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Caulfield puts on four G1s as Randwick scales Everest

8 min read

With four Group 1 races at Caulfield and the world's richest turf race on at Randwick, Saturday represents one of the biggest days on the Australian racing calendar.

Reputations could be made or lost in the G1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas, where The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice), fresh from having a half share purchased by Arrowfield during the week, looks to frank his standing as the best 3-year-old in the land.

He was a narrow winner of the G1 Golden Rose S. but was nonetheless dominant and the step up to 1600m looks ideal for a colt who would appear to have a class edge on his rivals.

His main challengers come from the Darren Weir stable in Native Soldier (Sepoy) and Leonardo Da Hinchi (Hinchinbrook). Native Soldier is an on-speed colt whose turn of foot was too much for his rivals in the G3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude, while Leonardo Da Hinchi has made significant improvement through his first campaign culminating in his win in the G2 Stutt S. at Moonee Valley.

Oohood (I Am Invincible) comes through a Group 1 win in the Flight S. last time and is looking to become the first filly in 42 years to win this race. That was her maiden win, but behind her was subsequent G1 winner Maid of Heaven (Smart Missile).

Oohood

Smart filly

The Schweppes G1 Thousand Guineas also has a clear top pick in the Kris Lees-trained Smart Melody (Smart Missile), who has been impressive in her two wins at Flemington and Caulfield since coming to Melbourne.

Smart Melody

Her stablemate El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity), the winner of the G1 Sires Produce S. in the autumn, looks her major threat having powered home to run third behind Smart Melody in the G2 Tranquil Star S.

The filly who split them, Thrillster (Starspangledbanner), is one of the other major contenders, while Fiesta (I Am Invincible) has been fabulously consistent through the Darley Princess Series in Sydney culminating in her second behind Oohood in the Flight S.

The other Group 1 winner in the race, Seabrook (NZ) (Hinchinbrook) comes into this off an unusual campaign with a rare poor run in the G1 Golden Rose S. last start.

Weir has three runners in the race, with Amphitrite (Sebring) and Krone (Eurozone) finishing 1-2 in last week's G2 Edward Manifold S, while Anjana was fourth in the Tranquil Star S. last time out.

Heavyweight for age

The G1 Ladbrokes S., is a fascinating weight-for-age contest missing only Winx when it comes to the best horses in Melbourne this spring.

Chris Waller is well-represented with D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}) and Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock), who filled the second and third placings in the G1 Epsom H. last start.

D'Argento

Interestingly, it is the first appearance for either 4-year-old in Melbourne. D'Argento has been very consistent without winning this campaign, but Unforgotten appears to be busting to get to the 2000m.

The three horses who fought out the G1 Underwood S. at their last start, Homesman (USA) (War Front {USA}), Tosen Basil (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) and Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo (Ire}), are the other locally trained horses with big claims in this race.

Tosen Basil took an enormous step from his first to second runs in Australia and should only improve again, while Humidor was a Group 1 winner in the Memsie S. at this track earlier in his campaign.

Then there are the three internationally-trained horses, Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), The Cliffsofmoher {Ire} (Galileo {Ire}) and Blair House (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}). Blair House had little room to move in the Underwood S. and you can see him taking improvement into this race.

Benbatl is a multiple Group 1 winner overseas, but may be better suited in the G1 Cox Plate in two weeks' time, while The Cliffsofmoher also has world class international form and is headed towards the G1 Caulfield Cup.

The G1 Aquis Toorak H. completes the Group 1 quartet and it looks a typically open handicap.

Godolphin have their last start Group 1 winners at the top of the weights in Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {Ire}), who won the G1 Epsom H, and Jungle Cat (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), who won the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S.

The two horses Jungle Cat beat in that 1400m Caulfield event, Dollar for Dollar (High Chaparral {Ire}) and Land of Plenty (Stratum) also front up and are expected to be very competitive, but it is Chris Waller's mare Shillelagh (Savabeel) who is expected to start favourite after finishing fourth in that Epsom H, behind Hartnell beaten just 1.2l.

Big bucks for fast horses

The TAB Everest is far from a sideshow at Randwick, with so many quality sprinters engaged in the $13 million race.

Last year's champion Redzel (Snitzel) looked the horse to beat after his strong win the G3 Concorde S. but after a small setback, his second-up run in the G2 Premiere S. when beaten into fifth by four of his rivals here certainly raised a few questions.

In fact that race turned the entire market for the Everest on its head as Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}) edged out stablemate Shoals (Fastnet Rock) and In Her Time (Time Thief) a close-up third.

Trapeze Artist (Snitzel), the star 3-year-old sprinter of last season, was fourth in that race, but comes here with a third-up record which reads three wins from as many starts, including two at Group 1 level.

Viddora (I am Invincible), Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}) and Vega Magic (Lope de Vega {Ire}) bring Victorian form north, with the first two filling the quinella spots in the G1 Moir S. at their last start.

Aidan O'Brien's U S Navy Flag (USA) (War Front {USA}) comes with the international form having won the G1 July Cup at his latest start.

Add in a likely heavy track, and it’s as open a race as you could imagine.

Country runners reach their own summit

The Randwick card also feature The $1.3 million Kosciuszko, a similar slot race concept but for country-trained horses where Victorem (I am Invincible) and The Monstar (California Dane) are the two top chances.

The Camera House Sydney S. is a special condition Group 3 race which acts as a sort of consolation for The Everest.

Everest emergencies Pierata (Pierro) and Jungle Edge (Dubawi {Ire}) contest favouritism with the in-form Tactical Advantage (Bel Esprit).

The Group 3 360 DMG Craven Plate sees Egg Tart (Sebring) looking to return to winning ways, with her Waller stablemate Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock) her main rival along with 2017 Doncaster winner It's Somewhat (USA) (Dynaformer {USA}).

There is also a Listed The Daily Telegraph Reginald Allen Quality for the 3-year-old fillies at Randwick.

Sprinters, stayers contest Group 2s

Back to Caulfield where as well as the four Group 1s there are six other black-type races.

The G2 Keno Schillaci S. sees Weir's Voodoo Lad (I Am Invincible) looking to stave off a trio of Aidan O'Brien runners, including Spirit of Valor (USA) (War Front {USA}), who was slick enough to finish second behind Merchant Navy early this campaign.

Local mare Snitty Kitty (Snitzel), runner up in the G1 Oakleigh Plate over this course and distance in February, is also given a big chance.

The Group 2 Herbert Power S. features a full field of 16 stayers looking to book their spots in the G1 Caulfield Cup.

Chris Waller's Brimham Rocks (GB) (Fastnet Rock) was runner-up in the G1 Metropolitan H. last start, which looks strong form for this, while Rising Red (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) was a good second in the G3 Naturalism S.

The G3 Cape Grim Beef Steaks for the mares sees Winter Bride (Not a Single Doubt) looking to make it back-to-back wins having won the G3 How Now S. last time.

The G3 Thoroughbred Club S. for the 3-year-old fillies features Sunlight (Zoustar), who returns off a let-up and she appears well-placed in the set weight plus penalties conditions against her rivals.

Sunlight

There is also the Listed Inglis Debutant S. for the 2-year-olds featuring runners for first-season sires The Brothers' War (USA), Rubick, Verrazano (USA) and Charm Spirit (Ire), as well as the Listed The Big Screen Company Weekend Hussler S. over the 1400m which features Charlie Appleby's international raider Comicas (USA) (Distorted Humor {USA}).

Around the grounds

Morphettville plays host to two Listed events in Adelaide, the Romeo's Hill Smith S. for the aspiring 3-year-old stayers and The Community Co Durbridge S.

In New Zealand, the Listed Team Willeans Matamata Cup is a Listed open handicap at Matamata, while a field of quality mares go around in the Listed Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders S at Hawera.