Thursday 26 March 2020

Saturday 28th March 2020: Independence Hall to Stake Triple Crown Claim

After the successes last week of Addeybb and Jetz we go again, despite the lack of racing in Britain due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ireland is now cancelled too and at this point we’d usually be concentrating on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan, but despite that and other postponements top-class racing is still offered in both Australia and the States and we have some good information for both Rosehill in Australia and Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Odds on these races are widely available with most major online bookmakers with us beginning at Rosehill Gardens and remember; it’s a very early morning start for UK-based punters so be on the ball!

4.50 Rosehill (Tancred Stakes – Group 1) – MIRAGE DANCER

A competitive Group 1 event over a mile-and-a-half, one in which former European runners Southern France, Danceteria and 2019 Ebor winner Mustajeer should all be comfortable.

Last year’s winner Avilius doesn’t seem to be in the same frame of mind this year, while he also ran just seven days ago behind Addeybb.  Ahead of him a week ago was main danger Verry Elleegant, Chris Waller’s Australian Oaks winning filly and her trainer is adamant she wants this trip although the quick turnaround can’t be ideal after what was a hard enough race behind William Haggas’ six-year-old.

The one to be on at a good price could be the former Sir Michael Stoute-trained Mirage Dancer.  A Group 3 winner and close third to Group 1 scorer Defoe in the Hardwick Stakes last season, this son of Frankel really needs this trip which explains some underwhelming recent runs.

By all accounts he remains in great heart, has the inside draw and trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young are confident of a big run, as they should be given his overall level of form.

4.10 Rosehill (Star Kingdom Stakes – Group 3 Handicap) – VEGADAZE

This is a tough handicap and thus it’s advised that stakes are to be kept small, however that’s fine given that the selection could be around the 10/1 mark and he is one of few who, if running to his best level, could be described as being very well handicapped.

The likely favourite is three-year-old Villami, a last time out winner at Randwick but that was against his own age group and he is bound to find this a whole lot tougher.

James McDonald’s mount Brave Song’s most recent form figures are 88880- but he remains capable at the weights while Godolphin’s Manicure and topweight Kementari both hold chances, though again don’t look the best off at the weights.

In the case of Anthony Cummings’ Vegadaze, he’s run well in two Group 2’s off level weights both here and at Randwick and in these conditions should get back to near his best, something that makes him well-in off this rating and yet with such little mileage on his clock he could even improve further.  Tom Marquand rides and he should get a good tune out of the four-year-old son of Lope De Vega.

5.30 Rosehill (Vinery Stud Stakes – Group 1) – FUNSTAR

We’re not expecting a big price about this horse, a filly trained by Chris Waller just like last year’s winner Verry Elleegant who of course races on the card once again.

If the odds should become at least in some way backable though then she’s worth a shot as on all known evidence should looks very much the solid one in the line-up under James McDonald.

Already having had several battles, the form line to concentrate on is that between our horse and Kerrin McAvoy’s mount Probabeel, with the current score standing at 3-1 to Chris Waller’s horse.

The one time she was beaten was over seven furlongs on good ground and, while the ground is good again here, it seems the selection is the one that wants a longer trip and so a more dominant defeat of Probabeel over this mile-and-a-quarter, much like when the two met over a mile on softish ground in October, is to be expected.

10.36 Gulfstream Park (Florida Derby – Grade 1) – INDEPENDENCE HALL

This Grade 1 event is one of the very top races on the now rearranged Road to the Kentucky Derby, providing full points as a prep race for Churchill Downs and also offering Grade One status and a first prize of well over £300,000 in its own right.

The solid one on the evidence we’ve seen so far is likely short-priced favourite Tiz The Law, Barclay Tagg’s colt who beat Ete Indien comfortably in the Holy Bull Stakes before the latter went on to score around here in the GII Fountain of Youth by a huge 8½ lengths.

That’s where his status as solid favourite comes from, although it’s clear Ete Indien wasn’t at his best when they last raced and it could be that they are both at the same, admittedly good level.

On a line through the fairly solid Ajaaweed we can gain some insight into the well thought of Independence Hall however, and it could be that we’re looking at the best horse in the race here.

While arguably neither ran to their best when finishing second and a distant third in a Grade 3 over at Tampa Bay Downs recently, a look at how the odds played out among other things as well taking weight into account, it’s thought Michael Trombetta’s colt is at least 10lbs better than Ajaaweed and that would put him in with a winning shot here if true.

He built up a big reputation last autumn as a juvenile when winning the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes very easily at Aqueduct and, despite some saying he didn’t get home last time, being by Constitution and more importantly being a grandson of Tiznow much like the favourite, it could be that he routes just fine and should be comfortable at this distance.  He looks the value in the race.

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