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Apollo Stakes preview

As Melbourne racing hits its straps, Sydney is just getting warm in the lead-up to this year's big shebang, The Championships, with truckloads of cash on offer. One of the early features of the Sydney 'autumn' is the Apollo Stakes at Randwick and with the preview, returning after a long absence, is aspiring young writer Tom Stewart, @tstewcav26.

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The Apollo Stakes

Held under weight for age conditions, the Apollo Stakes is a Group Two event run over 1400m. It is traditionally a lead-up race for the chipping Norton stakes and also provides a platform for stayers resuming and heading towards the later autumn feature races. Lonhro and Sunline are a couple of star gallopers that have taken out this event in the past and this year will be no different with the likes of Boban and Appearance going around.

#1 Boban (7) Nash Rawiller
– Coming off a disappointing first up run there is no doubt that all eyes will be on Boban. Whether the distance was too short or the horse wasn’t fully wound up, he was disappointing first up considering his outstanding spring carnival. I’m confident that he will bounce back here and make amends for his average first-up run. Barrier seven will suit this horse as opposed to barrier one first up. From the barrier I expect that Nash will settle midfield or just worse than midfield one pair off the rail. This will give him the opportunity to get the horse wide, track into the race and build some momentum. If he can show the same turn of foot that saw him win the Epsom and Emirates double last spring, he will be the horse to beat. If there is a query in the race for Boban, it is the speed. Howmuchdoyouloveme is likely to lead and could get an easy time of it, which would not be beneficial for Boban. He is a proven Group One galloper who has the ability to become a star, if he brings his A game then he should be winning this.

#2 Moriarty (8) Corey Brown
- Another Waller runner who will be better over longer distances than this. His first up run was excellent. For a horse that will be a lot better over 2000m plus, he hit the line very strong. His second up record reads a lot better than his first up record and suggests that he will run a cheeky race here. I expect he will be travelling at the rear of the field and making a late run over the last 200m of the race. The projected slow speed of the race doesn’t do him any favours, especially over the 1400m. I cant see Moriarty winning this race but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he finished in the placings.

#3 Pinwheel – SCRATCHED

#4 Speediness (4) Jim Cassidy
– Consistent horse who always runs a good race. His first up run in the same race as Boban and Appearance suggested that he needs further and this looks like a good race for him. Second-up last preparation he was horribly unlucky in the Sir Rupert Clarke and arguably should have won the race. If he can reproduce a similar run with better luck in this race he might be one that could out sprint Boban and Appearance. Having drawn well in barrier four I expect Cassidy to look to settle midfield and use the leaders to drag him into the race. If he can pinch a break in the Straight similar to what he did in the Emirates last year, the others might find it hard to chase him off a slow tempo. My only concern with Speediness is that he can often find himself tangled up between horses and it has cost him on more than a few occasions. He’s a very honest horse and one that you would love to own, if things go his way than he is a big player in this race.

#5 Howmuchdoyouloveme (5) Jason Collett
- Speedy galloper who likes to roll along in front over the sprint distance. I have two concerns with him in this race. Firstly, I don’t think that he can run out a strong 1400m. Secondly, I think this horse is better suited to handicap races than under weight for age conditions. I could only see a horse like this beating Boban if he had a significant weight advantage, which he doesn’t receive here. The one positive however is that he is the likely leader in a race that is devoid of speed and he may be able to get away with some cheap sectionals. I can't see him figuring here and struggle to see him finishing in the top four.

#6 Sizzling - SCRATCHED

#7 Rain Drum (3) Tommy Berry
- Progressive horse who improves with every preparation. Last preparation he showed that he was capable of mixing it with quality horses when he won at Group 2 level second up and continued to be competitive throughout the spring at group and listed level. Having trialed twice before this first-up run, Gai will have him fit and ready to win first up. From barrier three Berry will be positive and most likely sit outside Howmuchdoyouloveme or slot in behind him and pounce around the turn. Whether he is up to the class of Boban and Appearance remains to be seen. Considering the conditions of the race I believe he can run a big race and maybe cause a bit of an upset.

#8 Alma’s Fury (10) Tim Clark
- A horse that doesn’t win out of turn. He can be quite a precocious horse and sometimes he looks like he just doesn’t want to race. However when he does turn up he can win a good race at odds. Which was evident when he won this very race at 20-1 last year. Didn’t set the world on fire with his first up run and unlikely to do so here. From the widest barrier I think he will settle at the rear of the field and remain there towards the finish. He is a horse that needs good pace to build momentum into a race and he just doesn’t have the class if the race isn’t put on for him. I just can't see him being competitive here.

#9 Tremec (1) Nathan Berry
- Another stayer resuming here who will be doing his best work late. First up and over 1400m I cant imagine that he will be featuring here. Considering that he has never won first up and is much better over longer distances this is not a winning race for him. However he has to resume somewhere and no doubt John Thompson will be looking for a strong finish and not expecting him to win. If this was a race over 2000m I would expect him to lead from barrier one but over this distance he will be left flat-footed and somewhere towards the rear. This isn’t a winning race for Tremec but one he’s likely to gain improvement from.

#10 Appearance (2) Blake Shinn
- There aren’t many superlatives I can use to describe her win first up. She was electrifying! Guy Walter has a huge opinion of this mare and she is sure to figure in a race like the Doncaster later in the autumn. Her first-up run suggests that she is spot on and if she repeats that run than she is going to take a power of beating. From barrier two I can see Shinn having her in the top four or five horses and ready to pounce around the 300m mark. Despite how good her win first up was, I'm worried that she may be a bit flat here and her second up record suggests that may be a trend, having never won second up from five attempts. She is a quality mare and if she reproduces that first-up run she will be extremely hard to beat.

Summary

Boban and Appearance stand out head and shoulders above this field and I want to bet around these two. I think Boban is the better horse and will recapture his spring form here. I much prefer him over this distance as opposed to 1200m and also like the fact that he has drawn wide. If he can get a nice run, relax and build momentum into the race I think he will win. Then again if Appearance can defy her second up record and replicate her first up win then she will be with Boban all the way. I think the best way to play if you're going to have a bet is to quinella these two and load up. They stand out clearly in this field and I'll be very surprised if they don’t run the quinella.

#1 Boban
#10 Appearance
#7 Rain Drum
#4 Speediness

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