The Championships Day 1 is here, and what a day it is. Four Group Ones and a fabulous support card at Royal Randwick. Key races previewed Sires Produce Stakes, Australian Derby, T J Smith Stakes & Doncaster Handicap. The day is supported by a strong program at Caulfield.

Select a Race Meeting

Race 2

1:00pm

Suggested

Danon Roman (No.2) & Heir To The Throne (No.15)

Dangers

Laughing Heir (No.4) & I Got You (No.10)

After a couple of stand alone Saturday’s outside of Melbourne Saturday racing returns to Caulfield this weekend for what looks a really deep and strong support card to the big meeting up at Randwick. No issues with the Melbourne weather at all unlike Sydney and we should be racing on a good track with the rail out ten metres for the entire circuit. As per usual I would expect Caulfield to play fairly and every horse have their chance.

I am kicking the day off in the second race which is over the mile and there look to be a host of chances here. Heir To The Throne resumed from a spell at Sandown on the Lakeside track recently and ran a really good race. That was a day where the Lakeside track certainly played very much like the Lakeside track and it was hard for horses to make ground from off the speed. He made a strong mid race move around the field coming widest into the straight but just peaked on his run late and Won Ball proved too strong. I thought it was an encouraging return. He was very firm in the market that day which suggests that he has come back well and I think he finds a winnable Saturday race here. He will be better for that outing, he gets good weight relief down to 55.5kgs and I would expect him to roll forward from a middle gate for Beau Mertens and be up on speed throughout. If that is the case I think he will prove hard to hold out.

Danon Roman was a little bit soft in the market when resuming at Sandown on the Hillside track last start and ran accordingly. He loomed to win halfway down the straight but was just unable to finish the race off with his condition seemingly giving out. He should strip a lot fitter for that here and his form last campaign around the likes of Furrion, Best Of Days and Lucky For All certainly reads well for a race of this nature. He draws a nice middle gate for James Winks to land just off the speed and I am happy to be with him here.

Creativity certainly looks the class runner in the race. She is now in the stables of Craig Widdison at Wodonga after formerly being with Ellerton & Zahra. She is a mare that has had quite a few barrier issues in her time but has always displayed good talent. She is typically very good early in her campaigns and she went well enough in a recent Wangaratta jump out to suggest that she will run well here. She draws out for Linda Meech but I would expect her to roll forward from that alley and be right in the finish so happy to be with her.

Huge Action is the one at massive odds I could see running a cheeky race. He is a local trained on the track and will most likely have been set for this race. He has run well here in the past and at huge odds I thought he would be worth a small ticket.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Danon Roman here and $35 the win on Heir To The Throne!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 5

2:55pm

Suggested

News Girl (No.3), Lady Pluck (No.5) & Rapidora (No.12)

Dangers

Enbihaar (No.1) & Fidelia (No.10)

This is another pretty deep race here. It is for the three year old fillies over the 1100m. I am looking forward to seeing this Tasmanian filly in Lady Pluck return to the mainland. I actually had something on her at $71 back in September when she chased home Smart Melody at Flemington in a listed race and she provided something for the each way punters by running third at the big odds. She was immediately spelled post that run and has returned this time in with two strong victories in Tasmania. She got the job done narrowly as a very short priced odds on favourite first up and then her win last start when second up was most dominant. She sat just off the speed there but was able to reel her rivals in and then power away late. The Tasmanian form just keeps holding up over there and I see no reason why it won’t again here. I think she is an above average filly and more than happy to be in her corner.

News Girl comes back off a freshen up here after running some good races over the summer months. She came down from Albury and ran well in three races here at Caulfield. Twice she was just touched off by Crack The Code before stepping up to the 1400m and running well behind Qafila. That looks good form for this type of race. I like that she has had the freshen up and comes back to the 1100m here. I think from that middle gate if she can land in front or outside the leader without doing too much work early she is going to take some running down in the straight. She is an above average filly and I think the $7-8 being bet about her here in early markets is quite juicy so happy to be with her also.

The other horse I am going to have something small on in the race is Rapidora. This filly showed some good potential in her debut campaign and providing she has improved in the break then she can certainly run a strong race here. Her recent Flemington jump out alongside a couple of handy types was quite stylish. She led on the fence there and was never let off the bridle and looked to have a fair bit more to give. She is down in the weights here from a favourable middle draw and with that natural improvement from her first campaign into this one I think she can certainly be competitive. The $20+ being bet about her looks a good price and certainly worthy of a ticket.

Betting strategy

Pretty keen on Lady Pluck here and will have $50 the win on her saving with $20 the win on News Girl and $10 the win on Rapidora!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6

3:35pm

Suggested

Flying Krupt (No.5) & Leather’n’lace (No.8)

Dangers

Mamzelle Tess (No.4) & Non Paear (No.10)

This is a smaller field here over the 1100m for the mares and it has drawn together a pretty solid field. It is a smaller field than a few of the other races on the program so there isn’t as much depth to it and I was pretty confident we could narrow this one down a bit to a confident two bet play. Leather’n’lace is a former Weir trained mare that I have always had a lot of time for but she hasn’t been able to break through and win a race for some time. I have a couple of theories on that. Her best campaign for mine was easily her second campaign where she strung together three consecutive wins. The hallmark of those runs in particular a 1400m win here one day was that she showed sustained speed to lead from the front. Since that spring campaign the closest she has settled in the run in any of her subsequent seven starts is third which was at her most recent run at Geelong last spring. All in all she hasn’t won since September 2017 so it is a decent run of outs. Weir’y seemed intent on riding her off the speed with cover and that brought about her undoing in quite a few races in my opinion. Certainly a couple of races here in the spring behind Winter Bride and Ellicazoom she struck traffic problems which proved costly. She is now in the Ellerton & Zahra yard and I am really hopeful they revert to riding her more positively and using that speed as an advantage. Her two recent jump outs at Flemington have looked stylish and she certainly looks to have come back well. If you go back through her form there are competitive runs against the likes of Booker, She’s So High and Winter Bride which read superbly for a race of this nature. I like her drawn out over the 1100m I don’t think that will be an issue at all and if she brings her best to the table I think she will be hard to beat so keen to be with her.

Flying Krupt came back off a freshen up at Flemington last start and was just touched off by Swift Sis down the straight there. She just had that little bit of trouble getting a clear crack at them for a hundred metres or so but found the line well once clear. Her form through her last campaign over the summer months were excellent. She stepped out to 1400m and won well here in that campaign but I feel she might be best as a run on sprinter. I think she just sees out the 1400m. She gets every opportunity to get back into the winners circle here. She draws ideally in gate two to get a gun run in behind the speed with no weight on her back and I think all she needs is some luck in running and she should be right in the finish. Happy to be with her.

Betting strategy

There isn't much fat in this market now! I am liking the early support for Leather'n'lace though and for that reason will stake heavier on her having $60 the win on saving with $30 the win on Flying Krupt!

Race Outlay

$90

Race 7

4:15pm

Suggested

Streets Of Avalon (No.1) & Spirit Of Aquada (No.13)

Dangers

Ashlor (No.2)

This race is over the 1200m for the sprinters and we revert back to a pretty deep race with many chances pretty quickly. This race brings together a lot of in form horses. It is a really good race. But it has been marred by scratchings. That has left me with Spirit Of Aquada who has come back from a spell in really good form this time in it would seem. First up at Moonee Valley he turned in a really dominant performance coming from just off the speed to win easily before making a ton of ground up down the straight last start when just touched off by Villa Sarchi. Both runs have been excellent and he looks well placed here to run well down in the weights. He draws a nice middle gate, he gets that weight relief as mentioned and third up from a spell should be primed to run a big race.

I am now going to also have something on Streets Of Avalon as well. The draw looks less awkward now with the scratchings and he should come across and land outside the leader and be pretty hard to get past. The horse is flying so happy to be with him also.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Streets Of Avalon here and will also have $35 the win on Spirit Of Aquada!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8

4:55pm

Suggested

Hellova Street (No.1) & Heptagon (No.14)

Dangers

Manolo Blahniq (No.9) & Naantali (No.13)

This was another race that I thought could be narrowed down a little bit. The scratching of Captain Cook who was the import for Chris Waller having his first Australian start has almost cemented that for me. He was the unknown in the race I was a bit wary of off the back of a trial in Sydney where he looked to have a bit more to give. With him out I am pretty confident that one of Hellova Street or Heptagon win.

Gee, he was brave at Flemington last start Hellova Street. He sat on the speed which was really strong and after being caught a little bit wide early stuck on bravely to just go down to Widgee Turf who was given an absolute peach of a run. The form from that race has been outstanding too with Streets Of Avalon winning at Mornington and then Haripour coming out and winning at big odds at Bendigo last week. I just think it is Hellova Street’s race to lose. Yes, he has to carry the 60kgs but that won’t worry him as he is as tough as nails. He draws a nice middle gate for Jason Maskiell to roll forward on speed and should he land outside the leader or in front without much pressure then he is going to be really hard to get past. The slight concern if any is that his Caulfield form certainly doesn’t read particularly strong. He is yet to win in six runs here but that may be a bit deceptive. A couple of those runs have either been at the top level or over an unsuitable shorter trip. Here on Saturday he is in his right grade and over his pet 1400m distance. There is a bit to like and for mine he is clearly the horse to beat.

I am going to keep Heptagon on side. This galloper is just flying at the moment. He beat Streets Of Avalon three starts back here at this track before stepping up to the mile and probably just not running that out as strongly as he does the 1400m two starts back at Flemington. He then went to Echuca last start and made a mess of his rivals in the Echuca Cup. He stays down in the weights here which looks a key factor, he draws to get a gun run just off the speed for an in form Michael Dee and he certainly shapes as the logical danger to Hellova Street. Like that galloper he absolutely loves this 1400m trip and he seems to be in career best form at the moment so it is hard to see him not being in the finish. I would be surprised if one of the two weren’t winning to be honest.

Betting strategy

They have really come for Heptagon here! I will have $45 the win on him but go for the bigger result by having $35 the win on Hellova Street at the better odds!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 1

12:10pm

Suggested

Athiri (No.8) & Libertini (No.10)

Dangers

Bivouac (No.1), Not Feint Hearted (No.6) & Evening Slippers (No.9)

The Championships are here. It is Day One and what a day this is. Four Group Ones and a fabulous support card at Royal Randwick. It is going to be one hell of a day. The weather as always in Sydney is the issue. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is good but there is a bit of rain expected on Thursday which will keep the track in the soft range for race day most likely. The rail is in the true position and typically over the last few years on this day the track has tended to advantage on pace runners closer to the rail early in the day. The rails run in certainly not a disadvantage before it evens out a bit later in the day. It will require close watching but at the same time over the last twelve months the track has played really fairly so unless something profound comes up early then I will just back the best horses in.

I am kicking the day off nice and early in the first race which is for the two year olds over the 1100m. I haven’t come up with anything form left field here. It is a two year old race, Godolphin saddle up two runners including the short priced favourite Athiri from gate number two with J-Mac on board. It sounds a winning combination and I think it will be. This filly has raced really well this campaign without having the best of luck. She was an excellent winner on debut at Rosehill back in December before being spelled immediately. She was then sent to Melbourne where she had a wide run in finishing third behind Lyre in the Blue Diamond Prelude before probably getting a touch too far back in the Blue Diamond when fourth behind that same galloper. She then returned to Sydney and chased home Kiamichi over the 1200m three weeks ago in the Magic Night. That filly obviously went on to win the Golden Slipper a week later. I think this is a nice little drop back in grade for Athiri. She draws gate two as I mentioned to get that perfect run most likely trailing in behind the leader and if the breaks come her way at the right time then she is going to be very hard to hold out. I am happy to be with her.

I am going to keep a first starter on side in Libertini. This is a very well bred filly who trialled up nicely last Friday here. She was never let off the bridle in that trial and looked to go to the line with a fair bit in hand. Anthony Cummings loves to have a throw at the stumps on big days like this and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has this filly primed for a big debut run. Her breeding suggests any rain won’t be an issue. She draws well to get a good run just off the speed and I fancy if the breaks come her way she make her presence felt. At double figure odds given she represents a bit of unknown and x-factor in the race I am happy to have something small on her to save behind the favourite.

Betting strategy

I am hoping Athiri kicks us off on the right note here! I will have $70 the win on her and save with $10 the win on Libertini!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 3

1:20pm

Suggested

Zalatte (No.3) & Amangiri (No.6)

Dangers

Justice Glory (No.1) & Prosecution (No.2)

This is a cracking edition of the Adrian Knox Stakes for the three year old fillies over the 2000m. It is a capacity field with a heap of chances. The market has really found the Team Hawkes filly in Amangiriwho comes off a couple of big wins in lower grade. She ran a super race on debut when beating all bar the talented Final Award who we saw win well at Canberra on Cup Day there. She then broke her maiden with a dominant win at Kensington before walking in at Hawkesbury against the older horses last start. She is clearly talented and had she come up $4 here I would be certain to back her. The $2.60 on offer just looks a little bit skinny in my opinion. For that reason I am going to bet around her but not too heavily as I obviously concede her a great winning chance.

I just had her and Princess Jenni rated a lot closer to each other in the market. I am obviously an unabashed Princess Jenni fan and she rewarded my faith with an excellent win at Moonee Valley a couple of Friday nights ago. I thought that win contained a lot of merit. She was three wide and back in the field albeit with cover. The really impressive part of the race however was before the home turn. The favourite Angelic Ruler was in front of her and blending into the race nicely while Princess Jenni was tracking the horse outside of Angelic Ruler. That horse was struggling though which forced Ollie to hook around her as they were turning to maintain the momentum. That gave Angelic Ruler a bit of an advantage as she come around the corner a couple of lanes closer to the inside covering less ground. Despite that Princess Jenni pinned the ears back once they straightened and mowed Angelic Ruler down for what was a really impressive victory. I think it is only a taste of what is to come. I think this is a serious filly. She finally draws a barrier here. She has just been cruelled by barriers all campaign and was even scratched twice before resuming because of bad gates. She gets gate four here for Ollie though to get the gun run just off the speed. Hopefully he can use that gate and settle a little bit closer in the run. She does have to carry the top weight but I am not too concerned by that. She comes into the race third up so for mine she is still very much on an upward spiral in terms of her campaign and I think the $7-8 being bet about here is an excellent price. Keen to be with her.

Clementina comes over from New Zealand here after one of the more unlucky runs you will ever see last start in the New Zealand Oaks. My goodness, that was a run. It was a sick beat if you were on. She had a lovely smothering run back on the fence off the speed but was blending into the race nicely turning for home. As they straightened she looked to be easing into the clear and just as she was nearly out in clear air she got shunted back into a pocket. She then went back to the inside and tried to get a run between horses, that gap closed and in the end had to be ripped back across heels to get to the outside of runners. By then she had lost many lengths and the bird had flown. She charged to the line late to be beaten less than two lengths. It was a huge run. I think she is a great chance here. She is still a maiden but with so many of these fillies stepping up to this trip for the first time, she is clearly seasoned with recent runs over the staying trip under her belt. She has the miles in the legs so if it is a testing 2000m she will be well placed and at double figure odds I think she is well worth a ticket.

Pressure resumed with a good run at Sandown without much luck. The Matt Cumani stable is going really well and I fancy with a more positive ride here from Williams she can make her presence felt so keeping her on side at double figure odds also.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on Princess Jenni and save with $15 the win on both Clementina and Pressure!

Race Outlay

$60

Race 5

2:35pm

Suggested

The Taj Mahal (No.2), Self Sense (No.4), Gallic Chieftain (No.11) & Supernova (No.19)

Dangers

Shraaoh (No.14) & Semari (No.15)

This race is for the stayers over the 2600m. It is the Chairman’s Quality and it is another race with a very big field. We see quite a few well exposed types in this race and for that reason I am really struggling to not make a significant case for the horse down the bottom in Supernova. This lightly raced import now with Team Hawkes has been outstanding in his two runs here in Sydney and I think he is clearly a very promising stayer. He has the form on the board over these longer trips in Europe before coming out here, the slight concern is does he have the grounding this campaign for a hard 2600m run against these battled hardened rivals. He hit the line strongly first up at Rosehill over the 1500m before overcoming difficulties when scoring second up over the 1900m last start on a heavy track. He was held up and in an awkward spot coming to the home turn that day but once he got clear he really picked up nicely to run down his rivals and win running away. He clearly looks a smart horse on the up and that is the gamble here. He is on the way up, he meets a lot of rivals that have been attacking these type of races for some time. I like him as the fresh blood and while he is well found in the market I don’t want to be against him so happy to be in his corner.

I am going to save on a few other runners at double figure odds to be on the safe side. The Taj Mahal is an interesting runner. The Lloyd Williams gallopers have performed a bit underwhelmingly in recent times. The Taj Mahal’s recent runs haven’t been too bad though and they have all been against Avilius and co. in strong company. I think he comes back a notch or two here and up to the 2600m should suit him ideally. He gets the services of James McDonald too which is a bonus and if he is ever going to fire then this looks the race that he might be able to do so in. Even though he was well beaten last start I thought he was coming again on the line and actually went through the line quite strongly. The last time he got over the 2400m he won the Sandown Classic in strong fashion. I think he is looking for this longer trip and at the double figure odds looks well worth a ticket.

It is pretty hard to leave Self Sense out of the equation. Even though the horse is being set for jumps races at The Bool, he has picked up the Yarra Valley and Mornington Cups at his last two starts. He is just flying. Throw in the fact he is likely to get his favourite soft conditions here and he is going to be thereabouts again in my opinion. I am just sick of not backing him and he wins at a decent price. He is double figure odds again here so I am obliged to have something on him.

Gallic Chieftain is an interesting runner for mine. His two runs back have been good. He hit the line well at Flemington in the Blamey first up behind Fifty Stars before he probably just wasn’t suited by the Yarra Valley track or how the race was run last start. He gets a significant weight turnaround on Self Sense for being beaten by him there. He draws gate on here for Damian Lane, gets the blinkers on and handles soft going. I think he has a fair bit in his favour so he is another I am happy to keep on side at the double figure odds.

Betting strategy

I will have $50 the win on Supernova here and save with $10 the win on all three of The Taj Mahal, Self Sense and Gallic Chieftain!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6 - Sires Produce Stakes

3:15pm

Suggested

Microphone (No.2), Probabeel (No.11) & Loving Gaby (No.12)

Dangers

Castelvecchio (No.1), Bellevue Hill (No.5) & Kiamichi (No.10)

This is the first of the Group One races of the day. It is the Sires Produce for the two year olds over 1400m. This is a good edition of the Sires. We have the horses coming through the Golden Slipper along with some fresh blood, so it is an intriguing punting puzzle. I am probably most keen on a horse that isn’t coming through the Golden Slipper in Probabeel. This talented New Zealand filly won three of her first four starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia. She won those three in quick succession with the most recent victory coming in the Karaka Millions on Australia Day. She was then about seven weeks between runs into the Magic Night at Rosehill where she just got a mile out of her ground behind Kiamichi the Golden Slipper winner. She certainly got through the line strongly but was set far too big of a task to win from the position she was in. She got through the line like a Sires horse to my eye though and up to the 1400m here she looks well placed. She gets a few key gear changes too. The blinkers go on for the first time with the visors going off and she also has a tongue tie go on. I certainly think the intention will not be to get as far back as what she did three weeks ago. She has drawn out again though for Opie Bosson so I think she will still be back off the speed but I am hoping she is within striking distance to launch a big finishing run. If she is I think she might be hard to hold out so happy to be in her corner.

The two horses I want to be on from the Golden Slipper are Microphone and Loving GabyMicrophone’s form going into the Slipper was excellent and he ran well, I just thought Bowman perhaps could have been a bit more positive on him early in the race to hold a spot. In the end he was probably just giving Kiamichi too big a start. He chased hard and was pulling ground off her on the line but couldn’t reel her in. I wouldn’t have thought of him as a Sires horse prior to that race but the way he raced on that day and the way he went through the line suggests to me that he is more than capable of running out a strong 1400m. Bowman rides from what looks to be a potentially awkward gate and I am hoping he is pretty positive on Microphone can offset that by putting him into the race early. If he does that he should be in the finish and I want to be with him.

Loving Gaby was an excellent run in the Slipper and she looks well set up here. She draws a gun gate for James McDonald to get the perfect run just off the speed having found trouble in the Blue Diamond and then drawing wide in the Slipper. She just looks to get a few more things in her favour on Saturday and can settle closer in the run without doing too much work early in the race. From there she just needs a touch of even luck and she should be right there in the finish so I am certainly keen to be with her also.

The chances don’t end there though. Kiamichi is again great odds and she is the Golden Slipper winner who is likely to again get conditions to suit. She is a great chance again as is Bellevue Hill and Castelvecchio who has been set for the race. Looking forward to it.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Loving Gaby and Microphone and $20 the win on Probabeel here!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 7 - Australian Derby

3:55pm

Suggested

Arrogant (No.4), Chapada (No.5) & Declarationofheart (No.14)

Dangers

Madison County (No.2) & Global Exchange (No.8)

This is the big one for the three year olds. It is the Australian Derby over the mile and a half. The race has already been robbed of one of its main chances with the filly Frankely Awesome a scratching on Thursday. I was probably not going to be in her corner anyway in what really is a tricky Derby. There is no horse that really comes into the race with outstanding form and there are a couple of different form lines coming together. The obvious form that I kept coming back to was the Rosehill Guineas and the Mike Moroney pair of Arrogant and Chapada who beat home all bar The Autumn Sun two weeks ago. They both look certain to run out the trip and both seem to be coming good at the right time.

Chapada ran third in the VRC Derby in the spring and for mine he is every chance of going two places better on Saturday here in Sydney. Aside from a disappointing run in the Australian Guineas his other two runs this time in have been excellent. He jumped out well prior to his first up run at Flemington in the C S Hayes where he was heavily backed and ran well from the back of the field on a day suiting those up on speed. The fact there was such strong money for him that day was an indication that he had come back in really good order. Doubt probably surfaced following that Australian Guineas run but he then bounced back with a super run in the Rosehill Guineas last start. He just got held up and shuffled back at crucial stage before the home turn when the winner was building momentum around the outside into the race. His effort to pick up and work through the field and still run on and finish third was excellent in my opinion. Ollie was pretty kind on him through the line too. No doubt this race has been the main target all along and he seems to arrive poised to deliver a career peak performance. I don’t mind him drawn out a little bit here for Ollie. I think providing he can slot in one off the fence and be free to make his move into the race unimpeded at the right time and building momentum he is going to be very hard to hold out. Keen to be with him.

He wasn’t exactly pulling ground off his stable mate Arrogant last start though. Gee, Arrogant really fought on well in his stoush with The Autumn Sun and only just went down by a narrow margin. That followed a good run in the New Zealand Derby but whereas a lot of his rivals from that race including the three who finished in front of him have failed since coming here to Sydney, he looks to have improved. He will roll forward from the wide draw and no doubt be up in the firing line the whole way. He will stick on strongly and no doubt run the trip right out. So while I am keener on the stable mate Chapada I don’t want to be losing on the race should Arrogant salute.

Global Exchange and Declarationofheart both come through the Alistair Clark at Moonee Valley three weeks ago and both look excellent chances. I am backing Declarationofheart in to turn the tables. He just had to go a bit sooner than Global Exchange at Moonee Valley and allowed that horse to have the last shot at him and run him down in the final stride. Since then both horses have trialled in Sydney and I was particularly taken with how Declarationofheart went in that trial. He draws gate one for Mark Zahra so he will do no work in the run and I just thought at the better price around that $12-15 mark he looked a good price and probably over his true odds so happy to have something on him.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Arrogant and Chapada here! I will also have $15 the win on Declarationofheart and I will lock in the $16 about him which I think is a great price!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8 - T J Smith Stakes

4:35pm

Suggested

Trapeze Artist (No.2), Santa Ana Lane (No.3) & Shoals (No.9)

Dangers

Pierata (No.4) & Osborne Bulls (No.7)

This is the feature sprint race of the day. It is the Group One T J Smith over the 1200m. Trapeze Artistis going for back to back wins in the race after we found him at double figure odds to defeat Redzel in last year’s edition of the race and he comes into this year’s event as favourite off the back off a strong victory in the Canterbury Stakes last start. He is going to be really hard to beat again. Hopefully that rain stays away as he is certainly a better horse on top of the ground. He handles soft conditions but isn’t as lethal as what he is on a dry surface. He just is a horse that has developed a bit of a reputation of getting the job done on the big stage. He seems to perform in his Grand Final’s and this is his Grand Final. He will roll forward and land right on the speed and he should again prove hard to get past. I am not as confident as I was about him last start but I can’t let him go around without having something on him so happy to be with him again.

I think the Anthony Freedman trained pair of Santa Ana Lane and Shoals are primed to run big races. Anthony Freedman has consistently got horses to peak in big races in recent times and these two look no exception. Santa Ana Lane was an excellent run in the Newmarket first up down the straight at Flemington. He hit the line strongly and obviously gets the slight weight advantage back to WFA here over Osborne Bulls. His recent trial here behind Vega Magic was eye catching to say the least. He sat back off the speed but really trucked through the line under little urging from his rider with plenty more to give. He draws a middle gate here for Mark Zahra and providing he is within striking distance turning for home you know he is going to unleash a big finish. He handles all conditions, he should be fitter for that first up run and I think he is primed to run another big race in another big Group One. Happy to be with him.

Shoals chased home Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes last start and I just feel she is open to a lot more improvement than the stallion coming into this race and that may be the reason she can potentially turn the tables here on Saturday. She chased with real determination that day and is typically a mare that performs very well second up. Since that run four weeks ago she has had a trial at Randwick where Tim Clark was barely able to hold her back. She was chugging through the line really nicely. This has been her target race all along. The stable has been upfront saying Santa Ana Lane has targets at Royal Ascot further down the track but this is the race that Shoals is being aimed at. She draws a nice middle gate for Tim Clark to get a good run just off the speed and I thought at the double figure odds she was the horse over the odds in the race and worth a ticket.

The chances obviously don’t end there. Osborne Bulls has been enormous in two runs this time in, can he run past a horse like Trapeze Artist though? It was out of those two who I was deciding to back and I sided with Trapeze Artist just based on his position in running. Pierata and Sunlight are the other two. Pierata so unlucky not to win last start in that brutal photo finish with Nature Strip and then there is Sunlight who is just flying at the moment. It is a great race, can’t wait for it.

Betting strategy

I will. have $35 the win on Trapeze Artist, $25 the win on Santa Ana Lane and $20 the win on Shoals!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 9 - Doncaster Handicap

5:15pm

Suggested

Hartnell (No.1), Shillelagh (No.7), Aloisia (No.13) & Fundamentalist (No.18)

Dangers

Le Romain (No.2), Alizee (No.3) & Brutal (No.20)

We get to the fourth and final Group One of the day and this is going to be another outstanding contest. It is the Group One Doncaster Mile and while the race may lack the star power of previous editions; you can’t deny the competitiveness of this field. It is going to be a fascinating betting race and there are a number of winning chances. I am certainly leaning away from the favourites. Alizee not surprisingly is on the drift. It is hard to see her beating home Hartnell based on what we saw in the All Star Mile three weeks back. She had the dream run through there and was all set to win the race but looked to fail to run out a strong mile. This looks a race with good genuine tempo. I anticipate it being a strongly run mile race so she is a risk for mine. Brutal is the horse I am more nervous about taking on. His run last start behind Winx was excellent, but his run prior to that behind Trapeze Artist was just fair. He certainly looks well handicapped but will need a gun ride from Glen Boss from the wide draw. Bossy’s big race rides in recent times probably haven’t been at the level we know he is capable of producing so he will be keen to arrive here and make a statement. I just think at the $5 he has been well enough found and I feel there are betting options around him.

Fundamentalist is probably my on top selection in the race. Her runs this time in have all been excellent, she just hasn’t been able to break through for a victory. Her two runs here in Sydney in particular have been first rate. I think she has been ridden to her strengths in those two races. She was held up and held back to the field in Melbourne but she has been allowed to roll freely out in front in her two runs here and been just touched off in both runs by Nakeeta Jane and The Autumn Sun last start. The last run in particular was outstanding. She ran the race along at a fast tempo and was only just cut down in the final strides by the superstar colt. She looks so well set up here to deliver another big performance. She draws gate two so she should land right on the speed and with only 49kgs on her back she is going to take some running down. I think at the $10-11 on offer she looks an outstanding bet.

In a race that perhaps is lacking that genuine star quality Hartnell looks a great chance to add to his already ultra impressive CV. He is the genuine weight for age star miler that has performed consistently at the top level. He seems to be coming into the race in exceptional form too. His last two runs in the Futurity and All Star Mile have been excellent. He has really charged through the line in those last two runs and I think he looks well set up to run a big race here. He draws a lovely middle gate for Hugh Bowman. He loves the Randwick mile and I am more than happy to be in his corner.

The two at big odds I am going to have something on are Shilellagh and AloisiaShillelagh’s run last start should be forgiven. She was just starting to move into the race in the Ranvet when the injured Sikandarabad fell back into her lap. That halted all of her momentum and she was really out of play from that point. Her run before that in the Australian Cup was excellent and she is another horse that has typically performed well on the big day. She has won the big open mile race on Derby two years ago and last year won the mares mile race both at Group One level. She looks quite well handicapped for a dual Group One winner here with just 53kgs on her back. She draws gate three to sit back off the speed and do no work early and get that cushy smothering run for Craig Williams and if the breaks do come her way I think that she can be right in the finish. Around the $15-20 mark I think she is going to make her presence felt and am happy to be with her.

Aloisia is the real big odds throw at the stumps bet. She has only had the two runs this time in and was really charging through the line in the Coolmore last start. Her recent Sydney runs have all been at a pretty high level and I just thought the $50-60 on offer here in this race looked well over her true price. She draws well, only has 51kgs on her back and if there is a blowout in the race I think she is the one most likely to provide it so happy to have something small on her.

I think they are the main chances. There are obviously a few others such as Le RomainLand Of PlentyUnforgotten and Fifty Stars that can be considered but I am pretty happy to be with Fundamentalist and Hartnell principally and will keep Shillelagh and Aloisia on side at the big odds. One thing is for sure, with the big field engaged it promises to be a bloody good race.

Betting strategy

I will have $25 the win on Fundamentalist! I will have $20 the win on Hartnell and I will save with $15 the win on Shillelagh and $10 the win on Aloisia locking in the $71 about the latter which looks a massive price!

Race Outlay

$70

Race 2

1:00pm

Suggested

Danon Roman (No.2) & Heir To The Throne (No.15)

Dangers

Laughing Heir (No.4) & I Got You (No.10)

After a couple of stand alone Saturday’s outside of Melbourne Saturday racing returns to Caulfield this weekend for what looks a really deep and strong support card to the big meeting up at Randwick. No issues with the Melbourne weather at all unlike Sydney and we should be racing on a good track with the rail out ten metres for the entire circuit. As per usual I would expect Caulfield to play fairly and every horse have their chance.

I am kicking the day off in the second race which is over the mile and there look to be a host of chances here. Heir To The Throne resumed from a spell at Sandown on the Lakeside track recently and ran a really good race. That was a day where the Lakeside track certainly played very much like the Lakeside track and it was hard for horses to make ground from off the speed. He made a strong mid race move around the field coming widest into the straight but just peaked on his run late and Won Ball proved too strong. I thought it was an encouraging return. He was very firm in the market that day which suggests that he has come back well and I think he finds a winnable Saturday race here. He will be better for that outing, he gets good weight relief down to 55.5kgs and I would expect him to roll forward from a middle gate for Beau Mertens and be up on speed throughout. If that is the case I think he will prove hard to hold out.

Danon Roman was a little bit soft in the market when resuming at Sandown on the Hillside track last start and ran accordingly. He loomed to win halfway down the straight but was just unable to finish the race off with his condition seemingly giving out. He should strip a lot fitter for that here and his form last campaign around the likes of Furrion, Best Of Days and Lucky For All certainly reads well for a race of this nature. He draws a nice middle gate for James Winks to land just off the speed and I am happy to be with him here.

Creativity certainly looks the class runner in the race. She is now in the stables of Craig Widdison at Wodonga after formerly being with Ellerton & Zahra. She is a mare that has had quite a few barrier issues in her time but has always displayed good talent. She is typically very good early in her campaigns and she went well enough in a recent Wangaratta jump out to suggest that she will run well here. She draws out for Linda Meech but I would expect her to roll forward from that alley and be right in the finish so happy to be with her.

Huge Action is the one at massive odds I could see running a cheeky race. He is a local trained on the track and will most likely have been set for this race. He has run well here in the past and at huge odds I thought he would be worth a small ticket.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Danon Roman here and $35 the win on Heir To The Throne!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 5

2:55pm

Suggested

News Girl (No.3), Lady Pluck (No.5) & Rapidora (No.12)

Dangers

Enbihaar (No.1) & Fidelia (No.10)

This is another pretty deep race here. It is for the three year old fillies over the 1100m. I am looking forward to seeing this Tasmanian filly in Lady Pluck return to the mainland. I actually had something on her at $71 back in September when she chased home Smart Melody at Flemington in a listed race and she provided something for the each way punters by running third at the big odds. She was immediately spelled post that run and has returned this time in with two strong victories in Tasmania. She got the job done narrowly as a very short priced odds on favourite first up and then her win last start when second up was most dominant. She sat just off the speed there but was able to reel her rivals in and then power away late. The Tasmanian form just keeps holding up over there and I see no reason why it won’t again here. I think she is an above average filly and more than happy to be in her corner.

News Girl comes back off a freshen up here after running some good races over the summer months. She came down from Albury and ran well in three races here at Caulfield. Twice she was just touched off by Crack The Code before stepping up to the 1400m and running well behind Qafila. That looks good form for this type of race. I like that she has had the freshen up and comes back to the 1100m here. I think from that middle gate if she can land in front or outside the leader without doing too much work early she is going to take some running down in the straight. She is an above average filly and I think the $7-8 being bet about her here in early markets is quite juicy so happy to be with her also.

The other horse I am going to have something small on in the race is Rapidora. This filly showed some good potential in her debut campaign and providing she has improved in the break then she can certainly run a strong race here. Her recent Flemington jump out alongside a couple of handy types was quite stylish. She led on the fence there and was never let off the bridle and looked to have a fair bit more to give. She is down in the weights here from a favourable middle draw and with that natural improvement from her first campaign into this one I think she can certainly be competitive. The $20+ being bet about her looks a good price and certainly worthy of a ticket.

Betting strategy

Pretty keen on Lady Pluck here and will have $50 the win on her saving with $20 the win on News Girl and $10 the win on Rapidora!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6

3:35pm

Suggested

Flying Krupt (No.5) & Leather’n’lace (No.8)

Dangers

Mamzelle Tess (No.4) & Non Paear (No.10)

This is a smaller field here over the 1100m for the mares and it has drawn together a pretty solid field. It is a smaller field than a few of the other races on the program so there isn’t as much depth to it and I was pretty confident we could narrow this one down a bit to a confident two bet play. Leather’n’lace is a former Weir trained mare that I have always had a lot of time for but she hasn’t been able to break through and win a race for some time. I have a couple of theories on that. Her best campaign for mine was easily her second campaign where she strung together three consecutive wins. The hallmark of those runs in particular a 1400m win here one day was that she showed sustained speed to lead from the front. Since that spring campaign the closest she has settled in the run in any of her subsequent seven starts is third which was at her most recent run at Geelong last spring. All in all she hasn’t won since September 2017 so it is a decent run of outs. Weir’y seemed intent on riding her off the speed with cover and that brought about her undoing in quite a few races in my opinion. Certainly a couple of races here in the spring behind Winter Bride and Ellicazoom she struck traffic problems which proved costly. She is now in the Ellerton & Zahra yard and I am really hopeful they revert to riding her more positively and using that speed as an advantage. Her two recent jump outs at Flemington have looked stylish and she certainly looks to have come back well. If you go back through her form there are competitive runs against the likes of Booker, She’s So High and Winter Bride which read superbly for a race of this nature. I like her drawn out over the 1100m I don’t think that will be an issue at all and if she brings her best to the table I think she will be hard to beat so keen to be with her.

Flying Krupt came back off a freshen up at Flemington last start and was just touched off by Swift Sis down the straight there. She just had that little bit of trouble getting a clear crack at them for a hundred metres or so but found the line well once clear. Her form through her last campaign over the summer months were excellent. She stepped out to 1400m and won well here in that campaign but I feel she might be best as a run on sprinter. I think she just sees out the 1400m. She gets every opportunity to get back into the winners circle here. She draws ideally in gate two to get a gun run in behind the speed with no weight on her back and I think all she needs is some luck in running and she should be right in the finish. Happy to be with her.

Betting strategy

There isn't much fat in this market now! I am liking the early support for Leather'n'lace though and for that reason will stake heavier on her having $60 the win on saving with $30 the win on Flying Krupt!

Race Outlay

$90

Race 7

4:15pm

Suggested

Streets Of Avalon (No.1) & Spirit Of Aquada (No.13)

Dangers

Ashlor (No.2)

This race is over the 1200m for the sprinters and we revert back to a pretty deep race with many chances pretty quickly. This race brings together a lot of in form horses. It is a really good race. But it has been marred by scratchings. That has left me with Spirit Of Aquada who has come back from a spell in really good form this time in it would seem. First up at Moonee Valley he turned in a really dominant performance coming from just off the speed to win easily before making a ton of ground up down the straight last start when just touched off by Villa Sarchi. Both runs have been excellent and he looks well placed here to run well down in the weights. He draws a nice middle gate, he gets that weight relief as mentioned and third up from a spell should be primed to run a big race.

I am now going to also have something on Streets Of Avalon as well. The draw looks less awkward now with the scratchings and he should come across and land outside the leader and be pretty hard to get past. The horse is flying so happy to be with him also.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Streets Of Avalon here and will also have $35 the win on Spirit Of Aquada!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8

4:55pm

Suggested

Hellova Street (No.1) & Heptagon (No.14)

Dangers

Manolo Blahniq (No.9) & Naantali (No.13)

This was another race that I thought could be narrowed down a little bit. The scratching of Captain Cook who was the import for Chris Waller having his first Australian start has almost cemented that for me. He was the unknown in the race I was a bit wary of off the back of a trial in Sydney where he looked to have a bit more to give. With him out I am pretty confident that one of Hellova Street or Heptagon win.

Gee, he was brave at Flemington last start Hellova Street. He sat on the speed which was really strong and after being caught a little bit wide early stuck on bravely to just go down to Widgee Turf who was given an absolute peach of a run. The form from that race has been outstanding too with Streets Of Avalon winning at Mornington and then Haripour coming out and winning at big odds at Bendigo last week. I just think it is Hellova Street’s race to lose. Yes, he has to carry the 60kgs but that won’t worry him as he is as tough as nails. He draws a nice middle gate for Jason Maskiell to roll forward on speed and should he land outside the leader or in front without much pressure then he is going to be really hard to get past. The slight concern if any is that his Caulfield form certainly doesn’t read particularly strong. He is yet to win in six runs here but that may be a bit deceptive. A couple of those runs have either been at the top level or over an unsuitable shorter trip. Here on Saturday he is in his right grade and over his pet 1400m distance. There is a bit to like and for mine he is clearly the horse to beat.

I am going to keep Heptagon on side. This galloper is just flying at the moment. He beat Streets Of Avalon three starts back here at this track before stepping up to the mile and probably just not running that out as strongly as he does the 1400m two starts back at Flemington. He then went to Echuca last start and made a mess of his rivals in the Echuca Cup. He stays down in the weights here which looks a key factor, he draws to get a gun run just off the speed for an in form Michael Dee and he certainly shapes as the logical danger to Hellova Street. Like that galloper he absolutely loves this 1400m trip and he seems to be in career best form at the moment so it is hard to see him not being in the finish. I would be surprised if one of the two weren’t winning to be honest.

Betting strategy

They have really come for Heptagon here! I will have $45 the win on him but go for the bigger result by having $35 the win on Hellova Street at the better odds!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 1

12:10pm

Suggested

Athiri (No.8) & Libertini (No.10)

Dangers

Bivouac (No.1), Not Feint Hearted (No.6) & Evening Slippers (No.9)

The Championships are here. It is Day One and what a day this is. Four Group Ones and a fabulous support card at Royal Randwick. It is going to be one hell of a day. The weather as always in Sydney is the issue. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is good but there is a bit of rain expected on Thursday which will keep the track in the soft range for race day most likely. The rail is in the true position and typically over the last few years on this day the track has tended to advantage on pace runners closer to the rail early in the day. The rails run in certainly not a disadvantage before it evens out a bit later in the day. It will require close watching but at the same time over the last twelve months the track has played really fairly so unless something profound comes up early then I will just back the best horses in.

I am kicking the day off nice and early in the first race which is for the two year olds over the 1100m. I haven’t come up with anything form left field here. It is a two year old race, Godolphin saddle up two runners including the short priced favourite Athiri from gate number two with J-Mac on board. It sounds a winning combination and I think it will be. This filly has raced really well this campaign without having the best of luck. She was an excellent winner on debut at Rosehill back in December before being spelled immediately. She was then sent to Melbourne where she had a wide run in finishing third behind Lyre in the Blue Diamond Prelude before probably getting a touch too far back in the Blue Diamond when fourth behind that same galloper. She then returned to Sydney and chased home Kiamichi over the 1200m three weeks ago in the Magic Night. That filly obviously went on to win the Golden Slipper a week later. I think this is a nice little drop back in grade for Athiri. She draws gate two as I mentioned to get that perfect run most likely trailing in behind the leader and if the breaks come her way at the right time then she is going to be very hard to hold out. I am happy to be with her.

I am going to keep a first starter on side in Libertini. This is a very well bred filly who trialled up nicely last Friday here. She was never let off the bridle in that trial and looked to go to the line with a fair bit in hand. Anthony Cummings loves to have a throw at the stumps on big days like this and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has this filly primed for a big debut run. Her breeding suggests any rain won’t be an issue. She draws well to get a good run just off the speed and I fancy if the breaks come her way she make her presence felt. At double figure odds given she represents a bit of unknown and x-factor in the race I am happy to have something small on her to save behind the favourite.

Betting strategy

I am hoping Athiri kicks us off on the right note here! I will have $70 the win on her and save with $10 the win on Libertini!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 3

1:20pm

Suggested

Zalatte (No.3) & Amangiri (No.6)

Dangers

Justice Glory (No.1) & Prosecution (No.2)

This is a cracking edition of the Adrian Knox Stakes for the three year old fillies over the 2000m. It is a capacity field with a heap of chances. The market has really found the Team Hawkes filly in Amangiriwho comes off a couple of big wins in lower grade. She ran a super race on debut when beating all bar the talented Final Award who we saw win well at Canberra on Cup Day there. She then broke her maiden with a dominant win at Kensington before walking in at Hawkesbury against the older horses last start. She is clearly talented and had she come up $4 here I would be certain to back her. The $2.60 on offer just looks a little bit skinny in my opinion. For that reason I am going to bet around her but not too heavily as I obviously concede her a great winning chance.

I just had her and Princess Jenni rated a lot closer to each other in the market. I am obviously an unabashed Princess Jenni fan and she rewarded my faith with an excellent win at Moonee Valley a couple of Friday nights ago. I thought that win contained a lot of merit. She was three wide and back in the field albeit with cover. The really impressive part of the race however was before the home turn. The favourite Angelic Ruler was in front of her and blending into the race nicely while Princess Jenni was tracking the horse outside of Angelic Ruler. That horse was struggling though which forced Ollie to hook around her as they were turning to maintain the momentum. That gave Angelic Ruler a bit of an advantage as she come around the corner a couple of lanes closer to the inside covering less ground. Despite that Princess Jenni pinned the ears back once they straightened and mowed Angelic Ruler down for what was a really impressive victory. I think it is only a taste of what is to come. I think this is a serious filly. She finally draws a barrier here. She has just been cruelled by barriers all campaign and was even scratched twice before resuming because of bad gates. She gets gate four here for Ollie though to get the gun run just off the speed. Hopefully he can use that gate and settle a little bit closer in the run. She does have to carry the top weight but I am not too concerned by that. She comes into the race third up so for mine she is still very much on an upward spiral in terms of her campaign and I think the $7-8 being bet about here is an excellent price. Keen to be with her.

Clementina comes over from New Zealand here after one of the more unlucky runs you will ever see last start in the New Zealand Oaks. My goodness, that was a run. It was a sick beat if you were on. She had a lovely smothering run back on the fence off the speed but was blending into the race nicely turning for home. As they straightened she looked to be easing into the clear and just as she was nearly out in clear air she got shunted back into a pocket. She then went back to the inside and tried to get a run between horses, that gap closed and in the end had to be ripped back across heels to get to the outside of runners. By then she had lost many lengths and the bird had flown. She charged to the line late to be beaten less than two lengths. It was a huge run. I think she is a great chance here. She is still a maiden but with so many of these fillies stepping up to this trip for the first time, she is clearly seasoned with recent runs over the staying trip under her belt. She has the miles in the legs so if it is a testing 2000m she will be well placed and at double figure odds I think she is well worth a ticket.

Pressure resumed with a good run at Sandown without much luck. The Matt Cumani stable is going really well and I fancy with a more positive ride here from Williams she can make her presence felt so keeping her on side at double figure odds also.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on Princess Jenni and save with $15 the win on both Clementina and Pressure!

Race Outlay

$60

Race 5

2:35pm

Suggested

The Taj Mahal (No.2), Self Sense (No.4), Gallic Chieftain (No.11) & Supernova (No.19)

Dangers

Shraaoh (No.14) & Semari (No.15)

This race is for the stayers over the 2600m. It is the Chairman’s Quality and it is another race with a very big field. We see quite a few well exposed types in this race and for that reason I am really struggling to not make a significant case for the horse down the bottom in Supernova. This lightly raced import now with Team Hawkes has been outstanding in his two runs here in Sydney and I think he is clearly a very promising stayer. He has the form on the board over these longer trips in Europe before coming out here, the slight concern is does he have the grounding this campaign for a hard 2600m run against these battled hardened rivals. He hit the line strongly first up at Rosehill over the 1500m before overcoming difficulties when scoring second up over the 1900m last start on a heavy track. He was held up and in an awkward spot coming to the home turn that day but once he got clear he really picked up nicely to run down his rivals and win running away. He clearly looks a smart horse on the up and that is the gamble here. He is on the way up, he meets a lot of rivals that have been attacking these type of races for some time. I like him as the fresh blood and while he is well found in the market I don’t want to be against him so happy to be in his corner.

I am going to save on a few other runners at double figure odds to be on the safe side. The Taj Mahal is an interesting runner. The Lloyd Williams gallopers have performed a bit underwhelmingly in recent times. The Taj Mahal’s recent runs haven’t been too bad though and they have all been against Avilius and co. in strong company. I think he comes back a notch or two here and up to the 2600m should suit him ideally. He gets the services of James McDonald too which is a bonus and if he is ever going to fire then this looks the race that he might be able to do so in. Even though he was well beaten last start I thought he was coming again on the line and actually went through the line quite strongly. The last time he got over the 2400m he won the Sandown Classic in strong fashion. I think he is looking for this longer trip and at the double figure odds looks well worth a ticket.

It is pretty hard to leave Self Sense out of the equation. Even though the horse is being set for jumps races at The Bool, he has picked up the Yarra Valley and Mornington Cups at his last two starts. He is just flying. Throw in the fact he is likely to get his favourite soft conditions here and he is going to be thereabouts again in my opinion. I am just sick of not backing him and he wins at a decent price. He is double figure odds again here so I am obliged to have something on him.

Gallic Chieftain is an interesting runner for mine. His two runs back have been good. He hit the line well at Flemington in the Blamey first up behind Fifty Stars before he probably just wasn’t suited by the Yarra Valley track or how the race was run last start. He gets a significant weight turnaround on Self Sense for being beaten by him there. He draws gate on here for Damian Lane, gets the blinkers on and handles soft going. I think he has a fair bit in his favour so he is another I am happy to keep on side at the double figure odds.

Betting strategy

I will have $50 the win on Supernova here and save with $10 the win on all three of The Taj Mahal, Self Sense and Gallic Chieftain!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6 - Sires Produce Stakes

3:15pm

Suggested

Microphone (No.2), Probabeel (No.11) & Loving Gaby (No.12)

Dangers

Castelvecchio (No.1), Bellevue Hill (No.5) & Kiamichi (No.10)

This is the first of the Group One races of the day. It is the Sires Produce for the two year olds over 1400m. This is a good edition of the Sires. We have the horses coming through the Golden Slipper along with some fresh blood, so it is an intriguing punting puzzle. I am probably most keen on a horse that isn’t coming through the Golden Slipper in Probabeel. This talented New Zealand filly won three of her first four starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia. She won those three in quick succession with the most recent victory coming in the Karaka Millions on Australia Day. She was then about seven weeks between runs into the Magic Night at Rosehill where she just got a mile out of her ground behind Kiamichi the Golden Slipper winner. She certainly got through the line strongly but was set far too big of a task to win from the position she was in. She got through the line like a Sires horse to my eye though and up to the 1400m here she looks well placed. She gets a few key gear changes too. The blinkers go on for the first time with the visors going off and she also has a tongue tie go on. I certainly think the intention will not be to get as far back as what she did three weeks ago. She has drawn out again though for Opie Bosson so I think she will still be back off the speed but I am hoping she is within striking distance to launch a big finishing run. If she is I think she might be hard to hold out so happy to be in her corner.

The two horses I want to be on from the Golden Slipper are Microphone and Loving GabyMicrophone’s form going into the Slipper was excellent and he ran well, I just thought Bowman perhaps could have been a bit more positive on him early in the race to hold a spot. In the end he was probably just giving Kiamichi too big a start. He chased hard and was pulling ground off her on the line but couldn’t reel her in. I wouldn’t have thought of him as a Sires horse prior to that race but the way he raced on that day and the way he went through the line suggests to me that he is more than capable of running out a strong 1400m. Bowman rides from what looks to be a potentially awkward gate and I am hoping he is pretty positive on Microphone can offset that by putting him into the race early. If he does that he should be in the finish and I want to be with him.

Loving Gaby was an excellent run in the Slipper and she looks well set up here. She draws a gun gate for James McDonald to get the perfect run just off the speed having found trouble in the Blue Diamond and then drawing wide in the Slipper. She just looks to get a few more things in her favour on Saturday and can settle closer in the run without doing too much work early in the race. From there she just needs a touch of even luck and she should be right there in the finish so I am certainly keen to be with her also.

The chances don’t end there though. Kiamichi is again great odds and she is the Golden Slipper winner who is likely to again get conditions to suit. She is a great chance again as is Bellevue Hill and Castelvecchio who has been set for the race. Looking forward to it.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Loving Gaby and Microphone and $20 the win on Probabeel here!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 7 - Australian Derby

3:55pm

Suggested

Arrogant (No.4), Chapada (No.5) & Declarationofheart (No.14)

Dangers

Madison County (No.2) & Global Exchange (No.8)

This is the big one for the three year olds. It is the Australian Derby over the mile and a half. The race has already been robbed of one of its main chances with the filly Frankely Awesome a scratching on Thursday. I was probably not going to be in her corner anyway in what really is a tricky Derby. There is no horse that really comes into the race with outstanding form and there are a couple of different form lines coming together. The obvious form that I kept coming back to was the Rosehill Guineas and the Mike Moroney pair of Arrogant and Chapada who beat home all bar The Autumn Sun two weeks ago. They both look certain to run out the trip and both seem to be coming good at the right time.

Chapada ran third in the VRC Derby in the spring and for mine he is every chance of going two places better on Saturday here in Sydney. Aside from a disappointing run in the Australian Guineas his other two runs this time in have been excellent. He jumped out well prior to his first up run at Flemington in the C S Hayes where he was heavily backed and ran well from the back of the field on a day suiting those up on speed. The fact there was such strong money for him that day was an indication that he had come back in really good order. Doubt probably surfaced following that Australian Guineas run but he then bounced back with a super run in the Rosehill Guineas last start. He just got held up and shuffled back at crucial stage before the home turn when the winner was building momentum around the outside into the race. His effort to pick up and work through the field and still run on and finish third was excellent in my opinion. Ollie was pretty kind on him through the line too. No doubt this race has been the main target all along and he seems to arrive poised to deliver a career peak performance. I don’t mind him drawn out a little bit here for Ollie. I think providing he can slot in one off the fence and be free to make his move into the race unimpeded at the right time and building momentum he is going to be very hard to hold out. Keen to be with him.

He wasn’t exactly pulling ground off his stable mate Arrogant last start though. Gee, Arrogant really fought on well in his stoush with The Autumn Sun and only just went down by a narrow margin. That followed a good run in the New Zealand Derby but whereas a lot of his rivals from that race including the three who finished in front of him have failed since coming here to Sydney, he looks to have improved. He will roll forward from the wide draw and no doubt be up in the firing line the whole way. He will stick on strongly and no doubt run the trip right out. So while I am keener on the stable mate Chapada I don’t want to be losing on the race should Arrogant salute.

Global Exchange and Declarationofheart both come through the Alistair Clark at Moonee Valley three weeks ago and both look excellent chances. I am backing Declarationofheart in to turn the tables. He just had to go a bit sooner than Global Exchange at Moonee Valley and allowed that horse to have the last shot at him and run him down in the final stride. Since then both horses have trialled in Sydney and I was particularly taken with how Declarationofheart went in that trial. He draws gate one for Mark Zahra so he will do no work in the run and I just thought at the better price around that $12-15 mark he looked a good price and probably over his true odds so happy to have something on him.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Arrogant and Chapada here! I will also have $15 the win on Declarationofheart and I will lock in the $16 about him which I think is a great price!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8 - T J Smith Stakes

4:35pm

Suggested

Trapeze Artist (No.2), Santa Ana Lane (No.3) & Shoals (No.9)

Dangers

Pierata (No.4) & Osborne Bulls (No.7)

This is the feature sprint race of the day. It is the Group One T J Smith over the 1200m. Trapeze Artistis going for back to back wins in the race after we found him at double figure odds to defeat Redzel in last year’s edition of the race and he comes into this year’s event as favourite off the back off a strong victory in the Canterbury Stakes last start. He is going to be really hard to beat again. Hopefully that rain stays away as he is certainly a better horse on top of the ground. He handles soft conditions but isn’t as lethal as what he is on a dry surface. He just is a horse that has developed a bit of a reputation of getting the job done on the big stage. He seems to perform in his Grand Final’s and this is his Grand Final. He will roll forward and land right on the speed and he should again prove hard to get past. I am not as confident as I was about him last start but I can’t let him go around without having something on him so happy to be with him again.

I think the Anthony Freedman trained pair of Santa Ana Lane and Shoals are primed to run big races. Anthony Freedman has consistently got horses to peak in big races in recent times and these two look no exception. Santa Ana Lane was an excellent run in the Newmarket first up down the straight at Flemington. He hit the line strongly and obviously gets the slight weight advantage back to WFA here over Osborne Bulls. His recent trial here behind Vega Magic was eye catching to say the least. He sat back off the speed but really trucked through the line under little urging from his rider with plenty more to give. He draws a middle gate here for Mark Zahra and providing he is within striking distance turning for home you know he is going to unleash a big finish. He handles all conditions, he should be fitter for that first up run and I think he is primed to run another big race in another big Group One. Happy to be with him.

Shoals chased home Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes last start and I just feel she is open to a lot more improvement than the stallion coming into this race and that may be the reason she can potentially turn the tables here on Saturday. She chased with real determination that day and is typically a mare that performs very well second up. Since that run four weeks ago she has had a trial at Randwick where Tim Clark was barely able to hold her back. She was chugging through the line really nicely. This has been her target race all along. The stable has been upfront saying Santa Ana Lane has targets at Royal Ascot further down the track but this is the race that Shoals is being aimed at. She draws a nice middle gate for Tim Clark to get a good run just off the speed and I thought at the double figure odds she was the horse over the odds in the race and worth a ticket.

The chances obviously don’t end there. Osborne Bulls has been enormous in two runs this time in, can he run past a horse like Trapeze Artist though? It was out of those two who I was deciding to back and I sided with Trapeze Artist just based on his position in running. Pierata and Sunlight are the other two. Pierata so unlucky not to win last start in that brutal photo finish with Nature Strip and then there is Sunlight who is just flying at the moment. It is a great race, can’t wait for it.

Betting strategy

I will. have $35 the win on Trapeze Artist, $25 the win on Santa Ana Lane and $20 the win on Shoals!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 9 - Doncaster Handicap

5:15pm

Suggested

Hartnell (No.1), Shillelagh (No.7), Aloisia (No.13) & Fundamentalist (No.18)

Dangers

Le Romain (No.2), Alizee (No.3) & Brutal (No.20)

We get to the fourth and final Group One of the day and this is going to be another outstanding contest. It is the Group One Doncaster Mile and while the race may lack the star power of previous editions; you can’t deny the competitiveness of this field. It is going to be a fascinating betting race and there are a number of winning chances. I am certainly leaning away from the favourites. Alizee not surprisingly is on the drift. It is hard to see her beating home Hartnell based on what we saw in the All Star Mile three weeks back. She had the dream run through there and was all set to win the race but looked to fail to run out a strong mile. This looks a race with good genuine tempo. I anticipate it being a strongly run mile race so she is a risk for mine. Brutal is the horse I am more nervous about taking on. His run last start behind Winx was excellent, but his run prior to that behind Trapeze Artist was just fair. He certainly looks well handicapped but will need a gun ride from Glen Boss from the wide draw. Bossy’s big race rides in recent times probably haven’t been at the level we know he is capable of producing so he will be keen to arrive here and make a statement. I just think at the $5 he has been well enough found and I feel there are betting options around him.

Fundamentalist is probably my on top selection in the race. Her runs this time in have all been excellent, she just hasn’t been able to break through for a victory. Her two runs here in Sydney in particular have been first rate. I think she has been ridden to her strengths in those two races. She was held up and held back to the field in Melbourne but she has been allowed to roll freely out in front in her two runs here and been just touched off in both runs by Nakeeta Jane and The Autumn Sun last start. The last run in particular was outstanding. She ran the race along at a fast tempo and was only just cut down in the final strides by the superstar colt. She looks so well set up here to deliver another big performance. She draws gate two so she should land right on the speed and with only 49kgs on her back she is going to take some running down. I think at the $10-11 on offer she looks an outstanding bet.

In a race that perhaps is lacking that genuine star quality Hartnell looks a great chance to add to his already ultra impressive CV. He is the genuine weight for age star miler that has performed consistently at the top level. He seems to be coming into the race in exceptional form too. His last two runs in the Futurity and All Star Mile have been excellent. He has really charged through the line in those last two runs and I think he looks well set up to run a big race here. He draws a lovely middle gate for Hugh Bowman. He loves the Randwick mile and I am more than happy to be in his corner.

The two at big odds I am going to have something on are Shilellagh and AloisiaShillelagh’s run last start should be forgiven. She was just starting to move into the race in the Ranvet when the injured Sikandarabad fell back into her lap. That halted all of her momentum and she was really out of play from that point. Her run before that in the Australian Cup was excellent and she is another horse that has typically performed well on the big day. She has won the big open mile race on Derby two years ago and last year won the mares mile race both at Group One level. She looks quite well handicapped for a dual Group One winner here with just 53kgs on her back. She draws gate three to sit back off the speed and do no work early and get that cushy smothering run for Craig Williams and if the breaks do come her way I think that she can be right in the finish. Around the $15-20 mark I think she is going to make her presence felt and am happy to be with her.

Aloisia is the real big odds throw at the stumps bet. She has only had the two runs this time in and was really charging through the line in the Coolmore last start. Her recent Sydney runs have all been at a pretty high level and I just thought the $50-60 on offer here in this race looked well over her true price. She draws well, only has 51kgs on her back and if there is a blowout in the race I think she is the one most likely to provide it so happy to have something small on her.

I think they are the main chances. There are obviously a few others such as Le RomainLand Of PlentyUnforgotten and Fifty Stars that can be considered but I am pretty happy to be with Fundamentalist and Hartnell principally and will keep Shillelagh and Aloisia on side at the big odds. One thing is for sure, with the big field engaged it promises to be a bloody good race.

Betting strategy

I will have $25 the win on Fundamentalist! I will have $20 the win on Hartnell and I will save with $15 the win on Shillelagh and $10 the win on Aloisia locking in the $71 about the latter which looks a massive price!

Race Outlay

$70

Race 2

1:00pm

Suggested

Danon Roman (No.2) & Heir To The Throne (No.15)

Dangers

Laughing Heir (No.4) & I Got You (No.10)

After a couple of stand alone Saturday’s outside of Melbourne Saturday racing returns to Caulfield this weekend for what looks a really deep and strong support card to the big meeting up at Randwick. No issues with the Melbourne weather at all unlike Sydney and we should be racing on a good track with the rail out ten metres for the entire circuit. As per usual I would expect Caulfield to play fairly and every horse have their chance.

I am kicking the day off in the second race which is over the mile and there look to be a host of chances here. Heir To The Throne resumed from a spell at Sandown on the Lakeside track recently and ran a really good race. That was a day where the Lakeside track certainly played very much like the Lakeside track and it was hard for horses to make ground from off the speed. He made a strong mid race move around the field coming widest into the straight but just peaked on his run late and Won Ball proved too strong. I thought it was an encouraging return. He was very firm in the market that day which suggests that he has come back well and I think he finds a winnable Saturday race here. He will be better for that outing, he gets good weight relief down to 55.5kgs and I would expect him to roll forward from a middle gate for Beau Mertens and be up on speed throughout. If that is the case I think he will prove hard to hold out.

Danon Roman was a little bit soft in the market when resuming at Sandown on the Hillside track last start and ran accordingly. He loomed to win halfway down the straight but was just unable to finish the race off with his condition seemingly giving out. He should strip a lot fitter for that here and his form last campaign around the likes of Furrion, Best Of Days and Lucky For All certainly reads well for a race of this nature. He draws a nice middle gate for James Winks to land just off the speed and I am happy to be with him here.

Creativity certainly looks the class runner in the race. She is now in the stables of Craig Widdison at Wodonga after formerly being with Ellerton & Zahra. She is a mare that has had quite a few barrier issues in her time but has always displayed good talent. She is typically very good early in her campaigns and she went well enough in a recent Wangaratta jump out to suggest that she will run well here. She draws out for Linda Meech but I would expect her to roll forward from that alley and be right in the finish so happy to be with her.

Huge Action is the one at massive odds I could see running a cheeky race. He is a local trained on the track and will most likely have been set for this race. He has run well here in the past and at huge odds I thought he would be worth a small ticket.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Danon Roman here and $35 the win on Heir To The Throne!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 5

2:55pm

Suggested

News Girl (No.3), Lady Pluck (No.5) & Rapidora (No.12)

Dangers

Enbihaar (No.1) & Fidelia (No.10)

This is another pretty deep race here. It is for the three year old fillies over the 1100m. I am looking forward to seeing this Tasmanian filly in Lady Pluck return to the mainland. I actually had something on her at $71 back in September when she chased home Smart Melody at Flemington in a listed race and she provided something for the each way punters by running third at the big odds. She was immediately spelled post that run and has returned this time in with two strong victories in Tasmania. She got the job done narrowly as a very short priced odds on favourite first up and then her win last start when second up was most dominant. She sat just off the speed there but was able to reel her rivals in and then power away late. The Tasmanian form just keeps holding up over there and I see no reason why it won’t again here. I think she is an above average filly and more than happy to be in her corner.

News Girl comes back off a freshen up here after running some good races over the summer months. She came down from Albury and ran well in three races here at Caulfield. Twice she was just touched off by Crack The Code before stepping up to the 1400m and running well behind Qafila. That looks good form for this type of race. I like that she has had the freshen up and comes back to the 1100m here. I think from that middle gate if she can land in front or outside the leader without doing too much work early she is going to take some running down in the straight. She is an above average filly and I think the $7-8 being bet about her here in early markets is quite juicy so happy to be with her also.

The other horse I am going to have something small on in the race is Rapidora. This filly showed some good potential in her debut campaign and providing she has improved in the break then she can certainly run a strong race here. Her recent Flemington jump out alongside a couple of handy types was quite stylish. She led on the fence there and was never let off the bridle and looked to have a fair bit more to give. She is down in the weights here from a favourable middle draw and with that natural improvement from her first campaign into this one I think she can certainly be competitive. The $20+ being bet about her looks a good price and certainly worthy of a ticket.

Betting strategy

Pretty keen on Lady Pluck here and will have $50 the win on her saving with $20 the win on News Girl and $10 the win on Rapidora!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6

3:35pm

Suggested

Flying Krupt (No.5) & Leather’n’lace (No.8)

Dangers

Mamzelle Tess (No.4) & Non Paear (No.10)

This is a smaller field here over the 1100m for the mares and it has drawn together a pretty solid field. It is a smaller field than a few of the other races on the program so there isn’t as much depth to it and I was pretty confident we could narrow this one down a bit to a confident two bet play. Leather’n’lace is a former Weir trained mare that I have always had a lot of time for but she hasn’t been able to break through and win a race for some time. I have a couple of theories on that. Her best campaign for mine was easily her second campaign where she strung together three consecutive wins. The hallmark of those runs in particular a 1400m win here one day was that she showed sustained speed to lead from the front. Since that spring campaign the closest she has settled in the run in any of her subsequent seven starts is third which was at her most recent run at Geelong last spring. All in all she hasn’t won since September 2017 so it is a decent run of outs. Weir’y seemed intent on riding her off the speed with cover and that brought about her undoing in quite a few races in my opinion. Certainly a couple of races here in the spring behind Winter Bride and Ellicazoom she struck traffic problems which proved costly. She is now in the Ellerton & Zahra yard and I am really hopeful they revert to riding her more positively and using that speed as an advantage. Her two recent jump outs at Flemington have looked stylish and she certainly looks to have come back well. If you go back through her form there are competitive runs against the likes of Booker, She’s So High and Winter Bride which read superbly for a race of this nature. I like her drawn out over the 1100m I don’t think that will be an issue at all and if she brings her best to the table I think she will be hard to beat so keen to be with her.

Flying Krupt came back off a freshen up at Flemington last start and was just touched off by Swift Sis down the straight there. She just had that little bit of trouble getting a clear crack at them for a hundred metres or so but found the line well once clear. Her form through her last campaign over the summer months were excellent. She stepped out to 1400m and won well here in that campaign but I feel she might be best as a run on sprinter. I think she just sees out the 1400m. She gets every opportunity to get back into the winners circle here. She draws ideally in gate two to get a gun run in behind the speed with no weight on her back and I think all she needs is some luck in running and she should be right in the finish. Happy to be with her.

Betting strategy

There isn't much fat in this market now! I am liking the early support for Leather'n'lace though and for that reason will stake heavier on her having $60 the win on saving with $30 the win on Flying Krupt!

Race Outlay

$90

Race 7

4:15pm

Suggested

Streets Of Avalon (No.1) & Spirit Of Aquada (No.13)

Dangers

Ashlor (No.2)

This race is over the 1200m for the sprinters and we revert back to a pretty deep race with many chances pretty quickly. This race brings together a lot of in form horses. It is a really good race. But it has been marred by scratchings. That has left me with Spirit Of Aquada who has come back from a spell in really good form this time in it would seem. First up at Moonee Valley he turned in a really dominant performance coming from just off the speed to win easily before making a ton of ground up down the straight last start when just touched off by Villa Sarchi. Both runs have been excellent and he looks well placed here to run well down in the weights. He draws a nice middle gate, he gets that weight relief as mentioned and third up from a spell should be primed to run a big race.

I am now going to also have something on Streets Of Avalon as well. The draw looks less awkward now with the scratchings and he should come across and land outside the leader and be pretty hard to get past. The horse is flying so happy to be with him also.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Streets Of Avalon here and will also have $35 the win on Spirit Of Aquada!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8

4:55pm

Suggested

Hellova Street (No.1) & Heptagon (No.14)

Dangers

Manolo Blahniq (No.9) & Naantali (No.13)

This was another race that I thought could be narrowed down a little bit. The scratching of Captain Cook who was the import for Chris Waller having his first Australian start has almost cemented that for me. He was the unknown in the race I was a bit wary of off the back of a trial in Sydney where he looked to have a bit more to give. With him out I am pretty confident that one of Hellova Street or Heptagon win.

Gee, he was brave at Flemington last start Hellova Street. He sat on the speed which was really strong and after being caught a little bit wide early stuck on bravely to just go down to Widgee Turf who was given an absolute peach of a run. The form from that race has been outstanding too with Streets Of Avalon winning at Mornington and then Haripour coming out and winning at big odds at Bendigo last week. I just think it is Hellova Street’s race to lose. Yes, he has to carry the 60kgs but that won’t worry him as he is as tough as nails. He draws a nice middle gate for Jason Maskiell to roll forward on speed and should he land outside the leader or in front without much pressure then he is going to be really hard to get past. The slight concern if any is that his Caulfield form certainly doesn’t read particularly strong. He is yet to win in six runs here but that may be a bit deceptive. A couple of those runs have either been at the top level or over an unsuitable shorter trip. Here on Saturday he is in his right grade and over his pet 1400m distance. There is a bit to like and for mine he is clearly the horse to beat.

I am going to keep Heptagon on side. This galloper is just flying at the moment. He beat Streets Of Avalon three starts back here at this track before stepping up to the mile and probably just not running that out as strongly as he does the 1400m two starts back at Flemington. He then went to Echuca last start and made a mess of his rivals in the Echuca Cup. He stays down in the weights here which looks a key factor, he draws to get a gun run just off the speed for an in form Michael Dee and he certainly shapes as the logical danger to Hellova Street. Like that galloper he absolutely loves this 1400m trip and he seems to be in career best form at the moment so it is hard to see him not being in the finish. I would be surprised if one of the two weren’t winning to be honest.

Betting strategy

They have really come for Heptagon here! I will have $45 the win on him but go for the bigger result by having $35 the win on Hellova Street at the better odds!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 1

12:10pm

Suggested

Athiri (No.8) & Libertini (No.10)

Dangers

Bivouac (No.1), Not Feint Hearted (No.6) & Evening Slippers (No.9)

The Championships are here. It is Day One and what a day this is. Four Group Ones and a fabulous support card at Royal Randwick. It is going to be one hell of a day. The weather as always in Sydney is the issue. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is good but there is a bit of rain expected on Thursday which will keep the track in the soft range for race day most likely. The rail is in the true position and typically over the last few years on this day the track has tended to advantage on pace runners closer to the rail early in the day. The rails run in certainly not a disadvantage before it evens out a bit later in the day. It will require close watching but at the same time over the last twelve months the track has played really fairly so unless something profound comes up early then I will just back the best horses in.

I am kicking the day off nice and early in the first race which is for the two year olds over the 1100m. I haven’t come up with anything form left field here. It is a two year old race, Godolphin saddle up two runners including the short priced favourite Athiri from gate number two with J-Mac on board. It sounds a winning combination and I think it will be. This filly has raced really well this campaign without having the best of luck. She was an excellent winner on debut at Rosehill back in December before being spelled immediately. She was then sent to Melbourne where she had a wide run in finishing third behind Lyre in the Blue Diamond Prelude before probably getting a touch too far back in the Blue Diamond when fourth behind that same galloper. She then returned to Sydney and chased home Kiamichi over the 1200m three weeks ago in the Magic Night. That filly obviously went on to win the Golden Slipper a week later. I think this is a nice little drop back in grade for Athiri. She draws gate two as I mentioned to get that perfect run most likely trailing in behind the leader and if the breaks come her way at the right time then she is going to be very hard to hold out. I am happy to be with her.

I am going to keep a first starter on side in Libertini. This is a very well bred filly who trialled up nicely last Friday here. She was never let off the bridle in that trial and looked to go to the line with a fair bit in hand. Anthony Cummings loves to have a throw at the stumps on big days like this and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has this filly primed for a big debut run. Her breeding suggests any rain won’t be an issue. She draws well to get a good run just off the speed and I fancy if the breaks come her way she make her presence felt. At double figure odds given she represents a bit of unknown and x-factor in the race I am happy to have something small on her to save behind the favourite.

Betting strategy

I am hoping Athiri kicks us off on the right note here! I will have $70 the win on her and save with $10 the win on Libertini!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 3

1:20pm

Suggested

Zalatte (No.3) & Amangiri (No.6)

Dangers

Justice Glory (No.1) & Prosecution (No.2)

This is a cracking edition of the Adrian Knox Stakes for the three year old fillies over the 2000m. It is a capacity field with a heap of chances. The market has really found the Team Hawkes filly in Amangiriwho comes off a couple of big wins in lower grade. She ran a super race on debut when beating all bar the talented Final Award who we saw win well at Canberra on Cup Day there. She then broke her maiden with a dominant win at Kensington before walking in at Hawkesbury against the older horses last start. She is clearly talented and had she come up $4 here I would be certain to back her. The $2.60 on offer just looks a little bit skinny in my opinion. For that reason I am going to bet around her but not too heavily as I obviously concede her a great winning chance.

I just had her and Princess Jenni rated a lot closer to each other in the market. I am obviously an unabashed Princess Jenni fan and she rewarded my faith with an excellent win at Moonee Valley a couple of Friday nights ago. I thought that win contained a lot of merit. She was three wide and back in the field albeit with cover. The really impressive part of the race however was before the home turn. The favourite Angelic Ruler was in front of her and blending into the race nicely while Princess Jenni was tracking the horse outside of Angelic Ruler. That horse was struggling though which forced Ollie to hook around her as they were turning to maintain the momentum. That gave Angelic Ruler a bit of an advantage as she come around the corner a couple of lanes closer to the inside covering less ground. Despite that Princess Jenni pinned the ears back once they straightened and mowed Angelic Ruler down for what was a really impressive victory. I think it is only a taste of what is to come. I think this is a serious filly. She finally draws a barrier here. She has just been cruelled by barriers all campaign and was even scratched twice before resuming because of bad gates. She gets gate four here for Ollie though to get the gun run just off the speed. Hopefully he can use that gate and settle a little bit closer in the run. She does have to carry the top weight but I am not too concerned by that. She comes into the race third up so for mine she is still very much on an upward spiral in terms of her campaign and I think the $7-8 being bet about here is an excellent price. Keen to be with her.

Clementina comes over from New Zealand here after one of the more unlucky runs you will ever see last start in the New Zealand Oaks. My goodness, that was a run. It was a sick beat if you were on. She had a lovely smothering run back on the fence off the speed but was blending into the race nicely turning for home. As they straightened she looked to be easing into the clear and just as she was nearly out in clear air she got shunted back into a pocket. She then went back to the inside and tried to get a run between horses, that gap closed and in the end had to be ripped back across heels to get to the outside of runners. By then she had lost many lengths and the bird had flown. She charged to the line late to be beaten less than two lengths. It was a huge run. I think she is a great chance here. She is still a maiden but with so many of these fillies stepping up to this trip for the first time, she is clearly seasoned with recent runs over the staying trip under her belt. She has the miles in the legs so if it is a testing 2000m she will be well placed and at double figure odds I think she is well worth a ticket.

Pressure resumed with a good run at Sandown without much luck. The Matt Cumani stable is going really well and I fancy with a more positive ride here from Williams she can make her presence felt so keeping her on side at double figure odds also.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on Princess Jenni and save with $15 the win on both Clementina and Pressure!

Race Outlay

$60

Race 5

2:35pm

Suggested

The Taj Mahal (No.2), Self Sense (No.4), Gallic Chieftain (No.11) & Supernova (No.19)

Dangers

Shraaoh (No.14) & Semari (No.15)

This race is for the stayers over the 2600m. It is the Chairman’s Quality and it is another race with a very big field. We see quite a few well exposed types in this race and for that reason I am really struggling to not make a significant case for the horse down the bottom in Supernova. This lightly raced import now with Team Hawkes has been outstanding in his two runs here in Sydney and I think he is clearly a very promising stayer. He has the form on the board over these longer trips in Europe before coming out here, the slight concern is does he have the grounding this campaign for a hard 2600m run against these battled hardened rivals. He hit the line strongly first up at Rosehill over the 1500m before overcoming difficulties when scoring second up over the 1900m last start on a heavy track. He was held up and in an awkward spot coming to the home turn that day but once he got clear he really picked up nicely to run down his rivals and win running away. He clearly looks a smart horse on the up and that is the gamble here. He is on the way up, he meets a lot of rivals that have been attacking these type of races for some time. I like him as the fresh blood and while he is well found in the market I don’t want to be against him so happy to be in his corner.

I am going to save on a few other runners at double figure odds to be on the safe side. The Taj Mahal is an interesting runner. The Lloyd Williams gallopers have performed a bit underwhelmingly in recent times. The Taj Mahal’s recent runs haven’t been too bad though and they have all been against Avilius and co. in strong company. I think he comes back a notch or two here and up to the 2600m should suit him ideally. He gets the services of James McDonald too which is a bonus and if he is ever going to fire then this looks the race that he might be able to do so in. Even though he was well beaten last start I thought he was coming again on the line and actually went through the line quite strongly. The last time he got over the 2400m he won the Sandown Classic in strong fashion. I think he is looking for this longer trip and at the double figure odds looks well worth a ticket.

It is pretty hard to leave Self Sense out of the equation. Even though the horse is being set for jumps races at The Bool, he has picked up the Yarra Valley and Mornington Cups at his last two starts. He is just flying. Throw in the fact he is likely to get his favourite soft conditions here and he is going to be thereabouts again in my opinion. I am just sick of not backing him and he wins at a decent price. He is double figure odds again here so I am obliged to have something on him.

Gallic Chieftain is an interesting runner for mine. His two runs back have been good. He hit the line well at Flemington in the Blamey first up behind Fifty Stars before he probably just wasn’t suited by the Yarra Valley track or how the race was run last start. He gets a significant weight turnaround on Self Sense for being beaten by him there. He draws gate on here for Damian Lane, gets the blinkers on and handles soft going. I think he has a fair bit in his favour so he is another I am happy to keep on side at the double figure odds.

Betting strategy

I will have $50 the win on Supernova here and save with $10 the win on all three of The Taj Mahal, Self Sense and Gallic Chieftain!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6 - Sires Produce Stakes

3:15pm

Suggested

Microphone (No.2), Probabeel (No.11) & Loving Gaby (No.12)

Dangers

Castelvecchio (No.1), Bellevue Hill (No.5) & Kiamichi (No.10)

This is the first of the Group One races of the day. It is the Sires Produce for the two year olds over 1400m. This is a good edition of the Sires. We have the horses coming through the Golden Slipper along with some fresh blood, so it is an intriguing punting puzzle. I am probably most keen on a horse that isn’t coming through the Golden Slipper in Probabeel. This talented New Zealand filly won three of her first four starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia. She won those three in quick succession with the most recent victory coming in the Karaka Millions on Australia Day. She was then about seven weeks between runs into the Magic Night at Rosehill where she just got a mile out of her ground behind Kiamichi the Golden Slipper winner. She certainly got through the line strongly but was set far too big of a task to win from the position she was in. She got through the line like a Sires horse to my eye though and up to the 1400m here she looks well placed. She gets a few key gear changes too. The blinkers go on for the first time with the visors going off and she also has a tongue tie go on. I certainly think the intention will not be to get as far back as what she did three weeks ago. She has drawn out again though for Opie Bosson so I think she will still be back off the speed but I am hoping she is within striking distance to launch a big finishing run. If she is I think she might be hard to hold out so happy to be in her corner.

The two horses I want to be on from the Golden Slipper are Microphone and Loving GabyMicrophone’s form going into the Slipper was excellent and he ran well, I just thought Bowman perhaps could have been a bit more positive on him early in the race to hold a spot. In the end he was probably just giving Kiamichi too big a start. He chased hard and was pulling ground off her on the line but couldn’t reel her in. I wouldn’t have thought of him as a Sires horse prior to that race but the way he raced on that day and the way he went through the line suggests to me that he is more than capable of running out a strong 1400m. Bowman rides from what looks to be a potentially awkward gate and I am hoping he is pretty positive on Microphone can offset that by putting him into the race early. If he does that he should be in the finish and I want to be with him.

Loving Gaby was an excellent run in the Slipper and she looks well set up here. She draws a gun gate for James McDonald to get the perfect run just off the speed having found trouble in the Blue Diamond and then drawing wide in the Slipper. She just looks to get a few more things in her favour on Saturday and can settle closer in the run without doing too much work early in the race. From there she just needs a touch of even luck and she should be right there in the finish so I am certainly keen to be with her also.

The chances don’t end there though. Kiamichi is again great odds and she is the Golden Slipper winner who is likely to again get conditions to suit. She is a great chance again as is Bellevue Hill and Castelvecchio who has been set for the race. Looking forward to it.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Loving Gaby and Microphone and $20 the win on Probabeel here!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 7 - Australian Derby

3:55pm

Suggested

Arrogant (No.4), Chapada (No.5) & Declarationofheart (No.14)

Dangers

Madison County (No.2) & Global Exchange (No.8)

This is the big one for the three year olds. It is the Australian Derby over the mile and a half. The race has already been robbed of one of its main chances with the filly Frankely Awesome a scratching on Thursday. I was probably not going to be in her corner anyway in what really is a tricky Derby. There is no horse that really comes into the race with outstanding form and there are a couple of different form lines coming together. The obvious form that I kept coming back to was the Rosehill Guineas and the Mike Moroney pair of Arrogant and Chapada who beat home all bar The Autumn Sun two weeks ago. They both look certain to run out the trip and both seem to be coming good at the right time.

Chapada ran third in the VRC Derby in the spring and for mine he is every chance of going two places better on Saturday here in Sydney. Aside from a disappointing run in the Australian Guineas his other two runs this time in have been excellent. He jumped out well prior to his first up run at Flemington in the C S Hayes where he was heavily backed and ran well from the back of the field on a day suiting those up on speed. The fact there was such strong money for him that day was an indication that he had come back in really good order. Doubt probably surfaced following that Australian Guineas run but he then bounced back with a super run in the Rosehill Guineas last start. He just got held up and shuffled back at crucial stage before the home turn when the winner was building momentum around the outside into the race. His effort to pick up and work through the field and still run on and finish third was excellent in my opinion. Ollie was pretty kind on him through the line too. No doubt this race has been the main target all along and he seems to arrive poised to deliver a career peak performance. I don’t mind him drawn out a little bit here for Ollie. I think providing he can slot in one off the fence and be free to make his move into the race unimpeded at the right time and building momentum he is going to be very hard to hold out. Keen to be with him.

He wasn’t exactly pulling ground off his stable mate Arrogant last start though. Gee, Arrogant really fought on well in his stoush with The Autumn Sun and only just went down by a narrow margin. That followed a good run in the New Zealand Derby but whereas a lot of his rivals from that race including the three who finished in front of him have failed since coming here to Sydney, he looks to have improved. He will roll forward from the wide draw and no doubt be up in the firing line the whole way. He will stick on strongly and no doubt run the trip right out. So while I am keener on the stable mate Chapada I don’t want to be losing on the race should Arrogant salute.

Global Exchange and Declarationofheart both come through the Alistair Clark at Moonee Valley three weeks ago and both look excellent chances. I am backing Declarationofheart in to turn the tables. He just had to go a bit sooner than Global Exchange at Moonee Valley and allowed that horse to have the last shot at him and run him down in the final stride. Since then both horses have trialled in Sydney and I was particularly taken with how Declarationofheart went in that trial. He draws gate one for Mark Zahra so he will do no work in the run and I just thought at the better price around that $12-15 mark he looked a good price and probably over his true odds so happy to have something on him.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Arrogant and Chapada here! I will also have $15 the win on Declarationofheart and I will lock in the $16 about him which I think is a great price!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8 - T J Smith Stakes

4:35pm

Suggested

Trapeze Artist (No.2), Santa Ana Lane (No.3) & Shoals (No.9)

Dangers

Pierata (No.4) & Osborne Bulls (No.7)

This is the feature sprint race of the day. It is the Group One T J Smith over the 1200m. Trapeze Artistis going for back to back wins in the race after we found him at double figure odds to defeat Redzel in last year’s edition of the race and he comes into this year’s event as favourite off the back off a strong victory in the Canterbury Stakes last start. He is going to be really hard to beat again. Hopefully that rain stays away as he is certainly a better horse on top of the ground. He handles soft conditions but isn’t as lethal as what he is on a dry surface. He just is a horse that has developed a bit of a reputation of getting the job done on the big stage. He seems to perform in his Grand Final’s and this is his Grand Final. He will roll forward and land right on the speed and he should again prove hard to get past. I am not as confident as I was about him last start but I can’t let him go around without having something on him so happy to be with him again.

I think the Anthony Freedman trained pair of Santa Ana Lane and Shoals are primed to run big races. Anthony Freedman has consistently got horses to peak in big races in recent times and these two look no exception. Santa Ana Lane was an excellent run in the Newmarket first up down the straight at Flemington. He hit the line strongly and obviously gets the slight weight advantage back to WFA here over Osborne Bulls. His recent trial here behind Vega Magic was eye catching to say the least. He sat back off the speed but really trucked through the line under little urging from his rider with plenty more to give. He draws a middle gate here for Mark Zahra and providing he is within striking distance turning for home you know he is going to unleash a big finish. He handles all conditions, he should be fitter for that first up run and I think he is primed to run another big race in another big Group One. Happy to be with him.

Shoals chased home Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes last start and I just feel she is open to a lot more improvement than the stallion coming into this race and that may be the reason she can potentially turn the tables here on Saturday. She chased with real determination that day and is typically a mare that performs very well second up. Since that run four weeks ago she has had a trial at Randwick where Tim Clark was barely able to hold her back. She was chugging through the line really nicely. This has been her target race all along. The stable has been upfront saying Santa Ana Lane has targets at Royal Ascot further down the track but this is the race that Shoals is being aimed at. She draws a nice middle gate for Tim Clark to get a good run just off the speed and I thought at the double figure odds she was the horse over the odds in the race and worth a ticket.

The chances obviously don’t end there. Osborne Bulls has been enormous in two runs this time in, can he run past a horse like Trapeze Artist though? It was out of those two who I was deciding to back and I sided with Trapeze Artist just based on his position in running. Pierata and Sunlight are the other two. Pierata so unlucky not to win last start in that brutal photo finish with Nature Strip and then there is Sunlight who is just flying at the moment. It is a great race, can’t wait for it.

Betting strategy

I will. have $35 the win on Trapeze Artist, $25 the win on Santa Ana Lane and $20 the win on Shoals!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 9 - Doncaster Handicap

5:15pm

Suggested

Hartnell (No.1), Shillelagh (No.7), Aloisia (No.13) & Fundamentalist (No.18)

Dangers

Le Romain (No.2), Alizee (No.3) & Brutal (No.20)

We get to the fourth and final Group One of the day and this is going to be another outstanding contest. It is the Group One Doncaster Mile and while the race may lack the star power of previous editions; you can’t deny the competitiveness of this field. It is going to be a fascinating betting race and there are a number of winning chances. I am certainly leaning away from the favourites. Alizee not surprisingly is on the drift. It is hard to see her beating home Hartnell based on what we saw in the All Star Mile three weeks back. She had the dream run through there and was all set to win the race but looked to fail to run out a strong mile. This looks a race with good genuine tempo. I anticipate it being a strongly run mile race so she is a risk for mine. Brutal is the horse I am more nervous about taking on. His run last start behind Winx was excellent, but his run prior to that behind Trapeze Artist was just fair. He certainly looks well handicapped but will need a gun ride from Glen Boss from the wide draw. Bossy’s big race rides in recent times probably haven’t been at the level we know he is capable of producing so he will be keen to arrive here and make a statement. I just think at the $5 he has been well enough found and I feel there are betting options around him.

Fundamentalist is probably my on top selection in the race. Her runs this time in have all been excellent, she just hasn’t been able to break through for a victory. Her two runs here in Sydney in particular have been first rate. I think she has been ridden to her strengths in those two races. She was held up and held back to the field in Melbourne but she has been allowed to roll freely out in front in her two runs here and been just touched off in both runs by Nakeeta Jane and The Autumn Sun last start. The last run in particular was outstanding. She ran the race along at a fast tempo and was only just cut down in the final strides by the superstar colt. She looks so well set up here to deliver another big performance. She draws gate two so she should land right on the speed and with only 49kgs on her back she is going to take some running down. I think at the $10-11 on offer she looks an outstanding bet.

In a race that perhaps is lacking that genuine star quality Hartnell looks a great chance to add to his already ultra impressive CV. He is the genuine weight for age star miler that has performed consistently at the top level. He seems to be coming into the race in exceptional form too. His last two runs in the Futurity and All Star Mile have been excellent. He has really charged through the line in those last two runs and I think he looks well set up to run a big race here. He draws a lovely middle gate for Hugh Bowman. He loves the Randwick mile and I am more than happy to be in his corner.

The two at big odds I am going to have something on are Shilellagh and AloisiaShillelagh’s run last start should be forgiven. She was just starting to move into the race in the Ranvet when the injured Sikandarabad fell back into her lap. That halted all of her momentum and she was really out of play from that point. Her run before that in the Australian Cup was excellent and she is another horse that has typically performed well on the big day. She has won the big open mile race on Derby two years ago and last year won the mares mile race both at Group One level. She looks quite well handicapped for a dual Group One winner here with just 53kgs on her back. She draws gate three to sit back off the speed and do no work early and get that cushy smothering run for Craig Williams and if the breaks do come her way I think that she can be right in the finish. Around the $15-20 mark I think she is going to make her presence felt and am happy to be with her.

Aloisia is the real big odds throw at the stumps bet. She has only had the two runs this time in and was really charging through the line in the Coolmore last start. Her recent Sydney runs have all been at a pretty high level and I just thought the $50-60 on offer here in this race looked well over her true price. She draws well, only has 51kgs on her back and if there is a blowout in the race I think she is the one most likely to provide it so happy to have something small on her.

I think they are the main chances. There are obviously a few others such as Le RomainLand Of PlentyUnforgotten and Fifty Stars that can be considered but I am pretty happy to be with Fundamentalist and Hartnell principally and will keep Shillelagh and Aloisia on side at the big odds. One thing is for sure, with the big field engaged it promises to be a bloody good race.

Betting strategy

I will have $25 the win on Fundamentalist! I will have $20 the win on Hartnell and I will save with $15 the win on Shillelagh and $10 the win on Aloisia locking in the $71 about the latter which looks a massive price!

Race Outlay

$70

Race 2

1:00pm

Suggested

Danon Roman (No.2) & Heir To The Throne (No.15)

Dangers

Laughing Heir (No.4) & I Got You (No.10)

After a couple of stand alone Saturday’s outside of Melbourne Saturday racing returns to Caulfield this weekend for what looks a really deep and strong support card to the big meeting up at Randwick. No issues with the Melbourne weather at all unlike Sydney and we should be racing on a good track with the rail out ten metres for the entire circuit. As per usual I would expect Caulfield to play fairly and every horse have their chance.

I am kicking the day off in the second race which is over the mile and there look to be a host of chances here. Heir To The Throne resumed from a spell at Sandown on the Lakeside track recently and ran a really good race. That was a day where the Lakeside track certainly played very much like the Lakeside track and it was hard for horses to make ground from off the speed. He made a strong mid race move around the field coming widest into the straight but just peaked on his run late and Won Ball proved too strong. I thought it was an encouraging return. He was very firm in the market that day which suggests that he has come back well and I think he finds a winnable Saturday race here. He will be better for that outing, he gets good weight relief down to 55.5kgs and I would expect him to roll forward from a middle gate for Beau Mertens and be up on speed throughout. If that is the case I think he will prove hard to hold out.

Danon Roman was a little bit soft in the market when resuming at Sandown on the Hillside track last start and ran accordingly. He loomed to win halfway down the straight but was just unable to finish the race off with his condition seemingly giving out. He should strip a lot fitter for that here and his form last campaign around the likes of Furrion, Best Of Days and Lucky For All certainly reads well for a race of this nature. He draws a nice middle gate for James Winks to land just off the speed and I am happy to be with him here.

Creativity certainly looks the class runner in the race. She is now in the stables of Craig Widdison at Wodonga after formerly being with Ellerton & Zahra. She is a mare that has had quite a few barrier issues in her time but has always displayed good talent. She is typically very good early in her campaigns and she went well enough in a recent Wangaratta jump out to suggest that she will run well here. She draws out for Linda Meech but I would expect her to roll forward from that alley and be right in the finish so happy to be with her.

Huge Action is the one at massive odds I could see running a cheeky race. He is a local trained on the track and will most likely have been set for this race. He has run well here in the past and at huge odds I thought he would be worth a small ticket.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Danon Roman here and $35 the win on Heir To The Throne!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 5

2:55pm

Suggested

News Girl (No.3), Lady Pluck (No.5) & Rapidora (No.12)

Dangers

Enbihaar (No.1) & Fidelia (No.10)

This is another pretty deep race here. It is for the three year old fillies over the 1100m. I am looking forward to seeing this Tasmanian filly in Lady Pluck return to the mainland. I actually had something on her at $71 back in September when she chased home Smart Melody at Flemington in a listed race and she provided something for the each way punters by running third at the big odds. She was immediately spelled post that run and has returned this time in with two strong victories in Tasmania. She got the job done narrowly as a very short priced odds on favourite first up and then her win last start when second up was most dominant. She sat just off the speed there but was able to reel her rivals in and then power away late. The Tasmanian form just keeps holding up over there and I see no reason why it won’t again here. I think she is an above average filly and more than happy to be in her corner.

News Girl comes back off a freshen up here after running some good races over the summer months. She came down from Albury and ran well in three races here at Caulfield. Twice she was just touched off by Crack The Code before stepping up to the 1400m and running well behind Qafila. That looks good form for this type of race. I like that she has had the freshen up and comes back to the 1100m here. I think from that middle gate if she can land in front or outside the leader without doing too much work early she is going to take some running down in the straight. She is an above average filly and I think the $7-8 being bet about her here in early markets is quite juicy so happy to be with her also.

The other horse I am going to have something small on in the race is Rapidora. This filly showed some good potential in her debut campaign and providing she has improved in the break then she can certainly run a strong race here. Her recent Flemington jump out alongside a couple of handy types was quite stylish. She led on the fence there and was never let off the bridle and looked to have a fair bit more to give. She is down in the weights here from a favourable middle draw and with that natural improvement from her first campaign into this one I think she can certainly be competitive. The $20+ being bet about her looks a good price and certainly worthy of a ticket.

Betting strategy

Pretty keen on Lady Pluck here and will have $50 the win on her saving with $20 the win on News Girl and $10 the win on Rapidora!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6

3:35pm

Suggested

Flying Krupt (No.5) & Leather’n’lace (No.8)

Dangers

Mamzelle Tess (No.4) & Non Paear (No.10)

This is a smaller field here over the 1100m for the mares and it has drawn together a pretty solid field. It is a smaller field than a few of the other races on the program so there isn’t as much depth to it and I was pretty confident we could narrow this one down a bit to a confident two bet play. Leather’n’lace is a former Weir trained mare that I have always had a lot of time for but she hasn’t been able to break through and win a race for some time. I have a couple of theories on that. Her best campaign for mine was easily her second campaign where she strung together three consecutive wins. The hallmark of those runs in particular a 1400m win here one day was that she showed sustained speed to lead from the front. Since that spring campaign the closest she has settled in the run in any of her subsequent seven starts is third which was at her most recent run at Geelong last spring. All in all she hasn’t won since September 2017 so it is a decent run of outs. Weir’y seemed intent on riding her off the speed with cover and that brought about her undoing in quite a few races in my opinion. Certainly a couple of races here in the spring behind Winter Bride and Ellicazoom she struck traffic problems which proved costly. She is now in the Ellerton & Zahra yard and I am really hopeful they revert to riding her more positively and using that speed as an advantage. Her two recent jump outs at Flemington have looked stylish and she certainly looks to have come back well. If you go back through her form there are competitive runs against the likes of Booker, She’s So High and Winter Bride which read superbly for a race of this nature. I like her drawn out over the 1100m I don’t think that will be an issue at all and if she brings her best to the table I think she will be hard to beat so keen to be with her.

Flying Krupt came back off a freshen up at Flemington last start and was just touched off by Swift Sis down the straight there. She just had that little bit of trouble getting a clear crack at them for a hundred metres or so but found the line well once clear. Her form through her last campaign over the summer months were excellent. She stepped out to 1400m and won well here in that campaign but I feel she might be best as a run on sprinter. I think she just sees out the 1400m. She gets every opportunity to get back into the winners circle here. She draws ideally in gate two to get a gun run in behind the speed with no weight on her back and I think all she needs is some luck in running and she should be right in the finish. Happy to be with her.

Betting strategy

There isn't much fat in this market now! I am liking the early support for Leather'n'lace though and for that reason will stake heavier on her having $60 the win on saving with $30 the win on Flying Krupt!

Race Outlay

$90

Race 7

4:15pm

Suggested

Streets Of Avalon (No.1) & Spirit Of Aquada (No.13)

Dangers

Ashlor (No.2)

This race is over the 1200m for the sprinters and we revert back to a pretty deep race with many chances pretty quickly. This race brings together a lot of in form horses. It is a really good race. But it has been marred by scratchings. That has left me with Spirit Of Aquada who has come back from a spell in really good form this time in it would seem. First up at Moonee Valley he turned in a really dominant performance coming from just off the speed to win easily before making a ton of ground up down the straight last start when just touched off by Villa Sarchi. Both runs have been excellent and he looks well placed here to run well down in the weights. He draws a nice middle gate, he gets that weight relief as mentioned and third up from a spell should be primed to run a big race.

I am now going to also have something on Streets Of Avalon as well. The draw looks less awkward now with the scratchings and he should come across and land outside the leader and be pretty hard to get past. The horse is flying so happy to be with him also.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Streets Of Avalon here and will also have $35 the win on Spirit Of Aquada!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8

4:55pm

Suggested

Hellova Street (No.1) & Heptagon (No.14)

Dangers

Manolo Blahniq (No.9) & Naantali (No.13)

This was another race that I thought could be narrowed down a little bit. The scratching of Captain Cook who was the import for Chris Waller having his first Australian start has almost cemented that for me. He was the unknown in the race I was a bit wary of off the back of a trial in Sydney where he looked to have a bit more to give. With him out I am pretty confident that one of Hellova Street or Heptagon win.

Gee, he was brave at Flemington last start Hellova Street. He sat on the speed which was really strong and after being caught a little bit wide early stuck on bravely to just go down to Widgee Turf who was given an absolute peach of a run. The form from that race has been outstanding too with Streets Of Avalon winning at Mornington and then Haripour coming out and winning at big odds at Bendigo last week. I just think it is Hellova Street’s race to lose. Yes, he has to carry the 60kgs but that won’t worry him as he is as tough as nails. He draws a nice middle gate for Jason Maskiell to roll forward on speed and should he land outside the leader or in front without much pressure then he is going to be really hard to get past. The slight concern if any is that his Caulfield form certainly doesn’t read particularly strong. He is yet to win in six runs here but that may be a bit deceptive. A couple of those runs have either been at the top level or over an unsuitable shorter trip. Here on Saturday he is in his right grade and over his pet 1400m distance. There is a bit to like and for mine he is clearly the horse to beat.

I am going to keep Heptagon on side. This galloper is just flying at the moment. He beat Streets Of Avalon three starts back here at this track before stepping up to the mile and probably just not running that out as strongly as he does the 1400m two starts back at Flemington. He then went to Echuca last start and made a mess of his rivals in the Echuca Cup. He stays down in the weights here which looks a key factor, he draws to get a gun run just off the speed for an in form Michael Dee and he certainly shapes as the logical danger to Hellova Street. Like that galloper he absolutely loves this 1400m trip and he seems to be in career best form at the moment so it is hard to see him not being in the finish. I would be surprised if one of the two weren’t winning to be honest.

Betting strategy

They have really come for Heptagon here! I will have $45 the win on him but go for the bigger result by having $35 the win on Hellova Street at the better odds!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 1

12:10pm

Suggested

Athiri (No.8) & Libertini (No.10)

Dangers

Bivouac (No.1), Not Feint Hearted (No.6) & Evening Slippers (No.9)

The Championships are here. It is Day One and what a day this is. Four Group Ones and a fabulous support card at Royal Randwick. It is going to be one hell of a day. The weather as always in Sydney is the issue. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is good but there is a bit of rain expected on Thursday which will keep the track in the soft range for race day most likely. The rail is in the true position and typically over the last few years on this day the track has tended to advantage on pace runners closer to the rail early in the day. The rails run in certainly not a disadvantage before it evens out a bit later in the day. It will require close watching but at the same time over the last twelve months the track has played really fairly so unless something profound comes up early then I will just back the best horses in.

I am kicking the day off nice and early in the first race which is for the two year olds over the 1100m. I haven’t come up with anything form left field here. It is a two year old race, Godolphin saddle up two runners including the short priced favourite Athiri from gate number two with J-Mac on board. It sounds a winning combination and I think it will be. This filly has raced really well this campaign without having the best of luck. She was an excellent winner on debut at Rosehill back in December before being spelled immediately. She was then sent to Melbourne where she had a wide run in finishing third behind Lyre in the Blue Diamond Prelude before probably getting a touch too far back in the Blue Diamond when fourth behind that same galloper. She then returned to Sydney and chased home Kiamichi over the 1200m three weeks ago in the Magic Night. That filly obviously went on to win the Golden Slipper a week later. I think this is a nice little drop back in grade for Athiri. She draws gate two as I mentioned to get that perfect run most likely trailing in behind the leader and if the breaks come her way at the right time then she is going to be very hard to hold out. I am happy to be with her.

I am going to keep a first starter on side in Libertini. This is a very well bred filly who trialled up nicely last Friday here. She was never let off the bridle in that trial and looked to go to the line with a fair bit in hand. Anthony Cummings loves to have a throw at the stumps on big days like this and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has this filly primed for a big debut run. Her breeding suggests any rain won’t be an issue. She draws well to get a good run just off the speed and I fancy if the breaks come her way she make her presence felt. At double figure odds given she represents a bit of unknown and x-factor in the race I am happy to have something small on her to save behind the favourite.

Betting strategy

I am hoping Athiri kicks us off on the right note here! I will have $70 the win on her and save with $10 the win on Libertini!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 3

1:20pm

Suggested

Zalatte (No.3) & Amangiri (No.6)

Dangers

Justice Glory (No.1) & Prosecution (No.2)

This is a cracking edition of the Adrian Knox Stakes for the three year old fillies over the 2000m. It is a capacity field with a heap of chances. The market has really found the Team Hawkes filly in Amangiriwho comes off a couple of big wins in lower grade. She ran a super race on debut when beating all bar the talented Final Award who we saw win well at Canberra on Cup Day there. She then broke her maiden with a dominant win at Kensington before walking in at Hawkesbury against the older horses last start. She is clearly talented and had she come up $4 here I would be certain to back her. The $2.60 on offer just looks a little bit skinny in my opinion. For that reason I am going to bet around her but not too heavily as I obviously concede her a great winning chance.

I just had her and Princess Jenni rated a lot closer to each other in the market. I am obviously an unabashed Princess Jenni fan and she rewarded my faith with an excellent win at Moonee Valley a couple of Friday nights ago. I thought that win contained a lot of merit. She was three wide and back in the field albeit with cover. The really impressive part of the race however was before the home turn. The favourite Angelic Ruler was in front of her and blending into the race nicely while Princess Jenni was tracking the horse outside of Angelic Ruler. That horse was struggling though which forced Ollie to hook around her as they were turning to maintain the momentum. That gave Angelic Ruler a bit of an advantage as she come around the corner a couple of lanes closer to the inside covering less ground. Despite that Princess Jenni pinned the ears back once they straightened and mowed Angelic Ruler down for what was a really impressive victory. I think it is only a taste of what is to come. I think this is a serious filly. She finally draws a barrier here. She has just been cruelled by barriers all campaign and was even scratched twice before resuming because of bad gates. She gets gate four here for Ollie though to get the gun run just off the speed. Hopefully he can use that gate and settle a little bit closer in the run. She does have to carry the top weight but I am not too concerned by that. She comes into the race third up so for mine she is still very much on an upward spiral in terms of her campaign and I think the $7-8 being bet about here is an excellent price. Keen to be with her.

Clementina comes over from New Zealand here after one of the more unlucky runs you will ever see last start in the New Zealand Oaks. My goodness, that was a run. It was a sick beat if you were on. She had a lovely smothering run back on the fence off the speed but was blending into the race nicely turning for home. As they straightened she looked to be easing into the clear and just as she was nearly out in clear air she got shunted back into a pocket. She then went back to the inside and tried to get a run between horses, that gap closed and in the end had to be ripped back across heels to get to the outside of runners. By then she had lost many lengths and the bird had flown. She charged to the line late to be beaten less than two lengths. It was a huge run. I think she is a great chance here. She is still a maiden but with so many of these fillies stepping up to this trip for the first time, she is clearly seasoned with recent runs over the staying trip under her belt. She has the miles in the legs so if it is a testing 2000m she will be well placed and at double figure odds I think she is well worth a ticket.

Pressure resumed with a good run at Sandown without much luck. The Matt Cumani stable is going really well and I fancy with a more positive ride here from Williams she can make her presence felt so keeping her on side at double figure odds also.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on Princess Jenni and save with $15 the win on both Clementina and Pressure!

Race Outlay

$60

Race 5

2:35pm

Suggested

The Taj Mahal (No.2), Self Sense (No.4), Gallic Chieftain (No.11) & Supernova (No.19)

Dangers

Shraaoh (No.14) & Semari (No.15)

This race is for the stayers over the 2600m. It is the Chairman’s Quality and it is another race with a very big field. We see quite a few well exposed types in this race and for that reason I am really struggling to not make a significant case for the horse down the bottom in Supernova. This lightly raced import now with Team Hawkes has been outstanding in his two runs here in Sydney and I think he is clearly a very promising stayer. He has the form on the board over these longer trips in Europe before coming out here, the slight concern is does he have the grounding this campaign for a hard 2600m run against these battled hardened rivals. He hit the line strongly first up at Rosehill over the 1500m before overcoming difficulties when scoring second up over the 1900m last start on a heavy track. He was held up and in an awkward spot coming to the home turn that day but once he got clear he really picked up nicely to run down his rivals and win running away. He clearly looks a smart horse on the up and that is the gamble here. He is on the way up, he meets a lot of rivals that have been attacking these type of races for some time. I like him as the fresh blood and while he is well found in the market I don’t want to be against him so happy to be in his corner.

I am going to save on a few other runners at double figure odds to be on the safe side. The Taj Mahal is an interesting runner. The Lloyd Williams gallopers have performed a bit underwhelmingly in recent times. The Taj Mahal’s recent runs haven’t been too bad though and they have all been against Avilius and co. in strong company. I think he comes back a notch or two here and up to the 2600m should suit him ideally. He gets the services of James McDonald too which is a bonus and if he is ever going to fire then this looks the race that he might be able to do so in. Even though he was well beaten last start I thought he was coming again on the line and actually went through the line quite strongly. The last time he got over the 2400m he won the Sandown Classic in strong fashion. I think he is looking for this longer trip and at the double figure odds looks well worth a ticket.

It is pretty hard to leave Self Sense out of the equation. Even though the horse is being set for jumps races at The Bool, he has picked up the Yarra Valley and Mornington Cups at his last two starts. He is just flying. Throw in the fact he is likely to get his favourite soft conditions here and he is going to be thereabouts again in my opinion. I am just sick of not backing him and he wins at a decent price. He is double figure odds again here so I am obliged to have something on him.

Gallic Chieftain is an interesting runner for mine. His two runs back have been good. He hit the line well at Flemington in the Blamey first up behind Fifty Stars before he probably just wasn’t suited by the Yarra Valley track or how the race was run last start. He gets a significant weight turnaround on Self Sense for being beaten by him there. He draws gate on here for Damian Lane, gets the blinkers on and handles soft going. I think he has a fair bit in his favour so he is another I am happy to keep on side at the double figure odds.

Betting strategy

I will have $50 the win on Supernova here and save with $10 the win on all three of The Taj Mahal, Self Sense and Gallic Chieftain!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6 - Sires Produce Stakes

3:15pm

Suggested

Microphone (No.2), Probabeel (No.11) & Loving Gaby (No.12)

Dangers

Castelvecchio (No.1), Bellevue Hill (No.5) & Kiamichi (No.10)

This is the first of the Group One races of the day. It is the Sires Produce for the two year olds over 1400m. This is a good edition of the Sires. We have the horses coming through the Golden Slipper along with some fresh blood, so it is an intriguing punting puzzle. I am probably most keen on a horse that isn’t coming through the Golden Slipper in Probabeel. This talented New Zealand filly won three of her first four starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia. She won those three in quick succession with the most recent victory coming in the Karaka Millions on Australia Day. She was then about seven weeks between runs into the Magic Night at Rosehill where she just got a mile out of her ground behind Kiamichi the Golden Slipper winner. She certainly got through the line strongly but was set far too big of a task to win from the position she was in. She got through the line like a Sires horse to my eye though and up to the 1400m here she looks well placed. She gets a few key gear changes too. The blinkers go on for the first time with the visors going off and she also has a tongue tie go on. I certainly think the intention will not be to get as far back as what she did three weeks ago. She has drawn out again though for Opie Bosson so I think she will still be back off the speed but I am hoping she is within striking distance to launch a big finishing run. If she is I think she might be hard to hold out so happy to be in her corner.

The two horses I want to be on from the Golden Slipper are Microphone and Loving GabyMicrophone’s form going into the Slipper was excellent and he ran well, I just thought Bowman perhaps could have been a bit more positive on him early in the race to hold a spot. In the end he was probably just giving Kiamichi too big a start. He chased hard and was pulling ground off her on the line but couldn’t reel her in. I wouldn’t have thought of him as a Sires horse prior to that race but the way he raced on that day and the way he went through the line suggests to me that he is more than capable of running out a strong 1400m. Bowman rides from what looks to be a potentially awkward gate and I am hoping he is pretty positive on Microphone can offset that by putting him into the race early. If he does that he should be in the finish and I want to be with him.

Loving Gaby was an excellent run in the Slipper and she looks well set up here. She draws a gun gate for James McDonald to get the perfect run just off the speed having found trouble in the Blue Diamond and then drawing wide in the Slipper. She just looks to get a few more things in her favour on Saturday and can settle closer in the run without doing too much work early in the race. From there she just needs a touch of even luck and she should be right there in the finish so I am certainly keen to be with her also.

The chances don’t end there though. Kiamichi is again great odds and she is the Golden Slipper winner who is likely to again get conditions to suit. She is a great chance again as is Bellevue Hill and Castelvecchio who has been set for the race. Looking forward to it.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Loving Gaby and Microphone and $20 the win on Probabeel here!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 7 - Australian Derby

3:55pm

Suggested

Arrogant (No.4), Chapada (No.5) & Declarationofheart (No.14)

Dangers

Madison County (No.2) & Global Exchange (No.8)

This is the big one for the three year olds. It is the Australian Derby over the mile and a half. The race has already been robbed of one of its main chances with the filly Frankely Awesome a scratching on Thursday. I was probably not going to be in her corner anyway in what really is a tricky Derby. There is no horse that really comes into the race with outstanding form and there are a couple of different form lines coming together. The obvious form that I kept coming back to was the Rosehill Guineas and the Mike Moroney pair of Arrogant and Chapada who beat home all bar The Autumn Sun two weeks ago. They both look certain to run out the trip and both seem to be coming good at the right time.

Chapada ran third in the VRC Derby in the spring and for mine he is every chance of going two places better on Saturday here in Sydney. Aside from a disappointing run in the Australian Guineas his other two runs this time in have been excellent. He jumped out well prior to his first up run at Flemington in the C S Hayes where he was heavily backed and ran well from the back of the field on a day suiting those up on speed. The fact there was such strong money for him that day was an indication that he had come back in really good order. Doubt probably surfaced following that Australian Guineas run but he then bounced back with a super run in the Rosehill Guineas last start. He just got held up and shuffled back at crucial stage before the home turn when the winner was building momentum around the outside into the race. His effort to pick up and work through the field and still run on and finish third was excellent in my opinion. Ollie was pretty kind on him through the line too. No doubt this race has been the main target all along and he seems to arrive poised to deliver a career peak performance. I don’t mind him drawn out a little bit here for Ollie. I think providing he can slot in one off the fence and be free to make his move into the race unimpeded at the right time and building momentum he is going to be very hard to hold out. Keen to be with him.

He wasn’t exactly pulling ground off his stable mate Arrogant last start though. Gee, Arrogant really fought on well in his stoush with The Autumn Sun and only just went down by a narrow margin. That followed a good run in the New Zealand Derby but whereas a lot of his rivals from that race including the three who finished in front of him have failed since coming here to Sydney, he looks to have improved. He will roll forward from the wide draw and no doubt be up in the firing line the whole way. He will stick on strongly and no doubt run the trip right out. So while I am keener on the stable mate Chapada I don’t want to be losing on the race should Arrogant salute.

Global Exchange and Declarationofheart both come through the Alistair Clark at Moonee Valley three weeks ago and both look excellent chances. I am backing Declarationofheart in to turn the tables. He just had to go a bit sooner than Global Exchange at Moonee Valley and allowed that horse to have the last shot at him and run him down in the final stride. Since then both horses have trialled in Sydney and I was particularly taken with how Declarationofheart went in that trial. He draws gate one for Mark Zahra so he will do no work in the run and I just thought at the better price around that $12-15 mark he looked a good price and probably over his true odds so happy to have something on him.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Arrogant and Chapada here! I will also have $15 the win on Declarationofheart and I will lock in the $16 about him which I think is a great price!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8 - T J Smith Stakes

4:35pm

Suggested

Trapeze Artist (No.2), Santa Ana Lane (No.3) & Shoals (No.9)

Dangers

Pierata (No.4) & Osborne Bulls (No.7)

This is the feature sprint race of the day. It is the Group One T J Smith over the 1200m. Trapeze Artistis going for back to back wins in the race after we found him at double figure odds to defeat Redzel in last year’s edition of the race and he comes into this year’s event as favourite off the back off a strong victory in the Canterbury Stakes last start. He is going to be really hard to beat again. Hopefully that rain stays away as he is certainly a better horse on top of the ground. He handles soft conditions but isn’t as lethal as what he is on a dry surface. He just is a horse that has developed a bit of a reputation of getting the job done on the big stage. He seems to perform in his Grand Final’s and this is his Grand Final. He will roll forward and land right on the speed and he should again prove hard to get past. I am not as confident as I was about him last start but I can’t let him go around without having something on him so happy to be with him again.

I think the Anthony Freedman trained pair of Santa Ana Lane and Shoals are primed to run big races. Anthony Freedman has consistently got horses to peak in big races in recent times and these two look no exception. Santa Ana Lane was an excellent run in the Newmarket first up down the straight at Flemington. He hit the line strongly and obviously gets the slight weight advantage back to WFA here over Osborne Bulls. His recent trial here behind Vega Magic was eye catching to say the least. He sat back off the speed but really trucked through the line under little urging from his rider with plenty more to give. He draws a middle gate here for Mark Zahra and providing he is within striking distance turning for home you know he is going to unleash a big finish. He handles all conditions, he should be fitter for that first up run and I think he is primed to run another big race in another big Group One. Happy to be with him.

Shoals chased home Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes last start and I just feel she is open to a lot more improvement than the stallion coming into this race and that may be the reason she can potentially turn the tables here on Saturday. She chased with real determination that day and is typically a mare that performs very well second up. Since that run four weeks ago she has had a trial at Randwick where Tim Clark was barely able to hold her back. She was chugging through the line really nicely. This has been her target race all along. The stable has been upfront saying Santa Ana Lane has targets at Royal Ascot further down the track but this is the race that Shoals is being aimed at. She draws a nice middle gate for Tim Clark to get a good run just off the speed and I thought at the double figure odds she was the horse over the odds in the race and worth a ticket.

The chances obviously don’t end there. Osborne Bulls has been enormous in two runs this time in, can he run past a horse like Trapeze Artist though? It was out of those two who I was deciding to back and I sided with Trapeze Artist just based on his position in running. Pierata and Sunlight are the other two. Pierata so unlucky not to win last start in that brutal photo finish with Nature Strip and then there is Sunlight who is just flying at the moment. It is a great race, can’t wait for it.

Betting strategy

I will. have $35 the win on Trapeze Artist, $25 the win on Santa Ana Lane and $20 the win on Shoals!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 9 - Doncaster Handicap

5:15pm

Suggested

Hartnell (No.1), Shillelagh (No.7), Aloisia (No.13) & Fundamentalist (No.18)

Dangers

Le Romain (No.2), Alizee (No.3) & Brutal (No.20)

We get to the fourth and final Group One of the day and this is going to be another outstanding contest. It is the Group One Doncaster Mile and while the race may lack the star power of previous editions; you can’t deny the competitiveness of this field. It is going to be a fascinating betting race and there are a number of winning chances. I am certainly leaning away from the favourites. Alizee not surprisingly is on the drift. It is hard to see her beating home Hartnell based on what we saw in the All Star Mile three weeks back. She had the dream run through there and was all set to win the race but looked to fail to run out a strong mile. This looks a race with good genuine tempo. I anticipate it being a strongly run mile race so she is a risk for mine. Brutal is the horse I am more nervous about taking on. His run last start behind Winx was excellent, but his run prior to that behind Trapeze Artist was just fair. He certainly looks well handicapped but will need a gun ride from Glen Boss from the wide draw. Bossy’s big race rides in recent times probably haven’t been at the level we know he is capable of producing so he will be keen to arrive here and make a statement. I just think at the $5 he has been well enough found and I feel there are betting options around him.

Fundamentalist is probably my on top selection in the race. Her runs this time in have all been excellent, she just hasn’t been able to break through for a victory. Her two runs here in Sydney in particular have been first rate. I think she has been ridden to her strengths in those two races. She was held up and held back to the field in Melbourne but she has been allowed to roll freely out in front in her two runs here and been just touched off in both runs by Nakeeta Jane and The Autumn Sun last start. The last run in particular was outstanding. She ran the race along at a fast tempo and was only just cut down in the final strides by the superstar colt. She looks so well set up here to deliver another big performance. She draws gate two so she should land right on the speed and with only 49kgs on her back she is going to take some running down. I think at the $10-11 on offer she looks an outstanding bet.

In a race that perhaps is lacking that genuine star quality Hartnell looks a great chance to add to his already ultra impressive CV. He is the genuine weight for age star miler that has performed consistently at the top level. He seems to be coming into the race in exceptional form too. His last two runs in the Futurity and All Star Mile have been excellent. He has really charged through the line in those last two runs and I think he looks well set up to run a big race here. He draws a lovely middle gate for Hugh Bowman. He loves the Randwick mile and I am more than happy to be in his corner.

The two at big odds I am going to have something on are Shilellagh and AloisiaShillelagh’s run last start should be forgiven. She was just starting to move into the race in the Ranvet when the injured Sikandarabad fell back into her lap. That halted all of her momentum and she was really out of play from that point. Her run before that in the Australian Cup was excellent and she is another horse that has typically performed well on the big day. She has won the big open mile race on Derby two years ago and last year won the mares mile race both at Group One level. She looks quite well handicapped for a dual Group One winner here with just 53kgs on her back. She draws gate three to sit back off the speed and do no work early and get that cushy smothering run for Craig Williams and if the breaks do come her way I think that she can be right in the finish. Around the $15-20 mark I think she is going to make her presence felt and am happy to be with her.

Aloisia is the real big odds throw at the stumps bet. She has only had the two runs this time in and was really charging through the line in the Coolmore last start. Her recent Sydney runs have all been at a pretty high level and I just thought the $50-60 on offer here in this race looked well over her true price. She draws well, only has 51kgs on her back and if there is a blowout in the race I think she is the one most likely to provide it so happy to have something small on her.

I think they are the main chances. There are obviously a few others such as Le RomainLand Of PlentyUnforgotten and Fifty Stars that can be considered but I am pretty happy to be with Fundamentalist and Hartnell principally and will keep Shillelagh and Aloisia on side at the big odds. One thing is for sure, with the big field engaged it promises to be a bloody good race.

Betting strategy

I will have $25 the win on Fundamentalist! I will have $20 the win on Hartnell and I will save with $15 the win on Shillelagh and $10 the win on Aloisia locking in the $71 about the latter which looks a massive price!

Race Outlay

$70

Race 2

1:00pm

Suggested

Danon Roman (No.2) & Heir To The Throne (No.15)

Dangers

Laughing Heir (No.4) & I Got You (No.10)

After a couple of stand alone Saturday’s outside of Melbourne Saturday racing returns to Caulfield this weekend for what looks a really deep and strong support card to the big meeting up at Randwick. No issues with the Melbourne weather at all unlike Sydney and we should be racing on a good track with the rail out ten metres for the entire circuit. As per usual I would expect Caulfield to play fairly and every horse have their chance.

I am kicking the day off in the second race which is over the mile and there look to be a host of chances here. Heir To The Throne resumed from a spell at Sandown on the Lakeside track recently and ran a really good race. That was a day where the Lakeside track certainly played very much like the Lakeside track and it was hard for horses to make ground from off the speed. He made a strong mid race move around the field coming widest into the straight but just peaked on his run late and Won Ball proved too strong. I thought it was an encouraging return. He was very firm in the market that day which suggests that he has come back well and I think he finds a winnable Saturday race here. He will be better for that outing, he gets good weight relief down to 55.5kgs and I would expect him to roll forward from a middle gate for Beau Mertens and be up on speed throughout. If that is the case I think he will prove hard to hold out.

Danon Roman was a little bit soft in the market when resuming at Sandown on the Hillside track last start and ran accordingly. He loomed to win halfway down the straight but was just unable to finish the race off with his condition seemingly giving out. He should strip a lot fitter for that here and his form last campaign around the likes of Furrion, Best Of Days and Lucky For All certainly reads well for a race of this nature. He draws a nice middle gate for James Winks to land just off the speed and I am happy to be with him here.

Creativity certainly looks the class runner in the race. She is now in the stables of Craig Widdison at Wodonga after formerly being with Ellerton & Zahra. She is a mare that has had quite a few barrier issues in her time but has always displayed good talent. She is typically very good early in her campaigns and she went well enough in a recent Wangaratta jump out to suggest that she will run well here. She draws out for Linda Meech but I would expect her to roll forward from that alley and be right in the finish so happy to be with her.

Huge Action is the one at massive odds I could see running a cheeky race. He is a local trained on the track and will most likely have been set for this race. He has run well here in the past and at huge odds I thought he would be worth a small ticket.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Danon Roman here and $35 the win on Heir To The Throne!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 5

2:55pm

Suggested

News Girl (No.3), Lady Pluck (No.5) & Rapidora (No.12)

Dangers

Enbihaar (No.1) & Fidelia (No.10)

This is another pretty deep race here. It is for the three year old fillies over the 1100m. I am looking forward to seeing this Tasmanian filly in Lady Pluck return to the mainland. I actually had something on her at $71 back in September when she chased home Smart Melody at Flemington in a listed race and she provided something for the each way punters by running third at the big odds. She was immediately spelled post that run and has returned this time in with two strong victories in Tasmania. She got the job done narrowly as a very short priced odds on favourite first up and then her win last start when second up was most dominant. She sat just off the speed there but was able to reel her rivals in and then power away late. The Tasmanian form just keeps holding up over there and I see no reason why it won’t again here. I think she is an above average filly and more than happy to be in her corner.

News Girl comes back off a freshen up here after running some good races over the summer months. She came down from Albury and ran well in three races here at Caulfield. Twice she was just touched off by Crack The Code before stepping up to the 1400m and running well behind Qafila. That looks good form for this type of race. I like that she has had the freshen up and comes back to the 1100m here. I think from that middle gate if she can land in front or outside the leader without doing too much work early she is going to take some running down in the straight. She is an above average filly and I think the $7-8 being bet about her here in early markets is quite juicy so happy to be with her also.

The other horse I am going to have something small on in the race is Rapidora. This filly showed some good potential in her debut campaign and providing she has improved in the break then she can certainly run a strong race here. Her recent Flemington jump out alongside a couple of handy types was quite stylish. She led on the fence there and was never let off the bridle and looked to have a fair bit more to give. She is down in the weights here from a favourable middle draw and with that natural improvement from her first campaign into this one I think she can certainly be competitive. The $20+ being bet about her looks a good price and certainly worthy of a ticket.

Betting strategy

Pretty keen on Lady Pluck here and will have $50 the win on her saving with $20 the win on News Girl and $10 the win on Rapidora!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6

3:35pm

Suggested

Flying Krupt (No.5) & Leather’n’lace (No.8)

Dangers

Mamzelle Tess (No.4) & Non Paear (No.10)

This is a smaller field here over the 1100m for the mares and it has drawn together a pretty solid field. It is a smaller field than a few of the other races on the program so there isn’t as much depth to it and I was pretty confident we could narrow this one down a bit to a confident two bet play. Leather’n’lace is a former Weir trained mare that I have always had a lot of time for but she hasn’t been able to break through and win a race for some time. I have a couple of theories on that. Her best campaign for mine was easily her second campaign where she strung together three consecutive wins. The hallmark of those runs in particular a 1400m win here one day was that she showed sustained speed to lead from the front. Since that spring campaign the closest she has settled in the run in any of her subsequent seven starts is third which was at her most recent run at Geelong last spring. All in all she hasn’t won since September 2017 so it is a decent run of outs. Weir’y seemed intent on riding her off the speed with cover and that brought about her undoing in quite a few races in my opinion. Certainly a couple of races here in the spring behind Winter Bride and Ellicazoom she struck traffic problems which proved costly. She is now in the Ellerton & Zahra yard and I am really hopeful they revert to riding her more positively and using that speed as an advantage. Her two recent jump outs at Flemington have looked stylish and she certainly looks to have come back well. If you go back through her form there are competitive runs against the likes of Booker, She’s So High and Winter Bride which read superbly for a race of this nature. I like her drawn out over the 1100m I don’t think that will be an issue at all and if she brings her best to the table I think she will be hard to beat so keen to be with her.

Flying Krupt came back off a freshen up at Flemington last start and was just touched off by Swift Sis down the straight there. She just had that little bit of trouble getting a clear crack at them for a hundred metres or so but found the line well once clear. Her form through her last campaign over the summer months were excellent. She stepped out to 1400m and won well here in that campaign but I feel she might be best as a run on sprinter. I think she just sees out the 1400m. She gets every opportunity to get back into the winners circle here. She draws ideally in gate two to get a gun run in behind the speed with no weight on her back and I think all she needs is some luck in running and she should be right in the finish. Happy to be with her.

Betting strategy

There isn't much fat in this market now! I am liking the early support for Leather'n'lace though and for that reason will stake heavier on her having $60 the win on saving with $30 the win on Flying Krupt!

Race Outlay

$90

Race 7

4:15pm

Suggested

Streets Of Avalon (No.1) & Spirit Of Aquada (No.13)

Dangers

Ashlor (No.2)

This race is over the 1200m for the sprinters and we revert back to a pretty deep race with many chances pretty quickly. This race brings together a lot of in form horses. It is a really good race. But it has been marred by scratchings. That has left me with Spirit Of Aquada who has come back from a spell in really good form this time in it would seem. First up at Moonee Valley he turned in a really dominant performance coming from just off the speed to win easily before making a ton of ground up down the straight last start when just touched off by Villa Sarchi. Both runs have been excellent and he looks well placed here to run well down in the weights. He draws a nice middle gate, he gets that weight relief as mentioned and third up from a spell should be primed to run a big race.

I am now going to also have something on Streets Of Avalon as well. The draw looks less awkward now with the scratchings and he should come across and land outside the leader and be pretty hard to get past. The horse is flying so happy to be with him also.

Betting strategy

I will have $40 the win on Streets Of Avalon here and will also have $35 the win on Spirit Of Aquada!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8

4:55pm

Suggested

Hellova Street (No.1) & Heptagon (No.14)

Dangers

Manolo Blahniq (No.9) & Naantali (No.13)

This was another race that I thought could be narrowed down a little bit. The scratching of Captain Cook who was the import for Chris Waller having his first Australian start has almost cemented that for me. He was the unknown in the race I was a bit wary of off the back of a trial in Sydney where he looked to have a bit more to give. With him out I am pretty confident that one of Hellova Street or Heptagon win.

Gee, he was brave at Flemington last start Hellova Street. He sat on the speed which was really strong and after being caught a little bit wide early stuck on bravely to just go down to Widgee Turf who was given an absolute peach of a run. The form from that race has been outstanding too with Streets Of Avalon winning at Mornington and then Haripour coming out and winning at big odds at Bendigo last week. I just think it is Hellova Street’s race to lose. Yes, he has to carry the 60kgs but that won’t worry him as he is as tough as nails. He draws a nice middle gate for Jason Maskiell to roll forward on speed and should he land outside the leader or in front without much pressure then he is going to be really hard to get past. The slight concern if any is that his Caulfield form certainly doesn’t read particularly strong. He is yet to win in six runs here but that may be a bit deceptive. A couple of those runs have either been at the top level or over an unsuitable shorter trip. Here on Saturday he is in his right grade and over his pet 1400m distance. There is a bit to like and for mine he is clearly the horse to beat.

I am going to keep Heptagon on side. This galloper is just flying at the moment. He beat Streets Of Avalon three starts back here at this track before stepping up to the mile and probably just not running that out as strongly as he does the 1400m two starts back at Flemington. He then went to Echuca last start and made a mess of his rivals in the Echuca Cup. He stays down in the weights here which looks a key factor, he draws to get a gun run just off the speed for an in form Michael Dee and he certainly shapes as the logical danger to Hellova Street. Like that galloper he absolutely loves this 1400m trip and he seems to be in career best form at the moment so it is hard to see him not being in the finish. I would be surprised if one of the two weren’t winning to be honest.

Betting strategy

They have really come for Heptagon here! I will have $45 the win on him but go for the bigger result by having $35 the win on Hellova Street at the better odds!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 1

12:10pm

Suggested

Athiri (No.8) & Libertini (No.10)

Dangers

Bivouac (No.1), Not Feint Hearted (No.6) & Evening Slippers (No.9)

The Championships are here. It is Day One and what a day this is. Four Group Ones and a fabulous support card at Royal Randwick. It is going to be one hell of a day. The weather as always in Sydney is the issue. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is good but there is a bit of rain expected on Thursday which will keep the track in the soft range for race day most likely. The rail is in the true position and typically over the last few years on this day the track has tended to advantage on pace runners closer to the rail early in the day. The rails run in certainly not a disadvantage before it evens out a bit later in the day. It will require close watching but at the same time over the last twelve months the track has played really fairly so unless something profound comes up early then I will just back the best horses in.

I am kicking the day off nice and early in the first race which is for the two year olds over the 1100m. I haven’t come up with anything form left field here. It is a two year old race, Godolphin saddle up two runners including the short priced favourite Athiri from gate number two with J-Mac on board. It sounds a winning combination and I think it will be. This filly has raced really well this campaign without having the best of luck. She was an excellent winner on debut at Rosehill back in December before being spelled immediately. She was then sent to Melbourne where she had a wide run in finishing third behind Lyre in the Blue Diamond Prelude before probably getting a touch too far back in the Blue Diamond when fourth behind that same galloper. She then returned to Sydney and chased home Kiamichi over the 1200m three weeks ago in the Magic Night. That filly obviously went on to win the Golden Slipper a week later. I think this is a nice little drop back in grade for Athiri. She draws gate two as I mentioned to get that perfect run most likely trailing in behind the leader and if the breaks come her way at the right time then she is going to be very hard to hold out. I am happy to be with her.

I am going to keep a first starter on side in Libertini. This is a very well bred filly who trialled up nicely last Friday here. She was never let off the bridle in that trial and looked to go to the line with a fair bit in hand. Anthony Cummings loves to have a throw at the stumps on big days like this and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has this filly primed for a big debut run. Her breeding suggests any rain won’t be an issue. She draws well to get a good run just off the speed and I fancy if the breaks come her way she make her presence felt. At double figure odds given she represents a bit of unknown and x-factor in the race I am happy to have something small on her to save behind the favourite.

Betting strategy

I am hoping Athiri kicks us off on the right note here! I will have $70 the win on her and save with $10 the win on Libertini!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 3

1:20pm

Suggested

Zalatte (No.3) & Amangiri (No.6)

Dangers

Justice Glory (No.1) & Prosecution (No.2)

This is a cracking edition of the Adrian Knox Stakes for the three year old fillies over the 2000m. It is a capacity field with a heap of chances. The market has really found the Team Hawkes filly in Amangiriwho comes off a couple of big wins in lower grade. She ran a super race on debut when beating all bar the talented Final Award who we saw win well at Canberra on Cup Day there. She then broke her maiden with a dominant win at Kensington before walking in at Hawkesbury against the older horses last start. She is clearly talented and had she come up $4 here I would be certain to back her. The $2.60 on offer just looks a little bit skinny in my opinion. For that reason I am going to bet around her but not too heavily as I obviously concede her a great winning chance.

I just had her and Princess Jenni rated a lot closer to each other in the market. I am obviously an unabashed Princess Jenni fan and she rewarded my faith with an excellent win at Moonee Valley a couple of Friday nights ago. I thought that win contained a lot of merit. She was three wide and back in the field albeit with cover. The really impressive part of the race however was before the home turn. The favourite Angelic Ruler was in front of her and blending into the race nicely while Princess Jenni was tracking the horse outside of Angelic Ruler. That horse was struggling though which forced Ollie to hook around her as they were turning to maintain the momentum. That gave Angelic Ruler a bit of an advantage as she come around the corner a couple of lanes closer to the inside covering less ground. Despite that Princess Jenni pinned the ears back once they straightened and mowed Angelic Ruler down for what was a really impressive victory. I think it is only a taste of what is to come. I think this is a serious filly. She finally draws a barrier here. She has just been cruelled by barriers all campaign and was even scratched twice before resuming because of bad gates. She gets gate four here for Ollie though to get the gun run just off the speed. Hopefully he can use that gate and settle a little bit closer in the run. She does have to carry the top weight but I am not too concerned by that. She comes into the race third up so for mine she is still very much on an upward spiral in terms of her campaign and I think the $7-8 being bet about here is an excellent price. Keen to be with her.

Clementina comes over from New Zealand here after one of the more unlucky runs you will ever see last start in the New Zealand Oaks. My goodness, that was a run. It was a sick beat if you were on. She had a lovely smothering run back on the fence off the speed but was blending into the race nicely turning for home. As they straightened she looked to be easing into the clear and just as she was nearly out in clear air she got shunted back into a pocket. She then went back to the inside and tried to get a run between horses, that gap closed and in the end had to be ripped back across heels to get to the outside of runners. By then she had lost many lengths and the bird had flown. She charged to the line late to be beaten less than two lengths. It was a huge run. I think she is a great chance here. She is still a maiden but with so many of these fillies stepping up to this trip for the first time, she is clearly seasoned with recent runs over the staying trip under her belt. She has the miles in the legs so if it is a testing 2000m she will be well placed and at double figure odds I think she is well worth a ticket.

Pressure resumed with a good run at Sandown without much luck. The Matt Cumani stable is going really well and I fancy with a more positive ride here from Williams she can make her presence felt so keeping her on side at double figure odds also.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on Princess Jenni and save with $15 the win on both Clementina and Pressure!

Race Outlay

$60

Race 5

2:35pm

Suggested

The Taj Mahal (No.2), Self Sense (No.4), Gallic Chieftain (No.11) & Supernova (No.19)

Dangers

Shraaoh (No.14) & Semari (No.15)

This race is for the stayers over the 2600m. It is the Chairman’s Quality and it is another race with a very big field. We see quite a few well exposed types in this race and for that reason I am really struggling to not make a significant case for the horse down the bottom in Supernova. This lightly raced import now with Team Hawkes has been outstanding in his two runs here in Sydney and I think he is clearly a very promising stayer. He has the form on the board over these longer trips in Europe before coming out here, the slight concern is does he have the grounding this campaign for a hard 2600m run against these battled hardened rivals. He hit the line strongly first up at Rosehill over the 1500m before overcoming difficulties when scoring second up over the 1900m last start on a heavy track. He was held up and in an awkward spot coming to the home turn that day but once he got clear he really picked up nicely to run down his rivals and win running away. He clearly looks a smart horse on the up and that is the gamble here. He is on the way up, he meets a lot of rivals that have been attacking these type of races for some time. I like him as the fresh blood and while he is well found in the market I don’t want to be against him so happy to be in his corner.

I am going to save on a few other runners at double figure odds to be on the safe side. The Taj Mahal is an interesting runner. The Lloyd Williams gallopers have performed a bit underwhelmingly in recent times. The Taj Mahal’s recent runs haven’t been too bad though and they have all been against Avilius and co. in strong company. I think he comes back a notch or two here and up to the 2600m should suit him ideally. He gets the services of James McDonald too which is a bonus and if he is ever going to fire then this looks the race that he might be able to do so in. Even though he was well beaten last start I thought he was coming again on the line and actually went through the line quite strongly. The last time he got over the 2400m he won the Sandown Classic in strong fashion. I think he is looking for this longer trip and at the double figure odds looks well worth a ticket.

It is pretty hard to leave Self Sense out of the equation. Even though the horse is being set for jumps races at The Bool, he has picked up the Yarra Valley and Mornington Cups at his last two starts. He is just flying. Throw in the fact he is likely to get his favourite soft conditions here and he is going to be thereabouts again in my opinion. I am just sick of not backing him and he wins at a decent price. He is double figure odds again here so I am obliged to have something on him.

Gallic Chieftain is an interesting runner for mine. His two runs back have been good. He hit the line well at Flemington in the Blamey first up behind Fifty Stars before he probably just wasn’t suited by the Yarra Valley track or how the race was run last start. He gets a significant weight turnaround on Self Sense for being beaten by him there. He draws gate on here for Damian Lane, gets the blinkers on and handles soft going. I think he has a fair bit in his favour so he is another I am happy to keep on side at the double figure odds.

Betting strategy

I will have $50 the win on Supernova here and save with $10 the win on all three of The Taj Mahal, Self Sense and Gallic Chieftain!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 6 - Sires Produce Stakes

3:15pm

Suggested

Microphone (No.2), Probabeel (No.11) & Loving Gaby (No.12)

Dangers

Castelvecchio (No.1), Bellevue Hill (No.5) & Kiamichi (No.10)

This is the first of the Group One races of the day. It is the Sires Produce for the two year olds over 1400m. This is a good edition of the Sires. We have the horses coming through the Golden Slipper along with some fresh blood, so it is an intriguing punting puzzle. I am probably most keen on a horse that isn’t coming through the Golden Slipper in Probabeel. This talented New Zealand filly won three of her first four starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia. She won those three in quick succession with the most recent victory coming in the Karaka Millions on Australia Day. She was then about seven weeks between runs into the Magic Night at Rosehill where she just got a mile out of her ground behind Kiamichi the Golden Slipper winner. She certainly got through the line strongly but was set far too big of a task to win from the position she was in. She got through the line like a Sires horse to my eye though and up to the 1400m here she looks well placed. She gets a few key gear changes too. The blinkers go on for the first time with the visors going off and she also has a tongue tie go on. I certainly think the intention will not be to get as far back as what she did three weeks ago. She has drawn out again though for Opie Bosson so I think she will still be back off the speed but I am hoping she is within striking distance to launch a big finishing run. If she is I think she might be hard to hold out so happy to be in her corner.

The two horses I want to be on from the Golden Slipper are Microphone and Loving GabyMicrophone’s form going into the Slipper was excellent and he ran well, I just thought Bowman perhaps could have been a bit more positive on him early in the race to hold a spot. In the end he was probably just giving Kiamichi too big a start. He chased hard and was pulling ground off her on the line but couldn’t reel her in. I wouldn’t have thought of him as a Sires horse prior to that race but the way he raced on that day and the way he went through the line suggests to me that he is more than capable of running out a strong 1400m. Bowman rides from what looks to be a potentially awkward gate and I am hoping he is pretty positive on Microphone can offset that by putting him into the race early. If he does that he should be in the finish and I want to be with him.

Loving Gaby was an excellent run in the Slipper and she looks well set up here. She draws a gun gate for James McDonald to get the perfect run just off the speed having found trouble in the Blue Diamond and then drawing wide in the Slipper. She just looks to get a few more things in her favour on Saturday and can settle closer in the run without doing too much work early in the race. From there she just needs a touch of even luck and she should be right there in the finish so I am certainly keen to be with her also.

The chances don’t end there though. Kiamichi is again great odds and she is the Golden Slipper winner who is likely to again get conditions to suit. She is a great chance again as is Bellevue Hill and Castelvecchio who has been set for the race. Looking forward to it.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Loving Gaby and Microphone and $20 the win on Probabeel here!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 7 - Australian Derby

3:55pm

Suggested

Arrogant (No.4), Chapada (No.5) & Declarationofheart (No.14)

Dangers

Madison County (No.2) & Global Exchange (No.8)

This is the big one for the three year olds. It is the Australian Derby over the mile and a half. The race has already been robbed of one of its main chances with the filly Frankely Awesome a scratching on Thursday. I was probably not going to be in her corner anyway in what really is a tricky Derby. There is no horse that really comes into the race with outstanding form and there are a couple of different form lines coming together. The obvious form that I kept coming back to was the Rosehill Guineas and the Mike Moroney pair of Arrogant and Chapada who beat home all bar The Autumn Sun two weeks ago. They both look certain to run out the trip and both seem to be coming good at the right time.

Chapada ran third in the VRC Derby in the spring and for mine he is every chance of going two places better on Saturday here in Sydney. Aside from a disappointing run in the Australian Guineas his other two runs this time in have been excellent. He jumped out well prior to his first up run at Flemington in the C S Hayes where he was heavily backed and ran well from the back of the field on a day suiting those up on speed. The fact there was such strong money for him that day was an indication that he had come back in really good order. Doubt probably surfaced following that Australian Guineas run but he then bounced back with a super run in the Rosehill Guineas last start. He just got held up and shuffled back at crucial stage before the home turn when the winner was building momentum around the outside into the race. His effort to pick up and work through the field and still run on and finish third was excellent in my opinion. Ollie was pretty kind on him through the line too. No doubt this race has been the main target all along and he seems to arrive poised to deliver a career peak performance. I don’t mind him drawn out a little bit here for Ollie. I think providing he can slot in one off the fence and be free to make his move into the race unimpeded at the right time and building momentum he is going to be very hard to hold out. Keen to be with him.

He wasn’t exactly pulling ground off his stable mate Arrogant last start though. Gee, Arrogant really fought on well in his stoush with The Autumn Sun and only just went down by a narrow margin. That followed a good run in the New Zealand Derby but whereas a lot of his rivals from that race including the three who finished in front of him have failed since coming here to Sydney, he looks to have improved. He will roll forward from the wide draw and no doubt be up in the firing line the whole way. He will stick on strongly and no doubt run the trip right out. So while I am keener on the stable mate Chapada I don’t want to be losing on the race should Arrogant salute.

Global Exchange and Declarationofheart both come through the Alistair Clark at Moonee Valley three weeks ago and both look excellent chances. I am backing Declarationofheart in to turn the tables. He just had to go a bit sooner than Global Exchange at Moonee Valley and allowed that horse to have the last shot at him and run him down in the final stride. Since then both horses have trialled in Sydney and I was particularly taken with how Declarationofheart went in that trial. He draws gate one for Mark Zahra so he will do no work in the run and I just thought at the better price around that $12-15 mark he looked a good price and probably over his true odds so happy to have something on him.

Betting strategy

I will have $30 the win on both Arrogant and Chapada here! I will also have $15 the win on Declarationofheart and I will lock in the $16 about him which I think is a great price!

Race Outlay

$75

Race 8 - T J Smith Stakes

4:35pm

Suggested

Trapeze Artist (No.2), Santa Ana Lane (No.3) & Shoals (No.9)

Dangers

Pierata (No.4) & Osborne Bulls (No.7)

This is the feature sprint race of the day. It is the Group One T J Smith over the 1200m. Trapeze Artistis going for back to back wins in the race after we found him at double figure odds to defeat Redzel in last year’s edition of the race and he comes into this year’s event as favourite off the back off a strong victory in the Canterbury Stakes last start. He is going to be really hard to beat again. Hopefully that rain stays away as he is certainly a better horse on top of the ground. He handles soft conditions but isn’t as lethal as what he is on a dry surface. He just is a horse that has developed a bit of a reputation of getting the job done on the big stage. He seems to perform in his Grand Final’s and this is his Grand Final. He will roll forward and land right on the speed and he should again prove hard to get past. I am not as confident as I was about him last start but I can’t let him go around without having something on him so happy to be with him again.

I think the Anthony Freedman trained pair of Santa Ana Lane and Shoals are primed to run big races. Anthony Freedman has consistently got horses to peak in big races in recent times and these two look no exception. Santa Ana Lane was an excellent run in the Newmarket first up down the straight at Flemington. He hit the line strongly and obviously gets the slight weight advantage back to WFA here over Osborne Bulls. His recent trial here behind Vega Magic was eye catching to say the least. He sat back off the speed but really trucked through the line under little urging from his rider with plenty more to give. He draws a middle gate here for Mark Zahra and providing he is within striking distance turning for home you know he is going to unleash a big finish. He handles all conditions, he should be fitter for that first up run and I think he is primed to run another big race in another big Group One. Happy to be with him.

Shoals chased home Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes last start and I just feel she is open to a lot more improvement than the stallion coming into this race and that may be the reason she can potentially turn the tables here on Saturday. She chased with real determination that day and is typically a mare that performs very well second up. Since that run four weeks ago she has had a trial at Randwick where Tim Clark was barely able to hold her back. She was chugging through the line really nicely. This has been her target race all along. The stable has been upfront saying Santa Ana Lane has targets at Royal Ascot further down the track but this is the race that Shoals is being aimed at. She draws a nice middle gate for Tim Clark to get a good run just off the speed and I thought at the double figure odds she was the horse over the odds in the race and worth a ticket.

The chances obviously don’t end there. Osborne Bulls has been enormous in two runs this time in, can he run past a horse like Trapeze Artist though? It was out of those two who I was deciding to back and I sided with Trapeze Artist just based on his position in running. Pierata and Sunlight are the other two. Pierata so unlucky not to win last start in that brutal photo finish with Nature Strip and then there is Sunlight who is just flying at the moment. It is a great race, can’t wait for it.

Betting strategy

I will. have $35 the win on Trapeze Artist, $25 the win on Santa Ana Lane and $20 the win on Shoals!

Race Outlay

$80

Race 9 - Doncaster Handicap

5:15pm

Suggested

Hartnell (No.1), Shillelagh (No.7), Aloisia (No.13) & Fundamentalist (No.18)

Dangers

Le Romain (No.2), Alizee (No.3) & Brutal (No.20)

We get to the fourth and final Group One of the day and this is going to be another outstanding contest. It is the Group One Doncaster Mile and while the race may lack the star power of previous editions; you can’t deny the competitiveness of this field. It is going to be a fascinating betting race and there are a number of winning chances. I am certainly leaning away from the favourites. Alizee not surprisingly is on the drift. It is hard to see her beating home Hartnell based on what we saw in the All Star Mile three weeks back. She had the dream run through there and was all set to win the race but looked to fail to run out a strong mile. This looks a race with good genuine tempo. I anticipate it being a strongly run mile race so she is a risk for mine. Brutal is the horse I am more nervous about taking on. His run last start behind Winx was excellent, but his run prior to that behind Trapeze Artist was just fair. He certainly looks well handicapped but will need a gun ride from Glen Boss from the wide draw. Bossy’s big race rides in recent times probably haven’t been at the level we know he is capable of producing so he will be keen to arrive here and make a statement. I just think at the $5 he has been well enough found and I feel there are betting options around him.

Fundamentalist is probably my on top selection in the race. Her runs this time in have all been excellent, she just hasn’t been able to break through for a victory. Her two runs here in Sydney in particular have been first rate. I think she has been ridden to her strengths in those two races. She was held up and held back to the field in Melbourne but she has been allowed to roll freely out in front in her two runs here and been just touched off in both runs by Nakeeta Jane and The Autumn Sun last start. The last run in particular was outstanding. She ran the race along at a fast tempo and was only just cut down in the final strides by the superstar colt. She looks so well set up here to deliver another big performance. She draws gate two so she should land right on the speed and with only 49kgs on her back she is going to take some running down. I think at the $10-11 on offer she looks an outstanding bet.

In a race that perhaps is lacking that genuine star quality Hartnell looks a great chance to add to his already ultra impressive CV. He is the genuine weight for age star miler that has performed consistently at the top level. He seems to be coming into the race in exceptional form too. His last two runs in the Futurity and All Star Mile have been excellent. He has really charged through the line in those last two runs and I think he looks well set up to run a big race here. He draws a lovely middle gate for Hugh Bowman. He loves the Randwick mile and I am more than happy to be in his corner.

The two at big odds I am going to have something on are Shilellagh and AloisiaShillelagh’s run last start should be forgiven. She was just starting to move into the race in the Ranvet when the injured Sikandarabad fell back into her lap. That halted all of her momentum and she was really out of play from that point. Her run before that in the Australian Cup was excellent and she is another horse that has typically performed well on the big day. She has won the big open mile race on Derby two years ago and last year won the mares mile race both at Group One level. She looks quite well handicapped for a dual Group One winner here with just 53kgs on her back. She draws gate three to sit back off the speed and do no work early and get that cushy smothering run for Craig Williams and if the breaks do come her way I think that she can be right in the finish. Around the $15-20 mark I think she is going to make her presence felt and am happy to be with her.

Aloisia is the real big odds throw at the stumps bet. She has only had the two runs this time in and was really charging through the line in the Coolmore last start. Her recent Sydney runs have all been at a pretty high level and I just thought the $50-60 on offer here in this race looked well over her true price. She draws well, only has 51kgs on her back and if there is a blowout in the race I think she is the one most likely to provide it so happy to have something small on her.

I think they are the main chances. There are obviously a few others such as Le RomainLand Of PlentyUnforgotten and Fifty Stars that can be considered but I am pretty happy to be with Fundamentalist and Hartnell principally and will keep Shillelagh and Aloisia on side at the big odds. One thing is for sure, with the big field engaged it promises to be a bloody good race.

Betting strategy

I will have $25 the win on Fundamentalist! I will have $20 the win on Hartnell and I will save with $15 the win on Shillelagh and $10 the win on Aloisia locking in the $71 about the latter which looks a massive price!

Race Outlay

$70

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