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Canterbury Stakes preview

The ducks are out in force at Randwick today and there's a half-million dollar sprint race primed just before the Sydney carnival kicks into full swing. What does Chautauqua have in store for us this campaign? Tapping the keys for this preview is astute analyst Callum Gogerly, @_gogs10.

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Canterbury BMW Stakes
Group 2, AU$500,000, 1300m
Randwick R5
1450 local, 0350 GMT


Conditions: If you are reading this preview, then it is a good thing, because there has been constant rainfall in Sydney throughout the last few days which has cast significant doubt over the running of this meeting. The Randwick track is notoriously poor at coping with large amounts of rain, so if we are going ahead then treacherous conditions and a Heavy 10 rating can be expected (9 at this stage, Ed.).

Speed: Often tricky in these events with small fields. There doesn’t look to be an out and out leader, but (2) Le Romain and and (4) Music Magnate often race handy, so would be no shock to see one of them take it up. Expect (1) Chautauqua to be given plenty of time to balance up as per usual to try and finish over the top.

1. Chautauqua ($3)- Always such an interesting runner. While we always knew what he was capable of in Australia, he took the rest of the world’s breath away in Hong Kong last May when he produced his customary barnstorming finish to take out the G1 Chairman’s Sprint. What followed last spring in both runs at Moonee Valley was no doubt disappointing. First up this prep in the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield I thought he hit the line well and the clock backed him up, he ran the fastest last 600m of the day! From what we’ve seen in his last three runs, it’s pretty clear that he is past his best, but his absolute best won’t be required to beat this field. I want to be on him today up to the 1300m and I expect him to bounce back and get back into the winners enclosure.

2. Le Romain ($4.60)- G1 Cantala Stakes winner from the spring who I thought might struggle a little first up with the big weight, but he is so genuine he stuck his neck out at the right time to score. He has performed well on wet tracks before when they have been presented to him throughout his career, a second to key rival Hauraki here over 1400m indicates that he is right up to this standard. He is one of the clear dangers to Chautauqua. First time at WFA has to be one of the few queries.

3. Hauraki ($10)- Fantastic prep throughout the spring with the clear highlight being a breathtaking win in the G1 Epsom Handicap. He went from being a non-winner to one of the higher class horses we have on the scene at the moment. Is current favourite for the Doncaster Handicap and will be set for that and/or the Queen Elizabeth, so first up here on a bottomless track may not be the ideal scenario. Keep an eye on him after this run.

4. Music Magnate ($3.80)- Another who came of age last prep culminating in winning the G1 Doomben 10,000. He bypassed the spring and based on his efforts first up, that extended break has done him the world of good. He is a month between runs here, but has trialled impressively (he has won 9 of his 14 official barrier trials I note). He’s had a WFA victory but I think this is his toughest test to date, he will need to have come on and improved from that first run to beat the top two here.

5. Japonisme ($17)- Generally consistent performer back for another crack this autumn. I did think his spring was a little bit disappointing though, despite being G1 placed. He hasn’t developed into the horse I thought he might after he showed a lot of promise at a younger age (He won a Coolmore Classic). He has the Waller factor, but I’m happy to take a sit against him in this race.

6. Too Good To Refuse ($67)- Quite easy to refuse here actually. Can’t win average Queensland handicaps, so he can't win here.

7. Ugo Foscolo ($7.50)- Strangely-named NZ import who is now under the care of the Bott/Waterhouse stable. Has won five of six career starts and usually we see the quality NZ form stack up over here in Australia. He looked to tune up for this nicely winning a trial by 7L two weeks ago. He’s difficult to line up, he’s going to need to be good to beat this field, but he just might be.

8. Impending ($11)- He was a big drifter in the betting first up and ran accordingly, although he was held up for a short period, he did disappoint I thought. He had form around the best of the best last spring: Astern, Star Turn, Omei Sword and Divine Prophet just to name a few. If he can run up to any of those spring runs then he is going to be extremely competitive. If you back him today though, you’re going to need a hell of a lot improvement from that first up run.

Tips: A small but really competitive race. While I acknowledge it is not an “all in” job I do think that Chautauqua is easily the one to beat here. It is only an added bonus that he has handled wet tracks in the past and I do think that his class will carry him a long way. Le Romain is super consistent and only needs to hold or slightly improve his recent form to be around the mark. Uglo Foscolo is the query runner who might run a nice race outside of the obvious. Music Magnate next best.

1. Chautauqua
2. Le Romain
3. Uglo Foscolo
4. Music Magnate

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