First run in 1986, this is still a relatively new race on the Australian Calendar. It has been won by some high class gallopers including the likes of Zabeel, Mahogany, Mouawad, Triscay, Flying Spur , Reset, Apache Cat, Miss Finland & Shamus Award. The vast majority of those winners didn’t race on much after their three year old days. Below are the last 16 winners of the race with relevant information- Gender, Barrier, Jockey, Last 3 starts (x denotes a spell), Position at start/800m/400m, Price (in that sequence).
- 2018 GRUNT 3C D.Oliver (16) 1×1 (6-6-3) $5.50
- 2017 HEY DOC 3G L,Currie (1) x31 (6-6-4) $3.50
- 2016 PALENTINO 3C (5) M.Zahra x72 (9-9-8) $9
- 2015 WANDJINA 3c (9) B. Prebble 0x1 (1-1-1) $8
- 2014 SHAMUS AWARD 3c (9) C. Williams 1×3 (2-2-2) $4.50
- 2013 FERLAX 3c (2) S. Baster x11 (3-3-3) $17
- 2012 MOSHEEN 3f (16) D. Nikolic x12 (12-11-7) $5
- 2011 SHAMROCKER 3f (7) G.Boss 2×4 (10-8-6) $31
- 2010 ROCK CLASSIC 3g (4) M. Rodd 121 (5-5-3) $17
- 2009 HEART OF DREAMS 3g (2) C. Newitt x43 (4-4-3) $3.75
- 2008 LIGHT FANTASTIC 3g (7) C. Newitt 111 (3-3-3) $2.70
- 2007 *MISS FINLAND 3f (6) C.Williams x41 (5-5-5) $2.50 (*race run at Caulfield)
- 2006 APACHE CAT 3g (8) N. Callow x31 (1-1-1) $8
- 2005 AL MAHER 3c (2) N. Callow 3×2 (3-3-3) $8
- 2004 RESET 3c (7) D. Nikolic 111 (4-4-2) $1.75
- 2003 DELAGO BROM 3c (3) P. Payne 0x2 (7-8-7) $3.50
- 15/16 won or placed last start and 16/16 finished in first four. 8 were last start winners
- 14/16 won at least one of their last 3 starts. 6 had won two of their last three starts.
- 14/16 started from barrier 1-9 with only Mosheen in 2012 backing that trend. It was a very wet track that day though and from memory the only genuine wet track in this period.
- 11/16 were in the first 5 runners in the early part of the race. Only two winners (Apache Cat, Wandjina) have managed to lead all the way, and no other horse has sat 1-2 in the run. Being placed 3rd to 6th early has provided 11 of the last 16 winners. Interesting that the only 2 winners to come from 10th or worse early were both Mares that won or placed in the VRC Oaks the prior Spring.
- 16/16 had their last start between 1400-1500m. 14/16 at 1400m and the two that didn’t came out of a 1500m race at Rosehill in Sydney.
- 6/13 had finished in the first 4 placings in a Group 1 race sometime prior to starting in this race.
- The only 3 Fillies to win during this period had won or placed in the VRC Oaks the previous Spring.
- 9/16 started $5.50 or less, average Price $8.00-$8.50
- 14/16 had their prior run in Victoria, 13 of those at either Caulfield or Flemington.
- Oddly 3 of the last 5 winners had finished in third place in the Caulfield Guineas during the Spring.
- 8 Colts and 5 Geldings make up the contingent of males that have won this race, but 5 of the last six have been Colts.
In essence we are looking for preferably an in form male horse (finished top 4 last start), drawn barriers 1-9, that can take up a position just behind the pace early. Preferably have raced at 1400 last start at Flemington or Caulfield.
I don’t want to go too much in depth with this race, but from a historical point of view I think it would be hard to argue the point that the best credentialled runner is the Tasmanian Galloper THE INEVITABLE and he is at a suprisingly good price. Those who like the filly Mystic Journey in the race might have noticed that he has similar formlines her around a horse called Gee Gee Secondover. He has won all three starts meetings against that horse, whilst she is 4/5 against him. I think he was just about entitled to win at Flemington last start in a leisurely run race but he was off a months break and was back in distance 200m. If you watch the finish there wasn’t anything really taking ground off him so the win might have more merit than at first glance.
On paper we don’t seem to have a great deal of pace in the race and that is going to suit him and most of the favoured runners, who may not have all raced up on the pace in recent times, but all have shown the ability in the past to be able to.
AMPHITRITE probably looks the second best credentialled runner historically, and you could make a case to put her on top given her Group 1 form in the Spring. Although she failed to place in the Oaks she was a raging favourite for the race and probably failed to back up. Like all the other mares to win this race she has won at this track (or the track this race is to be run on, in the case of Miss Finland). That, and the 1400m win at this track last start, may give her the edge over the Tassie filly Mystic Journey (who I love!), but their formlines were very similar particularly against a filly called Fundamentalist.
MYSTIC JOURNEY is the only runner here to have beaten older horses, and she did that last start in Tasmania against the very capable Hellova Street at WFA. She looked no hope half way through that race an a possibly unsuitable surface. He has since won and she comes into this race unbeaten in three starts. She is also unbeaten in three runs at 1400m and above, with her most conclusive win at this trip.
HAWKSHOT looks the other major player off a very impressive last start win where he pretty much massacred the time of Manuel in the WFA race on the same day. He was a second faster overall with a slightly faster last 600m, so there was no fluke to that time. To frank that opinion even more he defeated Ringerdingding that day by 4.75L who then got within 2.20L of the winner in the WFA Futurity Stakes last week. Any young horse that can be running faster time than older WFA gallopers at this time of year has to be seriously respected. The negative for him is the very wide barrier but the lack of pace in the race is more than likely going to negate that factor, and he will almost certainly lead this field.
Of the rest of the field I think you probably have to give some respect to the Chris Waller trainers DEALMAKER who ran on well against Hawkshot last start and has drawn well enough. He is a half brother to The Inevitable through the very in form sire Dundeel (High Chaparral), whose other three year old son Global Exchange won very impressively at Caulfield last week. He also has the unbeaten two year old Castelvecchio running in Sydney tomorrow on his way to the Golden Slipper.
EXTRA BRUT and STARS OF CARRUM seemed to be the most unlucky runners behind The Invevitable last start, not gaining runs in the straight. Beaten out of a first four spot last start is hardly a recommendation to win that race though, and both have drawn wide barriers and need a very fast run race to ensue, to increase their chances. That doesn’t look like happening but we can never be certain. CHAPADA can also improve massively second up and should probably have won the VRC Derby last Spring. Again though his chances look to have been cruelled by a wide gate (no option but to go back again?). O’TAUTO was unlucky too against The Inevitable, never seeing the rail at any stage and he was also a month between runs. He can acquit himself very well from a good barrier particularly if he takes a more prominent position in the run. We haven’t really seen that from him yet. RAINIER has a win here and was game in the same race last start, but is another who has to overcome a wide draw. LONG LEAF was very gutsy in his NZ win last start and that might give him a much needed confidence boost. He is an on pacer who is drawn well so has to be conceded a decent chance, but on his form in the Spring behind Ringerdingding he might be a length or two off these. The break between runs (5 weeks) is also a concern.
In conclusion I’m going to tip the value horse on top because of his historical precedents and very similar formlines to the Tassie filly, but I have backed both of them to win this race;
- THE INEVITABLE
- Mystic Journey
Not too many surprises there with the placgetters who are nearly impossible to separate, and I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Hawkshot leads all the way. The value in his price might have gone now though.