The babies have shed their winter coats along with their juvenile status and step out this Saturday in the Golden Rose Stakes – the first Group 1 of the season for three-year-olds.
Sires Produce Stakes winner, Yankee Rose, is the only Group 1 winner in the field, but many of her opposition have huge potential. However, history is against the fillies, with Forensics (2008) the only one to win in the last 11 years.
Trainer Chris Waller has spring carnival Group 1’s picked out for exciting filly Omei Sword. His Sydney rival John O’Shea, head of the Godolphin team, saddles Run To The Rose winner Astern and third placegetter Impending.
Form from this Rosehill race will also supply form pointers to a raft of major races during the Melbourne spring carnival.
Godolphin’s Silver Slipper Stakes winner. Was spelled after he won the Kindgarten Stakes as a two-year-old. Has top jockey James McDonald to pilot.
Why he can: Winner four of five starts. Ploughed through the going to win the lead-up, Run To The Rose Stakes.
Why he can’t: Enjoyed a soft run last start, when he did not go around a horse. Is real risk of getting trapped deep from his wide (12) barrier.
This Snitzel colt is a half-brother to the great mare Winx. He dead-heated with Astern in the Kindgarten Stakes. Champion jockey Hugh Bowman rides and has won this race four times.
Why he can: Set the tempo in the Run To The Rose and showed tenacity to finish a game fourth. Out to 1400m here he will again race handy and be out of trouble.
Why he can’t: His two wins were over 1000m and 1100m so he may just lack the stamina to run a strong 1400m.
James Cummings-trained colt, who won Group 2 Skyline Stakes before a spell.
Why he can: The step up to 1400m is in his favour. He was a long way back in the Run To The Rose and worked to the line well, without threatening. He will be sharpened with the addition of blinkers.
Why he can’t: Strong possibility of a wet track and he’s not at his best on rain-affected going.
Choisir colt was sent to the paddock after finishing third to Prized Icon in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes.
Why he can: Turned in a stunning last to first win in the Up And Coming Stakes at Randwick last start, when resuming. He was last at the 300m and still gathered in Derryn and Thronum. Longer trip here is a big plus.
Why he can’t: From barrier 10 jockey Tommy Berry may again have to snag him back at the start or risk being trapped wide. Around Rosehill, against the top grade, he may not be able to make up the leeway.
Former Queensland trained colt, now with Chris Waller.
Why he can: Had a forget run behind Astern last start, when he was trapped three wide without cover. He still fought on at the end and will take improvement after his first start for the stable.
Why he can’t: His best effort is a Group 2 placing as a two-year-old. Yet to show enough to suggest he can match it with the top three-year-olds.
Two-time winner as a juvenile and opened three-year-old account with a Listed win in last month’s Rosebud Stakes.
Why he can: On speed runner and likely leader. He led and was caught late when third to Divine Prophet last start. Loves the wet.
Why he can’t: Will have to work hard and go forward from barrier 13. If he does too much early race he lacks the strength to run out a strong 1400m.
Another beautifully bred Godolphin colt (Lonhro-Mnemosyne). Two-year-old handicap winner in April and bypassed the big juvenile races.
Why he can: Did not get a lot of luck last start behind stablemate, Astern. He was cramped for room near the 150m and, despite not appearing comfortable racing tight, once clear he picked up and finished off in good fashion.
Why he can’t: Highly promising, but gives the impression that the “penny hasn’t dropped” yet.
Well named Victorian colt, by Hinchenbrook. Won a Caulfield two-year-old Handicap before a spell.
Why he can: Sat at race leader Thronum’s hindquarters the entire trip and beat all but Divine Prophet in the Up And Coming Stakes last start. That was his first start the Sydney (clockwise) way of going, so will be improved.
Why he can’t: Divine Prophet gave him a huge start over 1300m and ran him down. Out to 1400m, up in grade, he may not be able to maintain a fast tempo at both ends.
This promising Smart Missile colt from the Peter and Paul Snowden yard broke his Maiden status on Heavy track in July.
Why he can: The Snowden’s have a great record with three-year-olds. He was worse than midfield and did his best work late when fifth to Astern last start. Extra trip and addition of blinkers could see him improve. Heavy track would be another plus.
Why he can’t: Form is patchy and no excuses for his fifth in the Run To The Rose.
Brisbane gelding with one win, in two-year-old Handicap level, from eight starts.
Why he can: Impossible to make a case for this Sebring three-year-old.
Why he can’t: Not good enough.
Liam Birchley trained gelding, who won a Maiden at his only start.
Why he can: Difficult to find as reason why he can be competitive. He does have 100 percent record, winning on debut at the Sunshine Coast.
Why he can’t: Out of his depth.
Outstanding filly, which was second to Capitalist in the Golden Slipper. She was then spelled after winning the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Why she can: Showed ability from her first start and went from strength to strength as a juvenile. Proved her star qualities and class during the autumn and if she can regain that form she will be a major player.
Why she can’t: Fitness query. She suffered an injury set-back last month, which hampered her preparation. Goes into the race first-up and will feel the pinch at the business end of the race.
Odds: ($3.60 favourite)
International jockey Joao “Magic Man” Moreira takes the mount on this smart Chris Waller-trained filly. She is also $3.50 favourite for next month’s Thousand Guineas.
Why she can: Had a light preparation as a two-year-old and was spelled after finishing well back behind Yankee Rose in the Sires Produce. She’s furnished into an impressive type and resumed with a dominant 3.3 length win in the Silver Shadow Stakes.
Why she can’t: She’s a long strider and took time to find her feet out of the gates last start. In a bigger field, she can’t afford to get too far back and get bottled up.
Stablemate of Chamalu, one win from five starts.
Why she can: With three runs this preparation she is arguably the fittest horse in the race.
Why she can’t: Won her Maiden last December and form is mediocre this time in.
1 – El Divino
2 – Astern
3 – Omei Sword