Punters are of the opinion that Winx will start her spring preparation off on a winning note with the Group 1 winner opening up as the $3.80 favourite for this Saturday’s Tramway Stakes at Rosehill. The Chris Waller trained mare rarely lets punters down either, having started the popular elect on six occasions, four of which she has won with the other two efforts resulting in second place finishes. The Hawkes Racing camp have two live chances with Messene ($6.50), who’ll be looking for his first win since March 2014 when he took at the Ajax Stakes (1500m), and Ninth Legion ($12) who ran third in this race last year. Only Vashka ($5) and Strawberry Boy ($9) are under double figures in early markets.
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1. FAMOUS SEAMUS – K O’Hara (14) 59kgs
Reports from the training track have been positive as this 7yo prepares to return to racing for the first time since running ninth (3.5 lengths) in the G1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) behind Dissident in May. First up form doesn’t read flash but on closer inspection, he hasn’t been that far away from some quality sprinters in strong races such as The Shorts (1100m) and Challenge Stakes (1200m). The 1300m of this race should suit first up but with a big weight and wide draw are causes for concern.
2. MESSENE – (2) 58.5kgs
He was scratched from last week’s Tramway Stakes for this race instead. Took good improvement out of his first up fifth (1.6 lengths) to Burbero in the Missile Stakes (1200m) to run third (1.8 lengths) behind Royal Descent and Pornichet – both good again in last week’s Chelmsford Stakes, when contesting he Warwick Stakes at his only start since. Looks well prepared for this third up and a return to handicap conditions should be favourable. Drawn well and will be left with no excuses.
3. STRAWBERRY BOY – J Cassidy (5) 58kgs
The 7yo gelding enjoyed the Brisbane winter and the Doomben track to win the Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) and Listed Wayne Wilson Stakes (1600m) in consecutive starts at the venue to round out his last preparation. Given two trials in readiness for his return to racing here and has a very solid record fresh, winning four of his seven first up runs and at the most recent, finishing fifth and within a length of Rugged Cross and Ecuador over this track/trip. Will go forward, has a good record with Cassidy and will be in this for a long way.
4. AMANPOUR – B Prebble (8) 57.5kgs
Rounded out last prep with a strong win in G1 Queen Of The Turf and with trials under her belt in the in the past six weeks, would expect the Gai Waterhouse runner to be prominent again here first up. Commenced last campaign with a 2.3 lengths sixth to Griante and I Love It – both who dominated from on pace positions, in the G3 Wenona Girl (1200m) after closing steadily from a midfield position. Lightly race 5yo mare that seems to improve with each preparation she has.
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5. NINTH LEGION – (1)
Narrowly defeated in the G2 Apollo Stakes and G2 Ajax Stakes by Contributer and Burbero earlier this year and will make his return from a twenty week spell. The Hawkes Racing galloper was given an easy time of it at his only trial in preparation for his return – just as was the case when he won the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) first up last campaign. On the above-mentioned efforts, appears well weighted here with the 57kgs and stays under notice.
6. HEART TESTA –J Collett (9) 55.5kgs
Given every chance when returning from a spell in the G3 Show County, finishing fourth (0.5 a length) behind Decision Time in a blanket finish. Carried 58kgs in that event and drops nicely down to 55.5kgs. Fitter also second up but yet to contest any event higher than a Group 3 and his record at the level reads 4:1-0-1, and would think he’d have to produce a career best up against some stiff opposition to be winning here.
7. AOMEN – B Avdulla (3) 55kgs
Surprisingly got back in the run when resuming in the G3 Show County Stakes three weeks ago but in a leader dominated race, thought his final effort in finishing sixth (1.7 lengths) behind Decision Time, wasn’t that bad. That said, his record in Australia since joining the Anthony Cummings yard from Hong Kong isn’t appealing, with only one win (his first local outing) the only place he has recorded nine runs.
8. WINX – J McDonald (11) 54.5kgs
Exciting mare, currently on the third line of early Caulfield Cup betting, who makes her return to racing after dominating her races during the Queensland carnival and winning the Sunshine Coast Guineas and Qld Oaks in consecutive starts. Was under a good hold in her only trial where she finished close up behind the likes of Ball Of Muscle and Craftiness – both placed in last Saturday’s G3 Concorde Stakes. Has a long campaign ahead of her so whatever she produces here she’ll improve on but, has plenty of class and that will ensure she’s right in contention here.
9. DECISION TIME – C Reith (10) 53.5kgs
Got down in the weight, onto a dry track, and found enough from the front to defy a wall of challengers to record a narrow win in the Show County Stakes two starts back. He then contested last week’s G3 Concorde Stakes but under the set-weights he was allocated 58.5kgs and drew wide, the combination proving, as expected, too great of a challenge and he finished sixth (5.4 lengths). Back down in the weights but on the quick back-up and from a wide draw, would be happy to work around him in this company.
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10. BOSS LANE – S Clipperton (12) 53kgs
Going very well this time in for trainer Ron Quinton and went within a length of making it three wins from as many starts this prep when second to Decision Time in the Show County Stakes. Up in class but doesn’t get much compensation in terms of weight relief for it compared to that run. Honest galloper who although fit and in form will find this too hard from such a poor draw.
11. NOSTRADAMUS – (4) 53kgs
Just hasn’t quite been able to fulfil the promise he showed as a juvenile, with the only win to his name last season coming in the G3 Gold Coast Guineas. Returned from a spell with a closing second (2.5 lengths) behind Didntcostalot in Open company at Doomben a fortnight ago and whilst he’ll be fitter and drops 5kgs to 53kgs here, would still need to see him prove himself in open company before suggesting he will.
12. VASHKA – J Moeira (6) 53kgs
Despite two smart barrier trials wins in the lead-up to his return to racing in the G3 Show County Stakes three weeks ago, the Godolphin runner was a big drifter in betting, easing from $2.6 out to $4.8. He sat second, just off eventual winner Decision Time, and inched ground off of that horse late to run third (long neck). Fitter, but assigned the same weight as last start for this event and considering he was well-accounted for his only previous start in Group company and would think he finds a couple here too good.
13. SON OF JOHN – J Penza (7) 53kgs
Returns to racing from what was a very prosperous campaign last time in, highlighted by his victory in the G3 Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) where he defeated Tales Of Grimm and Rugged Cross. Has had two recent trials, performing well in both, and the break was only a short one so would expect him to be forward in condition however, despite that fact, still likely to find a few in this race too good for him.
14. VEZALAY – SCRATCHED
15. TURBULENT JET – W Costin (15) (1st EM)
Has filled a place three of his five runs this campaign but has his career strike suggests, he does find it hard to break through for a victory and would think, from gate 15, that’ll be the same case here.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Can expect a good speed here with the likes of Strawberry Boy, Aomen, Vashka, all pushing forward with Boss Lane and Decision time form wider out, also contributing to the pace. Would think there’ll be little excuse for Messene here who should be able to camp behind them, is third up coming off a placing in a G2 WFA event. The pace will also ensure Winx gets here opportunity from the back of the field. She’s got a big campaign ahead of here but has the ability to win here fresh. Has plenty to contend with in terms of weight and draw, but as mentioned above, the pace on may help Famous Seamus finish strongly and wouldn’t dismiss his chances of filling a place.
3. NINTH LEGION
4. STRAWBERRY BOY