Racing preview (April 15): Two G1s at Randwick highlight packed Easter Saturday program

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Updated: April 14, 2017

Easter Saturday is a treat for racing aficionados – there’s a pair of Group 1s in Sydney (the Champagne and All Aged Stakes) while the abandonment of last week’s meeting at Caulfield means there’s a huge 10-race program scheduled at the Heath highlighted by the G3 Easter Cup. In South Australia, more than 50,000 racegoers will be on course for the first day of the annual Oakbank Easter Carnival (pictured below), with the $100,000 Von Doussa Steeplechase the feature race on day 1; overall record (WIN-PLACE-UNPLACED): 511-74-815, +204.8 units

 

Royal Randwick R6 (3.05pm) G1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m, set weights, 2yo)

Until the Golden Slipper was first run in 1957, this was the premier sprint race for juveniles for more than 80 years. Eventually, the AJC decided to extend the distance to a mile to create a natural progression through the autumn’s two-year-old races. That trio of races are now known as the Juvenile Triple Crown – Golden Slipper Stakes, Sires Produce Stakes (ATC) and Champagne Stakes. It is one of only two events for juvenile gallopers held over the mile distance, the other being the J.J. Atkins in Brisbane during the Queensland Winter Carnival.

Just six two year olds have won all three races in the same season – Baguette (1970), Luskin Star (1977), Tierce (1991), Burst (1992), Dance Hero (2004) and most recently Pierro (2012). There’ll be no addition to that list in 2017 with Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign not engaged here but Peter and Paul Snowden’s classy colt #1 Invader will be out to claim the latter pair of the three after taking out the Sires’ Produce at Randwick on day 1 of The Championships. The market hasn’t missed him (as a $1.90 favourite) with #8 Whispered Secret the logical second pick after his impressive win here last week in the Listed Fernhill over this distance.

 

Royal Randwick R7 (3.45pm) G1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m, standard weight for age)

Normally the final Group 1 race of the Sydney autumn carnival (not so this year with the Sydney Cup to be re-run next week), this races dates back to the AJC’s original autumn meeting of the 1860s. It was run over a mile until barely a decade ago when it was shortened to 1400m. The T.J. Smith Stakes, won by the third time by Chautauqua on day one of The Championships two weeks ago, has produced more winners of the All Aged Stakes than any other race in the past decade. Those four winners had all run in the first two of the T.J. Smith.

Shamekha and Bentley Biscuit won both races in 2005 and 2007 respectively, while Hot Danish (2009) and Hay List (2010) both won the All Aged after finishing second in the T.J Smith. Last year’s winner English (pictured above) was third in the T.J. Smith in 2016 before finishing runner-up in that same race a fortnight ago. That’s a pretty decent formline, and he’s still at a backable price of $3.50. #10 Divine Prophet is up from Melbourne for this race and, with Team Hawkes keeping him fresh, the 3yo colt represents nice value at $15 with Tommy Berry aboard from barrier 8.

 

Today’s other highlights (in running order, AET)

Royal Randwick R3 (1.15pm) G3 $150,000 Mostyn Copper Group Frank Packer Plate (2000m, set weights, 3yo)
Royal Randwick R4 (1.50pm) G3 $150,000 TAB Hall Mark Stakes (1200m, set weights + penalties, 3yo+)
Royal Randwick R5 (2.25pm) G3 $150,000 Sharp Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m, quality, min. weight 53kg, 3yo+)
Oakbank R6 (3.33pm) $100,000 Thomas Foods International Von Doussa Steeplechase (3250m, set weights + penalties)
Caulfield R8 (4.05pm) G3 $150,000 mypunter.com Victoria Handicap (1400m, handicap, min. weight 54kg)
Royal Randwick R8 (4.25pm) G3 $150,000 McGrath Estate Agents J.H.B. Carr Stakes (1400m, set weights + penalties, 3yo fillies)
Caulfield R9 (4.45pm) G3 $150,000 Le Pine Funerals Easter Cup (2000m, handicap, min. weight 54kg)
Oakbank R8 (4.53pm) Listed $100,000 UBET Oakbank Stakes (registered as Hills Railway Stakes, 1100m, quality, min. weight 56kg)
Ascot R7 (6.20pm) Listed $100,000 Old Comrade Stakes (1600m, quality, min. weight 54kg, 3yo+)

 

Today’s racing: Royal Randwick (NSW – heavy 8), Kembla Grange (NSW – soft 7), Coffs Harbour (NSW – heavy 8), Lightning Ridge (NSW – good), Moree (NSW – good 3), Moruya (NSW – good 4), Tocumwal (NSW – good 4); Caulfield (Vic – good 4), Warracknabeal (Vic – good 4), Kerang (Vic – good 4), Balnarring (Vic/picnic – good 4); Doomben (Qld – good 4), Gold Coast (Qld – good 4), Toowoomba (Qld – good 4), Barcaldine (Qld – good), Boulia (Qld – good), Einasleigh (Qld – good), Emerald (Qld – good 4), Flinton (Qld – good), Gladstone (Qld – good), Nanango (Qld – good 3), Roma (Qld – good); Oakbank (SA – good 4), Clare (SA – good 3); Ascot (WA – good 4), Dongara-Irwin (WA – good 4); Alice Springs (NT – good). Harness racing: Ararat (Vic), Albion Park (Qld), Maitland (NSW), Dubbo (NSW), Globe Derby (SA), Bunbury (WA). Greyhound racing: The Gardens (NSW), Ipswich (Qld), Bendigo (Vic), Bulli (NSW), The Meadows (Vic), Wentworth Park (NSW), Cannington (WA).

 

Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Caulfield R4 #2 Another Coldie (win)
Caulfield R5 #1 Scarlett Rain (E/W)
Caulfield R6 #3 Hans Holbein (win)
Caulfield R8 #7 Hellova Street (win)
Randwick R2 #4 Cannyescent (win)
Randwick R3 #1 Acatour (win)
Randwick R5 #4 Astronomos (win)
Randwick R6 #1 Invader (win)
Doomben R2 #3 Snitz (win)
Doomben R5 #10 Our Beebee (win)
Oakbank R5 #6 Red Fire Lady (E/W 1×2)
Oakbank R8 #1 Sirbible (win)

 

Yesterday’s results: 1-0-2, -0.55 units

Ascot R2 #2 War In Paris (win) LOSE (U/P)
Ascot R4 #4 Bergio (win) LOSE (2nd)
Ascot R7 #1 Debellatio (win) 1st ($2.45)

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Sportsbet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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