Race 1 - 11:20AM SCHWEPPES HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
1. Command Approved has the tactical speed to offset the wide draw and his latest trial suggests that he has returned better than last campaign. He won on debut on a heavy track, albeit at Canberra.
Dangers:12. Diamond City impressed when winning her maiden at Wyong last start, clocking quicker time than the BM64 on the same meeting. Maps well too. 13. Luna Rocks has to be in the conversation, given there was nothing between that pair at Newcastle the start prior. 5. Zougotcha ran out a dominant winner at Canterbury on debut on a bottomless track. Can we trust that form given how treacherous the conditions were? Draws awkwardly. 11. Zou Tiger ran second to Zougotcha there. 2. Czar and 4. Plymstock profile to be strong late.
How To Play It: Command Approved EACH WAY
Race 2 - 11:55AM MIDWAY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
9. Compassionate has a tricky draw to overcome but the Tracey Bartley-trained filly arguably brings the strongest form lines into this. Two starts back she travelled deep the trip at Canterbury but still proved too strong for Headliner and Selhurst Park to finally break her maiden. It had been a long time coming. Then she again covered ground at Hawkesbury last start when beaten 1.6L by unbeaten mare Norwegian Bliss. That was only 10 days ago so she tackles this a fit horse now and she has handled wet tracks in the past. Her maiden win was on a heavy track. Even her form through the Gold Coast Magic Millions maiden reads well for this. It'll just be a matter of where Kathy O'Hara can slot in. If she can find cover, she's hard to hold out.
Dangers: 6. Sunborn is a talented mare that hasn't had much go her way in her 14 start career. She resumed with a luckless seventh at Warwick Farm back in February before being sidelined for another 10 weeks. Like the way she has trialled since. Could find 1100m a touch sharp and not sure how comfortable she is on heavy ground, however. They're the knocks. 2. Mosht Up has been up forever but she continues to race well. Comes back from 1200m to 1100m but another heavy surface negates that. 3. Impulse Control beat Mosht Up last time. 5. Just Field has won three from four fresh and wet is okay for her. 8. Winning Verse is the most lightly-raced filly in the field.
How To Play It: Compassionate WIN
Race 3 - 12:30PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1400 METRES)
16. Super Helpful was a brilliant winner at Orange last start, putting four lengths on his rivals having settled outside of the leader. Back in a distant third was Ferus, who won just as well himself the start prior and is hard in the market in Saturday's race too. The three-year-old's form is a touch patchy but when he does win, he does it in style. All three of his career victories have been by big margins. He wasn't beaten all that far in the Albury Guineas three runs ago, while back in February he bumped into Kelvedon Road and Jalmari at Canberra. Trained by Barbara Joseph, in partnership with Paul and Matt Jones, the gelding maps to get the run of the race, was a last start winner on a heavy track and if repeats what he did two weeks ago, he's very hard to beat in this.
Dangers: 15. Fourmadec has won three of his six starts, winning his last two despite having to come from the back of the field. That's been due to wide draws. He can race much closer from the inside gate on Saturday and James McDonald rides. There is a query over 1. Mr Hussill running a strong 1400m but liked what he did last Saturday against the bias, having not found the fence at Randwick. He'll give away another huge head start from the wide draw. 3. To The Nines has more tactical speed to offset his wide draw but it still looks problematic for the four-year-old. He drops back to a Class 3 from the Country Championships Final where he faded late to finish 13th. 10. Daksha wasn't beaten all that far by Golden Point and Shelby Sixtysix in Highway back in February but he's another one drawn horribly.
How To Play It: Super Helpful WIN
Race 4 - 1:05PM PRECISE AIR HANDICAP (1800 METRES)
4. Aleas caught the eye at his first run in Australia, when fourth over 1400m at Newcastle behind O'President and Taksu. He was well backed late too, jumping an $8.50 chance. The import steps straight out to 1800m second up, with his UK form suggesting that's more in his wheelhouse. Three of his four wins overseas have been over the mile, with the other out to 2200m. The four-year-old has been back to the trials for a tickover and he ran into third behind a subsequent first up winner in Much Much Better. James McDonald sticks. The only knock is the lack of speed in the race, compounded by drawing seven of nine. He could potentially show more speed out in trip to be more prominent in running. We'll leave that to J-Mac.
Dangers: There wasn't a lot between Aleas and 6. Irish Sequel at Newcastle. Aleas did clock a last 600m split about three lengths quicker but Irish Sequel could settle closer in the run again on Saturday from the low draw. He certainly did enough first up to suggest that he has returned well. 5. Gone Bye maps to get complete control in this out to 1800m. He improved second up on what he did first up but he was still beaten a long way. It's been some time now since he has fought out a finish. We'll get a good handle on where he is at in his career in this as it sets up perfectly. 3. Mirann was specked a long odds in the Rosehill Cup at his first run in Australia but dropped out after leading. 7. Mr Gee is capable on his day.
How To Play It: Aleas WIN
Race 5 - 1:40PM GRAINSHAKER VODKA HANDICAP (1200 METRES)
8. Kir Royale is a filly going places. The three-year-old won two of her four starts in her first campaign and did it in style. Her maiden win was a sprint home and she delivered. Two weeks later she backed that up at Canterbury winning again. More was expected from her at start four when jumping a well backed $2.40 favourite but she raced flat, having come to the end of her preparation. The daughter of I Am Invincible, out of handy mare Champagne Cath, has trialled twice ahead of her return and like the way she cruised through the line without being asked to do much. Drawn barrier 1, she'll get the drop on the leaders and get her chance. Chris Waller has already scratched her a couple of times looking for the perfect race to launch her preparation.
Dangers: Her stablemate 2. Zarastro hasn't delivered on his promise so far this preparation. First up he jumped a firm favourite in a Listed race down the Flemington straight but pulled up lame. He then raced keenly in behind the speed at Moonee Valley before dropping out to run a well beaten fourth, again as a firm favourite. He is better than that. 5. Sense Of Honour resumed from an 87 week break at Sandown first up and she did enough. Strips fitter for that and she won a Saturday race at Flemington back in 2020 as a two-year-old in good style. 3. The Big Easy won at Rosehill on a heavy track last preparation so he has fired in Sydney before. Respect 10. Street Power coming back to a more suitable trip.
How To Play It: Kir Royale WIN
Race 6 - 2:20PM CHANDON HANDICAP (1400 METRES)
Can 3. Quintello reproduce what she did at Mornington? If she does, she wins, and probably just as comfortably. It was a brilliant return from this mare four weeks ago. The win of a galloper destined to race her way out of benchmark company in quick time. The knocks are obvious. She now has to do it going the opposite way for the first time and on a likely heavy surface. Her Mornington win was on a Good track. Her only previous exposure to a heavy track was over 1547m at Geelong on debut where she ran third as a $2.70 pop. James McDonald has been booked for the ride and he won't have her too far away in the run from the low draw, likely settling in the first four.
Dangers: 7. Sensationalisation rolled to the front at Doomben last start, just her second start for Jason Deamer, and gave her rivals a galloping lesson. Ghostwriter jumped favourite and was four lengths back in second. She could prove hard to run down if she finds the front again. 5. Elusive Jewel has won three of her 10 starts and is a last start winner at Goulburn, winning by a space on a soft track. Trainer John Thompson obviously has her flying. 6. Devils Triangle is chasing three straight wins. This is harder and she's likely to see most of her rivals turning for home from the wide draw, however. 9. Arranmore should be at her top now but have expected more from her this preparation.
How To Play It: Quintello WIN
Race 7 - 3:00PM FURPHY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
2. Andermatt was brilliant first up, putting six lengths on his rivals. He simply handled the very heavy track at Canterbury better than anything that day but he also oozed class in the way he travelled up to his seven rivals before putting them to the sword. We know that a wet track holds absolutely no fears for this four-year-old, with a record of 3:2-1-0 on heavy tracks, and at this stage the 1100m is his pet trip. The manner in which he won two and half weeks ago suggests that he is a horse that'll end the campaign back in black type races. He'll drift back to settle somewhere midfield from the draw but the speed up front should be genuine enough for him to again prove too good for this level of sprinter.
Dangers: Doubt anything can come from behind Andermatt and beat him so that sees the speedy 5. Spaceboy as some sort of threat bowling along out in front. Granted, the five-year-old has done very little in his two runs back this time in but he has since been freshened and went like a rocket in a recent barrier trial win. With 52kg on his back, catch me if you can. 7. Flat Heaven is a bit of an enigma but when he's on, he's an older sprinter capable of matching it with most in this grade. Then there's Mark Newnham's pair 3. Lord Olympus and 10. Dragonstone.
How To Play It: Andermatt WIN
Race 8 - 3:40PM DRINKWISE MILE (1600 METRES)
Nervous about how far 3. Diamil will get back from the draw but he's a seriously talented horse. The import found the line over 1250m at Canterbury first up before blowing his rivals away out to the mile at Warwick Farmat start two in Australia. The form through that midweeker is very strong with Main Stage, From The Bush and Verona all subsequent winners, and impressive winners at that. John O'Shea subsequently elected to freshen up the four-year-old, giving him a month to get over that victory. The speed up top looks genuine enough for James McDonald to ride a patient race but with the rail out so far at Randwick, it bares monitoring how the track is playing up until this point. All being equal, he is better than these and grades better than a BM78 level horse.
Dangers: 5. La Chevalee tackled this same track and trip third up last preparation off two Melbourne runs was should have won. She finished a luckless third. 13. Ting Tong has been freshened up after running second at Newcastle over 1880m. He is a three-year-old still with upside. 7. Bethencourt can bounce back from last start while 10. Philipsburg has place claims.
How To Play It: Diamil WIN
Race 9 - 4:20PM THE AGENCY HANDICAP (1300 METRES)
4. O'President camped on the back of Taksu at Newcastle three weeks ago and beat him fair and square. He meets Taksu 2kg worse off but O'President was only second up there, jumping from 1100m to 1400m. James McDonald holds the ace of drawing inside of Taksu on Saturday so if Taksu wants to cross, McDonald will make Taksu work to do so. The three-year-old gelding didn't fire a shot last preparation but all three of those starts were on good tracks. It appears no coincidence that his return to form coincides with another run of wet tracks. Prior to his second up win, he chased home Mazu in the Fireball and despite being beaten over five lengths, there was merit to his effort. Coming back 100m perhaps isn't ideal but another testing Randwick surface should negate that.
Dangers: 7. Taksu is a tough nut to crack. He always is. After running second to Gravina first up he ran his rivals into the ground at Rosehill before splitting O'President and 6. Rustic Steel at Newcastle. He presents a very fit horse now fourth up. Rustic Steel travelled into the Provincial Midway Championships like the winner only to be swamped late, running fourth. He was still only beaten half a length. 10. Zing is yet to win first up but she has run been exceptional in defeat in her latest two fresh runs. 8. Matchmaker the knockout.
How To Play It: O'President WIN
Race 10 - 4:55PM RANVET HANDICAP (1400 METRES)
7. Ucalledit found the 1250m too sharp first up at Canterbury but there was a lot to like about how he worked through the line. That sets him up well out to 1400m second up. The former New Zealand-trained gelding, who is now trained by Kris Lees, really started hitting his straps at the backend of last preparation over this same trip when ridden on speed. He led and kept finding to win at Riccarton in good style back in November. The four-year-old's record over 1400m reads 7:4-1-1. Wouldn't expect Brenton Avdulla to waste the inside draw on Saturday punching up to hold a prominent spot. If Too Much Caviar wants to lead at all costs, he does have the versatility to take a trail and still be just as effective. As long as he is rolling along in a rhythm. A sit-sprint spells danger.
Dangers: 5. Nikau Spur comes through the same midweek race as Ucalledit and it was an equally encouraging return. He too looks suited out to 1400m second up and paraded in magnificent order that day so he has obviously returned well. 10. Different Strokes didn't have much go his way first up at Newcastle. The wide draw saw him settle last and he didn't get a clear run through. His eighth was much better than it reads on paper. The way he raced through the grades last preparation suggested that he had above average ability. 14. Secretively wasn't sharp enough for the 1000m at Warwick Farm last start and went close on a quick back up in January. 3. Luvoir's chances are hurt by the barrier while the same can be said for 2. Francesco Guardi. 11. Mahis Angel has knockout claims.
How To Play It: Ucalledit EACH WAY