The Furious Stakes is the feature race at Randwick this weekend, which includes some of the more progressive age-group thoroughbreds in the country.
Bookmakers have framed an even market for the Group 2 feature, but the early money has come for last-start winner Dame Giselle.
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained filly scored narrowly at Randwick last start and she makes her own luck in front, which is a big advantage. However, she could have trouble crossing to the line from barrier 10, and those inside her will make her work.
Thermosphere has the Godolphin polish and she is better for having a fresh up run two weeks back. The James Cummings-trained filly ran a half-head behind Dame Giselle, and despite her long odds, she closed impressively near the line.
The daughter of Exosphere is another runner that has drawn wide in barrier 12, so expect her to drop back and run on stoutly again.
An interesting runner is La Vernazza, which hails from New Zealand with impressive form. The daughter of More Than Ready scored wins at Ellerslie and Matamata before running second behind Cool Aza Beel in the Karaka Millions.
There was plenty to like about her recent trial at Randwick, suggesting the travel across the Tasman hasn’t done her any harm. The Kiwi runners have a good recent record in age-group features in Sydney, so she shouldn’t be too far away from the prize.
Bookmakers opened her at single-figure odds but since markets open, her odds have drifted in the double-figure category. However, respect her chances in a competitive race.
Hungry Heart is the current favourite, following an impressive first campaign. The Chris Waller-trained filly ran second on debut at Flemington before getting off the mark at Group 2 level. Her win at Randwick came against high-quality opposition and that form stacks up nicely.
The daughter of Frankel has had one run since, which came in the Group 1 Golden Slipper. The Slipper is the biggest juvenile race in Australia and she held her own, finishing fifth behind Farnan on a soft track.
Improved track conditions should help her chances this week and with James McDonald in the saddle, it’s not surprising to see money coming for her.
A runner that punters shouldn’t overlook at odds is Forbidden Love. The All Too Hard filly hasn’t been racing in the same class as the aforementioned fillies, but she is capable of winning here.
She has recent winning form to call upon when scoring by 1.5 lengths at Canterbury, and her trainers are no strangers to winning age-group races.
Double-figure odds are available for Forbidden Love and she could add value to this race.
However, our top pick is Hungry Heart. She has the form on the board at high levels and form out of the Slipper typically stacks up nicely the following season.
She is drawn perfectly in barrier three and that will allow James McDonald to get a nice sit behind the speed. Expect her to peel off the fence on the turn and show her superior turn-of-foot in the straight.
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