Nine races are set to be run on 2017 George Main Stakes Day at Royal Randwick on Saturday, highlighted by the third campaign appearance of equine superstar Winx in the feature race.
Six of the nine races on 2017 George Main Stakes Day will be contest at black type level and we have analysed every horse in each, in order to help you find a winner.
This week’s Highway Handicap (1000m) will officially open 2017 George Main Stakes day, while the feature race is slated to run at 3:15pm.
Race 1 (12:15pm) TAB Highway Handicap (1000m)
A smart field of eleven country horses will step out in this week’s Highway Handicap and it is a particularly open race from a betting perspective. She Knows (barrier 6) has not been seen at the races since April, but was outstanding through her short debut campaign and would not look out of place in the winner’s stall first-up. Surprise Party (barrier 8) was an impressive winner at Wagga last time out and should find a good position behind the early pace from her barrier, while Oakfield Time (barrier 5) also carries winning form into this race, is drawn ideally and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle. Heidsieck (barrier 4) ran on for a handy second with 60kgs in tow at Muswellbrook first-up and will take wholesale improvement into this race.
Tip: No. 5 Oakfield Time ($5)
Race 2 (12:50pm) Shoot Out Mile (1600m)
Ten horses have been confirmed in the final field for Race 2 on George Main Stakes Day, including Royal Navy (barrier 9). The Fastnet Rock entire clearly required a run when he resumed for fifth in a Warwick Farm 1400m race on August 23rd, but has savaged the line for a close second in a mile race last time out and is rock-hard fit leading into the Shoot Out Mile. Imposing Lass (barrier 8) has been charged with overcoming a race-high 61.5kgs, but is arguably the class horse of this field and finished a close second in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1200m) last time out. Stable mate Embley (barrier 4) carries winning form into this race, but faces a step up in class, while Veladero (barrier 2) had no luck when resuming, but will strip fitter into this race and is drawn ideally.
Tip: No. 1 Imposing Lass ($3.30)
Race 3 (1:25pm) Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m)
Nine horses remain in contention for the Heritage Stakes, the first black type race on George Main Stakes Day, following the scratching of Lucky Louie. Blue blood Lightz (barrier 7) has built to the task through two starts this time and is primed for a big performance in this race. Single Bullet (barrier 2) produced a number of strong performances and results for Gary Portelli in autumn, is a proven first-up performer and is drawn to get a gun from barrier 2. Marsupial (barrier 4) returned to the races for a smart second in an 1100m race at Rosehill in late August and will take plenty of improvement into this race. Stable mate Malahat (barrier 10) was an impressive winner at Canterbury last time out and will only improve into this race.
Tip: No. 6 Malahat ($3.30)
Race 4 (2:00pm) Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m)
Eight horses remain in contention for the Bill Ritchie Handicap, following the scratching of leading contender McCreery. Tom Melbourne (barrier 4) has returned to racing in outstanding form this time, but has had little luck and has finished second in both his starts. He could very well receive the run of the race on Saturday from his gate and will be partnered by Blake Shinn. Havana Cooler (barrier 1) is a noted first-up performer and will have plenty of early options from the rails draw, while Comin’ Through (barrier 7) resumed for a smart win over the 1400m course at Randwick on August 19th and should prove extremely difficult to beat once more. Burning Passion (barrier 8) and Spectroscope (barrier 3) are both live chances.
Tip: No. 7 Comin’ Through ($3.60)
Race 5 (2:35pm) Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m)
Twelve fillies will step out in the Tea Rose Stakes, including Tulip (barrier 4). Tulip was one of the standouts of her two-year-old crop and was unlucky not to return to winning form in her first-up run at The Valley in August. Champagne Cuddles (barrier 9) has also returned to racing in outstanding form this time and will enjoy a step up to 1400m, while stable mates Alizee (barrier 6) and Regimen (barrier 5) are both up to the quality of this race and are not without a chance. Queensland raider Cellargirl (barrier 8) has been in outstanding form this time in, but it is tough to line up her performances with the rest of this field and she may be worth consideration at each-way odds.
Tip: No. 1 Tulip ($3.60)
Race 6 (3:15pm) Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m)
Eight horses will step out in this year’s Group 1 George Main Stakes, but the race is clearly highlighted by the third campaign appearance of champion mare Winx (barrier 1). Winx has perhaps looked at her most vulnerable for more than two years through her two campaign starts this time in, but she has still found a way to win both the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and will likely just do that again in the George Main Stakes. Happy Clapper (barrier 8) returned to the races for a smart win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago and looms as Winx’s biggest threat in this race, while Ecuador (barrier 5) and Foxplay (barrier 3) are both primed for big runs. Red Excitement (barrier 4) will have no issue taking up the running from an inside draw.
Tip: No. 7 Winx ($1.09)
Race 7 (3:55pm) Group 2 The Shorts (1100m)
The Shorts is shaping as the most hotly-contested race on George Main Stakes Day, as several of its contestants are set for the inaugural running of The Everest (1200m) in October. Chautauqua (barrier 8) has not been seen at the races since his incredible win in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 2 on The Championships, but he is undoubtedly the class horse of this field and is the one to beat. Redzel (barrier 5) carried 60kgs to a smart win in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes first-up and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle and a 2kg weight relief. Fell Swoop (barrier 6) and English (barrier 9) will both resume in the race, generally perform well fresh and would not look out of place in The Shorts’ winner’s stall.
Tip: No. 1 Chautauqua ($3.80)
Race 8 (4:35pm) Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m)
An impressive field has been taken for the Kingston Town Stakes and there is winning potential across the board. Chris Waller will launch a strong five-pronged attack in the race, in the form of Who Shot Thebarman (barrier 4), Libran (barrier 6), Antonio Giuseppe (barrier 12), Kinema (barrier 10) and Life Less Ordinary (barrier 5). Of those five, Who Shot Thebarman’s experience at the class and distance is sure to count for plenty, while Antonio Giuseppe (barrier 12) in on track to start in the Group 1 The Metropolitan as race favourite and should be extremely tough to beat to here. Chocante (barrier 3) worked to the line well to finish third behind Winx in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) first-up a fortnight ago and ill only improve into this race and at 2000m.
Tip: No. 6 Antonio Giuseppe ($3.40)
Race 9 (5:15pm) TAB.com.au Handicap (1200m)
A capacity field will step out for the final race on 2017 George Main Stakes Day and there is a case to be made for more than half the field. Sir Plush (barrier 15) has been luckless at his two most-recent starts and if he can overcome a wide draw, should be right in the finish of this race on class and fitness. Echo Effect (barrier 13) has not been seen at the races since autumn, but he was a strong and consistent performer amongst black type company last time in and is arguably over the odds at his current quote. Skylight Glow (barrier 14) is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from his first-up run and should find a good position off the pace from a wide draw, while Pumpkin Pie (barrier 8) will also strip fitter into this race and is primed for a big run.
Tip: No.9 Skylight Glow – Each Way ($12/$4.50)