Today we bring you a preview of three races on Saturday, including the Group 1 Kingston Town Stakes at Ascot and a mouth-watering clash in the first on the card at Caulfield as two lightly raced, and highly-touted gallopers go head to head.
Ascot (WA) preview
Race 8 – Kingston Town Classic, 3yo+ WFA, 1800m (8.10pm AEDST)
A small field will line up here to tackle WA’s weight-for-age feature. Although this year is not the strongest field over assembled, it will be a very tactical race between a few of the leading chances.
The quinella from last year’s race, 1 LUCKYGRAY and 3 MR MOET are back and ready to go at it again today. 1 LUCKYGRAY is fresh from his Railway Stakes win a fortnight ago … a win that broke all sorts of records. He’s also the defending Kingstown Town Classic champ, so it would take a brave person to suggest he won’t be right in the finish again.
The race today looks an intriguing battle as there is not one noted leader in the field of 11. This is where we think 3 MR MOET might take advantage. He ran on strongly late in the Railway without ever looking a winning chance, however he has been having terrible luck with barrier draws, having drawn 20 for the Railway Stakes and the outside barrier 11 today. Given the lack of leaders he may well roll to the front, similar to the way he rolled forward in the Caulfield Cup. If he can get across to a prominent position, he can definitely turn the tables on 1 LUCKYGRAY from last year. Whenever these two horses have met, the horse settling further back has never been able to run down the one positioned more forward.
Three-year-olds have a terrific record in this race, with two having won, and a further two having placed in the last six years. The only three-year-old in today’s field is the Guineas winner 11 IHTSAHYMN. His Guineas win was absolutely sensational, producing a strong burst over the last 200m which left us no doubt that of his ability to run a strong 1800m. He will ideally position a bit closer in the first half of the field and mount his challenge coming around the turn. With the light weight he receives under weight-for-age conditions, he looks very hard to beat.
One of three mares in the race is 10 ELITE BELLE. She was very unlucky not to gain a place in the Railway field two weeks ago and dare we say it, the way the race was run she may well have won it. She has run over staying trips before as a three year old, it’s just whether she can run it strongly in a weight-for-age feature like this. If it becomes a sit and sprint, she has a great turn of foot and if close enough on the turn she could be a danger.
The other horse we do have to mention is 2 PLAYING GOD. Although he’s been struggling to recapture his best form, he has won this race twice (2010, 2011) before finishing a respectable sixth, beaten less than two lengths, last year.
We are going with the three-year-old, 11 IHTSAHYMN on top, as his Guineas win was very impressive and should run out a very strong 1800m. The warhorse 3 MR MOET looks a big threat if he rolls forward. 1 LUCKYGRAY can never be discounted, although if the pace is slow as predicted it will make things harder for him. 10 ELITE BELLE is the next best.
Caulfield (VIC) preview
Race 1 – Benchmark 78 Handicap, 1000m (1.10pm AEDST)
A mouth-watering clash beckons in the first on the card at Caulfield as two lightly raced, and highly touted gallopers go head to head; 2 LORD OF THE SKY and 6 WEST AFRICA.
2 LORD OF THE SKY has been a favourite of The Trial Files with comments such as “he again ran time and this horse looks the real deal” and “another outstanding trial” being two of many superlative-littered comments we have used to describe the barrier trials produced by this son of Danerich. He lit up the Caulfield track in July of this year with a scintillating display of sustained speed when thumping a handy field of then-two-year-olds over the 1000M.
This colt will undoubtedly have his name in lights during the 2014 Autumn and Spring Carnivals and is primed to give racegoers as taste of what’s to come after two brilliant barrier trials leading into this first up run.
Equally as hyped — and deservedly so — is the Mark Kavanagh trained 6 WEST AFRICA. This son of Henrythenavigator was sent out a drifting $2.80 favourite on debut at Kilmore and layers might’ve been briefly jubilant when he missed the start, but that was the only blemish in an otherwise outstanding debut. He would go on to record a nine-length victory that day in very solid time and set tongues wagging in the process.
There are seven other horses engaged in the first at The Heath on Saturday but the scene is set for a brilliant match race between two potential superstars. 2 LORD OF THE SKY is professional and should cross to the early lead, while 6 WEST AFRICA is still a little new to the game and he could well find himself in early strife if he is slowly away again. 6 WEST AFRICA is also dropping back from 1118M to 1000M which seems strange to us as he really looked like a 1200M horse on debut.
In what will be a classic clash we lean to 2. LORD OF THE SKY and as his price continues to drift our confidence continues to rise. Regardless of the result, both horses are set to create headlines in future carnivals as their careers progress.
CAULFIELD Race 5 – Doveton Stakes, 1000m (3.30pm AEDST)
The Doveton Stakes sees the return of the injury plagued 1 CHASE THE RAINBOW. This Dash For Cash gelding, who is almost white these days, won the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (2011) and also competed in one of the strongest Caulfield Guineas in memory when down the track to Helmet and Manawanui.
He has had one run since that 2011 Caulfield Guineas when empathically winning a 1400m Handicap at Caulfield 11 months later before suffering another injury setback. He has had two barrier trials for this return to the track with the first being most impressive:
“What an absolute pleasure to see 1 CHASE THE RAINBOW back at the trials. This horse is one of the most talented horses we’ve seen in Victoria in the last 3-4 years but he is once again on the comeback from an injury. Loved the way he jumped and found the lead and was under tight restraint throughout in the trial. He looks back in super order and seems to be very forward. Outstanding trial from an outstanding horse.”
The 1000m on Saturday is invariably going to be short of 1 CHASE THE RAINBOW’s best distance but his class will take him a long way and if he is within striking distance as heads turn for home he could well put them away. The dangers in the race appear to be 10 VICARIO (who flies first up), 7 SUMAKAY (holding her form and was very good when last at Caulfield) and 4 LOVEYAMADLY (puts herself in the race early and will be in the firing line for a long way).
The Trial Files’ selections for Saturday
• CAULFIELD Race 1 – 2 LORD OF THE SKY (win)
• CAULFIELD Race 3 – 3 YOU CAN DANCE (each way)
• CAULFIELD Race 5 – 1 CHASE THE RAINBOW (each way)
• ASCOT Race 8 – 11 IHTSAHYMN (each way)
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