Ascot, WA, April 4, 2009 FIRST LEG 3.25 WA time
SECOND LEG 4.05 WA time
THIRD LEG 4.42 WA time
FOURTH LEG 5.22 WA time
Myer Classic (F&M), Listed 1400m
WA Oaks, 3YO fillies, Group 3, 2400m
Strickland Stks, WFA, Group 3, 1800m
Minq Bar Hcp (0-86), 1400m
A very tough race to kick off the show, particularly with likely favourite (2) Brooklyn’s Rose inclined to mix her form a little, although 5 wins from 14 starts might not suggest that. We reckon she’s inclined to win when we think she won’t, and lose when we think she should win. Her first-up win, at $17, was a case in point. She’s likely to lead again, and must be included. (1) Russian Playmate, has won twice at Listed level, and looks ideally suited in this company, particularly from the three gate. (5) Crown Of Caitlin, is facing her toughest test in this, but she is a mare of potential, having won two from six; both wins were first up, and her first-up fourth to Brooklyn’s Rose here on March 21 shows she’s returned in form. (8) Just Marika was backed strongly at big odds when fourth to Shock Value over 1100m here last week. She had the run of the race; may be better suited over this trip. (7) Galldora won twice at Ascot in January, but her past two have disappointed. Up in class, but well drawn. Include (3) Saffron Fire, (6) Dance Across, (12) Shadesoftime, (14) Xaar Boom. In fact, include the lot.
As is so often the case in the fillies’ classic there are few real chances, and they are (1) Brava Fortune, (2) Cassandara Shadow, (3) Delta Gee, and (4) Admiring – then (5) Full Moon and (9) Jewelled. If anything else wins, we’ll retire. Brava Fortune has the draw and the weight pull to be a real chance to turn the tables on Delta Gee and Admiring – they were 1, 2, 3 in the Natasha (2200m) here on Mar 21. Brava Fortune was well placed throughout, but lost the sprint, at her fourth run back from a long spell. She has a 4.5kg pull in the weights on Delta Gee and 3.5kg on Admiring. Delta Gee had the run of the race midfield and swooped on Admiring, who had raced outside the lead, before leading from the 400m. From the draw, Admiring has the chance to reverse. Jewelled is a lightly raced daughter of Zabeel, who looked impressive at Bunbury (1675m). This is her third start. Full Moon, a last-start 2200m winner (0-68) at Bendigo on March 19, is from the Danny O’Brien stable. O’Brien campaigned Ballock off a similar light prep for 2 nd in the 2007 Derby.
We put our future on the line in the Oaks, and we’re about to do it again – (1) Marasco cannot be beaten in this ordinary running of the Strickland Stakes, the 100th of the series. If he gets beaten, well, what hope have we got? Marasco resumed in great nick in the Hyperion, but was boxed in until it was all over, and could only swoop late for second to (2) Tarzi. With normal luck in running, he wins hard held. We’re not knocking Tarzi, who has won five Stakes races and has 11 wins from 50 starts– but he’s not in the same class as the Big M, and will run a strong second. Perhaps the smart bet is all money on the exacta, about as good a thing as is Marasco to win. The rest are honest toilers – (3) Forest Frolic, who has won 13-61, but couldn’t win this on recent form; (4) Great Destiny, who finished strongly along the rails to win a muddling run 2200m Hcp last week, but is outclassed here; (5) Lambton Castle, a Listed winner over 1600m on Jan 31, beating Corporate Sam, was beaten in restricted company last week; (7) Star Encounter has the talent in handicap company, but NOT at WFA. Stick with the Big M.
We’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous – the beauty of Marasco to a bunch of moderates who run around regularly swapping wins, and causing form followers to pull their hair out. We’ll be taking the field in this leg no matter what it takes. That said, one runner we like for potential, is (9) On The Warpath, deemed good enough by trainer Fred Kersley to have a shot at the Melbourne Group 1 3YO events in the spring of 2007. He returned to what we know he is capable with a powerful win in 0-79 class (1600m) here on Feb 28, then had to go back in distance (1200m) when 5th to Hide The Loot on March 21. Kersley took that route because there were no other options in the grade. Will be well placed from the three gate, and looks the best of this lot. Other options are: (6) Truckin Tobie, improved by one run from a 12-month spell; (1) Star Risca, 5 wins and 14 placings from 29; (3) Royal Cobra, a winner here four starts back; (2) Another Clanger, drawn to lead, and maybe a show at holding on; (8) Euclassy Thing, who has won 7, but not since Nov. in 2007; and (13) Tenpin, nicely placed last time.
2,5,1 – 8 – 7,3,12,14,6
1 –3,4,9 – 5 – 2
1 – forget the rest
9 – field
FOCUS ON THIRD LEG
There’s a bit of love going down here with our declaration that Marasco will win the 100th running of the Strickland by as far as jockey Dan Staeck wants him to do. Yes, we know he hasn’t won beyond 1600m, but he was placed in the Group 1 1800m double, the St George and the Underwood at Caulfield in the autumn and spring of 2007, in company 100 times greater than this. He was boxed in throughout when a first-up second to Tarzi over 1400m here on March 9, will be improved and will win, probably at $1.30.
OUR FAVOURED BET