Fri, Apr 7, 9:42am by Staff Writer
Saturday is day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick. At the time of acceptances the track was rated a heavy-9 but sunshine and good weather is forecast for the main part leading into and including race day.
A field of nine will line up for the $2.3 million first prize in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) although it could be fair to say that eight are in the running for second place of $760,000. Winx ($1.10) is the only mare in the race and she is at unbackable odds to make it 17 in a row. Hartnell ($11) showed a return to form when second to Our Ivanhowe in the Group 1 Ranvet (2000m) after an out of character eighth before that while Happy Clapper ($19) ran second to Winx in last year’s Doncaster before a third to Lucia Valentina in the 2016 QE – and he backs up after a second to It’s Somewhat in this year’s ‘Donnie’. Melbourne’s Exospheric ($34) and The United States ($20) are both having their second Sydney run this campaign and are both fourth-up into their prep.
WATCH: Randwick and Caulfield Preview – The Championships Day Two
Silent Sedition‘s last five runs read 1-2-1-2-1 with her most recent win being the Group 1 William Reid (1200m) at Moonee Valley under lights, and she’s opened as the $4.60 favourite in an open Group 1 Coolmore Legacy (1600m). She ran second to Heaven’s Above in the Group 1 Coolmore (1500m) a month ago with Danish Twist ($11) – who also lines up here – third in that race.
Zanbagh ($13) made it back-to-back G2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) last start on a heavy-9 with Dixie Blossoms ($7.50) only 0.7L behind in third. Three runs back they met in the Group 2 Guy Walter (1400m) at Randwick on a heavy-10 with Dixie Blossoms bolting in by 6.5L. Three-year-old Foxplay ($6) comes off a fourth in the Group 1 Vinery (2000m) after an impressive win in 3YO open company prior.
Darren Weir hadn’t won a race in Sydney before this autumn but he’s broken that drought and he has the $2.70 favourite in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in Big Duke. The ex-English gelding has won five of his last six, with six wins from 12 career starts in total.
Lloyd Williams won this race last year with Gallante and this year he lines up with last start winner Assign ($7). He ran second to Melbourne Cup winning stable mate Almandin in the spring before winning the G2 Herbert Power (2400m) after that with his most recent win being in the G3 Neville Selwood (2000m) over Astronomos and Single Gaze.
The Sydney Cup favourite of 2016, Libran ($14), lines up for Chris Waller and is one of three runners for Sydney’s leading trainer. He had almost a year off since his Cup placing last year with Saturday being his fifth run back from a break. Who Shot Thebarman ($8.50) is a stalwart of 41 career starts with his most recent win being in the 2015 G2 Sandown Classic (2400m) while Kinema ($41) was a winner in his second Australian start under Waller in the spring with a fourth his best run this time in.
Tally ($13) (O’Shea), Penglai Pavillion ($9.50) and Polarisation ($10) (Charlie Appleby) line up for Team Godolphin with ex Lloyd Williams-owned Chance to Dance ($19) lining up for Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.
Lasqueti Spirit ($8.50) was a VRC Oaks (2500m) winner in the spring in a race that will be long remembered for Brenton Avdulla’s ride. She’s been racing in open grade in her four runs back this campaign and drops back to her own age and sex here in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m). Harlow Gold ($5) was second in the VRC Oaks and also lines up here.
The Kiw’s have had a great time of it this autumn in Sydney and Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman bring Bonneval ($3.90) over from NZ in winning form. Nurse Kitchen ($5.50) was beaten a nose in the Group 1 Vinery (2000m) while La Bella Diosa ($15) was a winner first-up at Randwick over Omei Sword and Global Glamour but has failed to fire since.
Suggested Bet: Back Lasqueti Spirit each way in the Oaks at $8.50
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