The 2018/19 season is only ten weeks old and the King of Australian racing, Darren Weir has already notched up over 124 winners across the country. The man is a force to be reckoned with. His 43 South Australian winners last season looks set to be easily beaten, as in ten weeks he’s already claimed ten wins in our backyard and it’s no surprise that some of the biggest names in both Saturday’s Listed races come from the master trainers camp.
Race Four is where the Stakes action kicks off with the Listed Hill Smith Stakes for three-year-olds. Weir is a two time winner of this race and claimed last year’s edition with Savaheat and on Saturday he’s going to have one of the hottest favourites not only in Adelaide but in Australia with Approach Discreet.
The colt absolutely made a mess of the field last time he ran at Morphettville winning by 8.5 lengths and while that margin is unlikely on Saturday, he’s going to be the one to beat again. His form looks great with his last run being a third placing behind Savoie who has gone on to run third in the Listed UCI Stakes at Flemington. Another plus for the colt is that he’s the only runner in this race to have run over 1800m. Expect Weir and jockey Harry Coffey to combine for some more Morphettville success after their memorable Group 1 win earlier this year.
It will be a two pronged attack for Weir with Stripping Royalty his other runner who ran on strongly to salute last start over 1400m and while there is a bit of a step up in distance from that win she looks as if the distance should be no problems.
The challengers to the Weir show will come from the Lindsay Park trained Seberate who is eight runs between wins but since that maiden win he’s run second in the Group 2 VRC Sire’s Produce Stakes behind Not a Single Cent and has contested two Group 1’s in Sydney. His last run at Ballarat showed the extra 200m should suit, running on well from the tail.
Two starts back Robbie Laing’s Stars of Carrum finished seventh, 1.55 lengths off a couple horses in Leonardo da Hinchi and Muswellbrook who will be contesting Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, while Maui Girl was an impressive 2.8 length winner in her debut run at Murray Bridge last month. She steps up a bit in trip but Tony McEvoy is a very astute trainer and would have her primed for this mission.
While Galahad Guru would have to improve a lot to win this, you can’t rule out any horse trained by Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas in this race. Leon has four wins to his name with three of those coming with training partner Andrew Gluyas.
The Listed Durbridge Stakes look to be a much more open affair in Race Seven but guess who has two talented runners in the field? No prizes for guessing D. Weir.
Topweight Lucky Hussler has contested no less than 16 Group 1 races in his remarkable career with two wins and two second placings at that level. With wins coming in the Toorak and William Reid Stakes, it’s a CV any horse would love to have. While it has been a year since his last win in the Group 2 Crystal Mile Stakes at Moonee Valley, he likes the distance and has won four times first up. If the right Lucky Hussler turns up on the day, look out!
Weir’s second runner, Holy Blade was the last start Listed Wylie Stakes winner and while that win was impressive, the four-year-old will have his work cut-out in Weight-For-Age grade.
The ever reliable Casino Wizard ran a big race first up in the Wylie last start and only missed Holy Blade by a head. The eight-year-old will have two things going in his favour on Saturday. Firstly his impressive second up record, where he has four wins from eight runs and secondly, the fact he gets a 6kg weight swing in his favour against Holy Blade. These two factors make Casino Wizard one of the major players in Saturday’s big race.
In a deep race, competition will come from last year’s winner Lope De Capio who looks to be working into his prep nicely this spring while there will be a big watch on the lightly raced mare Petrelle. The Archie Alexander trained four-year-old has only had two career starts but is undefeated and looked a comfortable winner in both races. She’s been on the speed in her two wins and from barrier 12 will need some luck to get across especially with a horse like Just a Bigger Dash in the field. The big grey runs well early in his campaigns and has a decent second up record but this will easily be the biggest test of his career.
Group 3 winner Gogo Grace returns to the track after a five month spell. The mare has won first up before and her Group3 Bow Mistress Stakes win in Tasmania was over 1200m. She’ll probably drop to the back of the field from barrier two and then the talented Todd Pannell will look to work his magic late in the race.
Another huge chance is Mica Lil, the Group 1 UBET Classic placegetter who should be better from her first up run in the Wylie and while she hasn’t won second up, the form she showed across the Adelaide Festival of Racing in May proved that she is a huge chance on Saturday.