If ever a reminder was required that Australian racing comprises a group of state jurisdictions that display an almost complete unwillingness to work together, let us present the highlights of Saturday’s thoroughbred program. In Sydney, we have the G1 $1,000,000 Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas for the 3yos over 16000m. In Melbourne, Flemington will host the G1 $750,000 Australian Guineas for the 3yos over 1600m. Yep, a pair of G1 miles for the 3yos on the same day! Mother Nature is having her say on this bizarre scheduling conflict with soaking rain threatening the Randwick card while Melbourne is experiencing a glorious streak of early autumn sunshine. If the wet weather continues, the Randwick program could easily be postponed as the track is already saturated.
Echo Effect to Make a Splash
Let’s start in Sydney for the first leg of the Sydney autumn three-year-old Triple Crown (along with the Rosehill Guineas at 2000m and ATC Australian Derby over 2400m). The race originated in 1925 and was run as the Canterbury Guineas over 1900m until 2005 when it was renamed the Randwick Guineas and shortened to 1600m. A field of 14 has accepted for this year’s renewal, although scratchings are almost certain. Despite the presence of a pair of very handy types – Man From Uncle and Comin’ Through, #4 Echo Effect looks a huge danger ($9.50 with bet365). Kristen Buchanan’s gelding is only proven wet tracker in the race (2:2-0-0) and was just nailed on the line in the G2 Hobartville (1400m) at Rosehill two weeks ago.
Kiwi Newcomer Could Pinch WFA Sprint
The first of the G1s at Randwick is the fifth of the day – the Canterbury BMW Stakes at weight for age over 1300m. First run in 1929, it’s now being held at a third different venue (Canterbury, Rosehill and now Randwick). Five of the eight runners are priced at $10 or better with Chautauqua a $2.70 favourite as he chases a sixth G1 win. The superstar grey is winless in his past four while 10 of his 12 wins have been on good going. Currently at $9 with William Hill, #7 Ugo Foscolo is the value runner. The 3yo gelding gets weight relief over the leading fancies as he aims to make it six wins from seven career starts. Now with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, he trialled arrogantly at Warwick Farm on February 20.
Huge Field to Contest Flemington Feature
Rain won’t be an issue at Flemington on Saturday where the mercury will be in the mid-20s for the Australian Guineas meeting. A capacity field of 16 is virtually assured with James Cummings’ top rater Prized Icon accepting here in preference to a soggy Randwick. Hey Doc is the $4 favourite with Sportsbet thanks to his solid win in the G3 C.S. Hayes (1400m) here two weeks ago. Just five of the 19 acceptors are priced north of $20 so there’s value galore. An outside draw in such a big field is a big knock, while several runners have yet to be tested over a mile. The four runners that tick more boxes than most are 2016 VRC Derby winner #1 Prized Icon, 2016 Caulfield Guineas victor #2 Divine Prophet, #4 Hey Doc and our pick, #14 Harlow Gold. Fillies bat above their weight in this race, and the Lindsay Park runner rates well below an $18 chance.