The Professor previews the next big feature in Queensland, the Group 1 Doomben Cup.
Group 1 Doomben Cup WFA (2000m)
The track is currently rated a Good 4 and I expect it to stay that way. There are showers predicted in Brisbane on Friday and Saturday but the small amount of rain predicted will likely just be enough to is take the sting out of the track. The rail moves from the True position to +2m after 10,000 day last week. The track played even fairer than I anticipated last week and I don’t expect to see much different here and I think every horse should have their chance.
I’m not expecting a fast run race here. Archedemus is the only leader engaged in the race and though drawn the car park, expect him to try to cross and lead. I imagine most here will actually be happy to hand up. Red Alto and Prioritise look like they can be in a forward position on speed. Gem Song was on pace last start and from a mid / wide gate may look to go forward here again. Expecting those close to the speed to be advantaged by the tempo.
#1 Big Duke (K Lees / S Clipperton)
Barrier 6, 59kg
Proven at this level though 2000m may be shy of his best distance these days. Hasn’t had a run since the Sydney Cup and though that was 3200m it’s not an ideal set up for mine. The type of horse that wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ran a big race, but I couldn’t be with him personally.
#2 Life Less Ordinary (C Waller / J Collett)
Barrier 10, 59kg
Winner of the traditional lead-up race, the G2 Hollindale, over 1800m at the Gold Coast. Did so impressively, eased down on the line on a heavy track after being three-wide the trip. Form through the summer in VIC / NSW was very good and should be coming to peak fitness here. May not be suited by the tempo and will need some luck to slot in from barrier 10. Big player.
#3 Mister Sea Wolf (C Waller / J Lloyd)
Barrier 3, 59kg
Ran second in the Hollindale last start to Life Less Ordinary. Looked to have the race at his mercy but was outsprinted by the winner late. Unproven over the 2000m but was strong enough through the line last start. Looks to get a soft run from barrier 3 and gets Jeff Lloyd on board.
#4 Red Alto (B Stanley / L Nolen)
Barrier 5, 59kg
Finished well down the track in the Hollindale last start when sent around at big odds. Might improve from a better draw and back on firmer ground but does look outclassed here.
#5 On The Rocks (M Moroney / J Bayliss)
Barrier 4, 59kg
NZ galloper having first start in Australia. This prep has won a G2 and a G1 race in NZ over a mile and 2000m respectively. Disappointing last two starts but excuses on at least one of those occasions. Always hard to line up the overseas horses but does look like a big ask here.
#6 Archedemus (G Markwell / C Brown)
Barrier 17, 59kg
On the quick back-up after winning a Listed race over a mile here last Saturday. Did have a relatively easy time of it out front but went to the line strongly and didn’t give up much ground to the chasers late. Up to 2000m for the first time and drawn the car park but if can cross and dictate can pinch this.
#7 Prioritise (S Tregea / M Murphy)
Barrier 14, 59kg
Didn’t fire a shot first-up but not much went right for him either. Fitness a concern here as is only second-up after running over 1400m first up. Has won over 2000m but much better over a mile for mine. Very hard to see him winning.
#8 Tally (J Cummings / T Clark)
Barrier 16, 59kg
Went to the line okay first up in the Hollindale and likely takes some improvement out of that run. Even at his best is a very rough chance,has to deal with a wide gate and likely gets back against a moderate tempo. Don’t want to be with him.
#10 Fierce Impact (M Smith / M Walker)
Barrier 12, 59kg
Narrowly beaten in the Scone Cup over a mile last start and on the quick back up here. Looked a good run in a strong race. Proven over the distance, winning the G3 Summer Cup over 2000m with strong figures. Drawn awkwardly but looks one of the main chances.
#11 Shillelagh (C Waller / J Mc Donald)
Barrier 2, 57kg
Only narrowly beaten in the G1 Australian Cup at Flemington over 2000m in March, and though wasn’t competitive at her last few starts in Sydney, this is a much easier task. From barrier 2 here can be close to a moderate speed and has an excellent turn of foot if gets clear running. Fitness the concern with 34 days between runs, but looks a big chance.
#12 Kenedna (C Maher & D Eustace / J Allen)
Barrier 9, 57kg
Failed when obviously didn’t handle the very heavy track in the Hollindale, but did get sent around as $5 equal favourite. Prior to that won the G1 Queen Of the Turf at Randwick over a mile. Was a very impressive winner of the G2 Matriach Stakes over 2000m at Flemington during the spring carnival. Expecting improvement here back on a firmer track and think she will be right in this.
#13 Youngstar (C Waller / K Mc Evoy)
Barrier 11, 57kg
Another that didn’t handle the heavy track in the Hollindale last start. Prior to that didn’t really fire a shot in the All Aged Stakes either – though wasn’t in the market. Hard to ignore a horse that finished only a length back from Winx the last time it raced at this distance. Did have a better draw that day, and from barrier 11 here expect to be well back so may not be overly suited. One that I will be keeping safe.
#14 Savvy Coup (C Waller / M Du Plessis)
Barrier 13, 57kg
Last start run was ok behind Archedemus over a mile, but this is harder and in similar races in Sydney was uncompetitive. Don’t think can win here.
#15 Luvaluva (J Sargent / G Boss)
Barrier 18, 57kg
Can expect some improvement from last start getting back to dry ground, and was only beaten narrowly by Kenedna in the Matriach Stakes in spring over 2000m. Would need to run best ever race by some margin to win here and from a wide gate is likely to get back against a moderate tempo. Looks a tough ask.
#16 Gem Song (K Lees / B Shinn)
Barrier 8, 56.5kg
I haven’t really been on the Gem Song bandwagon and thought he had every possible chance last start over a mile. Goes up to 2000m for the first time against some very accomplished horses at this distance. Is drawn to get a good run however and gets a very big jockey change with Ron Stewart off and Blake Shinn on. More likely to be against than with him given the price.
#17 Sixties Groove (K Lees / Not named)
Barrier 7, 59kg
Gets a run here after the scratching of the stable mate Hallelujah Boy. Former Weir runner has only had the one run this prep, the Hawkesbury Gold Cup over a mile, and ran third beaten four lengths. Put together a nice prep last winter when stayed in Victoria winning three races over the 2000m. Best is good enough and drawn nicely but fitness the query here.
#18 Order Again (B Smith / Not named)
Barrier 1, 59kg
Needs another scratching to get a run here. Thought he ran well last start over a mile this track when had to come from the back against a slow tempo – did save ground up the fence though. This is much harder and though might run a decent race I’d be surprised if he’s in the finish.
Looks like a really competitive, quality field. No stand-out for mine and I think there may be some value around those runners coming through the Hollindale who weren’t suited on the heavy track that day. I’ll also be looking very closely at runners on the quick back up. Think there are a couple that are too short here that are creating some value elsewhere. Should be a good betting race and I’m looking forward to watching on Saturday.
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