03/29/2017 10:56AM

Australia: The Championships analysis - Saturday, April 1, 2017


The Championships analysis - April 1, 2017

By David Haslett


The Championships kicks off Saturday in Sydney and Australia’s top horses will compete for a share of $20.2 million AUD ($15.4 million) in prizes. While next weekend’s G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes will see Winx, Longines’ equal best ranked racehorse internationally, aim for her 17th straight win, Saturday boasts four G1 races.

The Inglis Sires’ – Race 6

The Inglis Sires’ is the only G1 7-furlong race in the country for juveniles and is the second leg of Australia’s 2-year-old Triple Crown along with the Golden Slipper and Champagne Stakes.

This season fillies have won all the big juvenile races and this looks likely to continue with the favorites, Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic at 19-5 and third-placing Tulip at 5-1.

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The Michael Freedman-trained Frolic beat Tulip by 5.2 lengths in the Slipper, but has fared badly at the Sires’ barriers, drawing 16. Tulip herself will start from barrier 2. Third favorite Menari, at 15-2, will be chasing his rivals again from barrier 11 after finishing 5.1 lengths behind Tulip in the Golden Slipper. Freedman has told the press that racing on heavy tracks may have taken a toll on Frolic, who hasn’t yet been tested over 7 furlongs.

BMW Australian Derby – Race 7

This championship for staying 3-year-olds, comparable to the Kentucky Derby, runs at 3:50 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday (12:50 a.m. Eastern or 9.50 p.m. Pacific on Friday, March 31st).  

The last two Guineas winners have also been New Zealander-bred horses, which favors Kiwi Gingernuts, who won the 2017 Rosehill Guineas and New Zealand Derby.

Rival Inference made-up a lot of late ground to finish 2.3 lengths behind Gingernuts on a heavy track at the Rosehill Guineas and is second favorite for the Derby at 17-5.

Darley TJ Smith Stakes – Race 8

This open sprint championship for 2-year-olds boasts a $2.5 million AUD purse ($1.9 million).

The favorite this year at 18-5 is Chautauqua. The 6-year-old nicknamed ‘Grey Flash’ is aiming to make history by becoming the first horse to achieve three consecutive wins at the Smith Stakes. After finishing third at the G1 George Ryder Stakes, more than 8 lengths behind winner Winx Chautauqua is back to his most successful distance in the Smith Stakes. Ridden by Tommy Berry, he will start from barrier 11, his winning spot last year.

The Star Doncaster Mile- Race 9

The most lucrative one-mile handicap in the world, with $3 million AUD ($2.3 million) in prizes has been won by many of the country’s best gallopers, including Winx in 2016.

The Kris Lees-trained 4-year-old colt Le Romain is the 5-1 favourite and won this year’s G1 Canterbury Stakes and finished 7.3 lengths behind Winx. Le Romain will leave from barrier 8 on Saturday, carrying the second-highest weight of 56.5kg and ridden by Winx’s regular jockey Hugh Bowman.

Chris Waller’s best chance of winning five consecutive Doncaster Miles comes with Mccreery, at 17-2, who came fifth in the George Ryder and will start at barrier 17 with Kerrin McEvoy.  Bet against him at your own risk.

While this weekend will climax with the Doncaster, The Championships continues next Saturday, April 8th (Friday April 7 in USA). Day Two boasts the G1 Sydney Cup, Australian Oaks and Legacy Stakes, but its star attraction is the $4 million AUD ($3 million) Queen Elizabeth Stakes. All eyes in Sydney’s richest race will be on Winx and the question of whether she can extend her 16-race record.

For the latest news and Saturday's picks, visit skyracingworld.com. Plus, watch all the racing action live on TVG and DRF.com.