In Sydney on Saturday the racing action kicks off with Group status events right off the bat including Race 1 – the Gloaming Stakes 2014.
There are just six left in the mix for this year’s $200,000 Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) following the early scratching of #1 Valentia for Gai Waterhouse from the three-year-olds’ clash.
A key lead-up for hopefuls heading towards the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Gloaming Stakes features early favourite for that November 1 classic in Sweynesse.
Undefeated with three wins already on his record, John O’Shea’s son of Lonhro is also the $2.20 favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au in the Gloaming Stakes odds.
He’s won back-to-back races this time in over 1400m and 1600m respectively, the latest being at Newcastle in the Group 3 Spring Stakes on September 17.
The step up to 1800m here will give connections at Godolphin, and the bookies who have him leading Victoria Derby all-in betting, a better idea of his true staying potential.
Following Sweynesse in Gloaming Stakes betting at a firming $2.80 is then the market mover Diamond Valores for Peter & Paul Snowden.
Drawn in barrier four, with Sweynesse in the outside barrier, the Snowden’s Tavistock gelding is also in good form.
He won his opening two career starts at Canterbury in August and then went up to the mile at Warwick Farm on September 10 for his first defeat when runner-up to Hollywood bound.
Following the dominant duo for Rosehill’s Saturday opener is then one other single figure fancy Pounamu, also 2014 Victoria Derby bound, with this trio the best to back for the Gloaming Stakes trifecta; but in what order?
#2 Sweynesse ($2.20)
Should eat up the 1800m here on the back of a tidy Spring Stakes win over the Newcastle mile last time out over Pounamu. Won at Rosehill before that so has handled the track. Looking for more, but maybe not just yet. Similar class, small field and outside gate matters little with only six in the mix. In-form and nothing to suggest he won’t keep the winnings going.
#4 Pounamu ($3.60)
Tipping a repeat of the Spring Stakes quinella with Pounamu to finish second best again. Allan Denham-trained gelding handles everything from good to Heavy and was under half a length off Sweynesse last time out. This is the next step if the Victoria Dream stays alive.
#3 Diamond Valores ($2.80)
Team Snowden saddles-up a smart improver here and it could be a blanket finish. Has won two from three and is improving each time. A heavy track likely got him beat last time out, needs to handle Rosehill crowds on a big race day here but on firmer going over 1800m should be ready for it.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change