There’s a big day of Saturday racing across the country with metropolitan meetings at Flemington Rosehill, Belmont Park, Murray Bridge, Fannie Bay and Sunshine Coast with the Group 3 Winx Guineas at the last named track looking a cracking contest.
Colour to continue winning run
Bjorn Baker’s Battleton has shown good form in Group company in the past ending his last spell with a solid fifth in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over 1200m down the straight at Flemington last October.
Placed on all three starts this spell including upped to this 1600m trip for the first time in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic at Eagle Farm last month he looks a worthy favourite with regular pilot Nash Rawiller up.
However he may well have to give best to Kelly Schweid’s MAJESTIC COLOUR who showed ability in two starts in maiden company last spell. Has taken his form to a new level this time around winning all three starts including by just under two lengths at Doomben.
Demonstrated a liking for wet conditions when scoring at Ipswich prior so any softening of the ground from the current good 4 would be no issue and while the wide barrier is a slight concern he has one of the tracks top hoops engaged in James Orman and is selected to maintain his unbeaten record this spell.
Ex for Challenge glory
The fifth race on the Flemington card, the 2500m G.H. Mumm Mahogany Challenge Final sees Patrick Payne’s Rock Up looking likely to start favourite following a good second place finish in a 2000m contest at this venue last month.
The three-year-old appeared to handle the step up in trip that day having raced exclusively over shorter prior and while the extra 500m here may suit he looks opposable at the current odds.
In contrast distance wise Blaike McDougall’s mount PHERE THE EX acquitted himself well when finishing fifth having jumped at big odds for a 16 runner renewal of the Group 1 South Australia Derby over this trip at Morphetville on his penultimate start.
Faded late on in that Morphetville contest but did enough to suggest that in an easier contest the trip would prove no issue. Subsequently followed it up with a close up second in a 2400m Benchmark 78 event at Sandown-Hillside last month and he is selected to register a second win this spell having broken his maiden over 1600m on a good 4 track at Cranbourne in April.
Yiyi to spring surprise
The going is forecast to be a soft 6 at Rosehill and the ninth race on the card, a 1500m Benchmark 88 event looks to be a highly competitive affair.
Among the fancied runners Wicklow took his course record to three wins in five starts with a success over this trip in a Benchmark 78 contest last time out while top weight delivered a fourth place finish in a 1300m contest at Randwick first up and gets a drop in grade.
The race may well provide a surprise winner however with Chris Waller’s YIYI coming into this on the back of a spell.
The four-year-old has shown good form on wet surfaces in the past winning or placing on seven of his ten starts on soft or heavy going including when runner-up over 1400m on a soft 6 here when racing first up last spell.
Form tailed off thereafter but the son of No Nay Never has a good first up record and having finished in the first two on all four starts at this venue he is taken to deliver a win at fancy odds with Jason Collett up.
Queen for Oaks triumph
One of two Listed events on the Belmont Park card the 2000m Belmont Oaks is set to be contested by ten three-year-old fillies with Searchin’ Roc’s the current favourite following a second place finish over 1600m here last month.
Among her rivals here is Darren McAuliffe’s THE VELVET QUEEN who found only the unbeaten Zephyra too good when runner-up in a 1650m event here at the end of May. Previously placed second in a 1400m contest on a soft 5 track here two weeks earlier.
Step up in distance here looks likely to suit and with a good draw in five she is taken to register a third career win.