For the most part, we've already seen that the Sydney three-year-old form, especially amongst the males, is superior to their Melbourne counterparts. I expect that to continue for the remainder of the Spring, including those heading towards the Derby.
Without breaking it down completely, Thinkin' Big was absolutely massive second-up in the Spring Champion. Yes, he was beaten as a well-supported favourite, but very little went right on that wet surface. For the Tulloch Lodge colt to still be there sticking on in the last 200 metres, just confirmed to me how much staying potential this son of High Chaparral has.
He now comes to Melbourne for his Derby preparation, and, with the extra fitness now under his belt, I expect him to come out here and announce himself as the horse to beat in the Blue Ribband. He should be able to slide across easily enough from that wide gate and dictate, hopefully without doing a silly amount of work. From there he can up the tempo getting to the 600 metres and get the others off the bit and chasing.
I can't see them running him down, as he's such a strong type that just won't weaken.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
I think we're going to see vast improvement from Eawase on Saturday, now that she's down in grade a touch.
That's not even to say she's not up to the sort of level she raced in at her last start, when beaten six lengths in the Tranquil Star by Smart Melody. I do believe she can be a group class conveyance, but that race didn't pan out at all for her, or any of the others back in the field. Prior to that she was in the wrong race first up against a good bunch of open-age sprinters - just put the pen through both of those runs.
This is significantly easier and Damian Lane should be able to ride her in the back half of the field, bide his time, get to the outside and let her turn of foot do the rest. We saw in the Brisbane winter what she's capable of when she mowed down listed class fillies. If she gets the chance to show her best that's well and truly good enough to beat this lot, especially under the set weights and penalties conditions.
I've been set for at least a month to tip Youngstar in the Caulfield Cup, and don't get me wrong, she's ticked all the boxes in the lead up. But, after a stellar debut run here last week in the Caulfield Stakes, combined with his high quality form back home, I'm now in the corner of The Cliffsofmoher.
This is a quality individual who has run some cracking races in some of the best events on offer in the UK, including a second in the English Derby beating home Cracksman. In his last start prior to coming to Australia, he ran a lovely third in the Eclipse Stakes to Roaring Lion, a genuine star of the turf.
His sectionals were fantastic at Caulfield, he is proven over this trip, and I actually don't think he's badly in. The one concern is where he ends up from barrier three, he's certainly going to be near the tail of the field, so how Hugh Bowman navigates him from there will be key. If he gets the space when he needs it, they'll struggle to hold him out.
He's been a bit of an enigma, New Universe, ever since arriving on our shores from New Zealand. He won his first two starts in Sydney and looked a stakes class galloper in the making, but outside of a few starts later at Ballarat, he hasn't won again since. Chris Waller has tinkered with him over a variety of distances to try and find the real key to him.
My opinion is that he's a sprinter, that needs speed on, races better fresh, and likes some give in the ground. He gets all of those boxes ticked for his first up tilt this time in on Saturday.
There's no doubt he's got ability, he was close up on four occasions in Sydney last preparation, two of them in black type races, but he just couldn't get across the line first. I think that changes here and, who knows, perhaps it will be the making of him and we'll see him flourish moving forward.
OVER THE ODDS
In June's Tatts Tiara, Prompt Response started a well-backed $4 favourite and Invincibella started $13, with the former duly saluting. Yet here we are only a few months later, and Prompt Response is double-figure odds, having had only the one start since. Prompt Response is only giving a kilo to Invincibella over basically the same trip, whilst Chris Waller's mare is a $3.50 pop. Sure she's obviously going well, but that seems out of whack to me.
Prompt Response is all class, has raced in superb company her entire career. Given The Empire Rose on Derby Day is her main aim, I'd say she's going to be pretty close to the mark now fitness-wise, despite only being second up and not having had a run for almost a month.
Should have a great run from gate 3, is obviously well in, and is a proven commodity the Melbourne way of going. At those odds I have to be chiming in.
Leg 1 - 1,2,3,7
Leg 2 - 2,6,11,12,18
Leg 3 - 1,3,4,7
Leg 4 - 5,8
($100 = 62.5%)
Leg 1 - 3,7,9
Leg 2 - 1,2,3,5,6,8,9,10,11,12
Leg 3 - 4,5,6
Leg 4 - 4,5
($100 = 55.55%)