There is not quite daylight in the market between Nature Strip and the rest of the field for the $500,000, Group 2 Bowerman’s Commercial The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday, but certainly there is more than a false dawn with the champion sprinter at $2.40 with TAB and Masked Crusader next at $4.40.
The Chis Waller trained Nature Strip had opened at $2.60 with TAB’s All In market after nominations were taken on Monday with the Hawkes’ trained Masked Crusader at $3.00, however, by Wednesday morning after acceptances the gap widened.
Nature Strip opened his spring with a win in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes over 1000m on September 4th, winning by 2 1/2L over Wild Ruler and Trekking as well as carrying 60.5kg under James McDonald.
The Hawkes’ trained Masked Crusader won his opening salvo in the Group 3 The Heath over 1100m at Caulfield on August 28th. In a rapidly closing sprint up the straight Masked Crusader was 11th at the 400m and got up to win with a 3/4L margin under Jye McNeil.
McDonald rides Nature Strip as usual with barrier four and Josh Parr is up on Masked Crusader with barrier two.
Rothfire is next in the market at $5.50, Tim Clark rides with barrier five, Lost And Running (NZ) is $7.00 with Hugh Bowman and barrier seven, Eduardo is $8.50 with Nash Rawiller and barrier nine, Gytrash is $13.00 with Jason Collett and barrier one.
The Shorts with a field of nine is Race 8 at 3.55pm.
Waller’s Verry Elleegant (NZ) is the $2.15 favourite for the $1m, Group 1 WFA Fujitsu General George Main Stakes (1600m) after being $2.30 opening the All In market followed by Think It Over at $6.00, $4.50 on Monday.
Kerry Parker’s Think It Over won the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes over 1600m at Randwick on the 4th over Riodini (NZ) and Montefilia. Riodini is also accepted for Saturday in the George Main while Montefilia is accepted for the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes..
The George Main Stakes with a field of nine is Race 7 at 3.15pm.
The three-year-old fillies step up to 1400m in the $200,000, Group 2 Darley Tea Rose Stakes with a field of 14, Race 6 at 2.40pm, and the $160,000, Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m), Race 5 at 2.00pm, has a field of 13.
The black type races are completed at 4.35pm with a capacity field of 14 for the $160,000, Group 3 TAB Kingston Town Stakes (2000m).
The ten race programme, with 149 acceptances, commences at 11.40am with a capacity field of 14 for the $100,000, TAB Highway Handicap (1000m).
The Course Proper was rated a Soft 7 on Wednesday after 26.2mm of rain for the last seven days. The rail to be out 7m from the 1600m to the Winning Post and 4m for the remainder of the circuit.
Sydney’s weather leading into Saturday leaves the rain behind with a partly cloudy day with 18c on Thursday, sunny on Friday with 21c and a partly cloudy day with 12c to 25c on Saturday.
The Course Proper rated a Soft 7 on Wednesday, picture ThoroughbredNEWS