The 'autumn' carnival of racing steps into full swing this weekend in Australia with the C.F.Orr Stakes at Caulfield and the Apollo Stakes at Randwick. It's the latter race which has flushed out a new contributor, Paul Nathan, @paulnathan92. Welcome aboard!
Optus Business Apollo Stakes
Group 2, $250,000, 1400m
1625 AEDT, 0525 GMT
1. Who Shot Thebarman.
Classy stayer back from a break. This trip is well short of his optimum. Look for him to be staying on at the end without troubling the eventual placings. He's just here for the run.
2. Magic Hurricane.
British import into his third Aussie prep. Last seen winning the Metropolitan over 2400m. Another who will be looking for further later into his prep however has shown speed since arriving in Australia, winning his debut over course and distance albeit in a weaker race (BM. Goes well on the track form reads 1,4,2,1 look for him to be staying on at the end has a good chance of getting into the placings.
3. Grand Marshall.
Quality stayer back from a break. Needs to go a lot further to get into contention.
X Hong Kong runner resuming after a break ran well on his Aussie debut over 1400m at Caulfield progressed from that running another good race in the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes at the Valley over 1600m he will be looking for further in time but has shown speed in he's first Aussie prep which ended in a run to bad to be true. Awkward Barrier in 11 would expect him to be ridden close to the pace which could see him caught 3 wide. Expect him to run a respectable race and be plugging on right to the line. Decent chance of getting into the placings
Nice horse. Last seen running a respectable eighth in the Caulfield Cup at single-figure odds. Another runner who will be looking for further later into his prep. Does not have much chance here for me, was well beaten first- and second-up last campaign but they were also on wet tracks which aren't his favourite. Will be running on, watch and see how he goes. Small chance, trial runs leading into this weren't too bad.
Once again another stayer resuming here has run respectable races over 1400m in the past trialled VERY well for this race. Expect to lead or be up right on the pace look for him to be right there close to home and a few finishing over him. I rate him to have a good chance of getting into the placings. Decent place chance
7. Centre Pivot.
Resuming after a short break since running third at the Gold Coast in the Magic Millions Stayers Cup over 1800m. Will be fitter than most having run on Jan 9 and having trialled for this race on Jan 29. Outclassed here for me, can't see him being a danger. Little chance.
This horse needs no introduction she's the best horse in Australia she has speed and stamina to suit as shown in her last prep starting over 1300m where she flew home to win in the Theo Marks Stakes, and ending with an effortless win in the Cox Plate over 2040m. Drawn the inside which could cause some problems if the leaders decide to crawl in front, or the rail is off. But she has the tactical speed to get out of any problems she should win here if comes back as good as she was last year. Wins.
9. Gust Of A Wind.
Stayer resuming after running a cracking sixth in the Melbourne Cup. Unlikely to trouble the field here, look out for her over further.
Second run back this prep after running second to the classy Our Boy Malachi was no match that day but was staying on well over 1200m. For me, she is the main danger to Winx. Solicit is one of the few horses in the field who can be called a genuine sprinter/miler. Will be fitter for her first run and will be ready to fire here. Gets a gun barrier in four, will sit right on the pace and kick to try and make Winx catch her. Next best winning chance, shouldn't be out of the top three.
11. Bohemian Lily.
Stayer resuming does not have much hope here for me can see her going forward and coming back to them close to home look out for her over further later into prep.
Top 5 Prediction
3rd Magic Hurricane