Saturday preview: Six things to keep an eye on

10 min read
There is Group 1 action at Rosehill and Flemington this weekend; the Sydney carnival in full swing and the Melbourne carnival coming to a close. The weight-for-age gallopers are to the fore in the G1 Australian Cup and the G1 Tancred S. whilst sprinters, mares, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds are well catered for.

Cover image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

What a clash, what a rematch it is between Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars) and Pride Of Jenni (Pride Of Dubai), the high class 6-year-olds who between them have notched up eight victories at the elite level.

Whilst the former has won the majority of those - six - it is the latter who has had the upper-hand in their three clashes; defeating Mr Brightside in the G1 Champions Mile last spring and the more recent G1 Champions Mile whilst it was the other way around in the G1 CF Orr S.

Each of those races were over shorter trips than the 2000 metres of the Australian Cup; a distance at which neither horses have recorded a win - Mr Brightside from three attempts, Pride Of Jenni from just the one.

Mr Brightside (NZ) | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Mr Brightside did go mightily close to a big one at the trip though, only just nosed out by Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) in last year's WS Cox Plate having found the line well when seventh in that same race the year before and he was close up fourth in the 2022 G1 Caulfield S. won by Anamoe.

It has to be said in his first two tries at the trip he was not going as well as he was last spring and this year. The same can be said for Pride Of Jenni who tired after going out too hard in the G3 JRA Plate at Randwick in April last year.

Neither Bullbars or Pride Of Dubai were tried over 2000 metres but Mr Brightside hails from the same high class middle distance/staying family of Sovereign Red (NZ) and Gurner's Lane (NZ) whilst Pride Of Jenni's dam won up to 2200 metres - and her dam Vouvray (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) won the G1 Queensland Oaks.

Pride Of Jenni | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Cascadian (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) is vying for a bit of Australian Cup history in his bid to back up his success last year. First run in 1863, the race has on seven occasions been won by the same horse more than once.

“Cascadian is vying for a bit of Australian Cup history in his bid to back up his success last year. First run in 1863, the race has on seven occasions been won by the same horse more than once.”

Completing that task was Woodman (Sportsman) in 1865 and 1866, Welkin Prince (Welkin Sun) in 1962 and 1963, Craftsman in 1965 and 1966, Ming Dynasty (Planet Kingdom) in 1978 and 1980, Vo Rogue (Ivor Prince {USA}) in 1989 and 1990, Northerly (Serheed {USA}) in 2001 and 2003 and Harlem (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) in 2018 and 2019.

G1 Vinery Stud S. - another exciting clash

Sydney racegoers are getting very excited about seeing boom New Zealand filly Orchestral (NZ) (Savabeel) in action on Saturday, the last start G1 New Zealand Derby winner making her Australian debut in this competitive race for the fillies.

It was a massive win as an odds-on favourite over the boys at Ellerslie and we don't have to go far back to look for a boom New Zealand filly who headed to Sydney for a win - Pennyweka (NZ) (Satono Aladdin {Jpn}) taking out last year's G1 New Zealand Oaks and G1 ATC Oaks.

Orchestral (NZ) | Image courtesy of Race Images

Orchestral heads here with an even bigger reputation having won five of her eight starts but she does have formidable opposition in the shape of Zardozi (Kingman {GB}) who also boasts an excellent record of six wins from 11 starts.

Last year's G1 VRC Oaks winner returned in fine style recording a dominant win in the G2 Phar Lap S., also against the boys.

“Orchestral heads here with an even bigger reputation having won five of her eight starts but she does have formidable opposition in the shape of Zardozi.”

It makes for an intriguing clash as we head towards the G1 ATC Oaks but it may not be a two horse race with the likes of Kimochi (Brave Smash {Jpn}) and Autumn Angel (The Autumn Sun) also in fine form.

G1 Tancred S. - domination of the imports

There are just two Australian bred horses contesting this year's running of a weight-for-age staying contest that was first held in 1963 and which in recent times has been a happy hunting ground for imported gallopers.

Half of the last twelve winners have originated from the northern hemisphere - Arapaho (Fr) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), Sir Dragonet (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), Almandin (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) and Manighar (Fr) (Linamix {Fr}).

The only other winner not born in Australia or New Zealand was Khalekan (GB) back in 1968. That son of the great stayer Alycidon (GB) ended up standing at stud where he was represented by a number of stakes winners.

“Half of the last twelve winners have originated from the northern hemisphere - Arapaho, Sir Dragonet, Avilius, Almandin, Hartnell and Manighar.”

Sadly it is not a vintage running of a race which used to provide a staying flavour to Golden Slipper Day - also won by the likes of Kingston Town (Bletchingly), Bonecrusher (NZ) (Pag Asa), Octagonal (NZ), Tie The Knot (Nassipour {USA}), Ethereal (NZ) (Rhythm {USA}), Makybe Diva (GB) (Desert King {Ire}) and Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) and also sadly it can't be the second leg of a big weight-for-age double with the G1 Australian Cup now ran on the same day.

But we can't get stuck too much in the past and this is still an interesting race, one in which fans of the local breed are hoping that Tom Kitten (Harry Angel {Ire}) can bring to an end his recent run of bad luck as he takes on the older horses.

Including the favourite Post Impressionist (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) who impressed racing away with the G3 NE Manion Cup at his local debut. Also coming off last start stakes victories are the Listed Pakenham Cup winner Ashrun (Fr) (Authorized {Ire}), the Listed Parramatta Cup winner More Felons (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) and the Listed Victoria Gold Cup winner Gear Up (Ire) (Teofilo).

Post Impressionist (Ire)

Meanwhile we get a quick test of the G1 Ranvet S. form from last weekend with the third placed Buckaroo (GB) (Fastnet Rock) and the fifth home Military Mission (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) backing up.

The 2YOs - G3 Thoroughbred Breeders S. & G3 TL Baillieu S.

A week on from the G1 Golden Slipper S. and there is still plenty of interest amongst the 2-year-old ranks with feature contests being held at Flemington and Rosehill.

A 1200 metres dash down the Flemington straight is the G3 Thoroughbred Breeders S. which sees the unbeaten Ameena (Tassort) favourite after she won by convincing margins at Bendigo and Caulfield.

She is facing a rise in class whilst Tobeornottobe (Pierata) has the proven black-type form lines having been a game second and then a close-up fourth behind the G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Hayasugi (Royal Meeting {Ire}) in the G3 Blue Diamond Preview and the G2 Blue Diamond Prelude.

Ameena with connections | Image courtesy of Woodhill Racing

Down from Sydney is Godolphin's Silmarillion (Too Darn Hot {GB}) who went close in the G2 Reisling S. at just her second start, a race in which Reasonable Point (Blue Point {Ire}) had little luck.

Silmarillion also has the option of contesting the G3 TL Baillieu S. at Rosehill, a race which sees Linebacker (NZ) (Super Seth) a short priced favourite off his impressive all the way victory at his Hawkesbury debut in February and he has easily won a Rosehill trial since.

Anode (I Am Invincible) is also right in the market having fought on gamely to run second in the G3 Pago Pago S. in which the Slipper runner-up Coleman (Pierata) was third.

The sprinters - G3 Star Kingdom S. & the Listed ATA Bob Hoysted H.

The G3 Star Kingdom S. at Rosehill sees an interesting return - that of last year's G1 Golden Slipper hero Shinzo (Snitzel) who is looking for more luck than he had during his brief spring campaign which culminated with a G1 Coolmore Stud S. third.

Several other handy sprinters resume in this race including Hawaii Five Oh (I Am Invincible), Roots (Press Statement), Zou Tiger (Zoustar) and Butch Cassidy (Written Tycoon), all of whom have been shaping nicely at the trials.

Airman (I Am Invincible) has the benefit of a run under his belt having been a solid third in the G3 Maurice McCarten S. in which Libertad (Russian Revolution) was good to the line finishing second.

Shinzo | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

The Listed Bob Hoysted H. is also an open affair and also a race which sees a smart one resuming - in this case the unbeaten What You Need (Supido) who in just three starts last year progressed from a maiden to Listed success.

Also resuming are Katsu (Mikki Isle {Jpn}) and Ghaanati (Deep Impact {Jpn}) who both boast excellent first up records whilst the fitness edge runners with major chances include a couple who ran soundly in the G1 Oakleigh Plate which is proving such a good form race - Recommendation (Shalaa {Ire}) and Najem Suhail (Starspangledbanner).

As well as Sans Doute (Not A Single Doubt) who has not put a hoof wrong of late, winning her last three rising through the classes at Flemington.

The 3YOs - G2 Tulloch S. & Listed Sunlight Classic

The G2 Tulloch S. has been a good guide to the G1 ATC Derby in recent years including last year's runner-up Major Beel (NZ) (Savabeel) who went one better a week later.

Those dominating this year's Derby market are competing elsewhere with the most fancied of that race's contestants lining up here being a horse yet to be nominated - the in-form Wymark (NZ) (Savabeel) who has recorded three extra smart wins in a row.

Looking to provide his dam Mull Over (So You Think {NZ}) with two very different types of Group 1 races should be progress to Derby success is Kintyre (Hallowed Crown), half-brother to the G1 Golden Slipper S. heroine Fireburn (Rebel Dane).

Wymark (NZ) | Image courtesy of Bradley Photos

Whilst the promising middle distance types are contesting the Tulloch, the speedier 3-year-olds are taking their place in the Listed Sunlight Classic at Flemington, a race in which Estriella (I Am Invincible) is favourite as she vies for a third win in a row.

She has won both of her current campaign assignments in smart - but different style; first up swamping her rivals from the rear in the G3 Kevin Hayes S. and second up leading throughout in the Inglis Sprint.

And since then she has beaten the smart I Am Unstoppable (I Am Invincible) in a Cranbourne jump-out.

Estriella | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

And that horse is one of her rivals here, looking to bounce back from a below best performance in the G1 Lightning S. in which he was fancied as one of the main dangers to Imperatriz (I Am Invincible).

Stretan Angel (Harry Angel {Ire}) also resumes off solid jump-out form whist an up-and-comer to keep an eye on is and Hedged (Capitalist) who went to the paddock a Sandown winner in October, returning with another smart winning performance at Flemington.

The Six
Saturday Summary