A great edition of the Warwick Stakes with a competitive field of fourteen to line up with ten individual Group 1 winners among them, one of which is early favourite First Seal. Winner of the Flight Stakes, the daughter of Fastnet Rock went agonisingly close in the autumn two adding another two Group 1 races to her resume, when narrowly defeated in the Coolmore Classic and Vinery Stud Stakes. Punters believe she can go one better here and she clearly heads the market at $2.70. Second in last year’s edition Royal Descent ($7.50) who has posted six placings – all in Group company from her last seven visits to the Randwick track. Stable-mate and Doncaster Handicap winner is also well in contention at $6.50 with the ever-improving Burbero and Godolphin’s It’s Somewhat the other runners under double figures odds at $9.50 and $8 respectively.
1. PORNICHET – B Shinn (10)
Just kept getting better and better last time in with his campaign culminated in a dominant (2.3 length) win in the G1 Doomben Cup – his fourth from eight starts since arriving in Australia. He was given in easy time of it in the first of his two recent trials, finishing a close up fourth under a good hold, before being ridden out over the final furlong in the next. An exciting galloper who has finished out of the money in his past two fresh runs but, is also a much stronger galloper. Will give them a start but flashing home late.
2. BEATEN UP – G Schofield (2)
Returned to racing after more than 70 weeks on the sidelines in an autumn campaign which was highlighted by his third placing (1.5 lengths) at a 100/1, in the G1 BMW Stakes (2400m) behind Hartnell. Returns from another break here, only seventeen weeks this time, with two trials under his belt, the latest of which was a solid second to Royal Descent over 1030m. Capable efforts during the autumn suggest he may still play a part in some spring features but with being yet to win a race under 1800m, he’ll need this run and further.
3. FORETELLER – B Avdulla (5)
He was well into his autumn/winter campaign before we saw the best of this now 9yo campaigner but even then, he was a length or two of the pace running fourth in the Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and then the Eagle Farm Cup (2000m). He has only had a brief let-up since and a quite trial earlier this week and whilst he has ran some credible races fresh in the past, think he’ll need it longer than this now before he’s a legitimate chance.
4. MORIARTY – J Collett (13)
The 8yo was winless from four starts during a brief campaign earlier this year, with the pick of his efforts being a second placing behind Werther in the G2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m), where only six contested. Found them too slick in similar company when resuming from recent spells and that’ll be the case again here from a wide draw.
5. BURBERO – R Hutchings (4)
Put together an enormous campaign last time in, going from a BM 80 to being a Group 2 winner seven starts, and the Bjorn Baker galloper is still on the improve. He returned to racing with a solid second to Brook Road in the July Sprint at Canterbury before storming home from an improbable position on the turn to claim last fortnight’s G2 Missile Stakes, defeating Weary by head. Can’t be left out given recent record and last start performance
6. MESSENE – J Ford (1)
Had his chance first up in the G2 Missile Stakes (1200m) but as his trainers, the Hawkes Racing camp, suggested prior to the race, he was in need of the hit-out and finished fifth (1.6 lengths) behind Burbero. He’ll be fitter again and has the perfect gate to get the sweet run behind likely leader Zaratone however; he’ll find this no easier than the Missile and will have to have taken substantial improvement out of it.
7. HAWKSPUR – T Angland (14)
Started to wonder if his racing days were all done and dusted last campaign after a few very plain performances early in his prep but two consecutive third placings over 2000m saved some face. He is another though who’ll need at least a few runs and the 2000m again before we have an indication if he has another win in him.
8. IT’S SOMEWHAT – J McDonald (11)
Godolphin import who made his first local run a winning one by claiming the G3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) followed by a ninth (4.3 length) in the G1 George Ryder (1500m) and then spelled. Plenty there for trainer John O’Shea to work with over the break and the 5yo son of Dynaformer has been given two casual trials as he prepares for his return but, keeping plenty up his sleeve on each occasion. Group 2 winner over 1400m in the UK and capable of playing a part here.
9. COMPLACENT – C Reith (8)
This will be the first time since the 2013 VRC Derby that we get to see this Godolphin son of Authorized who promised so much in his six starts up to that point. He had two trials in March and then another two, the most recent a week ago, in the past month as he prepares to make his return. Been in work for a while now but they’ll continue to build him up slowly off such a lengthy break and he’ll be better again for whatever he produces Saturday.
10. ZARATONE – K O’Hara (9)
The ten year old grey gelding hasn’t been far away in recent races and at this last start, finished fourth (1.3 lengths) behind Burbero in the G2 Missile Stakes. Honest effort last start but can’t see how he’ll be able to turn the tables on that winner here, and his record at this track and distance, will suggest he’ll struggle over the final furlong.
11. KERMEDEC – G Boss (7)
Delivered on the promise he has always shown when claiming the G1 Doncaster Handicap earlier this year. That followed an eye-catching third in the G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and it’s hard to imagine that the Teofilo stallion won’t return to racing a better horse again. Settled at the back of the field in both of his trials and not asked to do a great deal in the run home in either. Might not settle too far back from seven and will be closing hard late.
12. ROYAL DESCENT – J Bowman (3)
The 6yo has remarkably recorded seven seconds and three third placings, six of them in Group 1 company, since her last win back in the ATC Oaks of 2013. One of those seconds was in this race last year when, as she will be on Saturday, first up from a spell of eighteen weeks with two trials under her belt. She’s wasn’t asked to do a great deal in the first which was run on heavy conditions but looked the goods in the second, winning it comfortably from Beaten Up and Preferment. Drawn well, top jockey and has only missed a place twice from thirteen starts this track.
13. FIRST SEAL – T Berry (6)
A win and three narrow seconds, two frustratingly at Group 1 level, during her autumn campaign for this high class mare who looks ready to make amends this preparation after two smart trials in the past month. Finished fourth under a hold in the first behind Vancouver before working home well, again well under her own esteem to finish a length third behind Flamboyant Lass and Mesa. Class filly who should measure up to the open company and be more than competitive here. Trainer expected a top-three finish at least.
14. GUST OF WIND – J Parr (12)
Promising filly who rounded out her last campaign with a strong win in the G1 ATC Oaks, her third win from only five career starts. Has her record indicates, the Darci Brahma mare has more than her share of ability and each run last time in saw dramatic improvement. Given a quiet time of in a recent trial and happy to see how she returns here this trip/class before including her in selections.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Zaratone leads with Messene, Royal Descent and First Seal all positioning up handy. It’s Somewhat may also try his hand from a wider gate and find a spot closer to the lead. First Seal’s trials have been super and she gets the perfect run from gate six. Royal Descent’s stats alone are enough to include her in here but her recent trial gives even more hope that a lucrative win may be well within her reach here. The ever-improving Burbero can settle closer than he did in the Missile, a great form reference for this race, and can’t be dismissed.
1. FIRST SEAL
2. ROYAL DESCENT
4. IT’S SOMEWHAT