The good horses are assembling in Victoria for the Summer of Glory after a huge New Zealand campaign which included the Trotting Cup, Inter Dominion and Auckland Cup.
Each of those big races were won by All Stars horses (surprise surprise) but there are a handful of young guns looking for a slice of the big pie.
Next weekend’s Ballarat Cup looks to be an absolute corker with a handful of Australia’s very best pacers en route to Bray Raceway for the only Country Cup which boasts Group 1 status.
From there, we attack the Summer of Glory before Sydney’s carnival of miracles – and speed – heats up, climaxed by the $1 million Miracle Mile.
Regarding this list, one thing is for sure and certain, many will disagree but it’s merely a tool to get people talking about the sport and excited for the next couple of months of Grand Circuit racing.
Here is how I see them moving forward…
1 SELF ASSURED – Auckland Cup-winning four-year-old has horses tip-toeing away from Bonanza to avoid him. Looks to have brilliance required to win any race he was set for.
2 THEFIXER – NZ Cup champ, Ballarat Cup champ, Miracle Mile lead-up champ, runner-up in Miracle Mile and recent Auckland Cup second-placing. Not going at his best but still among top few.
3 RIDE HIGH – Yep, he’s ranked pretty high, well above more proven horses but you respect what he’s done and what he could achieve. But, we’ll need to see it soon. Hopefully he jumps in with the big boys at the Ballarat Cup.
4 CRUZ BROMAC – Surprise NZ Cup champion, backs up strong ID campaign (twice) and last season’s NZ FFA. Quick freshen before Miracle Mile is the word. You’d think Team Purdon-Rasmussen could get him running a fast mile.
5 CHASE AUCKLAND – Definitely not the stable’s top dog in big races but capable nonetheless. Eg. NZ FFA. A dominant three-year-old still transitioning to open class.
6 THE STORM INSIDE – His Bendigo Cup run was poor but also predictable. Young horses need seasoning at this level. His talent is undeniable. See Lightning Sprint for proof. Is he a speed demon or a versatile star ?
7 MACH SHARD – Loves following power house horses and running into the money in big races. Was excellent in ID and it’s believed he’s on his way to Australia for our big races..
8 ALTA ORLANDO – WA trip (provided plane leaves) will be a key assessor but since joining Cross/McCarthy he’s been devastating in NSW. Was always capable in NZ, even against All Stars.
9 CASH N FLOW – Ex-Kiwi blossoming with L McCarthy at the helm. Deadly over the Menangle Mile so a player for Miracle and Len Smith Miles.
10 CODE BAILEY – Thundered onto the scene when crushing a great Bendigo Cup field. Powerful in front and stable describes him as a lion – he’s also owned by a couple.
Next in order;
Bling It On – Woeful ID campaign but that happens at the elite level. Apparently rocking and rolling again and aiming towards the Hunter Cup.
Colt Thirty One – ID series worked out horrendously but he’s a Grand Circuit victor and proved his worth upon returning to Queensland.
San Carlo – Can win any Country Cup he’s entered into but not much more A Group 1 victory looks out of his reach now but he’s been so consistent and so courageous.
Our Uncle Sam – May have claimed his Group 1 but still a factor in the background. Likely to win a few Group 2’s but hard to see him claiming another big one.
A G’s White Socks – Brilliant early in ID then dropped away. Is speedy and loves to lead but seems unlikely to be venturing to Australia.
My Field Marshal – Been a long and winding road since that 1:46.9 Miracle Mile, but he’s back in Perth for more WA riches – provided the plane takes him.
Phoenix Prince – Draws out the back in every Country Cup and is usually the fastest-finisher to the line. Already notched Geelong & Cranbourne Cups.
Lochinvar Art – Just arriving onto the scene but could be in top few real soon. Shepparton Cup will tell us plenty.
Another Masterpiece – A rung below until a phenomenal three-wide win in ID Consolation. Now coming here for Bonanza/Chariots assault alongside Self Assured.
Ultimate Sniper (would have been top 5)
Turn It Up (would have been top 5)
Shadow Sax (unsure where he’s at)
Spankem (would have been top 5)
Jilliby Kung Fu (racing return imminent)
Chicago Bull (the longer he’s out the less likely it is we’ll see him at his best. A damn shame)