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Australian Racing – There’s A Lot At Stake In March
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Australian Racing – There’s A Lot At Stake In March

February proved an interesting month for Australian Horse racing with big wins for Hartnell (CF ORR Stakes), Endless Drama (Apollo Stakes), Redkirk Warrior (Black Caviar Lightning), Written By (Blue Diamond Stakes), Brave Smash (Futurity Stakes), and Russian Revolution (Oakleigh Plate).

However, March could be an even better month with loads of Group 1 Races coming up. Below we take a look at the Chipping Norton Stakes, Australian Guineas, Canterbury Stakes, Australian Cup, Newmarket Handicap, William Reid Stakes, George Ryder Stakes, and the Golden Slipper Stakes.

Chipping Norton Stakes (Saturday 3 March)

The Chipping Norton Stakes is a Group 1 Race run over 1,600 Metres. It was first run in 1939 at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney and will again be run there in 2018. However, the race has also been run on 33 occasions at Warwick Farm Racecourse in Sydney. Some of Australia’s best horses have won this race including Phar Lap, Tranquil Star and Bernborough. Meanwhile, Tulloch (twice), Super Impose (twice) and Ties The Knot (four-times) are all high-class multiple winners of the race. The last two editions have been won by the wonder-mare Winx.

Chipping Norton Stakes Last 10 Winners

2017 – Winx
2016 – Winx
2015 – Contributer
2014 – Boban
2013 – Shoot Out
2012 – Shoot Out
2011 – Danleigh
2010 – Theseo
2009 – Tuesday Joy
2008 – Casino Prince

Chipping Norton Stakes 2018 Preview

Anyone who laid Winx in the ante-post market for last month’s Apollo Stakes did well as connections of the world’s best racehorse sidestepped that contest as regular jockey Hugh Bowman was suspended.

However, though her trainer Chris Waller also has several other stablemates entered, he is unlikely to sidestep the Chipping Norton Stakes with Winx bidding for a hat-trick in the race. Stablemate Endless Drama, the horse that won the Apollo Stakes in the absence of Winx, is joint second-favourite. However, the 7-year-old has yet to win at Group 1 Level. Waller could even have the 1-2-3, according to the market, as his Comin Through is joint second-favourite after finishing third in the Apollo Stakes.

Australian Guineas (Saturday 3 March)

The Australian Guineas is a Group 1 Race open to 3-year-old colts, geldings and fillies. It was first run in 1986 at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne and has been run there every year apart from 20017 when it was being renovated. That year it was run at Caulfield Racecourse. Notable winners include Zabeel, Mahogany, Reset, Apache Cat, Miss Finland, and Palentino. Colts and geldings must carry 2kg more than fillies.

Australian Guineas Last 10 Winners

2017 – Hey Doc
2016 – Palentino
2015 – Wandjina
2014 – Shamus Award
2013 – Ferlax
2012 – Mosheen
2011 – Shamrocker
2010 – Rock Classic
2009 – Heart Of Dreams
2008 – Light Fantastic

Australian Guineas Preview 2018

The current favourite Cliff’s Edge warmed up for this by finishing second over 1,400m at Flemington last time but has that means he’s now 0 from 3 at the track. He’s also yet to win above Group 3 level but did win his on his only previous try at 1,600m. Therefore, an each-way bet on second favourite Grunt may be the way forward. Sired by O’Reilly, Grunt beat Cliff’s Edge into second in a recent trial and, as he had clock-watchers drooling, he could easily uphold the form come Saturday.

Canterbury Stakes (Saturday 10 March)

The Canterbury Stakes is a Group 1 Race open to horse aged three and older. It was first run in 1929 and was run at either Canterbury Park Racecourse or Rosehill Gardens Racecourse until 2013, before switching to Randwick Racecourse. Its most famous winners include Amounis, Shannon, Sky High, Manikato, Emancipation, All Our Mob, and More Joyous.

Canterbury Stakes Last 10 Winners

2017 – Le Romain
2016 – Holler
2015 – Cosmic Endeavour
2014 – Appearance
2013 – Pierro
2012 – More Joyous
2011 – More Joyous
2010 – Hot Danish
2009 – All Silent
2008 – Mentality

Canterbury Stakes Preview 2018

There has been plenty of money around for Clearly Innocent in recent days and, though he hasn’t won since May 2017, that money could be because there’s rain forecast in the days leading up to the race. His recent form is nothing to write home about but, if the rain arrives, it’s worth noting he’s 4 from 4 on soft and heavy ground, including a wide-margin Group 1 win. Meanwhile, Happy Clapper also has plenty of decent form at Randwick. Brave Smash also deserves a mention after his Group 1 win in the Futurity last time. He beat the useful Tosen Stardom there and was only beaten one-length by Redzel over 1,200 metres on his only previous run at Randwick.

Australian Cup (Saturday 10 March)

The Australian Cup is a Group 1 Race run over 2,000 metres at Flemington Racecourse. First run in 1863, it is open to horses aged three and older. It has been won by top-class racehorses such as Malua, Bore Head, Leilani, Ming Dynasty, Duclify, Bonecrusher, Vo Rogue, Northerly, Maykbe Diva, Zipping, Shocking, and Fiorente.

Australian Cup Last 10 Winners

2017 – Humidor
2016 – Preferment
2015 – Spillway
2014 – Fiorente
2013 – Super Cool
2012 – Manighar
2011 – Shocking
2010 – Zipping
2009 – Niconero
2008 – Sirmione

Australian Cup Preview 2018

Darren Weir’s well-travelled gelding Gailo Chop may have failed to win back-to-back Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes in November but, after a short break, he’s returned in rude health with Group 3 and Group 2 wins at Caulfield. His main threat could come from Single Gaze, as Nick Olive’s mare was a Group 1 winner in 2016 and, after winning a trial in January, she has finished runner-up to both Hartnell and Gailo Chop on her last two runs. 2016 Melbourne Cup Winner Almandin and Homesman also warrant a mention after fighting out the finish last time at Caulfield.

The Newmarket Handicap (Saturday 10 March)

The Newmarket Handicap is considered to be Australia’s most prestigious Sprint Race. It was first run in 1874 and is run over a 1,200 metres at Flemington Park. Its most famous winners include Wakeful, Ajax, Baguette, Placid Ark, Shaftesbury Avenue, Schillaci, Alinghi, Takeover Target, and Miss Andretti.

Newmarket Handicap Last 10 Winners

2017 – Redkirk Warrior
2016 – The Quarterback
2015 – Brazen Beau
2014 – Lankan Rupee
2013 – Shamexpress
2012 – Hay List
2011 – Black Caviar
2010 – Wanted
2009 – Scenic Blast
2008 – Weekend Hussler

Newmarket Handicap Preview 2018

It’s no surprise to see Aaron Purcell’s Merchant Navy at the head of the market as he’s 5 from 7 and actually 3 from 3 at 1,200m. He also warmed-up with an eye-catching run over 1,100m at his local Caulfield track last time, which should have put him spot on for what looks his major target. He looks sure to be taken on by last year’s winner Redkirk Warrior though. He actually lost his 100% track record at the track in November but bounced back with a fantastic win over 1,000m in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning last month. Meanwhile, this could also be another target for Futurity winner Brave Smash, whilst Rich Charm probably needs to find some improvement as he’s yet to win above Group 2 Level.

William Reid Stakes (Saturday 17 March)

The William Reid Stakes is a Group 1 sprint race run over 1,200m at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne. It was first run in 1925, and has been won by the likes of Heroic, Comic Court, Cape Of Good Hope, Black Caviar, and five-time winner Manikato.

William Reid Stakes Last 10 Winners

2017 – Silent Sedition
2016 – Flamberge
2015 – Lucky Hussler
2014 – Spirit Of Boom
2013 – Black Caviar
2012 – Foxwedge
2011 – Black Caviar
2010 – Turffontein
2009 – Apache Cat
2008 – Apache Cat

William Reid Stakes Preview 2018

It might be asking a lot for the likes of Merchant Navy and Redkirk Warrior to take in this race just a week after taking in the Newmarket Handicap and, if that’s the case, this could be a good opportunity for Redzel to get back to winning ways. Connections of this multiple Group 1 winner will be hoping that Redkirk Warrior boosts the form of his second to him last time but it’s worth noting that he flopped badly on his only previous start at Moonee Valley. If there’s to be a turn up, it might well be Chautaqua who has won a couple of Group 1 races at Moonee Valley in the past and has been running well without much luck recently.

George Ryder Stakes (Saturday 24 March)

The George Ryder Stakes is a Group 1 race run over 1,500 metres at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney. It was first run in 1903 as the Railway Stakes, taking its present name in 1974. It is open to horses aged three and older and has been won by the likes of Emancipation, Lonhro, and Haradsun. The last two renewals have been won by Winx.

George Ryder Stakes Last 10 Winners

2017 – Winx
2016 – Winx
2015 – Real Impact
2014 – Gordon Lord Byron
2013 – Pierro
2012 – Metal Bender
2011 – Rangirangdoo
2010 – Danleigh
2009 – Vision And Power
2008 – Weekend Hussler

George Ryder Stakes 2018 Preview

This is likely to be another Group 1 win for Winx. However, if you fancy an each-way play in the ante-post market in the hope that she doesn’t turn up, Kementari is an interesting contender. Young and still improving, he won a Group 2 here last time over 1,400 and is the son of dual former winner of this race Lonhro.

Golden Slipper Stakes (Saturday 24 March)

The Golden Slipper Stakes is Australia’s most prestigious race for two-year-olds and is run over 1,200, at Rosehill Gardens. It was first run in 1957 and has been won by the likes of Todman, Skyline, Storm Queen, Sweet Embrace, Vain, Sebring, and Capitalist.

Golden Slipper Stakes Last 10 Winners

2017 – She Will Reign
2016 – Capitalist
2015 – Vancouver
2014 – Mossfun
2013 – Overreach
2012 – Pierro
2011 – Sepoy
2010 – Crystal Lily
2009 – Phelan Ready
2008 – Sebring
2007 – Forensics

Golden Slipper Stakes Preview 2018

Written By was an impressive winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes in November, when he has Enbihaar over two-lengths behind in second. He could face some interesting opponents though in Sunlight and Performer. The filly sunlight won the Silver Slipper at the course and looks sure to close once more, whilst Performer won two trials here before taking a Group 3 over 1,100m.

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