All Aged Stakes Day headlines the Saturday racing action at Randwick, while Ascot, Caulfield, Doomben and Oakbank also stage key meetings.
Saturday feature racing comes at Randwick where the Group 1 All Aged Stakes and Champagne Stakes headline the action. Other metro racing comes at Ascot, Caulfield, Doomben and Oakbank.
Follow our guide to the weekend below:
ASCOT - Aaron Hamilton
Race 6 - VALE IRENE LUGG HANDICAP (1400m) 3:45pm
DENDEE loves this track and has two wins from four at the distance including a last start win in tougher company. She gets in well at the weights after the claim and should land in the box seat from barrier 2 before bursting clear over the concluding stages.
Race 7 - OLD COMRADE STAKES (1600m) 4:20pm
I’m going out on a limb and predicting the defeat of Man Booker as he aims for five straight on Saturday. He won over 1500m in 1:30.70 last start and goes up 1.5kg, while INFATHUATED wasn’t far away in 3rd place over 1500m in a time of 1:30.60. Infathuated drops 6.5kg on that run (and his last), and on weights and times, he’s the one to beat.
Race 8 - PEACOCK BROS HANDICAP (2200m) 4:55pm
A lot of these have very poor records at Ascot and that gives ROSEWOOD HILL a big advantage. The four-year-old mare has two wins and three placings from five starts at the track and is at peak fitness for a 2200m event following five runs this campaign. She was badly held up last time and probably should have won, but with a bit more luck from barrier 3 this time, she’s the one to beat.
CAULFIELD - Aaron Hamilton
Race 3 - BERT BRYANT HANDICAP (1100m) 12:55pm
It’s hard to go past the flashy-looking MISS VISTA from the good gate. She trialled brilliantly ahead of this, but what’s most important is, she settled in the trial instead of being a one-pace speed machine. She’ll land in the box seat and can launch late.
Race 6 - ROBERT TARANTO HANDICAP (2425m) 2:45pm
DE LITTLE ENGINE looks over the odds here despite dropping back in trip from a last start 6th placing in the Adelaide Cup (3200m). Fourth-up last campaign he was seven lengths from Jameka in the Caulfield Cup, and he comes into Saturday’s race fourth-up with superior fitness to last prep. If he’s stoked up early, he can power over the top of them.
Race 10 - BRAVO GREG MILES (1600m) 5:20pm
THE CHAIRMAN took leaps and bounds last campaign and has an explosive turn of foot when right. The fact Mick Price is kicking him off over 1600m in what is a tough event, suggest he may have been set for a big first-up run. I’m willing to take a punt on the guess he was.
DOOMBEN - Ric Chapman
Race 4 - 1:57PM $60,000 ASCOT GREEN CARNIVAL HIGH TEA OPEN Handicap (1050 METRES)
TUMBLER has won from 5 from her 6 starts and has been kept in cotton wool as she progresses through the grades. She has trialled like a bomb recently and now she is in open company with nothing on her back. Just watch her destroy these.
Race 5 - 2:37PM $60,000 BRC MEMBERSHIPS QTIS Three-Years-Old Plate (1350 METRES)
This filly CANDIKA is about the best placed horse in any race anywhere in Australia. Looks way better than these. I’ll take those odds on offer and then turn around and take them again.
Race 7 - 3:57PM $60,000 SKY THOROUGHBRED CENTRAL OPEN Handicap (1350 METRES)
SEIGRIED is racing in terrific fashion this campaign. His owners must be over-the-moon. Chased home hard very similar race last start when a game 3rd. Slightly, if anything, easier here and the rails draw makes him a really good bet.
OAKBANK - Aaron Hamilton
Race 1 - HARCOURTS ADELAIDE HILLS BENCHMARK 82 HCP (1400m) 11:58am
Oakbank can be a real horses-for-courses type track and that’s one of the reason’s I’m sticking with SATURDAY AFFAIR. This is a big drop back in trip, but he’s rock-hard-fit and should be stalking the favourite, Chamois Road, who is yet to win in six starts when stepping up to 1400m. He won his only start at the track and trip back in 2014, and considering that was his only win throughout the entire year, I’m guessing he likes Oakbank.
Race 3 - SOMERLED BENCHMARK 120 HURDLE - 2900m - 01:08pm
Distillation goes up 6.5kg from his last start win and Darren Weir’s Renew also goes up in weight and has drawn poorly in gate 16. That puts some question marks around the top two and I’m going with a couple of value runners. SEARAVEN didn’t have a lot of luck at Oakbank on the flat last time and has trialled brilliantly since. He can improve out of sight. CABLE BAY is an interesting runner who always goes well over jumps in trials but hasn’t performed well on the flat for some time now. He was off the scene for two and a half years but could surprise over the jumps. Leaning toward SEARAVEN but will have a small saver on Cable Bay at $18 too.
Race 6 - THOMAS FOODS INTERNATIONAL VON DOUSSA STEEPLECHASE (3250m) 3:03pm
Zed Em has been installed the $2 favourite for this race and was ultra-impressive winning by a big space last start, but NISHIAZABU owns this circuit and he still has upside. The reigning Von Doussa champ was given another good hit-out in a trial following his impressive last start win, and with 3.5kg less than last start, he can run a massive race and go back-to-back.
RANDWICK - Ric Chapman
Race 4 - 1:50PM $150,000 TAB HALL MARK STAKES (1200 METRES)
TAKEDOWN just looks deliciously placed here. He goes well first up and is so big the weight wont worry. He's proven his class against better rivals than this and has trialled well going into the race. The money will come for him on track. Very hard to beat with REDZEL the only main concern.
Race 6 - 3:05PM $500,000 MOET & CHANDON CHAMPAGNE STAKES (1600 METRES)
Team Snowden has for a while laid claims to being the best training set up in Sydney and can notch another Group 1 upon their burgeoning belt in this with their star colt INVADER. Superstar colt, already a Group 1 winner and looks to have this at his mercy. Ground home too well to beat a better field in winning the 1400m Sires’ Produce last start. So far 11 of the past 20 Champagne Stakes have been won by horses who just won the Sires’. Is getting better with racing, has the best rider on board and drawn the rails. Easy to tip. THE MISSION is an under-rated baby. He led all way to win in the wet at Group 3 level recently beating some smart colts then backed up in the Sires' Produce and somehow was 10th on the bend, 3-wide a long way off the lead. Kept fighting and finding something to claim 6th in the end. Not as much pressure here - he looms as a big outsider with a major hope.
Race 7 - 3:45PM $600,000 SCHWEPPES ALL AGED STAKES (1400 METRES)
LE ROMAIN disappointed in the Group 1 Doncaster after striking bother being held up at a vital stage. He'd done well this time up so trainer Kris Lees tipped him out for a spell. But 4 days later he was bucking his brand off. He put on weight, was feeling extraordinarily good so Lees brought him for a tilt at this race. Winkers go back on for the first time since he scored a Group 1 win in Melbourne last year and Hughie will steer. Fresh, lively, track getting better by the minute, and with top rider - he looks the goods. Harest to beat will be ENGLISH who won this race so gallantly last year.