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By Darren Winningham | Friday, April 6, 2018

It is DONCASTER weekend back at headquarters.

The traditionalists love this race day with four consecutive Group 1 races – commencing with the ATC Sire’s Produce and culminating in the Star Doncaster for 2018! Ohhhhh I just love it!

The track is rated “GOOD” and the rail will be in the true position for the entire track.

There is fine weather forecast for the coming days and a lovely 27 degrees for the races on Saturday.

A massive ten race quality program with nine Group races on the day!

We should be able to bet with confidence and we should have no track bias as punters have had to endure in recent weeks at Rosehill.

Ok – heads down people … pens ready. Let’s get into it!

NB: As this form assessment was made prior to raceday, please check final fields and track conditions for any changes on the day.

Race 1

We kick off the day with the youngsters – the 2-year olds!

Looks like a nice race for the tried Hayes and Dabernig runner Enbihaar (8) who was a gallant second after drawing wide in the Blue Diamond at Caulfield and flying home behind Written By. Since then he has settled in well in Sydney and the trial at Randwick three weeks ago demonstrated to me that this way of going and the Randwick surface will not be a problem for this assignment.

If you want a danger it must be the Chris Waller trained Blake Shinn ridden Lean Mean Machine (4) who debuted in fine style at Warwick Farm three weeks ago.

The top weight Legend of Condor (1) has a lugging bit on for the first time and my Sydney spies says has been working exceptionally well since this piece of gear has been applied – with Mark Zhara in the saddle he could surprise us all!

Selections: 8-4-1-2


Race 2

Blake Shinn rides the topweight here Holy Snow (1) for Victorian trainer Mick Price. He was amazing in the Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill three weeks ago when he hit the front and looked the winner before being nailed in the final stride by Unforgotten. I think that despite the large weight he is the one to beat!

The Snowden team have Assimilate (3) backing up after a Canberra Guineas win three weeks ago. In true Snowden fashion the Sebring colt had a solid hit out in a barrier trial on 26 March at Randwick with this weekend’s jockey in the saddle Tye Angland. The trial was super, and I think has placed in in fine fettle for this race.

My third selection is the unlucky Beau Geste (4). Why do you say he is unlucky? Well last weekend he made his run along the inside at Rosehill where the track was diabolical, and his stable mate came wide, flew home and won the race. There is no way that James Cummings and Godolphin would back him up unless he has done well. So, if you forgive him last week’s effort he is right in this race.

Sambro (6) has been well backed since the markets opened. In some markets he opened at $17 and he has been backed into $9. This Waller runner is proven at the distance and has the service of Brenton Avdulla who is riding in sensational form!

Selections: 1-3-4-6


Race 3 PJ Bell Stakes

I am staying with the classy Catchy (1). I have tipped her a few starts this preparation in Group 1 races and each time she has run some honest races without winning. I think back to Group 3 company – the big wide track of Randwick and not the tight turning Moonee Valley track of last start - she must be rated a big chance here. She is fourth up this preparation and I think with the patient Kerrin McEvoy aboard this weekend we will see the real CATCHY!

She’s So High (6), who comes off a solid win last start at Flemington up the straight, appears at Randwick for the first time and must run clockwise for the first time – sometimes this Randwick circuit can test runners for their first visit. In addition, she has an appalling second up record.

The Commands filly Demerara (8) comes off a restricted duo of wins since resuming. I think she can step up to this grade and may jag a hat trick of wins.

Warranty (13) from the Peter & Paul Snowden team resumed first up and ran last. I am forgiving her that run – she is batter than that and she pulled up lame. She has had 7 weeks between runs and may find this lot a little to sharp for her, however, the trial a fortnight ago at Randwick was very solid and down on the minimum here, drawn midfield and an unblemished second up record (2 wins from 2 starts) I think she represents some solid each way value at $31.

Now Toby Edmonds is probably breathing a sigh of relief as I have not tipped his filly Houtzen (4) in my top four! However, the first up effort was sound. Do not overlook this gallant filly. She is going to strike form soon – maybe just needs one more run but at $16 she is a genuine each way chance here. PS: Good luck Team Edmonds Racing!

Selections: 1-6-8-13 rough chances 4 & 18


Race 4 – The Country Championships Final

This is the only non-Group race on the program. However, it represents innovation and gets country horses to feature on the big stage this weekend. Wagga based race-caller Allan Hull has been selected to come to Randwick and call the race. What a wonderful privilege and great initiative by NSW Racing to allow these wonderful callers to shine on the big stage as well!

With the speed in the race it seems to lend to the idea that some back markers will be able to flash home late. There are several of them in this race and it may well be a blanket finish with them all stretched across the wide Randwick track! Let’s hope so for the sake of NSW Country Racing!

Danny Williams from Goulbourn is well represented here with three runners. I think that the best of them is Don’t Give a Damn (3) who will probably race forward here – this is his style of racing. He has a win at the track and distance and could prove hard to run down if left alone, unchallenged in front.

Suncraze (1) has drawn well and has been racing solidly. Trained at Tamworth by Melanie O’Gorman, the gelding has won all three starts since resuming and has a solid record at Randwick (4 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds) and has drawn perfectly in barrier 6.

Snitz (4) is trained at by Muwillumbah by the strong Matthew Dunn Racing team. Unfortunately, he has drawn terribly in barrier 18. Robbie Fradd is heading to NSW to keep his association with this Snitzel gelding – he has ridden him 6 times for 4 wins and 1 second. I think that with the speed in the race he will get back, however, he does like to settle and come hard and fast!

Victorem (5) rounds out my top four. Trained at Port Macquarie by Jenny Graham and to be ridden by Ben Looker who is based at Grafton. Ben has ridden this I Am Invincible gelding in all five-career race starts and he has won four times on him! I was present over the 2017 Grafton Carnival to see him destroy a quality field in the 2017 NBN 2YO Plate. The performance was one of the highlights of the Carnival – if he can get the 1400 metres he will be in this for a long way. It would be wonderful to see Ben Looker get a feature race like this – he is a extremely talented jockey. Good luck Ben!

Lastly, I must put in a real roughie – Mr Tagoson (6) trained at Scone by Rod Northam and to be ridden by the King of the Coalfields, Robert Thompson. These two are lethal when they combine. Do not worry that this one is $31 in the markets! It will be trained to the minute and ready to run the race of his life. Back on this big track he will be right in the race!

Selections: 3-1-4-5 rough chance 6


Race 5 – 2018 Chairman’s Quality (Group 2)

Alward (8) was flying home last start over 2400 metres when beaten by Master of Arts (2) at Rosehill. I think he is a 2 length better horse at Randwick where has had three starts for a win and two seconds. Kerrin McEvoy takes the ride this week and I am tipping a reversal of that last start result.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have Cismontane (7) in the race. Who can ever forget the all the way domination and win in the 2017 Lexus at Flemington with Stephen Baster riding. The team is back together this weekend – and you know what, with him being left alone in front and bowling along, he just could run them all into the ground.

Master of Arts (2) who won last start after winning a barrier trial over the hurdles is trained by Darren Weir. Was the performance enhanced by the wet track and the bias? I think so. But that is not to say that he cannot put two wins together here in this race.

Peribsen (11) rounds out my top four. I see that John O’Shea has looked internationally for a jockey an enlisted the services of Sam Clipperton. Peribsen is only a lightly raced Lonhro stallion and ran a great third to Master of Arts (2). He looked like he peaked on his run – but he may have derived some benefit from the solid hit out.

Selections: 8-7-2-11 rough chances 1 & 13


Race 6 ATC Inglis Sire’s (Group 1)

This is our first of four Group 1 races on the program.

Look I have been a big fan of Oohood (13) tipping her in the Blue Diamond and the Golden Slipper in my placings. Those two runs strongly suggest that she will enjoy this longer distance of 1400 metres and will run a very strong race. Some of these runners will find that final 100 metres a struggle whereas this Tony McEvoy runner should be powering home late with Zac Purton aboard.

Seabook (14) was supported in the Golden Slipper and ran a wonderful race. The Mick Price filly settled back and was finishing the race off powerfully. Damien Oliver stays aboard this weekend – watch out for a dynamic finish and a chance at Group 1 glory!

Ciaron Maher is back training – but has he had a haircut! He has Not A Single Cent (3) in this race with big race jockey Blake Shinn engaged. This Not A Single Doubt colt won the VRC Sire's last start a month ago at Flemington and despite losing a plate in the run was able to surge home and flog that field.

Spin (4) must be a chance. Last start Tim Clark dropped the whip at the 300 metres. I hope he has some super glue on his gloves this week as he will need that whip over the final 200 metres to win this Group 1 race.

My roughie is the Hayes & Dabernig trained Seberate (6) who finished a strong second to his rival Not A Single Cent (3) last start. I see they have given the Sebring colt a trial at Randwick a fortnight ago to top him off for the run.

Selections: 13-14-3-4 rough chance 6


Race 7 2018 Australian Derby (Group 1)

I think if you are looking for some value in your exotics you may want to take the field here.

This is a real tough assignment to find the winner. The form has been made difficult by some of the recent runs of these on some equivocal tracks in recent weeks.

I am looking for one that ran on last start and made ground. I have come up with Mission Hill (12) the New Zealand trained gelding to be ridden by Damian Lane. I think he will be better suited over the 2400 metres of the Derby and is a great each way odds of around $15.

Another Kiwi runner is Salsamor (9) to be ridden by Zac Purton. This colt has had 3 weeks since his last run at Rosehill. He had a nice hit out in a trial over 1200 metres at Randwick a fortnight ago where he wasn’t extended and looked fresh.

Ace High (1) from the David Payne yards is a real war horse. I think back at Randwick we may see the best of him. He has the services of Tye Angland who rides this High Chaparral colt well and has three wins aboard him. You can overlook the recent runs on wet tracks where I think he is not suited. This weekend on a firm track he will make his presence felt.

Another kiwi runner is Vin De Dance (2) who showed in the New Zealand Derby in early March that he will run this distance right out. A good track this weekend and Jason Waddell in the saddle - he could show up at odds.

Selections: 12-9-1-2 rough chance 7


Race 8 – 2018 TJ Smith Stakes (Group 1)

WFA – 1200metres – Randwick – a test of speed and stamina!

Redzel (1) at the set weight conditions looks hard to beat. He returned to winning form a month ago at Randwick over 1000 metres and he is third up this preparation where he has 3 wins from 5 starts. He is favourite and a short price and, to be fair, he deserves to be.

The Darren Weir trained Brave Smash (3) came home like a bullet last start up the Flemington straight (over 1200 metres) when narrowly beaten by Redkirk Warrior. He has had a previous look at Randwick and ran a gallant third. He looks the likely danger to the favourite.

In Her Time (8) was sensational first up in the Galaxy over 1100 metres. Her second up record is very good (5 starts for 2 wins and 2 seconds). She has a great record over 1200 metres and I think that she will be racing home late.

I found a roughie here in Trapeze Artist (12). Trained by Gerald Ryan and still only a 3-year-old he has been racing in fine fashion in recent starts. The Snitzel colt is coming back from a mile to the 1200 metres – but I just think with three weeks between runs he may sprint well fresh and with the pressure on up front in this race could just sit in behind them and make a run late.

Selections: 1-3-8-12 rough chance 9


Race 9

Well I must stay with Happy Clapper (3) who took Winx on last start in the George Ryder at Rosehill and made her work for her victory. I have read some articles along the lines that this run was “hard” – “it took too much out of him”. I have always thought that this 7-year-old gelding races best when he is under pressure and must fight. This weekend he will be partnered by Blake Shinn who has a wonderful affiliation with the gelding – 16 rides for 6 wins and 8 placings. He is a bet to nothing each way all day!

Humidor (1) is also another gelding that has stretched Winx. In the 2017 Cox Plate who can ever forget the war these two staged up the Moonee Valley straight – and of course the history books show that Winx won her third consecutive Cox Plate. His last run in the Group 2 Blamey at Flemington was very good. He worked hard and won going away. He is having his first start at the Randwick mile. This mile and the run up the hill can bring a few runners unstuck but he has some very good form over the distance – 6 starts for4 wins and a second.

The Bjorn Baker trained Crack Me Up (6), formerly with Liam Birchley, won the 2017 Villiers here with a higher weight. Sure he is meeting a better quality field this time but he is a nice type that can sit off the speed and make a run late. He looks well placed with some serious speed in the race with Arbeitsam (13) from the Waterhouse yards being engaged. He will go hard in front like Vo Rogue used to do and attempt to run them into the ground. If there is any track bias favouring the leaders – he is a great chance.

Tom Melbourne (8) always the bridesmaid. Maybe if he was named Tom Sydney he would be a champion (sorry that is my NSW bias coming out in me). This Chris Waller trained gelding – well, um – he is genuine but just finds it hard to get past the post first. He is down in the weights. He has Kerrin McEvoy aboard and has the Waller polish – and that's something punters! But for mine just a rough hope.

Kementari (9), the Godolphin trained Lonhro three-year-old colt, is a true competitor. He was beaten by 1.6 lengths last start by Winx. He has the Golden Slipper winning jockey aboard - Brenton Avdulla - and he has won both of his starts at Randwick so there is a lot to like about this youngster and he gets in with 51.5 kilograms. He will be in the top four for mine.

D’Argento (16) won the Rosehill Guineas a fortnight ago. He is trained by Chris Waller. Waller, of course, is a master at preparing horses but I am not too confident that he can get him to win this race this weekend. Back in distance, Group 1 against open company – I am going to say he will be in there in the top six. Now I have potted him he will win this by 3 lengths and Winno will have to head to Yatala Pies to eat a “humble pie”.

Selections: 3-1-9-6 rough chances 8 & 16


Race 10 Adrian Knox Stakes (Group 3)

I think come this race if you are in front I would suggest you close the wallet, put it in the back pocket and head to the bar. This is a tough race to finish off the program – to be honest I cannot line up the form and I am struggling with it..

Luvaluva (1) must carry a massive 60 kilograms here but clearly is the best runner in the race. However, he does get back and will need an uninterrupted run in the straight with this big weight. His win at Kembla Grange last start was a very good run and he must be respected.

The Waterhouse and Bott team have Wedgie (3) in the race. The Foxwedge filly was outgunned by the topweight at Kembla Grange last start, however, he meets the winner Luvaluva (1) four kilograms better for a 0.7 length defeat last start. The weight changes suggest that he may be able to turn the tables. We all know that in these races Gai normally instructs her jockeys to be positive and ride them forward – so with the weight advantage and being handy he may just turn the tables this weekend.

The one that I may have underestimated is the Godolphin trained Harmattan (4) who was unlucky last start at Moonee Valley. She got out of her ground it can be difficult there to get around that tight turn heading into the straight and keep balanced and make a sustained run. Well this Street Cry filly did manage to do this, was caught five wide, but still motored home strongly in the straight. I just wonder getting back onto the wide open track at Randwick whether she will be better suited here. Michael Walker stays on her this weekend. He has ridden her in all three career starts for 2 wins and a second placing.

Chilly Cha Cha (5) from the Kris Lees stables has been working nicely through her classes. She has won her last two consecutive starts and so is looking for a hat trick. She likes to lead – but can she run out the 2000 metres?

Selections: 1-4-3-5


Jockey Challenge

Looks like Kerrin McEvoy has a solid book of rides. He should win the challenge.Blake Shinn always seems to manage to show up on this big days – he too has some nice rides and with any luck he will be challenging at some point.

Early Quaddie (races 3 to 6 NSW only)

1,6,8,13 / 1,3,4,5 / 2,7,8 / 3,13,14 - cost is $144 to $1

Quaddie (races 7 to 10)

1,2,9,12 / 1,3,8 / 1,3,9 /1,3,4 - cost is $108 to $1

Value Quaddie (races 7 to 10)

9,12 / 1,3 / 1,3 / 1,3,4 - cost is $24 to $1

Mad Quaddie (races 7 to 10)

1,12 / 1 / 1,9 / 1,4 - cost is $8 to $1

The Silly Quaddie

1 / 1 / 1 / 1 - cost is $1 to $1
Can all the topweights salute? How good is the handicapper?

Treble (races 8 to 10)

1,3,8 / 1,3,9 / 1,3,4 - cost is $27 to $1

BIG 6 (NSW only races 5 to 10)

2,7,8 / 13,14 / 1,9,12 / 1 / 1,3 /1,4 - cost is $72 to $1

Good luck and good punting!

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Some of the usual suspects ... stables and jockeys to keep and eye on ... Peter Snowden (pictured above)
Some of the usual suspects ... stables and jockeys to keep and eye on ... Peter Snowden (pictured above)
Chris  Waller
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James Cummings
James Cummings
Darren Weir
Darren Weir
Matthew Dunn
Matthew Dunn
Kerrin McEvoy
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Michael Walker
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Tye Angland
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Photos: Graham Potter, Darren Winningham and Grant Guy</b.
Tim Clark

Photos: Graham Potter, Darren Winningham and Grant Guy
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