The countdown to the Spring Carnival continues with some competitive Saturday racing action at Randwick and The Valley.
We’ve picked out the best two bets for Sydney and Melbourne as we look to kick the month off with a bang.
The David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained ART COLLECTION ($3.50 TopBetta) was blackbooked from the Rosehill barrier trials on July 19 and has found a suitable first-up assignment. The Coolmore-owned Fastnet Rock filly rattled home late in her trial with Nash Rawiller in the saddle, and that performance as well as her previous form was good enough to get the attention of James McDonald who rides on Saturday. Art Collection was runner-up in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on debut and was only three lengths from Loving Gabby when first-up in the Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield. Mandela worries me as he could bounce back from a disappointing run last start, but Art Collection goes on top and should get every chance to finish over the top of them.
With four runs under his belt this time in, the Bjorn Baker-trained DRACHENFELS ($6.00 TopBetta) should be at peak fitness and ready to step up in trip. He’s charged home to go close in his last two starts on Heavy tracks over 1200m, and the step up to 1400m now looks ideal. He ran the quickest final 600m of the race (35.25) last start and was carrying 5.5kg more than the winner Handle The Truth who ran the second quickest final 600m.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained THE STATESMAN ($4.00 TopBetta) looks ready to win. The six-year-old hasn’t had a platform to win yet this preparation but he finally gets a set-up that should suit. He should be nearing peak fitness fourth-up and he comes through three fast races this preparation. I can’t get near the current favourite More Than Ever. He has upside and won impressively, beating Good Idea (has been competitive in Metro Melbourne) last start at Morphettville in his first run over 2400m. He has upside, but I couldn’t get him anywhere near his current price.
The bomb proof horse in this race looks to be MASCULINO ($3.90 TopBetta). He will likely lead but can take a sit if Baster elects to come across with vigur on Dylan’s Romance from barrier 10, while Inverloch sits just off those two. I can see the other two favourites getting into sticky positions, with Twilight Run likely to get a pair or two further back that what would be ideal with Beau Mertens on from barrier nine, while Bedford maps three back the fence from barrier two. I loved Masculino’s last start effort behind Carzoff at Flemington, with the winner having the perfect run in transit. They put four-lengths on third, which is an encouraging sign and going from Flemington to Moonee Valley is advantageous.