Winx Stakes Day at Randwick provides us the first Group 1 of the season and the Spring Carnival action moves up a notch.
Some big names will be in action in Sydney, while the Victorian racing at The Valley gives us some competition contests to get stuck into.
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The talented LUCICELLO ($4.80 TopBetta) probably wasn’t suited last time dropping back from 1200m to 1100m in a race that rated high, and she also meets Athiri 1kg better at the weights for having beaten that filly home last start. Superium meets Lucicello better at the weights also, but the latter came from a few lengths off Superium to go past her near the line, and Superium seemed to go a bit backward second-up last campaign despite winning. Stick with Lucicello.
All the hype is around Libertini who will probably blow them away. However, she’s odds-on and I think there is a better value option in the race. The Tony McEvoy-trained PRETTY BRAZEN ($20 TopBetta) is at big odds and she represents better each-way value even if she just places. She trialled magnificently in Adelaide and then won accordingly first-up. She then ran the quickest 1050m trial time at Randwick, and for McEvoy to have instructed Luke Currie to rev her up in the trial, she must have needed the hit-out to bring her on. She has a fitness edge over most of these with a trial, a race and another trial under her belt, and with the blinkers going on for the first time, she looks ready to run a big race. Pretty Brazen came home six lengths quicker than Libertini in their respective trials, and that’s a big margin for Libertini to bridge even if she is pushed right out.
Race 7 – Winx Stakes
The Lindsay Park-trained galloper LEGALE ($8.50 TopBetta) was desperately unlucky last start here at The Valley and looks a nice price at nearly double figure odds after starting favourite last start. He paraded perfectly and tracked into the race ok before being held-up, held-up and then checked badly at the 400m. Mark Zahra is up and from barrier seven this looks like a set-up for the horse to show his best. I can see why the Scott Brunton-trained Shot Of Irish is favourite. He was outstanding two starts ago at Sandown, blowing away Smart Elissim before running a good third last Saturday at Caulfield behind Age Of Chivalry. But I’d rather back Legale.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained AL GALAYEL ($7.00 TopBetta) has run seventh in all three runs this preparation but I thought all three runs were full of merit. He had two good fitness building runs at Sandown Lakeside first-up and Flemington two starts ago. He stepped up from 1600m to 2040m last start here at The Valley and there was strong market support for him, as he opened $17 and started $8.50. He had no chance of winning with the race shape, as Linda Meech controlled the race from the from on Inverloch, the leader won and the second horse Masculino sat on the leaders back. With the likes of Tavirun, Inverloch and Masculino in the race, the leaders should run along early and that can bring the likes of Al Galayel into the race. He maps slightly worse than midfield from barrier nine and I’m trusting Damian Lane to give him a peach of a ride.