Worth a closer look...

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

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

Rosehill Race 1 - 11:30am E Group Security Handicap (1500m)

Saturday’s first at Rosehill sees VERBEK (NZ) return to Sydney racing after a fleeting trip to Brisbane which saw the son of Turn Me Loose finish a close second in a Listed race over 1500m. Ridden by Nash Rawiller on that occasion, the Kembla Grange trained juvenile travelled into the straight with a full head of steam but failed to run past Volcanic Rock when push came to shove. Beaten a lip over 1400 metres at Hawkesbury in an open-age maiden a couple of weeks beforehand, Verbek gets his chance to breakthrough for a first career win with Hugh Bowman enlisted to do the honours. — PF odds: $4.00

Rosehill Race 7 - 3.05pm Listed XXXX WJ McKell Cup (2000m)

We took a close look at STOCKMAN (NZ) for the Listed Winter Cup over 2400m on June 5th and Joe Pride’s four-year-old Tavistock gelding was third behind the Brisbane Cup winner Knights Order (IRE) and Parry Sound. Seventh at the 400m, he just could not reach the two in front who had established a margin they kept to the line. Still it was a tidy $13,250 for connections and a prelude to the WJ McKell Cup, 400m shorter, and still 54kg under Sam Clipperton. So we think another close look to see if Stockman can round them up this time. — RB odds: $4.60

Ipswich Race 7 - 3:17pm TAB Ipswich Cup (2150m)

IN GOOD HEALTH won in brilliant fashion over 2014m during the Morphettville Carnival in Adelaide, prior to making the long trip north to Brisbane and going like a bat out of hell in a quality mares event at a ‘mile’ which saw her knock-up over the closing stages. A winner of the Heatherlie Handicap at Listed Race over 1700m and the Centaurea Stakes in the same grade over 2014m, the Peter Moody trained mare now seems to be at her best racing beyond 1600m and looks well placed in the Ipswich Cup. An on-pace runner that makes her own luck, In Good Health only has to repeat her effort in South Australia to prove a tough to crack in this traditional Queensland winter feature. — PF odds: $4.80

Flemington Race 7 - 3:25pm Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m)

The nicely named AWARD WINNER, a three-year-old Exceed And Excel filly, takes a big step up to stakes company at Headquarters after two wins in succession. The Anthony and Sam Freedman trained filly has won three of her seven starts including the last two. Award Winner won well over 1100m at the All Weather at Pakenham on May 13th and then came to town to narrowly win over the same distance in a Benchmark 78 for F&M at Caulfield on the 29th.  Saturday is a different test altogether, but she has the experience of D Oliver to guide her down Flemington’s straight sprint course. — RB

STELLAR PAULINE has virtually raced in stakes company throughout her career and proven competitive in the majority of her 16 starts.  Runner-up in the Sweet Embrace (G2), Gimcrack Stakes (G3) and Magic Millions  2YO Classic of her generation, the superbly-bred daughter of Not a Single Doubt is running out of chances to break through for a win in black-type company but is given her chance here by the astute P. & P. Snowden stable. Her latest effort in hot company at Eagle Farm was very respectable as per usual and she should run another very honest race at attractive each-way odds. — PF odds: $8.50 & $19.00

Versatile Hong Kong star Sky Darci, picture HKJC


Sha Tin Race 7 – 6.05pm AEST Group 3 Premier Cup (1400m)

Casper Fownes’s handling of SKY DARCI (NZ) has been outstanding. He took the Darci Brahma four-year-old gelding up to the Hong Kong Derby distance of 2000m on March 21st and a clever ride by Joao Moreira got Sky Darci home, just. Then it was back to his more natural distance of 1600m in Group 3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap on May 30th and once again he won after a strong challenge from Healthy Happy (AUS). On Sunday it is back to the 1400m of the HK$3.5m Premier Cup Handicap and Sky Darci carries 126lbs to Healthy Happy’s 122lbs. The latter is by Zoustar and he, too, is probably better suited to the shorter courses. It will be a must look to see if Fownes and Moreira can pull off the feat of 2000m in March to 1400m in mid-June. — RB