THE Daily Telegraph racing editor Ray Thomas and Sky Thoroughbred Central’s form expert Ron Dufficy discuss the chances in all nine races on the opening day of the Golden Slipper Carnival at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.


Race 1, No.9 ALL TOO SOON Race 5, No.12 SPRIGHTLY LASS
Race 5, No.2 NIETA Race 9, No.5 UP ‘N’ ROLLING
Race 9, No.14 LOVANI Race 7, No.7 EGG TART


R1 (12.15pm): CATANACH’S HCP (1900m)

Thomas: I’m gambling on All Too Soon. This is a big test for her against these seasoned stayers but she is a progressive staying filly being aimed at the Oaks. She can win again. Quick Defence has struck a rich vein of form, he is really attacking the line impressively. Cyrus Rocks is racing consistently and Zourkhan hasn’t been far away in recent starts but finding it hard to win.

Dufficy: I really like this filly, All Too Soon. I think she is a sleeper for the Oaks. She does take on the older horses here but I thought she did a good job winning over a similar distance last start. Sizzling Bullet is an improver. There were a few excuses for him third-up but he is just about ready to win a race. Tamarack is going nicely and Zourkhan has had a month and a trial since his last run and he is not far off winning a race, either.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Tamarack $3.90-$4.40- $4.60, All Too Soon $4.80-$3.40 ($300 @ $4.60, $290 @ $4.60, $500 @ $4.20, $200 @ $4.20, $500 @ $3.80, $250 @ $3.40, $200 @ $3.40)




R2 (12.55pm): SKY HIGH STAKES (2000m)

Thomas: I found it hard to split Stampede and Libran. They both come off the Chipping Norton Stakes where Libran was fourth and Stampede fifth behind Winx. I just felt run-of-the-race stuff might go Stampede’s way here. He can lead and dictate, he is third-up and fitter now, and better suited here. Libran has a great second-up record and there was a lot to like about his return. He will be hard to beat. Auvray is fitter now and Lasqueti Spirit is getting back to her right distance range.

Dufficy: Libran was very good first-up and he appears to have returned in very good shape. He did win second-up last preparation and he is the one to beat. Stampede does have the advantage of taking control up front and these conditions suit him better than last start. Auvray has had the grounding and is ready to do something. Mackintosh is second-up at 2000m but he still has speed in his legs.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Libran $4-$3.70 ($500 @ $3.90, $250 @ $3.70, $200 @ $3.70 TWICE), Stampede $3-$3.10, Salsamor $10-$9

media_cameraSunlight should round out her Golden Slipper preparations with a win in the Magic Night Stakes. Picture: AAP

R3 (1.30pm): MAGIC NIGHT STAKES (1200m)

Thomas: Hard to tip against Sunlight, although she is very short. She won the Magic Millions brilliantly and then looked above herself in condition when she ran down Estijaab in a thrilling Silver Slipper. Sunlight is a little awkwardly drawn but she has good gate speed, she put herself on speed and should win. She will confirm Golden Slipper favouritism here. Setsuna only had the one trial going into the Sweet Embrace Stakes and she ran well for fourth. She will be fitter and can run well. Sweet Ava’s run in the Sweet Embrace was eye-catching, she is an underrated filly. Secret Lady is very genuine and has the barrier to get the right run.

Dufficy: It is hard to get away from Sunlight. There are no real negatives with her, she rides the speed, does everything right and has a good kick. She is clearly the one to beat. I agree with you, Ray, Sweet Ava’s the danger. There was confident support for her first-up and she should have finished closer. She will improve off that and I have her second pick. Cristobal did a really good, professional job to win her debut at the midweeks and Setsuna was disadvantaged on a track that favoured swoopers last start and she held on well.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Sunlight $1.50 unchanged ($2,000 @ $1.50 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $1.50 TWICE, $750 @ $1.50, $500 @ $1.50 TWICE, $400 @ $1.50, $300 @ $1.50, $250 @ $1.50 TWICE)

media_cameraBoo Bailey’s cartoon tip at Rosehill

R4 (2.10pm): PAGO PAGO STAKES (1200m)

Thomas: Terrific race where I think it is Written By versus Spin. I like the Blue Diamond winner Written By. He looks a bombproof colt and has drawn a barrier for the first time in his career. He has brilliant tactical speed, will camp on pace and he is very strong through the line in his races. Spin has blinkers on for the first time and it could give him a decisive edge. He got caught on the worst part of the track at Randwick first-up but kept making ground to just miss running down Santos. Spin will take natural improvement from that run and should make a race of it with Written By. Zousain is better suited when ridden off speed unlike last start when he led, and Sandbar will be competitive.

Dufficy: Written By is a strong colt, he runs the trip right out, he has a terrific racing style and I am expecting him to present here pretty well and show how good he is. I think the dangers come from Ringerdingding. He is a real improver and there was a lot to like about his midweek win. Spin was disadvantaged coming along near the rails last start and will improve. Chabreet did plenty wrong at his first start but has gone back to the trials where he was very good.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Written By $2 unchanged ($500 @ $2, $200 @ $2), Roosevelt $12-$9.50- $10, Virtual Insanity $18-$15- $14

R5 (2.50pm): MAURICE MCCARTEN STAKES (1100m)

Thomas: I’m tipping a horse with a 78 rating against seasoned sprinters with ratings as high as 105 but I think she might be pretty smart, Sprightly Lass. She has four of her five starts, was dominant at Moonee Valley first-up over 955m. She is facing a massive rise in grade but she is a mare with a lot of upside. Nieta is a quality mare resuming and she has a tremendous first-up record. There will be a cushion in this Rosehill surface which is what she likes. Latin Boy ran fast time winning at Newcastle first-up and Dothraki is never far away but finds it hard to win.

Dufficy: I like Nieta. Early in her preparation is where she is usually at her best and she has had two nice trials going into this race. I can see her charging over the top of them here. New Universe was well backed when coming back in distance last start but didn’t settle well enough. With a little more give in the surface, he should settle better. Hieroglyphics has produced two solid runs since resuming and will also appreciate the jar out of the track. No knock on Sprightly Lass, she has done nothing wrong but I want to see her do it at this level.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Nieta $4-$3.20-$3.10 ($1,000 @ $4, $300 @ $3.60, $200 @ $3.60, $450 @ $3.40, $200 @ $3.20 TWICE), Sprightly Lass $5.50-$4.80 ($200 @ $5.50)

media_cameraNieta has been well backed to score a first-up win on Saturday.

R6 (3.30pm): PHAR LAP STAKES (1500m)

Thomas: On a similar theme I am going with Renewal, the emerging three-year-old. He was ridden upside down last start but still found a way to win. The runner-up, Absolute, has since come out and won well at Warwick Farm during the week. This is obviously a big step up in grade for Renewal but he has won three of his four starts and I think he can measure up to this field. Shumookh is a big chance. She comes off a Group 1 placing, she looks to get control up front and will be tough to run down. Holy Snow comes off two super runs in Melbourne and I’m wary of a fresh Calculated.

Dufficy: Shumookh looks the one here. She is in her first preparation but I can see no evidence she is training off and if she holds her form, she will go close. Her effort in the Group 1 Surround Stakes was very good and she should be able to lead and dictate the tempo to suit. Calculated has had a month between runs without a trial which is uncharacteristic for the stable but I loved his run behind Pierata in the Magic Millions 3yo Guineas. Renewal is a nice horse, he is on the rise. Octabello trialled well and is the best longshot.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Holy Snow $7-$6.50, Muraaqeb $9-$7 ($300 x $200 e/w @ $7.50/$2.40), Renewal $5-$6- $5.50 ($250 @ $5.50, $1,000 @ $5), Shumookh $2.80-$2.70

R7 (4.10pm): COOLMORE CLASSIC (1500m)

Thomas: A very open race. I was taken by Egg Tart’s first-up run in the Liverpool City Cup when she didn’t get a clear crack at them but was motoring late to finish fourth. She will appreciate getting out to 1500m, she has drawn well and hopefully doesn’t need to get too far back, I think she is well weighted for a dual Group 1 winner and I have her on top. Dixie Blossoms was outstanding first-up at Randwick and will run her usual competitive race. Just Dreaming is the best outsider, I thought her win at Wyong last start was terrific and she excels at Rosehill. Alizee has drawn the car park but I don’t mind that as she will need to be ridden conservatively early and chime in late. She was ridden like this in the Flight Stakes last spring and was dynamic.

Dufficy: This is a super race, so open. I quite like the way Raiment sets up here. She has had two solid runs back after a long spell, she is well weighted, drawn perfectly, maps well and I feel she is very likeable in this field. Egg Tart is the danger. Her first-up run showed she is back in business and I expect her to be charging home late here. Dixie Blossoms is a great mare and deserves to win a major. She does get nice cover from the draw. Heavens Above is massive overs. She has been primed to repeat her win in this race last year.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Dixie Blossoms $7-$6.50 ($500 @ $7 TWICE), Egg Tart $7-$8- $6.50 ($400 @ $8, $300 @ $7.50, $200 @ $7.50 TWICE, $518 x $500 e/w @ $6.50/$2.55 TWICE, $300 @ $6.50, $200 @ $6.50, $1,000 @ $6, $583 x $417 e/w @ $6/$2.40, $500 @ $6, $500 e/w @ $6/$2.40), Eckstein $26-$21, Alizee $8-$10, Bring Me Roses $17-$15- $13 ($2,500 @ $15), Oregon’s Day $34-$16

TAB gives you the latest update on the racing market. Credit:TAB


R8 (4.50pm): AJAX STAKES (1500m)

Thomas: Prized Icon has the Winx form and that should be good enough for him to go very close here. I concede he has to come back slightly in trip but that should not trouble him, he’s very versatile and his racing pattern usually means he takes bad luck out of the equation. Interlocuter found the 1300m too short first-up but is out to 1500m and will be finishing hard. Arbeitsam will be up on speed, probably leading, and over this trip he is a good chance. Tom Melbourne is good enough to be in the finish but I can’t tip him to win with any confidence.

Dufficy: I can’t believe I’m doing this but I’m tipping Tom Melbourne to win here. I know he has had a long run of outs and is a bit of a gay deceiver but I liked what I have seen from him at the trials and I remember his first-up run last preparation when he should have bolted in. I am trusting that he is trained up to run well. His stablemate, Life Less Ordinary, is the danger. He got very close to Comin’ Through when first-up last campaign carrying a big weight and he has the weight swing in his favour here. Comin’ Through is a definite chance so it is a Waller trifecta for me. Prized Icon is well placed with the Winx form and a race fitness edge.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Prized Icon $4.60-$5, Tom Melbourne $5-$4.60- $4.80 ($436 @ $5, $250 @ $4.60)

media_cameraThe Duff is keen on Lovani in the last at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: Getty Images

R9 (5.30pm): TAB.COM.AU HCP (1350m)

Thomas: Up ‘N’ Rolling first-up put the writing on the wall when just edged out by a race fit Lofty’s Menu. He is fitter now, goes well second-up and likes Rosehill. Level Eight is at double-figure odds but he is genuine and is worth throwing in your multiples. Philosophy is an underrated mare who goes well fresh and Etymology may have the edge off his speed second-up but his comeback effort was so good I have to include him in my top four.

Dufficy: I’m very keen on Lovani who caught my eye rushing home first-up behind Osborne Bulls. She is a big improver here. Up ‘N’ Rolling surprised going forward when resuming but stuck on well he is staying at 1350m but still warrants respect. The Melbourne visitor Tribal Wisdom is one to watch and the last time he was up here he won the Gosford Guineas. Philosophy won’t be far away first-up, she is a handy mare.

TAB MARKET MOVERS: Most Exalted $26-$18, Lovani $8-$6.50




BEST BET: RED ROVER (Race 3, No. 2)

Big, strong colt from the Team Hawkes yard who was incredibly impressive winning his March 8 heat at the Rosehill trials. The son of O’Reilly is bred to be good and has found himself in a very winnable maiden.

NEXT BEST: SCHIFFLI (Race 4, No. 10)

Godolphin filly on debut. Her older sibling, Raiment, is aiming to win the Group 1 Coolmore Classic on Saturday. As for Schiffli, she trialled right up to the mark when a narrow second in a WF heat 12 days ago.

VALUE: BARBARY (Race 7, No. 2)

Underwent laser throat surgery in August last year. Fast forward to the present and Gerald Ryan has this horse flying — a horse that he owns outright. Will be better at the mile but has trialled the house down.


JEFF PENZA has probably won more TAB Jockey Challenge’s than any other and he might add another one to the tally here. He should win two for James Cummings for starters.


Race 5: 1,2,3,4,6, Race 6: 1,3,5,6, Race 7: 2, Race 8: 2,11,15



A NZ-bred daughter of Jimmy Choux and, while she is winless after 15 starts, surely she has never found herself in such a wafer thin race. If she can’t win, she might never win a race.


Cleverly named horse. He’s out of Molly Rocks, as in Meldrum, and he gets his name from the son Cheap Wine, as in Cold Chisel. On debut and has trialled well.



Has been well below his best in his two runs this campaign but in saying that, they were both 950m’s — up to 1400m is the key, it’s his favourite trip.

NEXT BEST: A GOOD YANK (Race 6, No. 1)

Brings together the usually profitable combination of Clint Lundholm and Greg Ryan. The horse goes well second up.


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