The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Last year’s Golden Slipper winning filly Crystal Lily may have a stranglehold over the odds for Sunday’s The Goodwood after the early scratching of rival Shrapnel, but it is the fellow Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Group 1 winner Response that could cause an upset in the Adelaide feature.
Smart Stratum three-year-old Crystal Lily dominates betting for the $350,000 Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville, firming into $4.50 after Mark Kavanagh chose to scratch second favourite and Yallambee Classic winner Shrapnel from the field.
Crystal Lily, however, has a wide barrier draw to contend from and comes into Sunday’s race having been defeated by boom sprinter Black Caviar in all four of her starts this year.
In fact, Crystal Lily has not won a race since her success in the 2010 Golden Slipper over 12 months ago.
The long time between drinks and the toll of chasing a superstar like Caviar on so many occasions means there’s a cloud of doubt over whether Crystal Lily will indeed become this year’s The Goodwood winner.
Last start she was over eight and a half lengths away seventh in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and looking a little worn.
A horse that was able to finish one better when sixth in the TJ Smith Stakes was Crystal Lily’s under-rated stablemate Response.
Four-year-old Charge Forward mare Response, with the TJ Smith Stakes forgotten, comes into the Goodwood on the back of the ideal form having won at the track and distance in March and is out for back-to-back Group 1 wins in Adelaide.
Response showed great talent when hanging on to take out the $350,000 Group 1 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) at Morphettville against the fillies and mares, defeating the Peter Snowden-trained Beaded by nearly half a length.
It was the second elite level win for the quality mare who also won last year’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in September.
Set to jump from barrier seven with 56.5kg, Response will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn and co-trainer Mark Zahra thinks she is in with a shot.
“Response is a seasoned mare who gives her best every time,” he said.
“After the Adelaide win we’ve just taken it run by run with her.
“We kept her in the stable for a week after Sydney and she licked the bin clean and looked good.
“It was only another three weeks (to the Goodwood), so we thought, ‘why not have a go’.
“It looks a pretty nice race for her.
“We’re pretty positive about her chances.
“She had a jumpout at Werribee last week and her work Wednesday morning was good, so she’s where we want her to be.”
Zahra, however, still fancies the higher-profile Crystal Lily.
“The Sydney way she just doesn’t let down like she does in Melbourne,” he said in regards to her run in the TJ Smith Stakes.
“She trialled super the other day, she handles the travel and she’s like the other one (Response) – she’s been up for a while, but if she hasn’t come to the end of it she’ll go well.”
In the current The Goodwood markets, Response is rated a $15 outsider behind the likes of Pinwheel ($8.50), Catapulted ($9) and Ortensia ($10).
In regards to the scratching of Shrapnel, last month Kavanagh, who will still saddle up four sprinters in The Goodwood on Sunday, chose to withdraw Shrapnel from the Group 1 The Galaxy at Randwick when heavy rain saw the track downgraded.
The Goodwood scratching has likely come about because of a similar situation.
Kavanagh’s other The Goodwood chances are Catapulted, Undeniably, Dr Doute’s and Valentine Miss.
Of the quartet Catbird gelding Catapulted is now considered his best chance of taking out The Goodwood followed by Undeniably ($11), Valentine Miss ($14) and $67 roughie Dr Doute’s.
Danetime mare Valentine miss was able to finish a length away fourth to Response in the Sportingbet Classic two starts back before coming within a nose of fellow Goodwood rival Streetcar Magic when second in the Group 3 DC McKay Stakes (1100m) here on April 16.
“She deserves her spot in the field and has drawn well in barrier five,” Kavanagh said of Valentine Miss.
Kavanagh also warned not to write off Redoute’s Choice five-year-old Dr Doute’s, runner-up in the Listed Paramalat Manihi Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on March 26.
“He is a big of a moody galloper and he might need a shower of rain, but at his best he would be around the mark,” he said.
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