Thu, Sep 14, 11:34pm by Head Editor
Group 1 racing returns to Randwick on Saturday for George Main Stakes day. The rail is out nine-metres from the 1600m to the winning post, and seven-metres the remainder, and with nothing but blue skies – and wind – forecast, the track will be in the good range.
Chris Waller has won the last three runnings of the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) – now known as the Colgate Optic White Stakes – with Winx ($1.08) going for back-to-back. She’s had two starts this campaign for two narrow wins. She missed the start and ran down stable mate Foxplay ($15) when first-up, then had to use most of the straight to chase down Red Excitement ($21) when second-up. They both take on the mare again, with Winx drawn in barrier one, Foxplay in three and Red Excitement in four.
Happy Clapper ($12) returned a winner when beating Tom Melbourne in the G2 Tramway (1400m) and he’s racing as well as ever while Ecuador ($51) is third-up after finishing third behind Winx and fourth behind Happy Clapper at his two runs back.
The Group 2 Shorts (1100m) sees a few Everest participants line-up with Redzel ($2.40) opening as favourite and he’s been backed early. The five-year-old gelding has won three-in-a-row including a G1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) before a break and a G3 Concorde (1000m) when fresh. This week Redzel got the ‘call up’ as an entrant to the Everest with Chautauqua ($3.60), English ($3.80) and Fell Swoop ($10) already there.
Team Hawkes has said Chautauqua’s only mission this prep is the Everest and he resumes on that path on Saturday. English was a first-up winner in the autumn when nosing out Redzel in the G2 Challenge (1000m) here at Randwick on a heavy track while Fell Swoop is a consistent performer but hasn’t won since April 2016. Takedown ($10) won this race last year and will defend his crown on Saturday, Neita ($19) is second-up after finishing behind Redzel and Spieth when fresh while Joe Pride resumes Ball of Muscle ($16) whose last win was back in May 2015 but he was beaten by 0.2L in this race last year.
Champagne Cuddles ($3.20) has had strong support during the week and she’s early favourite for the G2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m). The Bjorn Baker-trained filly has been impressive when third and second behind Formality at her first two runs this prep but similar to last start, she’s drawn wide in barrier nine on Saturday.
Tulip ($3.50) is up from Melbourne as Team Hayes/Dabernig spread their fillies around and she’s second-up after just being edged out at Moonee Valley last start. Alizee ($6) was a strong winner first-up in midweek grade and hasn’t been far off Formality – beaten 0.2L and 0.5L – since. Pandemonium ($10) broke her maiden status two starts back and was a strong winner last start at the midweeks while Acqume ($13) has won both her starts since finishing behind Alizee at Warwick Farm. I am Excited ($8.50) ran well behind Menari when fresh and finished alongside Champagne Cuddles last start with Godolphin’s Regimen ($16) making her black type debut at her fourth career start.
SUGGESTED BET: If he makes his way to Sydney, Theanswermyfriend (race 9, number 7) will be hard to beat. He’s won three from 12 with a further six placings and the Melbourne form around him is pretty good. He’s drawn barrier one, and provided leaders aren’t disadvantaged on the day he could prove hard to run down.
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