A field of nine three-year-olds will contest the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on Saturday, but it looks to be all about only one of them.
It looks a terrific race on paper, with The Autumn Sun taking on the in-form Nakeeta Jane. But the former is a $1.56 favourite to stamp his authority in the first leg of the Sydney Triple Crown.
1. THE AUTUMN SUN ($1.56): Although his first-up victory in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) looked only fair but with all things considered, it was outstanding. The leaders went 6.6 lengths slower than class benchmark to the 600m which meant he was always going to have a tough time picking up the leaders. He didn’t really look to appreciate the soft conditions, made his run out in the middle of the track which was not advantageous and looked to change legs at the 300m. He should take plenty of improvement from that run and be much fitter second-up. Am I thrilled about taking $1.65? Not really, no but he should be winning.
2. MADISON COUNTY ($18.10): Madison County looks far too short in the market to my eye. Her last start third in the Listed Karaka Million (1600m) behind Long Leaf is not good enough, Long Leaf wouldn’t get within six-lengths of The Autumn Sun. It’s possibly the Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman factor that has him at the price he is but I had him rated more like a $36 chance.
3. VEGADAZE ($10.10): Vegadaze put the writing on the wall two starts ago, running 5.3 lengths quicker than class benchmark to beat the smart Adana. He gave The Autumn Sun all he could handle last start in the Hobartville Stakes and those two beat the others easily. He is around the mark for a minor placing but I can’t see him turning the tables on a fitter The Autumn Sun.
7. NAKEETA JANE ($5.26): The main danger to The Autumn Sun does look to be Nakeeta Jane. I thought her victory in the Surround Stakes (1400m) was terrific. The leaders ran 1.8 lengths slower than the class benchmark to the 600m and she ripped home 5.9 lengths quicker than the Group One benchmark. She ran the last last 200m and 400m of the race and has come on from that run according to trainer Mark Newnham. She is on the quick seven-day back-up and gets to the mile. A serious threat.
8. FUNDAMENTALIST ($18.10): Aided by a terrific ride from Sam Clipperton, Fundamentalist all but beat Nakeeta Jane in the Surround Stakes, as it looked like she had the race shot to pieces. She has the form around Tin Hat which is some of the hottest form in Melbourne at the moment. She is probably around her right price.
1. The Autumn Sun
2. Nakeeta Jane