WA racing kicks it up a gear with the first day of the Ascot Racing Carnival on Saturday, headlined by the Group 1 Railway Stakes and Group 2 WA Guineas.
Race 7: Group 2 WA Guineas
Three-year-olds, set weights - $500,000
There’s genuine tempo here, there’ll be a lot of pressure early. Ulusaba on the inside will hold its spot, and from out wide there’s Lady Cosmology and The Velvet King who are forced to go forward. Black Sabbath can possibly push forward as well. They’ll certainly be jostling for spots early doors, which will be interesting as it could set it up for something further back.
#1 Lordhelpmerun (Steve Wolfe / Shaun McGruddy)
Barrier 9, 56.5kg
Quite good in the Fairetha last start – sat worse than midfield and got home well, running the fastest last 200m of the race. He’s one that’ll enjoy a genuine tempo and he’ll get the mile. He can definitely fill a hole.
#2 The Velvet King (Darren McAuliffe / Mitchell Pateman)
Barrier 15, 56.5kg
The barrier might’ve killed him here. He’s got good natural speed and we’re going to know early doors where he’s at. If he can get across and slot in without too much work, he’ll be hard to run down. He was very tough last week, first-up at 1400m on a good speed and he was strong to the line. First go at the mile. It all depends how he gets across… if he gets there comfortably, he could be the one.
#3 Black Sabbath (Robert & Todd Harvey / Jason Brown)
Barrier 17, 56.5kg
I’m not sure where he’ll get to in the run. He could end up in no-man’s land. One that I’m prepared to risk from the gate.
#5 Platoon (Neville Parnham / Steven Parnham)
Barrier 18, 56.5kg
Has a lot of ability. But he’s drawn the extreme outside and will be forced to get back, and will be giving away a huge start. He was really good last start when he was blocked for a run in the straight then flashed late with the fastest last 200m of the race. He’ll be the one charging late but it might be too late.
#6 Blackwood River (Stephen Miller / Jarrad Noske)
Barrier 7, 56.5kg
He’s got a bit of ability. Had a great win last week, and didn’t have a lot of luck the start before. He’ll get a very good run behind the speed, he’ll let those outside cross him and could land in the one-one without doing much work. He’ll give a good kick on straightening and I really think he can run a race. He’s my best roughie here.
#7 Ulusaba (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott / Damian Lane)
Barrier 1, 56.5kg
As a Waterhouse runner his pattern is to go forward, and he’s led basically every start. He’ll do that again from gate 1 but in saying that, he’ll get more pressure here than what he’s had previously. He might have to be used up just to hold his spot at the front.
#8 True Defender (Grant & Alana Williams / Craig Newitt)
Barrier 2, 56.5kg
I thought he was a bit plain last time and is really tested at this grade.
#9 True Attraction (Grant & Alana Williams / Peter Hall)
Barrier 5, 56.5kg
He got a long way back and made some ground last time. He’s one that may possibly need a bit further than a mile.
#10 Junipal (Darren Weir / Ben Allen)
Barrier 6, 56.5kg
He was home for all money on Oaks Day and got worried out of it in the end. The mile suits but I think he’s very poor value here. I’ll be taking him on. He’ll get a good run and has some class, but not at the price.
#11 Regal Counsel (Trevor Andrews / Glenn Smith)
Barrier 14, 56.5kg
#12 Fingermark (Neville Parnham / Ben Melham)
Barrier 4, 56.5kg
Gets a decent run but will find this too tough.
#13 Zetorio (Roy Rogers / Jason Whiting)
Barrier 12, 56.5kg
Will be big odds, and deservedly so.
#14 Lady Cosmology (Simon Miller / Paul Harvey)
Barrier 13, 54.5kg
I thought Harvey might’ve gone a little too slow last time after riding her perfectly the start before. She’s got a high cruising speed and he might be forced to use that here given the gate she’s got. Might be doing a bit too much work early, but she can finish in the money.
#15 Arcadia Queen (Grant & Alana Williams / William Pike)
Barrier 3, 54.5kg
The obvious one here and has the strongest finish of them all. Only bad luck beats her here I think. I’m confident she’ll win.
#16 Flirtini (Simon Miller / Lucy Warwick)
Barrier 8, 54.5kg
Had no luck last time when trapped wide with no cover on top of the speed. Will get a better run here and can bounce back and finish in the money.
#17 The Fugazi (Chris Gangemi / Shaun O’Donnell)
Barrier 16, 56.5kg
Will get back and run on.
#18 Regal Power (Grant & Alana Williams / TBC)
Barrier 11, 56.5kg
Emergency. Wasn’t one of Pike’s better rides last time and does go better than form suggests. Will need some luck to get into the race.
I think the biggest threat to Arcadia Queen is traffic problems. With clear air she’ll be winning for mine and I think the price is about right. The Velvet King’s chances depend on how much work it has to do to get across… if he can do that with some ease he has to be respected. As I said, Blackwood River is my best roughie – it’ll get the right run and is rock-hard fit.
Race 8: Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m)
Three-year-olds and up, quality (min weight 53kg) - $1,000,000
It’s pretty straightforward: Wrinkly from the inside will lead with Great Shot coming across, so the pace will be steady enough. Material Man and Prized Icon will probably tuck in behind. Man Booker is interesting… they may get caught wide and I think Harvey might go forward.
#1 Material Man (Justin Warwick / Lucy Warwick)
Barrier 5, 57kg
It’d be a huge training effort to win the Railway first-up. In saying that, he’s a very good horse that’s been trialling well and is drawn to get a good run. Ran fifth in the race last year and I can see him probably doing similar here. I’d have liked to see him have a run before this.
#2 Great Shot (Rhys Radford / Craig Staples)
Barrier 10, 55.5kg
Going well. Won this last year with 53.5kg, rolling along at a very good tempo. So I’m not afraid of the pace for him. He’ll be in the money for mine.
#3 Man Booker (Daniel Morton / Paul Harvey)
Barrier 11, 55kg
Got the sticky gate and will need a squeeze early. I think he might’ve already peaked and I’m prepared to risk him.
#4 Gatting (Darren McAuliffe / Damian Lane)
Barrier 1, 54kg
Blinkers went on last time and he was huge. Didn’t have the right run and reeled off very good splits. Only has to hold his form and is suited at the mile. Will be hard to hold out.
#5 Prized Icon (Kris Lees / Ben Melham)
Barrier 9, 54kg
Hasn’t won since the Derby in 2016. He always runs well and will roll forward here. He’ll loom I think, but whether he has the killer instinct is another thing.
#6 Mister Sea Wolf (Chris Waller / Michael Dee)
Barrier 6, 53.5kg
Waller is very good at targeting the right horse for particular races, and this could be one of them. He’s a genuine miler and hasn’t had the best of luck lately. All things being equal, he’ll be the one steaming down the outside and I can see him winning. I’ve got a big watch on him.
#7 Peaceful State (Darren Weir / Ben Allen)
Barrier 4, 53.5kg
Will get a good run from the gate. Was good last time at Group 1 level. He’s capable of this and if he gets the right breaks, won’t be far away.
#8 Achernar Star (Simon Miller / Shaun McGruddy)
Barrier 14, 53kg
Has had a very good preparation. Not sure what they do from this gate. He’ll need a bit of luck from out there.
#9 Action (Grant & Alana Williams / Patrick Carbery)
Barrier 15, 53kg
Better suited over further. Will get back from the gate and be running on, might be better suited to the Kingston Town.
#10 Disposition (Chris Gangemi / Shaun O’Donnell)
Barrier 8, 53kg
Probably past his best. I don’t think he’s up to Group 1 level any more.
#11 Galaxy Star (Grant & Alana Williams / William Pike)
Barrier 2, 53kg
Had the perfect prep, they’ve done a great job here and got her to the race with no weight. Was dominant last time out with very good numbers. Well found but will be hard to beat.
#12 Iconoclasm (Darren Weir / Craig Williams)
Barrier 12, 53kg
I question this horse at Group 1 level. Has a sticky gate and will need luck.
#13 Perfect Jewel (Grant & Alana Williams / Craig Newitt)
Barrier 7, 53kg
Not going as well as it can for mine, happy to risk.
#14 Star Exhibit (Adam Durrant / Joseph Azzopardi)
Barrier 13, 53kg
#15 Wrinkly (Neville Parnham / Steven Parnham)
Barrier 3, 53kg
Will be there at the turn and will give a bit of a kick, but will be found out at this level I think.
I’m gonna go for one at odds in Mister Sea Wolf… I think he’s really good value for the reasons I stated. Galaxy Star is the hardest to beat, but well found I think. Gatting is back in good order and you have to respect the win last week, and I think Great Shot won’t be far away and will give a good sight.
It’s the best time of year for WA racing, with three straight weeks of $1 million Group 1 racing at Ascot.
With years of experience and a proven track record, Mark Van Triet is the logical choice to follow in during the Ascot Racing Carnival.
Dry tracks, true form and quality racing… there is plenty to like. Find some winners out West with WA Winners.