Hauraki follows proven path to Ranvet. Godolphin have stuck to the path that saw Contributor win last year’s Ranvet Stakes, as they prepare Hauraki, equal favourite for Saturday’s renewal, for his maiden Group 1 victory. Contributor won both the Apollo Stakes and Chipping Norton prior to the Ranvet, the same races Hauraki as each finished third in, and whilst that’ not equal to Contributor’s results, when you consider this year’s Apollo and Chipping Norton were taken out by Winx, it measures up just as well for mine. Criterion and Mongolian Khan, the proven G1 performers of the race, both put in below expected runs first up and need to bounce back and the $5 and $9 on offer about them is hard to pass up, knowing what they’re both capable of when at their best.
1. CRITERION – M Walker (3)
Although the race was dominated by the favourite, Criterion was expected to produce a little more than he did in the run home first up in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) a fortnight ago. Jumps to 2000m now and has a great record this trip and track. Wouldn’t mark him too harshly on the first up effort – a race where most held their spot in the run home, and would expect to see a sharp improvement here.
2. MONGOLIAN KHAN – O Bosson (4)
Wasn’t expected to win, but by the same token, wasn’t expected to struggle as much as he did first up in the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) last month. Pulled up with a poor recovery rate and was given an easy time of it in a recent trial. Was in sensational form last spring – mixing it with the best at WFA over this distance but the first up effort and four weeks since have to be a concern.
3. DIBAYANI – B Shinn (1)
Only two wins in nineteen starts, the most recent of which was almost three years ago, but a recent fourth and second to Winx in the Apollo Stakes and Chipping Norton sees him a leading contender here. Like both the above runs, gets a nice run in transit here from the inside gate and there’s no Winx to contend with today. Form is good as you’d want it to be heading into this.
4. HAURAKI – J McDonald (2)
The Godolphin gelding has worked home well in both starts back from a spell – Apollo Stakes and Chipping Norton – running third on both occasions. Third up last prep ran a head second to Complacent in the Craven Plate (2000m) and certainly seems to have improved since that run last spring. Second to Mongolian Khan in the Australian Derby as a 3yo, and should be right in this.
5. THE UNITED STATES – K McEvoy (7)
Warmed up nicely first up in the Futurity Stake (1400m) to run fifth (1.9 lengths) behind Turn Me Loose, before finishing a head second to He Or She in a strongly run Blamey Stakes (1600m) last weekend. Might’ve just felt the pinch late last start, they really scooted along, but should be cherry-ripe now third up over 2000m. Well get back here but stable rarely from the money when coming to Sydney for the staying races and should be respected.
6. WEARY – Z Purton (9)
Ok first up from a spell when ninth behind Charlie Boy in the Liverpool City Cup (1300m) and off of that run, expected to see more from him than he produced last weekend when eighth (5.1 lengths) to It’s Somewhat in the Ajax Stakes – where he just held his ground in the run home. Well accounted for his last two WFA races over this distance, and although he did run second to Bohemian Lily over it in last year’s Doomben Cup – he was in much better form then. Has a lot of improvement to make in the space of a week.
7. STORM THE STARS – J Bowman (8)
Former UK galloper who had his first Australian start for Chris Waller three weeks ago in the Chipping Norton (1600m). Held his ground throughout that run, finishing seventh (5.1 lengths) behind Winx. Well only be fitter for that run, his first since September of last year, and given his UK record, the trip will be right up his alley – as would be a little bit of give in the ground. No surprise to see him kept relatively safe in the markets at $10.00.
8. KOOL KOMPANY – C Williams (6)
Another former import for Waller, this 4yo stallion has been here since the middle of last year and raced sparingly, but has shown in his two most recent runs – Liverpool City Cup and Ajax Stakes, that he should be competitive in good races here. Whether he can reach Group 1 company though, is another question – especially when considering that he’s never been beyond a mile previously. Would be happy to bet around him yet due to a few unknowns.
9. BOHEMIAN LILY – T Berry (5)
Former Kiwi mare that dominated against her own age and sex during last year’s Queensland Carnival. She scored a couple of G2 placings last spring – finishing third over 2400m and 2500m behind smart gallopers Amralah and The United States, but she carried low weight in both, and under the WFA conditions here – from what we’ve seen of her two runs back from a spell, would be surprised if she could hold of the challengers from her lead position.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Bohemian Lily leads and with the small field, should get a good time of it. Think Criterion might be able to bounce back here given he’ll get a nice run from gate three, and combined with the pace of the race, reckon he should be able to handle the jump in distance. Dibayani and Hauraki come into the race with clearly the strongest form, and both will run well, whilst The United States and Storm The Stars, will both be finishing strongly and must be watched from a Sydney Cup perspective.
4. THE UNITED STATES