The final Group l of 2015 comes around this Saturday with the Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot. German galloper Magic Artist, who was excellent in two runs during Cup Week at Flemington, is the current favourite, but there are 15 other runners who will make sure that he will earns his maiden Group l win down under. Sportsnews has compiled a runner-by-runner preview of the race:
1. Extra Zero:
He was very good in the McKinnon (2000m), coming home from last to run just under four lengths away from Gailo Chop on a day where leaders and horses near the rail were near impossible to get past. He hasn’t really performed outside Flemington for some time, which is the query, but he is honest and should be around the mark somewhere with luck in running from the gate.
2. Black Heart Bart:
One of the better local chances. He was enormous in the Railway (1600m) given the horrible bias towards the rail and leaders. He closed off very well despite doubts about him running a strong mile. He draws much better, and if he can somehow sit closer, he will make sure he lets his rivals know he is a serious winning chance. The 1800m is the only query.
3. Tower Of Lonhro:
Didn’t get much luck in the Railway (1600m), but I suspect this horse is ticking over beautifully for the Perth Cup (2400m). Look for him to be working home strongly late.
4. Magic Artist:
Favourite and rightfully so after two outstanding efforts at Flemington. Arguably should have won the McKinnon (2000m), then backed up a week later in the Emirates (1600m) where he worked home near the inside, which wasn’t the place to be. Gate one, Oliver on board…ticks the boxes for mine and is the clear horse to beat.
5. Bass Strait:
Not going well enough to trouble these.
Perth Cup (2400m) is his goal, so look for him to find the line.
Probably a lucky fifth in the Railway (1600m) given he was on speed and it was a big advantage to be there. Still, he did tire to run 5th, and now he rises 6kg…I’ll be very surprised if he wins.
8. Dark Musket:
On the back up from last week over the mile here where he was fifth to Stocks in a benchmark race. He won’t be troubling this lot.
9. Balmont Girl:
Similar to Hazzabeel, was lucky to run third in the Railway (1600m) given she had the run on the fence and followed the leader and behind the leader home. She’ll do no work from the gate again and is a definite inclusion in exotics for that reason. Just not sure she can win.
10: Real Love:
Excellent run against the bias and tempo in the Railway (1600m). Looks to be going very nicely looking towards the Perth Cup (2400m) but she certainly has enough zip to beat these. Just all depends whether or not she can handle WFA. If she can overcome that, then she is a serious winning chance.
Top tip for me here. Her run was unbelievable in the Railway (1600m) considering she came home from near last on the turn. Owner Bob Peters has always stated that this is her main target, so I am a bit surprised that Pike has jumped off, but Peter Hall did ride her in her two Group l wins last time in, so she loses nothing jockey wise.
Best roughie for mine. Showed an explosive turn of foot to win the Carbine Club (1400m) a fortnight back, and the time did give the track record a nudge. Big ask stepping up to WFA, but Douglas Whyte jumps on and her turn of foot is as good as any other runner in the race.
13. Man Booker:
Ride of the day from Jerry Noske got this gelding home in the WA Guineas (1600m). He drops 4.5kg in weight, but I am just unsure about him running a strong 1800m against this lot. He will roll forward and should take some catching. Last 150m will be the test.
14. London Line:
Outstanding run in the WA Guineas (1600m) behind the stablemate. On this effort, he will have no trouble running the 1800m out, and will also drop 4.5kg in weight, as well as drawing nicely. Another good roughie.
Charged home from a long way back to run fifth in the WA Guineas (1600m). I think in order for her to be a threat, she’ll need to roll forward and take advantage of the massive weight pull she gets on the older horses. Outside place chance.
16. Perfect Redemption:
Best three year old filly in the state. Unbeaten in four outings, the latest when winning WA Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) when comfortably beating Blackwood. Can’t see that horse turning the tables, and it’s interesting to note that Pike elects this girl over Delicacy. Her racing pattern is to get back, and from the wide gate, she’ll probably have to give them all a start. I’m taking her on because there are many factors against her. If she wins this, she’ll have the tag as the best three year old filly in Australia.