Sydney’s all-star cast stronger than spring line-up in Melbourne, says Kris Lees   Leave a comment

Sydney’s all-star cast stronger than spring line-up in Melbourne, says Kris Lees

OFF & RACING: All eyes on Godolphin import Hartnell

OFF & RACING: All eyes on Godolphin import Hartnell

TRAINER Kris Lees believes the weight-for-age racing in Sydney this autumn is the strongest he has seen in years.

Lees pointed to the depth of quality in the Group 1 $1.5 million The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday as evidence.

The 11-horse field contains seven individual Group 1 winners yet the race favourites, Japan’s To The World and Godolphin’s Hartnell, are chasing their first major.

“It’s the best weight-for-age racing I’ve seen in quite a while, definitely stronger than Melbourne during the spring,’’ Lees said. “The middle distance and staying races have been very good and this is flowing onto a handicap race like the Sydney Cup.

“It looks like the first three placegetters from the Melbourne Cup last spring, Protectionist, Red Cadeaux and Who Shot Thebarman will run in the Sydney Cup and I can’t remember the last time that has happened.

To The World has added extra class to the autumn carnival. Picture Gregg Porteous

To The World has added depth to the autumn carnival. Picture Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

“The Japanese horses and the other overseas horses here for The Championships have brought a whole new dimension to the autumn racing.’’

But Lees did point out the race program anomalies which need to be addressed next autumn including the clash of the Randwick Guineas and Australian Guineas, and the Ranvet Stakes being run a week before The BMW.

“I still feel there should be a better progression between the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and The BMW, it was congested this year,’’ he said. “It meant that Protectionist went to Melbourne for his first two races when he should have been in Sydney.’’

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SWITCH REVS UP BMW

THE decision to move The BMW away from Golden Slipper Day has rejuvenated Australia’s most prestigious 2400m weight-for-age race.

The BMW, despite boasting an honour roll of champions like Kingston Town (1980), Bonecrusher (1986), Beau Zam (1988), Octagonal (1996-97), Might And Power (1998), Tie The Knot (1999-2000) and Makybe Diva (2005), was often overshadowed by the Golden Slipper but the race’s new-found status and significance has resulted in an outstanding field of stayers for Saturday’s race.

The mighty Makybe Diva lit up Rosehill when she won The BMW in 2005.

The mighty Makybe Diva lit up Rosehill when she won The BMW in 2005. Source: News Limited

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said he “genuinely believes The BMW has its prestige back” but has not ruled out further race programming changes for the 2016 Sydney autumn carnival.

“Any successful organisation completely analyses its results after the event and we will be doing that after The Championships,’’ V’landys said. “There could be race programming changes as I’m not saying we have it 100 per cent right.

“We realise we need to sort out the clash of the two Guineas races and have a close look at the Ranvet Stakes so there is still tweaking to be done, no doubt about it.’’

BIG RED ON TARGET

ENGLISH stayer Red Cadeaux was a notable omission from The BMW field but trainer Ed Dunlop said it was all a deliberate strategy to have his popular galloper at his peak for the $1.6 million Sydney Cup on April 11.

Dunlop said Red Cadeaux, a three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up, had come through his fifth placing in Spillway’s Australian Cup in good order and felt the chestnut did not need another run before the Sydney Cup.

“We have decided not to run Red Cadeaux in the BMW Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday, instead preferring to go straight to the Sydney Cup two weeks later,” Dunlop said. “It would have been tough to ask a nine-year-old to run in three Group 1 races in the space of a month.’’

English veteran Red Cadeaux will take it easy this weekend. Picture: Gregg Porteous

English veteran Red Cadeaux will take it easy this weekend. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Meanwhile, trainer Peter Snowden has ruled out a Doncaster Mile start for his Caulfield Guineas-winning colt, Shooting To Win.

Snowden said Shooting To Win pulled up with a minor back complaint after finishing unplaced in the George Ryder Stakes last week. Instead, Snowden believes the Group 1 All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 18 is a realistic goal for Shooting To Win.

“It will give me a bit more time to get him right and have him 100 per cent rather than go into a Doncaster at 85 per cent, which isn’t good enough,” Snowden said.

RISING TENSION

THE rumours are growing stronger that Tabcorp-owned Sky Racing is losing patience with Victorian race clubs.

Victorian gallops meetings are being shown on Sky Racing as negotiations continue to secure a long-term broadcast rights deal. But the procrastination of some Victorian clubs is causing some angst and frustration at Tabcorp headquarters.

This is sounding similar to the impasse between Tabcorp and the Victorian racing industry over summer which ultimately led to the demise of TVN.

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LEGENDS TAKE CENTRE STAGE

SPORTING stars past and present from a range of codes, including ATC Ambassador and rugby league legend Peter Sterling and cricket great Mark Waugh will be among special guests at the Lunching With Legends event in the Grand Pavilion at Rosehill on Saturday.

Members of the Parramatta Eels, Western Sydney Wanderers and Greater Western Sydney Giants, along with TAB Rewards members, will be admitted free to the track, while ticketholders to the Parramatta-South Sydney NRL clash at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night will also be given free entry.

The ATC has dropped the price of Tooheys New, Hahn Super Dry and XXXX Gold bottled and Tooheys New and Super Dry tap beers to $5, along with selected red and white wines, in the general public and members areas on Saturday.

IT will be a busy day at Warwick Farm on Friday with no fewer than 25 barriers trials to be run, with the first at 8.15am. Some of the high profile starters include top three-year-old Scissor Kick, comeback stayer Complacent and classy mare Arabian Gold.

THEY SAID IT

“Just off the feel she’s given me in the two gallops so far, I’m already thinking she’s the best I’ve sat on in the filly division. It’s freakish what she can do on the track,’’ said James McDonald, new rider of First Seal.

James McDonald can’t wait to ride First Seal on Saturday. Picture: Colleen Petch

James McDonald can’t wait to ride First Seal on Saturday. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: News Corp Australia

“She just had some bruising on a heel. We’ve moved her plate and taken pressure off the area and she’s a lot better. It’s like wearing stilettos all day at the races and then being able to get back home and kick them off. There’s no better feeling and that would be much the same for her,’’ said Donna Logan, trainer of Rising Romance.

“I’ve thought long and hard about it and I just felt that it was in the colt’s best interests to give him a spell now. What he has done as a two-year-old has been on raw, natural ability and that is the exciting part. I’ve got an unbeaten Golden Slipper-winning colt who still has so much improvement to come next season,’’ said Gai Waterhouse, trainer of Vancouver.

THE BEST BET

Leebaz (Rosehill, Race 3) was competitive against Group 1 weight-for-age sprinters when a first-up sixth to Cosmic Endeavour in the Canterbury Stakes. He’s much better suited under the quality handicap conditions of the Doncaster Prelude tomorrow and the step up to 1500m is another big plus. Leebaz also has an excellent strike-rate second-up from a spell with three wins from four previous attempts.

Originally published as All-star cast stronger than the spring: Lees

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Posted March 27, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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