Randwick racecourse will play host to the Sydney metropolitan meeting of Saturday 16 December, one of the rare programs staged at headquarters devoid of any black-type racing. Nevertheless, the 10-race card received sufficient nominations to declare seven of the events closed, with only Races 2, 6 and 9 having their deadline extended an extra 24 hours.
Some 179 nominations (including emergencies) have so far been received for the meeting for which all but the Midway ($120,000) and the Highway ($120,000) boast prizemoney of $160,000 each contest.
Pre-Christmas 2-year-old events are always intriguing at this time of the year and the Randwick program will stage an 1100m affair with strong nominations from the usual sources. Arguably the most interesting is the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Spywire, winner of his only start to date and co-second favourite for January’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.
Spywire missed a scheduled start in Brisbane last weekend and is now likely to line-up in Sydney this Saturday, though it's worth noting that the stable has also nominated three potential rivals in the form of Centre Square, Erno’s Cube and Hand Crafted.
The December Handicap (1600m) is the only open event on the Randwick program and is shaping as a form of The Ingham consolation. Indeed, the John O’Shea stable has last year’s The Ingham winner Kirwan’s Lane (103) nominated and the specialist miler is one of three horses with a three-figure rating — Stockman (105) and Excellent Proposal being the others.
Qualifying as one of the more interesting nominations of the day is Veecee in a 3&4YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m). The lightly-raced son of Capitalist has only had four starts, winning on debut as a juvenile and then contesting the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes, Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes and Group 3 Vain Stakes.
Interestingly, Veecee also has two nominations for Moonee Valley on Friday evening and one for the Caulfield meeting on the same afternoon as Randwick, so connections are keeping their options open in terms of the colt’s return to racing after three months away from competition. Notably, Veecee also has a longer term nomination for the $3 million Gold Coast Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) on 13 January.
Saturday’s Randwick meeting will be held with the running rail out 10 metres the entire circuit, while the track condition is posted as a Good 4 as of 12.00noon AEDT.