Race 7 at Doomben is the Lough Neagh Stakes over 1350m, run at 4:43pm local (5.43pm AEDT). Let’s start this preview with a look at the history of the race.
Below are the last 11 winners of this race, with relevant statistics:
(Year, Horse, Age, Barrier, Weight difference from last start, and lead up race are shown in that order)
2013 LOVE ROCKS 4G 54kg (6) +1kg 1st Class 6 1200m
2012 AUDACIOUS SPIRIT 5G 54kg (4) 0kg 0.3L 4th George Moore Stakes
2011 MY DESTINY 4G 53kg (3) -1.5kg 1st Rosehill 1300m
2010 ZERO ROCK 5M 55kg (3) -0.5kg 1st Listed Mares 1200m
2009 GHETTO BLASTER 6G 55kg (11) +1.5kg 4th 1.9L George Moore Stakes
2008 BARLINNIE 5G 55kg (7) +0.5kg 8th 2.5L George Moore Stakes
2007 Not run
2006 NATURAL DESTINY 4H 56kg (2) +1.5kg 1st George Moore Stakes (3.5L)
2005 TAKEOVER TARGET 5G 60.5kg (6) +1kg 1st George Moore Stakes (5.5L)
2004 PROUDLY AGRO 5G 53kg (1) +1kg 9th 3.5L George Moore Stakes
2003 PICADAY 3G 52kg (3) -1kg 7th 3L Eagle Farm Open 1200m
2002 DIAMOND DANE 5H 58.5kg (1)-0.5kg 3rd 0.4L George Moore Stakes
Something that stands out from this list is the likes of Love Rocks, Audacious Spirit, Zero Rock, Ghetto Blaster, Natural Destiny & Takeover Target were actually better horses at 1200m or less before winning.
Love Rocks hadn’t even run beyond 1200m and Audacious Spirit had a couple of failures at 1400m to recommend him.
Some important takeouts from that list of recent winners:
1. 10/11 won from Barriers 1-7. Six on pacers have won and 5 came from off the pace. So even if your choice is a backmarker, then it is better if it be drawn in the first half of the field;
2. 9/11 winners aged 4 or 5;
3. 11/11 had no more than a 2kg weight rise, and no more than a1.5kg weight drop from it’s prior start. Given this is a handicap, the latter statistic is quite an odd one;
4. 10/11 had their previous start at 1200m, and 11/11 started within 150m of the distance of this race (at prior start).
5. 9/11 carried 56kg or less when winning this. 9/11 carried 55kg or less;
6. 7/11 started in the George Moore Stakes (was know as Summer Stakes) at it’s prior start;
7. No winner was beaten more than 3.5L at it’s previous startl
Summing up the ideal candidate would be:
4 or 5 years of age, starting from barriers 1-7, Carrying 56kg or less and/or rising in weight no more than 2kg from it’s last start, and run at a distance of 1200m last start (preferably George Moore Stakes) and beaten no more than 3.5L last start
From the runners taking part in the race, the qualifiers are: BIG MONEY, FERMENT, WHISKEY ALLROUND.
Race Tempo: This looks a race largely devoid of genuine speed. Whiskey Allround should lead (as he did last start), and possibly Cape Kidnappers will need to get over from his wide barrier to trail.
Both these horses are a stamina query at this distance though, so there is very little chance that their respective jockeys would want to be setting a pace detrimental to them winning.
Both Big Money, Time To Plunder and Vandalised should be handy to the speed from good barriers, while most of the others are backmarkers or midfield types. As has been the case the past two years, this could very well be an on-pace dominated race, unless another jockey takes a surprising initiative in the early part of the race.
Should be perfect given recent rain and a drying track. Weather forecast is for fine weather. Soft (5) was the track rating at first light.
Big Money is as honest as they come, and has a fair dose of quality to go with. He should get an ideal run in the race and needs to given he has to lump 59kg, and cope with a distance beyond his favoured 1200m.
The signs were promising last start that he can run the trip strongly. Whether he can with 59.5kg remains to be seen. The one to beat but I don’t think anything under $4 is value.
Cape Kidnappers should get his chance to win given the perceived lack of speed in the race. He isn’t getting any younger though and still has 58kg to condent with, and a wide barrier. The distance is also a big query, so I’m giving him a place chance at best. Damien Browne aboard is a bonus though.
Riva De Lago is an enigma for punters, but on his day he could win this for his new stable. His run in the George Moore Stakes was a super trial for this, and one that indicated an extra 150m will suit admirably. He too is getting on a bit in years, but he is drawn to perfection and his price is way overs. Might need a fast tempo which I haven’t predicted.
Someday is a stablemate of Whiskey Allround, and gets his chance in this at a more suitable distance than he has encountered at his last two runs. His form is good on this track: 12 starts for 6 wins and three placings, and has won three of his last four at this track and distance, with the other effort a close fourth. Big Money’s run in the George Moore was better than his, but he meets that horse 1.5kg better, and is more suited to 1350m. His weight and age aren’t good historically, and neither is his barrier, but it is hard to deny his chances which are very positive.
Time To Plunder ran a nice race in the George Moore where he didn’t get a clear run at the leaders until the last 100m. He is only 1/9 at this track and does seem better suited to the bigger circuit at Eagle Farm (3/6). He is probably better suited at 1200m (6/17) than 1350-1400m (1/5), but has drawn the inside barrier and should get all favours in the run. He needs to make use of that barrier though and does have a tendency at times to miss the start. Definitely a place hope at least at decent odds if on best behaviour.
Ferment seems to be a bit short of this class, and doesn’t go overly well at this track. He is second-up into this, but has a poor 0/4 record at that stage of his preparation. Historically he lines up quite well though, and could be one at rough odds to put into multiples or a place bet.
Vandalised beat home Ferment last start at Rockhampton, and has won 11 consecutive races up there. His two forays to Brisbane in that time though haven’t revealed quite enough to suggest he can be competitive here, but he did have 59kg the first time and was at the end of a long campaign the last time he was here. Interestingly he did give Harada Bay 3.5kg in that first run, and was only 1.4L behind him. That is encouraging because I’m giving that horse a big hope in this, and they meet at level weights. Drops 10kg from his last start win, and should be approaching peak fitness at a distance that suits. Not hopeless by any means and he is a double figure price. Value.
Whiskey Allround led all the way to win a Class 6 race at this track last start over 1200m. In doing so he bettered the time run by Big Money in the George Moore Stakes, carrying the same weight, and running a 1.26 seconds faster last 600m. That race was run at a more leisurely pace early which allowed him to sprint home quickly, but it seems likely this race might unfold in the same way. He drops 3.5kg in weight too, while Big Money rises 2kg. Looking at the replay of his last win I’d say that 1350m is really going to test him, but he has drawn perfectly, and has the quality to win. Trainer Tony Gollan has been dying to get him up in distance apparently. Breeding isn’t encouraging from a Stamina viewpoint, apart from the fact that his father’s sibling did win at 1600m and 1650m. Recent history suggests he can win this despite not having run beyond 1200m. I’d have to have him first pick, but I’d also suggest the current price is borderline value.
Cum Dividend is horribly named, but those who follow the stock market will get the drift. It seems he is a bit outclassed here despite a last start win, and 1350m is definitely as far as he wants distance wise. Drawn well, but he is six years old, and yet to win in Open class. That might sum up his chances.
Harada Bay is the best value chance here. He races very well fresh (3-1/5 first up), and has won his last two first-up races here at this distance. Some might question his class credentials, but he was less than a length from Jetset Lad last preparation (in receipt of 1kg), and that horse was only 2L away in a Group 3 race at Rosehill subsequent to that. This is his distance, and it seems the stable have been very astute in setting this as a target first up. Five starts at Doomben for two wins and three placings, and 10 starts in Brisbane for three wins, five placings and two fourth placings. He is the right age historically, but I’d like to have seen him draw a little better, and guaranteed a decent tempo in the race. That isn’t the case but he can still run a mighty race.
Into The Red finished off great in the George Moore, and meets the winner 2kg better for a 1.8L defeat. He is yet to win beyond 1200m (not that big a problem historically), but did place in a Group 3 three year old race at this track and distance in the Winter. That day he beat home Hucklebuck, which is a huge form reference for this. The problem for his jockey is what to do from an awkward barrier. He can race on pace, but if used up too much early he could be a distance doubt. His pattern of late seems to be to get back and run on, and that also presents a problem for him in a race that seems to be devoid of pace. He is the right age historically though, and does seem to be overly generous odds. Astute trainer and leading jockey.
Abaddon is a horse with considerable ability and has been in my times blackbook since a first-up win this preparation. He disappointed in lesser class last start though (pulled up lame), and it would seem Damien Browne has preferred to ride Cape Kidnappers. He is a get back type of horse, and that factor, and a wide barrier make it nearly impossible to tip him. He has won here at this distance three times though, and does have a gear change. I’m intrigued to see how he will go, but I’m envisaging this race is a little beyond his capabilities at this stage.
Another tough gig but I have decided to settle on this first four. Recent history supports my first and third selections.
1. Whiskey Allround ($4 please!)
2. Harada Bay (value)
3. Big Money (so honest)
4. Someday (undeniable chance)