Thu, Mar 30, 5:15pm by Staff Writer
It’s day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick this Saturday with four Group 1 races highlighting a packed ten-race card. The track is expected to be in the soft-to heavy range by raceday.
Chris Waller has won the last four Group 1 Doncasters (1600m) – Triple Honour his first back in 2008 – and this year he’ll line up with four runners. McCreery ($12) is the most favoured of the Waller quartet. He was a 1.6L sixth to Hauraki in last year’s Epsom (1600m) before going on to run second to Le Romain in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. Antonio Guiseppe ($15) was an impressive first-up winner over 1500m and whilst many would have thought him to be on a staying campaign he drops back to the mile after two runs at 2000m. The Qatar Bloodstock-owned stable mates Endless Drama ($18) and Arod ($81) are Waller’s other two.
Le Romain ($6) is starting to build an imposing record over the mile with a Group 1 Randwick Guineas and Cantala Stakes already to his name. He was also a G1 winner over 1300m two runs back before running second to Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder (1500m) last start.
WATCH: Our Preview of the big weekend of racing
Happy Clapper ($10) made a long-awaited return to the winners’ circle last start in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket (1400m) and he ran second in this race last year to Winx before a third in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) a week later.
Hauraki‘s ($9.50) G1 Epsom (1600m) win had to be seen to be believed. He’s third-up and one of three runners for Godolphin. It’s Somewhat ($34) is second-up after a win in the Group 2 Ajax (1500m) when fresh while import Spectroscope ($13) is two from two in his Aussie career and down on 51kg, he gets the services of Joao Moreira.
A winner of five from ten, Redkirk Warrior ($10) broke a long standing record when winning the G1 Newmarket (1200m) first-up and David Hayes always speaks so highly of him when mentioning the ex-Hong Kong six-year-old. Dibayani ($41) has a liking for Randwick with a photo-finish second in the Epsom and the Villiers over this track and distance while fellow Victorians Hey Doc ($16) and I Am a Star ($16) come into Saturday off back-to-back wins – Hey Doc off a G1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and I Am A Star off a G2 Sunline Stakes (1600m). Palentino ($9.50) has three wins over a mile – and two at the top grade – but all of them have been at Flemington with his only run at Randwick being in the Epsom where he finished 13th of 13 while Gai Waterhouse will be looking for her eighth Doncaster with seven-year-old Ecuador ($23). He ran second to Winx in the 2015 Epsom before a 1L sixth last year to Hauraki.
The New Zealanders’ hold a strong hand in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) with Gingernuts ($3.40) and Jon Snow ($7.50) both coming off strong last start wins in Australia. Inference ($4.60) was second to Gingernuts in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) after winning the G1 Rosehill Guineas (1600m) prior while Prized Icon ($11) finished way back in the Randwick Guineas. He did run second to Hey Doc in the Australian Guineas before that and was second to Jon Snow in the G2 Tulloch (2000m) last week.
Chautauqua ($5.50) has found himself back at the top of the Group 1 TJ Smith (1200m) market after a being a brief chance of running in the Doncaster instead. He’s been placed all three runs this preparation, his last two over 1300m and 1500m. Russian Revolution ($5.50) was a handful in the yard prior to the G1 Galaxy (1100m) but still managed to run on strongly and win that race over stablemate Redzel and Jungle Edge – the latter who has already franked that form with a win. English ($10) was super when first-up on a heavy-10 and that may have taken something out of her when seventh to Russian Revolution last start while Spieth ($9) was unlucky in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) and Lightning Stakes (1000m) before an inconclusive ninth of 13 in the Newmarket behind Redkirk Warrior.
Astern ($6) is first-up from a three month spell and looking to add to his G1 tally for Godolphin while Malaguerra ($9.50) is third-up after winning the G2 Australia Stakes (1200m) back in January and a last start sixth in the CF Orr (1400m) seven weeks ago. Terravista ($20) 11 wins from 26 starts) and Target in Sight ($91) (a last start Magic Millions winner) line up for Joe Pride with Voodoo Lad ($16) and Rock Magic ($26) both coming off super first-up runs in the Newmarket and William Reid respectively.
In the Group 1 Sires (1400m) for two-year-olds, Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic ($5.50) tops the market and leads a charge of youngsters that back up from that race while Gunnison ($10), Summer Passage ($13), Sircconi ($26), The Mission ($31) and One More Honey ($26) are all last start winners heading into Saturday.
Suggested Bet: Oooh, so many, but Gingernuts looks close to a good thing in the Derby.
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