For those lamenting the conclusion of The Championships for 2015, stay tuned because the Group 1 action at Royal Randwick this Saturday is first class. This year’s All Aged Stakes has it all, star three-year-old colts in open company, Group 1 sprinters, a stallion hoping for a last hurrah before a stud career and Sydney vs Melbourne formlines...
The All Aged is one of the oldest races on the Sydney calendar but since its conversion from 1600m to 1400m in 2004, the Group 1 feature has become a clash of the sprinters and the milers. It is also now the perfect target for gallopers coming out of the T.J. Smith Stakes on Day 1 of The Championships.
This leads me to Chautauqua, the TAB.com.au Fixed Odds favourite. His narrow but stunning victory over Lord of the Sky and Terravista on a soft track in this year’s T.J. is enough to convince me that he’s the horse to beat on Saturday. It will be the grey son of Encosta de Lago’s first time at the distance since his three year old campaign... but Tommy Berry retains the ride after replacing Dwayne Dunn. Encosta, now pensioned, has been able to sire winners of all ages and distances, which is truly remarkable – however I fancy the Hawkes trained Chautaqua gets a lot of his speed from his damside, being from the dual Group 1 winning sprinter Lovely Jubly, herself by that brilliantly fast Queensland sire Lion Hunter.
Dissident’s connections are hoping the Sebring entire can bounce back after a seven week let up. He claimed the C.F. Orr in February but finished a disappointing third in rather a weak Futurity Stakes. The distance will suit and there’s no doubt Dissident is as tough as teak... but I’m not sure he’s in the right form.
Terravista was hailed as the “best sprinter in the world”... until Chautauqua laid claim to the same title a fortnight ago. This chestnut dynamo hasn’t really lived up that title this Autumn. No horse tries harder and ‘Terra’ is certainly consistent – 15 starts for nine wins! He likes it soft but I feel the 1400m is a query in his current form.
Hasn’t Lucky Hussler improved in leaps and bounds since moving to the Melbourne stables of Darren Weir? A last start winner of the William Reid at Moonee Valley, the son of Husson will face his toughest test yet in the All Aged – but he’s on the up and as they say, winning form is good form.
The Group 1 All Aged STakes is set to jump at 3:45pm (AEST). Check the full TAB.com.au market here.
Rebel Dane... I’m not sure if Ron Dufficy has put him in his Kennel on Racing Retro yet but in my opinion he should be in it. So far this gelding has promised the world and delivered an atlas. He was disappointing first up behind Lucky Hussler and if you look at his record, you’ll find he hasn’t won a race since September 2013! He finds it hard to get the right luck in his races and that won’t enhance his chances against such a strong field this Saturday.
I’ve put a line through Famous Seamus as well, he’s never won at 1400m and his recent form has been less than stellar. The same goes for Weary... he started the Autumn with a Group 2 victory yet his last two efforts at the elite level have been poor. Pass.
Laser Hawk is your likely leader, however his last start winning form in Newcastle has not held up in the city grade.
Fontelina often reels the punters in and the Anthony Cummings trained galloper was an excellent fourth in the T.J. Smith Stakes.. but interestingly this six-year-old gelding has never even placed at his home track!
We all know the Godolphin stable is absolutely flying, so I see no reason why that can’t continue with Generalife. While the rest of us are still trying to figure out how to pronounce this five-year-old’s name, the son of Lonhro has really come into his own this season. John O’Shea has spaced his runs this prep after a Group 3 victory last start on March 28. He seems a better horse fresh.
Now for the three-year-old’s. They get the weight advantage but will they be able to match it with the more seasoned campaigners?
Shooting To Win ran fifth last time out in a very strong George Ryder and just look at the top three in that race: Japanese invader Real Impact and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Criterion and Doncaster victor Kermadec! The Snowden’s have decided to keep the Northern Meteor colt in open age company and will no doubt be hoping for a hot speed to ensure Shooting to Win can chase the leaders as is his preferred racing pattern.
The Australian Guineas winner Wandjina’s form is flawless and he’s back from a mile Group 1 win, albeit in his own age group. Snitzel is sweeping all before him as a sire and Damien Oliver is back on board . I think he’s great value at $8.00 with TAB.com.au.
Finally, the charismatic Scissor Kick. I love the look of this colt however his injury setbacks and health issues may have cost him Autumn stardom. He’s had two trials since that 5th to Hallowed Crown in the Hobartville Stakes. He deserves a shot but I query whether he can bounce back in such a tough race.
How can you not go past the favourite? 1. Chautauqua to beat 12. Wandjina and 4. Lucky Hussler. I could tip half the field but I’ll throw in Generalife as my ‘roughie’.
Good luck punters!