He has only beaten a couple of horses home in his two runs this campaign, but he produced the best 800m-200m sectional last start in the Kingston Town Stakes suggesting there is still scope for improvement third up. He has been placed twice at Group 1 level from 5 tries.
This six-year-old gelding has won six of his eight Australian starts and has been dominant in each of his three wins this preparation. He won the Listed Winter Challenge by 0.8 length over 1500m at Rosehill on 25 July when resuming, then won the Group 3 Premiers Cup by 1.3 lengths over 1900m at Rosehill on 29 August. At his latest start he won the Group 3 Newcastle Cup by 1.54 lengths over 2300m at Newcastle on 18 September. This is toughest test but there seem to be no chinks in his armour and he looks the one to beat.
3. Mirage Dancer
He was placed in last year’s Caulfield Cup and was 3rd in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality Handicap over 2600m in April. He resumed for 7th in the Heatherlis Handicap and was 4th in the JRA Cup last start. Should go well third-up.
4. Wu Gok
Eight of his 11 wins have been on a heavy track and he went well in the autumn, winning the Listed Lord Mayors Cup and the Listed Winter Cup on heavy tracks. He resumed for 6th in the Chelmsford Takes then 7th in the Kingston Town Stakes and I don’t expect to see him in the first few home.
5. Raheen House
In the autumn this well-bred gelding won the G2 Chairman’s Quality Handicap by 1.3 lengths and was placed in the Sydney Cup. He is bred to stay and has won up to 2800m in Britain but has finished next to last at both runs this time in and might need a couple more runs to show his best.
6. Etah James
In my Sydney Cup (3200m) preview I wrote “Etah James is a dour stayer who doesn’t seem to get warmed up until she’s gone about 2400m.” and decided people would think I was mad if I tipped a $40 to 1 shot in a Group 1 so I tipped her for a minor placing and she won. She is first-up here, and it rare for horses in Australia to tackle this distance first-up, but she has had three trials and I think she will go well. I even think it might be a bit short for her !
7. Shared Ambition _ SCRATCHED
8. Brimham Rocks
This Fastnet Rock gelding trained by Chris Waller finished 2nd in this race in 2018. He seems to like this distance and won the G3 Tattersall’s Cup at Eagle Farm by 2.25 lengths before a 12 week break. He resumed for 2.6 lengths 8th in the Chelmsford Stakes then chased hard for 3rd in the Kingston Town Stakes last outing. Should be in the finish.
9. Hush Writer
He showed good form last spring then disappointed in the autumn. He resumed for 3rd in the Wyong Cup then was 2nd in the Newcastle Gold Cup at his latest start. It wouldn’t surprise to see him place again here.
10. Lord Belvedere – SCRATCHED
This So You Think horse has only won two of his 24 starts but often runs a place over the longer distances. He was well back in the Kingston Town and chased hard for 8th and is a rough place chance.
She has improved at each of her three runs this time in and finished 2.1 lengths 5th in the Kingston Town where she had the best last 400m race sectional. Could place.
13. Angel of Truth
In 2019 he won the Australian Derby (2400m) by 3.3 lengths but hasn’t had a win since then. He hasn’t been too far from the winner in each of his three runs since entering the Hawkes stable with the latest 3.4 lengths 9th in the Kingston Town. He has a big drop in weight.
This seven-year-old is a real stayer with three wins over 3200m. He resumed for 7th in the G3 Premier’s Cup then was 10th in the Newcastle Gold Cup last start. Needs to improve a lot on that run to feature here.
15. Paths Of Glory
Resumed for a win in the 2100m Wyong Cup then ran 4th in the Newcastle Cup. Not the worst.
16. Girl Tuesday
She has not won beyond 1800m but ran on strongly for 6th in the Kingston Town. Has drawn the outside barrier.
17. Miss Sentimental
This grey mare won the Group 1 NZ Oaks over 2400m in 2019, but has only beat a couple home in her two Australian starts. Not expecting to see her in the finish.
He has the least race experience of the field with only 9 race starts. He finished a close second in the 2020 Australian Derby in April and has improved at each of his three runs this campaign with 4th in the Kingston Town at his most recent start. He is ready to show something after three runs back.
19. Norway – 1st Emergency
Will get a run after two early scratchings. Import without a win in six Australian starts and don’t expect that to change here.
20. Attention Run – 2nd Emergency
Will get a run after two early scratchings. Ran 3rd in the Newcastle Cup and is not the worst.
21. Sir Charles Road – 3rd Emergency
Not expected to get a run. Has finished in the back half of the field at his last five runs.
22. Grey Lion – 4th Emergency
Not expected to get a run. The oldest horse in the field. He was 3rd in the G3 Colin Stephen Quality last week.