2017 Winter Challenge Day has drawn nine strong fields to Rosehill Gardens on Saturday afternoon, highlighted by the 1500m feature race contested at Listed level.
All nine races on Winter Challenge Day have attracted talent-rich fields, but we have analysed every horse in each, in order to help you find a winner.
The action on 2017 Winter Challenge Day is set to get underway at 11:40am with the running of the Welcome Rydalmere CBC Handicap (1500m), while the feature race is slated for 3:20pm.
Race 1 (11:40am) Welcome Rydalmere CBC Handicap (1500m)
A classy group of ten two-year-olds will take to the barriers for Race 1 on Winter Challenge Day. Hostwin Meraki (barrier 10) has posted two wins from as many starts, but has drawn the outside gate and faces a notable step up in class here. Condor (barrier 1) has not been far away through three starts and should find a good position in transit from the rails, while D’Argento (barrier 5) will look to continue his unbeaten run of form, is drawn ideally and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle. All Too Soon (barrier 7) has quickly built to the task through two career starts and should be ready to peak in form in this race.
Tip: No. 4 D’Argento ($2.80)
Race 2 (12:15pm) ATC Owner Benefits Card Handicap (1100m)
It is a small but open field of nine that has been confirmed for Race 2 and there is a case to be made for close to every runner. Clear The Beach (barrier 1) has finished outside the places only once through four starts this time and is arguably offered his best chance of a return to winning form under the conditions of this race. Akasaki (barrier 7) will be partnered by claiming apprentice Blaike McDougall, is drawn well and will carry winning form into the race following a smart performance at Warwick Farm last week. This is a step up in class, but he is more than worthy of a position in the field and is good value at current odds. Ice Bucket (barrier 3) will also be partnered by a claiming apprentice (Nick Heywood) and is primed for the best run of his campaign so far.
Tip: No. 4 Clear The Beach ($3.80)
Race 3 (12:50pm) Sydney Spring Carnival On Sale Plate (1400m)
Nine three-year-olds have been confirmed in the field for Race 3 on Winter Challenge Day, however the Jason Coyle-trained Insensata (barrier 6) is undoubtedly the horse to beat. Coyle’s stable is absolutely flying and Insensata is seeking a third-consecutive race win, follow classy performances over 1500m and 1350m respectively at Rosehill in July. Awoke (barrier 8) returned to the races for a smart win at Canterbury on July 12th and will only improve into this race, while Star Of Monsoon (barrier 9) has conditions to suit and should find a position behind the early pace from the outside barrier.
Tip: No. 2 Insensata ($3.50)
Race 4 (1:25pm) TAB Highway Plate (1500m)
There is a case to be made for more than half the field for Race 4 and there is subsequently plenty of value to be taken from a betting perspective. Appoint Percy (barrier 4) ran a credible sixth first-up and is always far better with a run under his belt, while Prada Miss (barrier 14) is sure to have raken benefit from her first-up run for second at Grafton and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle this time. Bunny Bad Girl (barrier 3) has finished close in two starts this time, while Jackknife (barrier 1) and Hussonplaza (barrier 10) both look ready to peak this start.
Tip: No. 2 Appoint Percy ($6.50)
Race 5 (2:00pm) #TheRaces Handicap (1200m)
Five horses carry winning form into Race 5 on Winter Challenge Day, while several other contestants have gone close recently and there is a case to be made for every entrant. Slumber Party (barrier 1) has steadily built to the task this time and is ready to peak, while Faith’s Encore (barrier 5) should take wholesale improvement following a strong first-up run. Irithea (barrier 3) is treated well at the weights, won first-up and has drawn ideally with in-form hoop Tim Clark in the saddle. Feirin (barrier 4) and I’m Imogen (barrier 12) are both live chances.
Tip: No. 8 Irithea ($5)
Race 6 (2:40pm) Schweppes Handicap (2000m)
An impressive field of fifteen has been confirmed for Race 6, rich with black type quality. Encosta Line (barrier 4) stormed home to win at odds last time out and will enjoy several weeks between starts. Auvray (barrier 14) will be ridden by a claiming apprentice (Nick Heywood) and undoubtedly has the class to win this race, while Four Carat (barrier 7) should take improvement from a particularly quiet first-up appearance. Life O’Brien (barrier 3) has failed to finish outside the first three in his five most-recent starts and should prove extremely tough to beat on Saturday with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle. He should easy find the early pace from an inside draw and will be tough to run down late.
Tip: No. 8 Life O’Brien – Each Way ($11/$3.10)
Race 7 (3:20pm) Listed Winter Challenge (1500m)
A classy field of horses has been confirmed for the feature race and close to every runner would be a fitting occupant of the winner’s stall. Gold Symphony (barrier 3) has produced a number of typically strong performances and results this time and will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, while Snippets Land (barrier 6) has been inconsistent at best and would need to find his best to win this race. Slightly Sweet (barrier 5) is a black type winner last time out and is drawn ideally, while stable mate Berry Delicious (barrier 8) should be ready to find her best. Elle Lou (barrier 9), Shiraz (barrier 2) and Centre Pivot (barrier 3) are all more than capable.
Tip: No. 1 Gold Symphony – Each Way ($5.50/$2.20)
Race 8 (4:00pm) ATC Thanks Our Owners Handicap (1350m)
There’s plenty of winning potential confirmed in the field for Race 8 on Winter Challenge Day, including Mogador (barrier 1). The Godolphin gelding is yet to show his best this time, but improved to finish fourth in the Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) last time out and will enjoy a step up in distance and step back in class into this field. Sonic Swish (barrier 11) failed to produce much first-up but will also improve into this race, while Pick Me Up (barrier 12) is also a live chance, should he overcome his wide gate. More To Gain (barrier 3) has not been seen at the races in 2017, but was outstanding last preparation and failed to finish worse than second through five starts.
Tip: No. 5 More To Gain – Each Way ($9/$3.10)
Race 9 (4:40pm) NSW Racehorse Owners Association Trophy (1500m)
Sixteen horses have been drawn to the final race on 2017 Winter Classic Day. Girl Sunday (barrier 1) has found strong form this time in and while charged with carrying a race-high 61kgs, may never be given a better opportunity to win a Saturday race. Rustic Melody (barrier 7) is rock-hard fit, in winning form and will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, while Wahng Wah (barrier 9) has steadily built to the task and is a live chance of saluting at odds. Awoke (barrier 5) has also accepted into the field for Race 3 at Rosehill on Saturday, but is a good chance in this race should trainer Chris Waller choose this event.
Tip: No. 3 Rustic Melody – Each Way ($17/$5.20)