Sydney Specials: Randwick – 16th October 2021

Nice to see we continued our run of beating SP last weekend but unfortunately, we had little to show for it.

The Everest is the obvious highlight at Randwick so why look any further for a best bet.

May seem a tad aggressive however happy to take a firm set against both Classique Legend and Masked Crusader.

In doing so we can eliminate 34% of the market and suddenly there is plenty of value to be had.

Classique Legend won this race emphatically last year however it looks a steep hill to climb on Saturday (excuse the pun).

He is first up off close to a year, comes into this off a bleed and has been to Hong Kong and back.

In the last 20 years we have sent 30 Group 1 winners to Hong Kong.

Of those 30 only three were able to feature in their respective races (HK Sprint, HK Mile, HK Cup and HK Vase) - we really do have a deplorable record over there.

On their return only three were able to win first up – Shogun Lodge, Sunline and Buffering.

While successful all three produced below their career peak a task Classique Legend cannot afford if he is to win on Saturday.

Sure he has the talent but I still feel it is being undersold just how big a training performance it will be if successful.

As for Masked Crusader his get back racing pattern gives him little hope on Saturday.

Sure he looked good running them down last start but don't expect Nature Strip/Eduardo to come back to him as easy as Standout and Embracer.

NATURE STRIP winning the Heineken T J Smith Stks at Randwick in Australia.
NATURE STRIP winning the Heineken T J Smith Stks at Randwick in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

I wrote this article a few years ago highlighting that fresh is best with Nature Strip and since then not much has changed.

When backed up within 14 days he generally regresses, a key pattern he repeated second up in The Shorts.

Though when given four weeks or more between runs his record is elite.

On Saturday he is four weeks between runs with his only losses third up coming in the 2019 Everest and 2020 Everest.

No denying he is yet to produce his best in Australia's premier sprint however he looks to get the perfect scenario on Saturday, as he gets the chance to be the hunter, not the hunted.

Eduardo has beaten Nature Strip twice however on both occasions he was able to stalk Nature Strip.

On Saturday Nature Strip will get the chance to stalk Eduardo, the same scenario which saw him bury him in the TJ Smith Stakes.

The rain around is another plus and you couldn't ask for a better draw as McDonald will be able to build Nature Strip into the race when he sees fit.

Nature Strip's best is nothing short of elite and anywhere near that mark and he is sure to take plenty of beating.

AHEAD START  Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

Probably kick myself for tipping in the Highway come Saturday afternoon however hard to ignore the Danny Williams trained Ahead Start.

A game effort behind subsequent winner Leo first up, Ahead Start loomed to win only to just peak late.

A run to the eye which suggested back me wherever I go and the data certainly supported that claim.

Kept fresh (28 days) he has since trialled well, should appreciate the step up in trip and McDonald sticks.

On ratings he looks to hold a clear edge, looks to get the perfect run and better than 2-1 looks a more than worthy gamble.

Simon Dinopoulos' Tips:

Race 3 #2 Ahead Start @ $3.40

Race 7 #1 Nature Strip @ $4.20

Racing and Sports

Simon Dinopoulos

Senior Handicapper

Sydney-born Simon Dinopoulos joined Racing and Sports' as a form analyst in 2012.

Under the tutelage of Gary Crispe and Adam Blencowe, Simon has quickly established himself as a respected member of the R&S ratings team, with a key focus on NSW, Western Australia and Singapore.

As a journalist he contributes stories for the R&S website, while also priding himself on being a part of the data management sector. Simon has helped establish and maintain Racing And Sports’ global database – the most comprehensive privately owned racing database in the world.

Simon can be heard on Sky Sports Radio - Racings HQ (Friday/Saturday mornings) giving his selections for the weekend's racing.