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Almanac Racing: The Championships begin

Randwick’s prestigious autumn carnival, The Championships, begins this Saturday with enormous fields filled with local and interstate group one talent. Meanwhile in Victoria, the metropolitan meeting is shifted to Bendigo as the quality travels to Sydney.


The Australian Derby, T.J. Smith Stakes and Doncaster Mile headline the Randwick meeting, along with the New South Wales Country Championships Final, which has a staggering 23 acceptors including emergencies. An incredibly wet month looks like it’ll continue, so hopefully the track holds up throughout the day.


With such large fields and little certainty around what the state of the track will be like, it’s very difficult for me to single out winners. What I do like about these hotly contested, competitive races is the potential to snap up generous odds for a horse that you may have confidence about. If, like me, you have a decent browse and still can’t identify anything upon which to invest, they will surely be thrilling to watch.


It’s pretty hard to go past Gingernuts in the Derby, after he won the Rosehill Guineas (heavy going) on the back of conquering the best of the Kiwi three-year-olds. Easy to mount a case for several others, though.


The T.J. Smith is a cracker this year. Chautauqua will be going for his third T.J. in a row, dropping in distance after failing to get within sight of Winx last start. I think Russian Revolution ticks more boxes than any other horse in the race (proven at Randwick, in heavy going, 2nd up, at the grade), and I have it on top.


The Doncaster has an abundance of chances, and it’s hard to know where to look. I’ll be watching Hey Doc, as the Dad of one of my mates is part-owner and I witnessed what the Australian Guineas victory meant to the massive group of owners. Must be so exciting to have a live hope in such a massive race. I think Le Romain comes in with superb form and hasn’t missed a place on a wet track. A huge watch at longer odds is Spectroscope, a Godolphin import which has won both warm-up starts in Sydney after coming from France. Another bonus is that Moreira jumps on, but it will start from somewhere nearer the Opera House than Randwick after drawing gate 22.


The nine Bendigo races might represent better betting options for punters, and will serve as a good complement to Randwick.


I still get excited whenever I see that Sebring Sun is racing. I happened to watch it trial as an unraced colt (why I was watching Warwick Farm trials on Sky Racing during the latter stages of year 12 is up for debate) and it was just about the most breathtaking performance I had ever seen. It won under a complete hold by nine lengths. It hasn’t lived up to my hype, although it ran third in the Golden Rose, but since moving to Weir’s Victorian operation it has been consistently competitive in strong races. It’s in the first at Bendigo and drops to benchmark 84 grade for the first time in a while. My biased opinion is that it wins!


The third race is a strong two-year-old field that includes Limestone, which has been beaten very narrowly by Catchy and won quality city races in its other two starts.


The Gold Bracelet is the first in the quaddie legs. There’s several key hopes and I found it difficult to separate them. Burning Front can take its winnings to over $1 million with a win in the Golden Mile. That would make it six in a row, but it’s in a huge field that has more depth than the last few wins. Should go very close again.


Theanswermyfriend annihilated some handy horses at Flemington two weeks ago and will likely start odds-on in the eighth race.


The final race is comprised of a bunch of horses whose best days are behind them. Pay Up Bro is a pretty honest horse and should be a nice each-way proposition.



About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. tick, tick, tick Tom.
    Anyone betting pre-post at Randwick is an April Fool.
    Punters will win at Bendigo.

  2. Punters will win at Randwick as well if they’re brave and back Endless Drama in the donny, Waller quinella with McCreery

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