THE Courier-Mail racing editor Nathan Exelby looks for the winners in the Group 1 races at Flemington and Randwick on Saturday.
TOP TIPS: WEEKEND BEST BETS
Track: Good (4), likely to be G3 by G1 time. Weather: Sunny, 33C
RACE 6: NEWMARKET HCP (1200m)
G1, 2.15pm (Qld times)
In the run: Not huge pressure, with most of them liking to get back. Lord Of The Sky, Booker and Thronum are the ones likely to be most prominent. Brave Smash won’t be too far away.
Take note: Thronum beat Brave Smash at this trip first-up, then wasn’t far off him in the Orr. Meets him 4kg better here and back to a more suitable trip. One of five runners for David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
Did you know: Three-year-old’s have won nine of the past 20 Newmarkets. Booker wasn’t far off Merchant Navy in the spring and looks to be going better now. She was so brave in the Oakleigh Plate off a wide run and this race looks to set up nicely for her on the speed.
Early money: Unbelievable betting race. 12 of the 15 runners have firmed at some stage this week. Merchant Navy opened $4.40 and got out to as much as $5.50 before trimming to $5.
NATHAN’S TIP: THRONUM $12
NATHAN’S DANGER: Booker $9
RACE 8: AUSTRALIAN CUP (2000m)
WFA G1, 3.35pm
In the run: Might be some pressure up front early. Supply And Demand and Gailo Chop are likely to cross and lead, but inside them Homesman, Hartnell and The Taj Mahal will be prominent, meaning they won’t be loafing early.
Take note: Just two favs have won this in the past 13 years. Gailo Chop is a worthy top pick here, but The Taj Mahal did beat him home this track and distance in the spring, and presumably will be better again this prep.
Did you know: Five winners of this since 1992 also won a Melbourne Cup. Of those, Almandin is trying to emulate Shocking in winning it the following season. He was terrific first-up off a slow pace and note his peak in the spring came with the dynamic second-up win. Blinkers go on to sharpen him up.
Early money: Gailo Chop has eased from $2.70 to $3.20 as money rolls in for Almandin (in from $6.50).
NATHAN’S TIP: ALMANDIN $5
NATHAN’S DANGER: The Taj Mahal $7
Track: Soft (5); Weather: Mostly sunny, 25C
RACE 6: CANTERBURY STAKES (1300m)
WFA G1, 2.35pm
In the run: Showtime finds the fence easily enough with Invincible Gem and Endless Drama handy. Global Glamour probably crosses them all to lead.
Take note: Showtime has gone to another level this time around. Excellent return then showed it was no fluke when fighting on very strongly in the Futurity. Brave Smash would be nice and short in this, so if he can hold that rating again, shapes as a leading hope.
Did you know: Happy Clapper hasn’t run at a trip short of 1400m since he ran fourth in this race two years ago. He’s a vastly superior horse now and given he’s not meeting a vintage field here, class can carry him a long way.
Early money: Clearly Innocent ran into a dead end resuming and should have finished much closer. This looks his pet trip and he holds a slight call as favourite, but eight of the nine runners are $10 or shorter.
NATHAN’S TIP: HAPPY CLAPPER $5.50
NATHAN’S DANGER: Showtime $8
RACE 7: RANDWICK GUINEAS (1600m)
3YO G1, 3.20pm
In the run: Siege Of Quebec should ensure at least an even tempo. Kementari and Condor will be handy. Trapeze Artist can also be up there, pending tactics from the 10 gate.
Take note: Kementari just felt the pinch at the end of the mile in the Caulfield Guineas. He may well be stronger now, but it’s still a slight query. Tempo set by Siege Of Quebec could be very relevant. D’Argento needs a ripper ride from Hugh Bowman, but he’s sure to appreciate the trip.
Did you know: Trapeze Artist is off an identical preparation timing-wise to what he was when he won the Golden Rose — spell, 21 days and 14 days into the G1. Was totally dominant off a hot tempo in the Rose, so the mile should hold no fears. Actually came again on the line last start. Might be the value.
Early money: Kementari ($2.80) has been a little easy. Peaceful State and Pierata among those being supported.
NATHAN’S TIP: TRAPEZE ARTIST $8
NATHAN’S DANGER: D’Argento $4.80
TAB gives you the latest update on the racing market. Credit:TAB
TAB Racing Update — AUSTRALIAN CUP