Fri, Sep 16, 11:09am by Staff Writer
Royal Randwick hosts Optic White Stakes Day (formerly George Main) on Saturday with some short price favourites dominating the betting in the feature races.
There’ll be no shorter priced favourite throughout the day, than when Winx contests the headline event – the Group 1 Optic White Stakes (1600m). Chris Waller has won this race three times over the past four years (Kermadec in 2015, Sacred Falls in 2014 and Shoot Out in 2012) and the mare is around the $1.20 mark with William Hill to make it three-in-a-row for Sydney’s premier trainer. She is looking for eleven straight victories herself, and with Le Romain an early scratching in preference for the Cameron in Newcastle, she only has six opponents to contend with.
Tosen Stardom was due to be one of those opponents but unfortunately was a late scratching after suffering a minor cut to his leg during the float trip to Sydney. The injury is not expected to have any negative effects on the remainder of the ex-Japan based six-year-old’s spring carnival. Hauraki was impressive when returning from a spell with a victory in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on a heavy track with stable mate It’s Somewhat fourth on that occasion. Great Esteem is up from Melbourne and vying for three straight wins, and hopefully he can set a good tempo to make it a competitive affair.
Sydney’s staying races have been dominated by Godolphin and Waller of late, and the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) is literally Godolphin versus Waller after Signoff and Tavago were both early scratchings.
Hartnell has returned to form this campaign and bolted in at his last start when taking out the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), after running a good second to Winx prior. He’s a short-price favourite to take out the Hill Stakes with stable mate Magic Hurricane and Waller’s Preferment fighting out second favouritism. Grand Marshal (second), Storm the Stars (third) and Who Shot the Barman (fifth) were in ‘another’ race when finishing behind Hartnell last start and line up again on Saturday.
English is a solid favourite in the feature sprint of the day, the Group 2 Shorts (1100m). She’s had a couple of eye catching trials leading into this and first-up during the autumn flew late to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes over 1000m. The now four-year-old mare ended that campaign with a Group 1 victory over Black Heart Bart and that form reads well.
Clearly Innocent is first-up from a spell and is eyeing ‘six-in-a-row’ while Ball of Muscle and Dothraki are amongst a host of other horses that are also first-up. Top weight Japonisme was a touch disappointing when favourite last start, albeit on a heavy track while Sarajevo was good when second to His Majesty over this distance a month ago.
Although the two main races are small on numbers they are high on quality and with a competitive support card it makes for a great day’s racing at Randwick on Saturday.
Suggested Bet: We’re going to leave the main race alone as Winx is extremely short but we’ll be playing each way on Clearly Innocent in the Group 2 Shorts over 1100m in Race 7 at the odds of $7.50 and $2.35.
William Hill Odds – Optic White Stakes
William Hill Odds – Bowermans Furniture Shorts
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