Bren O’Brien



The Randwick Report – September 17

Saturday's Randwick card signals the return of the world's best sprinter, but Royal Ascot winner Nature Strip won't have it all his own way against a deep G2 The Shorts field featuring old sparring partner Eduardo.

Rail: True

Track: Soft 6

Weather: Possible rainfall, 5mm – 10mm, 50% chance of rain, Max Temperature: 23

A Pair Of Match Races

You know you are getting into the heart of spring when you have the two best sprinters in the land and the two best weight-for-age horses clashing in consecutive races.

UPDATE: Zaaki to miss George Main in favour of G1 Underwood Stakes. 

James McDonald will ride the marvel Nature Strip in the G2 Shorts, making his first appearance since blitzing his international opposition at Royal Ascot. Jockey and star sprinter have combined for 11 wins, claiming more than $15 million prizemoney in the process. A win here would put Nature Strip above Verry Elleegant as J-Mac’s most successful partnership.

But victory is far from assured, especially with the evergreen Eduardo in the field. In this race last year, he upset Nature Strip, leading all the way, while he has also defeated Nature Strip on this track in the past two editions of the Challenge Stakes.

Where Do You Need To Be?

All 10 winners on the previous Randwick card on September 3, where the rail was out seven metres, were in the top four at the turn of the straight, leading to fairly widespread outcry about the bias of the track. Eight of the ten winners at this meeting last year were on-pace runners as well, so we shouldn’t expect the track pattern to change much.

The Race Of The Day

The Shorts may not be the Group 1 on the card, but with six of the 13 runners pretty much assured of an Everest spot and the others all auditioning for slotholders, it looms as a great contest.

Nature Strip and Eduardo aside, The Shorts will also feature the emerging sprinting star Mazu, who elevated to a Group 1 winner last campaign. He’s locked in for The Everest for the next two years.

There is also Classique Legend, who won The Everest two years ago but has had just two starts since. At his best, he’s one of the leading sprinters in the land, but we are yet to see if he can get back to that level at age seven.   


2020 Everest winner Classique Legend. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The Main Event

The George Main looks a great race for Anamoe to further his reputation and shore up his spot at the top of markets for the Cox Plate, but there will be plenty of interest into those further out in the market.

High-class trio Zaaki, Montefilia and Maximal all resume, while both Duais and Converge will look to improve off indifferent first-up efforts. Then there are the two Waller four-year-old mares, Hinged and Fangirl, who are both capable of making a mark in this company in the spring.

It's A Big Day For

Peter and Paul Snowden

The Snowdens’ home track hasn’t proven an advantage for them so far this racing season. The pair have had ten Randwick runners since the start of August for no winners and no placings, but take a few good chances to the track on Saturday.

Mazu resumes in the Shorts, while in the Tea Rose Stakes, talented fillies Paris Dior and Russian Conquest are looking to improve from sub-par efforts first-up. The father-son training combination also saddle up in-form Devil’s Throat in the last.   

The Stat


James McDonald has been riding in particularly fine form at Randwick this season, with seven winners and six additional placings from 20 rides. He is already nine clear of his nearest rival in the Sydney metro jockeys’ race.”

Track Specialist

One of the lower-profile runners boasting a good record at Randwick is Kiss The Bride, who contests Race 3, the Shoot Out Mile. She is a four-time winner on the track and twice over the 1600 metres at Randwick, including last time out when she won at double-figure odds.   

Kiss The Bride has shown a liking for Randwick. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

From The Trials

O’President resumes in Race 5, the Bill Ritchie Hcp in his first start since switching stables from Chris Waller to Bjorn Baker. He has had two trials in his new colours, winning both of them impressively including a 13-length victory over stakes-grade opposition last time out.


Top Ranked – Always highly rated but has made the track just twice since arriving in Australia in 2021.

Converge – Was not up to his usual standard first-up.  

Classique Legend –  Back to the track with questions to answer.

Elephant – Down in class and needs a lift in form.

Notable Gear Changes

O’President – Blindfold First Time, Brow Band Off First Time, Cross-Over Nose Band Off First Time, Ear Muffs (Pre-Race Only) First Time

Hinged – Blinkers First Time

I Am Lethal – Gelded

Zoushack –  Barrier Blanket First Time



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