The class of 2018-19: Early report card

5 min read

By Bren O'Brien

A little over two months into the 2-year-old season, and with the feature races approaching, we thought it was a good time to look at the emerging stars of the class of 2018-19.

A top-line summary sees that as of November 26, there have been 48 races won by 2-year-olds in Australia and 11 in New Zealand this season. The winners of those races are represented by 37 different sires, with I Am Invincible leading the way with four individual winners of five races.

There have been nine first-season sires to have already tasted success with Lyndhurst Stud's Better Than Ready leading the way with three winners.

Top of the Class:

Tassort (Brazen Beau - Essaouira)

Brilliant on debut, albeit against a small field, on Saturday at Rosehill. This colt sat just off the pace and seized a gap at the 200m mark to race away and win by 5.3l. It was a strong pre-Christmas performance by a 2-year-old. He rocketed into $6 favouritism for the Golden Slipper on that effort.

James Cummings admits he's the A-grader for Godolphin, who had already produced two other 2-year-old winners in the previous two weeks. The half-brother to Astern and Alizee has been immediately spelled and will likely head towards something like the Silver Slipper S. with just one run into the Golden Slipper S.


The Challengers:

Dubious (Not a Single Doubt- Suspicieuse {Fr})

Stamped himself as a star colt with a tough win in the G3 Breeders' Plate at Randwick back in late September. A $350,000 purchase from the Kitchwin Hills draft at the 2018 Magic Millions, he races in the Aquis colours and his debut victory already has him touted as a future stallion.

Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have him headed towards the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, with a lead-up run in either Sydney or in Queensland on the cards before then. The plan is to target him towards the G1 Golden Slipper S.

Catch Me (I Am Invincible - Captivating Claire {NZ})

A $625,000 yearling purchase for Yulong at this year's Easter Sales, Peter and Paul Snowden's filly was an emphatic winner on debut in the G3 Gimcrack S. She sat back and swept home to win by nearly three lengths. No other filly has impressed as much since.

Peter Snowden indicated last week that she is headed towards the Blue Diamond S. with a view of heading towards the Golden Slipper S. should she measure up.

Anaheed (Fastnet Rock - Rostova)

The homebred filly for Sheikh Bin Khalifa relished the heavy track in the Victory Vein S., winning by four lengths after coming from just off the pace. The margin was clear, but there is a slight query over the class of her opposition and how they handled the track.

Co-trainer Peter Snowden said that like her stablemate Catch Me, she would head towards the Blue Diamond S. at Caulfield in February.


Time To Reign (Time For War - Courgette)

The half-brother to 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain) looks a very handy horse after a pair of wins in Sydney. He was wayward but dominant on the soft track on debut in the Kirkham Plate at Randwick and then backed up to win at Rosehill, again leading all the way.

He looks a typically fast and forward 2-year-old, much like his older sister and will skip the Magic Millions and instead head straight towards the Golden Slipper. Trainer Gary Portelli certainly feels he will benefit significantly from a break headed into his second campaign.

Vinicunca (Fastnet Rock - Xandretta)

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained filly was the narrow winner of the feature 2-year-old race of the Flemington carnival, the G3 Maribyrnong Plate. Co-owned by Coolmore and the Niarchos family, she showed real speed and toughness, and is rated as one of the stable's best 2-year-olds.

Currently spelling, she will be set for the Blue Diamond S. before then, all going well, heading to the G1 Golden Slipper S.

Espaaniyah (I Am Invincible - Catalonia)

An impressive winner of the Inglis Nursery on Cox Plate day, Espaaniyah, a $750,000 yearling purchase for Emirates Park, looks a typically speedy and professional Waterhouse/Bott 2-year-old based on her debut.

There has been no set plan announced for her as yet, but she looks likely to target the autumn features, with the Golden Slipper on her radar.

Bella Rosa (Snitzel - Swiss Rose {NZ))

A narrow winner of the G3 Bumble S. for the fillies on Melbourne Cup day in atrocious conditions, the $575,000 Magic Millions filly showed a fair bit of courage and class on debut, beating Debutant S winner Champagne Boom (Spirit of Boom) in the process.

With her Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained stablemate Dubious headed to the Gold Coast, she will be kept at home in Melbourne with a view to the Blue Diamond S. A strong performance there would then see her likely set for the Golden Slipper.

Bella Rosa pictured as a yearling