Thursday, February 12, 2015

Down to the Wire: El Camino Real + Weekend International Picks

This week, there are two Kentucky Derby preps, but with the Southwest Stakes entries not yet released as of out taping, we only covered one of them -- the El Camino Real on this week's video, along with the G2 Santa Maria at Santa Anita and the Phoenix Gold Cup H. at Turf Paradise. In addition to those picks and analysis, below are my picks for this weekend's racing in Australia and Hong Kong. 





2/13/2015:

*updated with scratches*

Caulfield R5: #2 Lidari and 2 / 3,4
Lidari enters here in what will be his first race since running in the Melbourne Cup. He showed his class in the spring and he typically fires well fresh, having won three of his six first-up runs. Over this distance, he's also won once and finished in the top three in three of his five starts, as well. Others with placing chances look to be Jacquinot Bay, who has won three in a row (all over 1600m) and the ever consistent Red Excitement, who is 2-for-2 over 1600m. 

*Red Excitement scratched, so we'll replace underneath with Big Memory, who although this will be a bit on the sharp side for distance-wise, he should relish the ground more than many of these. Trialed well enough for a horse who's twice placed in four first-up appearances. 

Caulfield R8: #10 Star Rolling win/show 
Star Rolling was a winner over course and distance when first up last August and although that was his only first-up win in three starts, his good draw merits him consideration at a big price. He tailed off as his spring campaign went on, but those runs were over further distances, as well. 

Randwick R5: #9 Slightly Sweet win/show
She may not have the experience of some of these fillies, but Slightly Sweet has impressed visually in both of her wins to date (has made three starts). This is a bit of a litmus test as she's certainly stepping up in class, but at what will likely be a big price, we're willing to see if she belongs in this group and even moreso coming off of a solid trial at Warwick Farm. 

2/14/2015:

Sha Tin R5: #1 Sunny Ying
He has yet to win this year, but Sunny Ying has gone against tougher a few times this season and back in Class 2 company, he looks to have as good a chance as any to hit the line first given he's drawn low and figures to go forward in a race devoid of much early speed on paper. Add in that this course has a short run to the first turn and his draw becomes even more favorable in this spot. 

Sha Tin R7: #2 Aerovelocity (Best)
He's crucially drawn low and figures to go forward alongside the rail -- a position where he does his best running. His presence along with the low draw also should force chief rival Peniaphobia to go forward and although he's capable from that position, he's much better when held up early. 

Sha Tin R8: #7 Travel Renyi
Travel Renyi has been stuck in behind slower paces since arriving in Hong Kong and yet he's still ran on well each time. The step up in trip along with additional pace presences (that is if Dr Good Habit can get out of the gates well) this time around should offer prime conditions to go close. 

Sha Tin R9: #7 Obliterator 
Ran on well in his only local race to date despite being well back off of a slow pace and with both Contentment and Twin Delight in this field, he should get better than that sort of a tempo this time around. The step up in trip should also suit him moreso than some of the others. 

Sha Tin R10: #4 Arpinati 
Been stuck in behind a few slow paces this season and yet has still always gone close. With three seconds in five local starts, he's been close to breaking through with that first win a few times and perhaps here, back to a handicap and where he should be able to get first run on the main speeds, will allow him to get over the hump.

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