Fri, Mar 2, 1:27am by Staff Writer
Group 1 racing returns to Randwick this weekend with the running of the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m). The rail is out three-metres and although the track was a soft-7 at acceptances, it will improve leading into race day.
Winx ($1.06) resumes in the Chipping Norton Stakes as she looks to make it three straight wins in the race. She’s first-up from her G1 Cox Plate (2040m) win although she comes into this off anm exhibition-style barrier trial which was ‘simulated to race conditions’. She was initially pencilled in to resume in the G2 Apollo Stakes over 1400m but with Hugh Bowman suspended connections decided to wait until this race. She’s joined by two stables mates – Who Shot Thebarman ($151) and Libran ($51) – who begin their staying preps on Saturday.
Prized Icon ($14) is third-up after two good performances this campaign most recently running on strongly for fourth in the Apollo while Stampede ($18) had some support at odds in the Apollo only to finish sixth.
Alizee ($2.15) is a short-price favourite for the G1 Surround Stakes (1400m) after an impressive win when first-up in the G2 Light Fingers (1200m). She’s won four from ten career starts, with a G1 Flight Stakes (1600m) already next to her name.
Shumookh ($4.60) was a brave second to Alizee in the Light Fingers which came after a close second to D’Argento in a BM76 before that. Frolic ($9.50) caught the eye when fourth in the Light Fingers in what was her first run since the G1 Sires (1400m) back in April 2017 while Torvill ($16) – third in the Light Fingers – did win the Listed Reginald Allen Stakes at this track and distance over the spring.
Shoals ($11) is a G1 Myer Classic (1600m) winner, and second-up after a disappointing eighth of nine to Booker when resuming. Melody Belle ($13) is a G1 Sires winner back in NZ, Rimraam ($19) was heavily backed when taking out the G2 Vanity (1400m) while Unforgotten ($12) has won three from five and makes her Stakes debut here.
Ron Quinton had a win with Daysee Doom last week in the G2 Millie Fox Stakes and he’ll be hoping Dixie Blossoms ($3.50) can also resume with a victory in the G2 Guy Walter (1400m). The five-year-old mare has won five of 20 – with a further nine placings, including a third to Shoals in the Coolmore when beaten 0.2L – and she comes into this off two trials, the most recent when beating Russian Revolution and D’Argento.
Raiment ($4.40) was good when third to Faraway Town ($7.50) in the G3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) and she’s second-up here while Faraway Town broke a recent run of outs two starts back when winning at BM85 grade and is looking to make it three-in-a-row.
Danish Twist ($7.50) and Eckstein ($6) are consistent mares but haven’t won in a while. Zanbagh ($14) is an old mare who can pull out a good run while the Baker/Forsman duo bring Francaletta ($9.50) over from NZ.
The G1 Golden Slipper (1200m) picture may become a little clearer this weekend with the running of the G2 Sweet Embrace (1200m) and G2 Skyline Stakes (1200m).
The Sweet Embrace for fillies has attracted a field of 14 with Fiesta ($4.80) and Satin Slipper ($4.80) fighting out favouritism. Although a narrow winner of the G3 Widden (1100m) Fiesta was impressive when overcoming an interrupted run to run down Adamina ($11). Satin Slipper was a Listed Gimcrack (1000m) winner on debut before resuming with a close second to Sandbar three weeks ago.
Setsuna ($6.50) has won two of her three career starts with her only defeat being when second – and splitting Satin Slipper and Fiesta – in the Gimcrack while Mick Price’s filly Seabrook ($6) failed to make the field for the G1 Blue Diamond (1200m) last week and embarks on a G1 Golden Slipper path in what’s an open and exciting race for the fillies.
Santos ($2) tops the markets for the boys in the Skyline Stakes after taking out the Pierro Plate (1100m) last start. Irish Bet ($7.50) was third on that occasion with Legend of Condor ($8) a disappointing fourth when sent out a strong – and well supported – favourite. Sandbar ($8.50) and Zousain ($11) are undefeated in their short careers while Spin ($5.50) and Oxford Tycoon ($13) are looking for their first victory.
SUGGESTED BET: Race 8 is a pretty even affair but going to go with Dixie Blossoms ($.350, race 8, number 4). She’s a quality mare coming off a strong trial and well in on the weights, she should be hard to beat. Francaletta is over from NZ for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, and has been specked in early markets at healthy odds.
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