Gary Moore is aiming to pull off the first big upset on day one of 2019 and, if successful, it might not be bettered all year.
Moore’s challenge is to win today’s Listed $150,000 ATC New Year’s Day Cup (2400m) with Dashing Special, who is still a maiden after 24 starts.
On top of that, his benchmark rating is 45, half that of Chris Waller import Naval Warfare and well below “Cups King” Destiny’s Kiss on 103.
But Moore is adamant his charge is not making up the numbers — as slight as that figure is in today’s five horse line-up — and gives him a real show.
TODAY’S BEST BETS WITH SHAYNE O’CASS
BEST BET: MY SONG (Race 7 No. 5)
My Song was tipped out after those two commanding back to back wins at Hawkesbury back in September. The horse had the easiest of trials 12-days ago leaving it all in the locker for today’s mission.
NEXT BEST: MILUNKA (Race 4 No. 7)
Milunka is an All Too Hard filly owned and bred by the same crew that supplied Hong Kong champion, Beauty Generation. The Chris Waller trained debutante showed abundant class and quality in her only heat.
VALUE: CHALK (Race 2 No. 7)
Chalk met with some support at the each-way odds at the Warwick Farm meeting last Saturday week and ran a decent race despite the fact that he beat one home. Looks well placed here.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW: GLYN SCHOFIELD
Glyn Schofield can start 2019 off with a swag of winners. Any of his half dozen could win in their respective races not least of them our best — My Song.
Race 5: 2,3,4,5,6
Race 6: 1,2,3,6
Race 7: 5
Race 8: 6,9
BEST BET: AKECHETA (Race 1 No. 1)
Akecheta is a So You Think gelding making his debut off two outstanding trials in recent times. In a good stable and strikes a fairly stock standard maiden.
NEXT BEST: THE SPARKLE LEGEND (Race 8 No. 2)
The Sparkle Legend is a stablemate to Akecheta, ran 2nd to him in a Nov 25 then came out and bolted in on debut at Scone. Handy type.
BEST BET: ALOTAFOX (Race 2 No. 4)
Alotafox has raced five times and been close up in all bar the Inglis Challenge which was a stiff test. Just missed first-up and should go one better now.
Win or lose, he will walk away with $5000 just for turning up.
“With what Racing NSW has done and Mr V’Landys giving prizemoney down to 10th place, it is such great incentive for NSW racing.
“And I thought, ‘it’s a mile and a half, he ran at Newcastle (five days ago) and he is rock-hard fit’.
“I might change the tactics, I might ride him like George Moore,’’ the son of the great jockey joked.
“I might jump out and lead on him and I think he goes better like that.
“How many times has he run second? Seven. He’s the best bridesmaid in Australia.
“He has done well since his last run, he looks well and Glyn Schofield knows him.’’
One thing in Dashing Special’s favour is his breeding, being by High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare, the same cross that delivered Triple Crown winner Dundeel.
“I am not just going around for the prizemoney,’’ the 1981 Arc de Triomphe-winning jockey said.
“It will suit his style of racing and I think he’s in there with a very good chance.”
Glyn Schofield has three rides for Moore today, starting with the in-form Classic Princess, who won at Wyong on December 12 two weeks before her nose second at Gosford when unfurling her now trademark whirlwind finish.
“The good thing about her is that she ate up overnight after the run and looks fantastic,’’ Moore said. “She is in very good shape.
“She is very game and tries hard. Hopefully she can win a race in town for the owner.’’
It is surely a case of saving the best until last when it comes to the Moore and Schofield three today.
The up-and-comer My Song is primed for a first-up win in the ATC TAB.com.au.
‘’I think he is probably the best of mine on New Year’s Day,’’ Moore said.
“I said to Glyn to not knock him about in his trial because we were running on January 1 and I left the blinkers off (in the trial) and they will go on for (today).
“He won two straight last preparation and then I rested him. He is spot on.’’
INSIDE MAIL WITH SHAYNE O’CASS: RANDWICK (KENSINGTON)
Gayatri is a Pierro filly with a double cross of Zabeel and has always looked as if she would stay. Her third dam is Tycoon Lil by. She had things run to suit first-up over 1500m at Hawkesbury and ran right over the top of them to win easily. Came from last to run a close-up third next time at 1600m at Kembla to Miss Jenny (who raced on speed) so is cherry ripe for the trip now Rock Zone was very strong through the line winning over the 1600m at Hawkesbury last start. Should get the 1800m.
Bet strategy: Gayatri win
Chalk met with some support at the each-way odds at the WF Saturday meeting on December 22. He only beat one home that day but he was always a long way off the leader and was as close at 2.8-lengths at the finish. Up in weight but down in class and he has the talent. Sostenido is another who gives away decent headstarts in his races but he can rattle off some serious sectionals. Smiling Manolito will be much more prominent than the above pair and can stick on.
Bet strategy; Chalk each-way, quinella 7, 9
Via Veneto is by All Too Hard out of a VRC Oaks runner-up whose half brother is Highland Reel and Idaho. This Chris Waller trained mare was a length second to her stablemate Tunero over 1900m and while back in distance today, she is a month between runs. Stablemate Ivy’s Court was doing her best work when a distant third here over the same trip on December 21. Gets her chance here. Classic Princess should be on a hat trick today. Respect.
Bet strategy: Via Veneto win, quinella 3,4, box trifecta 3,4,8
Chris Waller has the majority of horses entered for this race with six out of the 10. Should he run Milunka here and not at Canterbury on Friday night, she is the one. She is owned and bred by the same people who bred Hong Kong champion Beauty Generation and her one trial oozed quality. Ditto Belladeel who has trialled twice now and was never let rip in either but looked to have heaps to offer. Sizzling Ace can win — but she’s been beaten favourite four times, all three before today.
Bet strategy: Milunka win, quinella 1,7
Seems to be a match-race between last start winner Naval Warfare and the old marvel, Destiny’s Kiss who won this race two years ago and was stakes-placed last start in the Xmas Cup. I would have had the 10-year-old on top had the track been wet bearing in mind that of his seven stakes wins at 2400m, only two of them have been on good surfaces. That said, he loves these circumstances but settled on Waller’s import.
Bet strategy: Naval Warfare win, exacta 3 to beat 2
Speaking of Chris Waller, his former Winx stablemate Moondancer won his first start for Kris lees who can repeat the dose today in what shapes a suitable race for the Darci Brahma son who trialled well without being shown in a 1000m heat at Gosford. The horse has won three races, all of them at this trip. Great Job also switched stables, in his case, only fairly recently did he move from Tracey Bartley (who won five from nine with him) to Clare Cunningham. Go well. Fuchu was scratched from Randwick on Saturday to run here.
Bet strategy: Moondancer win
My Song was tipped him out after back to back wins at Hawkesbury in September and Glyn Schofield gave him a very, very easy time late in his Canterbury trials sands blinkers which will go on today. Four More Millers is a consistent type who is third-up now and ready to peak. Seles is a 3YO filly taking on older horses but has the talent.
Bet strategy: My Song win
Laburnum beat subsequent easy winner Prophet’s Thumb and one of her rivals today — Royal Witness — in a WF trial over 803m on December 11 and looked sensational. Has run second to Smart Melody and Thinkin’ Big at different times so has her share of class. Royal Witness is first run for Joe Pride and was rock solid in everything she did for previous trainer John Sargent. Nic’s Vendetta is as honest as they come — he has run in eight Highways!
Bet strategy: Laburnum win, exacta 9 to beat 6, box trifecta 1,2,6,9
Originally published as Raceday focus: Randwick, Inverell and Gilgandra