THREE major races on the card at Randwick this Saturday with the $500,000 Inglis Nursery for the two-year-olds, the $250,000 Inglis Sprint, followed by the $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes.
In the quiet period of Australian racing, these three races have generated plenty of interest and the Randwick nine-race card projects some nice betting opportunities.
We have dissected every race on the card for our best bets to help punters make a few dollars this weekend.
The day starts with the McGrath Estate Agents R85 where Rule The River holds favouritism.
Race 1 – McGrath Estate Agents R85 (1200m)
The Anthony Cummings-trained Rule The River has very good exposed form and rising in grade shouldn't worry it too much. The four-year-old mare has won three from five, including a 1.25-length win over subsequent winner Festivity two starts back at Canterbury. It backed that win up with another solid 1.25-length victory last start and it looks a natural improver. A nice price of $3.60 available at the moment.
Single Gaze has horrible form line, but it has a Magic Millions placing beside its name and its most recent racing has come in much tougher grades than this. The Nick Olive-trained filly finished third behind Le Chef in the Magic Millions and even though that form hasn't stood up, it looks to have some ability. It made good ground in both the Group 1 Golden Slipper and the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, so that bodes well fresh up here. It has been respected in the market at $5 and it looks a serious threat.
Private Secretary didn't get much luck to end its last campaign, but the form prior included two wins from four starts and it has good statistical form for this. The daughter of Husson has won seven from 13 starts with two coming on this track and most of its form has come on dry tracks. It has been punished in the weights with 62kg, but Costin takes some weight off its back so it should be given a chance at $6.
Race 2 – Tab Highway Handicap (1400m)
Rodney Northam lines up After All That which has won two from three and has been well supported in every run to date. The four-year-old gelding won by 4.75-lengths on debut as a $1.60 favourite and followed that up with a fourth at Gosford. It then rebounded well for the win last start and despite rising in weight, it looks a more than handy chance of taking this out at $4.80.
Pera Pera has drawn wide in barrier 15, but it is coming off back-to-back wins and it has experience on this track. The five-year-old by Street Sense scored a placing here awhile back and that city experience will do it some good. Classy jockey Kerrin McEvoy takes the ride which will help and punters are getting an each way price of $7.
Shutterbug looks to have plenty of ability and it ran on well in the Highway Handicap last week. The Danny Williams-trained mare was a winner three starts back and it was able to place at Rosehill prior to that being the well regarded Harlem Lady. It has more exposed form than most of these country-trained runners and bookmakers have set it as the current $3.70 favourite.
Best bet: Shutterbug to win ($3.70) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 3 – Inglis Nursery (1000m)
The current favourite is Jenneau after running on well for second in the Gimcrack at Randwick. The Paul Perry-trained filly was very unlucky on that occasion after getting no luck in the straight, but it still managed to storm home impressively. It will have to do some work from barrier 14 which does make it tough, but bookmakers are confident in its chances at $4.20.
Rafha's Choice has drawn even wider in barrier 18, but it has looked impressive in remaining unbeaten from two starts. The Bede Murray-trained colt has scored two narrow win with the latest coming at Rosehill and if it can cross from the wide draw it comes right into contention. Place chance in this.
Extreme Choice has drawn well for its debut for Mick Price. The Not A Single Doubt colt won a trial earlier this month and the betting suggests it will have a good show of winning this. It's currently a $4.80 chance and based on its impressive breeding, it has a nice chance of taking this out. Follow any positive betting moves
Best bet: Jenneau to win ($4.20) at Bet365.com.au
Race 4 – Sportsyear Diary R78 (1400m)
Sniper is a New Zealand runner which didn't have everything go its way last start. The Bjorn Baker-trained gelding finished sixth last start, but it didn't get much clear running room and it was undefeated in two starts back across the Tasman. It should head forward from the inside draw and the light weight of 55kg will be a big assist. Bookmakers are offering $13 which looks attractive.
Disgraceful wasn't disgraced when fifth at Rosehill last start on a heavy track. The four-year-old for Chris Waller was a stylish winner prior on this track and it has been well supported in the win markets for this. The son of Redoute's Choice is the current second favourite at $3 and we're expecting that price to stay steady throughout the betting.
At $2.90 in the betting is last start winner Alegria for trainer John O'Shea. The Godolphin runner is unbeaten in two starts fresh up and even though it has to carry top weight of 59kg, it has plenty of ability and the in-form James McDonald takes the ride. Drawn well and should be considered for this.
Best bet: Sniper to place ($3.50) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 5 – Avijohn Contracting Christmas Cup (2400m)
Sir John Hawkwood has won five from 20, but it hasn't won for some time now and punters are getting a little impatient. The David Vandyke-trained gelding finished second as the $2.30 favourite last start and bookmakers have installed it as the favourite again. It has yet to win in two starts on this track, but stepping up to the 2400-metres is ideal and that's its biggest asset. Chance, but wouldn't want anything shorter than $4.20.
Jiayuguan has looked classy in lower level races by winning three of its last four races. The John Thompson-trained stayer sustained a solid finish to score narrowly at Rosehill last start and it looks capable of making the rise up to open company. Dropping right back in weight to 54kg will help and it's showing more promise than a large majority of these. Opening quote of $4.40 has been bet into $4.
Vilanova has one of the worst winning strike rates around, but it continues to be well supported. The Chris Waller-trained gelding has won over $500,000 from only three career wins and it has placed in only one from 10 starts at Randwick. Despite this, bookmakers currently have the five-year-old at $5.50 after opening at $6.50, but we'll need better odds for the risk.
Best bet: Jiayuguan to win ($4) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 6 – Inglis Sprint (1100m)
Bitburg is an interesting runner for trainer Matthew Dale. The three-year-old is unbeaten in four starts and it has looked impressive winning them all, but this is a huge step up in opposition. It goes from winning a Highway Handicap to facing some serious thoroughbreds here, but the market suggests it should be respected and that it only needs some luck from the wide draw. Current odds show $7.
Lucky Fish was a smart winner for Gai Waterhouse last start at Hawkesbury and Waterhouse rarely puts them into these races without thinking they can win. Not everything went its way in its two-year-old preparation and it looks to have come back in good order after posting a 3.5-length win last start. James McDonald rides which is a good sign and its opening price of $21 has been cut to $16.
Hellbent is a serious colt for trainer Kurt Goldman which finished eighth behind Japonisme in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Classic and this is an obvious drop back in class. The three-year-old started its career with two impressive wins before being blocked for a run in the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes at Randwick. It has drawn awkwardly in barrier eight for this, but it's a $2.30 chance to win and those odds look about right.
Best bet: Hellbent to win ($2.30) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 7 – Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m)
Telepathic was last seen winning as the $1.45 favourite at Rosehill where it won easily and now punters are getting a much better price. The Chris Waller-trained mare is currently a $6.50 chance after drawing a wide barrier, but it will likely drop back from that draw and work into the race. Solid chance down in the weights.
Happy Clapper is the current $4.60 favourite following two consecutive wins and four from its last five. The lightly tried five-year-old has now won five from 11 with four placings and two wins have come at Randwick. The son of Teofilo looks a natural improver over the mile and it could continue on its winning way here. Looks a strong winning chance at each way odds.
It's Somewhat resumed nicely with a second placing in the Listed Festival Stakes at Rosehill and punters shouldn't be discouraged by its poor second up form. The five-year-old is the class runner of the field, having competed in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes and other top class races. Should settle just off the pace and come with a late finish. Chance at $9.
Best bet: Telepathic to place ($2.35) at WilliamHill.com.au
Race 8 – Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m)
Echo Gal is fresh up for Gai Waterhouse where it has won twice from five starts fresh. The four-year-old has quality form around it with a last start placing behind Catkins and it ran second in the Group 3 Toy Show last August. Drawing wide makes it hard to cross to the front, but it comes into calculations if it can somehow find the rail. $6 with bookmakers.
Dublin Lass was a narrow winner last start at Rosehill and it has been supported nicely for this. The Snowden-trained mare took its winning record to seven wins from 17 starts and six have come on a good track. It has shown good form in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney so it's well traveled and is worth a shot in this. $2.80 with most bookmakers.
That's A Good Idea was disappointing last start against a similar field, but it is good on its day and the in-form Kerrin McEvoy takes the ride for the Snowdens. Its start prior where it finished second behind Dothraki and that's a much better form guide for this. Needs things to go its way, but the $7 is a good price.
Race 9 – Benchmark R85 (1600m)
Caped Crusader returned to the winners enclosure with a last start win on this track. The Gai Waterhouse-trained gelding remained unbeaten in three starts at Randwick and with group 2 experience under its belt, it looks to have improved nicely out of that. It has drawn the inside barrier so it won't have to do any work to get to the front. Looks a strong winning chance at $4.40.
Heavens Above has experience in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks where it finished last, but it has since produced two big runs for placings and this looks well within its reach. The Tim Martin-trained mare will only get better as it runs over more distance this preparation and the mile looks suitable here. Costin has plenty of confidence at the moment and her 1.5kg claim will help. $4.80 available.
Bjorn Baker is confident about Sebrina's chances here after winning well last time out at Rosehill. The smaller-framed mare likes to settle back and finish strongly and it could benefit from the tempo in this. It has won three from 13 overall and it could kick on with it now. Solid winning chance at $6.50.