Winx has taken a different route through this year’s Spring Carnival but Chelmsford Stakes Day still boasts nine talent-rich races, including the most open edition of the feature race for some years.
Some of the Spring Carnival’s most exciting runners, set for the loftiest of targets will step out on Chelmsford Stakes Day and there is subsequently plenty of value to be found in betting.
It has been another fine week in Sydney and we are set to race in the ‘Good’ range at Royal Randwick.
The early scratching of topweight Gem Song means that first emergency Nuke has gained a start, but it really does look like More Sundays’ race to lose. Brilliantly bred, by Fastnet Rock and out of More Joyous, More Sundays ($2.10) justified the hype when he strode away to an easy win at Geelong on debut earlier this month. I like that he has trialled since that performance and a repeat of his first effort would find him extremely difficult to beat once more.
This is a pretty open Benchmark 88 race and there is a case to be made for several runners in betting. Godolphin will launch a smart three-pronged attack in the form of Farolitos ($11), Old North ($14) and Souchez ($6) and all three would not look out of place in the winner’s stall, but the two former in particular might find it tough with heavy weights in tow. I’m leaning towards the Bjorn Baker-trained Goodfella at his current $12 quote. He took a couple of runs to shake off the cobwebs upon resuming this time, but he worked home well to finish third in similar company to this a fortnight ago and is rock-hard fit ahead of his fourth-up run. He has the pace to overcome a wide draw and he’ll give them something to chase.
This week’s Highway race will be contested over 1400m and has drawn a decent and capacity field of country horses. The Paul Messara-trained Table Mountain ($5.50) just missed in one of these Highway races first-up and with natural improvement, looks like the horse to beat. The Animal Kingdom gelding is beginning to string together a pleasing record and has posted two wins and four minors through his eight starts. He absolutely savaged the line over 1100m first-up and will enjoy the step up in trip, while Hugh Bowman will retain the ride. Not Bossy ($14) has continued to receive plenty of attention in early betting and has been a strong and reasonably consistent performer this time in; running on well over a mile at Randwick last time out after finally gaining a clear passage late.
Following the form of most of the races on Chelmsford Stakes Day, this is wide open from a betting perspective. All Too Soon completed an impressive performances to comfortably win the first at Rosehill last weekend and she’ll only be better at 2000m. The daughter of All Too Soon was settled towards the tail of the field and produced a smart turn of foot to easily have the race won 2000m from home. She’ll enjoy a 5.5kg relief in the weights and the wide barrier isn’t a concern as she’ll go back in running anyway. Brimham Rocks ($8) will take wholesale improvement into this race following a credible first-up performance for third over a mile four weeks ago and he is another horse that will appreciate getting out in trip. The Fastnet Rock gelding has steadily improved since he arrived from the UK and this probably looms as his best chance to date of breaking his Australian maiden.
A race won by Redzel as a first point of call on his way to winning The Everest in 2017, the Concorde Stakes has drawn a typically talented field including the defending champion. Redzel ($2) was unable to build on his impressive Group 1 tally during his four-start autumn campaign, but did win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) and finished second in both the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) most notably. He’s trialled extremely well and is one of the world’s premiere sprinters; if he shows up, he’s the one to best. Invincible Star ($2.75) has also been set for The Everest and looms as the major danger to Redzel. The I Am Invincible mare has not been seen at the races in 2018, but finished a close second to Merchant Navy in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) in November and has absolutely bolted in in a pair of trials recently.
This is one of the better Tramway Stakes fields for some time and there is a case to be made for more than half of the thirteen confirmed starters. Pierata ($4) resumed for a tough win in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) and is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from that hit-out. The son of Pierro has posted some outstanding results throughout his racing career and will enjoy the return to 1400m. He’s drawn ideally in barrier 3 and retains the services of James McDonald. The enigmatic Tom Melbourne ($10) will resume in the race and can fight out the finish on class alone. The Dylan Thomas gelding has drawn the rails, will carry only 55kgs and certainly looks over the odds at his current price. Le Romain won the Group 3 Show County Quality (1300m) first-up and will be better for the run, while there is a case to be made for all of Comin’ Through ($14), Takedown ($41), Egg Tart ($34), Foxplay ($26) and Dixie Blossoms ($15) at their best. There is so much winning potential in this race that I will be have a small each-way bet on Tom Melbourne, but without a great deal of confidence.
A capacity field will step out for the feature and while Winx will not be taking part this year, we are still set for an outstanding race. Cabeza De Vaca ($9) was entitled to weaken late after taking up the running in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) first-up and with natural improvement, will give them something to chase in the Chelmsford. The Northern Meteor gelding will appreciate the drop back in class and he should find an easy path to the lead again from barrier 3. Prized Icon ($8) will strip fitter from his first-up run and will enjoy a return to a mile. The multiple Group 1 winner has drawn awkwardly, but he has a class edge over many of his rivals here and will be flashing late. An intriguing entry into the Chelmsford Stakes field comes by way of Godolphin runner Mr Moonlight Magic ($12). The Cape Cross entire has form around some of the world’s best horses in Europe and is a multiple black type winner. Godolphin are typically brilliant are selecting the right horses to bring to Australia and this one could be anything. I will be backing Cabeza De Vaca to win, but will also have a small each-way bet on Mr Moonlight Magic at his current price.
The final black type race of the day will peg some of the country’s best three-year-old fillies against one-another at Group 2 level. Pure Elation was impressive as a two-year-old and she is the $6 favourite in Furious Stakes betting at the time of publish. The I Am Invincible filly broke her maiden with ease at Warwick Farm in March before making a successful transition back into black type company with an easy win in the Group 2 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m). She has trialled fairly and has plenty of options from the rails draw. Oohood ($8) will strip fitter for her first-up run and could prove over the odds at her current price in betting. While yet to break her maiden, she finished second in each of the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude F (1100m), the Golden Slipper and the Inglis Sires’. Queensland raider Outback Barbie ($9) went close when second in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes at this track and distance a fortnight ago and with luck from an awkward draw, is a chance again.
The last looms as a pretty open race as well and while it could prove a tough prospect for punters, it’ll be a great pay day if you land on the right horse. I am leaning towards the Bjorn Baker-trained Sir Plush at his current odds of $9. The Pins gelding typically improves with racing and he has run on well to finish fifth over 1100m twice and Randwick and Rosehill this time in. He’ll need to show some speed from a wide alley, but he is rock-hard fit and can fight out the finish. There is no denying that Godolphin entire Best Of Days will strip fitter into this race and should be fighting out the finish. The son of Azamour is a black type winner in his native Britain and was blocked for a run in his Australian debut a fortnight ago. James McDonald retains the ride.