Ahead of a massive day of racing across Australia tomorrow, we have looked into our ‘Crystal Ball’ and have come up with four key predictions that might play out across the day.
James H B Carr Winner Becomes Tatts Tiara Favourite
The Group 3 James H B Carr Stakes at Randwick on Saturday looks to be a great battle between Opal Ridge and odds-on favourite Magic Time. Opal Ridge was extremely impressive winning on at Rosehill on Golden Slipper day, extending her unbeaten streak to three. The Graham Begg-trained filly stalked Opal Ridge, who was favourite in the PJ Bell, presenting at the turn and powering away in a very impressive performance. Opal Ridge was the best bet on the card for many that day and deserves to be forgiven after copping a large check in the back straight.
The Championships often prove idea lead-ups to the Queensland winter and following Opal Ridge’s first-up win, there was strong chat surrounding the filly’s chances in the Stradbroke Handicap and Tatts Tiara. We expect Magic Time to launch herself to favourite for the Tatts Tiara if she does win again on Saturday.
Cadre Du Noir Shocks Punters
This may be the most outlandish of our ‘Crystal Ball’ predictions so far, but we stand by it. The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained gelding trialled strongly leading into this campaign, but hasn’t had a chance to replicate his talent on the track. The seven-year-old missed the start first-up at Canberra and had no luck last start. Cadre Du Noir looked to have a bit to give at Rosehill in the Group 3 Neville Selwood Stakes, but failed to secure a run and trucked through the line under a strong hold. The stable have shown strong intent on Saturday, reapplying the blinkers and engaging senior rider Brenton Avdulla again.
There are many who are prepared to write Zaaki off on Saturday, but we are not. The eight-year-old is set to embark on another Queensland campaign following Saturday and looks primed to return following a strong trial. The stable were not hiding from their disappointment in how Zaaki trialled in February, opting to immediately turn him out for a spell instead of pushing on. That decision looks to have paid dividends with Zaaki producing a strong trial at Randwick last week. James McDonald had the option of Jacquinot and Zaaki and opted for Zaaki in another good sign for the veteran.
The map might also hold the Zaaki, especially over key market rival Giga Kick. James McDonald will get the opportunity to roll forward and find a position, whereas Craig Williams faces a tough decision of rolling the dice to find a position, or snag back to last from barrier 11. The field is a strong crop of Group 1 horses, but nothing presents the immense challenge Zaaki hasn’t before. If he is with us he will be very hard to beat.
Chinese In The Last
Everyone loves a succulent Chinese meal, none more than Darren Flindell. Sydney’s leading caller has made a habit of terrific one-liners following Democracy Manifest’s wins and we are backing the Chris Waller-trained gelding in on Saturday. Chris Waller produced the four-year-old over a mile last campaign, but there is a good argument to be made he is best suited as a run-on sprinter. He has trialled strongly in preparation for this and looks a terrific bet in the last.