2018 Hawkesbury Gold Cup Day is the headline meet in New South Wales on Saturday and we are set for nine quality races at the country course.
The rail will be in the true position around the entire course on 2018 Hawkesbury Gold Cup Day and at the time of publish, we will be racing on a ‘Good 4’.
Nine horses will step out in Saturday’s Highway Handicap, but it looked to be the Danny Williams-trained She Knows’ race to lose. She knows ($1.65) is seeking a returning to winning form after placing at Rosehill two starts back, before running a credible fifth down the Flemington straight most recently. She’s received a freshen-up since that run and a return to racing with a turn will be ideal, and with Blake Shinn in the saddle she will prove extremely difficult to beat. She will probably win this race, but I cannot get her as short as she currently is in betting and I am happy to watch.
This year’s Clarendon Stakes has drawn a quality field of two-year-olds and there is a case to be made for more than half the field.
At the time of publish, Graff ($3.50) has received the most attention in betting and has firmed into outright market favouritism. The Kris Lees-trained colt debuted savaged the line for a smart win on debut at Rosehill and will only improve from the experienced. Kerrin McEvoy will take the ride from the ideal barrier 4 and with appropriate luck in running, will be extremely difficult to hold out.
Orcein ($3.60) is yet to break his maiden, but he has shown above-average ability during his three-start career so far and can break through here. The Snitzel colt was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 3 McLachlan Stakes at Doomben in December, but has trialled well leading into this race. Trainer Chris Waller also accepted into the field for the Dalrello Stakes in Brisbane on Saturday with Orcein, but has elected to keep the horse in New South Wales, which could underline his confidence in the horse amongst this company.
The field for Race 3 on Hawkesbury Gold Cup Day is open and there is plenty of value to be taken from a betting perspective.
Godolphin will launch a smart two-pronged attack in the race, in the form of Philosophy ($7) and Gaulois ($3.90). Philosophy resumed for a credible sixth in a 1400m race at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago and will take plenty of improvement into this race. Gaulois will resume following a twenty-week break and a gelding. The son of Street Cry produced a decent campaign during the recent Perth Summer Carnival, finishing fourth in the Group 2 WA Guineas and second in the Listed Lee-Steere Stakes. If he can find a bit of that form first-up, he’d be extremely difficult to beat here.
One horse that appeals at his current price is the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Stonebrook ($5.50). Stonebrook ran a close second in the Bert Lillye Handicap at Kembla Grange first-up, beating in-form sprinter Osborne Bulls. You can put a line through his last start flop as he doesn’t appear suited to racing on a cut-up track, and on a firmer surface on Saturday, early in the day, he can atone.
Race 4 has also drawn a quality field of Saturday grade horses and it is an open race from a betting perspective.
It is hard to go past the Chris Waller-trained Up ‘N’ Rolling in this field, who looks-to-be over the odds at his current $5.50 quote. Up ‘N’ Rolling was unlucky not to win over 1350m at Rosehill first-up this time, before another quality performance over the same course and distance on March 17th. He didn’t get out soon enough in his third-up run, but should be able to settle a bit closer in this race.
Nat King Cu ($14) is perpetually over the odds and will give them something to chase here. The son of King Cugat was tough to the line when third over 1400m at Warwick Farm last time out and is rock-hard fit for another very winnable race.
Japanese import Hallelujah Boy ($8) flew home from the tail of the field to finish fourth in the Provincial Championships Final last time out and will be hard to hold out once more. The Tosen Phantom entire is a bit of an enigma, but on his day is outstanding.
We are set for an exciting edition of the Hawkesbury Gold Rush when a quality field of sprinters step onto the 1100m course.
Consistent sprinter The Monstar ($9) will resumed in the Gold Rush and has the ability to win the race first-up. The California Dane gelding produced a number of quality performances and results in 2017 and placed multiple times at black type level, in a campaign that also returned a dominant win in the Listed June Stakes at Randwick. At his best, he would win this race easily.
Classy sprinter Tango Rain will also resume in the Gold Rush and is the $4.20 race favourite at the time of publish. The Manhattan Rain gelding is a proven first-up performer and will take plenty of condition into this race after multiple trials.
In what is an open field, I am happy to take the each way value on offer for The Monstar.
The Godolphin Crown is generally a good form indicator for major fillies and mares races through winter and this year’s race has drawn a typically smart field.
Three horses that warrant interest in the Godolphin Crown field are White Moss ($5.50), Ghisoni ($11) and Lubiton ($11).
White Moss was outstanding to the line when third at long odds in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes first-up and she will take plenty of improvement into this race. The Mossman mare has been a strong and consistent performer for Jason Coyle throughout her entire racing career so far and should find a good position close to the pace from barrier 8.
Ghisoni will have taken plenty of benefit from her first-up run for sixth in the Sapphire Stakes and can go close at genuine each-way odds here. The Lonhro mare was slow away first-up and was unable to completely recover, but she is drawn favourably again on Saturday and is primed for a big run.
Lubiton is a mare that generally races over the odds and will be hard to beat here. The Snitzel mare worked home well to finish fifth in the Sapphire Stakes first-up and has an outstanding second-up record.
The Hawkesbury Gold Cup always draws a quality field of milers and Saturday’s edition of the race is no exception.
Ecuador ($3.50) is a proven performer at the class and conditions of this race and should prove extremely difficult to hold out second-up. The son of High Chaparral ran second in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) first-up and with natural improvement, clearly looms as the horse to beat.
Master trainer Chris Waller will saddle three horses in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup, but McCreery ($9) in particular looks extremely well placed and represents terrific value in betting. Its been a while between drinks for the Big Bad Bob gelding, but he has steadily built to the task this time and will enjoy a step back in trip to his pet distance here. He generally races amongst tougher company than this and is right up to winning a race like the Hawkesbury Gold Cup.
Fourteen three-year-olds will step out for this year’s Hawkesbury Guineas, but it looks like Victorem’s race to lose. Victorem ($2.90) has returned to racing in scintillating form this time and is seeking a sixth-consecutive win. I Am Invincible gelding stormed home to win the Country Championship Final by close to three lengths last time out and probably faces a step back in class, in returning to his own age group here. The wide barrier is a concern, but he has the class to overcome the draw and will be extremely difficult to hold out.
The Chris Waller-trained Sambro ($5.50) is a proven performer at the class and distance of this race and looms as the biggest danger to Victorem. The Fastnet Rock gelding was checked in transit in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes on Day of The Championships, but has trialled well leading into this race and is sure to tough it out to the line.
An open field of stayers will step out in the last on Hawkesbury Gold Cup Day and it looms as a good opportunity for punters to take advantage of some late value.
This is another race in which Chris Waller will be offered several live chances of winning, but Mornington ($13) looks to be a good each-way bet at current odds. The Aussie R ules gelding resumed for a smart third over 1800m at Rosehill Gardens three weeks ago and will enjoy a step out in trip and drop in weight into this race. I like that he has trialled in the lead-up to this race and with improvement, he can find himself in the finish once again on Saturday.