Today's Racing Preview with Chris Scholtz: 1st April 2023

Chris Scholtz previews the first day of The Championships at Randwick with selections for all races plus Trial Watch and Blackbook runners.

GIGA KICK wins at Randwick
GIGA KICK wins at Randwick Picture: Steve Hart



XXX Converge; Zougotcha

XX Protagonist; Osipenko; Communist; Lindermann

X Mr Brightside; Fangirl; Nugget; Bandersnatch

(16) ZOUGOTCHA: This is a great race for G1 winning 3YOs with light weights. She was a high rating Flight Stakes winner over this course and distance in the spring and can improve further off her last start win over the colts in the Phar Lap Stakes when second up. Waller has won three of his six Doncasters with 3YOs.

(7) CONVERGE: Drops 7kg from his third in the George Ryder, the race that is the tested benchmark for the Doncaster. Going toe to toe with Anamoe and Fangirl second up showed he is back to his high rating 3YO form that saw him win the G1 Randwick Guineas over this course and distance.

( (17) PROTAGONIST: Can't leave this classy UK raider out of the equation as he drops 5kg off his excellent win over 2000m at Rosehill beating the subsequent Group winner Zeyrek. Popular belief is it takes a good 2000m horse to win a Doncaster.

(21) OSIPENKO: Another Waller-trained 3YO weighted to win with a 7kg drop off his fifth in the George Ryder when having his first start for four weeks after a setback. Holds scope to improve.

(19) COMMUNIST: Drawn wide but another 3YO with the right form and ratings to be in the finish. Won the Randwick Guineas easily and then beaten only a length in the George Ryder with 7kg more weight.

(20) LINDERMANN: Completes the Waller-trained 3YO team with a huge chance off his last start G1 win over 2000m in the Rosehill Guineas. Sure to push forward from his wide gate and will take running down under 49kg.

(2) MR BRIGHTSIDE: Came from barrier 18 to win last year's Doncaster after finishing fourth in the All Star Mile and should get all the favours from gate 2 with Zac Purton on board. The downside is he has to contend with 5kg more weight than last year but he returns as the last start All Star Mile winner under 59kg and that race provided the Doncaster trifecta last year when he beat I'm Thunderstruck and Icebath. 

(9) FANGIRL: She's been Anamoe's shadow this season and would have gone close to beating him last time in the George Ryder with better luck. Others from that race meet her a lot better at the weights but she likes Randwick and history shows wide draws are no great disadvantage in the big mile races.

(11) NUGGET: Lands here with a similar profile to Mr Brightside last year, dropping a massive 7.5kg in weight off his excellent fifth in the All Star Mile. Meets the winner 4kg better.

(12) BANDERSNATCH: Has hit peak form at the right time and well treated with 51kg off his easy win under 56.5kg in the Doncaster Prelude at Rosehill last Saturday. Drawn to enjoy the run of the race.

ZOUGOTCHA Picture: Steve Hart

Best Bets





RACE 1: (9) SALTAIRE; (5) Libertad; (1) Barber; (6) Tumbling

RACE 2: (4) ZOE'S PROMISE; (6) The Fortune Teller; (2) Glint Of Silver; (5) Matcha Latte

RACE 3: (7) BENAUD; (9) Gin Martini; (6) Nerve Not Verve; (14) Athabascan

RACE 4: (3) SEQUESTERED; (4) Eau De Vie; (6) Silvakia; (1) Hoops

RACE 5: (15) RUNNING BEAR; (7) Bianco Vilano; (4) Talbragar; (2) Testator Silens

RACE 6: (4) VEIGHT; (1) Cylinder; (2) Don Corleone; (3) Empire Of Japan

RACE 7: (10) GIGA KICK; (15) In Secret; (3) Private Eye; (6) I Wish I Win

RACE 8: (16) ZOUGOTCHA; (7) Converge; (17) Protagonist; (21) Osipenko

RACE 9: (4) PERICLES; (1) Sharp 'N' Smart 2; (15) Stroke Of Luck; (8) Japanese Emperor

RACE 10: (2) OPAL RIDGE; (5) Magic Time; (1) Parisal; (11) Ojai

OPAL RIDGE Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

RACE 1: (9) SALTAIRE is a Randwick winner and a bold showing can be expected from good draw off a strong trial win with J Mac aboard. (5) LIBERTAD and (6) TUMBLING also well drawn and open to more improvement off their impressive debut wins. 1, 4 (winkers on) and 10 suited under set weights and back in distance after taking on the better Group races over 1200m.

RACE 2: Even field without the topweight. Expect the Melbourne form of the Maher/Eustace stablemates (4) ZOE'S PROMISE and (6) THE FORTUNE TELLER to hold up well against the local 3YOs. (2) GLINT OF SILVER has the right form but has paid the penalty with a 2.5kg bump in weight to 59kg. (5) MATCHA LATTE back in distance from G1 company for new trainer - can win if he runs to his best.

RACE 3: Host of chances with most topping off their preps for the Sydney Cup. (7) BENAUD, narrowly beaten in the Derby 12 months ago on this day, is fitter for his lead ups and a good Randwick surface with new rider James Macdonald will suit him. Last start Rosehill winner (9) GIN MARTINI must be included with 2, 3, 6, 8, 13, 14 and 15 in wide exotics.   

RACE 4: (3) SEQUESTERED is a progressive filly and has trialled well since her latest provincial win. Top stable expect her to relish going to 2000m and rate her highly as an Oaks chance. She will be a popular favourite with J Mac taking the ride but she's meeting five fillies also coming off provincial maiden and C1 wins in a race renowned for upsets. Respect for 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10.

RACE 5: Always hard to line up the Country Championship form but take it that the Scone, Tamworth, Moruya and Albury heats are the strongest form races. The trick is race fitness as six contenders have gone between 35 and 48 days without a start since they qualified. (15) RUNNING BEAR boasts good Randwick form and appeals at value odds as he went on from his Tamworth heat placing to win a BM72 at Warwick Farm 17 days ago and drops sharply in weight. The impressive Albury heat winner (7) BIANCO VILANO is on the up and is another good value chance to anchor in exotics with 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16.

RACE 6: Is the Golden Slipper form the right guide to the Sires Produce? Runner up (1) CYLINDER rates as the horse to beat with history behind him as 19 of the last 28 Sires winners raced in the Slipper but there is a niggling doubt about him being as effective over 1400m. Slipper runners (2) DON CORLEONE (4th) and (3) EMPIRE OF JAPAN (5th) recorded strong closing sectionals and home track advantage at Randwick gives them a fair chance to bridge the gap over the extra 200m. The new form lines comes from Victoria with strong figures around (4) VEIGHT and (6) BRAVE MEAD. The unbeaten VEIGHT smashed his rivals including subsequent Rosehill winner Amur in the VRC Sires over 1400m at Flemington but needs a clever ride from his wide gate going clockwise for the first time. Track and distance will also suit 5, 8 and 11.

RACE 7: Has Sydney seen a better G1 sprint? It may well mark the changing of the guard in the sprint ranks with the ageing champion (1) NATURE STRIP facing a huge challenge to win this race for the fourth time and halt the upward march of the new brigade led by (10) GIGA KICK. The Victorian 3YO posted huge figures in his storming win over Nature Strip and company in the Everest and was stiff not to win the G2 Challenge Stakes first up over 1000m at this course a month ago when he clocked the fastest closing sectionals. He's followed up with impressive jump outs that have him poised to cement his place at the top of the sprinting ranks. Super filly (15) IN SECRET ate up the fast pace in the Newmarket at Flemington and will get similar conditions here while Challenge Stakes winner (13) PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE and the versatile (6) I WISH I WIN can also run figures that will expose any flaw in their rivals. (3) PRIVATE EYE and (4) MAZU are tried and tested in these high pressure sprints and both will appreciate returning to Randwick from soft draws. If you like NATURE STRIP you will get value as he has never been at such generous odds in his entire 42 start career!

RACE 9: A traditional ATC Derby with the local three-year-olds having to repel a strong challenge from New Zealand. NZ Derby winner (1) SHARP 'N' SMART knows how to win at the top level on both sides of the Tasman but faces a challenge to overcome his wide barrier draw with Hugh Bowman's early tactics (push forward?) the key to the race. The first four home in the NZ Derby are here with a lot to like about the chances of (9) MARK TWAIN with improvement off his strong fourth at Te Rapa. Victoria Derby winner (2) MANZOICE has had a measured prep and is ready to peak getting out to 2400m while (4) PERICLES and (8) JAPANESE EMPEROR rate to figure in the finish if they can sustain their stamina over the classic distance. Last Saturday's Tulloch Stakes form is suspect. (15) STROKE OF LUCK is the one who should have won that race while NZ Derby third (7) FULL OF SINCERITY impressed with his late finish after a negative ride. 

RACE 10: Impressive Scone-trained filly (2) OPAL RIDGE went to a new level trouncing a mixed field first-up in the Listed Darby Munro over 1200m at Rosehill two weeks ago when she ran home in the fastest 1000m sectional of the day. She's proven at Randwick with two wins from three starts and holds ample scope to progress off her Rosehill performance as she stays on the same handicap under favourable weight conditions. Her new rivals include the unbeaten (5) MAGIC TIME and the tough topweight (1) PARISAL looking to extend her winning streak. Including 7, 10 and 11 in the exotics.

PERICLES Picture: Racing Photos



RANDWICK SATURDAY: Godfather (R1); Saltaire (R1); Sequestered (R4); Arts (R4); Lost And Running (R7); Passive Aggressive (R7); Overpass (R7); Duke De Sessa (R8); Tsarina Sophia (R10)


MUDGEE SUNDAY: Lonrioli (R7)

KEMBLA GRANGE TUESDAY: Belyaev (R2); Irradiance (R2); Think She's A Star (R3); Bunker Hut (R4); Lonrioli (R5); Ohtani (R5)

RECENT TRIAL WATCH WINNERS: Welcome Gypsy; Altivo; Kipsbay; Bobby Shiraz; Californian; Watch The Clock; Air To Air; Airman; Libertad; Short Shorts; Scientist; Martial Music; Parisal; Jedibeel; Autumn Ballet; Smart As Smart; Bacchanalia; Soldier Of Rome; Just Like Lisa; Artorius; Kallos; Shadows Of Love

SHARP 'N' SMART Picture: Trish Dunell


ROSEHILL March 27: TSARINA SOPHIA (Gerald Ryan/Sterling Alexiou): Flying Russian Revolution filly has won three of her first five starts up to 1200m and will surely be adding to that record if kept to suitable sprints. Easily ran to a big lead in her 900m heat and was six lengths clear on the turn. From there she was in cruise control to maintain that margin under no pressure, clocking the fastest time in the 10 heats over the distance (54.71; 35.55), notably being the only winner to go under 55 seconds.

RANDWICK March 21: Brilliant mare PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE was the star of the morning winning her 1045m heat (62.66; 34.64). She led by six lengths after 400m before Jordan Childs switched off over the last 200m, allowing the mare to coast to the line. She beat the promising BUNKER HUT making up several lengths quickly over the last 100m but flattered by the close margin at the finish. The smart 2YO SALTAIRE posted the fastest win in the 1045m heats (62.37; 34.42), tracking the leaders and putting in strong work under a good hold to get their measure over the last 100m. A strong third by promising filly SEQUESTERED in the open heat over 1200m augers well for her prospects over the carnival.

WARWICK FARM March 17: Lightly raced Lonhro filly LONRIOLI cruised in the lead to win the fastest 797m heat (47.12; 33.24) with plenty in reserve and impressed by the way she went on with her work past the line. She took on black type after her maiden win – a fair indication of the opinion held of her by her stable.

RANDWICK March 7: Gun sprinter LOST AND RUNNING showed the benefit of his first-up trial, working easily in second place and showing his class when extending late to nail the pacy leader Omni Man in his open heat over 742m (43.00; 32.62). Suffered a setback after this trial that has delayed his return.

VEIGHT Picture: Racing Photos


Eligible Blackbook Runners – March 30

RANDWICK SATURDAY: Matcha Latte (R2); Le Baol (R3); I Wish I Win (R7); Giga Kick (R7); Lofty Strike (R7); Zougotcha (R8); Pride Of Jenni (R8)

BENDIGO SATURDAY: Not To Be Mist (R1); Is It Me (R7); Quality Time (R8)


RECENT BLACKBOOK WINNERS: High Court; Zeyrek; Butch Cassidy; Mr Brightside; Meridius; Almania; Jal Lei; Osipenko; Lindermann; Swords Drawn; Regal Pom; Sha Of Gomer; Lekvarte; Iron Grace; Queen Air; Spacewalk; Competition; Jacquinot; Hokkaido; Levante; Deficit; Frumos; Mr Rock It; Dunkel.

Blackbookers – Selected March 25

(Follow for next 3 starts)

ATISHU: Big finish. Has come up well.

CARDINAL GEM: Tough run. Rarely disappoints.

GEAR UP: Nice opener. Good prospect for Brisbane carnival.

NUMERIAN: Tried hard. Can hold this form.

PIEROSSA: Strong Oaks trial.

WAVERLEY: Nice youngster with plenty of upside.

Racing and Sports