Arguably the best day of racing in Australia and this year's edition is no different. The Doncaster headlines but the T J Smith is an absolute cracker, with the Derby and Sires throwing up plenty of angles.
I'll touch on the features quickly but before that, my best of the day comes up in Race 4, the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes for three-year-old fillies. One of the better examples of a race given group status for breeding purposes, with the market leaders coming off a Hawkesbury Class 1, a Gosford Class 1 and Kembla Grange maiden
Despite that, I am with the favourite in Sequestered because she's got so little opposition and does look the one capable of winning better races.
She brings the best last start rating into this, sprinting quickly to win well at Hawkesbury over 1500m, earning a figure of 90+ which suggest she could've rated a fair bit higher in a better scenario.
That form has already stood up with second placegetter Byron Belle since running fifth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes, only 0.1 lengths off Fireburn and 0.9 lengths off Oaks favourite Pavitra.
2000m should pose no issue for the daughter of Pierro, she can settle just behind the speed from barrier two and with any luck she should be winning.
My best value of the day comes up in the Group 1 Inglis Sires with Cafe Millenium. He was a huge winner on debut here over 1100m, settling out the back off a good tempo and powering home to post a rating of 105.
That saw him start $5 third pick in the Todman but a field of five and a slow tempo just saw him with way too much to do, his late splits only about a length slower than Cylinder, who started $2.90.
Cylinder has since run a good second in the Golden Slipper but is now $2.10 and Cafe Millenium, who will eat up 1400m, is $19. He's a big raw bugger but gets the winkers on and if they run along, he'll be very strong late.
Later, Nature Strip shoots for an unprecedented fourth straight T J Smith Stakes and I think he's worth a bet. He hasn't started longer than $7 in 23 starts and his median SP in that time is $2.25.
Yes he was poor first up, but I still think he was the run of the race in last year's Everest behind Giga Kick and if he can turn back the clock, $6 seems a huge price for a three time winner of the race. 1200m around Randwick, a bit of give and seemingly not too much pressure, it'd be something else to see the champ go one more round.
The Doncaster Mile is a ripper and I think the market order is now right. Mr Brightside shoots for back-to-back Donny's and looks the rightful favourite, meeting Alligator Blood 2kg better for beating him in the All-Star Mile. The Blood was only 2nd up there and attacked for the lead but won't get things his own way here either.
The value early was Converge who drops 7kg from his George Ryder third. He did beat Anamoe over this T/D last year and looks very well in with 52kg. He and Mr Brightside both look well in relative to the field and both, on their day, are right up to winning this. The best roughies might be Going Global who has some strong Timeform ratings in the US and Nugget, who drops 7.5kg from his ASM run. Mr Brightside only had to run to 114 by Timeform's scale with 50.5kg last year and Nugget's peak of 116 with 51.5kg would be competitive.
Bet of the day: Race 4 #3 Sequestered @ $2.35
Best value: Race 6 #8 Cafe Millenium @ $19/4.2