After an impressive debut last week with his first 100 Unit column, Matt Baird is back for a look at Day 2 of The Championships.
As we return to Randwick for Day 2 of The Championships an air of inevitability and excitement comes with it. The great mare Winx heads to the feature race of the day, The Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m. The race has seen a significant increase in prizemoney over recent years as the Australian Turf Club attempts to make this the jewel in The Championships crown. Winx looks to join the immortal Black Caviar in winning 25 in a row here and although she isn’t much of a betting proposition she unites all racing fans.
Looking to build off last week’s +31.4 units (based on NSW Tote returns), we head to Randwick in front after a very tough Day 1. With four Group 1 races on the card and the culmination of The Provincial Championship series we have a meeting every bit as exciting as Day 1. Sensational Sydney weather should see us race on a good track once again and with a bumper crowd in attendance the racing won’t disappoint. The rail comes out 3m from last week and if history is anything to go by should play fair and fast. Below is a race-by-race guide on how I will be attacking the day using 100 units.
The day’s opening event sees the two-year olds stretch to 1600m for the first time. Much like last week’s Sires Produce the unknown of the distance for these runners is a real challenge. For young horses increasing their distance by 200m or more from their previous start is dramatic. Last week we saw that distance suitable to $101 chance El Dorado Dreaming, a horse that went under previously at Tamworth and Newcastle. It is the kind of race that you’re better off keeping your powder dry.
Bet: No Bet
A diverse bunch of form lines bring these 3-year olds together here over 1400m. I’m banking on Clarry Conners being able to freshen up Torvill after a last start failure over 2000m. She is the class of the field and carries top weight today. Due a bit of luck this girl and the stable are looking to send her out on a winning note after a super campaign. Looking back to her form earlier in the preparation and see she has run Alizee, Shoals, Rimraam and Luvaluva all to within half a length. A repeat of any of those efforts would hold her in good stead here. Clarry is a master horseman who has been in the game for a long time and she wouldn’t be here if she couldn’t win. The current favourite Isaurian was an acceptor for The Arrowfield later on in the day so but Godolphin have opted for more ground here and an easier grade. Isaurian is a horse on the up for sure but Torvill has the runs on the board and can settle in front of Isaurian in the run today from a better barrier.
Bet: Torvill 4w 7p Getting even money the place this girl is money for jam!
The Snowden team don’t often go a season without taking out some black type with their two-year old’s. This year will be no different with Pure Elation coming off a good confidence building win at Warwick Farm last start. They have found the key to her in letting her find her feet early and it is really helping her finish off her races with style. Two starts back she was fighting up the inside behind Slipper win Estijaab before narrowly going down by 0.4L. The only negative here is the map can be a bit tricky for her, any way you look at it she ends up three back the inside. Michael Walker is engaged though and it is in his hands we trust. Position in running favours go to Outback Barbie who should be sizzling along out in front, she will be the one we need to get past but with even luck Pure Elation wins.
Bet: Pure Elation 4w 8p
The Provincial Championships final sees trainers Kris Lees and Kim Waugh well represented. Provincial jockey Aaron Bullock rode a lot of these horses in their respective qualifiers but he rides in Newcastle here not in the final. Kris Lees has engaged Hugh Bowman on his top seed Just Dreaming and unluckily for Aaron he misses out on the plum ride. This Snitzel mare has unbelievable form for a race like this coming off a last start 1L seventh to Daysee Doom in the G1 Coolmore. This has been a target for her all preparation so I am expecting even more improvement off that run and should I be right, this will be a gap job. She is the best of the day here and she will be saluting and giving Kris Lees his second winner of the series after taking out the inaugural final with Danish Twist.
Bet: Just Dreaming 20w (I have her marked closer to a $3.00 chance than the $3.70 currently available)
The Arrowfield presents itself once again as a strong sprinters' affair over 1200m for the 3-year olds. Godolphin are well represented here with Bowman to ride Viridine, he should start a firm favourite after a last start placing in the G1 Galaxy behind In Her Time. Whilst I respect him, the market has well and truly found him and sub $4 doesn’t represent value here. In taking him on I am looking to the filly from the Ellerton and Zahra yard, Booker. Look for Dwayne Dunn to cruise over from barrier seven and take a sit just behind leaders Houtzen and Perast. She will find a cushy spot that should see her right in the finish. She should have won the G1 Oakleigh Plate in my opinion and with less early pressure here she’ll finish off better. Getting $2.50+ about her to place represents much better value for mine than Viridine to win.
Bet: Booker 3w 6p
The first of the four Group 1s today the Australian Oaks sees the 3-year-old fillies battle it out for this blue riband classic. This also happens to be the last race Winx lost, going under as favourite to the ra John Sargent-trained Gust of Wind (11/4/2015). It is in Sargent we trust again here with current third favourite Luvaluva. The favourite in Unforgotten looks short enough at sub $4 and I expect her to get out in the market here, even with popular jockey Hugh Bowman taking over. Much like last week's Derby winner, Luvaluva presents here on a seven-day back up after handling the B grade at their previous outing. I am extremely confident she will stay the trip (which is half the battle with these young girls) and anything near even money the place makes her very appealing. I am respecting Aloisia who has had a torrid time of it this campaign. If she wins this though I don’t want to be losing on the race as she is the class of the field but with minor distance concerns having failed over the trip in the spring.
Bet: Luvaluva 3w 7p @ $5/$2 won’t miss & Aloisia 2w
The highlight of the Randwick carnival sees Winx hit the track looking for G1 number 18 and her second Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Being so short she isn’t a horse I want to be with financially, however most bookmakers have ‘Winx Out’ markets available. It is in that market that I want to play here, Darren Weir has Humidor on the seven-day back up here and running over 2000m. It is this formula he used in the Cox Plate in the spring where Humidor was able to run Winx to a half-length. For mine he is the second-best horse in the country past 1600m and if he runs up to that Cox Plate run he could even scare the great mare. The only knock I have on him here is drawing barrier 1 isn’t ideal for him, post-race last week jockey Mark Zahra thought he didn’t enjoy being inside horses. Shinn takes over here and should drag him back to last out of the gates and tag Winx everywhere she goes.
Bet: Winx Out Market, Humidor 10w @ $3 looks great.
The Sydney Cup has thrown up its fair share of upsets over the years but this year's edition looks a race well suited for the favourite Almandin. He gets in really well at the weights here and being a Melbourne Cup winner and BMW winner, he has the runs on the board for this. Kerrin McEvoy gets off him today to ride lightweight stablemate Aloft, but he is still in capable hands with G1 superstar jockey Damien Oliver. When brave in the BMW last start, he settled much closer to the speed than in previous outings and from barrier five Ollie has plenty of options as to where to settle him. He is from the most astute training yard of stayers in the country and any market support here will see him hard in the finish. It is a full 20 horse field for this but it lacks depth for mine with intrigue added by Japanese import Prestwick. I’ll risk him here as he is first up but if he brings his Japanese form he will be right in this.
Bet: Almandin 5w 10p I am thinking you will get even money the place on the day at some point so just be patient with this bet.
This year’s open class fillies and mares black type racing has been a nightmare to decipher with these girls being such an even bunch. Today presents no less challenging with a full field looking to take out this weight-for-age mile event. Just like in the first of the day it is sometimes more beneficial to stay out and that’s what I’ll be doing here. For the sake of a tip I have the Andrew Noblet-trained Silent Sedition on top. She maps to get a good run from midfield but most of these runners are under-priced for mine and I’d need to be significantly in front to be tempted into playing here. Go as wide as you can afford to in the quaddie and shorten up other legs to improve your percentage. It should be a cracking contest however the feel-good story for mine will be jockey Corey Brown getting his autumn Group 1 after missing out on some plumb rides through injury last week! Racing is a funny game sometimes and we saw last week Tye Angland crushed and in despair after going down on Ace High, only to bounce back 40 minutes later with Trapeze Artist.
Bet: No Bet
What a way to end the Championships! Spright scorched the turf last start at Rosehill and looks to be over the odds for mine at $15/$4.60. Coming from last that day she bloused them, coming home in 34.04 for her last 600m. There is enough tempo engaged here for a repeat of that run with Quilista and Ravi expected to take up the running. Ravi is really appealing to me as well here and gets on-speed favours. She just blew out in condition late there first up and I am sure the Snowden yard would have built upon that run fitness wise. We will end Championships Day 2 with ones from either end of the field here and take them both in a tough get out race!
Bet: Spright 1w 5p & Ravi 1w 4p
As always feel free to hit me up on Twitter and let me know if you think I am on the money or I’ve gone mad! You will find me @mattyb1819.
Good luck punters!