The Grahame Begg-trained Ilovethiscity is the sole three-year-old in this year’s Doncaster Mile and with eight of the past 20 winners being from his age group, the Magic Albert colt has claims to cause an upset in the famous Randwick race.
Ilovethiscity is one of 18 gallopers gearing up to contest the $2 million Group 1 Emirates Doncaster Mile (1600m) tomorrow.
Despite a wide barrier 17 draw, trainer Begg and jockey Brenton Avdulla remain quietly confident that Ilovethiscity has more than just the right number of years behind him heading into the Doncaster.
History shows that the wider gate start is only a minor glitch as eight Doncaster Mile winners in the past two decades jumped from double-digit barriers.
“The barrier is not the end of the world,” Begg said.
“There is a good, long run down the back straight of nearly 600m to the first turn and when you are drawn wide, you can miss a lot of the trouble.
“I know Brenton (Avdulla) won’t be panicking.”
A $19 outsider in the Randwick Mile markets Ilovethiscity, purchased as a yearling by Begg for only $40,000, is five runs into his preparation this year.
First-up the colt ran a game fourth beaten less than half a length in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 12.
He then claimed back-to-back Group victories first in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill’s Blue Diamond Stakes Day before Ilovethiscity scored his maiden elite level success in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Last start they finished a credible fifth to last year’s Doncaster Mile winner Rangirangdoo in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 2.
“I thought my horse did a great job to finish top five in the George Ryder when he was beaten less than three lengths and had the fastest closing sectional,” Begg said.
Ilovethiscity was actually only one and three quarter lengths back in the George Ryder and is one of the 51.5kg lightweights in this year’s Doncaster.
“He drops 5kg to 51.5kg under handicap conditions,” stated Begg.
Although Begg is yet to taste Doncaster glory, his father Neville took out the 1983 edition with Emancipation.
The closest Grahame has come to landing the big Randwick feature was in 1994 when Telesto was a fast-finishing third to dual winner Pharaoh.
Raging favourite to win the 2011 Doncaster Mile is the Gai Waterhouse-trained More Joyous.
A slight market drifter out from $2.25 to $2.50, More Joyous is expected to have plenty of money come in for her on race day.
For experienced bookmaker at Luxbet Paul Vincent, however, More Joyous is the “Lay of the Day”.
“I can’t see her (More Joyous) getting the soft runs she’s had in transit of her last few and will be taking her on for plenty,” Vincent exclusively revealed to Races.com.au.
“I think the George Ryder form line is the best guide here,” Vincent continued.
“I’ll put Love Conquers All on top as he was narrowly beaten in that event (a nose) after doing some early work.
“He drops 5.5kg and is unbeaten at Randwick in five attempts.”
The Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained Mossman four-year-old Love Conquers All is set to jump from barrier seven on Saturday and is rated a $13 chance.
“Triple Elegance is another who gets significant weight relief and is drawn to secure a soft run,” Vincent said.
One of three Doncaster runners for Chris Waller, Triple Elegance was third in the George Ryder last start carrying 59.5kg and will jump from barrier six in the Doncaster with just 51.5kg on his back.
“He is dropping to 51.5kg and it is certainly going to help his chances,” Triple Elegance’s jockey Jim Cassidy said.
Seeking his third Doncaster win having come up trumps with Rangirangdoo last year and Triple Honour back in 2008, Waller is confident $6.50 second-favourite Triple Elegance is in the right form.
“He’s racing with great confidence at the top level,” Waller said.