Now I obviously set up this Blog for my Non-League previews but it seems to make sense to use it to preview other things as well especially now my Non-League stuff is elsewhere. I have a pretty keen interest in Australian horse racing so I have decided to take a look ahead to The Everest which will be run in the early hours of Saturday morning UK time at Randwick in Sydney. If you aren’t aware this is a brand new race and is the richest race to be run on turf anywhere in the world. It promises to be one hell of a race and one well worth setting the alarm for (or setting Sky+ as I will be doing!).
Chautauqua – Been one of the top Aussie sprinters for a while now and he loves this course and distance having won the T J Smith for the last 3 years. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend viewing his win this year in the race as it was an incredible performance. 1200m is his trip with 8 of his 13 victories coming over the distance. Has had two starts this prep first of all finishing 7th over 1100m behind Redzel. I thought that was a very creditable run given the trip, the fact it was his first start (he had two trials prior to the run) and obviously his prep has been all about peaking for this contest. He flew home that day and it looked the ideal run. 2 weeks later he finished 6th in the Premiere Stakes which is over 1200m. I wasn’t quite as impressed though again it was no surprise to see him come from so far back, but I was expecting a bit more stepping up in trip. Having said that he is impossible to write off and he will be peaking now.
Vega Magic – Has won 12 of his 17 starts and is 9 from 12 over 1200m. Has only run in 3 Group 1’s and he has won two of them, The Goodwood at Morphettville in May and then the Memsie at Caulfield last month on what was his last start. He was pretty impressive in the Memsie although quite a few of the opposition that day need further than 1400m.
Redzel – Has just the two wins over 1200m one of which was a Group 3 here in April and the other the Doomben 10000 (Group 1) back in May. Has won both his starts this prep over 1000m and then the Group 2 The Shorts over 1100m Had a trail on October 3rd which he also won. My concern would be that others are better over this trip than he is and I can’t help thinking Chautauqua will improve past him.
Redkirk Warrior – Actually started life trained by William Haggas over here and he won both starts at Yarmouth and Ascot in 2014 over 1m2f. He then went to Hong Kong where he won once over 1m in 4 starts. He has done will back in trip though as on just his 2nd start over 1200m he won the Group 1 Newmarket at Flemington in March and then over the same course and distance he won a Group 2 last month. This is stronger than either of those two, but a bold showing wouldn’t surprise.
Clearly Innocent – Not achieved as much as others although he did win a Group 1 at Eagle Farm back in May over 1300m. Thought he ran well in his prep for this when 3rd in the Premiere although I think he would be a surprising winner
Deploy – Is 2 from 2 over course and distance including a Group 3 back in August. Won a Group 2 over 1300m at Rosehill last month before finishing 3rd in a trail behind Redzel earlier in this month. On balance I think he has a bit to find with the leading contenders.
Fell Swoop – Finished 6th in The Shorts and 8th in the Premiere and both runs suggest he has a bit to find to feature here.
Brave Smash – Although he is now trained by Darren Weir he is the only vaguely international runner having only recently come over from Japan and Jamie Spencer has been booked for the mount. He has been a little disappointing in 3 Aussie starts though. He finished 2nd to Vega Magic before winning a Listed Race at Moonee Valley. Last time out he was 2nd at Caulfield again in a Listed Race and he really should have been winning that fairly easily if he was going to have a serious chance here.
English – Has flattered to decieve on a few occasions although is right in this on the pick of his form. He was 2nd to the flying Chautauqua in the TJ Smith in April, having finished 3rd to him last year. The 2nd to In Her Time in the Premiere suggests he could be back to his best, but he just doesn’t win enough for me and I see him as more a place chance than a winning one.
She Will Reign – Won the biggest 2yo race in Australia The Golden Slipper over course and distance in March and has on suffered defeat in one of her 6 starts. She had a couple of trials prior to her first run since the Golden Slipper victory and Moonee Valley a couple of weeks ago. That return was in the Group 1 Moir Stakes and it is a race well worth watching. She had no right to win the race as plenty was against her, but she flew home under Kerrin McEvoy to get up right on the line. To put the effort into some sort of context the track was favouring front runners all evening so to win the way she did was really impressive. Given it was her first start of the prep she should have more to come and given she only has to carry 51kg compared to the 58.5kg of the older horses I make her the one they all have to beat.
Houtzen – Is 5-7 in her short career, but both defeats have come in the best two races she has run in. She won the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast and was then 5th behind She Will Reign in the Golden Slipper and was 2nd in a Group 2 at Moonee Valley on the first start this prep. I thought that was a bit disappointing and although she won a Group 3 on the same night She Will Reign won the Moir, it still didn’t strike me as a horse who could win a race like this.
Tulip – She is the horse who is representing Coolmore in the end, but she looks up against it. Was a good 3rd in the Golden Slipper, but has been beaten the last twice and looks to have plenty on her plate.
Summary – I have to be with She Will Reign. I was really taken with her win in the Moir last time in a performance that can be upgraded given the way the track was riding that night. She should come on for her first run this prep and the weight she gets from her elders is another big plus for her. As much as I thought Chautauqua was a little disappointing last time, I rate him the main danger. He loves this course and distance and he should be primed to run a big race on his 3rd run this prep. He will be flying late that’s for sure. Given the popularity of the first 4 bet in Austrilia I am going to chuck in English, doesn’t win often but fairly consistent and ran well last time, for 3rd and Redkirk Warrior, who seems to have improved for the drop down to this trip, for 4th.
As well as the action at Randwick the Spring Carnival steps up another gear at Caulfield and the horse I have had a speculative punt on for the Melbourne Cup Gallic Chieftain is running in the Herbert Power. Now I have Tweeted a fair bit about him in recent months but here is a brief summary of the horse. He first came to my attention when I was in Australia for the Melbourne Cup last year and I was watching the racing coverage on the TV on the final day of the holiday. They were racing at Sandown that afternoon and the ex-French horse Gallic Chieftain was favourite for one of the races after a promising couple of runs in Oz. He didn’t win that afternoon, but he was one of the biggest eye-catchers I have ever seen and knew he would surely be winning next time. Into the tracker he went when I got back and I didn’t have to wait long for him to turn up again this time at Pakenham and he duly landed the spoils. Ever since then he has done nothing but improve and he took the Listed Winter Cup in Sydney on his final start of his last prep. After that connections were dreaming of the Melbourne Cup as was I as I am certain the 2m trip is what he needs and he is still improving.
He has had two starts so far this prep and I think both have been encouraging. He ran at Moonee Valley last time (on the same card as the Moir) and he caught the eye once again. As mentioned above the track wasn’t suiting horses coming from behind so he did well to finish as close as he did and although he has won at the track, I don’t think it is one that suits him well. Saturday is the best race he has run so far, but the step up to 2400m will suit and interestingly he has been really well backed. Bet365 put him in at 16/1 to start with that became 8/1 and he is now only 5/1 after the final decs were made. I suspect the race will tell us if he is good enough to for the Melbourne Cup or not, but the market moves are encouraging. He is currently 100/1 for the race and if the market moves are right and he runs a big race on Saturday that price will disappear rather quickly.
Since I wrote the above I have seen an interview with his trainer Darren Weir and he says he may still need the run on Saturday although he was just as pleased with his last run as I was. He also mentioned that the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day of carnival at Flemington was the target. I still think though the Melbourne Cup might end up on his agenda if he gets into the race.
Another Weir horse I have been following closely is Big Duke who was trained in this country by Michael Wigham and was last seen over here winning a class 4 handicap at Wetherby last May. He has done nothing but improve since going to Oz and he runs in the St Leger at Randwick on Saturday in a race that looks ideal for him. I expect he will be Melbourne Cup bound.