The card for this Saturday evening of Group 1 racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle is so fantastic that each of the big ones deserve their own preview.
So that’s exactly what they’ll get – beginning with the New South Wales Oaks for the three-year-old fillies.
The trio of heats, held last weekend, taught us very little as to who may be the eventual champion but did open our eyes to the fact that we likely have half a dozen legitimate winning hopes.
Heats one and two were run and won in slick mile rates but the final qualifier was completed in blistering time, eventually won by Queenslander Fame Assured.
Backed heavily, the Grant Dixon-prepared filly defeated Victorian Macey Jayde who was game in defeat ahead of War Dan Bad Girl who was driven a treat by Nathan Jack.
Imprincessgemma held Soho Burning Love thanks to clever driving from champion reinsman Chris Alford whilst overall series favourite Nostra Villa endured brutal mid-race pressure and was eventually nudged out by fellow Victorian Shez All Rock.
All three favourites went down in the heats and the draw has thrown up many winning chances. Let’s roll through what should be a cracking contest over the 2400m trip.
1 Redbank Addi (Emergency 1) – Robbie Morris for KerryAnn Turner
Unlikely to gain a run unless someone is scratched from the race.
2 Imprincessgemma – Luke McCarthy for Emma Stewart
Was a solid winner in the heats but may have been upended should Soho Burning Love seen clear air in the lane. She’s still not the barn’s number one seed in the race but from the draw and with arguably Menangle’s premier driver aboard, she will be at worst a really good place prospect. Winning this race would surprise me but it’s hard to know exactly how good she is just yet.
3 Ideal Pleasure – Natalie Rasmussen for Shane & Lauren Tritton
She was only beaten into third a few metres and with a cosy draw and this stable renowned for its gate speed, expect her to be forward early but potentially looking for a trail. Handing up to the stablemate would be perfect but perhaps unlikely.
4 Fame Assured – Grant Dixon
There was hype around this filly coming into the heat as she was $17 into around $4 as the arms folded. The hype was warranted as Fame Assured dominated in an astonishingly quick 2400m event for three-year-old girls. There is actually talk around the traps that this girl is better than Victorian Derby-winning stablemate Colt Thirty One who is likely to start favourite in the NSW Derby. Now that’s real hype.
5 Shez All Rock – Mark Pitt
Things worked out perfectly for this girl but she also had to be good enough to make it count. It’s hard to say where she ends up in the run with a couple of moves also likely to come from the back. A heat win is an excellent achievement but I do think winning the final is a bridge too far for now.
6 War Dan Bad Girl – Nathan Jack for Steve Turnbull
A brilliant drive saw her secure a spot in the 200k final but from an awkward gate, she may be in a world of pain. She has an excellent driver engaged but a top four placing looks very unlikely.
7 My Sweetchilliphilly – Lauren Tritton for Shane & Lauren Tritton
I expected the Betterthancheddar filly to drop out when parked in her heat but she stuck to her guns wonderfully for a close-up third. She will be aggressively driven out and looking for a handy spot early. Whether she can burst to the front in unknown but bullying her way to the breeze than taking cover seems a nice scenario. A rough first four hope.
8 Nostra Villa – Chris Alford for Emma Stewart
She seemed the standout before the heats began and despite being beaten and having to deal with a poor alley, she may well still be the one to beat.
Her heat run was tough and courageous and looked a certain winner without the painful barrage of pressure she copped mid-race.
Star driver Chris Alford will be making a pretty early move to get on-speed and depending on how much juice she uses to get there will be pivotal to any winning hope she will still have. Definite winning hope.
9 Callmequeenbee – Matt Rue for Gemma Rue
My hand is firmly in the air – I know next to nothing about this filly but the daughter of Shadow Play punched her ticket in the big one by being the fastest fourth placed finisher of the three heats. From nine, she will be looking for cover as quickly as possible but getting to the pegs will be difficult.
10 Macey Jayde – Michael Stanley
She was perfectly handled by driver Mick Stanley throughout the heat and was unlucky to have the breeze horse fall in her face quite sharply. She peeled wide and gave Fame Assured a race in what was easily the quickest heat on the night.
Gate 10 provides no favours except to hope for significant early burn then a move into things when the tempo settles or the leading horses are gassed.
At best, she’s a winning hope but things will need to go her way.
11 Soho Burning Love – Greg Sugars for Michael Stanley
There’s something about this filly that is telling me not to discount her winning chances. She’s toughened right up but remains deadly thanks to a lethal turn of foot.
She will need favours from the awful draw but tracking the back of the stablemate would be a perfect outcome provided the leaders have gone to war.
She’s going to be great each way value if you think the speed goes on early.
12 Prophesy (Emergency 2) – Gavin Fitzpatrick for Paul Fitzpatrick
A run is almost no chance and even if she fell into the race, she ain’t doing any damage from gate 12.
Soho Burning Love $10
Fame Assured $4
Nostra Villa $3.50
Macey Jayde $21
Stay tuned tomorrow evening for a preview of the NSW Derby.