The Best of the Best to Scorch the Randwick Turf
Ray Thomas (Daily Telegraph)
THE Championships, the “Grand Finals” of Australian racing, are only in their third year but the traditions of Royal Randwick provide the platform for mighty mare Winx to confirm her champion status.
Winx takes an eight-race, 11-month winning streak to Randwick where she is scheduled to compete twice at The Championships, starting with the time-honoured Derby-Doncaster meeting this Saturday. Sydney’s super mare Winx lines up as the hottest of favourites for the $3 million The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m), then she is due to race again in the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) a week later.
If Winx can claim the rare double, she will earn $4.2 million prizemoney and the sport’s ultimate ranking of champion, which is just what The Championships are designed to achieve.
“Derby-Doncaster Day on Saturday is one of the great race meetings but the story of week one of The Championships is Winx going for nine in a row,’’ Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.
There are four Group 1 races up for grabs: the Doncaster, the $2 million BMW Australian Derby (2400m), the $2.5 million Darley T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and the $1 million Inglis ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).
The support races include a Group 2 race, four Group 3 events and the $400,000 Country Championships Final. The main features of Day One of The Championships include:
• Winx’s attempt to extend her winning sequence, claim a sixth Group 1 title and lift her career prizemoney to more than $6.5 million in the Doncaster Mile.
• Tarzino is set to become the first horse in more than 20 years to complete the Victoria Derby-ATC Australian Derby double.
• Chautauqua is defending his T.J. Smith title against a top class field of sprinters including crack colt Exosphere.
• A classic colt versus filly clash between Telperion and Yankee Rose in the ATC Sires Produce Stakes.
• The best from the bush line up in the Country Championships Final. And then there is the human element to The Championships.
OneSelection2Win – The Championships Day 1 Mail
Track: SOFT 6, Peno: 5.69, Rail: TRUE, Weather: FINE
RACE 1 – GROUP 3 WIDDEN KINDERGARTEN STAKES – 1100M
TOP SELECTION: No: 3 EL DIVINO
Did the job at both ends winning impressively on debut at Gosford. Looks right up to this grade and the Gosford win was on a heavy track if the rain stays about.
(WINNER – $4.50)
DANGER: No: 1 ASTERN
Outclassed in the Slipper due to the wide draw. Silver Slipper win this trip was good and can bounce back over the shorter journey.
RACE 2 – GROUP 3 CARBINE CLUB STAKES – 1600M
TOP SELECTION: No: 7 DATA POINT
Wasn’t disgraced in the Randwick Guineas after covering ground in the run. Awkward gate again but looks a genuine improver and has to be respected with Hugh Bowman in the saddle
DANGER: No: 4 MONTAUK
Winner this track and distance last preparation. Never really clear in an ATC race at Kembla when resuming and looked to have something to offer.
RACE 3 – GROUP 3 SCHWEPPES CHAIRMAN’S HANDICAP – 2600M
TOP SELECTION: No: 1 LIBRAN
Has really it his straps last two winning at Randwick and Rosehill showing a nice turn of foot on both occasions. Getting up in the weights but still the one to beat.
(WINNER – $2.30)
DANGER: No: 8 DEE I CEE
Former New Zealand four-year-old who was just a run short when runner-up over 2400m here last start. Ran fourth in a NZ Derby. Right up to winning this.
RACE 4 – THE COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL – 1400M
TOP SELECTION: No: 3 CLEARLY INNOCENT
Promising four-year-old and his preparation has been timed to perfection. Had plenty on his opponents in the strongest qualifier and cruised home back to 1100m last start. The one to beat.
(WINNER – $5.50)
DANGER: No: 1 LOFTY’S MENU
Won the Goulburn qualifier which ranks as the second strongest of the country heats. Has a very good record. Right in the mix on any surface but comes right into his own if the rain stays
RACE 5 – GROUP 3 DILMAH TEA P J BELL STAKES – 1200M
TOP SELECTION: No: 3 SECRET AGENDA
Outclassed in the Newmarket but stays under notice on close second in the Typhoon Tracy resuming at the Valley and won the Gucci at Flemington on a soft track in the spring. Looks right up to winning this.
DANGER: No: 6 LADY SNIPER
Hit the line strongly to win the Gosford Guineas last start. Still scope for improvement third up and rates as one of the main chances from a good draw.
RACE 6 – GROUP 1 INGLIS SIRES’ – 1400M
No: 8 YANKEE ROSE – Super run first up when runner up in the Golden Slipper. The trainer has always said we would see her at her best in the Sires and Champagne Stakes. The one to beat.
(WINNER – $3.90)
No: 11 OMEI SWORD – Had Sires written all over her charging home late when runner up in the Magic Night. Drawn to get a soft run in transit and one of the key chances.
RACE 7 – GROUP 1 BMW AUSTRALIAN DERBY – 2400M
No: 1 TARZINO – Clearly the one to beat after dominating the Rosehill Guineas and likely to be even better stepping up to 2400m after an easy Victoria Derby win and gets the gun run in transit.
No: 8 WHAT’S THE STORY – Runner-up in the New Zealand Derby and the form from the race was somewhat confirmed with Valley Girl (5th) running so well in the Vinery last week. Rates as one of the main chances with a soft run from the gate.
RACE 8 – GROUP 1 DARLEY T J SMITH STAKES – 1200M
No: 14 EXOSPHERE – Found himself in the worst ground when fourth in the Lightning at Flemington. Whether it was track bias or racing down the Flemington straight he hasn’t been quite at his best in Melbourne. Trialled impressively to have him ready for a huge run. Hard to beat.
No: 1 CHAUTAUQUA – Has a superb record. 10 wins and eight placings from 20 career starts and chasing back to back TJ Smith wins. Lightning winner resuming two runs back then third under the handicap conditions of the Newmarket giving the first two plenty of weight. Win won’t shock.
RACE 9 – GROUP 1 THE STAR DONCASTER MILE – 1600M
No: 3 WINX – The Queen of the Australian turf. Dominant for the last year. Despite what the pundits say she doesn’t look badly treated at the weights. Only bad luck will beat her here.
(WINNER – $2.00)
No: 10 HAPPY CLAPPER – Set for this after winning the Villiers. Has had the luxury of being exempt from ballot and his preparation will be timed to the minute. The quinella horse with 50.5kg.
RACE 10 – GROUP 3 TAB ADRIAN KNOX STAKES – 2000M
TOP SELECTION: No: 5 DAISY’S JOY
Struggled on the tight track at Gosford last start. Expect her to be ridden more quietly here and can bounce back.
DANGER: No: 1 SACRED EYE
Close up both runs this preparation. Peaks third up and rates a place chance from an ideal gate. Only slight concern is having to give plenty of weight to her rivals.
THE ULTIMATE RACING EXPERIENCE
RACE 7 No: 1 TARZINO – Clearly the one to beat after dominating the Rosehill Guineas and likely to be even better stepping up to 2400m after an easy Victoria Derby win and gets the gun run in transit.
RACE 9 No: 3 WINX – The Queen of the Australian turf. Dominant for the last year. Despite what the pundits say she doesn’t look badly treated at the weights. Only bad luck will beat her here.
(WINNER – $2.00)
GOOD LUCK & GOOD PUNTING
THE ULTIMATE RACING EXPERIENCE
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