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Doncaster/Derby Day Preview with Chris Scholtz

3 minute read

Chris Scholtz previews the Doncaster/Derby Day meeting at Randwick on April 6 with selections and best bets plus Trial Watch and Blackbook runners.

CELESTIAL LEGEND wins the Randwick Guineas
CELESTIAL LEGEND wins the Randwick Guineas Picture: Steve Hart



With so many factors in their favour on a serious heavy track it's hard to split the classy Guineas winners (19) CELESTIAL LEGEND and (20) SOUTHPORT TYCOON.

The G1 form around them is outstanding and their 5kg advantage over fellow 3YO (4) MILITARIZE underlines how well off they are carrying only 49kg in a race that has been won 32 times by the 3YO age group including eight since 2000 - a massive strike rate at G1 level of 33 percent. CELESTIAL LEGEND beat MILITARIZE at level weights in the G1 Randwick Guineas with the latter franking that form with his strong third against the older horses in the G1 George Ryder while the subsequent G1 winners Veight (George Ryder) and Rocket Riff (Rosehill Guineas) were beaten fair and square by SOUTHPORT TYCOON in the Australian Guineas at Flemington.

(18) ANOTHER WIL is an impressive young star with it all ahead of him and he won't get into a G1 race like this with 50kg again as he could not be re-handicapped for last Saturday's easy Prelude win under 53kg. They all have the necessary wet track credentials as does (16) LINDERMANN who has hit his peak at the right time with a big win over a subsequent G1 winner in the Sky High Stakes over 2000m. He's back in distance but four horses have won the Doncaster since 2013 after having their final preps in longer races and he fits the criteria that you need a 2000m horse to win a Doncaster.

(12) LADY LAGUNA is a query at 1600m first time but she loves it wet and is the weight horse from the George Ryder with a 6kg drop to 51kg. (13) DEMOCRACY MANIFEST is another well treated on 51kg as he could not be penalised for his strong lead up win in the Ajax Stakes under 56kg. They are must inclusions for extended exotics. Include (8) DETONATOR JACK and (21) NUGGET, third in last year's Doncaster, if he secures a start.

DONCASTER SELECTIONS: (19) CELESTIAL LEGEND; (20) Southern Tycoon; (18) Another Wil; (16) Lindermann; (4) Militarize; (12) Lady Laguna; (13) Democracy Manifest; (8) Detonator Jack

Best Bets

RACE 4: (12) GOOD BANTER: A big field of evenly matched fillies with most stepping up to 2000m for the first time. This daughter of Tavistock has been looking for ground from day one with her latest effort in the G3 Kembla Grange Classic over 1600m, where she worked home for sixth on a Soft 6, a strong pointer to her chances over this distance on her home track. She won her maiden on a Heavy 9 and I'm confident she is one who will cope with the expected conditions.

RACE 8: (10) MANAAL: The first five from the Golden Slipper meet again with this filly the one the that found the line best, running the fastest last 600m from well off the pace after she was dragged back from a wide gate. She's won both her Randwick starts, her finishing strength in all her races being a firm pointer to her prospects over 1400m. She's was very comfortable winning the G2 Sweet Embrace on a Soft 5, adding to her appeal as the value bet in a race that seems certain to be run under testing conditions.

RACE 10 (12) COMMEMORATIVE: This big framed filly holds ample scope to improve off her classy first up win over 1200m at Wyong where she comfortably carried the good weight of 57.5kg for her second success in only five starts. She's won both her starts on soft tracks and with a handy drop to the limit weight she is poised to deliver on the Group potential she has displayed from the start of her career.

MANAAL Picture: Martin King / Sportpix


RACE 1: (1) ESPIONAGE; (3) Embassy; (4) Roselyn's Star; (7) Extreme Diva

RACE 2: (8) VERONA; (2) Stockman; (10) Yankee Hussel; (11) Circle Of Fire

RACE 3: (9) PORT LOCKROY; (2) Witz End; (5) Tannhauser; (6) Kintyre

RACE 4: (12) GOOD BANTER; (7) Private Legacy; (1) Autumn Angel (11) Ahuriri

RACE 5: (11) ASSOCIATE; (1) Bandi's Boy; (12) Atmospheric Rock; (9) Sharp Shock

RACE 6: (10) MANAAL; (1) Storm Boy; (3) Traffic Warden; (9) Lady Of Camelot

RACE 7: (11) SUNSHINE IN PARIS; (1) I Wish I Win; (8) Imperatriz; (9) Bella Nipotina

RACE 8: (19) CELESTIAL LEGEND; (20) Southern Tycoon; (18) Another Wil; (16) Lindermann

RACE 9: (1) RIFF ROCKET; (3) Ceowulf; (14) Zardozi; (2) Tom Kitten

RACE 10: (12) COMMEMORATIVE; (6) Miraval Rose; (1) Learning To Fly; (9) Facile

RIFF ROCKET Picture: Steve Hart

Why They Can Win….

RACE 1: (1) ESPIONAGE - Would have been a player in the Golden Slipper. Subsequent trial has him primed.

RACE 2: (8) VERONA - Has been set to peak at this carnival. Wet conditions enhance her chances.

RACE 3: (9) PORT LOCKROY - Has loads of potential. Big scope for improvement off his first up placing.

RACE 5: (11) ASSOCIATE - Lightly raced 4YO has hit form at the right time. Profiles to improve off his qualifying win.

RACE 7: (11) SUNSHINE IN PARIS - Showed her class first-up off her long break. No ceiling to her scope for improvement. 

RACE 8: (19) CELESTIAL LEGEND - Could be with any of the 3YOs but he's the one with the X factor. Faultless prep.

RACE 9: (1) RIFF ROCKET - Has been in a class of his own at 2000m and beyond. Can do the Derby double.

SUNSHINE IN PARIS Picture: Steve Hart



RANDWICK SATURDAY: Embassy (R1); Espionage (R1); Hallet (R1); Espiona (R7); Celestial Legend (R8); Southport Tycoon (R8); August Moon (R10); Cigar Flick (R10)

NEWCASTLEY SATURDAY: Diva Las Vegas (R1); Slay Queen (R1); Hydrometer (R4); Monty The Missile (R4); Rum Diary (R4); Itsacircus (R5); Linguee (R7)

RECENT TRIAL WATCH WINNERS: Physical Graffiti; Inquisitive Legend; Rantan; Froebel Star; Killcare Beachgirl; Gringotts; Another Wil; Linebacker; More Territories; Lady Of Camelot; Growing Empire; Left Field; Commemorative; Canamble; Empress Of Japan; Red Card; Cassiel; Hallet; Holmes A Court; Short Shorts; Infancy; Rustic Steel; Briasa 

VERONA Picture: Martin King / Sportpix


NEWCASTLE March 27: Some top Sydney stables sent some of their better youngsters up the highway for tick over trials ahead of the Randwick carnival. The impressive Randwick debut winner HALLETT also took the eye finishing second under a quiet ride after tracking wide in the fastest 800m heat (47.86; 33.52).

WARWICK FARM MARCH 26: The promising EMBASSY stood out in the 2YO heats with a classy win in the fastest 794m heat (46.51; 33.95), going through his gears effortlessly with plenty in reserve at the finish. We'll never know what ESPIONAGE might have been capable of in the Golden Slipper! Showed he will be a player in the Group races at Randwick after he took on older horses in an open heat over 1200m, working home from midfield to win comfortably in the fastest of the three heats over the distance (71.63; 35.60). Australian Guineas winner SOUTHPORT TYCOON had an easy time in his first Sydney trial, working home under a big hold for a soft second in his 1200m heat (72.86; 34.91). The Guineas form is outstanding and this trial underlined that he'll be a real threat in the Doncaster. In the fastest 797m heat (46.35; 33.73) top class mare ESPIONA worked well within herself for second but again showing a tendency to turn her head and lay in, a trait that already cost her wins.

RANDWICK March 22: We haven't seen many youngsters by Bellevue Hill but his unraced filly DIVA LAS VEGAS sure knows how to run. Showed terrific natural speed to lead her debut trial with ease by five lengths, skating along under a tight hold before she was throttled down by Adam Hyeronimus to win the 740m heat by a 2.5 lengths in sharp time (43.52; 32.92). Randwick Guineas winner CELESTIAL LEGEND showed his class to win his 1200m heat (73.18; 35.25). He was boxed up in midfield before surging to the line when he got some clear air over the last 100m for a narrow win in a trial designed to keep him up to the mark for the Doncaster.

HAWKESBURY March 11: Those to impress with easy work in the open heats over 1000m included AUGUST MOON while the Waterhouse/Bott maiden MONTY THE MISSILE posted fast time winning his 800m heat.

ESPIONAGE Picture: Steve Hart




CAULFIELD SATURDAY: Zion (R3); Moesha (R4); Serasana (R6); Seonee (R8); Aberfeldie Boy (R9)

RANDWICK SATURDAY: Yankee Hussel (R2); Circle Of Fire (R2); Tannhauser (R3); Kintyre (R3); Heman (R3); Kind Words (R4); Aft Cabin (R7); Espiona (R7); Sunshine In Paris (R7); Detonator Jack (R8)

RECENT BLACKBOOK WINNERS: Miss Joelene; Terra Mater; He's Our Bonneval; Riff Rocket; Elettrica; Strawberry Rock; Fearless; Commemorative; Illative; Etna Rosso; Pasima; Sir Atlas; Territory Express; Dolphin Skin; Cadetship; Celestial Legend; Gently Rolled; Dark Journey; Our Maryanne; Pereille; Glory Daze

BLACKBOOKERS – Selected March 30

(Follow for next 3 starts)


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