Like everyone I’m thrilled we are still allowed to race and really looking forward to some sporting relief! Especially in Sydney where we have a heap of runners.

The main race is obviously the feature of the day. Run over 2400m at Weight For Age level and despite the conditions of the race it’s been a race that can produce a rough result.

The track tomorrow will have a large baring on the results and historically, wet or dry, it’s been a track very much suited to horses settling on the fence. Ideally forward of midfield with horses who peel and make their runs early having very little hope.

I thought we would run through them and look at each horses chances.

Race Pace: Suits on speed horses and horses with a turn of foot.

Track: Normally Sydney is 1.5 to 2 points better than the official going so I would suggest it will be a dead 4 to 5 range.

AVILIUS – Forward to midfield
No doubt a class horse. He’s had 2 runs near this trip for a win in this race last year (when going much better and a weaker race than this) and also a win at Flemington over 2500m. Both in good figures. HOWEVER He started his prep in Rosehill this year, then went to Caulfield, then came back to Sydney, then went back to Flemington and then came back to Rosheill. That’s a hell of an ask and his run last week which was in slow time suggests he is feeling the toll. What I didn’t like was he didn’t sustain his run like he normally does and he got his favoured conditions. Classy horse and well suited against most of these but I think he wants a rest and is well under the odds. ‘

MUSTAJEER – Forward to midfield
He won 2019 Ebor HCP over 2800m in smashing figures so the distance will not be an issue. He rated extremely highly in a brutal fast run race 1st up and won easily when not 100% ready. Then 2nd up he found a slow run race on a bottomless track and had to make his run too early vs a horse who got a picnic and who came from a slow run race, so he just wasn’t suited. He has some proper form this horse and I think he is the stalker and will be in the finish. Dry or slow is ok for him, heavy not so much.

DANCETERIA – Backmarker
If this was in Europe he would be a $4 2nd fav behind Southern France. He’s got no gate speed but gets BLKS 1st time in an effort to help him be closer. 1st up only Avilus and Te Akau Shark had better sectionals and then 2nd up he found a very heavy bottomless track which he doesn’t like. This horse was taking ground off ENABLE when not liking the Sandown track and was a huge run there at WFA level and the thoughts are he’s always been looking for 2400m. Reports are he’s work is first class and if the race has a double figure winner it will be him. He will run super and is worth including in all exotics.

He gets Australia’s new best Jockey in “Tom the Magic Wand” and his form in Europe would eat most of these. However he hasn’t done much in Australia and unlike most I thought his Australian Cup run was plain. He’s got the ability and finally gets to his right distance range but I suspect on current form its too big of a jump here. Including him for a 4th spot in the First 4 etc but he will need to improve to win.

His run was better than Southern France in the Australia Cup but not sure that was the right form for this. He looks outclassed but his ace is he will be on speed in a no speed race. But for mine to do his best he needs to be in races with above average tempo rather than sit or sprint type races. He should be exposed as being the dour grinder that he is in this race shape.

MUGATOO – Worse than midfield
He’s the new kid on the block and definitely good enough. The 7 day back up is fantastic for him but the map is horrible. He does a lot wrong in his races so with a few things against I think the fact he needs to find 3-4 lengths will be too hard. In 12 months it won’t surprise me if he is a Multiple Group 1 winner.

Since he won the Derby his like most 3yr olds and got lost versus the top liners. I think that pattern will remain as he got his desired heavy track last run and still was common.

CARIFF – Worse than midfield
In a good yard with the Snowdens but the issue with the yard is they are 0 from 6 in the last 12 months for horses running in races over 2350m. As they don’t get many stayers not surprising. He is a stallion so he should be peaking 3rd up now. His first 2 runs were ok so but he doesn’t have the class at level weights. If they back him up in 7 days in the Chairmans HCP he would be a horse to seriously consider.

A most interesting runner here. She comes from a walking tempo race last start where she didn’t sustain her run. She has 3 runs at the track with 2 wins and a 2nd, all at Group 1 or 2 level. She won the Oaks at Randwick over the trip and finished 7th in the VRC OAKS at 2500m. My issue with coming into her is she has 5 runs on good tracks for 0 wins. On dead tracks she has raced and finished 7th in the VRC oaks, Won the AJC Oaks and got beaten 11 lens in Cox Plate. In that Oaks win she beat nothing and that’s your worry if you want to back her here. She meets some top horses and if it’s dead or firmer she still hasn’t won a race really. However if it’s a proper slow 6 or worse than she will love the conditions. She also hasn’t been in a strongly run race this prep and now she heads to 2400m for the first time, only 4th up, that is a big concern.

Summary – I think it’s a case of waiting to see what the conditions are like. If it’s a proper slow track you back Verry Elleegant but if it’s a drying track the play is a medium sized each way bet on Mustajeer.

Good luck on the punt everyone!

Luke Murrell.

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