Punters believe either Silent Achiever or Arabian Gold, joint favourites in early markets for Saturday’s Hollindale Stakes on the Gold Coast at $4.80, will continue the recent run of mares winning the Group 2 race. Streama, Lights Of Heaven and Shez Sinsational, have been victorious in the past three years and like the above-mentioned mares, were in solid form heading into their respective editions. The leading males chances are Hooked ($6.00) and first and third emergencies respectively Leebaz and Pornichet, at $7.00 each of two. Should Pornichet gain a start, he’ll replicate the feat of Lights Of Heaven or claimed the Neville Sellwood/Hollindale Stakes double. Chris Waller is represented by four runners, Foreteller ($10), Moriarty ($9), Hawkspur ($9) and I’m Imposing ($34). Foreteller ran second to Lights OF Heaven two years back whilst third place from that year’s race, Precedence, is also back for another crack.
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1. GREEN MOON – C Schofield (16)
2012’s Melbourne Cup winner is now an 8yo and struggling to recapture the form of his younger years. His most recent run came just over a fortnight ago when resuming from a twenty week spell but after settling at the tail of the field from a wide gate in the G3 Victorian Handicap (1400m), he failed to make any ground and finished second to last. Drawn wide again and needs to make too much improvement off of last run to figure here.
2. FORETELLER – L Cassidy (11)
He ran a cracking second in this race in 2013 when coming off a month’s break and fifth placing in the Group 1 BMW.
Coming off a six week break this time but lead-up form not as strong, with his latest run resulting in an eighth placing (6.2 lengths) in the G3 Neville Sellwood (2000m). Would’ve liked to have seen more from him his past couple but has won four of nine at this distance, including the G1 Underwood Stakes last spring and happy to think he could bounce back. Each-way.
3. PRECEDENCE – G Colless (15)
The old campaigner, who is a rising 10yo, returns to racing after running sixth in last year’s Melbourne Cup – the best result from his four attempts at Australia’s premier race. Has been giving three barrier trials since the middle of March in readiness for this race but it’s hard to expect anything from him first up given his fresh record and claims by his trainers Bart and James Cummings that this year is all about his fifth attempt at the Cup. Hard to see him running over the top of here from gate 15.
4. MORIARTY – L Innes (10)
Returns to Queensland in the hope of repeating his efforts from last year which saw him claim the G2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) and run second in the Brisbane Cup (2400m). Returned from a successful trip to WA at the end of last year, where he won the G1 Kingston Town (1800m), with a credible eighth (4.2 lengths) in the G1 George Ryder (1500m). The Ryder is the form race of the autumn and it appears to be a great hit-out for the 7yo coming into this race. Shapes as representing strong value at $11.00
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5. HAWSPUR – J Cassidy (3)
Took several runs to find his feet this time in but has earned a shot at the leading Queensland races, a state where he burst onto the racing scene as 3yo back in 2013, by running third at his two most recent run – the G3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) and Neville Sellwood (2000m).The Purrealist gelding grounded home in each of the above races from back in the field. Whilst the freshen off a month may see him sharper for the 1800m, happy to wait for him to get back to 2000m and beyond.
6. BANCO MO – C Bruce (5)
Brought is excellent form with him from Tasmania to claim the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) last start with a tenacious ¾ of a length win over Big Memory – who was since well beaten in the Sydney Cup. The seven year is going as well as ever and drawn perfectly for a horse who likes to camp on the speed however, this is a step up for him again and his first shot at a Group 2 race where he meets some handy ones. Best to wait for the likes of Ipswich, Caloundra Cup with him.
7. AOMEN – G Boss (8)
Although finishing seventh, the Anthony Cummings trained galloper was only 1.6 lengths behind Burbero and Ninth Legion in the G2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) two starts back. As expected in his only run since, the former Hong Kong galloper was easily accounted for in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) a fortnight ago, finishing close to eight lengths behind Criterion. That was his first run in four weeks and whilst he drops in company, would still expect it to be too rich for him on current form.
8. HOOKED – J Bowman
The 4yo stallion doesn’t win out of turn, but is never far away in the races he contests. He resumed this campaign with a 1.5 length fourth to Cosmic Endeavour in the G1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and was a close up seventh (2.7 lengths) in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m), the best form reference race from the autumn, at his following start.
Too wet for him in the Doncaster Handicap, his most recent start, where he couldn’t improve his on-pace position as they turned and finished thirteenth (6.5 lengths). Drier surface will help, as will gate two and the leading hoop Hugh Bowman. Has enough going for him to pay him close attention.
9. SIR MOMENTS – B Avdulla (9)
Just didn’t let down as best he could on the slow rated track two starts back when the beaten $3.80 in an Open handicap but was far more effective back on top of the ground at his next and most recent start, winning the Listed Tails Stakes (1630m) by a comfortable 1.3 lengths. Trainer has always been confident this son of Choisir will get over ground and whilst he’s first attempt beyond a mile is a G2 WFA, last start as him well prepared for it and rates an each-way chance at value.
10. I’M IMPOSING – T Angland (14)
Drew wide and after settling at the tail of the field, never figured in a very hot G1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) running tenth (4.9 lengths) behind Real Impact. Better suited back to this grade and has been kept up to the mark with a barrier trial since. Has a handy second up record and the step up to 1800m is in his favour but the draw is a tough one and would be happy to shop around him.
11. RUDY – L Tarrant (12)
Got back in the run and under top-weight of 58kgs, couldn’t eat into the leader’s margin in the G3 Doncaster Prelude finishing second to last of nine but his following and most recent start, in the G1 Doncaster Handicap, was much stronger. With a better draw and feather weight of 50.5kgs, he secured a near perfect run and held on well to run fourth (2.7 lengths) behind Kermadec. Has had plenty of racing this time in so should be ready for the 1800m, first time he has been beyond a mile in a year, but the WFA scale makes it tough for him.
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12. ESCADO – B Shinn (1)
Almost broke a near on two year winless drought last start when shaded on the line by Sertorius in the G3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield. He was put into the race a lot earlier than normal last start and it took a more than handy horse to run him down late. Gets the opportunity to secure a cheap run here from the inside draw and has the services of Shinn (should Pornichet not gain a start) but, whilst a forward showing would not surprise, he is a hard horse to have with any confidence given his below par strike rate.
13. SILENT ACHIEVER – K McEvoy (13)
Just found a few a shade too strong for here during some of the premier races over the Sydney Carnival with her most recent effort being a sixth (2.4 lengths) to Hartnell in the G1 The BMW (2400m). Was taken back home to New Zealand after that run and returned last weekend with trainer Roger James declaring the Doomben 10,000 the main goal. Class mare though who can’t be ruled out from running a big race here, especially if there were to be some give in the track.
14. ARABIAN GOLD – D Oliver (6)
Although not to yet register a place from three starts this campaign, each effort from the 4yo mare trained by David Vandyke has been very good. She was unlucky to at least no place in the G1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) when sixth (3/4 of a length) behind Plucky Belle and found trouble in the straight when sixth again (4.3 lengths) in the G1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m). Going very well for mine and record behind a mile is also very strong. Rates highly.
15. LEEBAZ – J Byrne (4)
Held his ground on a slow track when eleventh (5.6 lengths) in the G1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) before contesting the more suitable JRA Plate (2000m) last week at Randwick. Had the perfect run and topping the rise, looked set to his first win since last May’s Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) but the son of Zabeel was one-paced when asked for his effort and caught by Gypsy Diamond over the final stages, running second (half a length). Not sure if it was a slow track or the fact that the now 5yo is looking for further ground but supporters have their chance to stick with him after he drew well and the likelihood of a firmer surfaces is on the cards.
16. WISH COME TRUE – L Nolen (7)
The former Italian galloper hasn’t been far of in races like the Newcastle Cup (3rd), Lexus Stakes (4th) and at his most recent start, the Listed Mornington Cup (4th) but, he still winless at Stakes level in Australia from twelve starts. The Mornington Cup effort was his third start this time in, with each of his first two runs also solid efforts. He is going well but at this level under WFA conditions, that just might not be good enough.
17. PORNICHET – B Shinn (18)
Impressive winner of the G3 Neville Sellwood (2000m) two starts back, defeating Our Voodoo Prince and Hawkspur by a comfortable 1.5 length, before a more than respectable effort in the G1 Doncaster Handicap where the 4yo finished fifth (2.9 lengths) to Kermadec. Attempted to go for the same run as the winner in the Doncaster early in the straight but just didn’t have the acceleration to match him. Step back up to 2000m but the WFA scale and the horrible draw are two likely factors that probably get the better of him here.
18. HOPFGARTEN – D Browne (17)
Local galloper who has a great strike rate and has claimed several Black Type races over the past year, most being over a mile. Went within 1.3 lengths of adding to that tally last start when second to Rocket To Glory in the Listed Tails Stakes (1600m), where he sat outside of the winner who led, from the jump. Goes up significantly in class here and a further 1kgs on last start given the WFA scale, combined with his wide draw, hard to see him figuring here in what will be his first start beyond a mile.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Leebaz, Aomen, Hooked and Banca Mo all push forward and given the size of the field, should set a fair pace. Keen on the chances of Arabian Gold here. Fantastic in the G1 Coolmore Classic and again in the Doncaster Handicap. Rises in weight here but the step up to 2000m counters that and a touch of give in the track will be ideal. Best of Waller’s quartet for mine is Moriarty. Good enough in the best form races of the autumn and it was the perfect hit-out for this race and subsequent Queensland campaign for which he has been specifically set.
1. ARABIAN GOLD
4. SILENT ACHIEVER