Racing preview (September 16): Superstars out in force for Group 1 miles

Updated: September 15, 2017

A pair of Group 1 miles races either side of the Murray highlight a terrific day of early Spring racing with the George Main Stakes at Randwick and the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington. All eyes will be on hot pots Jorda (R1) and Royal Symphony (R2) earlier in the Flemington card while several Everest contenders including Chautauqua will go around in the G2 Shorts (1100m) at Randwick; overall 2017-18 season record (WIN-PLACE-UNPLACED): 88-5-131, +24.3 units


Royal Randwick R6 (3.15pm) G1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (1600m, standard weight for age, 3yo+)

Named in honour of a former AJC chairman, the $500,000 George Main Stakes (which is now known by a far less impressive name – the Colgate Optic White Stakes) dates to 1945. It has always been run over a mile/1600m at weight-for-age conditions and earned Group 1 status for the first time in 1979. The winner is also exempt from the ballot for next month’s Epsom Handicap. The honour roll of past winners includes Shannon (1946-47), Kingston Town (1981-82), Emancipation (1983), Vo Rogue (1989), Lonhro (2003) and More Joyous (2010). Opening as a $1.08 favourite, Chris Waller-trained Winx will be looking to secure her 20th successive win and back-to-back victories in this race.

She has already recorded two wins this campaign but had to produce amazing closing sectionals to win both the Warwick Stakes and the Chelmsford Stakes. The obvious concern is barrier 1 and Hugh Bowman will need to be at his alert best. The only other three at better than $21are Happy Clapper ($12), Foxplay ($16) and Red Excitement ($21). Red Excitement gave Winx a very serious scare in the Chelmsford Stakes and it will be interesting to see if Josh Parr will implement similar tactics today. However, those front-running tactics may not be as effective in this race as Ecuador will likely sit just off the leader and give Winx a nice tow into the race.


Flemington R7 (4.15pm) G1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m, standard weight for age, 3yo+)

Note: Flemington has received 19mls of rain in the past 24 hours but the track remains rated a good (4). Kyneton received half of that rainfall (10mls) but today’s meeting at that track has been abandoned. At the very minimum, we’re expecting the Flemington surface to cut up so watch for the best running lines, especially down the Straight Six.

Named in honour of the triple Melbourne Cup winning mare, the $500,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) highlights a big day of black-type racing at VRC headquarters. Previously known as the Craiglee Stakes and run since 1948, the race has carried Group 1 status for just the past four years. Only two favourites have won the race in the past decade – 2014 winner Dissident and Weekend Hussler (2008) – but punters expect a third to join that list today with Hartnell rated a $1.80 favourite. Black Heart Bart ($6) and Le Romain ($9.50) are the only other runners priced at $10 or better.

Winning form is not an essential ingredient for the winner of the Makybe Diva Stakes, with just six of the past 30 winners having won at their lead-up run with a further eight placed. The Memsie Stakes and the PB Lawrence Stakes have been on the preferred path for the Makybe winner, 22 of the past 30 winners having raced in either of these two races on their way to tasting Group 1 glory here. The Godolphin star ticks that box nicely having cruised to victory at Caulfield in the PB Lawrence last month. The 7yo gelding will also appreciate the sting out of the ground after heavy rain at Flemington overnight. Watch for Humidor to be storming home late as he heads to the Caulfield Cup.


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

Flemington R1 (12.30pm) Listed $120,000 Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m, set weights + penalties, 3yo fillies)
Flemington R2 (1.05pm) Listed $120,000 Pin & Win Plate (1400m, set weights + penalties, 3yo)
Royal Randwick R3 (1.25pm) Listed $125,000 Schweppes Heritage Stakes (1100m, set weights + penalties, 3yo)
Flemington R3 (1.40pm) Listed $120,000 The Sofitel (1400m, handicap, min. weight 54kg, 4yo+)
Royal Randwick R4 (2pm) G3 $150,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m, quality, min. weight 53kg, 3yo+)
Flemington R4 (2.15pm) G2 $200,000 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m, quality, min. weight 53kg, 4yo+)
Royal Randwick R5 (2.35pm) G2 $200,000 McGrath Estate Agents Tea Rose Stakes (1400m, set weights, 3yo fillies)
Flemington R5 (2.55pm) G2 $200,000 Danehill Stakes (1200m, set weights + penalties, 3yo)
Flemington R6 (3.35pm) G2 $200,000 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m, set weights + penalties, 4yo+ mares)
Royal Randwick R7 (3.55pm) G2 $200,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts (1100m, set weights + penalties, 3yo+)
Royal Randwick R8 (4.35pm) G3 $150,000 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m, set weights + penalties, 3yo+)
Flemington R8 (4.55pm) Listed $120,000 Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m, quality, min. weight 54kg)


Today’s racing: Royal Randwick (NSW – good 3), Newcastle (NSW – good 4), Wagga (NSW – good 4), Enngonia (NSW – good); Flemington (Vic – good 4), bet365 Park Kyneton (Vic – abandoned); Doomben (Qld – good 4), Gold Coast (Qld – good 3), Cairns (Qld – good 4), Mackay (Qld – good 4), Nanango (Qld – firm 1), Springsure (Qld – firm 2), Surat (Qld – good), Warwick (Qld – good 3), Winton (Qld – good); Morphettville Parks (SA – soft 6); Belmont (WA – good 4), Carnarvon (WA – good); Darwin (NT – good). Harness racing: Newcastle (NSW), Menangle (NSW), Bendigo (Vic), Albion Park (Qld), Globe Derby (SA), Northam (WA). Greyhound racing: The Gardens (NSW), Ipswich (Qld), Cranbourne (Vic), Bulli (NSW), The Meadows (Vic), Wentworth Park (NSW), Cannington (WA).


Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Flemington R1 #1 Jorda (win)
Flemington R4 #3 Redkirk Warrior (win)
Flemington R5 #6 Catchy (win)
Flemington R7 #1 Hartnell (win)
Flemington R8 #1 Almandin (win)
Randwick R4 #7 Comin’ Through (win)
Randwick R7 #2 Redzel (win)
Randwick R9 #15 Missile Coda (win)
Doomben R5 #2 Snitz (win x2)
Doomben R7 #5 Jemadar (win)
Morphettville R8 #4 Nodoubtaboutit (win)
Belmont R6 #6 Multiverse (win)
Mackay R7 #4 Grand Emperor (win)


Yesterday’s results (WIN-PLACE-UNPLACED): 0-0-6, -7.0 units

Newcastle R5 #4 Merovee (win) LOSE (2nd)
Newcastle R6 #1 Sound Proposition (win) LOSE (2nd)
Newcastle R7 #1 Destiny’s Kiss (E/W) LOSE (U/P)
Swan Hill R2 #10 Suplex City (win) LOSE (2nd)
Swan Hill R4 #10 Here Comes Lenni (win) LOSE (2nd)
Corowa R7 #6 Arena Queen (win) LOSE (4th)



• 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 Crownbet (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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