With Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse down to a Heavy (9), there is now the distinct chance that Melbourne’s Flemington track will be downgraded to a Slow (6) for Australian Guineas Day on Saturday which is sure to have a big impact on all of the events including the Roy Higgins Quality 2012.
The second event on the crack eight-race program, the $125,000 Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) is a true staying event and while there are three distinct favourites in the markets, the wet weather could throw things wide open before jump time at 1:20pm.
Over the past day the Roy Higgins Quality odds at Luxbet have seen a number of market moves with #1 Drunken Sailor now the $3.50 favourite.
They have a big 60kg weight on their back, which they can handle but against a field carrying much less with lots of give in the ground things still look tricky for Michael Moroney’s seven-year-old.
Drunken Sailor comes off a second in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) and they are one of the best-tried in the field on Slow tracks having won four and placed in three of their 10 attempts on Slow ground to date.
In a top three re-arrangement, Persian Star now occupies the second line of Roy Higgins betting at Luxbet at a price of $3.60.
Robert Smerdon’s seven-year-old could only manage to finish eighth in the Listed Werribee Cup two starts back over the 2600-metres, but improved last-start when they dropped back to 2000-metres.
The distance on Saturday shouldn’t be a query, however, as the mare has form up to two-miles having run an eye-catching fifth to Tinseltown in the Queensland Cup (3200m) last year.
Although Persian Star has never won on a Slow track, she has run a placing which is more than market drifter Western Jewel can say.
Winner of the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) back home at Ascot on New Year’s Eve, the Grant Williams-trained Jeune mare made her interstate debut last start finishing fifth in the Mornington Cup.
With improvement to come and Craig Williams retaining the ride, Western Jewel was originally at $3.90 in the Luxbet markets, but she has since drifted out to $4 with queries over how she will handle a wet track.
Saturday’s Roy Higgins Quality was to be used as a distance test for Western Jewel as she would step up to the 2600-metres for the first time ahead of her major autumn aim, the $400,000 Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) on Monday March 12.
The fact Western Jewel has never seen slow or heavy ground is definitely a concern for owner Bob Peters who was hopeful of getting a better guide to her chances in the Adelaide Cup 2012.
“She has never run on a wet track and generally the Jeune horses don’t handle it,” Peters said.
“I thought she’d run all right but now with this track I have no idea.
“Any guide we hoped to get may be washed away.”
The next shortest-priced Roy Higgins hopeful is then the Nigel Blackiston-trained Cheviot Beach at $6.50 through Luxbet.
The Footstepsinthesand five-year-old is a bred stayer being out of a Zabeel mare (Milzeel), Cheviot Beach also boasting a place finish on Slow ground and a last-start win at Flemington from February 18.
Meanwhile Steve Richards‘ local six-year-old Prussian Officer has drifted out in their price from $26 to $31 despite having good form on Slow ground with a win and three placings from four starts.
Two of the Races.com.au value picks for the Roy Higgins exotics based on wet track form are Our Serena ($17 Luxbet) who has run two placings from three starts on a Heavy track and Robbie Laing’s Lonhro six-year-old Rowland ($13 Luxbet) who should get some favours out wider in barrier eight and who has two wins on Heavy tracks as well as a last-start second in the Listed Sportingbet Night Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley from last Friday night.
Check out the full Roy Higgins Quality odds and back our selections or your own picks at the nicest price at Luxbet’s ‘Best of the Best’ markets.
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