As has been the case in recent editions of the Tristarc Stakes, Sydney trainer Chris Waller looks set to figure prominently with his two runners for the Group 2 feature for mares, Amicus and Catkins, well in contention for this year’s renewal at Caulfield on Saturday. Amicus is rated an $11 chance – drifting from her opening prince of $9.00, whilst Catkins, who ran third in last year’s Tristarc, is $3.00 and favourite. The only other runner under double figure odds in early markets is Sabatini at $6.00. Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir has three runners entered with Atlantis Dream the subject of some very good support early, having her opening price of $41 slashed to $19. It may be some of the funds that the stable secured on Wednesday’s meeting when Weir’s Till Bell Rings, landed some good bets after having been backed from $26 into $12.
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1. AMICUS – C Newitt (10) 58.5kgs
Closed strongly to record two impressive wins in the G3 Toy Show (1300m) and G2 Let’s Elope (1400m) at her first two runs back from a spell before drawing wide and get back to near last in the G1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) at her most recent start. Had a torrid run last time out but very much suited back to her own sex where she possess a strong record; can bounce back here.
2. CATKINS – D Oliver (8) 57.5kgs
The ever popular mare has followed the same path into this race as last year where she ran third (2.1 lengths) to Sweet Idea and Girl Guide. Like last year, she won the Sheraco Stakes first up but unlike last year, where she finished a close second, she was unplaced as the odds-on favourite in the Golden Pendant ran at Rosehill a fortnight ago. Appeared to have no excuses last time out but as we learned in the Sheraco, she’s a mare that should never be doubted.
3. GREGERS – C Williams (6) 57.5kgs
She came close to breaking a year-long winless drought in the G2 Bobbie Lewis when leading all bar the last few bounds in running third (neck) to Churchill Dancer and Under The Louvre. She then found herself centre of a bunched field turning for home in the G1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and angled out to present at the 200m with clear room ahead of her. She only held her position from there, running tenth (2.65 lengths). Better camping on the speed but for her to be winning over 1400m think she’ll need a soft lead/run and not sure she’ll get that here.
4. SOLICIT – B Avdulla (12) 57.5kgs
Back to near her best this year under the care of Gerald Ryan and she’ll return to racing here off a four month break. She has won each of her two barrier trials she has had in readiness for her return and won the G3 Darley Crown first up last prep.
Her draw here though will make it tough with her best efforts coming when she has been camped on or just off, the speed.
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5. HAZARD – J McDonald (3)
She hasn’t been able to take a trick in terms of a barrier draw and has drawn the outside gate, in fields of 16, 14, and 14, at her past three starts. Given that factor, her effort to finish within at least two lengths of the winner on each occasion, all Group 3 races, has been excellent. She took up the running last start in the Blazer Stakes and fought on solidly under the 58kgs to run sixth (1.7 lengths) to La Passe. Deserves a change of luck and Saturday could be the day.
6. SABATINI – K McEvoy (9)
Trailed what was a very slick early speed and not surprisingly, finished too strongly for the tiring leaders in the 3yo Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield to defeat The Monstar by a head. That was her first run in twenty-one weeks and like last time in, the Street Cry mare will only continue to improve this campaign. Bit of a jump in trip here to 1400m, but will enjoy a solid tempo up front and her overall record is too good to doubt her chances here. Will be getting home hard.
7. ATLANTIS DREAM – (11) 57.5kgs
Found plenty of traffic for the majority of the straight when resuming from a 20 week spell in the How Now Stakes when fifth (1.1 lengths) behind Politeness and Griante – both of whom swept home down the centre of the track. She then drew wide in the Blazer Stakes, settled back and again, didn’t have a great deal of room in the straight to stake her claim. Could’ve finished closer at each of her above two starts and her big opening price has been halved.
8. LA PASSE – (2) 57.5kgs
Winner of two of her past three starts, the Street Sense mare is very much in form and only missed a top five finish once in her twelve start career. Enjoyed a lovely run/ride in the Blazer Stakes from Michelle Payne to record a win of more authority than her starting price of $41 would’ve suggest it to be. She had ¾ of a length over Manageress to spare and who knows what kind of improvement she’ll continue to make with that victory now under her belt.
9. SLIGHTLY SWEET – T Berry (1) 56.5kgs
The Jason Coyle mare was winding up well late when first up in the G3 Sheraco Stakes to run fourth (2.4 lengths) behind Catkins, before settling last in the Golden Pendant and inching ground of the leaders in the run home to finish seventh (3.9 lengths). Not a great deal of positional change last start so wouldn’t mark the effort too harshly however, she’ll again settle back in the run from the inside gate and need clear run home to have her chance. Some cut out of the track would also suit.
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10. TYCOON TIARA – L Currie (7) 56.5kgs
Drew wide and pushed forward in the G3 How Now (1200m) but the early work told and she weakened to run last of fourteen, finishing 4.6 lengths behind Politeness.
Drew more favourable at her only start since, the G2 Blazer Stakes (1400m), again sat on the speed and fought on much stronger to cross the line in seventh spot, only 1.8 lengths behind La Passe. Likes Caulfield but would need to improve on that run again to be winning here.
11. GIRL IN FLIGHT – B Shinn (5) 55kgs
Returned from a spell in the G2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) where she settled midfield on the fence. Perfectly ridden from that position to ease out behind the leading group at the 400m and present herself well, unfortunately though, she didn’t take advantage of the run and battled the final furlong, dropping back to run second to last. Fitter, drawn well and was only beaten a head second up last campaign by Noble Protector however, that was off a much stronger first-up run.
12. JESSY BELLE – D Lane (13) 55kgs
Has been a model of consistency this year and appears to be knocking on the door of a breakthrough win at this level given her last few efforts. From well back she closed strongly to finish within a length of Politeness in the How Now Stakes before again continuing to make ground in the run home when third (1.2 lengths) in the G2 Blazer Stakes, very much against the pattern of the race. Will drop back to near enough to last from a wide gate and again, need to run down some very smart mares in the run home however, if pace and track conditions lend itself to her style of racing, she’ll rate another genuine place-chance.
13. SCARLETT BILLOWS – (4) 55kgs
Drew inside when contesting the How Now Stakes but had little luck from her midfield position in the run home and should’ve finished closer to winner Politeness than the official margin of 3 lengths. She then led quality sprinters again in the G2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) and fought on strongly to just miss third place behind Chautauqua, Delectation and Knoydart. A great effort last time out behind quality sprinters, who all came from the second half of the field. She can position up handy again to the speed here and give plenty of cheek.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Pace could be good earlier with Catkins, Solicit and Tycoon Tiara, all drawn in the second half of the field, likely to go forward, with the likes of Gregers, La Passe and Scarlett Billows all keen to make their better draws count. Hazard could be the forgotten horse here for mine at $14.00. Poor draws have made it very tough for her in lead-up races but she has start a third of price. Draws much better here and double figures seems to be overs. Same applies for Amicus whose only finish outside of the top two when racing at Caulfield, came in G1 Rupert Clarke where she experienced a horror runs. Two wins prior to that, in this class, were strong. Value chances to Scarlett Billows and Jessy Belle.