, as is the former Brian Meehan inmate Raheen House.
He gained a first win Down Under over 1m5f in heavy ground here last weekend and he was doing all his best work late.
But William Haggas’ YOUNG RASCAL brings bundles of staying potential to this contest.
He was given a peach by Tom Marquand to win his prep for this over 1m4f last time out in what became a muddling race.
This extra yardage looks sure to suit and he is very much unexposed in this sphere.
SELECTION: Young Rascal
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6.55am – Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1m2f)
UK fans will be up early to cheer on Addeybb and Tom Marquand in this historic race, worth a touch over £1 million.
He warmed up for this contest with a gutsy Group 1 victory in the Ranvet Stakes, and the second Verry Elleegant (reopposes here) has since bolted up at the top-level herself.
Addeybb holds rock-solid claims, for all he probably would have preferred slightly easier ground, but he is no banker to confirm the form with Verry Elleegant who is clearly thriving at present.
Both of them may have to settle for minor honours behind Japanese raider DANON PREMIUM, who brings a top-class level of form to the table.
He beat the subsequent Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux last year, while he has been trading blows with Far East stars Almond Eye and Indy Champ since then.
This is his first run for 6 months, but he has an excellent record fresh and, for all he would have preferred quicker ground, it is nowhere near as desperate as it can be in Sydney at this time of year.
NZ star Te Akau Shark looks ready for another crack at this trip and commands respect, while his compatriot Melody Belle has each-way claims having run well under a big weight in last weekend’s Doncaster.
SELECTION: Danon Premium
7.35am – Group 1 Coolmore Legacy (1m)
There were a few burnt fingers when FUNSTAR could only manage fourth in the Vinery Stud Stakes over further last time out.
But she had a rough trip having been trapped wide without cover and the petrol tank was probably running on empty the final furlong.
The drop back to a mile is a big plus and she receives weight from her elders, so provided that run two weeks ago hasn’t left a mark she would have an outstanding chance.
Nettoyer is turned out quickly following her brave win in the Doncaster Mile last Saturday. She will need to pull out more back against her own sex off level weights but she goes well over C&D.
Alizee has plenty of class form to her name and she was a solid fifth in the George Ryder Stakes latest. She should be bang there back against fillies and mares.
Positive Peace is progressing at a rate of knots and showed a good attitude to win the Emancipation Stakes last time. She is drawn out in the car park but is impossible to discount in her current mood.