Saturday preview: six things to keep an eye on

9 min read
It may be winter but there is still plenty of racing action with feature events taking place at the Sunshine Coast, Flemington, Belmont and Randwick on Saturday. Several of these races boast records of producing horses who have gone onto bigger things (one in particular!) so it is certainly worth keeping an eye on racing around the country.

Cover image courtesy of Michael McInally

Renamed after a previous winner who never again tasted defeat after an easy win in 2015, the G3 Winx Guineas was first run as a Listed race in 2007, upgraded to this current status in 2014.

Aside from that horse, six of its winners have gone onto further black-type glory with Tivaci - the next year's G1 All-Aged S. winner - another to have enjoyed elite level success.

“Six of its (G3 Winx Guineas) winners have gone onto further black-type glory.”

A variety of trainers have saddled up Winx Guineas winners including John Symons and Sheila Laxon who won last year's race with last weekend's G3 Tattersall's Cup placegetter and this Saturday's Listed Caloundra Cup contestant Knight's Choice (Extreme Choice) and who this time around saddle up Winsome Star (Star Turn) who was good to the line in the G3 Gunsynd Classic.

The TL Cooney S. is a major form reference here, the triple Group winner Cifrado (Encryption) a game runner-up in that 1350-metre Ipswich contest won by the promising Hedged (Capitalist). Sharp Dazzler (Red Dazzler) was not disgraced working from a wide gate and has drawn one this time whilst Miss Aria (Zoustar) was a strong finishing fourth.

Cifrado | Image courtesy of Trackside Photography

Coming into the race with good interstate form is the Listed Canberra Guineas winner Xidaki (Zoustar) and the promising Know Thyself (The Autumn Sun) who has looked good winning three of his first four starts.

Listed Caloundra Cup - future stakes performers?

Run as a Listed race over 2400 metres since 1992, this race boasts a good record of being won by horses who have go one to win other stakes races - 17 of its winners doing so.

And amongst that tally are a few big race winners - the 1993 winner Oppressor (Salieri {USA}) winning the following year's G1 Toorak H., the 2001 winner Henderson Bay (NZ) (Guns Of Navarone {Ire}) winning the following year's G1 Sydney Cup, the 2002 winner Victory Smile (NZ) (Victory Dance {Ire}) three months later claiming victory in the G1 Metropolitan H. and the 2004 winner Portland Singa (NZ) (Danasinga) taking out the following year's G1 Brisbane Cup.

“Run as a Listed race over 2400 metres since 1992, this race boasts a good record of being won by horses who have go one to win other stakes races - 17 of its winners doing so.”

Last year's winner Zoumon (Zoustar) two weeks later won the Listed Grafton Cup. And on Saturday he attempts to become just the second horse to win this race twice - Empyreal (NZ) (His Royal Highness {NZ}) doing so in 2005 and 2006.

Coming off victory in the Listed McKell Cup last year, Zoumon was amongst the favourites in this race but is double figure odds in 2024 having been unplaced - though hardly disgraced - at his two runs this time in.

His form from last year stacks up well with this year's G1 Doomben Cup winner Bois D'Argent (GB) (Toronado {Ire}) finishing second.

Bois D'Argent

Despite drawing out very wide Post Impressionist (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) is favourite having been last seen in March tackling Group 1 company in the Tancred S. following up from his big win in the G3 NE Manion Cup.

Fellow Teofilo (Ire) horse Alegron is back in trip from his barnstorming G2 Brisbane Cup victory whilst Knight's Choice and Hezashocka (NZ) (Shocking) are also down in class having finished third in the G3 Tattersall's Cup and 12th in the G2 Q22.

Listed Glasshouse Handicap - a Queensland favourite

A good quality handicap is always a good race to witness and the Glasshouse H. - which was first run as a Listed event in 1996 - has always been an interesting race - won by 13 horses who have won further stakes races.

Including such terrific gallopers as Scenic Peak (Scenic {Ire}), Woorim (Show A Heart), and Krone (Eurozone) who won Group 1 races: the Emirates S., the Oakleigh Plate and the Coolmore Classic.

“A good quality handicap is always a good race to witness and the Glasshouse H... Has always been an interesting race - won by 13 horses who have won further stakes races.”

Two nice horses fight out favouritism for this year's running - Wategos (Capitalist) in consistent form coming off placings in two Listed events whilst Wollombi (Extreme Choice) charged home late to take out the Listed Gai Waterhouse S. at her first run for the Tony Gollan stable.

Also coming off a stakes win is Willinga Beast (Snitzel) who made her own luck on pace when taking out the Listed Hinkler H. at Eagle Farm.

The Inevitable (Dundeel {NZ}) enjoys a class drop having finished just behind the placegetters in the G1 Stradbroke H. whilst At Witz End (Epaulette) and Rocketing By (So You Think {NZ}) finish in front of Wategos in the Listed Eye Liner S.

Sinawann (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) was also good in that race having got a bit too far back and Midnight In Tokyo (Kobayashi) did not have much room in the run home.

Irish Songs (Shamus Award) attempts to become the only dual winner of this race - Woorim successful in 2010 and 2011.

Finals Day At Flemington - four Listed races

The four Listed races being contested at Flemington on Saturday are all finals of heats contested over the last few months.

The first of those - the fourth race on the card - is the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final, a race which has as its most accomplished winner the popular multiple Group 1 winning chestnut Apache Cat (Lion Cavern {USA}).

Apache Cat | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Pisces (Frosted) and Sneaky Sunrise (The Autumn Sun) battle for favouritism, the latter showing good heart when holding out the former over 1400 metres at the same track a couple of weeks ago.

The Listed Santa Ana Lane Sprint Series Final is the seventh race of the day with Press Down (Press Statement) the most fancied runner on the back of his two smart on pace wins in a row including the Golden Topaz at Swan Hill.

Veloce Carro (Nicconi) is also racing well, winning consecutive races at Flemington before a close second to Crosshaven (Smart Missile) at the same track.Sneaky Sunrise

Sneaky Sunrise | Image courtesy of Lindsay Park Racing

The following race is the Listed Winter Championship Final which sees another horse attempting a third win in a row - Munhamek (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}) so tough winning the Swan Hill Cup and the David Bourke S.

The next two home in that race - King Magnus (Magnus) and Windstorm (Redoute's Choice) again take their place.

The Listed Creswick Sprint Series Final rounds off a good day's racing, a 1200-metre dash down the straight that sees the lightly raced and promising filly Pharari (American Pharoah {USA}) open favourite off dominant victories at Cranbourne and Ballarat.

“The four Listed races being contested at Flemington on Saturday are all finals of heats contested over the last few months.”

She is taking on some handy sprinters including Bossy Nic (Nicconi) who has won her last two, Fleetwood (Encryption) who has won two of his last three and Right To Party (Zoustar) who has already competed well in stakes company.

The Listed Belmont Oaks - a two horse race?

The first two home in the Listed Belmont Guineas - Luvnwar (War Decree {USA}) and Petrouchka (More Than Ready {USA}) - again take each other on here, the former opening up an odds-on favourite with the latter also being kept very safe.

The winner of three of her six starts, Luvnwar was dominant last time out whilst Petrouchka - who is yet to finish out of the placings in five outings - was doing her best work late, both fillies looking suited by the step up to 2000 metres.

Petrouchka | Image courtesy of Western Racepix

Luvnwar races in the famous Peters silks as does her stable mate Antique Queen (Pierro) who also shows plenty of promise - the close relation to the Peters Group 1 winners Regal Power (Pierro) and Arcadia Queen (Pierro) twice a runner up since her soft maiden victory.

First run as a Listed race in 1983, the Belmont Oaks has been won my such classy filly as Searchin' Roc's (Awesome Rock), Kim Angel (Serheed {USA}) and Prime Again (Marooned {GB}).

Luvnwar | Image courtesy of Western Racepix

The latter is one of the three Belmont Oaks winners who produced fillies who also won the race - her daughter Lady Knockout (Serheed {USA}) winning it nine years after her dam whilst the other mother/daughter winning duos are Ambitious Task (NZ) (Icelandic {Ire}) and Icewing (Carry A Smile) and Todtona (Todvega) and Lady Go Bello (Bellotto {USA}).

First Season Sires - 2-year-old racing in Australia and New Zealand

Four different first season stallions are represented at feature Saturday meetings this weekend with Waikato Stud's G1 Caulfield Guineas winner Super Seth having Perfectly Good contest the opening event at Flemington.

Out of the placings but not disgraced at his first two summer starts for Lindsay Park, the $160,000 Magic Millions graduate won a recent Pakenham trial.

Super Seth | Standing at Waikato Stud

Super Seth has sired the Group 1-placed, Group 3 winner Linebacker (NZ) as well as the Listed winner Super Photon (NZ) in his debut crop - one which has produced eight winners from 23 runners.

In the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final later on the Flemington card, Jenni's Meadow (Brutal {NZ}) is the only runner by a first season stallion. The $260,000 Magic Millions purchase - also trained by the Hayes family - looks ready for the step up to the mile having found the line well over 1400 metres at her latest outing.

Newgate Farm's G1 Doncaster H. winner Brutal (NZ) has had nine winners from his first crop of 21 runners.

Brutal | Standing at Newgate Farm

Widden Stud's Group 2 galloper Zousain has two runners in the opening event at the Sunshine Coast - Rhumb Line already a winner from three starts whilst Zouchase debuts off an easy local trial victory.

The G3 Magic Night winner Drifting hails from Zousain's first crop, one which has yielded eight winners from 32 runners.

In New Zealand Westbury Stud's Ferrando (NZ), a Group 3 winning son of Fast 'N' Famous whose best runner so far is the stakes placed Zorro's Revenge (NZ) has Grove Street (NZ) kicking off his second campaign.

Saturday preview