1 April 2017 (Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick)






Racing at ROYAL RANDWICK with week 1 of The Championships. And yes, more and more rain in Sydney. Penetrometer reading 6.07, so currently looking at a HEAVY (8) surface, but weather is on the improve.

RAIL: TRUE (ENTIRE CIRCUIT). We head to ROYAL RANDWICK with the rail in the TRUE position. Given the heavier conditions you would expect them to be getting off the fence, as they did last time here (they were heading to the extreme outside fence), but given the conditions in recent weeks in particular, be sure to monitor early races for best guide.


Race 1: We start with a Group 3 for the two year olds over 1100m. Tricky start for obvious reason given the youngsters on a heavy track, however sticking with the Melbourne form here which has performed very well in recent weeks and as a result happy to play PROPERTY at $7+ with BET365. The Blue Diamond form has held up and this gelding was not far away. Given the rain hasn’t stopped all month, I’m assuming the stable are confident he will handle the going (not as if’s come out of the blue) and the each way price appeals as a safer play to start the day.



Race 2: Next is a Group 3 for the three year olds over the mile (1600m). Key here is the pace (or lack thereof) and for that reason I cannot go past THEANSWERMYFRIEND at $3.80+ with BET365. Nolen should be able to cross comfortably and get a very soft lead up front here and be extremely hard to catch. 



Race 3: Now for the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap over 2600m with an even tempo expected on paper. Tried hard to get the fave in BIG DUKE beat @ $2.70+ (BET365) however after doing several laps of the field, BIG DUKE remained on top and as a result after winning his first in the steward’s room, looking to make it win #2 for DK Weir in Sydney with the same galloper in BIG DUKE. Happy to play standalone on a WIN only basis.



Race 4 (updated at 8:11am AEDT post scratching of ALL SUMMER LONG): Now for the Country Championships Final to be run over 1400m and what an incredible experience for all connections to be involved in day 1 of The Championships. Love the concept, good luck to all involved. Following the scratching of ALL SUMMER LONG who we liked at a price, revised suggestions become NIC’S VENDETTA @ $21+ (BET365) and CAERLESSCHOICE at $9+ (BET365). Main danger is PERFECT DARE and PUMPKIN PIE.



Race 5: Group 3 P.J Bell Stakes for the three year old fillies over 1200m. Concede RAIMENT is the one to beat after smashing rivals when we were on last time after a significant drift meaning dungeon followers got a better an expected return of $5+. On this occasion, already well backed and into as low as $3.10 with most operators. As a result, think better value lies elsewhere, predominately in the form of ZUMBELINA @ $9.50+ with LUXBET first up for the Chris Waller stable. Ultra-consistent, goes well first up, trialled to be ready for this, has won well on a slow track (unseen on heavy) and is actually shooting for 5 consecutive wins on the trot which illustrates ability. Also want something on EXOCET @ $34+ (most operators) whose best is good enough, first up run was solid, is 1/1 second up and the barrier (20) should be okay as long as she can get cover. At the price, happy to take that punt. And finally, longshot smaller play on SMART AMELIA at a very juicy $71+ with both WILLIAM HILL and CENTREBET. Main danger RAMIENT as mentioned above. Good race, big field, hence plenty of value.

SUGGEST: ZUMBELINA (EACH WAY) @ $9.50+, EXOCET (EACH WAY) @ $34+, SMART AMELIA (EACH WAY) @ $71+, FIRST FOUR (3 / 2, 16, 18 / F / 2, 16, 18) (CONFIDENCE 30%) 


Race 6: Now for the first of four consecutive Group 1s, starting with the Sires’ Produce over 1400m. Was actually keen on GUNNISON here at a nice price, however he was purchased for a lazy $1.4M and has been subsequently scratched and is off to Hong Kong. Like **FROLIC** here at a tidy enough $4.60+ with most operators. Has plain and simply done nothing wrong and is the only galloper to beat the brilliant She Will Reign regardless of whether it was a stroke of genius to head to the outside rail by Tommy Berry. Simply looks hard to beat here and barrier (16) assuming the rail isn’t the place to be could actually be an advantage as opposed to a disadvantage. Actually happy to make a BEST VALUE bet of the day. Main dangers TULIP (barrier 2 the main concern), SUMMER PASSAGE (The kiwis are dominating) and INVADER who fought out the finish with stablemate GUNNISON last time. Doesn’t end there, in a deep and competitive affair.

SUGGEST: **FROLIC** (EACH WAY) @ $4.60+, FIRST FOUR (8, 9, 15 / 8, 9, 14, 15 / F / 14) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 7: Now for the Group 1 Australian Derby for the three year olds over 2400m. If we were on a dry track, I’d be all over PRIZED ICON with a fair degree of confidence, so much so, that even on an unsuitably wet track, happy to hope the track dries enough by the Derby to be good “enough” for the VRC Derby winner to win the 3YO classic in both Melbourne and Sydney within 5 months of each other. $13+ with BET365 is a great each way price and if we end up in the soft range, chances increase further. Also want something on IMPAVIDO at $17+ with most operators. Was super two back and unlucky when we saluted on INFERENCE and last time can only think the heavy track was just too much and too bad to be true. Main dangers INFERENCE, GINGERNUTS and ANAHEIM all serious winning chances and musts for quaddies and/or multiples.  

SUGGEST: PRIZED ICON (EACH WAY) @ $13+, IMPAVIDO (EACH WAY) @ $17+, FIRST FOUR (2, 3, 7 / 1, 11 / F / 1, 11) (CONFIDENCE 30%) 


Race 8: The Group 1s continue with the mouth-watering TJ Smith to be run over 1200m and quite simply, what a race! Once again, race changes complexion big time with the massive rain in Sydney and as a result, actually going to play a few at big odds, despite conceding those shorter in the market may have the class and/or speed edge. JAPONISME @ $31+ (most operators) is a funny one, we know his best is good enough at the top level (G1 Coolmore winner) but has definitely dropped off in more recent times. Saw enough last time in the Group 1 at the Valley to suggest a big run could be on the cards third up this prep. Then, want something on DERRYN @ $91+ (CENTREBET). Yes, a massive jump in class but inexperience means there’s the potential for so much improvement and five starts ago was only 1.8L from the very fast and classy Flying Artie. At 90/1+ happy to take the punt. Similarly, *TARGET IN SIGHT* where you can almost write your own ticket at $151+ again with CENTREBET. Has a habit of popping up at a price and always remember the day we were confident of him knocking off Deep Field when that colt was deemed ‘unbeatable’ by anything and anyone. At the crazy price, happy to make a BEST LONGSHOT bet of the day. Main dangers SPIETH, FELL SWOOP, VOODOO LAD and ENGLISH. Doesn’t end there, the four favourites (CHAUTAUQUA, MALAGUERRA, ASTERN, RUSSIAN REVOLUTION) not even mentioned. Super race!     

SUGGEST: JAPONISME (EACH WAY) @ $31, DERRYN (EACH WAY) @ $91+, *TARGET IN SIGHT* (EACH WAY) @ $151+, FIRST FOUR (6, 7, 8, 12 / F / 6, 7, 8, 12 / 5, 10, 15) (CONFIDENCE 20%) 


Race 9: Penultimate event is “arguably” the feature of the day, the always mouth-watering Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) and this year’s edition is not different. Pains me to say it, but as much as I love LE ROMAIN and he’s been so good to all followers in recent times, happy to take on today at the shorter price, with plenty of value elsewhere and prefer to not put all our eggs in the one basket. Actually, going to lean with one who was good to us early on in PALENTINO who looks to have returned, bigger, better and stronger and $11+ (most operators) represents nice each way value. Destroyed a good field last time and failure in Sydney last time was too bad to be true. Then, want something on a couple at huge odds in the form of IT’S SOMEWHAT at $61+ (CENTREBET) and AROD at $91+ also with CENTREBET. Both come out of the same race when we were aboard *IT’S SOMEWHAT* at double figure odds first up and should strip much better for that run. Sense of timing here and at the price, happy to make a BEST LONGSHOT bet of the day. AROD was simply never a chance getting too far back and forced extremely wide, hence a forgive run. We may not have seen him at his best (despite glimpses) in Australia, but this is the sort of race where capability can take you a long way, if the cards fall your way. Main danger LE ROMAIN, ahead of REDKIRK WARRIOR, HAPPY CLAPPER and MCREERY. Doesn’t end there, another super race.

SUGGEST: PALENTINO (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $11+, *IT’S SOMEWHAT* (EACH WAY) @ $61+, AROD (EACH WAY) @ $91+, FIRST FOUR (2, 5, 10, 11 / F / 2, 5, 10, 11 / 3, 6, 8), (2 / 5, 10, 11 / F / 3, 6, 8) (CONFIDENCE 25%) 


Race 10: We finish with the Group 3 Adrian Knox for the three year old fillies over 2000m and a big drop in terms of quality on the back of four consecutive massive group 1s. Group 3 black type up for grabs and not the type of form you would normally associate with a Group 3 event. Good luck if you’re an owner, massive opportunity. Slight lean here to LA CHATTE for Godolphin with James Doyle aboard at $7.50+ with most operators. Good win last time and as mentioned not a great deal of quality engaged here. Primary each way play and at the price happy to make a BEST VALUE bet of the day to end proceedings for day 1 of The Championships. Then a secondary value play on FALLACY at $21+ with most operators. Very slow time, last start win but was on the heavy and does have the great Hughie Bowman aboard. Main dangers the James Cummings pair in MULL OVER and HIGH IMPULSE.




Average odds a juicy $35.06+ per suggested runner!

** BEST VALUE **: FROLIC @ $4.60+, LA CHATTE @ $7.50+