Samadoubt continues to be an early spring surprise and is now a dual Group winner after taking out the Chelmsford Stakes, widening the gap on the chasing pack he accounted for in the Winx Stakes with a 3.3 length success.
Along with Samadoubt, a number of leaders made all through the program including Dreamforce (Tramway Stakes), Yao Dash (Race 1), Miss Invincible (Race 3) and Redzel (Concorde Stakes).
Redzel scorched around Randwick, producing the highest ever winning figure of a Concorde Stakes, surpassing Final Card who ran to 125 claiming the 1992 renewal.
The Triple Crown Syndications-raced sprinter has now won the past three Concorde Stakes’ in such a way the 1000m sprint arguably should be closing in on an upgrade from Group 3 to Group 2 status.
The seven-year-old held off a fast finishing Pierata with Graff solid to the line for third, three top line sprinters contesting the race largely because of their connections holding Everest aspirations.
The Everest has resulted in races such as the Concorde Stakes, The Shorts and The Premiere attracting noticeably stronger fields since the Everest’s inaugural running in 2017.
Race 1: Yao Dash - Benchmark 72 3YO Handicap (1300m)
Yao Dash went to the front and kept going. The Smart Missile gelding ran time well inside standard and we’ve given the performance a Timeform rating of 109.
There were discussions post race about the Golden Rose. While on Saturday Yao Dash didn’t quite run up to that standard, with natural improvement at his third career start the three-year-old can certainly run a race in that sort of company.
Races like the Flight Stakes, Thousand Guineas and The VRC Oaks are just around the corner for each of them.
Race 2: Lady Demi - Class 3 Highway Handicap (1200m)
They each had to cover some extra ground on Saturday and while not ideal, it was better than them getting caught up in traffic down the straight.
This was Lady Demi’s first Highway Handicap win after two Highway placings.
She’s still only a Class 3 horse so she can pick off one more Highway Handicap before becoming ineligible for the country restricted series.
Generally boasting capacity fields week to week, there are always hard luck stories in Highway Handicaps and looking for them can often prove lucrative for the weeks ahead.
Race 3: Miss Invincible - Benchmark 78 3YO+ F&M Handicap (1100m)
This is what Miss Invincible does, leads and when she’s on, produces a nice, strong kick.
On Saturday she’s run to a Timeform rating of 97 which is right around her peak.
Ballistica was strong in second.
They’ve each performed well but not sure where they fit in through Sydney racing for the next month. It was likely the race on the card with the least relevance moving forward.
Race 4: Baller - Benchmark 78 3YO+ Handicap (1200m)
Baller stalked the leader and was always going to take beating getting the run of the race as he did.
The son of High Chaparral produced a Timeform rating of 104 and there’s every chance there’s a lot of upside on top of that.
There is a 1200m Benchmark 88 for him at Randwick in two weeks time which shapes as the natural path for him.
However, it sounds like he is backing up in the Theo Marks Stakes this Saturday. Connections are hoping to get him a last minute Everest slot. Despite the strength of Baller’s win at Benchmark 78 level on Saturday, Everest aspirations shape as being ambitious considering his midfield finish first up in the Show County Quality.
In terms of looking at this race with upcoming features in mind, Tarbert heading to the Kosciuszko could be the horse. That was a great run to finish second.
John Shelton of course won the Kosciuszko last year with Belflyer. Lightning can perhaps strike twice.
Race 5: Libertini - Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m)
Libertini certainly was not as convincing as she was expected to be on Saturday however a win is a win.
She’s run a bit below her dominant win in the Silver Shadow, regardless, it was still enough for her to become the first filly to claim the Silver Shadow Stakes - Furious Stakes double since Speak Fondly in 2015.
After the Tea Rose is when everyone can assess if she is Everest material. To head there after Saturday connections and slot holders probably want to see something more like her Silver Shadow win .
Race 6: Redzel - Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m)
Redzel is a marvel. The seven-year-old accounted for four Group 1 performed sprinters on Saturday.
He’s won the Concorde Stakes three years in a row now. Saturday was the pick of them. We’ve got him running up to his best.
The son of Snitzel scorched around Randwick on Saturday and ran time well inside standard.
Horses such as those contesting Saturday’s Concorde Stakes are either being prepared for the Everest or are auditioning for a slot.
Such a high quality of sprinter being up early in the spring for the Everest has injected new life into Sydney sprints such as the Concorde, The Shorts and the Premiere - all of which not coincidentally are boasting some of their strongest ever fields.
Race 7: Samadoubt - Group 1 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m)
Samadoubt went to the front again and just kept going for a strong success, running to a Timeform rating of 122.
He’s found good improvement off his first up run which is something of a surprise because following the Winx Stakes the Not A Single Doubt gelding was generally considered to have a substantial fitness edge over his rivals after some searching and a trial where he was ridden out before resuming.
Full credit to trainer Bjorn Baker. The Warwick Farm-based horseman spotted essentially what was an opening in the calendar early spring with a Winx-less Winx Stakes and a Chelmsford Stakes generally used as a stayers spring warm up has capitalised.
The Colgate Optic White (George Main) Stakes in two weeks time will be next for him. Avilius was solid in second.
Girl Tuesday has stepped up to Group company well, working home nicely in third.
Race 8: Dreamforce - Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m)
Dreamforce is so honest. It’s what we expect from him now - to go forward and produce that massive kick.
Nash Rawiller rode four winners on the program and the leading jockey uniting with a tough, on pacer such as Dreamforce could be a match made in heaven this spring.
The son of Fastnet Rock returned a Timeform rating of 122 on Saturday, a performance surpassing his prior career best when second in the Doncaster Mile during the autumn behind Brutal.
The veteran appears right on track for the Epsom. His next start will be in the Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main) in two weeks, a race which has been a breeding ground for Epsom winners this decade.
Te Akau Shark did enough in his Australian debut, running four pounds shy of his career best victory at Group 2 level in New Zealand last November.
Race 9: Articus - Benchmark 94 3YO+ Handicap (1500m)
His first win since May 2017 where Articus carried topweight in an Open Handicap at Flemington which has long stood from a ratings perspective as a career peak for the Areion gelding.
The French import has returned in good order off a short freshen up and is likely heading toward the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle on September 20.
Sweet Deal was brave in third. She too can perhaps head to Newcastle next start and pursue some black type contesting the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) for fillies and mares.