This Friday night, April 20th, an array of familiar talent from The Championships will be back in action at Royal Randwick racecourse for the final meeting of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. The Schweppes All Aged Stakes Day will see leading trainers like Chris Waller, James Cummings, Darren Weir, Gai Waterhouse and Tony McEvoy, put the finishing touches on what's been a productive season, with entries in the G1 All Aged Stakes and G1 Champagne Stakes.
There is plenty of value to be found in the competitive fields of the day's feature races. Trapeze Artist will face Hartnell and Brave Smash in the G1 All Aged Stakes, while Seabrook and El Dorado Dreaming continue their rivalry for the Two-Year-Old Triple Crown at the G1 Champagne Stakes. The Group 1 fixtures will be accompanied by the Group 3 JRA Plate, James HB Carr Stakes, Hall Mark Stakes and Frank Packer Plate.
Australia's leading trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman will also attract attention this Friday evening. Waller has Japanese import Satono Rasen, G2 Apollo Stakes-winner Endless Drama and Doncaster Mile-starter Tom Melbourne, running for him in the All Aged Stakes on the back of his champion mare Winx's record 25th straight win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Should one of his charges cross the finish line first in the All Aged Stakes, Waller would wrap up the season with 11 Group wins. He already secured 10 wins, with three coming from Winx, Who Shot Thebarman (Sydney Cup) and Unforgotten (ATC Australian Oaks). He now boasts an all-time record of six successive seasons retaining the national Group 1 premiership.
Bowman's career stats are equally impressive. Winx's regular rider, and the world's best jockey, walks away this season with nine major race victories, which could translate into a record fourth consecutive national Group 1 jockeys' premiership. Bowman hopes that his All Aged Stakes mount, Hartnell, will edge him closer to that honor.
G1 $ $600,000/US$468,000 SCHWEPPES ALL AGED STAKES
The All Aged Stakes is a weight-for-age for all horses held over 7 furlongs. It will get under way at 3:05 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday, April 21st (1:05 a.m. EDT, or 10:05 p.m. PDT on Friday night). The TJ Smith Stakes has once again proved to be an essential prelude for the All Aged Stakes, with four runners from The Championships opening day event taking part.
Trapeze Artist is the standout in a wide-open field that should produce several close finishes. After a third finish in the Randwick Guineas, the Gerald Ryan-trained colt emerged triumphant in the TJ Smith Stakes on Day 1 of The Championships. He set a new mark by clocking 1:08.29, not only upsetting Australia's best sprinter, Redzel, but also besting Black Caviar's record of 1:08.71, set in 2011. “Everyone says he is the forgotten horse but I have never overlooked him,” said Ryan.
Trapeze Artist and last year's All Aged runner-up Le Romain, fourth in the TJ Smith Stakes, are the highest rated horses in the field. However, as far as the favorites go, the top two spots on the betting market currently belong to Trapeze Artist (3/2) and the Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash (6/1). Despite finishing seventh in the TJ Smith, Brave Smash made his presence felt earlier this season, running second in the G1 Newmarket Handicap, first in the G1 Futurity Stakes, and third in the C.F. Orr Stakes.
Into this mix comes the Godolphin stalwart, Hartnell (8/1), who last competed on March 10th in the Australian Cup and will come into Friday night race well-rested. “He's back after a six-week break and looks nice and fresh coming into this race,” said Cummings. Hartnell will be looking to bag his fourth Group 1, with his last win coming in the C.F. Orr Stakes in February.
G1 A$500,000/US$389,000 ATC CHAMPAGNE STAKES
The G1 Champagne Stakes, slated for 3:05 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday, April 21st (1:05 a.m. EDT, or 10:05 p.m. PDT Friday night), is run over 1 mile as the final leg of the Two-Year-Old Triple Crown. The first leg is the G1 Golden Slipper Stakes, won by Estijaab. The second leg, the Sires' Produce Stakes, was notable this year for El Dorado Dreaming's photo finish victory over the much fancied Oohood. Despite the spectacular upset that paid $99.50 for a $1 bet, El Dorado Dreaming looks to be the unlikely bargain pick for the Champagne Stakes. She currently sits sixth at 17/2, behind Bondi and Outrageous (both 7/1). Seabrook has inherited the role as the early betting favorite (18/5) for the Champagne Stakes. After two disappointing performances in the Golden Slipper and Sires' Produce Stakes, her trainer Mick Price hopes to turn her form around significantly.
Price isn't the only one looking to move forward from his charge's recent struggles. Ciaron Maher's Not A Single Cent came in tenth in the Sires' Produce Stakes and will be stepping up as the 4/1 second favorite in the Champagne Stakes, joined by Sires' Produce fourth runner Long Leaf (5/1).
North American fans will be able to place bets on All Aged Stakes Day via ADWs such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRA Bets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, AmWager, and BetAmerica. Live streaming of the races will be available on these outlets as well as TVG, where Sky Racing World's Jason Witham will provide live updates, and analysis. Free expert picks and past performances can be found at Sky Racing World.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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