Timeform Preview – Golden Rose
Many believed last year's Golden Rose winner Bivouac had disposed of perhaps the strongest line up to contest the race in recent years, a race that included subsequent Everest winner Yes Yes Yes and other promising types.
However, that claim goes on the line this afternoon when short priced favourite Rothfire aims to provide Queensland with their second Golden Rose winner behind Doonan in 2004 and set up the prospect of the Golden Rose producing a second Everest winner.
Star Queensland sprinter Rothfire who has won seven of his eight race starts including the G1 J J Atkins over this afternoon's distance of 1400m last June will start a short-priced favourite to emulate what Bivouac achieved last year, The Run The Rose – Golden Rose race double.
Bivouac posted a Timeform rating of 124 in the 2019 Run To The Rose but ran just a pound below that in the Golden Rose. By comparison Rothfire resuming from a spell, easily won an action-packed Run To The Rose returning a Timeform rating of 122 and with obvious improvement to come, it is not hard to conclude Rothfire should at least emulate Bivouac's rating but more likely get close to some of the highest ever Timeform rated winners of the feature such as Astern (126) and Exosphere (125).
It is hard to find any weakness in Rothfire's bid for victory. Already a G1 winner over 1400m aligned with his ability to lead or take a sit as well as being able to handle all track conditions, gives the gelding an undeniable chance. Put simply, all things being equal, he should win.
That aside, this afternoon's race is likely to be run differently than either of the two most recent lead up races which have been run at break-neck early speeds, getting most runners out of their comfort zones, and perhaps distorting the real value of those beaten runs.
Both the San Domenico Stakes and Run To The Rose were run very fast early courtesy of Anders and Farnan respectively. No such speedsters exist in the race today which is likely to suit Rothfire's opponents.
Multiple group one winner King's Legacy is an interesting runner.
Second up today after trailing the field home in the Run To The Rose, King's Legacy can improve sharply.
The talented colt was never in the race fresh up but his last 200m was slick and indicated he can bounce off that effort.
It is worth noting that King's Legacy is unbeaten second up from two attempts. In both those wins he has made a big jump in his ratings in that state. For example, last campaign, King's Legacy improved 18 pounds to win the G1 ATC Sire's Produce Stakes and in his previous second up win improved 12 pounds.
If King's Legacy was to improve 18 pounds this afternoon, he would run to a Timeform rating of 121 – a figure while not good enough to defeat Rothfire, would be good enough to make him raise a sweat.
King's Legacy will appreciate getting out to 1400m today and looks the biggest improver in the race.
Golden Slipper placegetter Mamaragan who has been run off his legs early in the two lead up races is another who should shape betting over 1400m.
Mamaragan started his three-year-old year with a peak Timeform rating of 112 and in two runs this campaign has ran to 109 and 103.
There is more improvement to come third up today but even a peak rating run would see him come up short against the aforementioned pair.
Exciting winter juvenile Peltzer has failed to build on some excellent winter figures and although he will be better suited getting out in trip, he too has several pounds to find to be a serious winning chance.
North Pacific failed on firmer footing last start behind Rothfire but if the track becomes seriously rain affected, he could be the knock out prospect.
Timeform Preview - Underwood Stakes
Melbourne Cup favourite Russian Camelot continues his path to the spring majors in Saturday's Underwood Stakes where he looks sure to be sent around a dominant favourite.
Last year's South Australian Derby winner came into this season rated 122p – the first time that the winner of the South Australian Derby had posted a bigger number than both the VRC and the Australian Derby winner.
That is a fine achievement, but Russian Camelot hardly looks done just yet. He quickly got about improving his rating, running to 123 when runner up in the Makybe Diva despite sitting wide throughout.
A rating of 123 makes Russian Camelot stand out in Saturday's Underwood Stakes field as does his youth.
As a three-year-old born in the northern hemisphere, Russian Camelot is a good two years younger than any of his rivals on Saturday.
Those that have posted ratings better than Russian Camelot's 123 are Humidor and Gailo Chop – eight and nine years old respectively.
Humidor did wind back the clock somewhat in winning the Feehan, and was full value for his 116 rating there, but he will need to really turn things back to match the younger Russian Camelot now and (despite winning a Memsie here) Caulfield has never really been his favourite stomping ground.
Early betting makes Mr Quickie something of a threat after his eye-catching return, but a rating of 115 leaves him with a bit to find class wise and it is Arcadia Queen who looks the one most likely to trouble the favourite.
A string of niggling issues have kept Arcadia Queen off the track in the past 18 months, and below her best when she has made it to the races, but her last start effort hinted at a return to form and the step up to 1800m now gives her the chance to recapture some of her past peaks.
Her career peak came over 1800m when winning the 2018 Kingston Town Stakes back home in Perth. She sizzled that day, a fourth win on the bounce backed up by a fast time and a rating of 121. A return to anything like that would give Russian Camelot plenty to worry about on Saturday.
That's not particularly likely, with her latest effort being a 108-rated second in a mares Group Three, but she did close off quickly there and was every bit as good as the winner Pretty Brazen who ran well again in last week's Rupert Clarke.
There was some real signs of life in her burst between the 600m and the 200m and while a big step forward will be required to win the Underwood on Saturday she is still seen as the one most likely to trouble Russian Camelot as he marches on towards the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup.