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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Weekend racing preview & tips - including Epsom Handicap & The Metropolitan

    The following preview is courtesy of the racing team at Luxbet.

    GROUP 1 THE METROPOLITAN – The untapped Prince Cheri is the favourite on the back of a hard fought victory in the Kingston Town Stakes. He was far from impressive that day, but his performances before that were top notch and if he relishes the 2400m, which looks likely, he could very well throw himself into Caulfield Cup contention here. The main danger looks to be Brisbane Cup winner Moriarty, who won the Hill Stakes with ease last start. But the Hill Stakes has not been a good guide to the Metropolitan, and with a big weight he must be some risk. Lloyd Williams has sent Sydney Cup winner Mourayan and Turnbull Stakes runner-up Seville up to Sydney in an attempt to find form, and of the two, Seville should be expected to improve. He found form on this day last year, and he looks well handicapped on the 55.5kg. Others of note are Kingdoms, who has run far better than it looks on paper this preparation, and Julienas, who was strong winning the Colin Stephen Quality last weekend.

    GROUP 1 FLIGHT STAKES – A small six horse field faces the starter here, and after the Tea Rose Stakes, it looks a walkover for Guelph. Expect her to record her third Group 1 victory here, ahead of the Thousand Guineas and a potential Cox Plate tilt. We were very keen on Arabian Gold last start, but Guelph picked her up and carried her. With the run under her belt, she should be improved, but I can’t see her beating the favourite. It’s the same story with Bound for Earth, who had every opportunity to beat Guelph last week but was unable to do so. If there’s a surprise amongst the placegetters, perhaps it will be Sensibility, a lightly raced filly for Peter Moody. She won with great authority on debut at Mornington, before disappointing in Adelaide last time as a hot favourite. I think she needs to be ridden cold, if so, she can come storming home. Again, though, it’s likely to be well behind Guelph.

    GROUP 2 ROMAN CONSUL STAKES – This race looks Zoustar’s for the taking, with the Golden Rose winner dropping back in trip to take on a field of inferior horses. Va Pensiero and Barbed look the only two with any possibility of beating him over the shorter trip, but Zoustar should just win as he marches towards the Coolmore Stud Stakes. Va Pensiero has been the most consistent three year old of the spring, winning the San Domenico Stakes at big odds and the Run to the Rose at even bigger odds before an unlucky fourth last start behind Barbed. Expect him to be somewhere around the mark. And Barbed, who we were very keen on, was backed from $14 to $5.50 before his first up win in the Heritage Stakes. He’ll be better up to 1200m but still looks inferior to the favourite.

    GROUP 2 PREMIERE STAKES – There are 16 runners in this race, and none of the 16 would surprise if they won. Arinosa was the most improved horse in Australia last autumn, and the way she returned, she looked like she could win anything on her day. If the same Arinosa turns up here, she could destroy this field. She does face stiff opposition from stablemates She’s Clean and Dystopia, as well as Darley’s Pinwheel and Rarefied. It’s not an easy race for her at all. A significant subplot will involve grand old Hay List as he has what could be his final start. The only horse who ever challenged Black Caviar on a regular basis has been reduced to a sad shadow of his former self, and it has left many in the industry wondering why he continues to race. Mercifully, retirement looms if he fails here. Hopefully he returns safe and sound for what is one of racing’s sadder stories.

    GROUP 3 CRAVEN PLATE – The Craven Plate is one of the most underrated races on the Sydney calendar, and it is a perfect stepping stone to races later in the carnival. Lloyd Williams has won two of the last three Craven Plates with C’est La Guerre and Mourayan, and he looks in the box seat to make it three from four with Masked Marvel. The one time English St Leger winner ran last at his Australian debut in the Makybe Diva Stakes, but he wasn’t bad by any means. He proved this two weeks ago, when he would have won the Hill Stakes if he had not darted to the outside fence. As long as he doesn’t repeat that effort, he should just win here. His only danger – on paper at least – appears to be last year’s Melbourne Cup fourth Kelinni, who was scratched from the Hill Stakes after suffering from a bout of colic. He has since won a trial impressively, but he’ll be looking for a strong performance to justify a tilt at the Cups.

    GROUP 2 EDWARD MANIFOLD STAKES – The premier Victorian lead-up to the Thousand Guineas in a week and a half. Politeness is the favourite off the back of a good run in the Tranquil Star Stakes – otherwise known as the Thousand Guineas Prelude – but I think the Sydney form is stronger this year. For that reason, I’ll be putting Wordplay on top. This half-sister to Fiveandahalfstar is on an Oaks preparation, but her second to Savvy Nature in the Spring Stakes at Newcastle was good enough for a race of this nature. Also in with a good chance is Solicit, who just got there to win last start at Moonee Valley. She looks like she’ll be better suited at Flemington. Romantic Moon has been backed but I’m not sure she’s shown enough to recommend her this preparation.

    GROUP 2 GILGAI STAKES – A typically open straight race. It always pays to look for horses who have performed well down the straight before, so I’d be looking at a horse like Aeronautical right away. He ran a massive race when third in a photo to Shamexpress and Moment of Change in the Newmarket Handicap earlier this year, and if he was to find that form, he’d be hard to beat. He looked likely to win first up behind Sessions, and he meets that same horse 1.5kg better for a nose defeat. He’s a big chance. Of the Darley runners, it might be best to look to the much maligned Galah instead of the well supported Sessions. Galah finished fourth in this race last year after being buffeted from pillar to post. Another run like that would have him in contention.

    GROUP 2 BLAZER STAKES – The mares end the day at Flemington, and if early money is any guide, Peron may be one of the best backed runners all day. The Patinack galloper has always had a boom around her, and she lost no admirers with a barnstorming first up run. 1400m at Flemington should suit her right to the ground, and the draw gives jockey Nash Rawiller options. I’d expect her to be right in the mix. Her biggest dangers are Flying Snitzel and Zurella, both winners over this track and distance.

    Here’s Luxbet’s take on a bumper weekend of racing:

    LUXBET’S EPSOM TIP – Rekindled Interest – Cracking first up run under 61kg behind subsequent Group 1 placegetter Le Bonsir. Drops 5.5kg, and although his second up form doesn’t look flash, he tends to improve markedly for a run. Looks thrown in at 2.5kg above the limit if he can find his best.

    LUXBET’S BEST – Wordplay – Flemington R7 No. 4 – The half-sister to Fiveandahalfstar looks the ideal filly for Flemington, and Savvy Nature franked the Spring Stakes form in last week’s Gloaming. She’s a terrific filly.

    LUXBET’S VALUE – Kingdoms – Randwick R9 No. 13 – We’re big fans of the favourite Prince Cheri, but if there’s one to beat him, it could be Kingdoms. Drops from the 58kg to 52.5kg, and at his one run at the track and distance, he was third in the ATC Derby. Good each way.

    LUXBET’S LAY - Mukaddamah Son – Doomben R5 No. 1 – He’s only won one from 10 races here at Doomben, and has been beaten at $4.80, $3.40 and $2.25 at his last three at the track. Have to oppose him again.

    LUXBET’S BEST BACKED – Ecuador – Randwick R7 No. 16 – This has been a very big go. Ecuador, $41 on Sunday night and looking an unlikely starter, was $12 when the final field was declared. Support has continued, and he’s now $7.

 

 

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