Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse hosts one of the five Group 1 spring races taking place across two states this weekend with a field of three-year-old stayers facing off in the Spring Champion Stakes 2014.
Due to jump at 4:10pm (local) as Race 6, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) is shaping up as an exciting showdown between a freakishly good filly in First Seal ($1.85) and undefeated colt Sweynesse ($3.60).
Drawn in barrier four with Jason Collett replacing Blake Shinn in the saddle, John Thompson’s Fastnet Rock filly First Seal is on a seven day turnaround going up from a mile to 2000m looking for successive Group 1 wins.
Last weekend she beat home six of her own kind in the Flight Stakes at the same track and now she takes on the boys looking to assert her staying ability in the Spring Champion.
Her biggest danger is drawn one on her inside in gate three with the John O’Shea-trained Sweynesse after his fifth win from as many starts after a Group 3 Gloaming Stakes win over 1800m at Rosehill on September 27.
So will the filly become a dual Group 1 winner? Can Sweynesse remain undefeated? Or is there a total boil over Spring Champion Stakes result on the cards from an outside chance in the race such as value-bet b ($6.50) who won the Ming Dynasty Quality two back or event Hampton Court ($15) for Gai Waterhouse.
#8 First Seal ($1.85)
The filly is at a short price but even odds-on we won’t be laying her. She was explosive in the Flight Stakes last time out with her three length win over Winx and won her start before that too, also at Randwick in the Group 2 Tea Rose over the same filly. She’s got to handle the short turnaround and the boys AND the step up in distance but she deserves a shot. If she pulls out the same turn of foot and goes the distance she’ll be saluting for the punters. She’ll get the box seat and will be finishing off fast enough to beat them with any luck.
#1 Sweynesse ($3.60)
Would be the clear favourite without the filly to rain on his parade. Heads towards the Victoria Derby next month over 2500m so is tipped to run a strong 2000m here. 1800m presented no problems last start in the Gloaming Stakes, a race that has produced plenty of Spring Champion winners over the years. Is yet to taste defeat and the in-form Shinn comes off First Seal to stick with him. Should put the pressure on the favourite and how she handles that will determine who is first past the post.
#4 Hampton Court ($15)
Value bet here in Hampton Court from the Waterhouse stables. Can run a cheeky run up front going forward with stable mate Valentia. Needs to keep that up over 2000m however but led all the way over a mile in the Dulcify Quality last weekend here. Carried 54kg with Joao Moreira from barrier one so won’t have it quite the same here stepping up in distance with 56.5kg at set weights with Josh Parr coming on but still a livewire chance.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change