Ahead of a massive day of racing across Australia tomorrow, we have looked into our ‘Crystal Ball’ and have come up with five key predictions that might play out across the day.
1. The Golden Slipper Winner Won’t Be Seen This Weekend.
Although not an outlandish statement to make with Cylinder, Red Resistance and Learning To Fly all heading betting for the Golden Slipper, the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes and Group 3 Magic Night Stakes have often proven to be leading Golden Slipper formlines.
In 2019, Cosmic Force ploughed through a bottomless Rosehill track to win the Pago Pago Stakes by seven-lengths. The win was so impressive that the Deep Field colt jumped $4 favourite for the Golden Slipper seven days later.
40 minutes earlier, Godolphin filly Kiamichi won the Magic Night Stakes. She of course backed-up seven days later and won the two-year-old feature, defeating Group 1 winners Lyre, Microphone, Loving Gaby and Yes Yes Yes.
Markets for both events on Saturday are very even. Blanc De Blanc, who has had no luck with barriers and draws wide again on Saturday, will be out to book her ticket in the Golden Slipper alongside favourite and luckless Blue Diamond runner Steel City. Meanwhile, last start Flemington winner Maharba, who debuted at Rosehill in the Golden Gift, returns to Sydney as favourite for the Pago Pago.
Add in the Black Opal on Sunday and it is a great weekend of two-year-old racing.
2. The Winner Of The Newmarket Will Earn A Slot In The Everest.
This year’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap is just sensational. Speed drawn across the part, Group One winning sprinters, Group One winning milers, The Everest contenders, lightweight three-year-olds and more.
Private Eye and Mazu both ran great races in The Everest last year, with Private Eye of course running a narrow second to Giga Kick.
Add in Champions Sprint winner and defending Newmarket Handicap champion Roch ‘N’ Horse, Coolmore Stud Stakes winner In Secret, Oakleigh Plate runner-up Lofty Strike and brilliant Manikato Stakes winner Bella Nipotina, this is one hell of a race.
Whoever wins this race will stamp themselves as one of Australia’s best sprinters, and hence no doubt receiving plenty of interest from The Everest slot holders.
3. Market Will Tell You ‘What You Need’ At Flemington
What You Need stamped himself as a potential superstar when winning at Geelong. The way he went about his business defeating Lascars on debut, his action, his manners, the time and margins of the win suggested he could catapult towards the spring features.
He was subsequently very well tried in futures markets for the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes.
The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained colt trialled sensationally before his debut win, but there is a good case to be made that his trials this campaign haven’t been as sharp.
As we know the market is such an important part of betting and we are confident that especially for this horse on Saturday, it could tell the story.
Already well backed from $2.30 to $1.85 on Wednesday, if he stays solid in the market and even firms, he could be unbeatable. But… If he does drift on the day, and especially late, we may see a shell of a horse we saw on debut.
4. Michael Dee Stamps Himself As A Leading Rider In Australia
With such strong racing in both Melbourne and Sydney across the calendar year, it is very easy for punters to associate themselves with their state, their horses, their riders and forget the rest.
Everyone in Victorian racing knows the rise of Michael Dee in the past few seasons has been swift and impressive. His Group One winning rides on Little Brose and Legarto in recent weeks attests to that.
He will make his way across the border to Sydney on Wednesday where the jockeys room is full, even with Hugh Bowman and Zac Purton returning to Hong Kong this week.
Dee enters Saturday with a strong book of rides, lead by Pago Pago Stakes favourite Maharba and Coolmore Classic fancy Espiona.
5. D-Day For Waterford In The Ajax Stakes
Six-months ago Waterford was a leading chance in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap, however, some of the gloss has been removed off the European import in recent weeks after disappointing run at Randwick first-up.
Waterford looked a genuine Group 1 miler and Golden Eagle fancy when swiftly working through his grades last spring.
The market has always held great respect for the horse, keeping him firm in betting for the Doncaster Handicap, but suggest the Group 2 Ajax Stakes on Saturday will be the key indicator on what path his career will follow.
The Chris Waller-trained four-year-old was defeated as favourite in a Benchmark 88 at Randwick last month and subsequently returned to the trials, where he worked beautifully. He narrowly holds favouritism for the Ajax Stakes and will seemingly get every chance with Brett Prebble aboard from barrier four.