Another week, another 100 millimetres of rain for Sydney, meaning Saturday’s Group 1 meeting at Rosehill Gardens again looks set to be run on a heavy track. But in stark contrast to a soggy Randwick, the Rosehill track held up remarkably for last week’s Golden Slipper meeting and we’re expecting a fair racing surface. It was also a surprisingly easy assignment for punters with most races dominated by genuine wet trackers that had race fitness on their side. But before the main course of The BMW is served on Saturday, there’s a tasty entrée in store as the Melbourne autumn winds down.
G1 Friday at the Valley
With the Mornington Cup occupying stand-alone Saturday status, city racegoers will be heading to Moonee Valley on Friday night for the running of the Group 1 $500,000 Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes at weight for age conditions over 1200m. Melbourne’s final Group 1 race of the season was first run in 1925. It was famously won by Manikato five years in a row (1979-1983), while Ascot champions Black Caviar and Miss Andretti are also past champions. There’s a very even field of 12 engaged this year, with Star Turn a narrow favourite ($4.20 with Ladbrokes), while The Quarterback is the rank outsider at just $20 (with William Hill). Last year’s winner Flamberge is a $16 chance with bet365. Gary Portelli celebrated victory with She Will Reign in the Golden Slipper last week and we like his chances here with #1 Rebel Dane ($10 with Luxbet). The 7yo entire won the G1 Manikato (this track/distance/grade) last October while jockey Ben Melham is in superb form.
Mare a Fair Chance in Tough WFA Test
Showers are forecast in Sydney for the 48 hours prior to this weekend’s showpiece race at Rosehill, meaning a track upgrade is unlikely at this stage. The feature has been known as The BMW since 2002 and was normally held on Golden Slipper Day but was shuffled to build some space between the Golden Slipper and The Championships. Only nine horses will line-up from the 2400m start for the $1.5 million weight for age race this year, with four well clear in the betting – last week’s Ranvet winner Our Ivanhowe ($4.60), 2017 Australian Cup victor Humidor ($4.20), Sky High winner Tavago ($6.00) and Jameka ($3.80), which won last year’s Caulfield Cup. The former was superb in similar conditions last week and could well go back-to-back but with a slight pull in the weights, we’re leaning to #8 Jameka. The 4yo mare is fourth-up this prep, proven at the distance and will get through the slop.
Kiwi Filly to Bounce Back
Aspiring Australian Oaks runners will come to the fore in the traditional lead-up race – the G1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes over 2000m for the 3yo fillies. It’s a race with an honour roll that includes Lucia Valentina (2014), Mosheen (2012), Miss Finland (2007) and Special Harmony (2004). In the past 15 years, the winners have come through 10 different races across nine different tracks while favourites have snared five of the past 11 editions. The Chris Waller-trained Foxplay holds favouritism with Unibet ($3.30) with another four runners rated at better than $10. We’re going to give the Kiwi filly #1 La Bella Diosa ($6 with Sportsbet) one more chance. Her form had been faultless until a horror run in the G1 Coolmore here on March 11. She’s been passed fit by vets and has worked well since under Jason Collett, who rode her to victory in the G2 Surround at Randwick on February 25.