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Hobartville Stakes preview

As autumn kicks off in Australia, that means two things for Sydney - bring the washing in, it's raining; and the quality of racing is sharply improving. This year's Sydney carnival has been reinvigorated by the creation of The Championships - also known as "spending a shitload of money to attract largely the same horses". An early lead-up to the Derby is traditionally the Hobartville Stakes, and there's quite a handy field going around. Contrary to the standard for Sydney racing, there are even more than nine horses lining up (well, at least before final scratching time anyway...).

Anyhow, enough of the piss-taking, it's time to welcome a new contributor to the blog, Andrew Capelin, a full-time betting analyst who focuses on Sydney and NSW Provincial racing. He provides markets to a select group of clients and will have a website available soon. For now, the bet place to find him is via Twitter, follow him @farlad. Welcome aboard Andrew!

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Hobartville Stakes

The Hobartville Stakes is a Group 2 race run at set weights for three year olds over 1400 metres. Previously run at Warwick Farm, now at Rosehill. The race is the traditional first step towards the ATC Derby. Past winners include sires Thorn Park, Lonhro, Arena and Nothing Leica Dane as well as champions Pierro, Marscay, Baguette and Todman.

11 colts and geldings make up this year’s field with New Zealanders ATLANTE and EL ROCA adding to the intrigue of the up and running sprinters taking on the stayers on a derby path.

With rain falling in Sydney I am expecting a slow track. The rail is six metres out which puts it near the crown meaning the inside can hold up ok but by Race 6 it might be inferior.

1 Dissident J Cassidy – Peter Moody (6)
The winner of only one race comes here second up after an admirable first up run behind EL ROCA in the leadup. Best ever performance was a very tough second placing to $20 million colt ZOUSTAR in the Group 1 Golden Rose at this track and distance. Won’t settle too far away from the speed. Has some chance.

2 Romantic Touch T Berry – Gai Waterhouse (5)
Finished fast first up and has a Group 1 scalp over Zoustar (albeit the worst Group 1 race in Australia, JJ Atkins 2yo at Eagle Farm). Has failed on wet ground and seems to be racing further back this time. He might find a few of these too zippy for him.

3 Atlante G Schofield – Murray Baker (3)
The query runner. New Zealander with impressive record and a Group 1 win in NZ (they do count don’t they). Has trialled very well and will race up front. Has a hungry South African born jockey up back from enforced holiday for going too fast! Definite chance but I will risk him

4 Savvy Nature J McDonald – John O’ Shea (9)
The boom horse of last spring who came unstuck in the VRC Derby as $4 favourite. Has won first up and has an impressive SP profile in similar races. Untried on anything other than good ground. He won’t be wound up for this and I want to risk him.

5 El Roca H Bowman - Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young (10)
Avenged his unlucky Caulfield Guineas run with first up impressive win in listed 1200 this track 14 days ago. He’s an impressive individual who will go forward from the wide draw and probably sit handy and off the fence in the perfect spot. Unbeaten on dead ground ( I’m still allowed to call it dead, right?). Looks to have really developed and will be closer to his peak than most of these. Has the speed figures to win again. Really hard to beat.

6 Koroibete B Avdulla - Gerald Ryan (7)
Current Derby favourite. First try in Group company here but I feel he can measure up. A lovely horse with a graceful action who builds momentum beautifully. Probably gets too far back and will be better later on

7 Hooked N Berry – John Thompson (4)
Second up here after an acceptable first up effort in the lead up (beaten 4.1len). Will get back near last. Has been thereabouts in this company in the spring but I feel he is a rung below the better ones. A wet track advantages him slightly but not for me.

8 Liberty’s Choice T Clark – Gai Waterhouse (2)
First up. Impressive in two trial wins. Will race on pace but possibly in inferior ground near the fence (by Race 6). Is very consistent and should handle the ground ok. I just feel there might be too much pressure early as his best performances have been when dictating in front.

9 Woodbine N Rawiller – Gai Waterhouse (8)
Well-bred colt with an impressive record and SP profile in restricted races. First go in first grade. Is third up into this so has a fitness edge on the field which could come to the fore in the wet. Soft ground would be a query but he can race in the first half and get to the centre of the track. If he handles it, could be right in the finish.

10 Takewing B Shinn – Jason Coyle (1)
Maiden runner outgraded here. Failed last start on heavy at Warwick Farm and I have him well back on the fence. I couldn’t back it with Monopoly money

11 Swiggin S Clipperton (a) – Anthony Cummings (11)
Trainer likes to shoot for the stars and occasionally hits one. I liked his first up run at Wyong but it was at Wyong. He is a big type who might struggle to get momentum in the going. No thanks

Summary: I am keen on the favourite EL ROCA here. He maps well, is unbeaten on dead ground and looked to just be warming up late first up. Most of the others are in the wrong race or have their eyes on other prizes. WOODBINE for second and DISSIDENT third.

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