3 minute read
The Lee Steere Stakes takes centre stage at Ascot this Saturday, but there is plenty of meat on the bones of what looks a fantastic meeting at Ascot.
I mentioned last week things were beginning to heat up ahead of The Pinnacles, and that continued onto Melbourne Cup Day where Super Smink was overrun by progressive filly Keshi Boom in the Burgess Queen (1400m).
The temperature on track keeps rising this Saturday as the Lee Steere Stakes takes centre stage, but the Fairetha and Luckygray are entrée's equivalent to those you'd find at Balthazar.
The Lee Steere (1400m, Group 2) is such a fascinating race. We have Marocchino fresh off a career-best rating last week, leading all the way in the Asian Beau. But, he was 100-1 there and punters are now asked to take $4.60 about him... I'll be the first to admit I'm a lover of the great Marocchino, in the words of Mark Shean - "What an outstanding racehorse!" - but I have to try and get him beat this weekend.
Seven of the 13 come through the Eurythmic at the last start, and whilst those runners were sitting at home last week, Marocchino went out and franked the form for them.
Valour Road ran right up to his best on that occasion, just edged out by Karli's Karma running right over the top, but does he have any more room for improvement? He and Massimo locked horns in this race back in 2021, with Massimo coming out on top and ran right up to his back-to-back Lee Steere winning number behind Valour Road. Racing and Sports ratings suggest Massimo is going as good as he was last year (and the year prior too), but no better than he has been in the last two editions.
Bustler snagged his second stakes win through the winter when holding off The Velvet Queen in the Belmont Sprint and still looks to be trending the right way. That figure from May is good enough to be winning a Lee Steere as he looks to move on to bigger and better races, but is this just another prep run before going bang as he has done third-up his last two campaigns? The Velvet Queen has trialled only fairly coming in and it's interesting to see Chris Parnham take the ride on Valour Road over the mare he's had so much to do with, riding her in 16 of her 18 starts.
For all of those questions that probably won't be answered until 8pm AEDT, I'll be backing BUSTLER to win the feature. Drawing a line through him and Trix Of The Trade 12 months ago, both were trending in a similar way heading into the Group 1 Handicap. I want to back him to return to his best figures this time, before bursting through to a new peak in the Railway.
Enough chat about the feature, let's get to the best bets on the card!
Race 2 on the card is an Open event for three-year-old's and I've honed in on the Michael Lane-trained THE BOSS LADY.
She knuckled down strongly to win at Ascot 17 days ago, putting up good figures in the process and now gets the blinkers on first time. She's made big jumps in her ratings every time she's stepped out and looks to have plenty in her favour from an inside alley and with the in-form Chris Parnham in the saddle (20% his last 50 rides). When teaming up, the C. Parnham/Lane combination strikes at 21% all time. This filly looks to have a bright future and can continue her rapid improvement with a win on Saturday.
To bring things back full circle, we head to the Fairetha Stakes (race 7) for our best value play on the card, the race won last year by my Lee Steere tip - Bustler!
ZIPAWAY and Bustler actually have a lot in common leading into this race, both rated 100 with Racing and Sports heading into the Listed event over 1400m. Zipaway is already rated as good as the average winner of Fairetha over the past decade, with sectional analysis predicting the gelding has a lot more room for improvement as he continues through his career. We're backing him to do something he hasn't done yet (which is exciting), but all the data points to him being able to take the next step and secure his first stakes win.
Best From The West:
*prices correct as of 2pm November 9th.