Australia: Four Group 1 Races Friday Night In The Championships At Randwick

Australia’s equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup commences this Friday night, as Day One of “The Championships” at Randwick features a quartet of rich Group One races. Sky Racing World’s racing expert Jason Witham will be trackside at Randwick for live crosses to the TVG broadcast (First Post: 9:35pm ET / 6:35pm PT).  

Just as America’s season-defining event takes place in the Fall, a couple of months before the season concludes, The Championships fall within Sydney’s “Autumn Racing Carnival” a few months before the end of the Southern Hemisphere racing season. Like the Breeders’ Cup, The Championships is a two-day event, except the two days are staged a week apart. More than $21 million in purses are up for grabs across the next two Friday nights, and each day of The Championships features an eagerly awaited rematch. Next week’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be the culmination of a pulsating rivalry between Australian mare Verry Elleegant and English stayer Addeybb. In the meantime, two world-class sprinters will knock heads again this Friday night in the G1 TJ Smith Stakes (Race 8).

Nature Strip, Australia’s reigning Horse of the Year, is 5-2 favorite to repeat in the $2.5 million equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. However, he will need to overturn a narrow loss five weeks ago to the rejuvenated Eduardo (7-2). The pair knuckled out a thrilling finish in track record time for five furlongs at Randwick (watch replay), and the stage is set for Friday’s rematch at six furlongs. Eduardo is a lightly raced 7-year-old who had shown flashes of promise at Group level. In the 12 months since transferring to Joe Pride, a trainer who has worked wonders with older “tried” horses, Eduardo has blossomed to the point that Pride believes “he’s the best sprinter in Australia and might be the best sprinter in the world.” While Nature Strip has been trained up to the TJ Smith by Chris Waller, Eduardo scored a runaway win in a 5-1/2 furlong G1 race two weeks ago.

Nature Strip’s rider, James McDonald, sits on the cusp of becoming the youngest jockey to reach 50 Group One wins and could achieve the feat in the first feature race of The Championships. The 29-year-old New Zealander has the mount on Godolphin colt Anamoe, 6-5 favorite for the Sires Produce (Race 6). The seven-furlong distance will be ideal for the son of Street Boss, whose runner-up performance in the Golden Slipper was exceptional from a horror post position draw. The $1 million Sires Produce provides an enticing blend of Golden Slipper participants and fresh faces, with potential to excel over increasing distances.

Increased distance is also the theme for 3-year-olds contesting the $2 million Australian Derby (Race 7). This test of stamina at 1-1/2 miles has two traditional prep races, each at 1-1/4 miles. Last week’s G2 Tulloch Stakes has produced the past four Derby winners, but its trifecta horses (Yaletown, Prompt Prodigy and Young Werther) are all double-digit odds. The G1 Rosehill Guineas is perceived to be the stronger prep this year, providing three of the top four contenders in Derby wagering. Montefilia (5-2 favorite) will strive to become only the 10th filly to capture the Australian Derby, and already boasts a Group One victory against colts – one of her two G1 successes at Randwick early this season. Montefilia’s 3rd-place finish in the Rosehill Guineas was full of merit, considering it was just her second run this campaign and the race had been delayed a week. Guineas runner-up Skylab (4-1) is yet another strong mount for James McDonald, while Lion’s Roar (8-1) stays under notice after a checkered passage in the same race. 

A notable absentee from the Australian Derby is Rosehill Guineas winner Mo’unga. Fresh off celebrating her first Group One success, trainer Annabel Neasham has decided to bring her star colt back in distance to the mile of the $3 million Doncaster Handicap (Race 9). However, the 3-year-old’s chances were dealt a blow when drawing post position 19 in the capacity field of 20. Consequently, Mo’unga’s odds have drifted to 7-1 but 3-year-olds have a good record in the Doncaster under its handicap conditions. Mo’unga will carry 14 pounds less than co-highweight and favorite Mugatoo (7-2). Just as the “50 Group One” milestone is imminent for James McDonald, Mugatoo’s jockey Hugh Bowman is two short of becoming the third Australian rider to amass 100 Group One wins. Bowman, who has the great Winx to thank for significantly bolstering his total, has engagements in each feature race this Friday. Apart from the Doncaster favorite, he bears watching on 4-1 shot Bivouac in the TJ Smith Stakes and 7-1 chance Tiger of Malay in the Sires Produce.

The Randwick card will be broadcast live on TVG this Friday night (First Post: 9:35pm ET / 6:35pm PT) alongside cards from Doomben, Newcastle and Gold Coast. All races will be live-streamed in HD on the new Sky Racing World Appskyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWagerHPIbet, and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com. 

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael’s vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders’ Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

The post Australia: Four Group 1 Races Friday Night In The Championships At Randwick appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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