It may play second fiddle to the two Group 1 races scheduled for this Saturday’s meeting at Doomben, but the G3 Darley Sprint should be closely monitored as four of the past five winners of this event have gone on to win Group 1 races. Beaded, Woorim, Tiger Tees and River Lad all won this prior to registering maiden victories at the highest level. Opinions are well spread on who may earn the right to join this select group with an open betting market seeing six of the thirteen runners at or below $10.00.
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1. SPEEDINESS – J McDonald (10)
Never significantly increased his position from the back in the field when resuming in the G2 Victory Stakes on the Gold Coast a fortnight back, running eighth (4.5 lengths) behind Srikandi. It was a race favouring those closer to the speed and his second up record is very strong, including a second in the Apollo Stakes and a half-length fourth in the G1 Rupert Clarke. Shouldn’t be forgotten about here.
2. ALMA’S FURY – J Byrne (8)
Another who made little impression from the tail of the field in the Victory Stakes, his first run for over five months. Generally produces his best effort when racing handier to the speed and they may try and push forward here from gate eight. Won the Listed Eye-Liner Stakes (1350m) and hasn’t been far off in races such as the Listed Festival Stakes and G3 Tramway at his previous runs second back from a spell.
3. FAST’N’ROCKING – C Williams (7)
The 4yo gelding has caught the eye in each of his past two runs, both in top company, running sixth (5.3 lengths) in the TJ Smith and more recently, fourth (2.5 lengths) to Our Boy Malachi in the G3 Hall Mark Stakes. Has been racing very well this time, finishing outside of the top four only once in five starts, and can keep that record in-tact here over the 1350m which should suit him ideally.
4. ROCK STURDY – J Bowman (13)
Drew wide (9 out of 13) when resuming from a spell in the G3 Hall Mark Stakes and got well back in the run. He was winding up nicely though in a race that favouring those on-speed over the final stages and will derive great benefit from that run – his first for almost seven months. Hasn’t fared well at the barrier draw again though and being second up, that may see him in need off another run before he comes into contention.
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5. CHARLIE BOY – B Shinn (2)
Outside of the winner, thought is first-up run in the G3 Hall Mark Stakes was the best with the son of Myboycharlie closing strongly under 59kgs to run fifth (2.7 lengths) behind Our Boy Malachi. Beaten a head by Famous Seamus and ran fourth behind Éclair Big Bang at his past two second-up runs and only needs a touch of luck from the inside draw around Doomben, to post another good effort here.
6. ESTONIAN PRINCESS – K McEvoy (4)
Excellent return to racing from this genuine mare when second to I’ve Got The Looks, whom she gave 3.5kgs to, in the Listed Silk Stocking. Drops to 54kgs for this race and unlike last start where she drew wide, will not have to get as far back in the run here from gate four. Very rarely runs a bad race and shouldn’t here either.
7. TOKAMAK – D Griffin (11)
We haven’t seen this 7yo since April of last year, which in turn was his first run since September 2013. Has no trials to go on and given that he has had the one start in close to two years, happy to give him a wide berth here in a quality race.
8. FINAL CRESCENDO – J Lloyd (3)
After returning to racing with a sound finish over the 1110m of the Listed Chief De Beers, and combined with his excellent second up record, many gave the Foreplay 5yo a good chance in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1400m) on the Gold Coast a fortnight ago. He took up the running from an inside gate but disappointingly, was one of the first beaten after turning for home, finishing seventh (5.2 lengths) behind Neo. Settles handy again from gate three but has a fair bit of improvement to make.
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9. TYPHOON RED – G Goold (12)
Given every chance at his most recent start four weeks back, only second this campaign, when finishing seventh (2.5 lengths) behind Gundy Spirit and Neo – both good again since, in an Open handicap over 1350m. Ran sixth (4.4 lengths) in the race last year after winning the Listed Weetwood Stakes at his previous start but lead-up form this year isn’t as strong and prefer others.
10. GUNDY SPIRIT – T Bell (6)
He registered his fifth win from seventeen starts when finishing too strongly for his opposition in an Open Handicap, before another strong finale saw him claim third place behind Neo in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1400m) on the Gold Coast a fortnight ago. Drew wide last start and came from last on the turn to finish within two lengths of the leader who enjoyed a nice run just off the speed. Going well and from six, may be able to position a few lengths closer to the lead here and post another solid performance.
11. JOPA – P Hammersley (1)
Unlucky not to finish closer than the 4.4 length sixth he did behind Neo in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1400m) a fortnight ago. He was caught behind a bunched field and had to continue to ease off heels in the straight before getting to the outside late and closing well. Going well without winning and drawn to get a cheap run but, this is a few steps up again on what he has been competing in recently and he’ll need to produce a career-best if to be successful.
12. NITE ROCKER – R McMahon (9)
Adelaide trainer Lloyd Kennewell knows what it takes to win a good race in Queensland having prepared Conservatorium a few year back to feature wins this time of year, so best to treat this More Than Ready gelding cautiously. He was sent out favourite (9/4) at his most recent start, his second for the campaign and first for a month, in the Listed City Of Adelaide Stakes (1400m) but couldn’t stave off the late challengers and finished fifth (2 lengths) behind Dylanson. Will likely take up the running here and on a firm track, could offer a bit of cheek at odds.
13. BYMONASHEE – L Cassidy (5)
Returned to racing from a lengthy spell for trainer Brian Smith in the Listed Chief De Beers and from last on the turn, was only starting to warm up late over the 1110m trip when seventh (3.5 lengths) behind Rocket To Glory. Been kept fresh since and whilst trainer and jockey combined effectively, success here on a horse who’ll be giving them a big start turning, will rate as one of their best.
RACE OVERVIEW –
His strike rate isn’t flash but think Fast’n’Rocking can improve that statistic here. He’s been racing against the best sprinters the country has on offer this campaign and performing well. A slight drop in quality of opposition, a firmer surface and getting out to 1350m, should all be in his favour. Estonian Princess never runs a bad race and can’t see her beginning to do so here from the ideal gate in four which will see her in the box seat from the jump.
Draw wide but with not a great deal of pace on paper, thought Adelaide visitor Nite Rocker could give a cheeky effort up front – especially if track is favouring those in a similar position in earlier races. Value here could be Alma’s Fury, especially if they push forward. He got too far back first up and with not many noted on-pacers entered here, it’s worth chancing their arm early and finding a spot. His Melbourne spring form was good enough to see him in the mix here.
2. ESTONIAN PRINCESS
3. CHARLIE BOY
4. NITE ROCKER