With the countdown to November’s Melbourne Cup at Flemington well and truly underway, horse racing fans are gearing up for another action packed weekend of racing in Australia, with important meetings at Randwick and Caulfield in particular likely to provide much of the entertainment.
BILL RITCHIE HANDICAP – 1400m – 16:35pm
The Bill Ritchie Handicap is a Group 3 Thoroughbred meeting, which is open to horses three years old and older, and is ran over a distance of 1400 metres. Despite struggling last time around on what was admitidally an extremely heavy track with such a big weight, Tsaritsa is still the current favourite among the bookmakers for the eight race of the day at Randwick, with the four-year-old seemingly now in much better shape, and is also aided by a favourable draw. Despite the majority of the money going on the Chris Waller trained horse, Torgersen is a horse in fine form of late, and could well place Tsaritsa under extreme pressure. These two are certainly head and shoulders above the rest of the field, with the likes of Federal, Handfast and Happy Clapper perhaps worth an outside bet.
Outright – Tsaritsa
Each Way – Federal
COLGATE OPTIC GEORGE MAIN STAKES – 1600m – 15.15pm:
In what is undoubtedly the highlight of the day’s events at Randwick, The George Main Stakes is an Australian Turf Club Group 1 Thoroughbred race run under Weight for Age conditions, and over a distance of 1600 metres, with a total prize money on offer of $500,000. this year’s race is proving difficult to gain value on, unless of course you are willing to back heavy favourite Winx with big money. Chris Waller’s stable star will aim to emulate Sunline as a dual cox plate winner this weekend, and such a victory is certainly seeming likely, with the only competition coming in the shape of It’s Somewhat and Hauraki. With Jinx expected to perform her usual assault on the home straight, an each-way bet on either one of It’s Somewhat or Hauraki could well prove fruitful.
Outright – Jinx
Each Way – It’s Somewhat
PFD FOOD SERVICES PLATE – 1400m – 13:05pm:
In what promises to be an extremely tough race to call, many are predicting Najmaat to come out on top over 1400 meters, despite a disappointing run last time around. Competition for the David Hayes three-year-old is likely to come in the shape of Peking Duck, after the Trent Pennuto horse finished second to the promising Urban Ruler when resuming at Sandown just a matter of weeks ago. Urban Ruler subsequently finished midfield in stakes class at Flemington last Saturday but Pennuto noted he finished within three lengths of the winner. Successful jockey Daniel Stackhouse will ride Peeking Duck at Caulfield on Saturday, and with the filly starting from the inside gate, it could well be the three-year-old who takes victory.
Outright – Peeking Duck
Each-Way – Najmaat
MRC Foundation Handicap – 1400m – 13.40pm
With many trainers using the MRC Foundation Handicap at Caulfield as the golden ticket to a place in the Caulfield Cup, there is unsurprisingly a strong field for this race. French Emotion is back for Chris Waller after a spell, and despite a far from easy run in the Let’s Elope last weekend, should be ready to fight for victory having only missed out by a length. Elsewhere, Clemency could well be in the running come the closing stages, with four wins in her last five starts giving her the ideal preparation for such an iconic race. Finally, Miss Gunpowder is well known for her potential on her day, however her form of late has suggested that the Foundation Handicap may well be a step to far.
Outright – French Emotion
Each-Way – Clemency
Elsewhere this weekend, there is horse racing action from Morphetville and Belmont, with the Holdfast Insurance Handicap and Book Now Maiden both looking like being the standout races at the respective venues. Look out for both Milkwood and Dagorlad, who are the current bookmaker’s favourites for the two meetings.