As competitive sprints go this one tops the International list and finding the winner will take some doing. Sixteen runners are all set to go to post on softer ground than many will have expected with Snippets Land looking to repeat last season’s win for the Snowden’s. A low draw is helpful but luck in running is even more important and big priced winners are not unknown.
IN SUMMARY: All eyes will be on the in-form New Zealand challenger SPLURGE who looks the one to beat after five wins from his last six starts and looking better every time. Naturally, the handicapper has been making notes but he seems a step ahead of all of these for trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and looks the likeliest winner by some margin with his added stamina likely to see him power home late. Snippets Land has a C&D win form this race last year to his name and doesn’t know how to run a bad race and could be the each way alternative while Ulmann has a good draw and won’t be lacking in either speed or stamina.
A big field makes for possible traffic issues this afternoon but if pure form counts then Splurge is the one to be on as he looks to make it four wins in a row here and is quite clearly the one most likely to be sent off favourite as the gates open. His stable are in good form with a 25% strike rate in the last two weeks and a small level stakes profit and with joint trainer Stephen Autridge saying he is “twice as good in the wet” the recent rain looks to have played right into his hands and he ought to prove very hard to beat even in this competitive field.
Ulmann has to be labelled the number one danger as punters with long memories remember back to his second to the mighty Winx in the Sunshine Coast Guineas. He was very easy to back, almost friendless when running away with his last race at Warrnambool making it pretty safe to assume he can only improve for the run, and if there are any chinks in the selection’s armour then he looks the most likely to take full advantage under jockey John Allen.
Front runners are few and far between but Jungle Edge may well be the one to bowl along at the head of affairs and if he gets a soft lead he could well take some catching. The son of Dubawi has to give three pounds to the selection here which may be asking that bit too much of him but he is bred to stay this and further. He has recent winning form at Rosehill in a similar race and on heavy ground, so we know he will handle the unexpected underfoot conditions, and although looking a little outclassed, he could well run in to a place and at a decent price to boot.
Godolphin are almost as strong in Australia as they are at home in the United Kingdom and with James Doyle on board Federal it seems fair to assume he is their first choice of two. A couple of runs this season saw a sixth first time out and a much better third at Gold Coast when ending up trapped behind a wall of horses before getting out and running on strongly though only after the first two had already flown. Some felt he was unlucky that day and if he gets the breaks this time around then a place is a possibility, though it would still be a bit of a shock were he to prove good enough to win.
Man Of His Word has been in good heart lately with two wins and a second in his last three starts and although this looks a much tougher assignment, you can never really knock a horse at the peak of his game. Sadly the form of trainer Bruce Hill is harder to gauge with no winners from no runners in the last two weeks but those looking for a bigger priced each-way option could do a lot worse than the four-year-old son of Lope De Vega who is a relative youngster in this field and has plenty of room for further improvement.
To end our race preview we have what appears to be the Godolphin second string in Handfast who seems to have a bit to find on all collateral form lines but he does have plenty of recent placed form to his name and won’t be far away again. He hasn’t won in eight races now but was only beaten a length and a half by Be Like Dad at Rosehill on heavy ground last time out and if others fail to take on the softer turf he could well make the most of that fact and sneak in to a place.