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Worth a closer look …

The ThoroughbredNEWS team look at different aspects of the form ahead of another top weekend of domestic and international action. There may or may not be winners, but there are definitely some interesting points of view worth a closer look…

Odds with TAB.com.au as at Friday 8.00am. Race times are all Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Flemington Race 1 – 11.50am Ken Cox Handicap (1420m)

The Pale Yellow, Black Spots Sash and Spotted Cap silks of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid al Maktoum were prominent at Royal Ascot on Tuesday when his home-bred Blue Point colt Rosallion claimed the Group 1 St James Palace Stakes. It is a long way from Ascot to Flemington, but the silks are just as familiar at the course with memories still fresh of Mark Zahra wearing them on 2023 Melbourne Cup winner Without a Fight (Ire). On Saturday Jye McNeil suits up with them on Dundeel colt HENLEIN.  The Anthony and Sam Freedman trained colt made a winning debut at Bendigo over 1300m on June 4th and will now be tested in metropolitan company.  An interesting watch to see if the colt bookends the week for the extensive and successful bloodstock interests of his owner. – RB

 TAB.com.au Odds:  $8.50

Flemington Race 3 - 1:00pm Rod Johnson Handicap (1620m)

While it is the norm now to note internationally bred runners in our fields, it is not to see a three-year-old racing against his southern hemisphere counterparts when he is really some six months younger than them. However, this is the lot of CRAIG (GB), a gelding by Territories, who has shown potential top-flight talent in his two Australian starts. Craig won on debut over 1400m by 4 1/4L at Bendigo on May 22nd and then was a closing and very narrow second to Rise At Dawn (NZ) over 1600m at Flemington on June 8th. Once Luke Currie extracted Craig to clear running room his turn of foot was electric and he just missed winning again. He meets Rise At Dawn again with a weight advantage and Currie knows now what ability he has to guide. – RB

 TAB.com.au Odds: $1.60

Randwick Race 6 - 1:55pm Macquarie St Social Handicap (1800m)

AMBERITE (NZ) has made an immediate impression in two runs this side of the Tasman after beginning his career in New Zealand in all types of going. Now trained out of Mornington by Matt Laurie, the 4-year-old son of Proisir makes a trip to Sydney for this assignment and will be partnered by James McDonald on close to the limit weight. Amberlite (NZ) should be suited by any track surface he’s presented with at Randwick on Saturday and has the profile to make his interstate trip prove very worthwhile. —PF

TAB.com.au Odds: $3.50

Randwick Race 8 - 3:05pm Listed The Agency Civic Stakes (1400m)

STRAIT ACER was only beaten a couple of lengths in the latest renewal of the Group 3 BRC Sprint which has since witnessed runner-up Freedom Rally, fifth-placed Yellow Brick and sixth-placed Vilana all come out and win at their very next start in prominent Brisbane winter carnival black-type company. Ridden by Mark Zahra on that occasion, the Edward Cummings trained 4-year-old was given every chance and by no means disgraced himself, finishing alongside The Inevitable — who in turn ran fourth in the Stradbroke Handicap.  Strait Acer hasn’t done too much wrong since winning over this course and distance last September and is drawn to run another bold race. — PF

TAB.com.au Odds: $6.00

Ipswich Race 8 - 3:53pm Listed Imperial Racing Eye Liner Stakes (1350m)

WATEGOS has raced over 1350m on two occasions and won both times, the latest of which coming at Doomben in May when he finished close enough to two-and-a-half lengths clear of his nearest rival. Although since beaten into second place by Yellow Brick at Eagle Farm over 1500m, it basically took the length of the straight for the ultimate winner to run him down and the Bjorn Baker trained galloper lost very little gloss in defeat. Wategos’ two starts in Brisbane over the past few weeks have been full of merit and he should get every chance to maintain his very high standards by jumping from barrier one. — PF 

TAB.com.au Odds: $2.30

Sunday

Kyoto Race 11 - 4.40pm AEST Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) - Sky Racing2

The Takarazuka Kinen is the final JRA Grade 1 of the first half of the year and it is one of the two All-Star races in Japan where fans get to vote for the horses they would like to see race against each other. They are the model for Victoria’s All-Star Mile. For the close look at this year’s renewal of the Takarazuka Kinen we turn to our colleagues at the JRA who note that every time a foreign jockey has ridden STRUVE he has been led into the winner’s enclosure. Struve, a 5-year-old and trained by Noriyuki Hori, has won his last three races, the latest being the Grade 2 Meguro Kinen over 2500m at Tokyo in May. No pressure as the saying goes, but over to Australia’s very own Damian Lane to maintain the tradition. – RB

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