Perth Preview – 21 October 2023
Seven days removed from a fantastic opening day at Ascot, racing returns for Sporting Legends day, which I can only assume will include guest appearances from Justin Bollenhagen and Tom Swift.
Joking aside, a stellar cast of thoroughbreds has been blended with a stellar cast of sporting identities, creating a day for the purists to savour on course. With nine races, headlined by dual features, there’s plenty to get excited about for Saturday.
State of The Track
Coming off a very fair surface last week, with winners at both ends of the speed map, the rail shifts out to +3 metres, which has historically been one of the more revered positions. Based off last week and historical data, there’s nothing to suggest a savage bias will be at play. Happy to back horses worse than midfield, if the rest of the race is suitable.
Condition wise, there’s nothing in the forecast to suggest we won’t be on a good 4, with blissful Spring weather blessing Perth.
Race 1: RTG 66+ Handicap. 1800m.
Commencing proceedings with a compact field, blending formlines from the provincials into Saturday grade. Since joining the Daniel Morton stable, Feuding has been a model of consistency without being able to find the breakthrough, and Saturday looks like his best opportunity yet to get a win on the board. Not beaten further than three and a half lengths in any of his five runs this campaign, he strikes a race where he should be able to find the front and dictate to his rivals. Fit enough to see out a strong 1800 metres, and it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see him turn the tables on Fine Touch. It’s been hard to ignore the upwards trajectory of the Ross Price mare this campaign, stomping home in consecutive starts. Understandably favourite given how well she is going, and a third win on the bounce is well within her grasp. Ghobella has been consistently supported since markets opened on Thursday, and although only fair at Northam last start has the runs on the board to suggest a race like this is not beyond her. Romancing The Rock doesn’t have a behaviour set conducive to running out a strong 2000 metres at this stage, so drops back in trip. Jarrad Noske going on suggests positive tactics, although if he does get pinned on the rail from barrier 1 it may be awfully hard to keep him switched on.
Race 2: RTG 66+ Handicap. 1000m.
Another field on the smaller start to start the meeting, this short course scamper looks to have a few exciting ones lining up. We last saw Goddess Of Giving as a three-year-old, with the (now) mare winning consecutive races from the tail at Belmont. While she certainly makes life difficult for herself, she possesses a wicked turn of foot, and form around the likes of Hang Glider and Songaa is good enough to win a 66+ at Ascot. Draws barrier 2, so Jason Whiting may want to settle further, which she has shown the ability to do previously (albeit over further). She’s a genuine 1000 metre specialist, and this looks a suitable race to kick off her campaign. Plenty of sensation has followed Oscar’s Fortune, with the latest being an eleventh hour scratching from the Max Simmonds Stakes as a result of a hoof issue. Returns to the races seven days later, gets a better barrier draw and keeps William Pike, so there’s a lot in his favour. Just apprehensive about diving into one at red figures off the back of a setback, which is the only reason I’ve looked elsewhere. Spinning around off seven days is Thomas Magnum, who featured in this column last week as a selection. He just got way too far back to ever have a hope, and coming back to 1000 metres and striking a smaller field are key positives for him. Hard to knock the picket fence of Sophia’s Symphony, who showed Rumour Says a clean pair of heels at Belmont last start. That form hasn’t quite stood up as of yet, but she has plenty of talent and Michael Lane has her flying.
Selection: Goddess of Giving
Race 3: 3 Year Old Plate. 1400m.
Guineas cases will be the aim for a few of these, with the riches of The Pinnacles rapidly approaching. He may have gone under at odds on in a Northam maiden, but there’s a talented racehorse in Brave Spirit, and this looks like a nice race for him to make start four a winning one. Was closing in rapidly at the end of that 1300 metre maiden, and the way he hit the line indicated he is already looking for further. Gets that here, as well as a barrier that may allow Shaun McGruddy to sit a pair further closer if he so chooses. His 1000 metre form behind Generosity, Ripcord and All Play looks a key reference for this crop of three-year-olds, and off the back of his defeat last start there’s a nice price available for him. Impossible not to make the case for the horse that beat him at Northam, In Good Order, who did manage to get past him in a tight duel to the line. Fourth up and racing well, it’s clear why there has been some support around for him, and the booking of Chris Parnham is a big tick in his column. Favourite Zipaway is pretty bombproof, he just goes out there and races like a horse that wants to race. This will be his first go beyond 1200 metres, which would be the only query for him, but he’s not one I’d be talking people out of supporting. Autumn Rebel made a monster dive at Pleasure Cruise last, and although narrowly missing, undoubtedly went into a few peoples black books. Should take some improvement out of that run, and should be hitting the line strongly.
Selection: Brave Spirit
Race 4: 0 Metro Win Handicap. 1400m.
More welding of different formlines in this one, with twelve acceptors bringing a host of key references to line up. Another horse beating last start at Northam, Deamber has been a shade costly for her believers of late, but has struck the perfect race for her to restore the faith in her. When going under, it’s not by big margins, and her maiden win three starts ago was that of a promising horse. Draws an inside gate, which should give Jason Whiting every chance to find a lovely run, and she looks to have a brighter future than this grade. Forever Dreaming backs up off opening day, where she didn’t have a lot go right when runners were coming down the outside. Draws to get a similar run in transit, and if they can avoid a repeat of last time, she should be hitting the line strongly. Wakan Tanka was a gritty effort over 1200 metres last start, sitting off the leader and only going down by a length (winner was Amber Glide, who’s since won again). Doesn’t have the winning record he probably deserves, but is a must include in this race for wider exotics. Dropping back from 1700 metres is a unique set up for Vevinsky, who gains the services of William Pike for this race. Pressing the button to lead from the inside draw would make the most sense, and with his race fitness he should be there for a long way.
Race 5: 1 Metro Win Handicap. 1400m.
Fair to say, this is a pretty handy race for this grade. There’s some aggressive placement at play with Celebrity Prince, who will look to go one better than his opening day second to Augment. He was a strong chaser from the back in a race completely controlled by the leader, and now goes up an extra furlong in distance. Loses Joseph Azzopardi which is a shame, but Brayden Gaerth’s claim gets him in as an effective bottomweight, and at this distance probably settles closer. Gets a golden opportunity to grab a win on his way through the grades. After an eternity of teasing us with her obvious ability, Malkar Pindari has finally had the penny drop, winning consecutive starts in impressive fashion. Likely ends up back last with Laquetta’s Gift, both of whom will be hoping for some favours at the pointy end of the field. Not putting a pen through either, but William Pike and Chris Parnham will probably be looking for the same run, and you’d think only one will get it. If there is tempo on offer, it will likely be thanks to War Gem, who has the tactical speed to go forward and roll along. Has been running competitively in ratings races throughout the Belmont season, an with Luke Campbell bringing the weight down he could prove very hard to catch. The one at a bit of a price, despite where he likely settles in run, is Blazing Tycoon, who was contesting some strong races through the Autumn. The latest trial was good, and if he’s ready to fire fresh could provide a big result for wider exotics.
Selection: Celebrity Prince
Race 6: RTG 72+ Handicap. 1200m.
Plenty of interest in this race, with a number of carnival aspirants looking to beef up their records with a strong performance. I’m not conclusive on where Tadweer is at this campaign, but despite some reservations, he looks a good price while breathing down the neck of a double figure quote. Doesn’t make life easy for himself by ending up in a different postcode in the run, but does possess a sizzling turn of foot which in this field brings him right into calculations. Ripcord chased a pretty promising horse home last Saturday in the form of Almighty Class, and now backs up off seven days to take on the older horses. Has an abundance of talent, but will have to either beat some of these for speed or hope for a three deep line from that barrier. Extremely talented, but this doesn’t look an ideal race for him. Above The Peg has the Railway Stakes as his ultimate goal this preparation, which commences in this race. You’d certainly think he’d need to win this to be a Railway horse, but in this field that’s not unachievable for him. Looks like being a solid each way proposition here. Planet Cash has drawn awkwardly from barrier eleven, requiring a good steer from Lucy Fiore to put him in contention. There’s a bit of upside to him though, and it would be no surprise to see him run well.
Race 7: R. S. Crawford Stakes. 1000m.
Black type racing returns to Ascot, with the running of the Crawford for the speedsters. Even off the back of a disappointing run in the Moir, Acromantula looks to have found himself the perfect race to bounce back in more suitable company. Doing his best work when finding the rail and burning along, that’s the set up he finds here. Draws barrier seven, but none of the six inside him have the raw speed to hold him out without completely bulldozing their own chances. William Pike on is a massive signal of intent, and if he can recapture his form from the Carlyon Stakes in August, he will be very hard to beat. The early money has been one way traffic for Red Can Man, who kicks off his campaign off a nice trial. His 1000 metre record is historically excellent, as is his first up credentials, but is he ready for a high pressure race where they will run along at sizzling speed? Would be a deserving winner on the back of his last eighteen months of consistency, but I’m somewhat prepared to take him on as a favourite. Baby Paris got the job done in the Black Heart Bart Stakes last time out, and now drops back in trip to contest this. She is a genuinely fast horse, although Peter Knuckey will either need to back himself to tow a three deep line or drag back to an unwinnable position. My Bella Mae was a shade plain first up with a big weight, although looks to be back on track off the strength of a recent trial. She is a natural winner, and potentially gets the back of Acromantula if Carbery is keen to be forward.
Race 8: Eurythmic Stakes. 1400m.
Before Northerly, there was Eurythmic, the Western Australian equine superstar, who terrorised rivals on both sides of the nation. Now honoured with a Group 3, this edition has attracted a big field of some of our better locals. It took a legitimately world class training performance to get Valour Road back to the races, nevermind winning in such strong fashion with a big weight off a thirteen month break. Kept fresh off his gutsy Idyllic Prince win, he strikes this race on a favourable weight scale, with an ideal speed map for Chris Parnham to follow a genuine tempo into the bend. Often underrated (something I myself have been guilty of), he looks set for a pretty big carnival, and this is the perfect kick off point for him. Not sure the trial of Bustler was his absolute best, but his record is strong enough to forgive that. Could have done with a better barrier, but I have him shorter than a couple in this current market. Always respect Neville Parnham in carnival season. Phanta is as honest as they come, and gets his chance to prove himself as a strong stakes performer at 1400 meters. Not sure some of the usual speed influences like Marocchino or Weaponson can keep up with him, so if he gets left alone on a leader-favourable day, he’ll be incredibly hard to catch. Railway winner Trix Of The Trade makes his return, and you could make the argument he is well weighted for a Group 1 winner. Goes superbly fresh, just likely ends up a long way back from a bad barrier in a big field. Trial was just a hitout and nothing more. Titan Blinders was good late in the Black Heart Bart and should enjoy 1400, while Massimo can never be ruled out in these type of races.
Selection: Valour Road
Race 9: 1 Metro Win Handicap. 1200m.
Finishing the meeting with a big field, and plenty of horses looking to push their cases for stronger races moving forward. These restricted races afford a fantastic opportunity to back the progressive ones, a tag which fits Generosity like a glove. She was well beaten at her first run of the prep by the exciting Ginnivan, before recovering to get the better of Ripcord over 1000 metres at Belmont. Her strength through the line there suggests she’s looking for a bit of extra distance, which she gets here. If the right horse can take her into the turn, she should be able to put in a strong performance here. Saloon Bar continues to put in nice performances for little reward, running on strongly for fourth behind some handy ones at Belmont last start. Barrier eleven just about condemns him to be bringing up the field, which makes him hard to be completely enthused by, but he can continue to race well and eventually pinch one. Brave Venture was a bit of a head scratcher first up, but getting back to Ascot suits him, as does competing in this grade. It would be no surprise to see him improve sharply. Pearly Nugget can be temperamental at times, but has her fair share of ability and presents as a genuine each way chance.