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.
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.