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Coolmore Classic preview

Sydney gets in on the act of big autumn racing this week as we move closer to the Golden Slipper and The Championships. Making his first appearance on the blog is Sydney racing aficionado, Liam Power, @laz3liam.

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Coolmore Classic
Rosehill
G1, AU$600,000, 1500m.
1610 local, 0510 GMT


Group 1 racing returns to Rosehill for the first time since the Golden Rose in September as the Fillies and Mares do battle in the time-honoured Coolmore Classic. With hot weather and windy conditions expected in Western Sydney on Saturday, we are likely to be racing on a Good 3 surface. The rail will be in the True position, meaning horses situated two or three of the fence should be best suited.

Former Winners and SP
2015: Plucky Belle - $16
2014: Steps in Time - $8
2013: Appearance - $11
2012: Ofcourseican - $13
2011: Aloha - $6
2010: Alverta - $17
2009: Typhoon Tracy - $4.75
2008: Eskimo Queen - $21
2007: Tuesday Joy - $7.5
2006: Regal Cheer - $9

By taking a look at winners of the race over the past 10 years, we can see that the race has been a tough one for favourite punters, with superstar mare Typhoon Tracy the last favourite to win the race. Despite the poor record of three year-old fillies in the race, punters have backed Ghisoni in early markets, with the filly now holding $4.6 favouritism over Melbourne mare Azkadellia and tough Sydneysider Azkadellia.

Runner-by-Runner
1. Lucia Valentina 5m 58kg (J McDonald, K Lees)
The tough Savabeel mare boasts a fantastic record first-up, with her last two first-up runs over 1400m resulting in a 1.6L sixth to Hooked in the Tramway, and a 2L fourth to star import Contributer in the 2015 Apollo Stakes. Although she definitely saves her best form for rain-affected ground, that first-up form is proper WFA form against some of the nation’s top class gallopers. After drawing barrier seven, it looks likely that she will take up her usual running pattern of dropping right out the back and having one run at them down the straight. In previous first-up runs Lees has had her flashing home with an eye-catching run, however being first-up over 1500m this time, she will have that little bit extra time to catch them on the post. Despite lumping top weight of 58kg, I feel she is right in this and believe the current $21 quote at Sportsbet is terrific value.

2. Politeness 5m 57kg (T Berry, R Smerdon)
What a tough mare Politeness has turned out to be. Last year’s Myer Classic winner and Emirates runner-up was one of the most in-form horses in the country last spring, stringing together three straight wins to start her prep before being bloused by Turn Me Loose on the final day of the Flemington carnival. Although she is yet to register a win this prep, her record is hard to ignore and the form around Turn Me Loose is top WFA form as seen by his big win in the Futurity a fortnight ago. The big factor against Politeness is that she has drawn awfully in barrier 13 so will need a lot of luck from the barrier as well as a good ride from Tommy Berry to have any winning chance. Her weight of 57kg isn’t exactly encouraging either for a mare who is conceding weight to in-form rivals such as Solicit and Azkadellia. I think she will find it tough but wouldn’t be surprised to see her fill a placing.

3. Solicit 5m 56kg (K McEvoy, G Ryan)
If it wasn’t for a mare called Winx, you would have to say that Solicit would be one of the most in-form mares in Australia. A one-length defeat to Winx at level weights in the Apollo was followed up by a dominant last-start win in the G2 Guy Walter where she broke the track record in the process. Solicit gets her chance to break the “Group 1 Duck” today and has drawn absolutely perfect in barrier six. I ecpect McEvoy to be positive from the gate and to hold out Ghisoni and Peeping from their outside barriers. The key to her chances today is how much of an easy-time she can get up front. So many mares races are a battle for the lead and if she can get some cruisy mid-race sectionals, she will be incredibly hard to hold out. The one they have to beat.

4. Amicus 4m 55.5kg (T Clark, C Waller)
I was really hoping for Amicus to draw a nice barrier today, as I believe her last run behind Solicit was a big forgive run given the ride she was given and track bias on the day, however she has come up with barrier 12 and will find it tough to get an ideal run again today. If Clark can manage to get a trail behind Slightly Sweet over into a two wide/three wide with cover position, she may have enough for one last crack at them. It must be remembered that she gets a 2.5kg swing from the Guy Walter against Solicit and must be respected given her trainer’s record at this track and in Group 1 races. Probably prefer the place, and think she is a little under the odds at the moment.

5. Tinto 5m 55kg (D Browne, R Lipp)
For a group 1 winning mare Tinto is really well weighted here, however all of her best runs have come over 1600m or further. Although wide, she has drawn a barrier which really suits her running-style and if the pace is hot enough, I can see her charging home late to fill a placing. The big race to look at her from a form perspective is the Villiers in December when she ran one length behind Happy Clapper despite conceding 3kg to him. Happy Clapper has since run well at WFA against the likes of First Seal and Kermadec which means this is serious form which shouldn’t be ignored. I think her ideal race this Autumn is the Queen of the Turf later in the Autumn, but wouldn’t surprise me if she ran really well here. I have her marked closer to $12 so feel the $17 on offer (at time of writing) at Crownbet is certainly appealing.

6. Peeping 4m 53.5kg (S Clipperton, R Quinton)
What a tough little mare Peeping is. For a mare that has only had 13 career starts, Peeping has endeared herself to Sydney racing fans as a mare who always tries her guts out. Although I think she is poorly weighted, the fact Peeping has only been beaten at Rosehill once in her four starts here (the day she pulled up with Cardiac Arrhythmia) means she has to be respected in this field. Wins against top mares such as Catkins and Arabian Gold in the Golden Pendant in September show that Peeping is certainly no slouch and must be respected here. Barrier 10 means Clipperton is going to have to be really smart with the first 400 metres of the race so she still has enough energy at the end, but if she can sit two or three pairs back with cover, she is a definite winning chance for mine.

7. Azkadellia 4m 53kg (B Prebble, C Maher)
Azkadellia was one of the biggest improvements in the Melbourne Autumn carnival, as she went from racing in a BM70 at Ballarat in September, to running third in the Myer Classic behind Politeness on derby day. Azkadellia gets a 3.5kg swing from Politeness on that day, and gets the booking of gun Hong Kong-based rider Brett Prebble today so certainly should be respected. It may sound strange given she has drawn barrier four, but I would much prefer her to draw an outside barrier to stay out of trouble and get clear running room at the back end of the race. Those familiar with the Mare know her racing pattern can be extremely painful viewing for punters, however when things go right and she gets a bit of luck, she is a breathtaking horse to watch. I want to be on her today and think she is probably the one in this field with the most upside; however the barrier has disappointed me and will mean she needs absolutely everything in the run to go right for her to win.

8. Telepathic 5m 52kg ( J Collett, C Waller)
Although all of her best form has been over a mile and longer, Telepathic surprised many people to run second behind First Seal at this track last start. First Seal has well and truly franked that form running 2nd in the Canterbury Stakes at WFA last weekend so Telepathic definitely demands Respect. She gets an extra 2kg off that weight this weekend and looks to get a lovely run in behind them from barrier three. For mine, she is one of the best value chances in the race and looks like she will get the best run possible from that gate so should certainly be worth including in one way or another.

9. Zanbagh 5m 51kg (K O’Hara, J Thompson)
One of the biggest training performances in Australia over the past six months has been that of John Thompson to get Zanbagh back to her best following a barren stretch of form which included just 1 placing out of 11 starts since her second behind Rising Romance in the 2014 ATC Oaks. It would be a fantastic story if Zanbagh was to salute in the Coolmore, however given her inside draw and the fact she all of her best form has been on rain-effected going; I can’t have her this weekend. Being as low as $12 with some bookmakers is just puzzling to me and she will be one of the runners I will be looking to LAY if conditions stay the same.

10. Slightly Sweet 4m 51kg (J Ford, J Coyle)
Despite a fruitful 3yo campaign where she won the G3 Keith Nolan Classic and was 2.7L off Fenway in the Vinery, Slightly Sweet has really failed to go on with it in open age class and has to be another runner in this field who looks to be outclassed. She comes through the same form race as many with a 2.5L sixth behind Solicit in the Guy Walter; however she has failed to run a place in all her starts as a 4yo despite having every chance in most of them. I think the $18 is probably about the right price but I would have to see her parade well and see a positive betting move for her on the day before thinking about backing her.

11. Vergara 5m 51kg (D Moor, A Cummings)
I’m a big fan of Anthony Cummings as a trainer. As far as getting rising 3yos to run well and placing them in the early stages of their career, he is one of the best in Sydney. However, he continues to place his horses really poorly in Group 1s. This race is no exception as despite her lovely draw in barrier five, Vergara looks to be no chance at all. I understand she chased home a fast Solicit last start and battled on quite gamely, but she is going to have to improve a few lengths to be any chance in winning this.

12. Ghisoni 3f 50kg (C Brown, J O’Shea)
What a lovely little filly Ghisoni is turning out to be. A well-bred daughter of Lonhro who’s dam Portillo also won the Grp3 Surround Stakes brings in a different form line in the shape of the Surround Stakes a fortnight ago, where she was victorious against top fillies Stay With Me, Ambience and Honesta. I was quite against her that day but she won pretty well in the end and clearly looks to be one of the main chances here. I think the $4.5 she is with some bookies is big unders however and I will certainly be looking around her on the day before having a bet. Although she did beat those big names in the Surround, I feel with race fitness and luck-in-running she probably should have put a bigger margin on them in the end. Three year old fillies have had a pretty ordinary record in this race over the last few years, with superstar Typhoon Tracy the only three year old to win the race over the last 10 years. For this reason also, I’m happy to bet around Ghisoni on Saturday.

13. Pearls 3f 50kg (W Costin, J O’Shea)
Another blueblood Godolphin filly, Pearls looks to turn around an average start to her campaign here against the Mares. Being out of the great broodmare Accessories (Dam of Helmet and Epaulette), there is no doubt this filly is possessed with plenty of talent, but I don’t think this is the race she will get to showcase it. Her two best performances in my opinion have both been on rain-effected ground and she is not going to get that here. She has drawn ideally in barrier 1 and I expect her to get a nice run camped behind the speed as the race unfolds. I am a really big fan of the horse but I can’t have her in this.

Verdict and Tips: I think the big factor in this race is how much of an easy time Solicit gets up front. With not a huge amount of speed drawn inside of her I expect her to sit just off Vergara who has drawn inside of her, and to have Ghisoni camped just behind that pair. If McEvoy really wants to be aggressive and lead on Solicit, I have a feeling she might come a little unstuck in the latter stages of the race with known swoopers such as Lucia Valentina and Azkadellia coming hard late. Telepathic is the horse who I think is the best each way bet in the race but I would have to see her parade well and see if she has come on since her last run before backing her. Waller in a Group 1 race has to be respected.

1. Solicit
2. Lucia Valentina
3. Telepathic
4. Azkadellia

Win bet Solicit 1 unit @ $6 (Sportsbet)
Each way bet Lucia Valentina 0.5 units ew @ $21 (Sportsbet)
Each way bet Telepathic 0.5 units ew @ $15 (bet365)
Lay Ghisoni place to lose 2 units @ $1.90 or less
(Available prices as at Wednesday evening)

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