The first Group 1 of a bumper weekend of top class action takes place under the lights of The Valley on Friday night.
Newmarket Handicap winner Sunlight will start as favourite to win the William Reid Stakes. Will it be back-to-back Group 1s for the sprinter?
We take a look at how the William Reid Stakes might be run.
1. FELL SWOOP ($8.51): He got the absolute perfect run two starts ago here at The Valley in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) and got his second placing behind Whispering Brook. He went to the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) last start and ran well in sixth but was never a factor in the race. That’s probably a better indication of his level, and I think he is a few lengths off the likes of Sunlight. From barrier nine, It will be a tricky ride for D.Dunn. I have him mapped behind Sunlight but if Sunlight does cross and lead, that makes things almost impossible for Fell Swoop, I couldn’t have him.
2. VOODOO LAD ($11.10): Although the race shape didn’t suit him first-up, he was belted up by Nature Strip in the Rubiton Stakes (1100m) before going to the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and never being a factor at a massive price. Third-up in his first preparation for Maher & Eustace, the blinkers go on for the first time in an effort to sharpen him up. With the speed on, he isn’t far off these but you couldn’t back him with a great deal of confidence.
7. SPRIGHT ($9.01): Spright is forever the flashing light run but very rarely wins. She always runs terrific closing sectionals but I doubt she is a genuine line chaser. She ran huge races in the Moir Stakes and Manikato Stakes at The Valley in the spring and will get every chance to replicate those efforts here from barrier six.
9. WRITTEN BY ($7.01): I don’t think Written By is a Group One horse against older company. I think his big advantage as a two-year-old was, he was much more developed that the younger horses and that took him a long way. His figures as a three-year-old aren’t anything special and on that basis, I’m willing to risk him.
10. SUNLIGHT ($7.01): I was initially keen to take on Sunlight and back Shoals but with that horse scratched, the Newmarket Handicap winner does look very hard to beat. It was terrific ride from Barend Vorster, who I’m going to nickname the human stopwatch after riding the horse to perfect. He went 10.57s, 10.47s, 10.90s and 11.64s which is the perfect way to ride Sunlight. The small issue I had with Sunlight was the map. If she doesn’t fly out of the machine, things may be difficult with Battle Hero and Written By both punching up on her inside. Her one start under lights at The Valley she missed the start in the Manikato and it was game over from there.
11. EMBRACE ME ($16.10): The Group Three Typhoon Tracy (1200m) was a weird race and it produced a weird result for punters, as Embrace Me sprinted through a gap like Winx and bolted away to win easily at huge odds. She maps to get a cosy run and gets B.Prebble off and D.Oliver on which is a hugely positive jockey change.
Sunlight is undoubtedly the best sprinting filly in the land, and she can claim her third Group 1 victory in four starts.
Jockey Luke Currie will be looking to take luck out of the equation this time by going forward, and from the outside gate, she won’t have any runner getting in her way to slow her down.
She looks like she’s ready to peak on Friday night, and I simply can’t see anything coming from behind her to win.
3. Embrace Me
4. Voodoo Lad