Black-Type Preview: Widespread interest as stars come out to play

9 min read

The action will be hot on both sides of the Tasman on Saturday with the G1 Ladbrokes Orr S. the feature on the Caulfield card while the 2-year-olds chase the big money at Warwick Farm. In New Zealand, Te Rapa plays host to a pair of top-flight events – the Herbie Dyke S. and the BCD Group Sprint.

Opening Group 1 intriguing affair

Caulfield G1 Ladbrokes CF Orr S. 1400 metres $500,000

Caulfield plays host to the first Group race of the Australian calendar year with the G1 Ladbrokes CF Orr S.

It is a race with added intrigue thanks to the Darren Weir disqualification, with four of the disgraced trainer's former horses having their first starts for new stables.

In the case of Whispering Brook (Hinchinbrook), last start winner of the G2 Australia S., it is back to her old stable with Simon Miller. She is unbeaten in three starts this campaign, but while she has a fitness edge on most of her rivals, this is a considerable step up in class.

Former stablemate Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn) is a winner at Group 1 level at this track and distance (Futurity S.) before and while he was beaten six lengths by Whispering Brook last time, we can expect an improved performance in his first start for Kris Lees.

Land Of Plenty (Stratum) has his first start for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace having run third in the Australia S. He was third over the Caulfield 1400 metres in the G1 Rupert Clarke S. in the spring before going on to win the G1 Toorak H.

The fourth ex-Weir runner, Fifty Stars (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), has more upside than any of his stablemates and now with Lindsay Park, it wouldn’t surprise to see him show-up second-up off his sixth in the Australia S.

According to the market, it is Kementari (Lonhro) they all have to beat. The Godolphin 4-year-old may be winless since his success in the G1 Randwick Guineas last autumn, but he was placed in the G1 Memsie S. in the spring and trialled well in the lead-up.

Stablemate Best Of Days (GB) (Azamour {Ire}) progressed from benchmark company to be a Group 1 winner last time in, and while he is expected to take another run or two, he has the scope to improve again into this type of assignment first up.

Sprint talent back on track

Caulfield G2 Schweppes S. 1100 metres $200,000

The G2 Rubiton S. is another race with plenty of question marks, mainly over the odds-on favourite Nature Strip (Nicconi), who has endured more drama over his short career than a bull in a china shop.

He was set to resume over 1000 metres last weekend before the whole Weir kerfuffle saw him scratched and he turns out here for Chris Waller looking to resume a career which has seen him win eight on his 12 starts for five different trainers.

His old stablemate Voodoo Lad (I Am Invincible), now with Maher and Eustace, is his main threat and has won four of seven first up, while Mick Price's progressive Tavisan (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ} resumes having taken big steps last campaign and could fly fresh.

Mouth-watering clash

Caulfield G2 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies) 1100 metres $200,000

The fillies division of the Blue Diamond Prelude looks a terrific clash between Catch Me (I Am Invincible), who is unbeaten in two starts and was impressive overcoming trouble in the Preview two weeks ago, Brooklyn Hustle (Starspangledbanner), who debuted in spectacular fashion back in December at Moonee Valley and Athiri (Lonhro), who was just as impressive winning on the same day Rosehill.

Catch Me has the advantage of having had one run and she certainly looks a real professional but the other two have considerable x-factor. The race doesn't end there either with Vinicunca (I Am Invincible) resuming off her G3 Maribyrnong Plate win and Lankan Star (Nicconi) coming off an impressive recent Moonee Valley success.

Debut winner hard to roll

Caulfield G3 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview (Colts and Geldings) 1100 metres $200,000

The colts' division doesn’t have quite the same depth, but I Am Immortal (I Am Invincible) was so impressive in the Preview and with an inside barrier should prove hard to hold out.

Brazen Brando (Brazen Beau) was unlucky in that race and could conceivably turn the tables, while Hawker Hurricane (Deep Field) was victorious in the Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic at Ballarat back in November.

Guineas winner returns

Caulfield G2 Hyland Race Colours Autumn S. 1400 metres $200,000

The G2 Autumn S. sees the resumption of G2 Sandown Guineas winner Ringerdingding (Sebring), now with Waller as he takes on in-form former stablemates Social Spin (Toorak Toff) and Declares War (Declaration of War {USA}).

Dealmaker (Dundeel {NZ}) was desperately unlucky first-up at Randwick and he can provide some each-way value in an even line-up.

Black type beckons

Caulfield G3 Kevin Hayes S. 1200 metres $160,000

The 3-year-olds also feature in the G3 Kevin Hayes S. where Crack The Code (I Am Invincible) will attempt to retain his unbeaten record this preparation.

He looks a progressive type with his only career defeat coming in the G3 National S. at Morphettville where he struck a soft track for the first time.

Star to shine again

Caulfield G3 Bellmaine S. 1200 metres $160,000

The G3 Bellmaine S. sees the resumption of stakes-winning machine I Am A Star (I Am Invincible), with her key rivals the in-form Just Hifalutin (Reset) and Princess Of Queens (Magnus).

I Am A Star possesses an excellent strike rate with 10 victories from her 27 appearances and she looks well-placed here.

Group 1 quality

Caulfield G3 JC Swift Hodges TS Carlyon Cup 1600 metres $160,000

Another stakes race, the Carlyon Cup sees Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) resume against a trio of Group 1 winners in Trap For Fools (Poet's Voice {GB}), Harlem (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) and Ace High (High Chaparral {Ire}).

The ex-Weir galloper Night's Watch (NZ) (Redwood {GB}), now with Maher and Eustace, has trialled well heading into this and he is a noted fresh performer with two first-up wins to his credit.

Baker well-represented

Warwick Farm Yarraman Park Breeders’ Classic $200,000 1200 metres

Bjorn Baker has a strong hand here with Champagne Cuddles (Not A Single Doubt), all the better for a first-up run, and Egyptian Symbol (Stratum).

The latter is coming off a win in the Magic Millions Sprint while Alassio (Foxwedge) has looked good in the lower grades and in top form to take the next step.

Major watch on Brutal

Warwick Farm G3 Aquis Farm Eskimo Prince S. $160,000 1200 metres

The unbeaten stakes winner Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) makes his return here and off the back of a winning trial he should continue on his merry way.

Charge (Zoustar) hasn’t raced since he won the G3 Red Anchor S. in the spring, but a couple of trial outings will have him ready to give the favourite a run for his money.

Time to shine

Warwick Farm Listed Lonhro Plate $140,000 1100 metres

The return of Time To Reign (Time For War) will be of major interest after winning both of his starts last time in.

He has won a trial ahead of his return with the only negative the outside gate to overcome while Cosmic Force (Deep Field) has drawn ideally.

Alley favours Dawn Passage

Warwick Farm Inglis Millennium $2,000,000 1200 metres

Barrier draws can be vital in sprint racing and the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Dawn Passage (Dawn Approach {Ire}) will jump from a handy gate, which may give him the edge over Accession (Brazen Beau).

Hugh Bowman will need all his guile aboard the Chris Waller-prepared youngster, who has a horror alley to overcome.

Favourite hard to hold out

Te Rapa G1 Herbie Dyke S. NZ$400,000 WFA 2000 metres

Danzdanzdance (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) will start a commanding favourite off the back of consecutive victories at the elite level and she will take some holding again.

The mare goes best with her races well-spaced and trainers Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley have managed the 4-year-old superbly well.

She has yet to race at Te Rapa, but that should present no problems and she looks extremely hard to beat.

The 3-year-old Madison County (NZ) (Pins) is an interesting runner and more than capable of figuring in the finish. A dual Group 1 winner, he finished well for third in the Karaka Classic and the extra distance here should suit him.

Smart mare can atone

Te Rapa G1 BCD Group Sprint $NZ200,000 WFA 1400 metres

Top mare Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) has an ideal draw for her to return to winning ways following a disappointing unplaced run in the G1 Telegraph.

A thorough veterinary examination failed to find anything amiss with the mare and her previous third in the G1 Railway S. from a horror gate might be a much better guide to her chances.

Ardrossan (Redoute’s Choice) is an exciting prospect and he overcame a tricky barrier impressively to win the G3 Concorde H. last time out. Quality sprinter Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge) has won on the course and she is in a rich vein of form, having claimed most recently the G2 Westbury Classic.

Queen a regal chance

Te Rapa G2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic NZ$100,000 2000 metres

Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) has come a long way in a short time and the G3 Eulogy S. winner’s last-start effort for fourth in the Karaka Million was a solid performance. The step up in distance should now be ideal for her.

The Real Beel (NZ) (Savabeel) turned in a massive effort to run second in the Ellerslie feature and if the run hasn’t knocked her a similar effort would make her most competitive.

Secret Allure (NZ) (Zacinto {GB}) charged home to win the G3 Desert Gold S. and she is genuine while stablemate Sentimental Miss (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) has been racing as though this distance will help her cause.

Visitor to press Derby claims

Te Rapa G2 Warren Storm Lifebrokers Waikato Guineas NZ$100,000 2000 metres

A number of G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby contenders go head to head in this and the Awapuni-trained Lincoln Falls (NZ) (Savabeel) is certainly one to consider.

He hit the line strongly to be a minor player in both the Listed Uncle Remus S. and the G1 Levin Classic so 2000 metres will give him his chance.

The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) is genuine and an each-way chance while Sword In Stone (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) is lightly-tried and the way he beat the older horses last time out suggests he can handle the rise in class.