Race 1: French EmperorOne of the most exciting races of the day came in the first event at Randwick Kensington, 1400m 3YO Maiden Handicap. Most of the prerace hype surrounded the Richard Litt trained $1.9 million colt Profondo on debut, who to his credit was a courageous winner travelling three-wide-no-cover for much of the early going. It was however David Payne's gelding French Emperor who caught my eye and is one worth following moving forward.
Sent out at 40-1, the son of Tavistock was another making his debut in the opener at Randwick Kensington. Drawn the pole under the riding of Tim Clark, the gelding jumped on terms and took a forward run on the inside, settling in the second pair a few lengths back off the front runners who had set a hot tempo. Having travelled beautifully when reaching the top of the straight, French Emperor found himself boxed up and in dire need of clear running. Unfortunately, the gaps didn't appear until approaching the final 100m, where when clear he let down nicely to attack the line, finishing third. This was all too late for Clark and his mount, as the two runners who finished ahead of him (Profondo and Mokulua) had built strong momentum in their unimpeded dashes to the finish. Having got clear running earlier in the straight, there is no doubt the gelding finishes closer and possibly even wins the race. The three-year-old will no doubt take natural progression and benefit from his debut run and I expect him to be sent out a lot shorter in his next effort. Has the profile/pedigree of a three-year-old who will appreciate more ground. Suspect he's headed toward the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 9.
Race 5: SequanaAnother one worth keeping an eye on is the Kris Lees-trained Sequana. Priced at $11 for her second-up effort over 1300m, the daughter of Headwater once again showed little tactical speed when being released from the gates, settling at the tail of the field tucked away on the inside. Travelling in the same position throughout, Hugh Bowman elected to hold an inside run when straightening to try and save ground. The mare raced in restricted room in the straight and struggled to obtain a clear passage until passing the final 100m. When presented, Sequana let down powerfully with a strong charge to the line, narrowly missing in a photo for third. She will strip fitter third run from a spell, with some luck in the straight and suited to a possible rise in trip, this mare will be extremely hard to hold out.