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Ascot Preview, 6th April news

Ascot Preview, 6th April

Terry Leighton | Metropolitan Racing | Fri 5 April, 2019

The rail remains at the 3m position after we saw a rail/on pace dominated day at the same spot only seven days ago. It’s hard to imagine the pattern will change a great deal and as I have alluded to in the past, the longer the season goes and the more worn a track becomes the more it tends to suit those closer to the speed. Even the mid week racing which for a lot of the season was favouring those coming wide is definitely suiting the on speed brigade in recent weeks. We have to allow for the same.

Race 1 - Build An Empire

We’re going to get off to a flyer with my absolute best of the day in the first in Magic Empire. I’ve used the word absolute to emphasise how keen I am on this runner. A collection tin will be passed around Ascot for my benefit if it is beaten.

Looked a horse on the rise last campaign, when unable to draw a winning barrier early in his preparation, before his form tapered off at his last couple of runs before a spell. His two trials this campaign don’t read all that well on paper, but both were exceptional and his effort behind Chief Archer first up when drawing wide on an incredibly bias day over an unsuitable journey was huge. He ran the quickest last 200m and 400m splits for the entire day. Steps up to 1400m here and I am expecting from the better draw we’ll see a slightly more aggressive Pike. Should settle forward of midfield and be way too strong for these late - bias or no bias.

Bit of a watch on a couple of runners at double figure odds here. Artie’s Jewels looks like a nice type and I am expecting the potent Staeck/Karen Kersley combination to mix the tactics up and roll forward in a race which looks devoid of top end tempo. It could be the one who threatens to pinch it. The other at a more generous quote, is Liberty Magic. Poorly ridden and placed all campaign, appears to have finally found the right race and barrier to make his presence felt. Mike Santich has a nice little team of gallopers who don’t seem to have a huge amount of luck. $8 a place looks appealing for this son of Statue Of Liberty.

Magic Empire looks a genuine even money shot, but very contradictorily I am also slightly disappointed with the $3 currently on offer. I thought this was one which may slightly slip under the radar. Really can’t see where other money comes with Divine Quest ($5) & Fairtore ($9) extremely well in the market. Nobody with a sane mind could consider either of those quotes.

Lock in the $3 Magic Empire and hop in the queue.


5 Magic Empire
6 Artie’s Jewels
7 Liberty Magic
11 Friar’s Moon

Suggested Bet: 100 wins Magic Empire (5).


Race 2 - Knock, Knock, Knock

If you’re betting on this event with confidence you are a braver soul than I.

Extremely difficult event where every runner has a pretty strong knock against their name. Too many crosses, not enough ticks.

Battle Torque has trialled OK over the 1000m and jumps from the inside alley. Tends not to be able to utilise the good gates with his poor barrier manners, but riding for luck on the inside part of the track may well be the go on this surface. The big question is, can the stable get him to recapture his career best form of last campaign?

Pinzu has been consistently unlucky this campaign with barriers, finding a lot of track patterns which simply did not suit. The drop back to his pet distance of 1400m looks suitable as does the appointment of Chris Parnham who replaces the luckless Clint Johnston-Porter. The barrier is sticky, but we may see a slightly more aggressive ride back in distance.

Special Delivery is potentially a Mitch Pateman horse. The one week back-up and drop back to 1400m are in his favour, but I do have queries on him holding his peak performances much longer. Expect him to be ridden quieter here.

Atlanta Blue could potentially take up the running after being gassed without cover in a hotly contested mile. Another who drops back to his pet distance and if you go on his previous run where he did all the work, he could be ready to win.

Salon Du Cheval is the runner with the most upside, though both first up wins have been over the mile. The 1400m fresh in a race without a huge amount of speed, on a track which hasn’t been conducive to making much ground is his question mark. In saying that, he is the X factor in this.

Dutch Spy is flying, but does he get the 1400m? I don’t think so.

Settlers Creek was huge first up, but does have a knack for putting in a slashing first up effort before only plodding away second up. From barrier 9, Troy Turner will have to go back to last and slice his way through this field. It can happen, but I wouldn’t be betting on it.

Long story short, I have minimal idea. Dutch Spy looks gross unders at $3.50 while I think Pinzu and Atlanta Blue look the best suited in this event at their pet trips. Both are worth having a small bet on at $11 and $8.50 respectively. Don’t go broke here.


3 Pinzu
5 Atlanta Blue
7 Salon Du Cheval
2 Battle Torque

Suggested Bet: 15 wins Pinzu (3). 15 wins Atlanta Blue (5).


Race 3 - Price v Pick

Expecting Excise Free and Deacalda to roll forward together from the two widest gates, giving the exciting up and comer Catherine Wheel the quiet run in behind them. I’ve got question marks on Excise Free over the 1200m as well as it’s overall class and Deacalda will find this a stack tougher than getting the peach ride on the back of Excise Free a fortnight ago.

I’m not usually big on tipping a runner out of a maiden into a Saturday grade race, but the way she won her trial and then demolished her opposition down the Pinjarra straight, suggested Catherine Wheel might be a special one. This isn’t the strongest three year old event you’ll ever see. She deserves favouritism.

Olga Louisa is the value runner. Ran second to Fairview in a similar class to this 3 starts back, before hitting the line nicely behind Double Bubble. Her most recent outing was in a Pinjarra class one, but the quality of opposition she faced was far stronger than that. Bel My Pago will win a Saturday race soon, while Soy Tan Rapido (who ran fourth) saluted at Ascot this week. She finally draws a gate, allowing her to settle just behind the speed and she has the ability to knock past these.

Catherine Wheel is on top pick, but at $2.90 v Olga Louisa at $16 & $4.20, the latter probably becomes more appealing from a value betting point of view.

I usually opt for the value, but I get the feeling Catherine may demolish them. We’ll play our major bet on Catherine with enough on Olga for a good result. Alternatively you could consider Olga Louisa with a place heavy bet.


8 Catherine Wheel
6 Olga Louisa
3 Deacalda
2 Excise Free

Suggested Bet: 60 wins Catherine Wheel (8). 15 wins Olga Louisa (6).


Race 4 - Who’s Turn?

These staying events tend be a merry-go round in the winners circle and it all points to Send My Love being the one with her hand up here. Was extremely brave in defeat behind Summer Skye and then Fearhildi when off the track, before a fast finishing third to Upwards Others a fortnight ago. It might sound a little harsh, but considering the run she had compared to Upward Others and Summer’s Skye, who both made sustained runs without cover, she was probably entitled to get past them. I am not sure if she will see out a strong 2200m and for that reason I think she might miss her turn in the winners circle.

Upwards Others looks well placed to win again, but after taking forever to break through for only his second career success, it’s hard to consider the $3.40 as a realistic betting proposition.

Saxon Saxoff was good to us a few weeks ago, but has since been trialled in a very unorthodox preparation, I don’t think lightning will strike twice.

Two at odds which I think can run races are Juicing Carrots and Midnight Banquet. Juicing Carrots is the big class dropper, and last time this son of Black Tom raced close to this grade he was a good thing beaten behind an in form Mr Alby. Last two efforts have been promising without spectacular, but the class drop is worth more than the extra 4kg’s he carries.

Midnight Banquet has raced well all campaign and this is his third go over the staying journey this time in. Was on the back of Not Again Ken a fortnight ago, when the grey compounded badly, meaning Shooter McGruddy had to make a sustained move from the 1000m. It was a really tough effort to only be beaten 2.2 lengths. Is likely to lead this event early, before Saxon Saxoff comes around and takes up the running. If using that opportunity for a little breather, could be the one stealing a march on them before the bend.

No suggested bet here, but Midnight Banquet and Juicing Carrots at double figure quotes could both easily be considered in an extremely open race.


5 Midnight Banquet
1 Juicing Carrots
3 Upward Others
10 Send My Love

Suggested Bet: No bet.


Race 5 - She’s Fabulous

Fabergino has blown away her rivals when leading at five of her six race starts and was a gallant third on the other occasion when taking a sit. She leads this on her ear from barrier 2 and from there, I don’t think they’ll see her again. The 1200m could be a question mark on the surface, but I suspect she will only go further away from them, the further they go.

Celebrity Dream usually dominates these mares races, but her campaign has been lengthy and unorthodox and she seems a little bit over it. Lady Cosmology will be better suited over a mile, Electric Light is outclassed while Market Ruler trialled brilliantly and will stick with Fabergino til at least the 300m.

The $1.80 on offer for Fabergino is enough. I’d consider a multi with Magic Empire in the first at $5.40. Something about money and jam.


4 Fabergino
5 Market Ruler
1 Celebrity Dream
3 Electric Light

Suggested Bet: 100 wins Fabergino (4).


Race 6 - Big Fella

Free Trade is all the rage early with the tick over even money being snapped up and prices in the red now the best available. The enthusiasm around this second starter is understandable as he has looked pretty sharp in running his rivals into the ground, but this race is a completely different story. First of all, can he cross Kwikon The Trigger? In all trials and race to date, he has found the rail and lead. I don’t think he necessarily showed an abundance of speed from the gate on any occasion, but he does have the ability to muster and find the top. If he gets caught outside Kwikon The Trigger with Saturday grade horses on his hammer, he’ll know he is in a race. Might lead and blitz them here, but this is one I am more than happy taking on in a higher pressure race situation.

I really liked the trials of Rockafella who was scratched from Wednesday to be saved for this. I dare say McGruddy was already committed to King’s Authority and thus misses out on this ride, with Jarrad Noske a more than adequate replacement. Trials behind Cup Night and Special Reward clearly look good on paper and aesthetically they were just as pleasing. You could see him really start to extend in his latest trial before McGruddy tried to put him to sleep late. Drawn to sit right behind Free Trade and can add to the growing list of successful Gangemi tried imports.

Speeding Comet will without doubt send me broke, but she has finally drawn a gate. Can be ridden with more aggression early and if ridden with cover, just off the speed she will be in the finish.

I am not convinced about the form line out of Comparative’s win and for that reason am happy taking on it, King’s Authority and to a lesser degree Requisition who should have won that race by three lengths. Not a pretty watch for anybody on that day.

Going to take on Free Trade and suggest a win bet on Rockafella and to a lesser Extent Speeding Comet.


10 Rockafella
1 Speeding Comet
11 Free Trade
2 Requisition

Suggested Bet: 30 wins Rockafella (10). 15 wins Speeding Comet (1).


Race 7 - Luckless

This looks a real battle between three runners in Tellem We’re Comin, Mizlecki and Variation with the first two standouts for me.

Mizlecki has won 5 of 16 career starts, but that should arguably be 10 of 16 with any type of luck. All three runs this campaign she has been held up for lengthy portions of the straight when Dan Staeck has clearly had some horse underneath him. Having not drawn inside gate 9 this campaign, the 1 marble will be greeted with great joy from the camp and I suspect they’ll be happy to use her a bit early to try and hold a spot in the first 5. From there if she gets out, the only one who could catch her is a well timed run from Tellem We’re Comin.

Tellem We’re Comin has left his barrier manners at home at his last two outings and it’ll be interesting to see if with Wizard can coax him out of the gates a little sharper. Absolutely motors when up and rolling, but if coming from last down the middle of the track (which I suspect may be off again) and Mizlecki gets the cheaper run closer to the fence, I think he might come up short. Should be a great battle between the two.

Variation should get every chance from the gate, though I think the final splits of Mizlecki and Tellem We’re Comin will be enough to get past the 2016 WA Guineas winner.

Happy with the $4.40 Mizlecki in a race devoid of many winning hopes.


8 Mizlecki
5 Tellem We’re Comin
3 Variation
2 Pushin’ Shapes

Suggested Bet: 70 wins Mizlecki (8).


Race 8 - The Time Has Come

If you’re looking for an unbiased preview of the Karrakatta Plate then you might want to look away now.

The speed map will be integral to the outcome of this race and this is how I see it unfolding.

Specialism will cross and lead them up, unless there is an extreme desire for Amelia’s On Fire to hold the lead, which I don’t think there will be after her exceptional debut win when taking a sit. She just wants a race with more tempo, which she no doubt gets here. Beethoven is likely to be the one leading the three wide line, I can’t see them looking to ride him with a sit after his tough effort in the Perth Stakes. This will be a reasonably strong three wide line, but the defining moment of this event will be when Specialism rolls off the fence around the bend.

If you watch Specialism in the Gimcrack, she hung out badly around the turn, leaving a huge gap for Rio Del Mar & Prim And Proper to come through and fight out the finish on the best part of the track. Prior to that in the Crystal Slipper, she hung out even worse but there was no animals on her back capable of taking advantage of the gap you could have fit a Mack Truck through. This race will be won, by a horse drawn (or ridden well early) well who has a patient enough jockey on top to wait for that gap to appear. The vacuum that appears is not only the shorter way home, but it is on the best part of the Ascot track. Patience = Plate. Maths. Rio Del Mar, Jericho Missile, Dig Deep & Amelia’s On Fire look the best placed horses to take advantage of this.

Jericho Missile does tick every box and the market move this morning (into $3 with most agencies) is the correct one. Was extremely brave in defeat in a hotly run Perth Stakes and will without doubt be ridden more patiently with William Pike back on board.

Niccovi was the eye catcher from the two major lead up runs. Carbery will be looking for a spot in the three wide line and hoping the leaders stop on the fancies drawn well and enable him to channel a 2012 Luke’s Luck and come from near last. Definitely not an impossibility, but will need a lot to go right.

Spacegirl is the blowout as she hasn’t been measured against the good ones here, though I doubt she is up to these.

The winner comes from Jericho Missile, Dig Deep, Rio Del Mar, Niccovi or Amelia’s On Fire. If Dig Deep is to salute, I would not want to be a cold beverage located on Ascot Racecourse as you will not survive the day.

Putting my tipping hat on, Jericho Missile is a clear on top elect. But this is a really open edition of the Karrakatta Plate.


1 Jericho Missile
6 Dig Deep
14 Amelia’s On Fire
9 Rio Del Mar

Suggested Bet: No bet.

Race 9 - Tuff As Nails

The Brad Graham and Ryan Hill combination saluted with Beaucount last weekend and I’m going to tip them to make it a week to week double with Tonkatuff.

All three runs this campaign have been huge for differing reasons and the rise in weight is more than adequately offset by the drop in grade. Has carried weight when winning in the past and from the good gate, should be able to settle just off the speed here. The only slight concern is the drop back to 1400m - he is better over the mile but has arguably come back as good as ever.

Beautiful Mind looks the progressive type and the logical danger. Needed the entirety of the straight to win as a short priced favourite over the 1100m recently, though that trip was always going to be well below her pet distance. The step up to 1400m here looks right up her alley and she is definitely the runner with the most scope. It’ll be interesting to see how she fares stepping up from a class three to competing with horses racing in quality Saturday handicaps. Expecting a positive ride from Staeck.

I don’t think Carocapo gets the 1400m, even with the blinkers being removed while Supreme Force is another extremely progressive type who should be highly competitive up to the 1400m. Grey Enigma, Resistance and even Skinnen Tins if getting the soft run on the back of the leader are winning hopes in a very open affair.

While I do think the up and coming Beautiful Mind will be hard to beat, the value is definitely with Tonkatuff at the double digit quote. Nearly $4 a place is available across the board, which looks a pretty sound investment.


1 Tonkatuff
12 Beautiful Mind
10 Supreme Force
5 Grey Enigma

Suggested Bet: 20 wins and 60 places Tonkatuff (1).

25 Comments | 3 years ago

Recent Comments

User Rodent

Rodent 07 Apr | Posts: 6056

How much depth was there to this race though ? A Bunbury Maiden winner won the race, followed by another placed run by a yet to win horse at start number five, with in third place a two time winner in fields of just 7 runners. Anyone have some thoughts on who ...

User DamienWyer

DamienWyer 07 Apr | Posts: 6918

How much depth was there to this race though ? A Bunbury Maiden winner won the race, followed by another placed run by a yet to win horse at start number five, with in third place a two time winner in fields of just 7 runners. Anyone have some thoughts on who ...

User tony

tony 07 Apr | Posts: 2224

Jericho Missile shin sore apparently

User TheDiva

TheDiva 07 Apr | Posts: 11527

great win but did you see the run of Miss West Coast... was enormous. 

User Ridersonthestorm33

Ridersonthestorm33 07 Apr | Posts: 10316

Dig Deep did miss the kick in that race and settled along way back - 6/4 and 20/1 too far apart imo, even with the weight swing. Sometimes those weight swings really come to the party, sometimes they don't. He's better than that JM by the same token.

User Rodent

Rodent 07 Apr | Posts: 6056

Just one last thing on the Karrakatta - the fave Jerricho Missile - obviously has been good, and only going on face value here, and probably missing something - but it's run when second to Beethoven, thought was just ok at best. Beethoven sat up on his out...

User Arlo

Arlo 06 Apr | Posts: 119

It is time Stewards did something realistic about this rule, either get rid of it, or don't allow rule breakers to win.

User paraletic

paraletic 06 Apr | Posts: 3721

Whip rules seems to have been broken again. Stop following the rules and win at all costs. This seems to be the mantra that the stipes want the jockeys to follow. Because they are not doing a good job of policing this at all.

User Ridersonthestorm33

Ridersonthestorm33 06 Apr | Posts: 10316

Just one last thing on the Karrakatta - the fave Jerricho Missile - obviously has been good, and only going on face value here, and probably missing something - but it's run when second to Beethoven, thought was just ok at best. Beethoven sat up on his out...

User Ridersonthestorm33

Ridersonthestorm33 06 Apr | Posts: 10316

Noticed Miss West Coast firming right in late - very good run. Amelia's On Fire - huge drifter she ran as best she could. The winner was about 12/1 after barrier two draw - thought after the good running on fourth that 12/1 was about right, to drift to ...