The Group 2 Australia Stakes takes place on Friday night at The Valley and we can start the Australia Day celebrations early by landing the winner of the 1200m sprint.
There is one thing guaranteed at The Valley and that is a scorching hot temperature…and it should lead to a scorching hot race on a quick surface.
The Australia Stakes has attracted a stellar line-up in 2019 with Group 1 winners Brave Smash, Redkirk Warrior and Land Of Plenty resuming from spells and Group 1 winners Fell Swoop and Malaguerra continuing their preparations.
How will all unfold? We take a look at the potential winners:
1. Brave Smash
Brave Smash won the Group 1 Manikato Stakes in a time of 1:09.36 and he rates the highest along with Redkirk Warrior. But he is yet to win in seven first-up attempts.
.@DKWeirRacing’s Japanese-bred Brave Smash (Jpn) defeats Aidan O’Brein’s War Front 4yo Spirit Of Valour (USA), with @SchofieldGlyn charging late on @godolphin’s Kementar in G1 Manikato Stks @TheValley in Australia #GlobalIndustry @RacingGuru @Racing @KeibaKate @LongBallToNoOne pic.twitter.com/h89moGYbow
— TSA News (@TBredSANews) October 26, 2018
2. Redkirk Warrior
The highest rated in the line-up along with Brave Smash. He is being aimed at the All-Star Mile this campaign so it’s highly unlikely he’ll be forward enough for this.
3. Fell Swoop
Third up after two runs in Sydney at Randwick, Fell Swoop could be living up to the name and swooping late over the leaders. Has race fitness on his side.
Won the Australia Stakes two years ago when defeating Black Heart Bart. Has had a four-week let up since third in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes. Another who will be doing his best work late.
— Racing.com (@Racing) January 27, 2017
5. Land Of Plenty
Won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap last prep, but has been spelled since running fourth in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes during the Spring Carnival. Should need this but don’t rule out a big run.
Manuel who was in great form last preparation, winning the Kilmore Cup at his last start. May need the run first up and doesn’t map well in this grade.
Runson is the Moonee Valley 1200m record holder having clocked a slick 1:08.77 on the same night as the Manikato Stakes. He does have to carry 3.5kg more this time around, and his form off a four-week break doesn’t read the best, but he will make his own luck from out in front.
8. Fifty Stars
Fifty Stars has won six and finished runner-up twice from eight starts. He resumes from a break and this looks like a pipe-opener, but knows how to win and could run a big race.
9. Whispering Brook
Must be respected on recent form having won his last two starts at Flemington including in the Group 3 Standish Handicap. One of four Darren Weir runners and could run a big race.
— Racing.com (@Racing) December 15, 2018
10. Princess Of Queens
Princess Of Queens must be respected on recent form. She won at Morphettville last start after some solid efforts earlier this preparation. But mares don’t have a great record in the race.
Runson should be cherry ripe to make it two from two at the track and trip. If he can recapture the form that saw him post a race record here, he’ll prove hard to beat.
Prediction: Runson ($10.10 ClassicBet)