The final Group 1 race of the Sydney Autumn Carnival, the All Aged Stakes, has drawn together an enthralling line-up of thirteen runners, nine of whom already have at least one Group 1 victory alongside of their name. Early favourite is Chautauqua ($3.00) who comes off a courageous win and for the first time since finishing fifth in the Scone Guineas last May, races beyond 1200m. It’s been a kind race to favourites with six of the last nine winners of the race saluting as the popular elect. In fact, besides last year’s winner Hana’s Goal ($10.00), only one other horse as won at double-figure odds since 2000, that being El Mirada ($31.00) in 2001. This stat reads well for Terravista ($5.00), Lucky Hussler ($7.00) and two of the three 3yos entered for the race, Shooting To Win ($8.00) and Wandjina ($8.00), as they are the only other runners in the field at single figure odds.
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1. CHAUTAUQUA – T Berry (1)
Recorded a stunning victory last time out in the G1 TJ Smith (1200m), coming from last to out-bob Lord Of The Sky right on the line. Given the pattern of the day favoured those on pace, it was an extraordinary effort from the Encosta De Lago 4yo and after two seconds at the elite level, deservedly landed him a Group 1 race. Needs to produce another big effort here stepping up to 1400m but if he has come through last start well, will be steaming home again.
2. DISSIDENT – J Cassidy (6)
Given a seven week freshen up after a disappointing third (2.1 lengths) as the $1.45 favourite in the G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) behind Suavito. That was the third time in the past four starts the Sebring stallion has been rolled as a favourite but with his fresh and distance record both reading exceptionally well, he’s sure to be right in contention again. Drawn perfectly in six and Cassidy has two wins and a second from four rides on him.
3. TERRAVISTA – J Bowman (2)
Started favourite for the G1 TJ Smith a fortnight ago and looked set to do the right thing by punters as the field topped the rise and he mounted his challenge however, he couldn’t reel in Lord Of The Sky or match the finishing effort of Chautauqua over the final stages and finished third (2.1 lengths) That followed a first up third to Brazen Beau in the G1 Newmarket Handicap and coupled with his efforts beyond 1200m in the past, would like to have seen him win or to be finishing stronger in each of his two runs back to be winning here at seven furlongs.
4. LUCKY HUSSLER – G Boss (13)
Since being transferred to the Darren Weir Stables last spring, the Husson gelding has been in exceptional form and has won two, including last start’s G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m), and placed a further four times from six starts.
The 5yo was well ridden by Glen Boss in the William Reid and gathered in a smart field quickly over the final 100m to win by almost two lengths on the line. Appears to have returned stronger again this time in and the step up to 1400m will suit. Cannot be overlooked.
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5. REBEL DANE – B Shinn (8)
Returned from a twenty week spell with a nice run in the G1 Williams Reid Stakes but the 5yo just couldn’t quicken when he needed to from just off the pace as they field passed the 400m, maintaining his position to the line in running sixth (2.9 lengths) behind Lucky Hussler. The Gary Portelli trained galloper’s last win was in G1 Rupert Clark Stakes where he carried 55.5kgs. From ten attempts since under WFA conditions, he has recorded a second and two thirds. The 1400m and a colder ride will suit but needs a few things to go his way to be winning at this level – has two placings from his last ten starts in Group 1’s.
6. FAMOUS SEAMUS – K McEvoy (11)
Drew wide and dropped back to last second up in the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, a position from which he had no luck in the run home, finishing an untested ninth (4 lengths) behind Lucky Hussler. His next and only start since came in the TJ Smith where he settled just worse than midfield on the fence from the inside draw.
He only battled in the run home on the soft track to finish seventh (5.7 lengths) behind Chautauqua. A firmer track will be in his favour but has only one third placing from his last six Group 1 races and would be rated an each-way chance at best.
7. LASER HAWK –
Fantastic effort by both horse and trainer Joe Pride to win the G3 Newmarket Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle first up off a six month spell. He was prepared for that run, which was a month ago now, with three barrier trials and has had another one since to keep him up to the mark. Has a third placing to Sacred Falls in the G1 George Main Stakes (1600m) to his name but happy to shop around him second up over 1400m after such a break and against a quality field.
8. WEARY – G Schofield (10)
After a win first up in the Expressway Stakes and a promising third to Contributer in the G2 Apollo Stakes, the Chris Waller trained galloper has been disappointing in both runs since, finishing well down the track in the Chipping Norton and George Ryder, his most recent run. He finished second to last in the George Ryder, which was a month ago now, and has been given a quiet trial since. Really mixing up his form since a stellar start to his racing career in Australia, which included a second in this race last year as the favourite, couldn’t have him with any confidence here.
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9. FONTELINA – J Collett (5)
Resumed from a year’s break with a eleventh (4.5 lengths) in the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) where he was pushed wide on the turn. Anthony Cummings than entered the multiple G2 winner in the G1 TJ Smith where the 6yo son of Testa Rossa finished a credible fourth, coming from second last on the turn. Both runs back from a lay long-off have been good and on a firmer surface, from a good draw that will see him position up well, would rate some kind of place chance at odds.
10. GENERALIFE – J McDonald (9)
Resumed as race favourite for the G3 Star Kingdom Stakes and didn’t let punters down, arriving just in time to nudge out Target In Sight on the line. The Godolphin runner hasn’t missed a top four position in his eleven starts however; this is a significant step up on the Group 3 races he has been competing in. At WFA, likely to find several a bit too seasoned.
11. SHOOTING TO WIN – T Clark (3)
The Caulfield Guineas winner from last spring has returned with three starts this autumn, The Hobartville Stakes, Randwick Guineas and George Ryder Stakes, where he has finished fourth (long neck), third (3/4 of a length) and fifth (2.3 lengths) respectively. Found a nice position midfield in the running line in the Ryder and presented strongly at the 300m but couldn’t real in Real Impact and Criterion, both of whom have performed excellent in G1 races since. Going well enough to win this and should be right in calculations, especially having drawn ideally in gate three.
12. WANDJINA – D Oliver (12)
Spelled after finishing tenth and 3.6 lengths behind Adelaide in the Cox Plate and has returned with two strong victories in the G3 C S Hayes and G1 Australian Guineas. The Snitzel colt has led from the front both runs back and found plenty against his own age when challenged late, winning by a head on each occasion. Beat Doncaster Handicap winner Kermadec home in the Guineas, going and will make his own luck out in front but, from the wide draw which may see him doing a little work early to cross, just may find it harder to hold of the challengers of the older horses the final furlong here.
13. SCISSOR KICK – T Angland (4)
Set to make his return in last week’s G2 3yo Sprint (1200m) but was scratched and instead, finds himself taking on the absolute best in a WFA G1 1400m seven days later. Has been tuned up with two barrier trials, over 1050m and 1200m, where he ran second to Avoid Lightning and then third, finishing alongside of Shooting To Win and Laser Hawk, respectively. Will get every chance from his gate and would take missing of last week’s race in preference for this event, as a positive lead. Can be prominent at the finish here.
RACE OVERVIEW –
The 3yo’s will be prominent in running with Wandjina coming across from a wide draw and Shooting To Win and Scissor Kick keen to capitalise on their good gates and find a handy position. Loved the way Lucky Hussler finishing first up in the William Reid Stakes and the 1400m is now ideal. Blossomed under Weir last spring and looks to have made further improvement after his break. He’ll be steaming home here and is great each-way value. 1400m, the inside draw – this is the third big week of racing at Randwick, and how much the win in the TJ Smith took out of him on a slow track, has a few questions marks over Chautauqua for mine at the $3.00. More inclined to stick with the each-way value and Shooting To Win, Fontelina and Dissident who shouldn’t be forgotten.
1. LUCKY HUSSLER
2. SHOOTING TO WIN