Most of what we love as sports fan is on hold.
AFL, both rugby codes, basketball, all American and European sports… all suspended for the foreseeable future.
The last remaining sport is racing – and that hangs by a thread.
Yesterday, Tasmania decided to get on the front foot and cancel thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing for three weeks. A courageous decision in frightening times.
Optimism is key so let’s forget about everything else for a moment and dive into a magnificent card of racing at Randwick for day one of The Championships.
A quartet of Group 1’s are supported by Group 2 and 3 events as well as $400,000 race for country based horses.
Let’s take a look and see whether a winner jumps out at us;
Race 1 – Kindergarten Stakes
Rulership was one of the hype two-year-olds before pulling up sore from an eighth in the Blue Diamond. He trialled up alright last week behind Ole Kirk (who we will get to in another race) and is the one to beat here. The track conditions will obviously play a major part in all races, but particularly for these babies.
Godolphin colt, Damaged, has been strong early in his career with a win and second from two runs. Doubtland is another worth considering as is Tony Pike’s charge, Not An Option.
1 Rulership $2.80
2 Damaged $4.40
3 Doubtland $5.50
4 Not An Option $8
Race 2 – Carbine Club Stakes
Reloaded has strong form on the board for a race like this with a third-placing to Castelvecchio last start. Chris Waller polishes him up and he ticks many boxes but the sub-$2 on offer is too short for me.
Power Scheme was inched out of victory at Mornington and represents value at 20/1. Kubrick, Promotions and Grand Piano could all win without surprising.
1 Power Scheme $23
2 Reloaded $2
3 Promotions $7.50
4 Kubrick $5.50
Race 3 – Country Championships Final
A large group of horses who I know stuff all about.
1 Sky Call $23
2 Bobbing $4
3 Julian Rock $7
4 Healing Hands $18
Race 4 – Adrian Knox Stakes
Colette has been first or second in its past four starts, meaning the filly does come into this race in great form, but at a short quote.
James McDonald rides, which is a massive plus based on his recent riding.
The Maher-Eustace top-weight, Fascino, was okay last week with the race unsuitable and at 10/1 you could carry a ticket with her name on it.
Paradee won its past two and comes from the astute and in-form Danny O’Brien camp so keep her safe.
1 Collete $2.20
2 Fascino $10
3 Paradee $3.40
4 Dorothy Of Oz $14
Race 5 – Chairman’s Quality
The staying horses clash here in a Group 2 event across 2600m. The wet ground will sort a few out and make this race feel like a two-mile effort.
Mirage Dancer was a solid fourth last week and steps up to 2600m whilst The Chosen One is also of note, especially should he replicate his Herbert Power victory of last spring. Youngstar will be around the mark but she has not won in quite a while.
1 Mirage Dancer $8
2 The Chosen One $6
3 Youngstar $7.50
4 Gallic Chieftain $8
Race 6 – Inglis Sires Produce
Many likely types jump into this Group 1 with the winner looking to become a stud prospect of the future.
Ole Kirk should be unbeaten and they’re giving us $8 to see him go round. He’s a superb each way bet on exposed form.
Holyfield was a dominant winner last week but needs to back up on the soft track whilst Mamaragan seems untapped after a placing in the Slipper.
1 Ole Kirk $8
2 Mamaragan $3.40
3 Aim $10
4 King’s Legacy $13
Race 7 – Australian Derby
Castelvecchio has been well back and looms as the winner here, especially after his win at Rosehill which was set up by an ability to race closer to the speed. Massive chance.
Warning controlled the VRC Derby in spring on a soft track and will cop the trip whilst Sherwood Forest and Shadow Hero demand respect.
Quick Thinker and Zebrowski are others worth thought.
1 Castelvecchio $2.80
2 Warning $4.80
3 Sherwood Forest $13
4 Shadow Hero $4.40
Race 8 – TJ Smith Stakes
Nature Strip repaid his followers last start and the should he relax at any point in this race he will take some stopping.
Defending champion, Santa Ana Lane, was plain first up but trialled nicely behind Nature Strip in prep for this. Redzel is to be kept safe, especially with the swimming pool that could be Randwick.
Godolphin duo Bivouac and Trekking go in the quaddie and whenever you discount Loving Gaby she makes you pay.
1 Nature Strip $3.40
2 Redzel $17
3 Bivouac $4.80
4 Trekking $21
Race 9 – The Doncaster
Kiwi mare, Melody Belle, will need to be historically great to win this with the 57kg but she’s a genuinely great racehorse.
Super Seth can be forgiven for his recent run and barrier two gives him an economical run in this. Brandenburg gets in at 50.5kg but the three-year-old will still need to be good to beat this bunch.
Prince Fawaz is a long shot worth a throw at the stumps as is my top hope, Homesman. Now with Danny O’Brien, he can race handy to the speed and give a big kick at a huge price. His best form is elite.
1 Homesman $21
2 Brandenburg $7
3 Melody Belle $7.50
4 Super Seth $10
Race 10 – PJ Bell Stakes
Rubisaki enters as the red-hot horse, winning her past four starts in convincing fashion. Kiamichi is 2/2 on a heavy track so that’s worth remembering. Sangria can go in the numbers as well as Pin Sec but I am confident No. 1 or No. 2 wins this.
1 Rubisaki $2
2 Kiamichi $8
3 Pin Sec $11
4 Sangria $10
Race Six, No. 8 – Ole Kirk $8
Race Nine, No. 3 – Homesman $21 (value)
Race One, No. 1 – Buffalo River $4
Race Nine, No. No. 6 – Savacool $11 (value)
Race Seven, No. 1 – Dalasan $1.75
Race Nine, No 11 – Gododdin $8 (value)
7: 1, 2, 3
8: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
9: 1, 3, 8, 19, 20
10: 1, 2
$50 = 33%