Eagle Farm stages the Group 1 action on Saturday with competitive programs also at Flemington, Morphettville and Randwick.
We’ve taken a look at all four meetings and picked out the best bet from each of them.
ORDER AGAIN ($5.75 TopBetta) is as consistent as they come, finishing top five in his past seven starts and is overdue for a change of luck. A winner here over 1500m three starts back, he was an unlucky fourth in the Listed Tails Stakes (1615m) at his next start in heavy conditions. Last start, he was caught back in the field in the Listed Members’ Handicap but ran home well to finish fourth, just behind the placegetters. This is no easier, however he has drawn ideally in gate two and Larry Cassidy remains aboard after riding the Iffraaj gelding in 14 of his 17 races. He is four starts into this preparation and will be at his peak here. With a soft sit behind the pace, he looks a real threat in this.
This looks a complete two horse race and I’m siding with the horse that could possibly be Australia’s best stayer, the Paul Preusker-trained SURPRISE BABY ($2.51 MadBookie). He did things that horses simply don’t do, going from 2000m to 3200m and bolting in the Adelaide Cup at only his sixth career start. He wasn’t seen for seven-weeks and returned at Flemington three weeks ago against Steel Prince over 2600m. Steel Prince went 15.4 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and still held on, so the win was full of merit but Surprise Baby was clearly the run of the race and almost the run of the day. He was hampered with the fall that occurred at the 700m mark and lost several lengths and momentum coming into the straight. Surprise Baby is our most exciting stayer in a long time and, from barrier 18, Dean Holland can just keep her out the back, build momentum from the 800m and I’m confident she can run over the top of Steel Prince with a smooth run in transit and the extra 200m.
STREET SHEIK ($3.01 TopBetta) is trying to challenge Tom Melbourne and Osborne Bulls for Australia’s best bridesmaid honours, but it’s impossible to go past him in a race like this. Trainer Patrick Payne not only sends the Street Boss gelding across the border, but he also sends stable rider Billy Egan over and they’ll be looking for a win to justify travelling the horse and paying the air fares for Egan. He’s also carried 60kg in all four 2nd placings this campaign and will surely appreciate the drop to 57kg as he reaches peak fitness and drops back from the mile to the 1400m.
Chris Waller’s Snitzel colt Reloaded may end up being the best horse in this race, but he maps awkwardly from the inside gate and I’m looking to take him on. Considering FLOREAT PICA ($7.51 MadBookie) wanted to lay in the whole way down the straight in the Group 3 Sires’ Produce (1400m) at Morphettville, I really like the switch to Sydney’s clockwise direction of running. The son of Hinchinbrook was fair first-up over 1100m finishing 3rd, but his second-up effort was a big improvement as he charged home from last on the turn to miss by 1.8 lengths in the Sires’. He now drops 4kg on that run, looks set to improve third-up and represents good value.