Group one racing will return to Randwick this Saturday with the WFA George Main Stakes and what a cracking race it will be over the famous 1600 metres.
Before I look at the field, take note of these interesting facts:-
1. In the past 10 years, 5 of the 10 George Main Stakes favourites have won with an average price of $2.20.
2. In the past 30 years, only 4 mares have won the race.
3. Only 9 of the 30 winners have been 3 year old's – the last 3yr old winner being Viscount in 2001.
This year's field is full of class as always and it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds.
Sacred Falls ($5 TAB.com.au) has come back nicely after a very good autumn campaign. His first and second up runs show lots of merit and you get the feeling, as his preparation continues, he can only improve and will make his presence felt. Zac Purton is also flying in from Hong Kong which I'm sure isn't just to rack up the frequent flyer points.
Stable mate Hawkspur ($6) who took out the G2 Chelmsford last start leading all the way has also returned nicely from his well earned winter break. He will get a lovely trip in transit from barrier 4 and will no doubt look a winner at some stage.
Toydini ($11) was brilliant first up in the G2 Tramway. For a horse that never seemed to travel on the heavy, his 3rd placing was outstanding. Now trained by Team Hawkes, Toydini will have the services of Corey Brown who flies back from Singapore to take the ride. I have a lot of respect for Toydini but worry about the track as he needs a drying surface.
Laser Hawk ($101) now trained by Joe Pride at Warwick Farm has returned with possibly two 'forgive' runs this preparation. He has plenty of class and now finds himself at a distance that suits. He can go forward on his day and if he is near his best, he could very well be one to throw in your exotics.
Queensland is represented by Teronado ($15). The Bruce Hill trained gelding makes the journey from the Gold Coast after a nice win at Doomben. If you go back to his run in the Randwick Guineas in the autumn, you'd be inclined to say he is well in this race. However, like a few of the other runners he needs a drying surface. If you see any money coming for him, don't discard. Bruce wouldn't be bringing him for a holiday.
Royal Descent ($4.60) is the 3rd and final runner for Chris Waller. This mare was gallant in defeat last time out, losing by a breath of air. She seems to have returned nicely from her break and her connections would no doubt love her to finally win at the Randwick mile after finishing second at all of her previous attempts.
Lucia Valentina ($6) was dominant when winning first up. Some would argue that she was the best horse suited in the heavy ground and out wide in the right lanes. Whichever way you look at her win, you can't knock winning form, and if the heavens open up, she comes right into contention. Take note, Kerrin McEvoy sticks with her instead of Royal Descent. Maybe that's a tip in itself.
Rising Romance ($13). I could be completely wrong but I think in years to come when we look back at the great mares in Australasia, this girl will be right up there with the best of them. Donna Logan is setting her for lofty heights in Melbourne and I have a feeling she might just exceed expectations. Her run first up was outstanding especially as she doesn't like a heavy track. She will only improve with each run. I think she's a huge hope.
Check the full TAB.com.au market for the George Main Stakes here
Much like Rising Romance, Gypsy Diamond ($26) needs a dry track. When speaking to Paul Snowden at track work on Tuesday, he mentioned that she has been working well and Paul feels she can improve her performance if the track does.
The other runner in the field is 3 year old Panzer Division ($4.60) and this will be only his 4th race start. He certainly takes a huge step from his own age group to now tackle tough, older weight for age horses. He looks on paper as though he will roll forward with the light weight and he could very well figure in the finish. I'm not sure if I could be taking the short odds but he certainly is on an upward spiral.
Good luck if you're having a punt on Saturday, isn't springtime just the best!
1. Sacred Falls
2. Rising Romance
3. Panzer Division
4. Royal Descent
The Group 1 George Main Stakes is set to jump at 3:45pm (AEST). Make sure you tune in to Sky Racing to catch all the action.
G3 - Lowland S
Listed - Ibhayi Stakes
G3 - Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes
G1 - Pascoes The Jewellers Northern Oaks
G3 - The Founders Cup (1700)