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Talking Points - Saturday

Benedetta got her Group One while the Hollindale gave more questions than answers.

Goodwood

Benedetta was given a perfect ride by Jamie Kah to win her maiden Group 1, taking out The Goodwood (1200m) with a new peak rating of 116 on the Racing & Sports scale.

While she has improved slightly on her previous best efforts, Saturday's win feels like a reward for consistency more than anything.

That's Benedetta's seventh rating of 110+ on the same scale and she just had the perfect storm with the perfect run in transit from a good gate in a race where a couple of the market fancies ran well below their best.

The girls dominated this with the Sangster clearly proving the best form reference with the first four coming through that race.

Conversely, The Quokka, where we had the placegetters at least on par with the winner of the Sangster, if not a touch better, struggled.

Oscar's Fortune ran to 116 at his previous two starts in WA while Amelia's Jewel had run 113-116, but both were well off their best here- eight and 11 pounds off their previous run respectively.

Back on Benedetta, 116 is the median winning rating of the past 10 years of The Goodwood, and just below the mean rating of 117.4, held up by Black Heart Bart and Trekking, both of whom ran to 123.

Benedetta sits alongside the likes of Flamberge, Savatoxl and Smokin' Joey while just ahead of Lombaro and Despatch (115) and Royal Merchant (114), who is the lowest in that period.

It was confirmed post-race that she's heading north to run in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m). Without knowing her weight and the makeup of the field in detail yet, this certainly has her somewhere in the finish, but probably not winning.

The lowest rating to place in a Stradbroke in the past 10 years is 110 and the lowest winning rating in that time was Tyzone running to 113 in 2020. Typically you're looking at closer to 120 to be winning a Stradbroke.

Current Stradbroke favourite Antino, who we wrote about here off his first-up win in the Victory Stakes, ran to 118 there while a mare like Magic Time has run to 115-119-121 at her past three 1400m runs.

Plenty still to play out in that field and market but at this stage I'd be thinking Benedetta is more of a lock to run between 6th and 3rd in a Stradbroke, rather than she's one of the top couple of chances.

Hollindale

Numerian was a surprise winner of the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes on testing conditions, running to 118 on the R&S scale, which is a slight new peak for him.

He's typically been a rock around this sort of level with 10 ratings of 110+ in his time here, with three previous peaks of 117, including one when 2nd to Huetor in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) last year.

No doubt that will be his next target again, and a rating of 118 could certainly win that race, especially given there doesn't look to be much other form heading there.

In the past nine editions (2020 being cancelled due to COVID), only three horses have run better than 118 to win the Doomben Cup, headlined by Zaaki's seven-length demolition in 2021 which rated 126.

Huetor ran to 118 last year, which was the same rating he ran two starts back at Randwick before struggling on Saturday. He did settle in a hopeless spot and also had an equicast on which isn't ideal.

Given Numerian's ability to take up a forward position, and that he handles all ground well and typically improves his rating second-up, he has to go in as a leading chance.

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