There is a small but interesting field to commence the Australian Turf Club’s (ATC) eight race programme at Canterbury on Saturday with six three-year-olds contesting the $85,000 Canterbury BMW 6 Series Grand Coupe Bm 68 Handicap (1550m).
While it seems early in the season for three-year-olds to be racing over 1550m it is compatible with the ATC’s and RNSW’s short programme over the winter months of holding staying races for two-year-olds and also combining with three-year-olds. It is this element that injects interest into the race.
The current TAB Sportsbet favourite at $2.60 is the Gai Waterhouse trained More Than Ready colt Rampaging even though he has yet to go further than 1250m in his three race starts.
Balanced against this is the David Payne trained Holy Roman Emperor filly Queen’s Elect who has raced five times for a win and four third places. One of those third places was in the Significant Prelude over 1800m at Rosehill on a Heavy 9 track on June 16th, one of the staying races programme by the ATC and RNSW. The win was back to 1580m on a Heavy 9 at Canterbury on July 25th.
Queen’s Elect, at $3.80 in the market, will not have to face a Heavy track on Saturday with the current rating a Slow 6 on the best drying track in Sydney. The filly also has the conditioning and breeding to display staying potential with her dam Grand Story being by Grand Lodge. Payne is also a master at developing staying horses.
Randwick’s Anthony Cummings has two of his young stable talent in the race, and while they are not as conditioned as Queen’s Elect, he has reason to consider that their pedigrees will assist the cause.
Diamondsinthenight has started just the once for an unplaced effort. However the Fastnet Rock colt is out of the Montjeu mare Northern Night and he could not be expected to shine at two, even with his sire’s leading position last season.
Irish Teardrop’s is in a similar position with two unplaced starts. The Gerry Harvey bred and raced filly is also by Fastnet Rock, and she too has staying blood on her dam side being out of the good race mare Isolda who is by the mighty Sir Tristram.
“Irish Teardrop's had two runs back and last time she finished off quite nicely, as did Diamondsinthenight at his first-up run,” said Cummings.
“Both made a few mistakes, both have a lot to learn, but I think the step up to this distance gives them a chance to be competitive.
“If it's a truly run race I think they will both run really well,” he said.
Peter Robl rides Diamondsinthenight and Blake Shinn Irish Teardrop’s from barriers five and four respectively.
TAB Sportsbet’s market does not show the same optimism as their trainer with their prices $16.00 and $35.00, but Rampaging should inject the speed into the race that Cummings wants so they will have their chance to run on.
The new Sydney stakes regime has been in place for a month and with the trainers of these three-year-olds no doubt all having eventual black type ambitions for their runners the first place stakes of $48,750, plus a $20,000 BOBS bonus, is out of equality with a listed race at $100,000 for the entire stake.
This was one of the decisions that was made when it was decided where the increased stakes would go throughout NSW. However it needs to be corrected soon, as while it is healthy to have benchmark racing for $85,000, plus bonuses, it is not when the necessary step up to elite black type racing does not give the requisite step up in stakes rewards.
In the meantime all owners at Canterbury can enjoy the competition for $680,000 in stakes plus another $80,000 in BOBS bonuses in races where there are qualified runners, plus $200 starters bonuses for non-prize earning runners.
Trainer Anthony Cummings, picture Sportpix.com.au