With the Sydney Autumn Carnival now over and the Queensland Winter Carnival set to kick into top gear next weekend, all eyes will be on South Australia this Saturday with the running of the G1 Sangster Stakes and G1 Australasian Oaks from Morphettville.
Hawkesbury’s stand-alone meeting in Sydney looks to be in doubt with heavy rain predicted leading into Saturday, but the sun is shining in Adelaide and we will be punting on a good surface.
Race 5 on the card is the $400,000 G1 Australasian Oaks for three-year-old fillies to be run over 2000 metres. A field of 16 will contest this year’s event and it looks set to be a wide open betting affair, with a number of runners coming out of different form lines.
Fontein Ruby is currently the $3.80 Fixed Odds favourite with TAB.com.au. The Robert Smerdon-trained filly will be looking to make it 3 straight victories after recording back to back wins in Melbourne. The on-pacer will jump from barrier 2 and will look to boot up and lead the field along with Kansas Sunflower ($21) who will come across from barrier 20. Her last 3 starts have been over the mile, though she did win the $750,000 Caulfield Classic over 2000m in the Spring. Her chances of winning will hinge on how much pressure she has in front, though I expect her to be right in the finish.
The G1 Australasian Oaks is set to jump at 3:08pm (AEST). Check the full TAB.com.au market here.
Fenway ($4.50) has also drawn well in barrier in barrier 6. The Lee & Shannon Hope-trained filly provided Blake Shinn with an emotional victory last start in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill Gardens. The daughter of High Chaparral was due to contest the Australian Oaks but was unfortunately scratched due to an abscess. The 2000m journey won’t be a problem, with her career best performances coming over the trip, including an impressive third in last spring’s Wakeful Stakes where she beat home Fontein Ruby. Her last start victory over First Seal puts her in good stead for this race and if she has fully recovered from her abscess injury I expect her to be winning.
The interesting runner of the field is the Western Australian galloper Delicacy ($8). The Grant Williams-trained filly has won her past 4 starts including the G3 W.A Oaks and G2 W.A.T.C Derby in impressive fashion. She has drawn barrier 11 and will likely be just off the pace in behind the leaders, this is undoubtedly a step up in class but she looks to have a lot of ability.
Of the rest, Wine Tales ($8.50) from the Chris Waller yard has been well found. I haven’t been overly taken aback with her runs this preparation but Waller is the Group 1 master, so I’m reluctant to write her off. Sea Spray ($21) looks to have a sense of timing about her and she looked all over a winner in her last outing before getting run down late by Kansas Sunflower. The John Moloney-trained filly has improved with every run this preparation and if they go like the clappers up front she could be on the scene late.
I’m picking Fenway on top, to beat Fontein Ruby, Sea Spray and Delicacy.
Race 7 on the program is the $400,000 G1 Robert Sangster Stakes for fillies and mares over 1200 metres. Like the Oaks, the Sangster looks to be a race with a number of chances and the TAB.com.au market reflects that.
Miracles Of Life and Vain Queen are both equal favourites at the $5 quote. Since swapping stables from Daniel Clarksen to Peter Snowden, Miracles Of Life has thrived. When first up this preparation, the speedy mare took out the G2 Challenge Stakes at Randwick in impressive fashion, before hitting the line strongly to finish third in the G1 Galaxy behind Sweet Idea. Vain Queen was enormous last start when runner up to Lucky Hussler in the G1 William Reid at Moonee Valley. The 5YO mare sat three deep without cover for the entire race and fought on bravely to be beaten less than 2 lengths. She has been kept fresh but will have to overcome barrier 13 if she is to break through for her maiden Group 1 win.
Wawail ($15) has been consisitent this preparation, winning 2 of her 4 starts including the G2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington, and has been placed in her other two. The 3YO filly has been freshened up and the blinkers go on, I think she comes into this race a little under the radar.
The Les Bridge-trained Avoid Lightning ($7) was too strong last start on the heavy surface in the G2 Sapphire Stakes at Royal Randwick. The 6YO mare is a notorious wet tracker and if the track remains dry as predicted, she may find it a touch difficult at this level.
Politeness ($9) from the Robert Smerdon yard has always shown above average ability and she looks to be in great order this preparation. She produced a blistering turn of foot to easily account for her rivals last start in the Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield. Dwayne Dunn will have his work cut out from barrier 14 but if he can slot her in midfield I think she is in with a real winning chance!
The G1 Robert Sangster Stakes is set to jump at 4:28pm (AEST). Check the full TAB.com.au market here.
It will be interesting to see how WA mare Magnifisio ($13) shapes up on Saturday. Last year’s G1 Winterbottom Stakes winner was pretty plain first-up at Morphettville but it was her first start on anything worse than a dead track and I’m willing to forgive her. I expect her to be much improved come Saturday.
I’m banking on Dwayne Dunn weaving some magic aboard Politeness, with Vain Queen, Magnifiso and Miracles Of Life filling the minors.
Tune into Sky Thoroughbred Central for comprehensive coverage of the days racing. Good luck and happy punting!
G1 - The Bet365 Celebration Steeple Chase (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase (handicap) (class 1)
G1 - Aes Champion 4yo Hdle
Grade B - Setanta Sport H'cap Hdle
Grade B - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe H'cap Chase