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2018 WA Guineas Preview news

2018 WA Guineas Preview

Terry Leighton | Metropolitan Racing | Wed 21 November, 2018

Monster edition of the 2018 WA Guineas, with thirteen blokes to do battle against the three quality girls backing up from the Champion Fillies seven days ago. Chris Waller, Darren Weir and Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, add that little bit of extra intrigue to WA’s premier three year old mile.

For the two feature races we’ll take a more indepth look at a speed map, each runners individual form as well as the current price and a ‘when to shop’ suggestion. For those who don’t want to read five pages of dribble, there is a race summary and suggested bet (max 100 unit stake).

My Eastern States knowledge is limited at best, so we have been blessed to have the Darren Crocker lookalike Nathan Smith give us his thoughts on the travelling brigade.

Speed Map - The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Ulusaba has drawn the plum alley for a horse who likes to roll along out in front. Traditionally, the interstate raiders who can race on pace acquit themselves well with the short Ascot straight and Damian Lane certainly knows how to ride the track. Lady Cosmology and The Velvet King are the other obvious speed horses and the first 150m of this event will be crucial in determining their winning chances. No matter how tough The Velvet King is, this doesn’t look like a race you can sit three deep without cover in and win. They’ll be coming at you late. Simon Miller has suggested Lady Cosmology could take a sit (allowing The Velvet King to roll outside Ulusaba) and take it’s back, though I don’t know if that is the Paul Harvey way, or the Simon Miller way either for that matter.

Black Sabbath is a runner I will be putting a line through as a winning hope, though I can see connections suggesting some extremely aggressive tactics to Jason Brown. Despite his initial two wins being over the sprint journeys, they were both when racing on pace and after drawing the river, it might be a ‘handle bars down’ type effort in the first few hundred metres. Very likely to end up leading a three or even four wide line if these are the tactics.

Blackwood River (barrier 7) has drawn well to utilise his early tactical speed and should be able to find a spot one off the fence, on the back of a very hot tempo. Orcein (10), True Defender (2), Junipal (6), Fingermark (4) all appear to have the tactical speed to park up in the ‘forward of midfield group’ with Lordhelpmerun (9), True Attraction (5) and Arcadia Queen (3) just in behind them. Arcadia Queen will look to utilise the good barrier draw to hold a spot forward of midfield.

Regal Counsel (14) and Zetorio (13) will likely be a long way off them with the unluckiest runner from the barrier draw Platoon (18). The instructions on this Neville Parnham trained gelding will be fairly straight forward in hopping on the three or four wide lines and hoping Steve can go one better than he did when riding Bippo No Bungus in a similar fashion in the 2012 edition of this race. Depending how the race is run, it could almost end up a blessing.

The Locals

Lordhelpmerun - The lone Steve Wolfe runner in the field, has targeted at this race since his Group Three, Western Australian Sires victory as a two year old. The first three runners in that event do battle again here, with all three realistic winning hopes.

His effort in the Belgravia was concerning when they ran the 1200m at a cracker jack tempo. Like most runners, he was off the bit a long way from home but didn’t really tough it out late. His following effort in the Fairetha was a much improved effort, though he was really well held by The Velvet King.

With the superior barrier draw to that gelding, connections will be confident they can turn the tables on that galloper, though can he hold out the sprint of the smart filly?

Current Price: $12. Looks a fair price, if you were thinking of going this way. Is one I can see support coming for late.

The Velvet King - Was always a likely late nomination after a dominant victor of the Fairetha Stakes. Was supported on the day and ridden like the best, toughest horse in the race when nothing really looked like getting near him in the straight. Was dealt a huge blow when the barrier draw was announced and it’ll take something special from the punters pal Pateman.

Did go out hard alongside Cocky Dodd (6.5 lengths quicker than average tempo) which will give connections confidence he can again do the work early and be tough late. Only four runners ran a quicker last 200m than him despite that early work.

Current Price: $5.50. Somebody at Tabtouch decided to lob up $31 when the final field was announced on Monday. This didn’t last long and the one or two astute punters who snapped that up, should get a ride for their money. Deserves to be on the first few lines of betting, though I expect you’ll see closer to $10 available on the day because of the draw.

Black Sabbath - When nominations were first released, was a lot of peoples early tip for the race. Was a solid effort in the Belgravia when not getting the cleanest run in transit, before a solid effort behind The Velvet King and Lordhelpmerun in the Fairetha.

From out in the car park, I can’t mount a winning case.

Current Price: $21. You’ll get $50+ on the day.

Platoon - Cruelled by the barrier draw after tracking towards this race with near perfection. Drew the widest gate in the Fairetha when putting in the eye catcher over the final 200m and savaging the line. While not all is lost, the task of winning a race of this magnitude from the high draw requires a lot to go right.

If they are stopping out in front and causing a road block on those behind it, will be the widest runner finishing hard late. That’s the only way it can be ridden.

Current Price: $18. Unlikely to firm from the draw, so is one you would look at shopping late for if you were that way inclined.

Blackwood River - This Stephen Miller trained gelding adds a nice little point of difference to this event. The appointment of Jarrad Noske is a major positive. Is the horse who looks well placed to use his early gate speed to find a spot just behind this frenetic tempo. Runs earlier in this campaign around True Attraction and Unikat, who have struggled in this grade, do point you toward the fact he may just be a length or three off the top liners.

Possesses a similar profile to Variation who won the race for this stable in 2016 and is not without hope.

Current Price: $21. I don’t think you’ll see better than the $21. Is on an upward curve this campaign and as mentioned, the stable know how to win this and don’t mind a bet.

True Defender - Before his return effort in the Fairetha, I thought he might have been one who had snuck under the WA Guineas radar. Perhaps a little flat from the gap between runs, or perhaps his previous form just didn’t quite equate to this grade, he was just OK. Could not have been handled much better by Chris Parnham that day and it would take monumental improvement for him to feature here.

Current Price: $19. Despite the draw, he will be more than double this price on the day.

True Attraction - Burst onto the WA Guineas scene with a brilliant last to first effort back in October. The horse it nabbed late, Blackwood River has since made that form look more than adequate. Barrier manners will again prove to be his achilles heel; he has only settled in front of two gallopers (in total) across his four career starts. If Peter Hall can utilise the nice draw and we can see a marked improvement out of the steel jaws, he is a blowout hope. Peter Hall is no stranger to winning in the cerise and white.

Current Price: $18. This looks about right. I again suspect you will be able to shop longer on the day however. His barrier antics will turn a lot of prospective punters away.

Regal Counsel - Was backed as if unbeatable in a Bunbury maiden, before putting in an effort which outdid expectations in the listed Fairetha. This is a bridge too far from the barrier.

Current Price: $151. Not a winning chance.

Fingermark - This is a horse who could cause some harm to this field. Having drawn barrier 4, he is 10 lengths off the top end of this field, though does race in the forward half. The likes of Arcadia Queen and True Attraction who are drawn to be in his moving line, will want to avoid being part of the backward slide when he starts losing ground on the turn.

Current Price: $81. Will need to be doing his best Steven Bradbury imitation to be any hope. Jumps $400+ on the exchange.

Zetorio - If you are looking for a complete maddie that is worth a small each way investment, then this Roy Rogers gelding is worth consideration. Was a superior run to Black Sabbath and Lordhelpmerun (none of the colts or geldings engaged here beat him home that day) in the Belgravia, before running a slick last sectional (despite early interference in the straight) to run 6th in the Fairetha.

Lacks the class to win, but is a better hope than a few of the current $20 rated pops.

Current Price: $101. Unlikely to be a huge amount of support, but could be the blowout for third or fourth for exotic players.

Lady Cosmology - The first of the females and again I am going to look back to late October’s Belgravia Stakes. With the tempo set, had absolutely no right to sit three deep the trip and still be coming late. Followed that up with a perfect front running ride from Harvey to nick the Burgess Queen, before a gallant second to Arcadia Queen in last weeks Champion Fillies.

Conditions of this event do not look to be in her favour with Ulusaba likely to hold the rail and The Velvet King coming across and wanting her spot outside the speed. Still, she is tough and all things being equal, the girls look to have the edge on the blokes.

Current Price: $12. If she drew a barrier (or at worst inside all other speed horses) she would be half this quote.

Arcadia Queen - Gush. The Bob Peters production line continues to churn out quality fillies and Arcadia Queen could be one of his best. Her only defeat came when she was in an impossible position on straightening against one of her major rivals in Lady Cosmology. She was still the run of the race.

Before the barrier draw, Platoon was considered one of the major players (he’s been $8 to $21 since the draw) and this was evident at his most recent outing, where his effort was on par with The Velvet King’s as the pick of the race. Arcadia Queen did face Platoon a month ago, when she made that gelding look completely second rate. The fillies form just looks superior.

The girls are the pick of the bunch. And she is the pick of the girls.

Current Price: $3.50. There will be natural support for a lot of other runners in this race (especially one with the name D. Weir next to it) so predicting a peak price for Arcadia Queen is an impossibility. The $3.50 is well and truly over my rated price and I would not be shy about hopping in.

Flirtini - The third and final filly to do battle is by no means just making up the numbers. Chased hard in the Belgravia before sitting out in no man’s land in the Burgess Queen. A run you can put a line through. Will be ridden with a sit here and Lucy Warwick really has horses running for her at the moment. Slight worry what the run seven days ago did to her.

Current Price: $26. She won’t start any shorter than this, but there are far worse each way investments.

Nathan Smith’s look at the Raiders

The three eastern states raiders for the Guineas are pretty hard to line up against our best three year olds. They do all profile as similar types, however they haven’t been tested against the A-Grade three year olds over East and are certainly a notch below those that have been going around in the Spring classic races.

One potential line is that Junipal has form through a horse called Syd’s Coin. They have run close to each other in races and appear to have similar ability. Syd’s Coin raced against Ranier over a mile on Derby Day, it started $41, and was beaten five lengths, albeit Ranier had the plum draw and raced on the best part of the track. I’d think Ranier would start favourite and win a WA Guineas if here and 100%, but it is not a five length better horse than our best three year olds.
Orcein and Ulusaba come out of similar races in Sydney, where the fields are a lot smaller and have obviously been racing in the opposite direction. Racing the Perth way in a full field around Ascot might have them out of their comfort zone.

Where the raiders may have an edge is in their grounding over a mile. All three horses have raced three times at a mile or more, which may hold them in good stead if the expected hot tempo turns the race in to a staying test. All the local runners have either never run at a mile or had their first attempt last start.

Junipal should look to slot in midfield, Lane will definitely want to hold out the early challengers from gate 1 on Ulusaba and be leader’s back at worst. Waterhouse wouldn’t send a horse over to Perth to have it settle buried three or four back on the paint. Orcein may try to take a chance to push forward for a spot, but it’s harder to see what the plan will be from that gate. As to the best of the three, it’s a slight leaning to Junipal, but it really is guesswork.

Race Summary - While this will be run at a frantic tempo, I see the on pace brigade as quality gallopers who will still be putting in, half way down the straight. This should prove beneficial to those gallopers who have drawn well and have the suck run in behind them. I’m using the Belgravia as my major tool when comparing the geldings and the fillies and the efforts of Lady Cosmology (who was the clear run of the race), Flirtini and the unfortunate Mystery Miss were the three standouts from that event. Arcadia Queen is a better filly than all three of these, has drawn well, has the Wizard on board and I am convinced that only bad luck beats her here.

Terry’s Selections

Arcadia Queen
The Velvet King
Lady Cosmology

Nathan’s Selections

Arcadia Queen
Lady Cosmology

Suggested Bet: 100 wins Arcadia Queen. She is my best bet of the day.


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