With the calendar rolling over to another month, the carnivals of South Australia and Queensland continue to up the intrigue, with a full complement of key races taking place, along with a support card from Gosford, there’s a few horses I am very much looking to seeing across the day.
Morphettville Race 4, D.C. McKay Stakes. Free Of Debt. $19.00
Starting off this week’s column with an each way tip (let’s hope for no scratchings), as I just couldn’t quite comprehend how Free Of Debt has gone up as the outsider of this field.
While her recent form is far from her best, there have been excuses for the lack of performance and I like the quick spell after failing to threaten in the Marion.
Teagan Voorham is flying at present and with a few horses likely to go forward, there’s an opportunity to enjoy a lovely run in transit from barrier 5.
At the current price, not a lot is required to make it a profitable race, and I think Free Of Debt is one of the better longshots across the day.
Sunshine Coast Race 3, Gold Coast Bracelet. Street Gossip. $3.90.
After pushing her in this column a fortnight ago, and watching her perform above even my expectations, there’s no reason for me to not line up for seconds with the promising Street Gossip.
Without taking anything away from the performance of the horse, Tom Sherry aced his assignment in the saddle last start, and from barrier three here a similar position in run looks attainable.
Being by So You Think, the step up in distance doesn’t present any immediate queries, and I’m interested to see how she traverses towards a potential Oaks pathway.
I thought she would open up shorter than the high three/low four price range available, so on that basis I am more than happy to remain with her and hope for continued success.
Morphettville Race 5, Without Fear Stakes. Down Low. $6.00.
Another intriguing two year old race in the Adelaide Carnival, and I’m going to a horse that looks pretty progressive in Down Low to get the job done.
Given plenty of time after debuting (and disappointing) in December last year, she comes to this race off a jumpout win and strikes a pretty even race.
She looks a likely speed influence, and if they do elect to go forward you could probably count on one hand the jockeys you’d rather have than Jordan Childs. If there doesn’t end up being much pressure, this could end up being a real sit and sprint, which looks like it may suit her.
It’s hard to be supremely confident in a race like this, but this strikes me as a winnable assignment for Down Low and at the price on offer I am happy to entertain.
Gosford Race 7, Takeover Target Stakes. Clemenceau. $6.00.
It has been a preparation of frustration for Clemenceau supporters, but I think those who are loyal to him may end up with the last laugh in this race.
Last start he was excellent in defeat behind Bacchanalia at level weights, losing in a narrow photo after covering more ground in the run. He gets a kilogram in his favour, and has drawn a beautiful barrier in gate six to allow Jason Collett to find a comfortable spot.
He’s often improved into campaigns, so as long as the six weeks between runs don’t have any ill effects, it looks like a really suitable race.
In a contest where I am keen to dodge the favourite, Clemenceau looks a sensible approach, and I think those who have stuck with him can be rewarded on Saturday.
Sunshine Coast Race 4, Ken Russell Memorial Classic. Russian Alliance. $7.50
This race will be a spectacle to watch, but settling on a top selection was no easy task. With a kind barrier and a will to win, I’ve ended up with the exciting Russian Alliance on top.
Since returning as a long odds on pop at Toowoomba in February, she’s made it four on the bounce, and has had no issue stepping into metropolitan racing either.
There’s plenty of horses that will want to be in the first third of the field, so where Larry Cassidy ends up positioning the filly in the run may end up crucial. I suspect a few will be stopping, so hopefully traffic doesn’t cause too much grief.
It is not a race I am willing to declare just about anything about, with Russian Alliance looking like a pragmatic way to approach proceedings.
Morphettville Race 6, Queen Of The South Stakes. Sparkle. $8.00.
Off a freshen and back to the mile, Sparkle looks capable of doing just that against her own sex.
After finding her groove, the Japanese import has carved out her niche as a tough on speed customer, very much enjoying dictating to her rivals and doing so with some pretty big weights in benchmark 80 company.
She rises to stakes grade here, but gets in at 55 kilograms and doesn’t appear to encounter a lot of pacey mares to contest the lead with.
With $8 being available at the time of writing, she looks a good option in this race, especially on an each way basis.
Sunshine Coast Race 5, Silk Stocking. Love Sensation. $11.00.
Another race on the Sunshine Coast where being definitive is a writer’s fallacy, I thought Love Sensation at the each way quote was the best way to approach this.
In what is a golden opportunity for star apprentice Angela Jones, a draw of barrier one should give her the chance to be in a nice spot. Given the mares’ preference to be prominent, I wouldn’t expect to see her any worse than midfield, with a potential reliance on a gap or two emerging.
Her best form is absolutely good enough to be competitive in this, having placed in an Alexandra Stakes and run competitively in some pretty important races. While she needs to bring that here, conditions look to suit, with her placed on the minimum weight.
With the price on offer in an undisputedly challenging race, Love Sensation around the each way price point was the way I’m looking to approach this race.
Morphettville Race 7, Robert Sangster Stakes. Passive Aggressive. $5.00
Our headline affair of the day, in a handy edition of the Sangster. I’ve always had plenty of time for Passive Aggressive, and this looks the perfect race for her to join the group one winners list.
She wasn’t suited in the T.J. Smith, where she wasn’t able to make any meaningful impact, but her first up run to collar Eduardo in the shadows of the post indicates her ability and tenacity.
Barrier one allows Jordan Childs a stab at the lead or the option to take a sit, which given speedsters like Marabi are in play may be the better option. Either way, she should be handy and has the ability to reel off some very slick late sectionals.
With a pretty strong edition of the Sangster comes a lot of intrigue, and I’m happy to side with Passive Aggressive in her quest to join the racing elite.
Gosford Race 9, Gosford Cup. Lion’s Roar. $9.00.
With a sunnier Saturday forecast, I think the Gosford Cup looks like a great opportunity for Lions Roar to be king of the racing jungle.
Sent out at a similar price point in the JRA plate last start, he appeared to struggle almighty with the conditions, only battling on in the second half of the field. The Doncaster was a similar story, but prior to that on drier ground he was only two and a half lengths off Anamoe in the George Ryder.
Dry tracks may very well be the key to him, and with the weather forecast (currently) indicating minimal rain forecast for the region between time of writing and raceday, I don’t think we’ll be on anything worse than a soft 5.
He certainly doesn’t win out of turn, but you can get a nice each way price for Lion’s Roar, and if the weather is kind he can turn in a much improved performance.
Sunshine Coast Race 7, Gold Coast Guineas. Spacewalk. $7.00.
There are two distinctly different versions of Spacewalk, but if the good one shows up on Saturday, the current price will be very generous for his supporters.
All of his runs in the late Summer/early Autumn were very good, and he’s been given a very quiet trial in between to retain fitness. With a healthy amount of speed engaged, the residual fitness edge over some key rivals may give him the opportunity to absorb some of the pressure and fight out the finish.
Barrier eight and the booking of Tim Clark probably mean he is close to the speed, with a spot one out one back looking to be the optimal position.
With the price available and the known ability of Spacewalk, I can have him comfortably in here as my selection.
Morphettville Race 8, Tobin Bronze Stakes. She Dances. $3.60.
This just looks a perfect race for the airborne She Dances, who comes into this in flying form and well looked after by the weight scale.
She was good down the straight two starts ago behind the well spruiked Right You Are, but it was her last start at Sandown that got people’s attention. She bolted in as a well backed favourite by over five lengths, and although she didn’t beat a top line field, she did it so dominantly that you can’t hold the quality of her opposition against her.
Linda Meech travels to the city of churches, and looking at her book it would be reasonable to infer it is to retain this very ride. Given her reduced race riding output since becoming a mother, that alone would be a stronger push than anything I can articulate here.
She Dances has opened a warm favourite and it is very easy to see why, she looks so well placed to tango away from her rivals and record another victory.
Sunshine Coast Race 7, Hollindale Stakes. Zaaki. $1.75.
There are no prizes on offer for selecting a favourite odds on, but I suspect even money will be available for Zaaki, and that looks a reasonable proposition for the biggest race on the program.
It was hard to know what to expect from him this time in, with questions persisting if he still had the zest for racing, and a very publicised delay to his Autumn.
His return in the All Aged Stakes over 1400 (likely unsuitable) was excellent, giving a kick on straightening before being run down by Giga Kick.
Stepping up to 1800 metres looks an enormous positive, and he meets a field lighter on top line quality than his last assignment. Barrier ten is negated by the lack of speed in the race, I still think James McDonald will be able to find the front and he could be very hard to run down.
There are no spoils in the price, but this is such a nice race for Zaaki to add another victory, and if the even money offerings do eventuate, that looks a very fair proposition for his supporters.
Sunshine Coast Race 8, ATC Trophy. Axe. $34.00
From an odds-on favourite to a clear outsider, I thought Axe went up at a price that exceeds his actual winning chances.
A stakes winner in the Spring, he comes into this after being a non factor on Magic Millions day in January. Prior to that, his form had been excellent, consistently competing in listed/group 3 level sprints and doing so creditibly the majority of the time.
With such a big field and plenty that will want to be forward, I’ll leave the speed map for someone else to figure out. That being said, despite the wide barrier there could be an opportunity to slot in, so if Samantha Collett can conserve some of the gelding’s energy he can figure in the finish.
With the big price available, he’s not a horse you need to be significantly invested on to have a good return, so I’m hoping to swing out the day with a surprise result.
Feature Form selections are tipped on a proportional staking system. Prices are correct as of 7:00pm AWST Wednesday.
By Jesse Dart