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Canterbury Stakes preview

It's all hotting up in Sydney on the road to the Championships. Big bucks on offer tomorrow and this is quiet a tricky race with no runner especially set for the race - they've all got bigger targets ahead. And tat, as we've so often seen in the past, can lead to a boilover.

Returning after a successful debut last week is astute Sydney form student Ben McDermott, @BTMcDermott.

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2015 Canterbury Stakes
Group 1 WFA, 1300m
Royal Randwick, $500,000
R7, 1610 local time, 0510 GMT

Form guide
Odds Comparison

Runners in saddlecloth order:

Sacred Falls (Purton/ Waller)
Sound miler resuming. Hasn’t won first up in his last five preparations and his two trials leading into this run suggest he will need a couple of runs before he starts producing his best. Will be set for the Doncaster but may struggle this year under the handicap conditions.

Criterion (Bowman/ Hayes)
Made the successful progression into WFA races last Spring and is sure to come on further under his new trainer. The last time we saw him was over 2000m at Sha Tin in the Hong Kong Cup and he ran a very good third behind Designs on Rome who is the star stayer in Hong Kong. However first up here I think he will get back and run on fairly, not expecting anything special first up over this short trip.

Tiger Tees (Reith/ Pride)
He was a late nomination into this race because Joe Pride saw a potential opportunity to win due to lack of depth (originally planned to run in the Challenge Stakes over 1000m). Although his two trials over 800m leading into this haven’t been encouraging it is significant to note that his trials leading up to his first up win last prep were run in similar vein. He must also be given a lot of respect; he has been in the quinella 7/9 attempts first up including five wins and is the only proven WFA sprinter in this field, he should be able to lead pretty comfortably and control the race. Apparently he is in excellent order and I think he’s a big chance, watch betting.

Fontelina - Scratched

Hooked (Shinn/ Thompson)
I’ve got a good opinion of this horse but I’m not convinced about his chances to win this race as his first up record is poor and I believe he needs 1600m to show his absolute best in group one company. I would have liked a stronger tempo for him to run on and I doubt he gets that here. In saying this he should get a good run just behind the leaders and based on all reports and trials he has improved and is one to look out for moving forward.

Leebaz (Berry/ Hawkes)
Similar to Hooked, this horse will appreciate further ground but also has a place chance. He has trialled well and in that trial ran past Tiger Tees late, however I’m not reading too much into that. I can see him running a similar race to Hooked, running midfield and finishing off nicely for a place but it’s hard to see him winning.

Royal Descent (McEvoy/ Waller)
Known as the perennial bridesmaid, Royal Descent hasn’t won a race since the Oaks at Randwick in 2013! I think she would have preferred to be resuming on soft ground to take the edge of a few horses that posses greater sprinting ability and sharpness. Like Sacred Falls and Criterion she will be aimed at races in a few weeks time over more ground and I only give her a place chance in this.

Catkins (Cassidy/ Waller)
Tough and honest mare who is always well placed in mares races and has a terrific winning strike rate. She has race fitness on her side and a nice barrier means Cassidy can position her on the speed or take a sit and get an easy run behind the leaders. Since Waller has taken the blinkers off her she has been able to settle better in her races and this has been with the intention to make her closing sectionals quicker. For a non group 1 winner it is a tough ask to take on Group 1 horses at a WFA weights scale but I think given the majority of the field are looking for further and are first up she has her chance to win her first Group 1. However I also believe she will need a lot of horses not to race to their peak (Tiger Tees, Cosmic Endeavour) if she is to win. I’m taking her on at her current price of $2.8.

Cosmic Endeavour (McDonald/ Waterhouse)
Another quality mare stepping up to WFA for the first time and has race fitness on the rest of the field. Gai has elected to put James McDonald on and is backing her up after last weeks race in an attempt to get the best out of her mare. If she was able to produce a run similar to that of which she produced when she won her Group 1 in Doomben I believe she could run over the top of them to win. However, this preparation she was aimed at running in the Doncaster and has been improving with each run which suggests she may be able to reach that Group 1 level again. I would have liked there to be more pressure up front challenging Tiger Tees as I believe this would have assisted her to use her turn of foot to win her the race.

Overview
Such a messy and weak WFA Group 1 race and I’ve struggled all week to work out who I like the most. It really depends who is wound up the most for this because there isn’t much splitting a few of these. I feel that assessing each horse's condition in the mounting yard and watching the market will point us in the right direction.

Selections

1. Tiger Tees (based on current value)
2. Cosmic Endeavour
3. Catkins
4. Hooked

Other Bets at Randwick

I’m quite keen on Telepathic in race 5 as well as Kuro in race 9. Take a double.

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