A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all on Twitter and particularly those that follow my ramblings and Blog Posts (not too sure how many are left!). This race takes place on Sunday and has tweaked my interest.
A couple of historical pointers and horses who fit the profile, along with a minor discussion of the likely speed in the race;
- The Cerise and White of owner Bob Peters have won 8 of the past 12 editions which is an amazing stat. It’s been a fairly miserable carnival thus far for the Leviathan owner but how good do those figures look for the back to form TRULY INSPIRED? He was ridden very quietly to win last Saturday with a Tongue Tie added. He had overraced the start prior when he failed, ridden a lot closer. His racing pattern and breeding suggest he will stay the distance no problem.
- Mares have a very good record in the race winning 5 of the past 11 editions. PURE DEVOTION represents the fairer sex this year.
- 20 of the last 21 winners have carried less than 56kg to win. Eight of those have won with 53kg or less. I doubt that is very significant this year with 14 of the 16 runners on the 53kg minimum. It possibly dents the confidence a little with last start impressive winner BUSTER BASH, but his connections will probably be relieved that Marocchino isn’t taking his place in the field. That will mean less speed in the race and more of chance for him to relax up on the pace. The tempo of the race should be faster than average as he still has Trap For Fools and Cockney Crew to deal with up front, but he did handle both of those horses very comfortably last start, sitting off both.
ALASKAN GOD is the current favourite for the race and I think he is a false one. I’ve been against him this preparation after studying his times in the Melvista (Derby lead up), and the WA Derby earlier this year. He was impressive in both, but on times he was vastly inferior to the likes of Regal Power who won both in 2019. Home in 37.43 for the last 600m of that 2021 Derby? The positive for him here is that he has been deliberately set for the race and wouldn’t have been suited backing up last start. Notably all his wins are from barrier inside 6 so perhaps he needs cover and his chances hinge on how well he is ridden. It’s hardly a vintage Perth Cup and we know he runs the 2400m right out. I just can’t have him at under $5.50 with his current quote around $4. Twenty one days between runs here might be beneficial but all bar one of his wins have been with a week less hiatus (other was first up).
Given the speed up front this year you would expect that every horse will get it’s chance in the race, providing they can get some cover if drawn wide. A few of the leading market hope have drawn out a bit whereas the three likely leaders, COCKNEY CREW, TRAP FOR FOOLS, and BUSTER BASH have all drawn inside. That is a big bonus for them as they won’t have to work to find the lead. Buster Bash will probably take the sit behind the other two as he did last start. He looks suited with that same scenario unfolding given the ease of his win last start.
TRAP FOR FOOLS- Impossible to pick him on form and he will have other company up front from horses who do have better form. Winkers On could be a positive but hard to quantify what effect they will have.
BUSTER BASH- Is very hard to knock with the barrier probably negating his historically difficult weight. He likes his runs spaced a bit and his form has been faultless excepting the Railway Stakes where he came back in distance 200m.. They weren’t really making ground on him last start late which augurs well for his first crack at 2400m in a very even field. He is one of only a couple here to have a public trial which was a solid test when winning over 1450m at Lark Hill.
ALASKAN GOD- As already mentioned I’m not that keen on him although he does have a couple of things in his favour. Unfortunately the barrier isn’t one of them so i’m even keener to work around him. Maybe the jockey change will prove a positive though. The extra two weeks between runs is probably suitable for him and has given his trainer a bit more time to get him to find his best form.
BAD WOLF- Struggling against most of these recently and the barrier probably seals his fate being a horse who sits just behind the pace.
COCKNEY CREW- Second to Buster Bash and he did give weight to Truly Inspired last start. Not really going well enough on paper but if he ever repeated his second to Regal Power in the WA Derby he would be winning this. He has a couple of gear changes and the one that really interests me is the Norton Bit going on. That gear change came to the fore during the Spring with two Waller stayers Durston and Francesco Guardi finding a few lengths with it’s application. That’s what he needs here. $20 plus to find out.
COME RIGHT BACK- Average stayer but I’ve liked his past two runs where he has had little luck. The trouble is his luck looks out here too having drawn very wide. Had he drawn inside I could make a strong case. Pretty sure he was $91 the other day so somebody has backed him.
DOM TO SHOOT- Looks very well weighted here off his past two efforts at WFA and you’d swear he would run this trip looking at this finishing effort last start. His only other run beyond 2000m wasn’t good though so I’m in two minds His barrier is a little awkward as he isn’t an on pacer and I’m not sure they will want to go right back in the field. $14 looks pretty good odds if he can find some cover which he will almost certainly need. From memory he was pretty lucky to have avoided injury two weeks ago when that ill fated mare fell in front of him. A change of jockey and the extra two weeks now have me thinking around him.
HOLY ENCHANTMENT- He gave Queen Alina 5kg last start and battled on okay after being exposed too early in the race. His only run beyond 2000m produced a grinding win in slow time which might not have suited him. He does boast a second to Western Empire in receipt of two kilos. Conversely he got nowhere near Dom To Shoot with 5kg less two starts ago. He did come back in distance there though and it’s interesting to note his first up run was over 1800m this time in That suggests to me that the stable think he needs this distance this preparation. His draw looks economical enough and his price is way too long in my opinion. I might be wrong but I think the trainer is the same person who rode King Of Saxony to win this race in 1999, first up off a 12 month break for his Grandfather (or father). This is an even more unusual preparation now but this race has always been the plan and it’s starting to look a tiny bit like De Javu. Trained on a long stretch of beach at Port Kennedy where they can pour the work into him?
NEUFBOSC- Another horse that is weighted to win and his form looks good enough leading in with the drop in weight. He won this race two years ago (hasn’t won since) but failed last year albeit with 55.5kg. He did back up off 7 days to win in 2020 but failed off 15 days last year. In 2020 he also won another race in that preparation backing up. He is 2-1/4 given that scenario. The negative is he is only 1/17 when drawn beyond barrier 6. A good ride however clearly suggests he can be competitive. His odds are about right. Two weeks more between runs for him now has me thinking his chances are not as solid. But he is fit and well weighted.
PLATOON- He ran third in this race last year but he came off a better lead up run and he hardly ever wins. Stephen Parnham has been riding him for his father but has elected to go with Holy Enchantment which isn’t overly surprising with Brad Parnham sticking with stablemate Neufbosc. Drawn well and he hasn’t done so this preparation.
PURE DEVOTION- Oaks placed at this distance and she was a decent fourth in this race last year beaten less than two lengths. She had been very disappointing this preparation but the Blinkers went back on last start (first time this prep) and she had absolutely no luck behind her stablemate Truly Inspired. She has never won beyond fourth up and she is fifth up for this race. You have to respect the ownership/stable in this race, and she wasn’t tested late last start so she comes into this race with a bit of unspent energy. And she meets her stablemate 1kg better. He price seems overs to me given that she is really the only midfield/backmarker type horse that has drawn well (excepting Holy Enchantment and Stafford’s Lad.
STAFFORD’S LAD- Chris Parnham is convinced he’s a chance and stipulates he just needs a fast run race. According to him the horse was a bit unlucky not to win last year so one can only assume that the pace wasn’t fast enough. This race should provide the necessary tempo. He was a bit unlucky last start but still needs to lift on what he has been doing of late. 0-0-0/3 at 2400m doesn’t get me too excited but he has drawn well and did win a race at Kalgoorlie last preparation from up on the pace when he drew inside. That gives the jockey options here but not sure he want to be chasing too close to the pace in this.
TRULY INSPIRED- The Bob Peters owned full brother to the ill fated Truly Great ( unlucky runner up in 2020) returned to form last start ridden a bit quieter with a Tongue Tie added. He is a horse on the up but you’d hardly call him well weighted in this, with Utgard Loki from their last start meeting him 3kg better for a narrow defeat, and Neufbosc 5kg better off for his half length defeat. I don’t doubt him at all at the distance (half sister won an Oaks @ $61) and the colours are well and truly due for a big race win this carnival. He has drawn okay but will settle way back anyway. A Norton Bit going on really has me interested. As mentioned with Cockney Crew that is the same gear that was applied successfully to both Durston and Francesco Guardi during the Spring. The two week break for him could be advantageous as the backup might have been a tiny query and he is still a horse on the up.
UTGARD LOKI- He ran really well last start behind Truly Inspired with 3kg more weight. He has drawn horribly though, and 2400m looks to be his outer limit.
MYSTERY ISLAND- Adds a bit more interest to this race after his win two weeks ago after the Perth Cup mishap. The key may have been riding him back in the field and the wide barrier today probably necessitates the same happening. His overall time was probably similar to what he ran when beaten behind Truly Inspired the week prior but his last 600m was way inferior. That probably indicated he was a beneficiary of a fast pace, which admittedly he will get today. Is he as good as some others though?
This race has way too many realistic chances to be confident and the market more or less indicates that. I’ve agonised over a selection but have come up with TRULY INSPIRED with that gear change and despite the jockey change (Fred Kersley has ridden here), and not being particularly well weighted. PURE DEVOTION looks great historically, and value wise. Unlike a few others in the race you know she should get an economical run, and if the gaps come she will get her chance. Looking at the replay of last year she drew barrier 5 but somehow ended up three wide at the 1000m mark and was a bit exposed. Then she ran into a traffic jam at the top of the straight. By the time she was truly clear her stablemate had pinched a few lengths on her. Like that winner Midnight Blue she can go one better this year. He was third the previous year beaten 4.4L. HOLY ENCHANTMENT looks a knockout hope at a big price if he can peak, and his barrier is better than many others. BUSTER BASH looks to be ticking over quite nicely off that trial and he should get the first crack at the leaders. They are my top four in that order but this is a very tough race to predict especially given the two week delay.