Timeform Preview – All Star Mile
A deep and interesting three-year-old crop has played a big role in ensuring that the quality of this year's All Star Mile has stepped right up on its inaugural running 12 months ago.
That is not to say that last year's edition was a weak heat but there is more depth to the numbers 12 months on and race favourite Alligator Blood should face a tougher test if he is to follow in the footsteps of last year's winner Mystic Journey by winning the All Star Mile on the back of Australian Guineas success.
Alligator Blood is well equipped for the test and a Timeform rating of 123 from the Guineas may still undersell the exciting winner of ten of his eleven race starts.
The lone defeat came over the Caulfield mile but that is hardly cause for concern as his effort there was terrific, only getting mugged by a big closer late after blowing the horses that travelled around him away.
Two big performances to win the Hayes and the Australian Guineas have come leading at steady tempos and zipping home in elite late splits. His ability to take up a handy position is a great asset and it again looks likely to assist him here with Streets Of Avalon the only horse that looks likely to settle ahead of him in the run and plenty of key dangers likely to be waited with back in the ruck.
One of those dangers is Regal Power – the Australian Cup runner-up from last week who draws to settle closer this time.
Whether he can settle closer dropping back to a mile is far from guaranteed but he was on his toes last week and raced keenly so it could be that he has more to offer with that edge knocked off on the seven-day turnaround. We know that he will be as strong as any at the end of the mile.
Like Alligator Blood, his current Timeform rating (121) may just undersell him in time and it would be no surprise if he proved good enough to win the All Star with the right run under top jock Willie Pike.
The highest rated horse in the race is the Epsom winner Kolding (rated 124) who had looked one of the main attractions heading towards the race in the early voting.
That was before he ran well below his form in the Futurity. There may have been excuses for that, it certainly wasn't his true form, and it may pay to be forgiving as he was a star around the mile in the spring and has been set for this by a stable that are as good as any when it comes to peaking horses in target races.
Kolding had the better of the 121-rated Fierce Impact before he came south to win both the Toorak and the Cantala in the spring and he has built perfectly towards a third up peak with placed efforts in the Orr and Chipping Norton – the latest a new peak figure for the son of Deep Impact.
He looks sure to run well on the back of that, as does grand Kiwi mare Melody Belle who with 10 Group 1 wins to her name, including an Australian Group 1 in the Empire Rose back in the spring, must get a mention here.
She was below her best first up in the Futurity but she typically is short of a mile and she is another that has been set to peak here and should do so – making for a fantastic race.
Timeform Preview - 2020 Coolmore Classic
A three-year-old filly hasn't won the Coolmore Classic since Typhoon Tracy (2009) and that trend appears set to continue on Saturday.
Weights have certainly played their part in recent times, only three horses have carried more than 56kg to victory in the last 20 years (Steps In Time (2014), Daysee Doom (2018) and Dixie Blossoms (2019).
A weight spread of 8kg (58kg > 50kg) gives every horse their chance and highlights the benefit of weighting feature handicaps the week of.
The Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes [1400m] is the main Sydney lead up, 7/16 come through that event won narrowly by Dawn Dawn .
The 'weight horse' being the James Cummings trained Pohutukawa.
She finished a narrow third in the event and meets Sweet Deal (1.5kg) and Dawn Dawn (2kg) better off.
While she hasn't won since last year's Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic (almost a year to the day), she has placed on five occasions, all in Group company.
A key highlight was finishing a narrow second in last year's Group 1 Tatts Tiara [1400m].
She looks to get every chance at the weights and has drawn to get a lovely run for James McDonald.
Often a key sectional star, if close enough, she should prove hard to hold out.
The John Thompson trained Sweet Deal is back better than ever and looms as a major threat, following her very game performance last start.
Forced to do far too much work early, she stuck on bravely, only go down in the last few strides.
Close to a three length mark up, had she run her race more efficiently, she wins clearly.
How much that run takes out of her remains the big query, plus she has to now stretch that form to 1500m.
No question she is good enough, but under these circumstances it is never easy.
The Team Hawkes trained Slyvia's Mother brings different form and possesses the best winning strike rate of the field (64%).
She is unbeaten this time in and while this is a big step up, she is rapidly improving and deserves her chance.
Leading jockey Tommy Berry knows her well (won 3/4) and her last start at Flemington hinted there is more to come.
Should be able to get into a favourable spot from the draw and with even luck, she shouldn't be far away.
Of the rest the Kris Lees trained Delectation Girl appears the next in line.
On the quick back up after finishing a close second in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket, she sets up well and is sure to appreciate the step up in trip.
She handles all conditions and shapes up as a good knock-out hope at decent odds.