Saturday is the biggest day of racing on the WA calendar and we bring you a preview of the two Group 1 races, along with the three-year-old listed sprint race.
This is a brilliant card of racing from the West. For those that are interested, visit The Trial Files website for a full preview of every race from Ascot on Saturday.
Ascot (WA) preview
Race 3 – Placid Ark Stakes 1200m (Listed)
The Placid Ark Stakes is a black type race for three-year-olds over the sprint journey, an alternative for those who can’t run the 1600m of the WA Guineas. The race is growing in stature each year and has attracted a good field this year.
1 PETROL POWER is the genuine class runner in the field. Jim Taylor scratched him from the Guineas as he wasn’t sure he would quite run out the 1600m. To get into a position to be a winning chance he will need a bit of luck and some good riding from barrier 10.
2 TESTAMEZZO couldn’t have had it any easier last time when the runs just presented for him along the fence. From a wide barrier today, he will drop back and it is unlikely he will get the runs that presented last week.
A horse at decent each way odds in this field is 8 MAX ALMIGHTY who was very impressive winning on Melbourne Cup day at Ascot after a very strong trial. He has drawn a perfect barrier to settle midfield and will be running on strongly. He will have to run down a couple of sharp on-pacers but he finished like a train last time and can do it again.
One that we are very keen on from the trials is the debutant 11 SUJET. Simon Miller has thrown him in the deep end here but his trial was simply superb and we are confident he can bring that ability to the racetrack. He absolutely dominated his rivals to win by nearly seven lengths and his time on the day was just outside Barakey’s. He has an x-factor about him and he will fly along and prove very hard to beat.
3 CORUSCATION and 6 SUPER EIGHTY EIGHT both drop back from the 1400m and are better suited over the 1200m. Both will race forward and give themselves every chance.
We are happy to have 11 SUJET on top here on debut. He looks like a superstar in the making. 8 MAX ALMIGHTY also comes off a very good first up win and is a big danger. 1 PETROL POWER is obviously very classy and hard to beat. These three are clearly on top with 3 CORUSCATION the next best.
Race 7 – Winterbottom Stakes 1200m (Group 1)
This race is being promoted as a match race between 1 BUFFERING and 4 BARAKEY but we think there is a bit more depth to the race than that. Those two will both will lead and the race will depend on if they fight each other or if they give each other a breather and settle down to fight it out.
2 SPIRIT OF BOOM never runs a bad race and rounded his preparation off nicely with a placing behind Fontelina down the straight on Derby day. Barrier 1 is a slight issue however with the hectic speed up front he should be able to get off the fence and run his usual consistent race.
The other of the Eastern states raiders, 3 MOMENT OF CHANGE has contested his last 8 races at Group 1 level but we just think he needs a bit of improvement to salute here. He will be aided by the fact he won’t have to do the bullocking work to bring the field up to the leaders.
The only mare in the race, 13 POWER PRINCESS, is absolutely flying. 4 BARAKEY had it all his own way last time they met and she still nearly ran him down. Her barrier is slightly awkward, however if she can settle just back of midfield she will be storming home late.
A small each way bet on 13 POWER PRINCESS is how we will be playing this race. She is going better than ever before and can finish strongly over the top. 1 BUFFERING and 4 BARAKEY are obviously the hardest to beat. 3 MOMENT OF CHANGE should get a beautiful run.
Race 8 – Railway Stakes 1600m (Group 1)
The biggest race on the WA racing calendar looks set to be dominated by the Eastern States invaders this year.
4 SMOKIN’ JOEY is the favourite and his past two runs have been brilliant. There is a slight query whether he will handle the tight Ascot circuit, which isn’t as spacious as Flemington, but he has a perfect draw to settle midfield and prove hard to beat.
Former French Group 1 winner 10 MUTUAL TRUST has drawn an absolutely perfect barrier in this race. He should be able to settle just behind the pace which will be set by 11 LONGPORT and 13 PLATINUM ROCKER, both of whom will have to cross him. He has trialled since his strong on pace second to Mouro in the Sale Cup, and Mouro has come out and franked that form winning well at Caulfield last Saturday. He is a Group 1 winner over 1600m in France and looks set to run a big race.
The likely leader in the race is front running mare, 11 LONGPORT. There is a lack of pace which should allow her to get across and take up the running. We can see her getting a very similar trip to Gathering when he won on 2010. If she handles the Ascot turn, she can slingshot off the corner and prove very hard to run down. She is clearly the one to beat and the on top selection.
The Peter Moody trained mare 14 PLUCKY BELLE was a late nomination for the Railway, but on the strength of her last start win over Arinosa she looks a huge chance. She is a progressive horse from a Zabeel mare and is improving with every start. She will ease back from the barrier but given clear running in the straight she will be hard to hold out. She is definitely a leading contender.
The best local chances are 8 KINCAPLE, who may need it a touch further and 2 MR MOET and 13 PLATINUM ROCKER who have both drawn terrible barriers which makes it tough.
11 LONGPORT looks hard to beat here but we are leaning towards an each way play on 10 MUTUAL TRUST. He should get into a lovely position and get every chance. 14 PLUCKY BELLE and 4 SMOKIN’ JOEY are also winning chances.
Best bet for the weekend
Ascot Race 3
The Trial Files team says: “SUJET trialled absolutely brilliantly and the Simon Miller stable are very confident of an impressive performance on debut. Although he has been thrown at the deep end he looks a potential superstar and has an x-factor about him”.