Friday 3 April 2020

Saturday 4th April 2020: Early Morning Warning in Aussie Derby

Despite regular updates from the BHA, which are appreciated, we are really no clearer right now on exactly when horse racing can resume in the UK however our betting opportunities have not dwindled given the sheer amount of action on offer in the States as well as in Australia.

We have three good value bets on each side of the world this week, beginning with another big day of Group 1 action down under as the Australian Derby provides us with an early chance to get a short-priced favourite beaten.

5.55AM Randwick (Australian Derby – Group 1) – WARNING

A competitive Group 1 for the four-year-olds, one in which the likely favourite Castelvecchio has been well touted.  While his overall level of form definitely gives him a winning chance, the fact is that his best work was done at Moonee Valley on good ground over 1m2f and again at Rosehill over the same trip last time.

He’s also been beaten twice by Shadow Hero, though his own form seems to have flattened out and he doesn’t appear to want this mile-and-a-half trip.

The one who will clearly appreciate the race conditions though is Anthony Freedman’s Declaration Of War colt Warning, a grandson of Galileo.

Although beaten last time in the Rosehill Guineas behind Castelvecchio, he was scintillating at Flemington in the Victoria Derby back in November and finally gets the trip and ground he needs to show himself at his best, which should be enough to land this.  Quick Thinker is best of the rest.

6.35AM Randwick (TJ Smith Stakes – Group 1) – NATURE STRIP

A tight and competitive Group 1 sprint for the most part, but the one that stands out from the rest of the field is Chris Waller’s Nature Strip and he is taken to land the near £400,000 first prize.

He handled this track and similar underfoot conditions perfectly last time out when taking care of Redzel by an easy three lengths, and he was a Group 1 winner over this trip at Flemington back in November.

A five-year-old who is only getting better, he could be on for a new career high here but even if that doesn’t materialise he should have enough in his locker to take care of main rival Santa Ana Lane, who can come back to himself but has been easily beaten by the selection on his last two starts.

Of the three-year-olds, I prefer Loving Gaby with the fillies’ allowance to Exceedance and Bivouac, while last week’s column winner Vegadaze isn’t the worst 80/1 chance you’ll ever see for each-way purposes.

7.50AM Randwick (PJ Bell Stakes – Group 3) – SANGRIA

A six-furlong sprint for three-year-old fillies, the form in the grand scheme of things isn’t great but there could be some real value to be had in the shape of Sangria.

A winner last time out in a decent race at Flemington over 5½ furlongs, she should have conditions very much to her liking here and at the weights looks the one to be on at potentially 5/1+.

Likely favourite Rubisaki is the biggest danger on the book, while Godolphin’s Kiamichi could also run into a place and is priced up nicely too.

8.30PM Tampa Bay Downs (Allowance Race) – SERANITSA

This is an $18,000 allowance race on the turf track at 1m½f, one in which Brendan Walsh’s Seranitsa looks nicely clear of this field and from gate 2 she should be able to get the perfect trip around under jockey Antonio Gallardo.

Walsh is the trainer of leading Triple Crown hope Maxfield and is a handler we can definitely trust, his four-year-old filly making his seasonal reappearance after a good season in 2019 during which she was a winner, a runner-up and a third from six starts on the turf.

Her morning line odds of 5/2 seem fair enough to me, while in behind it seems to be very close between War Rose, Hungry Kitten and Pallas Athene who can fight it out for the minors.

10.20PM Gulfstream Park (Optional Claiming Race) – FIRST PREMIO

An interesting $48,000 optional claimer, one in which Mark Casse’s First Premio should have enough to see off his opposition.

Tyler Gaffalione’s mount is six now, but he performed well enough last season to suggest he can still run to a level good enough at level weights to beat the improving Halladay, who is drawn wide, as well as Kroy and the returning Colonist of Todd Pletcher’s barn.

11.09PM Oaklawn Park (Purple Martin Stakes) – EDGEWAY

This is a good quality fillies’ six-furlong sprint, worth some $100,000.  Many British punters will be familiar with Wesley Ward’s Kimari who was hot property at Royal Ascot last year where she was beaten just ahead in the Queen Mary Stakes, and while her form is strong it probably puts her more or less on a par with morning line favourite Frank’s Rockette.

At a morning line show of 3/1 though, the value in the race is the very speedy Edgeway of John Sadler’s barn, a trainer with nearly $130million in prize money to his name.  She has had just the one career start so far, rifling home over this course and distance under today’s jockey Tyler Baze to score by five lengths last month and she looks to be the real deal.

Kimari and Frank’s Rockette look nicely clear of the rest of the field, at least on the book, and so can therefore be used to compile exactas and trifectas etc, but it would be disappointing if Edgeway didn’t prove too good for them both from gate 4.

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