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Group 1s highlight Rosehill, Caulfield and Hastings

6 min read

Group 1 racing across Australia and New Zealand on Saturday sees the stallion-making De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose S. being held at Rosehill, Caulfield play host to the Ladbrokes Sir Rupert Clarke S. and the Windsor Park Plate at Hastings.

Trainer Kris Lees looks to be fighting a one-man war against Chris Waller's three-pronged vice-like grip on the G1 Golden Rose.

Lees' colt Graff (Star Witness) won the G3 San Domenico S. first-up before having his colours lowered by Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar) in the G2 Run To The Rose after enduring a tough run.

However, drawn a better barrier on a firmer track, he looks well-placed to turn the tables on that colt, one of three from Waller's stables.

Zousain (Zoustar) was behind both horses that day in fourth but is expected to benefit from getting back to a dry surface and has the advantage of the inside barrier.

Waller's other colt, The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) came through the G2 Stan Fox S. first-up and drops back 100m in distance into this race off his unlucky third there. It is taking the same preparation that Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) did in winning the race last year.

The other Group 1 winner in the race is the filly Seabrook (NZ) (Hinchinbrook), who was successful in the Champagne S. in the autumn and is aiming to become the first filly to win the race since 2008.

Graff

Wide Open Pendant

The G2 JHB Syndications Golden Pendant looks a typically even elite mares' race.

Last year's winner Daysee Doom (Domesday) returns to defend her title, albeit with 2kg more having won the G1 Coolmore Classic in the autumn.

She returned with a sixth in the G2 Sheraco S. a race which was won by one of her key rivals here Invincibella (I Am Invincible), who looks to have retained her form from the Brisbane carnival.

Third there was Champagne Cuddles (Not a Single Doubt), who also performed well in Brisbane and gets in well with just 55kg in this race.

G1 Tatt's Tiara winner Prompt Response resumes off a couple of trial wins but while she has the top rating in the race doesn’t boast a particularly strong first-up record. Her stablemate, the lightly-raced Shumookh (Dream Ahead {USA}), looks well-placed.

The other one in contention is Dixie Blossoms (Street Sense {USA}) who has been second in this race twice before including behind her stablemate Daysee Doom last year.

The G2 Schweppes Shannon S, doesn’t look a particularly strong race and the Waller mares Noire (Foxwedge) and Youngstar (High Chaparral {Ire}) are expected to fight it out.

The G3 360 DMG Gloaming S. is expected to be a strong guide for the upcoming G1 Spring Champion S. with G2 Stan Fox S. winner Tarka (All Too Hard) set to enjoy the step up to 1900m.

Irukandji (Dundeel {NZ}) finished fourth behind Tarka last time but also looks a strong staying type, while Tavirun (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) comes north off a strong on-pace win at Moonee Valley last time.

The G3 JRA Trophy looks a last-chance preparation for those stayers looking to the G1 Metropolitan next week.

Godoplhin's strong Sir Rupert Clarke hand

Caulfield hosts an excellent renewal of the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S., a race which has some significant names on its honour roll, including stallions such as Encosta De Lago, Testa Rossa, Exceed and Excel and Turffontein.

Godolphin have two imported gallopers at the top of the weights in the Charlie Appleby-trained Jungle Cat (Iffraaj {GB}) and the James Cummings-prepared Home of the Brave (Starspangledbanner).

Jungle Cat has won three straight in Dubai, including the G1 Al Quoz Sprint at his last start, while Home Of The Brave impressed by beating quality local gallopers D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}) and Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) in the G2 Theo Marks S. at Rosehill.

Cummings also has the prolific winner Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}) engaged, and he looks well-weighted with just 55kg.

Darren Weir holds the main challenger to the Godolphin domination with Land of Plenty (Stratum), who was narrowly beaten by Osborne Bulls before winning at Listed level at his most recent start.

Weir also has the talented 4-year-old Peaceful State (Animal Kingdom (USA), while the Memsie S. winner Showtime (Snitzel), who also wears the Northern Farm colours but is trained by Team Hawkes, is also entered in what looks a very deep race.

Caulfield Cup ticket on offer

The G3 East Malvern Bendigo Bank MRC Foundation Cup gives its winner a free ticket into the G1 Caulfield Cup and there is a full field of 16 looking to do just that.

Again Appleby has a runner here with last year's G1 Cox Plate placegetter Folkswood (Exceed and Excel) at the top of the weights.

Despite a wide barrier, he looks the benchmark horse here, with Weir's Night's Watch (Redwood {GB}) expected to be the major challenger.

Night's Watch is expected to be the major challenger

Dual Group 1 winner Global Glamour (Star Witness) resumes in the G3 Ladbrokes Odds Boost S. against her fellow mares looking to preserve her unbeaten record at Caulfield.

Former Western Australian Elicazoom (Testa Rossa) was a spectacular first-up winner of the G3 Cockram S. and stays at the same track and distance, with the horse she beat that day, I Am Excited (Snitzel) is expected to be one of her main challengers again.

There is also the Listed Aquis John Moloney S. for the 3-year-old fillies where another talented Kris Lees filly Reginae (All Too Hard {Aus}) is favoured, with Weir's Anjana (Sepoy) her major rival.

G1 re-match at Hastings

Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and Hiflyer (NZ) (Tavistock (NZ) will renew their rivalry in a return match in the G1 Windsor Park Plate at Hastings.

The Jamie Richards-trained mare had much the better of the first meeting when she triumphed in the G1 Tarzino Trophy, the opening leg of Triple Crown series, in which Peter Lock’s Hiflyer finished runner-up.

The fillies get their opportunity to chase 3-year-old black type in the G3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail S., which marks the reappearance of last season’s champion juvenile Avantage (Fastnet Rock).

In the South Island, the Tony Pike-prepared Wekaforce (NZ) (Showcasing) is the dominant pre-post favourite for the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle S.

There are also two Listed races in Adelaide, the Tokyo City Cup and the WH Wylie H.

Melody Belle