Benchmarks the backbone of racing at Randwick next Saturday

Benchmark Handicaps comprise the backbone of next Saturday’s Sydney metropolitan program to be staged at Randwick with the rail position some +9m the entire circuit.

The mid-winter meeting received 188 nominations (plus emergencies) by deadline time on Monday morning with just two of the 10 events requiring a 24-hour extension.

Randwick will host next Saturday's Sydney metropolitan meeting; picture ThoroughbredNEWS

Two benchmark 88 handicaps — over 1400m and 1800m — represent the highest rated contests on the racecard, the former receiving 19 nominations (Field Limit: 13 + 4 EM) and the latter no fewer than 30 nominations (Field Limit: 10 + 4 EM).

Last start winner Amberite (NZ) is prominent among the names put forward for the 1800m event after successfully raiding the recent Rosehill meeting from his base in Mornington where’s he’s prepared by Matt Laurie. The son of Proisir boasts two wins and two seconds from just five starts on heavy tracks and already looks likely to get the type of surface he most appreciates with another wet beginning to another Sydney working week.

The benchmark 88 handicap over 1400m could see the local debut of Lord of Biscay (Ire) for the Australian Bloodstock-Kris Lees combination. A 4-year-old entire by star northern hemisphere-based sire Lope de Vega, the newcomer has Group and Listed Race form as a 2- and 3-year-old in England and France and is a winner at both 1400m and 1700m.

The solitary 2-year-old contest on the program received 13 nominations — and was one of two races to have its deadline extended — and could see as many as five last start winners in competition. The contingent includes four winners of their only start to date, the quartet comprising Bartolf (by So You Think [NZ]), Glassout (by Headwater), Verona’s Cleopatra (by Castelvecchio) and Wanaruah (by Snitzel).

After a further two days of intermittent rain since hosting last Saturday’s meeting on an upgraded Heavy 8 surface, the Randwick track was rated a Heavy 9 at nomination time Monday morning. 

Randwick nominations for Saturday 13 July