We get our first taste of the Sydney Autumn Carnival this weekend when Randwick hosts the Expressway Stakes card.
The Expressway has been switched between all of Sydney’s tracks in recent years, but has a record of being won by some top quality horses. Rangirangdoo, Paratroopers, Mentality, Court’s In Session, Lonhro and Tie The Knot are all victors since the turn of the century. This year’s edition might not have large numbers of Group 1 winners entered but it is intriguing, with the highly progressive Boban first up. He does draw gate one, which isn’t always a positive for a horse with his racing pattern. However, when smothered away in his first two runs last campaign he was explosive. It looms as an intriguing race and one to keep an eye on for feature races in the Autumn.
In addition to the Expressway in Sydney, we have a look at the colts Blue Diamond Prelude from Caulfield and also look at a couple of races from Ascot, with two very promising horses involved.
Caulfield Race 6 — Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m)
This is a cracking edition of the colts and geldings division of the Blue Diamond Prelude, leading into what shapes as a magnificent grand finale in a fortnight’s time.
Gerald Ryan was quoted as saying 4 RUBRICK was the best horse he has trained since Snitzel and the two-year-old son of Encosta De Lago didn’t let his trainer down with a dominant debut win in slick time at Randwick. The Trial Files spied this colt at the trials and made the following comment:
“RUBICK — The spruik on this horse has been enormous since this trial and Gerald Ryan has been quoted as saying this is his best horse since Snitzel. Now that is a big call and one we are definitely taking with a grain of salt. No doubt this 2yo has plenty of ability but to say he is better than the likes of Melito and Snitzerland is a large statement at this stage. Ryan may have meant ‘best colt’ or he may have been misquoted by some media outlets. Given he is a colt and will likely go to stud in a couple of years, this quote by Ryan will undoubtedly be used in promotion. This son of Encosta De Lago is a superbly-bred individual, out of the lightly raced Sliding Cube, from the family of Redoute’s Choice. Talk and spruik aside, this trial was nothing short of outstanding and has seen him firm into favourite for the Blue Diamond. It is important to note that Gerald Ryan horses are notable good triallers. RUBICK jumped very well and simply flew out in front. Railled nicely and left them for dead at the top of the straight. Dashed clear and won with plenty in hand. Time was very quick. No doubt he will be very short on debut but we will watch with interest.”
4 RUBICK’s debut win and time were so impressive that he immediately overtook boom filly Earthquake as the favourite for the Blue Diamond Stakes. Adding to Ryan’s confidence must be the fact his colt is drawn perfectly in gate two and he should enjoy a lovely run in transit behind a solid tempo set by the likes of 10 MALGUERRA (drawn a wide gate and will push forward), 11 FRANCESCO (a Gai Waterhouse son of Wanted, drawn ideally in three) and possibly the very smart half-brother to Star Witness, 5 NOSTRADAMUS, who has drawn out in the car park.
Adding to the intrigue of the race is the Robbie Griffith debutante 16 PURE ADDICTION who we assessed in a recent Cranbourne trial:
“PURE ADDICTION jumped with them but was allowed to find his feet early. He took a while to work through his gears when presented out wide in the straight but knuckled down late. He was very green at the top of the straight when trying to angle out for clear galloping room and continued to race greenly for much of the trial. Did have to be shown a deal of pressure to make the late ground and will benefit from racing.”
This son of Purrealist really does look a horse for the future and he will only get better as the distances increase. He is still a very green and immature gelding but if they go mad up front he will be closing late.
3 CHIVALRY is a massive Street Cry colt who should be two from two. He didn’t enjoy the clearest run on debut at Flemington when sensationally backed in the week leading up to that race. He then went to Moonee Valley and was utterly dominant in beating Bugatti, who subsequently ran very well in a strong race at Caulfield last weekend. While barrier 16 would probably scare most trainers we are convinced that Mark Kavanagh would rather draw wide with this colt than risk being cluttered up inside of horses. He has a lethal turn of foot and provided horses can make ground from the back of the field than 3 CHIVALRY is a massive chance.
This really does shape as a cracking race and if 4 RUBRICK can repeat the dose from his debut run he should be making a winning debut in Victoria, but the bookies are asking you to take prohibitive odds of $1.80. In terms of value, 3 CHIVALRY appears the way to shop at $10, he will give this race a mighty shake.
Ascot Race 6 — 3yo+ Entires & Geldings Handicap (1200m)
They should roll along at a reasonably good tempo here with 4 DANABLUE, 11 SHAWSHANK and 3 THE BLUES all noted leaders.
The leading trio are all decent chances of running a good race here. 3 THE BLUES can be hit and miss but on his best form, such as finishing second behind Shining Knight earlier this preparation he would be a strong chance.
4 DANABLUE is working towards a win after two solid runs this preparation. First up he was caught wide and didn’t get much luck behind Thateldo and last start he fought on well behind Amorino. He has drawn a good barrier for the first time this preparation and will find the fence in front.
11 SHAWSHANK had also accepted for an easier race on Friday and scratched from that indicating the stable is confident of a good performance here. Likely to go up and sit outside 4 DANABLUE. At his best he would be a chance here.
Justin Warwick stated after 7 FIDDLERS ELBOW’s last-start win that he had him a bit underdone in his previous run. His win last time was simply breathtaking. Sitting last, he dashed quickly in the straight, mowing down the field in a 50m burst in the straight, and was even eased down, winning by a couple of lengths. The outside barrier will suit him as he can stay out of trouble, pull to the outside and storm home over the top again.
8 FIGHTERS SECOND is working towards a win but we just can’t see him turning the tables on 7 FIDDLERS ELBOW from last start. He does get a 1.5kg turnaround, however 7 FIDDLERS ELBOW beat him convincingly that day, and was eased down in doing so.
7 FIDDLERS ELBOW has the ability to blow this field away again here if he even reproduces close to what he did last start. We are happy to be on him to win.
Ascot Race 7 — 3yo+ Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m)
Trial Files favourite 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE appears here for her second up run this preparation after scoring a dominant win for subscribers first up — we definitely won’t be getting upwards of $6 for her today!
Most of those that raced against her last time have a decent weight turnaround on her, but she was very convincing that day.
We will start by looking at our blackbooker 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE. She was amazingly impressive first up when crossing from a wide gate, dictating the race and booting away in the straight to score eased down. What was even more interesting is that trainer Simon Miller stated after the race that she was not yet fully wound up. She won’t get it quite as easy in the lead this time with 12 ROUGE DIOR and 10 LIQUIDATION likely to kick up inside her, but she has such brilliant gate speed that she may well go to the front anyway. Although she stacked them up last time, she is just as effective rolling along at a high cruising speed and making the whole field chase her. She is two from two second up and there is no reason she can’t win again today.
5 WATERMANS BAY, 6 DUETON and 8 BEACH EXPRESS all get a 2-2.5kg turnaround for finishing behind 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE last time. However, even though 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE led, she still managed to run her last 600m quicker than those who were chasing her down. 8 BEACH EXPRESS is the one most likely to improve, getting down in the weights for the first time this preparation, but he will need to be at his best to start from behind and run down 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE.
Two horses that come from different form lines are 9 AMORINO and 3 KING SAUL. 3 KING SAUL if first up since going to Queensland last winter for a failed mission. He has changed trainers since coming back, joining the Watkins and Hitchcock team. He was only average in a recent trial and will need to show improvement. 9 AMORINO steps up to listed class here after his previous two wins in ratings races. He will need to step up to the class but we must respect a horse in form.
It’s a tougher task for 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE this week as the race was presented to her on a platter last time. We think she can win again, but don’t want to be taking silly prices. If we can get around $3, then we’re happy to play. 5 WATERMANS BAY looks well weighted and will be finishing well, while 8 BEACH EXPRESS has finally lost enough handicapping points to get in with a reasonable weight.
THE TRIAL FILES’ SELECTIONS
FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8
• Ascot Race 6 – 7 FIDDLERS ELBOW (win)
• Ascot Race 7 – 7 HUSSY BY CHOICE (win)
• Caulfield Race 6 – 3 CHIVALRY (each way, more to place)
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