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Chipping Norton Stakes preview

The highlight of Sydney racing on Saturday sees the return of Kiwi superstar (It's A) Dundeel in the Chipping Norton Stakes. Tom Stewart, @tstewcav26, returns to the blog with his wise assessment of this G1 race over the metric mile.

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Chipping Norton Stakes

The Chipping Norton Stakes is a group one event held under weight for age conditions over 1600m. It generally serves as a lead up race for many features later in the autumn and the winner is automatically exempt from ballot for both the Doncaster handicap and the Sydney Cup. This year’s edition will be a great guide to the autumn with many star horses kicking off or continuing their preparation towards their ultimate goal. Boban and It’s a Dundeel head a strong field and if the betting market is anything to go by then it will be a race in two. However horses such as Moriarty, Monton and Hawkspur will be looking to run a big race and cause a major upset.

1- It’s a Dundeel (1): James Mcdonald, Murray Baker
Last preparation saw him lower the colours of champion mare Atlantic Jewel. However, a foot abscess led to a below par performance in the cox plate as a short favourite. This time in both Baker and Mcdonald have been very impressed by the way in which he has strengthened up and matured. He looks to have come back well with an impressive barrier trial win at Randwick over 1200m. First up over the mile will be no problem and we know he gets around this track, having won the Randwick Guineas here as a three year old.

From barrier one in a race with genuine speed I expect Mcdonald to ease back in the field and produce It's A Dundeel around the 600m mark to make his run. If he produces his customary turn of foot than the race will be all over by the 100m mark. It’s hard to fault this horse because he is class with a capital ‘C’. If there were one negative for him it would be barrier one, being a horse that likes to get wide and build momentum he may get cluttered up in the field and get left behind. However I don’t think Mcdonald will allow for that to happen and get mobile well before the home turn. With hid preparation culminating in a tilt at the Queen Elizabeth stakes, I don’t expect him to be 100% fit; however, a horse of his class is capable of winning any race. The top hope.

2- Boban (4): Glyn Schofield, Chris Waller
His last two runs have been well below par for a horse of his class. First up he didn’t have many excuses, although I believe his second up run was full of merit considering the circumstances. Being exposed four wide on a sustained 800m run was not ideal and would trouble any horse. The fact that he was doing his best work late after such a tough run was very encouraging. With regular jockey Glyn Schofield back on board and up to the mile, he has a great winning chance here.

Barrier four provides Schofield with multiple options and I'm betting he will want to be positioned in front of It’s A Dundeel and try and catch him off guard. The pace of the race will really suit him and he will be very strong late. His previous run may have taken its toll on the horse and that’s the one worry for me. I will be very surprised if he finishes outside the top two horses. Big chance.

3- Hawkspur (5): Jim Cassidy, Chris Waller His first up run was disappointing and perhaps was a sign of a horse who had a taxing spring. Off a freshen-up and back in Sydney I expect him to run a lot better here. Second up last preparation he was explosive when winning the Chelmsford Stakes, completely blowing his rivals away in very quick time. If he repeats that performance he is definitely going to be competitive with the top two. I expect Cassidy to settle midfield or just worse than midfield from barrier five and look to storm home late. With races like the BMW or Queen Elizabeth on his radar I think Waller will just be happy enough to see him hitting the line strongly.

My concern with Hawkspur is that the Melbourne Cup may have taken its toll on him and his first up run was a sign of that. Regardless of that, if he can return to his best come Saturday he will definitely be competitive. Place chance.

4- Moriarty (7): Hugh Bowman, Chris Waller
For a horse that is looking for 2000+ his first two runs over 1200 and 1400m have been very impressive. After settling last in the Apollo, he managed to rattle down the outside and finish third in front of the fancied Boban. I think he will really relish the mile and genuine speed that should be set in this race. Barrier seven in an eight horse field only really gives Bowman one choice and that is to go back because he doesn’t have the gate speed to go with some of the speedier horses.

Genuine tempo and a nice tag into the race should see him finish his race off really well here and like Hawkspur I think he can run a cheeky race against the two favourites. The fact that he has never won at Warwick Farm from three attempts concerns me. The tighter track of Warwick farm really doesn’t suit this horse as he likes to get wide and build momentum and he is more at home at tracks like Randwick and Rosehill. I think he will run a big race but the track will hinder his chances of actually winning. Place chance.

5- Monton (2): Sam Clipperton, Ron Quinton
Monton has been ultra consistent this preparation and is absolutely flying, having won three of his last four races over the mile. Loves this track and distance and ran a huge race last year to just get nutted on the line by Shoot Out. It seems as though he is a horse that is getting better with age and he is as honest as a day is long. Barrier two provides Clipperton with the option to either take the lead or box seat on the rail and try to pinch the race at the top of the straight. I don’t think he is up to this grade despite his sparkling form and I think he will get out sprinted towards the end of the race. He’s a very honest horse and he will give a sight at the top of the straight but I think he will be outclassed late. Place chance.

6- Glencadam Gold (6): Blake Shinn, Gai Waterhouse
Stayer resuming here who will no doubt be looking for further in his preparation. Looked good winning a trial at Randwick at January against the Melbourne cup winner Fiorente and will be fit for this first-up assignment. Has won before off a break and has won at this distance too. Looks to be one of the speed horses and from barrier six I expect Shinn to try and get across quickly and either lead from the other Waterhouse runner or box seat behind him.

If this race was first up at Randwick I would be keen on Glencadam Gold to run a big race but he doesn’t seem to get around the track at Warwick farm, especially at the mile. I think he will be up around the speed leading or either box seating and I expect him to weaken late and tail off. He will be better for the run and certainly be more suited at 2000+ second up. Not this race.

7- Prince Cheri (3): Jay Ford, David Vandyke
Impressed in two recent trials and showed last preparation that he can mix it at Group One level when running within two lengths of Seville in the metropolitan. First up last time he ran enormous, flashing down the outside to just miss over the mile, albeit in a Benchmark 85 race. He does fly fresh and has won at this trip before. When he gets to his preferred trip he is better suited ridden forward but at this distance and from barrier three I think that Jay Ford will look to settle midfield. Decent pace in the race will suit him and look for him to be hitting the line nicely.

I think he is a quality horse but not up to this level at the moment. Considering some of the horses he is going to run into in races like the Ranvet and BMW this preparation, it is likely he is going to be outclassed plain and simple. It’s a Dundeel and Fiorente are lengths better than Seville and will prove too good for a horse like Prince Cheri. Not up to this.

8- Order Of The Sun (8): Tommy Berry, Gai Waterhouse
Trialled really well and franked his trial form with an impressive first up win. He is a progressive horse with an excellent strike rate having won three of his five starts in good style. Progressing from a Benchmark 74 race to weight-for-age at Group One level second up is rather ambitious and you wouldn’t expect anything less of Waterhouse. She clearly has a good opinion of the son of Encosta De Lago. Despite this I think he is way out of his depth here and will struggle to match it with horses like Boban and It’s a Dundeel. From barrier eight he will have to do a lot of work to get across to lead especially with Monton and Glencadam Gold drawn inside him and that will tell late in the straight. Would surprise me if he ran a place. Not up to this level.

Summary:

If It’s a Dundeel turns up and is on his ‘A’ game I think he will be winning this race. However, I do still have a very big opinion of Boban. Like Dundeel, his best form would see him winning this race. If I had to choose one on top I would have It’s a Dundeel to win, however, id rather have a quinella with him and Boban because I think it’s a safer option and one that will provide more value. I think Moriarty, Hawkspur and Monton are capable of running big races and definitely being competitive but im not sure I can see them actually winning the race. I think the class of the top two horses will see them pair off and fight out the race over the final 100m. 1- It’s a Dundeel
2- Boban
3- Moriarty
4- Hawkspur

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