Stars return in Expressway and 2-year-olds step it up

10 min read

Saturday's black-type racing is focussed on Sydney and Melbourne with Rosehill hosting the G2 Expressway S and two Group 3 races for the 2-year-olds while the Caulfield program is highlighted by the G3 Chairman's S. and the G3 Ladbrokes Manfred S. as well as a Listed sprint.

There are six black-type races in New Zealand,, including the G3 Taranaki Cup at New Plymouth as well as the G2 White Robe Lodge at Wingatui.

Expressway return for Artist

Rosehill, G2 Expressway S. 1200m, $200,000

Triple Group 1 winning sprinter Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) returns to take on resurgent mare Alizee (Sepoy) in a small but select field in the feature sprint of the day.

Trapeze Artist never recovered his autumn dominance last time in, with his campaign focussed on The Everest where he came up just short, being beaten by Redzel (Snitzel). He resumed in this race last year with a dominant win, the only previous time he has been first-up over 1200m and while he carries 3kg more, looks in top shape off his recent trial.

Trapeze Artist

Alizee was an impressive winner in the Listed Christmas Classic first-up off a bleeding attack but does come into this race off a five-week break, which is a slight query.

She has had a trial between runs, but the fact she has never won second-up in three previous runs does cast a slight query, while barrier 2 mightn't suit her racing style even in a six-horse field.


Le Romain (Hard Spun {USA}) may be renowned as a miler, but he does boast strong 1200m form, including a win first-up in the G3 Show County S. last time up.

He just never runs a bad race and has been in the top three in 22 of his 31 starts, earning close to $4 million in prizemoney.

They loom as the key trio, while Hartnell's (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) recent trial showed there may be life in the old boy's leg, even though he contests a race which is shorter than any other in his 46-start career.

Youngsters step it up

Rosehill, G3 Canonbury S. 1100m, $160,000

With the G1 Golden Slipper S. only seven weeks away, the 2-year-old ranks will take another step up in the coming weeks.

The Canonbury S. for the colts and geldings features highly-rated first-starter McLaren (Exceed and Excel) who has been ultra-impressive at the trials, romping in by seven lengths at his most recent at Warwick Farm. He hails from a speedy family of sprinters and is a half to Cao Cao (Fastnet Rock).

His main rival is expected to be the resuming Exceed The Stars (Star Witness), who started favourite and finished sixth in the G3 Breeders' Plate back in September. He has had a few trials to tick him along, the most recent when second behind the smart Time To Reign (Time For War).

Rosehill, G3 Widden S. 1100m, $160,000

The fillies' 2-year-old feature is much more open, with Godolphin represented by Avon River (Fastnet Rock), and Amercement (Lonhro). Avon River has been beaten by two smart ones in both her starts this campaign. You'd expect further improvement from her third-up.

Avon River, pictured as a yearling, was purchased by Godolphin from the 2018 Melbourne Premier Yearling sale for $500,000

Stablemate Amercement was fourth in the G3 Gimcrack S. and her two recent trials have also indicated improvement and she does get the advantage of the inside barrier

Intrepedacious (Shooting To Win) was a good winner on debut back in October and has also trialed pretty well as has Mayaaseh (Exceed and Excel), who was third in the Gimcrack S.

Lucicello (I Am Invincible) looks the best of the four unraced fillies off her second in a recent trial.

Fillies set for Chairman's challenge

Caulfield, G3 Ladbrokes Chairman's S. 1200m, $160,000

The 2-year-old action at Caulfield sees G3 Ottawa S. winner Bella Rosa (Snitzel) resume of a three-month break having shown she'd lost none of her speed in a recent jumpout at this track.

But this looms as a tougher race than her first start, with Art Collection (Fastnet Rock) also back at the races after being narrowly beaten in the G3 Maribyrnong Plate back in the spring. She also had a jumpout ahead of this, in her case at Flemington, and was given a good hitout.

Art Collection (Fastnet Rock) pictured as a yearling

Linigera (Denman) will be hoping to continue the strong run of Godolphin juveniles having shown something on debut back in October at Caulfield and starred at a recent jumpout.

Of the unraced, Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) has a big spruik off a recent trial win at Flemington. She was a $500,000 yearling and is out off the stakes-placed mare Maastricht (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}).

Caulfield, G3 M anfred S. 1200m, $160,000

Some very smart 3-year-olds resume in this 1200m stakes race, including the first two horses home in the G1 Victoria Derby in Extra Brut (Domesday) and Stars of Carrum (Fiorente {Ire}).

Both are not expected by the market to figure in the race, but their returns will be closely monitored, particularly Extra Brut given everything that has gone on with the Darren Weir stable this week.

Another Weir runner, Ringerdingding (Sebring) showed his potential late spring with wins in the Listed Hilton S and G2 Sandown Guineas in consecutive weeks. He is headed towards the G1 Australian Guineas in four weeks' time so should be very forward for his first-up run.

Godolphin holds a strong hand in this race with Ranier (Lonhro) resuming off a spring campaign which ended with Group 3 success in the Carbine Club S. and Tin Hat (Helmet) bringing fitness off his two recent midweek wins at Sandown.

The former has the established class, but the latter also looks progressive and heads the market.

Lindsay Park's Poised To Strike (Akeed Mofeed {GB)) looks progressive but has had six weeks between runs into this race, while stablemate Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt), twice a runner-up in Group 1 level last time in, has the class to figure on what is an open race.

Caulfield, Listed Polytrack WJ Adams S. 1000m, $140,000

Good little sprint race this with Nature Strip (Nicconi) a short-priced favourite despite ending his last campaign as a well-beaten favourite in the G1 Moir S. He did win four straight before that and this looks a straight forward first-up assignment but it is worth noting that his only previous trip to Caulfield resulted in an upset defeat at a similar price.

In contrast Written By (Written Tycoon) is four from four at the track, including a win in the G1 Blue Diamond S. last year and looks an attractive price.

He beat Encryption (Lonhro) home in the G3 Blue Sapphire S. and the G1 Coolmore Stud S. last time in, but that colt gets a 3kg swing here.

More summer speed in Perth

Ascot, Listed Scenic Blast S. 1200m, $100,000

The summer sprints continue in Perth with Misty Metal (Oratorio) looking for her third stakes win in succession. She was far too good for many of her rivals in the Miss Andretti S. last time out and while she rises 2kg, is understandably the market pick.

First Among Equals (Exceed and Excel) disappointed at his first Perth start for some time but can improve while the promising Abdicator (Universal Ruler) resumes.

Misty Metal

Cups highlight racing in NZ

New Plymouth, G3 Platinum Homes Taranaki Cup. 1800m, $80,000

Last year's G1 NZ Derby winner Vin de Dance (NZ) (Roc De Cambes {NZ}) resumes in what looks an open race which includes his stablemate Saint Emilion (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}).

Vin De Dance's spring campaign in Melbourne never really got off the ground, but he has won fresh before and has shown a bit in recent trials, while the more experienced Saint Emilion was a touch disappointing last time in the G1 Zabeel Classic but was a Group 3 winner before that. He has had a freshen up aimed towards defending the G1 New Zealand S. at Ellerslie in March.

Last year's Gr.1 New Zealand Derby winner Vin De Dance.

Last start G3 Trentham S. winner Consensus (NZ) (Postponed {USA}), heads the market for Steven McKee, while 8-year-old Overtheriver (NZ) (Mettre De Jeu {NZ}) steps up in company looking for a hat-trick of wins.

New Plymouth, G3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic, 1200m, $70,000

A promising bunch of youngsters tackle this stakes race, with a big boom on the unraced Folk Dress (Pierro) from the Jamie Richards stable off a recent trial win at Cambridge. She certainly looks a promising filly.

Stephen Marsh presents a double threat in Scotch (I Am Invincible) and Chiaretta (NZ) (Makfi {GB}). Scotch was winner on debut at this track in December, while Chairetta showed plenty when narrowly beaten on debut at Ellerslie. Miss Federer (Swiss Ace) was good enough to win a stakes race at Riccarton earlier this season.

New Plymouth, Listed Fastrack Insurance Oaks Prelude, 1800m, $55,000

The staying fillies on route to March's G1 NZ Oaks step out to 1800m with Baker/Forsman pair Vee Cece (Canford Clifffs {Ire}) and Clementina (NZ) (Savabeel) among the chances.

Vee Cece was a good winner at Te Rapa last time out, while Clementina remains a maiden after four starts but looks a real stayer. Jakkalbomb (NZ) (Jakkalberry {Ire}) has been ultra consistent this campaign, running second at Group 3 level last time but has come up with the widest barrier.

Wingatui, G3 White Robe Lodge Weight For Age. 1600m, $70,000

Last-start Listed Timaru Cup winner Boots 'N' All (NZ) (Perfectly Ready) is expected to the one to beat in the feature at Wingatui.

A winner of nine of his 38 starts, he has been in great form this time in, finishing runner-up, albeit a long way behind Te Akau Sahrk (NZ) at Group 2 level back in November.

The progressive Kiwi Ida (Squamosa), who charged home for third in the Listed Timaru S. last time out, looms as his main threat.

Wingatui, Listed Mediaworks Dunedin Guineas, 1500m, $50,000.

Air Max (NZ) (Nadeem {Aus}) looks for back-to-back southern Guineas wins here having won the Listed Gore Guineas last start with a couple of his rivals here behind him that day.

That includes third-placed Weaponry (NZ) (Declaration of War {USA}), who has been unbeaten in two starts before running third there.

Both Khimar War (NZ) (Sweet Orange {USA}) and Fox In Socks (Iffraaj {GB}) were unlucky there and an improved effort from both wouldn’t surprise.

Wingatui Fire and Mechanical Contracted Ltd, Dunedin Gold Cup, 2400m, $50,000

In-form mare Shezatoucha (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}) won the Cup Trial here last week and can claim her first stakes success in this race.

Her main challenger is expected to be Sulcifera (NZ) (Red Giant {USA}), who drops back in distance and company from the G3 Wellington Cup, where she finished sixth, while Pamir (NZ) (Raise The Flag {GB}) was a dominant winner of the Hokitika Cup last time out and has won two of her past three.