Warwick Farm Race 4 No.1 Al Nader – $3
After twice trialling in good fashion, Al Nader was huge on debut – the son of former Australian Guineas hero Al Maher went out pretty hard at Randwick, comfortably leading in the run and beginning to up the ante before they cornered. He skipped a few lengths clear and looked to have the race in his keeping at one stage before he tired the last 100m and was swamped by Euro Angel, who could be a very talented filly in the making. The run would have done him the world of good fitness wise and experience wise and he now gets into a maiden that, on paper at least, isn’t as strong, and he goes up to 1400m which will suit further – from here he looks like he will eventually be a high cruising speed miler, a type of galloper Gai usually gets plenty of wins out of. He leads here again, this time presumably at a slower clip, and can’t really see anything pressuring him too much. If he puts in the same effort as on debut, he wins.
Warwick Farm Race 5 No.10 Redzel – $3.80
Redzel just didn’t seem to be there mentally last campaign, he over-raced and pulled at times without ever really putting in and it’s no shock that he returns a gelding because for his racing career to continue that was clearly a necessity. He returns here after trialling very well behind Sooboog at Rosehill in the middle of January and although he takes on some decent older speedsters, this looks a very winnable race for a classy three year old like himself. He’s won at Warwick Farm already (defeating subsequent G1 winner Japonisme by 3 lengths), and he’s drawn to get a perfect trail behind the speed – think he puts it all together this time in.
Warwick Farm Race 7 No.7 Top Striker – $4.50
No horse travelled for as far into the race as Top Striker did at his last start, but the five weeks between runs, the weight, the step up to 1400m and the fact that he was probably not in the best part of the track all played a part in him not being able to come away with the win. Instead he ended a close up fifth, beaten less than a length, in a blanket finish. He stays at the same track and distance for this race, with several of his rivals from there lining up against him again. But the tactics could be slightly different – from that wide draw, they’d be wise to forget about taking a sit, be aggressive from the start and attempt to lead on him and dictate proceedings. He now has the fitness to handle it, and even more importantly there just doesn’t seem to be a whole heap of pace engaged here. Keen on Hughie to do the right thing.
Sandown (Hillside) Race 1 No.12 Zasorceress – $6
Judging by what we saw in her first campaign, Zasorceress won’t be a maiden for long, in fact she may even be able to sprint up here fresh and get it out of the way at her first up run. She looms as more of a middle distance type in the making, and her breeding suggests that will be her go, but we’ve already seen at her two starts that she can definitely perform at the shorter trips and she trialled outstanding the other day at Geelong – it was the effort of a filly that’s beginning to put things together now. She faces a field with some other lightly raced maidens that have shown enough to be well in the mix in this type of race, but still doubt any have the upside of Zasorceress.
Sandown (Hillside) Race 2 No.5 Black Diamond Girl – $2.50
Black Diamond Girl came to the races for her debut with some wraps on her and she did nothing to cast any doubts over her talent, winning by 4 1/2 lengths from Portion Control, a horse who won his next two, including one in town. The way she did it was impressive – jumped the best, racing well within herself she was able to lead without any problems, she clearly has a high cruising speed, and then she put an extra two on her opposition when they turned for home and held that margin comfortably to the line. It was the win of a stakes class filly and after she wins here, that’s what they’ll be looking to run her in next.
Sandown (Hillside) Race 8 No.5 Prestwick – $16
Like lightly raced, high ceiling, Autumn three year olds returning against older restricted types at this time of year and we get a good example of it with Prestwick in the last. From the flying Mick Price camp, Prestwick has displayed ability in his three race starts, winning handily on debut in a Echuca maiden, before coming to town and chasing hard behind Kinglike at level weights, of course Kinglike going on to win a Danehill Stakes at his next run. Prestwick was then spelled, and in his lone Spring effort, he failed badly behind group one placegetter Keen Array, when clearly there was some sort of issue. The plug was pulled straight away on the campaign and he returns here in midweek grade, with the blinkers on for the first time, and draws perfectly in barrier 2. His biggest danger, by the looks of it, is the Chris Waller trained filly French Emotion, who was a recent midweek winner after being transferred from the Sydney arm of the stable, but that was a weak race against her own sex and she got a few favours there, that may be hard to repeat.