South Australia's finest day of racing is almost here and while the Group 1 Darley Goodwood is set to be a showstopper, the support card for the big day is full of mouthwatering contests with some of Australia’s finest horses making their way to Morphettville!
Race 1: Listed Heineken 3 Port Adelaide Cup (2500m)
A small field to kick off the day in the Listed Port Adelaide Cup with Mail It In looking to make it two wins on the trot. He was impressive two weeks ago running down Silent Warrior who will also tackle this race on Saturday. Grant Young’s Exalted Lightning makes his return to the track after finishing sixth in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup in March while fellow Adelaide Cup runner Benzini will also take place in the field.
Darren Weir will look to continue his successful carnival with Warrnambool Cup runner-up Yogi while Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s youngster Delos will be one to watch after finishing 3.7 lengths off Runaway and Rezealient in the Listed Victorian St Leger. Those two horses ran second and third in Saturday’s Group 1 SA Derby.
Race 2: Group 3 M&J Chickens National Stakes (1200m)
The in-form Tequila Time could make it five wins in a row if he can salute in the Group 3 National Stakes on Saturday. Clare Lindop has won the National twice before and will hoping Tequila Time can give her a third win in the race.
There have been some high quality winners of the National over the years including Majestic Music, Toorak Toff and I Am a Star, however no favourite has won the race in the last six years.
Secret Blaze chased down Tequila Time in the Sires Produce last start to run third and will be a big chance in this race on that form.
Richard Jolly’s Heaven’s Deal was very impressive, sticking on for a gutsy win in the Listed Queen Adelaide Stakes two weeks ago but will have to step out to the 1200m on Saturday.
Mick Price and Damien Oliver have both won this race three rimes and the two will combine with Crack the Code on Saturday. The filly claimed her debut race down the Flemington straight two weeks ago and the first four past the post from that race are all set to tackle the National including Graceful Storm and Aristia. Interestingly, the last two winners of the National in I’ll Have a Bit and I Am a Star both came out of that corresponding race.
Race 3: Group 3 UBET SA Fillies Classic (2500m)
Three of the last six winners of the SA Fillies Classic have come out of the Group 1 SA Oaks and the top three horses in this race contested the Oaks last start. Miss Admiration (3rd in the Oaks) Pleasuring (4th in the Oaks) and Earth Angel (12th in the Oaks) while Wild Sea finished 12th in the Group 1 ATC Oaks a month ago.
Both Miss Admiration and Pleasuring stormed home late in the Oaks and it looks as if the extra 500m will suit them perfectly, while Earth Angel was disappointing in the Oaks she did run well in the Laelia and Auraria leading into the Group 1.
Mark Young’s Miss Lillian could be one to watch as she comes out of the Listed VRC St Ledger which has proven to be a good form race with the top two in Runaway and Rezealient filling the SA Oaks placings.
Darren Weir could also continue his strong showing in the three-year-old staying races with four runners in this race. Pleasuring is his leading chance along with last start placegetters Teodora, So You Leica and Goosey Fair.
Race 4: Listed EFEX Centaurea Stakes (2019m)
Seven of the thirteen runners in the Centaurea Stakes field are coming out the Group 2 Queen of the South Stakes from Oaks Day. From that run, placegetters Tahanee and Shenandoah should be around the mark again after narrowly going down to French Emotion in the Group 2, while the Waterhouse and Bott trained Savapinski, lead the field throughout the race but just couldn’t hold on at the finish to run fourth. She will be fitter, third up from a spell and with Tim Clark back in SA to take the ride she should be tough to beat.
Last start winner Bertwhistle will be hoping to repeat her efforts last weekend when she weaved through the field to score an impressive victory for Alfred Chan and trainer Darryl Dodson. This will be her third Saturday racing in a row, so if she has remained sound over the last fortnight she will be a good chance on her last run. Darren Weir’s Lipstick Lover was very impressive in her last start win across the border two weeks ago and has a good record at Morphettville, while Tony McEvoy’s Temple of Bel steps out in this race after running ninth in the Group 1 SA Oaks.
Race 5: Group 3 Robert & Fay Gerard RA Lee Stakes (1600m)
The last five winners of the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes were all last start winners. Only four runners in Saturday’s field saluted the judges first last start and Lite’n In My Veins did it with a lot of class defeating the well-credentialed Ken’s Dream along with three other of his opponents on Saturday. The five-year-old also drops 4.5kg off that win and looks to be hard to beat with that drop in weight.
Lindsay Park’s Fastnet Tempest won the Listed Anniversary Vase at Caulfield last start defeating Darren Weir’s Land of Plenty who has since gone on to win at Flemington over the 1400m. Land of Plenty has been racing in great form against some good company but is yet to register a win in four starts at the mile.
The other last start winner is the John Macmillan trained Arkham Knight who saluted on the final day of the Warrnambool Carnival earlier this month. Paul Gatt takes the ride on the talented four-year-old who he’s ridden to three of the horses five career wins.
Other runners who will create interest are Over Exposure who ran a mighty race for second against Peaceful State in the Listed Adelaide Guineas last weekend while Lindsay Park’s other runner Seaburge is Group 1 placed over the mile.
Race 6: Group 3 UBET Proud Miss Stakes (1200m)
The Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes looks set to be another great race with four runners coming back from the Group 1 UBET Classic including Mystified who ran a super race for sixth place. Fellow runners Dainty Tess, Miss Gunpowder and It’s Been A Battle were disapotingin in the Group 1 but have the chance to bounce back in an easier assignment.
Leon Macdonald & Anderw Gluyas’ Gogo Grace makes her return to the track after winning the Group 3 Bow Mistress Stakes in Tasmania in February. The mare also goes well fresh and has a great record over the 1200m.
One More Daisy stormed home for second in the Group 3 McKay Stakes behind Sprightly Lass as did Santa Ana Lane who is in the market for the Group 1 Goodwood, so on that form the mare should be a chance if she can run up to her last start effort.
The Lindsay Park trained Fuhryk won this race after running second in the Group 2 Euclase last year and Mick Price’s She’s So High will be hoping that history can repeat after her second placing behind I’ll Have A Bit. She has been a filly who has contested a lot of good races in her eight race career. Damien Oliver sticks with the filly who he has a good affiliation with.