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The Spring Carnival feature

If the Spring Carnival wasn’t already working itself to the forefront of your mind, Saturday’s Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick is sure make a few hairs stand on end – Ten Group 1 winners are confirmed to resume in a field of only fourteen.

SYDNEY (Randwick)

Shayne O’Cass (The Sportsman)
THE BANKER: Kangarilla Joy (Race 4, No. 6) — Was the third dearest filly bought at the Easter sales in her year, selling for $840,000. She has been taken along steadily by Team Snowden to get here. Posted a predictable and confidence boosting win at the midweeks but has always shown herself to be a Group standard filly. Is $6 with TAB Fixed Odds.
IN THE FRAME: Spy Decoder (Race 5, No. 4) — Has an overall record of 15 starts 3-3-1 but when James McDonald is on him he is 9s 2-3-1. This fellow has a touch of class and is trialling quite well of late. Resumes at home over the right trip.
RISK: First Seal (Race 6, No. 13) — Has been trialling the house down; she looks awesome but these three-year-old fillies that turn four and dive straight into WFA races are often tested to their limits. Not saying she’s a lay, but $2.60 is pretty skinny against this line-up. I prefer It’s Somewhat at $7.50 and his stablemate Complacent at $11 a place on TAB Fixed Odds.
STABLE (ON FIRE): Chris Waller has come out of the blocks flying this season and a few of his big spring guns are in action on Saturday. His best at Randwick? Make no mistake, it’s Heart Testa in the Show County.
JOCKEY (ON FIRE): Hugh Bowman turned in some gems last weekend at Rosehill. He probably has the Up And Coming in the bag with Sebring Sun.

MELBOURNE (Moonee Valley)

Danny Russell (Herald Sun)
THE BANKER: Gregers (Race 7, No. 1) — As Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman once said, you don’t make money from trials. So we are overlooking Eclair Choice’s “trial of the century” a fortnight ago in which it donkey-licked potential star Alpine Eagle and will plump all our expectations on its rival and proven race mare Gregers. She’s Group 1 class, flies first-up and loves Moonee Valley.
IN THE FRAME: It looks a messy day at the Valley so a safe bet might be to follow the class. Chris Waller and Damien Oliver team up in three races — Sebring Sally in the first, Abbasso in race eight and Reigning in race nine.
RISK: Usually we pot a horse but on this occasion warning signs are ringing every time we cast an eye across the McKenzie Stakes field. A smart horse might emerge but trying to pick a winner in the early three-year-old events is like throwing darts at a wall. Look on.
STABLE (ON FIRE): They’ve been frustrated by string of city seconds, but expect the David Hayes-Tom Dabernig partnership to spark up on Saturday — sprinters Gregers and Tawteen are their leading chances, with Almoonqith a possible Cups horse and three-year-old filly Catch A Fire aiming for the Thousand Guineas.
JOCKEY (ON FIRE): Damien Lane is travelling at 25.4 per cent from the past 21 days and rides well at the Valley. He might save the best until the last race on the fancied Darren Weir-runner At First Sight, but could also spring a surprise on Catch The Cat and Bon Aurum.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been assured that the Spring Carnival is right on our doorstep but for the most part, the feature races in Sydney, Melbourne and I suppose even Adelaide have not really warranted much attention.
The fact ten of fourteen horses have already saluted at the highest level means the Warwick Stakes could very well be one of the most exciting fields of the spring, it’s just a shame most of them are either first-up or past it.
I’ve gone through and analysed every Warwick Stakes runner to try and figure out where we should all be placing our money on Saturday.
  • Pornichet
Interestingly the only Gai Waterhouse runner in the Warwick Stakes field, and winner of the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 9th. Probably needs a first-up run, but would be a certainty if this was the Slipper.
  • Beaten Up
The first of a thousand Chris Waller entries and winner of the 2013 Doomben Cup. Ran third in The BMW in autumn but needs more distance and shan’t be winning.
  • Foreteller
Waller’s second, winner of three Group 1 races including the Underwood Stakes (1800m) during the 2014 Spring Carnival most recently. Needs the run and more distance.
  • Moriarty
Another for Waller, winner of the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth last year. HAHA! Nope.
  • Burbero
The first of our runners that is yet to claim a win at the highest level, but odds-on favourite to take out the Group 1 Cobalt Cup over a mile this season. Beat some pretty handy sprinters in the Missile Stakes a fortnight ago…
  • Messene
Also yet to salute at the highest level, but if you asked Wayne Hawkes I’m sure he’d tell you it will be winning by five lengths – probably just off the class of Chautauqua.
  • Hawkspur
Winner of the 2013 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), another runner for Chris Waller. Won’t win here – the Chelmsford Stakes in two weeks is his go.
  • It’s Somewhat
It’s Somewhat surprising this bloke turned up in Australia a picture of health, considering he came over from the stables of Mark ‘Everything about Australia is shit’ Johnston. Hasn’t wont a Group 1 but I actually rate him a chance in the Warwick Stakes with James McDonald aboard.
  • Complacent
Beat Criterion to the line in the 2013 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) but hasn’t been seen since. Considering he hasn’t raced in nearly 2 years, he shouldn’t be considered first-up for a bet.
  • Zaratone
Burbero’s less successful stable mate this time, and also yet to post a Group 1 win. Too much to do from barrier 9 and with 59kgs, without a little vitamin persuader.
  • Kermadec
Produced a monumental turn of foot to take out the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during The Championships this year. A chance and at good odds, with Bossy on board.
  • Royal Descent
My girl, and undoubtedly the most unlucky runner during the 2014 Spring Carnival – finishing second four times in a row, including in the Warwick Stakes. Won the 2013 Australian Oaks by ten lengths and a great chance first-up on Saturday.
  • First Seal
One of the strongest and most consistent performers of the Sydney Autumn Carnival and winner of the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) last spring. Very talented, good barrier, Tommy Berry, will probably win.
  • Gust Of Wind
Experienced a meteoric rise to success over her maiden campaign, capped with success in the Australian Oaks four months ago. This is too short, the Caulfield Cup should suit her well.
So after considering every runner, form and proven results, I’m tipping a Warwick Stakes first three of First Seal, Royal Descent and It’s Somewhat. If you don’t like that, throw a dart.

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