Nathan Snow’s Preview: Spring Champion Stakes

Most interest centres on Melbourne for Group 1 racing in the spring, but in Sydney it’s back to Randwick for the third Saturday in a row. Our NSW analyst Nathan Snow previews The Spring Champion Stakes for the three-year-olds stepping up to the 2000 metres.

Randwick Race 7: Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000 metres)
Group 1 set weights, three-year-olds

The lay of the land

The track should race OK, with the rail out six metres on what should be a good track, with no harm in being on the pace.

It’s a really interesting race, as the top seven all raced each other in the lead-up and all finished within 1.5 lengths, with a few hard luck stories.  They’re up against the likely favourite coming out of the fillies Group 1 last week.

The speed story

The map is interesting as like the lead-up race won by Veladero, there doesn’t look to be a lot of speed, with the four fastest horses drawn the four inside gates.

They sort themselves out on pace without much pressure, with High Mist and Tumultuous getting good runs midfield. Retaliation is the query map-wise – it has some tactical speed, gets winkers on for the first time and could look to go forward from the wide draw.

In the mix

Prized Icon (Cummings / Schofield) failed when he over-raced on pace against the older horses second-up, before being held up most of the straight and still nearly winning the lead up.  He did have a good run in transit, but looks to map well again here and the step-up to 2000 metres should do no harm.

Veladero (Waller / Hutchings) had every possible hope when winning last start.  He was perfectly ridden and looked to be getting tired late. He gets a good run again here, but I do feel like it won the lotto in winning last start, so I’m looking elsewhere tomorrow.

Swear (Hawkes / Berry) has shown talent in all three runs, and has always looked a horse that would be suited when stepping up in distance.  First-up he was ridden up on the speed in a slow race, before being taken right back second-up and hitting the line well.  I suppose there’s some hope it could go forward with winkers on, but suspect it’s best ridden for one run at them. Given that, it’ll likely be back last here and won’t be suited if it’s a slowly run race, but is top pick if any pace eventuates.

High Mist (Waller / Collett) has been up a while, but has kept improving and is racing very well.  He should’ve beaten Swear three starts ago before a soft win against the older horses. Everything went wrong last start: the saddle slipped, he over-raced and was flushed widest on the turn, and was still only beaten 1.5 lengths.  That’s pretty standard stuff when I back my old mate Glyn… but he’s off tomorrow, and the underrated Collett is on. He looks to map perfectly here three pairs back, and the step-up to 2000 metres should be OK.  He looks the top pick at this stage.

Honeywine (O’Shea / Avdulla) had a good run in transit last start before being slightly held up and hitting the line OK. He gets blinkers on here fourth-up, getting the perfect run on the speed. May not quite have the class of the others, but gets it’s chance here.

Stablemate Retaliation (O’Shea / Clark) also had a good run before getting going a little early, and was still strong on the line.  Tactics are key for it here.  If they go forward and get across OK, it’s capable of being in the finish. Go back and he’s probably just not good enough to sprint with the other backmarkers here.

Tumultuous (Waller / Angland) followed the fence the whole way before being slightly held up and then hitting the line OK.  Up in distance looks a positive, along with a good run in transit, but still needs to improve again.

Yankee Rose (Vandyke / Yendall) had superior form to these as a two-year-old, but I’m not quite sure it has made the step up as a three-tear-old.  She looked flat in trials before having a fair run in a hot race first-up when ridden upside down.  She improved second-up last week, running on OK behind Global Glamour.  Third-up here, straight to 2000 metres is a query, along with a very tricky draw and a jockey unproven in Sydney.   That all leads me to think she’s a good risk tomorrow.

Put a line through…

Ready Fire Aim (Hawkes / Reith) and Hand it In (Ollerton / O’Brien) look well outgraded here.  Khartoum (Carey / Parr), while looking well suited up at 2000 metres, still needs to improve to be competitive here.

Snowy’s Tip

Looking at the early markets, there looks an opportunity to bet around the favourite, which looks under the odds for me. Honeywine looks a touch overs and given the map, I’ll be looking to make it a winner.  Prized Icon and Swear fit in with great hopes but aren’t quite at a price to tempt me yet.


I think High Mist represents tremendous value and will make it my best way.

But if, like me, you were on it last start and will be buttering up again, we must mentally prepare ourselves for Glyn riding the perfect race on Prized Icon to beat us. That’s part of the pain of being Glyn’d… being on him when he gets them beat, then being beaten by him when he rides them perfectly.

Our NSW Ratings service give you access to all of Snowy’s assessed prices, speed map comments and recommended bets, as well as a direct line to the man himself during meetings via our live page.