This race always holds intrigue, as the Spring 3YO crop who are showing staying potential come together for an acid test over 2000m.
This staying distance will be uncharted territory for all runners and represents a key turning point in their chosen paths for the remainder of Spring, as well as next Autumn.
Expect those who run well and run-on hard from any position in the field, to go on to the VRC Derby.
Those who are found wanting as they're stretched out for the first time, are likely to be kept to key mile 3YO races this season.
The market is wide open and a close betting watch is advised as we approach start time for the best leads.
Randwick Track Traits
Randwick is currently rated a Good 3 with the rail out 6m from the 1600m mark to the winning post, and 4m the remainder.
Significant rain is expected on both Thursday and Friday in Sydney, with a chance this extends to Saturday's race day.
With the rail out only slightly, a fair racing surface should present for punters. If the track did reach a Heavy rating however, expect those drawn toward the outside and angling wider to be advantaged later in the day.
Racing Market Movers
Race favourite Thinkin' Big remains solid at the opening $3.40 quote, whilst there are no other significant moves of note in early betting.
#1 Thinkin' Big $3.40
Is one we know will have no problem running this right out, following the absolute domination in The Gloaming over 1800m where he led and brained them all.
He maps to get an easy lead again and will attempt to roll along in front before giving a strong kick as they top the famed Randwick Rise.
Although he looks to have those coming through the Gloaming covered (many of the top chances here), this race can provide an upset result with those arriving here via other form-lines. A point that is often overlooked in this race.
The $3.40 is getting skinny, however no doubting he controls it from out in front.
With little pressure, he must be considered a leading chance.
#2 Tarka $8
Was the surprise winner of a hot Stan Fox, where he beat The Autumn Sun (since coined a superstar).
Have to respect that form and the wet track experience on that particular day (Heavy 8), as it appears we'll be racing on a rain affected track here.
If the heavens open his chances improve significantly, however he can still run very well in any conditions.
Leading chance, who should be elevated to top pick if it turns to slop.
#4 Aramayo $7
Godolphin are simply flying at the moment and always have to be respected with a deep talent pool to choose from.
This colt earnt his chance to tackle this grade following a dominant display last start in the Newcastle Spring Stakes (1600m), where he was wide and toughed it out right to the line to prevail narrowly.
He appears to be the one with plenty of upside, who could eat up the 2000m.
Slight concern he gets too far back and buried along the rail from gate 1. However, if they go quick enough he will get his chance down the long Randwick straight.
Could surprise. A close watch at late market moves is advised to determine the stable's confidence.
#5 Dealmaker $7
Arrives via The Gloaming, where he finished a close up 2 of 9 when just missing behind the highly fancied Thinkin' Big.
He got well back on that occasion and ran-on strongly, which profiles perfectly for the added distance of this.
Can't ignore the "Waller factor" when he has horses entered in the staying features, and the stable would have this colt cherry ripe to tackle this.
Gets back again from an outside draw (gate 11), where Damien Oliver will be hoping they pour plenty of pressure on at the front-end.
With any tempo present, he will be storming home down the outside.
Confident he can turn the tables on the favourite here, and over the extra journey he must go on top.
#6 Mickey Blue Eyes $9.50
Was hard in early betting at his last outing, when punters got it right and he charged through a gap late to nail the smart Gem Song right on the line.
Team Hayes have a huge opinion and he is another on a VRC Derby path if he can impress here.
Slight concern he comes via weaker form-lines of The Dulcify over 1600m. Furthermore, the jump in distance is much steeper for him relative to a few of these who have already been seasoned over the 1800m Gloaming distance.
Big query that he will stay a strong 2000m and happy to bet around at the $9.50. No.
#10 Purple Sector $8.50
Another who impressed in The Dulcify, when he looked to be the unlucky runner after being held up and experiencing a torrid run throughout.
He has been hard in the market his past two, which is a great indication the stable know he has the talent.
Punters will be forced to take him on trust at this level, following the chequered run here last start which proved inconclusive.
He looks the value at $10 and must be included in everything.
#12 Frankely Awesome $8.50
Exhibits a fascinating profile coming straight to town for a big Group 1, following the Scone victory and the Newcastle maiden win two back.
There is no doubting the ability of the Kris Lees stable when placing them to win and he should be respected at all costs.
They would be desperate to run well here and continue on to the big Spring/Autumn classics, however it just looks a bridge too far at only his third career start and happy to risk on this occasion. No.
Of The Others
#11 Maid Of Heaven trained by the well regarded Mark Newnham and has a great chance in this race following a close up 6 of 13 in the Flight Stakes here last start. He struggled to find clear running in that race and pulled throughout. Can bounce back big time at odds.
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