The Galaxy has been a Group 1 sprint over 1100m since 1984, and was first staged in 1972. Until 2 years ago it had been run at Randwick racecourse, with the exception of the 2007 race which was staged at Warwick Farm, most likely due to track refurbishment. In 2013 the race was moved to Rosehill, and that is a great shame from a historical perspective. Randwick is a track that generally gives midfield and backmarker type horses a fairer chance of victory, but at least Bel Esprit came from a mile back to win the first edition at this track.
What I can’t come to terms with this year is that we have a field of 14 with 3 emergencies. Why on earth can’t we have a field of 16 with 2 emergencies, given the Golden Slipper for two year olds (R7) has a capacity 16 horse field? At the time of writing there are 2 scratching’s in this race, and the current equal third favourite Kuro is stranded without a start, because he is third emergency. That is annoying to me because he clearly is a top chance of winning, given his form behind recent Newmarket winner, and fellow three year old Brazen Beau.
Onto some historical facts, which admittedly might have less importance now, than they would have if the race was still being staged at Randwick. Below are the past 12 winners with age, gender, weight carried, barrier draw, and starting odds beside each horse in that sequence;
- 2014 TIGER TEES 6g 55kg (4) $13
- 2013 BEL SPRINTER 5g 53.5kg (11) $10
- 2012 TEMPLE OF BOOM 5g 57kg (8) $15
- 2011 ATOMIC FORCE 5g 51.5kg (5) $10
- 2010 SHELLSCRAPE 3c 53.5kg (13) $21 (declared winner after Ortensia disqualified)
- 2009 NICCONI 3c 51kg (3) $6
- 2008 TYPHOON ZED 4g 52.5kg (11) $8.50
- 2007 MAGNUS 4h 54.5kg (6) $5
- 2006 PROPRIETOR 6g 55.5kg (7) $41
- 2005 CHARGE FORWARD 3c 52.5kg (11) $12
- 2004 SPARK OF LIFE 3g 53.5kg(9) $4.50
- 2003 SNOWLAND 3c 53.5kg (1) $4
A) 12/12 have been male horses
B) 8/12 carried 54.5kg or less, and only one has carried more than 55.5kg
C) 8/12 dropped in weight from last start at an average of 3.2kg
D) 11/12 did not win at last start, and only 3 of those placed at last start.
E) 6 of last 10 winners ran at Flemington in a straight track sprint in last 4 starts. 7 of last 10 had a start at Flemington in past 4 starts.
F) Barrier draw has had no real bearing on results with 6 of 12 winning from barrier 8 or wider.
G) Three year olds have won 5 of 12, but none of last 4
H) Last 4 winners have been $10 or better
I) Average price $11.40
Summing up we are looking for a male horse carrying a weight of 54.5kg or less, that didn’t win last start. A weight drop of 3kg or so, and a run down the straight at Flemington in its past 4 starts would be advantageous. An Each Way price would be preferable and being a three year old wouldn’t hurt.
Best Historical candidates;
#5 DEEP FIELD is the current favourite and the one they all have to beat off his good third placed finish in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington. He does have a very wide barrier to contend with though, and must be some query backing up after his run 7 days ago, when a runner up with a big weight. He has a nice weight drop but doesn’t quite make the cut weight wise with his 55kg.
#7 KNOYDART looks quite good dropping 4kg in weight off an unlucky run first up when just behind the placegetters, and he meets a few horses from that race on much better weight terms here. He is 2-1/3 second up but oddly has never won with less than 17 days between runs. This race is 14 days between runs and maybe 1100m is short of his best distance. A good progression from 1000m to 1100n though and he is one of the better chances at a value price.
#8 FLAMBERGE is another in the well weighted category, and gets a huge 6kg weight drop from his last start which was a placing down the Flemington straight. 2 starts ago he very nearly beat Newmarket runner up Chautauqua at level weights. Out of that race he meets Atmospherical half a kilo better for beating her 3.3 lengths. Ideally he would prefer some rain, as his winning strike rate is 5/13 on wet tracks compared to 1/12 on dry surfaces. Wide barrier does him no favours but if he overcomes that he is a very good winning hope at the right kind of price.
#9 RUBICK is a three year old who had absolutely no luck first up, but that is probably an advantage in view to winning this race, given he didn’t expend all his energy. He looks ideally suited from a good barrier with a 2.5kg weight drop. He failed badly down the Flemington straight over 1200m in the Coolmore, but that isn’t too bad a guide to winning this race either. 1100m is probably a better distance for him anyway, and he looks very hard to beat here. His $4.50 price does tend to indicate that though and it isn’t great value in a tough race.
#10 FAST ‘N’ ROCKING has been a revelation since being gelded with 7 starts for 3 wins, 2 placings and a fourth. In that time he hasn’t been beaten more than 1.2 lengths and his last start was a career best when third in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. He drew a bad barrier in that race, but a slightly better one this time. He has ventured to Sydney in the past with little success, but it seems he is a more settled horse now. Dwayne Dunn rides and has a 3-2/5 record aboard. Another with a great chance at value odds.
#12 VA PENSIERO is an on pace runner who exceeded expectations first up when runner up in the Challenge Stakes. That day he beat home Rubick and meets him 2.5kg better in this race, and the winner Miracles Of Life 4kg better. He is an underrated horse, and it’s pertinent to remember he did beat Dissident and Zoustar home as three year old when second up, as he is here. Crossing over to the rail from a wide barrier could be a problem, but he could manage to do so if he begins well. He is really silly odds at $23 or better.
#17 KURO is a three year old currently sweating on a start, but if he gets one is going to be very hard to beat I feel. He carried more weight than any other runner when beaten at odds on first up, but wasn’t beaten far into third place. He was only beaten 1.3L at level weights by Brazen Beau last preparation down the Flemington straight in the Coolmore, and he did win very easily when second up at this distance during that campaign. He has drawn a little wide, but history says that isn’t a negative. At $7 he seems good enough value, and has a very similar profile to 2009 three year old winner Nicconi. He drops the exact same amount of weight and was a beaten favourite against his own age just like that horse.
I can’t go past KURO if he does get a start. I have been saying for quite some time now that the three year olds this year would dominate the older horses in handicap sprint races during the Autumn and Winter, and his formline through Brazen Beau is solid gold now.
I would pick the other three year old RUBICK to run second, but hard to deny VA PENSEIRO who meets him better at the weights from last start. FLAMBERGE and KNOYDART look very well weighted also and FAST ‘N’ ROCKING is in career best from and consistency. I haven’t mentioned any mares due to the historical data but a win from any wouldn’t surprise at all.
3. VA PENSIERO
4. FAST ‘N ROCKING