Theo Marks highlights huge day at Rosehill

7 min read

Saturday's meeting at Rosehill looms as a Group 1 day of racing in all but status, with four Group 2 events, including an intriguing edition of the Theo Marks S. (1300m)

The star sprinting 3-year-old of last season, Trapeze Artist (Snitzel {Aus}), still a clear favourite for The TAB Everest, resumes but is pitted again three other top-quality rivals, including Chris Waller's G1 Rosehill Guineas winner D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}).

D'Argento does have the advantage of having had a run under his belt, running third behind Winx in the G1 Winx S. The drop back in distance (100m) is some query, but he has had one run over the 1300m for a win.

D'Argento has dropped back in distance for the Group 2 Theo Mark Stakes

Trapeze Artist's preparation for this race has been two trials, both of which have been very quiet. The kick-off at 1300m is some query, as is the top-weight of 61kg, and he will have this and one another run before The Everest in five weeks' time.

Highly-rated Siege of Quebec (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) gets in on the minimum weight, 8kgs better off than Trapeze Artist, and should be at close to peak fitness off two trials and a first-up second behind Le Romain in the G3 Show County S.

The unknown factor in the race is Godolphin's import Home Of The Brave {Ire}) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}), who boasts strong Group form in the UK and has had just one start in Australia, when run down late in the G3 Auries Star S. He settled better at his recent trial, and gets the ear muffs on, which would indicate he may sit just off the pace rather than lead as he did at Flemington.

Top 3yos on Golden Rose path

It is set to be a crucial day in the status of the 3-year-olds headed towards the G1 Golden Rose S, with the running of the G2 The Daily Telegraph Stan Fox S (1500m) and the G2 Run To the Rose (1200m).

The set weight conditions of the Stan Fox have seen Chris Waller opt for that race for his last-start G1 JJ Atkins S. winner The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice {Aus}), despite it being a 1500m race first up.

Waller sees The Autumn Sun as a likely ATC Derby horse in six months' time, so the 1500m first-up shouldn’t be much of an issue and the market certainly expects him to perform. He is odds-on having had two trials and a jumpout against Winx last week ahead of this race.

The Autumn Sun is on the road to The Golden Rose via the Stan Fox Stakes

Master Ash (Sebring {Aus}) and Danawi (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) have both already got group races wins on their resume in their 3-year-old seasons, with the former winning the G3 Up and Coming and the latter taking out the G3 Ming Dynasty, having ran second to Master Ash the previous week.

Irukandji (Dundeel {NZ}), Outrageous (All Too Hard {Aus}) and Mizzy (Zoustar {Aus}) are all capable of improving up in distance.

Waller v Graff

Chris Waller also holds a very strong hand in the Run To The Rose, with Zousain (Zoustar {Aus}) and Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar {Aus}) both making their 3-year-old bows, while Performer (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) has had a run back when third in the G3 San Domenico S.

The Kris Lees' colt Graff (Star Witness {Aus}), so impressive in winning the San Domenico, is the one to beat. He appears to have taken huge improvement headed into his three-year-old year and is the ruling favourite for the Golden Rose as well as this race.

Graff pictured as a yearling is an early favourite for the Golden Rose

Sandbar (Snitzel {Aus}) resumed with a win in the Rosebud S and it will be interesting to see where that form measures up to the likes of Graff and Zousain. The race doesn’t end there. Long Leaf (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) was excellent on return at Caulfield in the G3 Vain S, while Jonker (Spirit of Boom {Aus}) made a positive return off a long break last time.

Champagne return highlights Sheraco

The Irresistible Pools G2 Sheraco S. for the fillies and mares sees Champagne Cuddles (Not a Single Doubt {Aus}) resume off a successful Brisbane campaign where she won the G3 Gold Coast Guineas and was twice-placed against open company in G1 sprints.

She has had two trials headed into this and has an excellent first-up record. Daysee Doom (Domesday {Aus}) beat Champagne Cuddles home last start in the G1 Tatts Tiara but she concedes her 4kg and has a tricky barrier in this race.

Daysee Doom beat Champagne Cuddles in their last start, however faces a trickier barrier draw this run

Formality (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) was a top class 3-year-old filly last year, beating Champagne Cuddles in both the G2 Silver Shadow S and G2 Furious S last year before running third in the G1 Coolmore Stud S. The autumn did not work out as planned, but at her best, she is a top contender here.

Nature on show at Valley

Moonee Valley plays host to both the G2 Mitty's McEwen S and the G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam S. which are both expected to be significant guides for races later in the spring.

The interest in the McEwen S (1000m) is focussed on boom sprinter Nature Strip (Nicconi {Aus}), who could earn himself a slot in The Everest should he win as expected.

The query on Nature Strip is whether he can sustain his extraordinary speed over the 1200m of The Everest, something that won’t be answered over the short-course sprint at Moonee Valley.

Nature Strip is making his bid for an Everest slot in the McEwen Stakes

Shoals (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) is already in The Everest and makes her first appearance since a phenomenally successfully 3-year old season which netted three G1 victories, the most recent in the UBET Classic at Morphettville.

Godolphin's Viridine {Poet's Voice {GB}) has been competitive in G1 sprints and is another horse to keep a close eye on in this race.

Dato a three-way battle

The Dato Tan Chin Nam S. may have lost a little of its lustre in recent years because of the change of the spring schedule, but this year's edition features three runners of particular interest,

Grand campaigner Hartnell {Authorized {Ire}) comes off an excellent run in the G2 Lawrence S. and included among his two runs at the Valley are a second behind Winx in a G1 Cox Plate.

Night's Watch (NZ) {Redwood {GB}) is looking to secure a G1 Caulfield Cup spot with a win here, having won impressively at Caulfield last week and he certainly looks progressive.

Then there's the multiple Oaks winner Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi {GB}), who makes her first appearance since last year's Caulfield Cup and given she also won the G1 Underwood S. in Melbourne last year, she looks set to be a major player this spring.

Fillies set to Jewel

The Listed Atlantic Jewel S. has emerged as key early spring fillies' race in recent years with subsequent Group 1 winners Shoals and Stay With Me on the honour roll.

This year looks another strong edition with promising fillies Anjana (Sepoy {Aus}), Spanish Whisper {Lope De Vega {Ire}), Gongs (Dawn Approach {Ire}) and Assertive Play (Akeed Mofeed {GB}) resuming.

The other Listed event on the card, the Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes, also looks a spring-shaper with emerging Godolphin star Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}) looking to make it nine wins from 12 starts against several high-quality rivals.

Around the traps

In Adelaide, the Listed Heineken 3 Morphettville Guineas looks a match race between Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott's colt Fun Fact (The Factor {USA}) and Tony McEvoy's unbeaten Sebring (Aus) colt Just Rolling.

Just Rolling was a $330,000 Inglis Premier purchase

Black-type racing in New Zealand sees the running of two listed races at Wanganui for the 3-year-olds, the O'Leary's Fillies S. and the HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are expected to play a major role in both races with Peaceful (NZ} (Savabeel {NZ}) making her first appearance of her 3-year-old year and Botti (NZ} (Jakkalberry {IRE}) doing likewise in the Guineas.