The BMW, long regarded as one of Australia's premier Group 1 WFA staying races, highlights the program at Rosehill this Saturday. Perennially overshadowed somewhat by the Golden Slipper , the race will be on a different Saturday for the first time this year, giving it star billing. Furthermore, it has attracted one of the best fields we've seen for several years, with 13 individual Group 1 winners and a host of internationals dominating the market.
The most intrigue lies with the boom Japanese horse To The World . Already this carnival the Japanese have made their mark, with the win of Real Impact in the G1 George Ryder, and the placing of Tosen Stardom behind Contributer in the G1 Ranvet. This fellow To The World is rated as the best of the lot, and possibly the best Japanese horse to have come to our shores, ever. High praise indeed (think Admire Rakti, Pop Rock and Delta Blues, Hana's Goal etc).
The Group 1 BMW is set to jump at 4:30pm (AEDT). Tune into Sky Racing for comprehensive coverage!
His credentials certainly back up that claim- he has a higher TimeForm rating (128) than any horse to have raced in Australia over 2400m since So You Think. He was rated the best 3yo in Japan last year. He ran the superstar mare Gentildonna to 3/4 length in the G1 Arima Kinen in December - the highest rating race in the world last year! By all reports he has settled in beautifully to his Australian surrounds, and is working well. If he brings his Japanese form to Rosehill on saturday (and at least 2 of his 3 travelling companions already have), he'll be winning.
Hartnell , the Godolphin 4yo, looks the obvious danger. The UK import has really impressed in his two Australian starts to date, winning the Sky High Stakes last start, after a stout 2nd to the very smart Contributer in the Chipping Norton 1st up. He has the fitness edge on his Japanese opponent, looks open to further improvement and has form around one of Australia's best WFA horses. Big chance.
Some classy types are next in the market, but a few question marks remain with several of them.
Much has been expected of Lucia Valentina for some time now, but she has probably been a shade disappointing since her superb Caulfield Cup placing last spring. She does however have a strong form line through her Ranvet placing, Kris Less expects this will be her best distance, and if there is any rain around her chances will improve dramatically.
Stablemate Protectionist, touted as a potential star of the autumn following his breathtaking Melbourne Cup triumph, has also been a fraction disappointing this campaign to date. He is certainly suited by the step up in journey, but he could well be just a true 2 miler, and the Sydney Cup could be more his go this preparation.
Silent Achiever, with a possible European campaign resting on her performance in the race before being retired to stud, is winless for over 12 months. With a proud record in this race, the defending champion is sure to race well, as this honest mare invariably does. She won the Ranvet last year on the way to her win in the BMW, but could manage only 4th in the lead up this year. Is she going as well as 12 months ago?
Check out the full TAB.com.au market for the Group 1 BMW here.
Rising Romance, another of the Kiwi throng contesting this race, has been disappointing in her 2 runs this time in, beaten favourite both in her homeland 1st up, and in the Epona last start. She will need to improve lengths on those performances to be competitive here.
Who Shot TheBarman, winner of the Bart Cummings over 2500 and placed in the Melbourne Cup last spring, could surprise at odds. He is fitter for 2 very good runs back from a spell over unsuitable distances, and is a tough, genuine stayer.
It looms as a memorable renewal of one of Sydney's best races.
I'll be backing To The World, and including Hartnell, Who Shot TheBarman and Silent Achiever in exotics.
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G1 - Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle
G1 - Nz Oaks