Saturday preview: six things to keep an eye on

13 min read
There is Group 1 action in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday with the 3-year-olds getting their chance to shine in the Golden Rose whilst a talented group of weight-for-age performers tackle the Underwood. As is always the case at this time of year, there are great support cards in place at both venues.

Cover image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Golden Rose - 14 years of impressive history

Formerly run as the G2 Peter Pan S. - during which time it was won by the likes of Kingston Town (Bletchingly), Sir Dapper and Flying Spur - this race at Rosehill, had a change of identity in 2005; brought back a little in distance as the Listed Golden Rose but quickly elevated - in 2009 run for the first time as a Group 1 race.

Over the course of that 14 years, the Golden Rose has been won by 13 colts and one gelding (Manawanui by Oratorio {Ire}) and every one of those has ended up at stud.

And of the nine already represented by runners, all of them have sired stakes winners (94 between them) with five of those - Denman, Epaulette, Zoustar, Hallowed Crown and Astern - siring at least one Group 1 winner.

Gallery: Winners of the G1 Golden Rose who have gone on to sire Group 1 winners

The two most recent Golden Rose-winning stallions with runners - Trapeze Artist and The Autumn Sun, both had stakes winners in their debut crops. Which augers well for the latest winners at stud - Ole Kirk, In The Congo, Bivouac and Jacquinot.

The Golden Rose has also proven to be a good form reference with nine of its last 14 winners going onto further big-race success - Toorak Toff taking out the following year's G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S., Epaulette the following year's G1 Doomben 10,000, Zoustar the G1 Coolmore Stud S. two starts later, Hallowed Crown the G1 Randwick Guineas later that season and for Trapeze Artist it was the first of his four Group 1 victories.

The Autumn Sun was already a Group 1 winner leading into his win and would take out another three elite-level 3-year-old races including, at his next outing, the G1 Caulfield Guineas. Also taking out that double was Ole Kirk whilst Bivouac won two major sprints the following year - and Jacquinot defeated the older horses in the G1 CF Orr S. five months later.

Six stables with runners this year have won this race (as a Group 1) before - Peter Snowden with Denman and Epaulette in 2009 and 2012, Chris Waller with Zoustar in 2013 and The Autumn Sun in 2018, Gerald Ryan with Trapeze Artist in 2017, James Cummings with Bivouac in 2019, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott with In The Congo two years ago and Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr with Jacquinot last year.

Its an even and exciting group of 3-year-olds lining up in this year's edition, with all but two (the gelding Encap {Capitalist} and the filly Charm Stone {I Am Invincible}) being colts.

Charm Stone is the lone filly running in this year's G1 Golden Rose at Rosehill | Image courtesy of Racing Photos

And some well-related ones too with connections hoping to enhance their stud prospects.

Such as the in-form Cylinder (Exceed And Excel) from the family of Lonhro, the G1 Golden Slipper S. hero Shinzo (Snitzel) out of the dual Group 1 winner Samaready (More Than Ready {USA}), the G1 JJ Atkins S. winner King Colorado (Kingman {GB}) from the prolific Fall Aspen (USA) (Pretense {USA}) family, Moravia (Snitzel) - a descendant of the legendary La Troienne (Fr) (Teddy {Fr}) and Militarize (NZ) (Dundeel {NZ}) from the family of Lucky Vega (Ire).

Gilgai Farm have already bred a Golden Rose winner - Ole Kirk - and Newgate will be hopeful that a son of their extraordinary young stallion Extreme Choice can forge a career at stud; Don Corleone deserving for an easier run in transit than he endured in the G2 Run to the Rose.

Cylinder, the current favourite for the G1 Golden Rose at Rosehill | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

Another seven Golden Rose contestants come through that lead-up including the trifecta - Cylinder, Moravia and Nadal (Xtravagant {NZ}).

It could be a filly or gelding who throws the spanner in the works with Charm Stone undefeated this time in whilst Encap looked to have a bit in hand with his G3 Ming Dynasty H. success.

The Underwood S. - an 11th dual winner?

A major weight-for-age contest that has had a number of homes - from the now defunct course at Williamstown to Sandown to Caulfield - since its inception in 1924, this Group 1 is Victoria's only elite-level race run over 1800 metres - and one of only two Australia wide; Perth's Northerly S. the other.

It is a race that features on the records of another of topliners such as Phar Lap (NZ) (Night Raid {GB}), Tobin Bronze, Bonecrusher (NZ) (Pag Asa), Rubiton, Octagonal (NZ), Elvstroem and So You Think (NZ) - and on 10 occasions it has been won by the same horse more than once.

Five of those accomplished that feat in the first 17 years of Underwood history - Whittier (Woorak) taking out the first two runnings and soon after joined by Highland (Highfield {GB}), Hall Mark, Young Idea and Ajax - noting that the latter won this race three times in a row between 1938 and 1940.

Ajax won the Underwood S. three times in a row between 1938 and 1940 | Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Attley, Beau Gem, Flying Halo and Aquanita also each won the race twice whilst the most recent dual Underwood winner is Northerly (Serheed {USA}) who led his rivals a merry dance in 2001 and 2002.

So, it has been a while, but favourite to become another two-time winner of this race is the tough and classy Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) who backs up from his game on-pace second behind the in-form Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars) in last weekend's G1 Makybe Diva S.

He was also second in that race last year, but the two races had a 15-day gap between them, and this is the first time in his 31-start career that he has been asked to race on consecutive weekends.

Alligator Blood, the current favourite for the G1 Underwood S. at Caulfield | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

With his five victories at Group 1 level, he is certainly the class runner of the field but there is competition with the likes of Tuvalu (Kermadec {NZ}), Right You Are (So You Think {NZ}) and Attrition (Churchill {Ire}) looking ready to run big races.

Or, on the back of three wins by imported gallopers in the last five years, should we be looking at one of the Northern Hemisphere-bred horses? Soulcombe (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Without A Fight (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) are both high up in the betting, making this an intriguing edition of this early spring feature.

The MRC Foundation Cup - Caulfield Cup qualifier

Since 2007 gaining its winner automatic inclusion in the G1 Caulfield Cup, the race registered as the G3 Naturalism S. but run as the MRC Foundation Cup, is generally regarded as a good pointer to further success over the spring carnival.

Let's look at the last 20 runnings to see how its winners have fared in subsequent weeks.

Last year's hero Smokin' Romans (NZ) (Ghibellines) is a good one to start with as he was able to take that form to the next level by two weeks later winning the G1 Turnbull S., and behind him in the Naturalism - running a nice third - was the G1 Melbourne Cup hero Gold Trip (Fr) (Outstrip {GB}).

Smokin' Romans (NZ) | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Nonconformist (Rebel Raider) was successful in 2021 and he raced two more times that spring for G1 Caulfield S. and a G1 Caulfield Cup seconds.

Orderofthegarter (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) won as favourite in 2020 but made it to the track for only one more unplaced run. Fellow import Brimham Rocks (GB) (Fastnet Rock) won the year before that but didn't make an impact in major spring contests - as was also the case with the 2018 winner Night's Watch (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) and the 2017 winner Harlem (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}).

The form was better in 2016 when the lovely mare Jameka (Myboycharlie {Ire}) en route to a G1 Turnbull S. second and a 3l G1 Caulfield Cup win.

Jameka | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

The previous year's victor Magnapal (Magnus) didn't win again that spring but the runner-up The United States (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) went on to win the G2 Moonee Valley Cup in which he defeated the subsequent G1 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance (NZ) (Pentire {GB}).

The previous three winners, Gris Caro (GB) (With Approval {Can}), Mr O'Ceirin (NZ) (Postponed {USA}) and Folding Gear (NZ) (Johar {USA}), didn't manage further victories. However in 2011 December Draw (Ire) (Medecis {GB}) carried his winning form into the G1 Turnbull S.

The previous three winners Rainbow Styling (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), Red Lord (Redoute's Choice) and Zagreb (Zabeel {NZ}) did not enjoy further spring success but the 2007 running saw an exciting battle between Douro Valley (Encosta De Lago) and Maldivian (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}).

The former went on to run second in the G1 Caulfield Cup (winning the following year's G1 Caulfield S.) whilst the latter won his next two starts; defeating the Caulfield Cup winner Master O'Reilly (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}) in the Listed JRA Cup and proving too strong for Miss Finland (Redoute's Choice) and Anamoe's dam Anamato (Redoute's Choice) in the Caulfield S.

Floating Artist, the current favourite for the MRC Foundation Cup at Caulfield | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Zipping (Danehill {USA}) saluted in 2006, three starts later winning the Moonee Valley Cup, though the 2005 winner Sarrera (Quest For Fame {GB}) didn't win again that spring, he later went on to two Group 1 successes.

After his win the previous year, Confectioner (Bubble Gum Fellow {GB}) proved to be competitive with some smart ones finishing third behind Elvstroem and Mummify (Jeune {GB}) in the G2 Turnbull S. and second to Grand Armee (Hennessy {USA}) in the G1 Mackinnon S., and 20 years ago this weekend the race was the last one won by Rose Archway (Archway {Ire}).

It will be interesting see how the form shapes out of this year's running which looks to be a very open one with a number of chances including Floating Artist (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), Goldman (NZ) (Verdi {NZ}), Berkeley Square (Territories {Ire}), Alaskan God (Playing God), Emissary (GB) (Kingman {GB}) and Future History (GB) (Showcasing {GB}).

Caulfield Guineas Prelude - an exciting clash

By its very name this race is watched as a guide to the G1 Caulfield Guineas but has the form stacked up when it comes to the big one in October? As we did with the Naturalism, let's take a look at the last 20 years.

2022Aft Cabin (Astern)Didn't run
2021Lightsaber (Zoustar)Fourth
2020Crosshaven (Smart Missile)Fourth
2019Alligator Blood (All Too Hard)Second (first three came out of the Prelude in which the winner Super Seth was fifth)
2018Native Soldier (Sepoy)Unplaced
2017Perast (Snitzel)Fifth
2016Sacred Elixir (Pour Moi)Unplaced
2015Bon Aurum (Bon Hoffa)Unplaced
2014Rich Enuff (Written Tycoon)Second to Shooting To Win (Northern Meteor)
2013Éclair Big Bang (Savabeel)Unplaced behind Prelude third-placed Long John (Street Cry)
2012Epaulette (Commands)Third behind All Too Hard (Casino Prince) and Pierro (Lonhro)
2011Helmet (Exceed And Excel)First
2010Anacheeva (Anabaa)First
2009Demerit (Lonhro)Didn't run; won by Starspangledbanner (fourth in the Prelude)
2008Fernandina (Desert Sun)Unplaced but the trifecta came out of the Prelude in which the winner Whobegotyou (Street Cry) was seventh
2007Purrealist (Tale Of The Cat)Didn't run (Marching was second in both races)
2006Wonderful World (Agnes World)First
2005Apache Cat (Lion Cavern)Unplaced behind Prelude runner-up God's Own
2004Tirade (Distorted Humor)Unplaced
2003Elvstroem (Danehill)Fifth behind Prelude runner-up In Top Swing (Beautiful Crown)

In summary, of the 17 Prelude winners who took their place in the Caulfield Guineas, there have been three winners and three placegetters whilst the race has provided another six winners of the Classic.

This year's running does look to be a particularly strong one and somewhat of a match race between two of Victoria's most exciting 3-year-olds - Veight (Grunt {NZ}) who has won three of four and who resumed with a dominant win in the G3 McNeil S. and the unbeaten Steparty (Artie Schiller {USA}) who was just as impressive taking out the Listed Mitchell McKenzie S. when having his first crack at black type.

It would be great to see the pair fight it out and lead into another great Caulfield Guineas clash in the style of Redoute's Choice and Testa Rossa!

Steparty, the current favourite for the G3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Jim Moloney S. - a family affair!

Run at Caulfield, this is just a young race - just five years old in fact, but it got off to a good start with its inaugural running in 2018 seeing Mystic Journey (Needs Further) win her first mainland stakes race.

And it was the first stakes success for Odeum (Written Tycoon) who a few weeks later won the G1 Thousand Guineas.

The latter race was won in 2006 by Miss Finland and Saturday sees her daughter - the race favourite Miracle Of Love (Dundeel {NZ}) - taking on her granddaughter Chill The Krug (Shalaa {Ire})!

Both lightly raced fillies are showing good promise, the former a Scone trial winner, since we last saw her finishing second to King Colorado (Kingman {GB}) in the G1 JJ Atkins S. whilst the latter has been in the placings in a Cranbourne jump-out and trial since finishing second to Legacies (Justify {USA}) in the Listed ANZAC Day S.

Miracle Of Love, the current favourite for the Listed Jim Moloney S. at Caulfield | Image courtesy of Michael McInally

This is a race of varied form lines though four of its runners come through the Listed Atlantic Jewel S. which was taken out by Charm Stone (I Am Invincible) who is taking on the boys in the G1 Golden Rose at Rosehill.

Third behind her that day at Moonee Valley was De Sonic Boom (Spirit Of Boom) who was doing her best work late as was the sixth home Zoukerette (I Am Invincible) and the eighth-placed Treasurway (Starspangledbanner) whilst the fifth home Oz Empress (Exceed And Excel) boxed on from closer to the pace.

Coco Sun (The Autumn Sun) has been good winning her last two, whilst being kept very safe in the betting is Poifect (Pierro) who has won a Flemington jump-out in preparation for her return off an impressive maiden victory at Geelong in mid-June.

Golden Pendant - Group 1 mares

Just eight runners contest this Group 2 contest but what an interesting event it promises to be with plenty of talent amongst that group of sprinting mares.

Three of them have opened up at single figures in the betting and each of them are big race winners - year's G1 Queen of the Turf S. winner Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel), this year's G1 Coolmore Classic winner Espiona (Extreme Choice) and last year's G1 Flight S. heroine Zougotcha (Zoustar).

Atishu has won four of her six starts at the 1400 metres and really caught the eye finishing off strongly when resuming over the 1200 metres of the G2 Sheraco S. in which Espiona was also charging home, reeling off smart sectionals.

She too loves the 1400 metres with three wins including the G3 Mannerism S. earlier in the year.

Espiona, the current favourite for the G2 Golden Pendant at Rosehill | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

Zougotcha has a run on those two mares having already been to the races two times this campaign, solid both times and racing as though looking for the 1400 metres.

First run in 1998, the Golden Pendant (run until 1998 as the Research S.) was won last year by a previous winner of the Queen of the Turf (won this year by Atishu) in the shape of Nimalee (So Your Think {NZ}) and it has also proven a good pointer to future big-race success.

Eight of its winners have gone on to take out Group 1 races - Mizzy (Zoustar), Daysee Doom (Domesday), Tycoon Tara (Written Tycoon), Peeping (Redoute's Choice), More Joyous (NZ) (More Than Ready {USA}), Hot Danish (Nothin' Leica Dane), Spinning Hill (Dolphin Street {Fr}) and Dantelah (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}).

Meanwhile five of its winners have become stakes-producing broodmares with the most successful of those being the 2002 winner Mica's Pride (Bite The Bullet {USA}) whose sons Criterion (NZ) and Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock) both won Group 1 races whilst Varenna Miss (Redoute's Choice) won the G2 QTC Cup and Silently (Anabaa {USA}) the Listed James HB Carr S.

Saturday preview
The six
Six things to keep an eye on