We’re set for four sensational Stakes races this Saturday before the UBET Festival of Racing kicks off next weekend. Some of the best horses are starting to make their way to Adelaide and we also see leading Victorian jockeys in Damian Lane and Dwayne Dunn cross the border as Group 1 racing draws near!
The 2018 edition of the Group 3 Breeders’ Stakes looks to be an absolute cracker with some of the best local and interstate two-year-olds set to do battle.
Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas’ Tequila Time has been super impressive in his two wins this preparation and will start the $2.90 favourite with UBET. The gelding will have to contend with a wide barrier but going on his two previous runs, he will be hard to beat.
The previous two-year-old SA Stakes race winners Krone and Fundamentalist are next in line in the market and come from the strong interstate stables of Darren Weir and Lindsay Park. Krone has since gone to run second in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Flemington while Fundamentalist should be ready for this after two weeks off.
The Tony McEvoy pair of Farooq and Al Naifa also have their admirers in the market. Al Naifa ran third behind Fundamentalist in the Listed Dequetteville Stakes while Farooq smashed his rivals in his maiden victory winning by six lengths at Balaklava on debut.
Team Hawkes’ Heart Conquered has strong form lines behind Long Leaf and looked good winning his maiden in March before a weaker showing at Caulfield last start. He is better than that run and Team Hawkes should always to be respected here in South Australia.
Darren Weir will be hoping Peaceful State can recreate the success of his runner Rageese in the 2016 edition of the Nitschke Stakes when he claimed the Listed feature at $1.90 odds.
Rageese blew away his opposition in the 2016 Nitschke by 4.5 lengths when sent out as a short priced favourite and Peaceful State is set to go around at similar odds on Saturday. The colt ran second to Grunt in the Group 1 Australia Guineas in May before a disappointing run in the Randwick Guineas the week after. After six weeks off, he will be looking to add his first Stakes win to his resume with John Allen in the saddle.
Aiming to stop Peaceful State in his tracks will be Tony McEvoy’s Over Exposure. The gelding has won two on the trot and is the only other runner under double figures in the race. He has drawn well in barrier four and gets the services of leading Adelaide jockey Jamie Kah.
The market may suggest this will be a two horse race but there is plenty of quality in the field which features Group 3 winners, Time Awaits and Broadband along with Vinland who chased Winx a couple starts ago. Danger Deal is another who could threaten to cause a boil over. The gelding only has one win to his name but rarely runs a bad race and has run a lot of races in good company.
Arguably the best race of the day will the Listed City of Adelaide Handicap, which sees the return of Listed winners Balf’s Choice, Brown Ben and last year’s Nitschke Stakes winner Fox Hall.
Fox Hall is currently on the second line of betting and looks to be a huge chance in this race after running second to Goodwood winner Vega Magic in a trial last week. He also has a fantastic record over 1400m with four wins and four placings from nine starts. Fox Hall’s stablemate Brown Ben also returns to the track in this race after five months off. The Tokyo City Cup winner has had more success over further distances but has won twice over 1400m.
The Will Clarken pair of Steel Frost and Sudden Wealth have been in good form without finding the post first this year. Steel Frost hit the line hard for fourth in his last start and on that run is the $3.10 favourite with UBET. The five-year-old is undefeated at the track and has a great record over the distance.
The other runner set to have plenty of supporters will be Ciaron Maher’s Schism. The talented mare was only 1.25L behind the classy Miss Gunpowder in the Bendigo Gold Bracelet last start and gets the services of gun Victorian hoop Damian Lane.
While last year’s winner Riziz hasn’t saluted since his victory last year, the nine-year-old just doesn’t know how to run a bad race and has finished third in his last two starts at Listed level. Clare Lindop will take the ride on the Ken Sweeney gelding.
It’s the final hit-out for the boys ahead of the Group 1 SA Derby in two weeks and the Darren Weir trained Leicester is the early $3 favourite with UBET.
Leicester was sent out as the $2 favourite in the Port Adelaide Guineas where he stormed home from the tail of the field to finish fourth. The gelding has defeated a couple very handy fillies this year in Sopressa and Think Bleue, both his stablemates and both are fancied in the market for next weekend’s Group 1 Australasian Oaks. A good ride from Damian Lane could see Leicester move up the SA Derby market if he wins on Saturday.
Darren Weir, the trainer of Leicester will also saddle up another three runners in the field including Tasmanian Derby winner Civil Disobedience and Listed Hill Smith Stakes winner Savaheat.
Five of the last seven winners of this race have come out of a black-type race and the placegetters from the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas Greycliffe and High ‘N’ Dry are also well supported in Saturday’s market sitting second and third respectively with UBET. Greycliffe has matched it with the best in last year’s Victorian Derby while High ‘N’ Dry was the big eye-catching run in the Guineas.
Success in the Chairman’s doesn’t always correlate to success in the Derby however, with Howard Be Thy Name (16) and Rebel Raider (09) the only two horses to do the double in the last twenty years!