The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Luke Pepper’s quality mare Opal Ridge is a first-up favourite to kick off her spring with a win in Saturday’s 2023 The Kosciuszko slot race at Royal Randwick.
Sydney is host to a huge program headed by the $20 million The Everest, while the $2 million The Kosciuszko (1200m) is the other lucrative slot race on the card.
A quality line-up of 14 country horses face off in the set weights plus penalties sprint with The Kosciuszko betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Opal Ridge at $2.60.
The now four-year-old daughter of Rubick is drawn a treat in gate two with super hoop James McDonald booked to ride.
She races for the first time since her close fifth only 1.46 lengths beaten in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm back in June and will appreciate the six furlongs fresh in Sydney.
Opal Ridge is a two-time winner at the Randwick track and has a 50% winning strike rate over the distance.
She won the inaugural Tapp-Craig race on a Heavy (10) here last spring, and if she returns as good as she was going last prep the favourite backers could be celebrating.
The danger following at The Kosciuszko odds of $5 is the defending champion Front Page looking to go back-to-back when he also returns for the season.
The now Matthew Dale-trained son of Magnus, formerly with Geoff Duryea, won last year’s race first-up with 59kg by three-quarters of a length and is out to repeat the feat in 2023.
He was unplaced in three subsequent Group 1 Melbourne races following his The Kosciuszko triumph and was last seen running 2.4 lengths sixth when sent to Morphettville for the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in May.
Saturday has him debuting for his new stable and out to impress with a strong first-up record (7:4-1-0) suggesting he can do just that.
Three other runners are also under double-figures for the win including Far Too Easy and Derry Grove at an equal $7.
The David McColm-trained Far Too Easy is first-up from barrier 12 here looking to go one better than his second to Front Page in last year’s The Kosciuszko results.
A Group 2 place-getter in Brisbane over the winter he also finished runner-up at Grafton in the Listed Ramornie Handicap with 58kg from a wide gate on July 12.
That was a strong effort and he looked the goods with a winning barrier trial last month ahead of his return in The Kosciuszko.
The Matthew Dunn-trained Derry Grove meanwhile boasts the fitness edge here and could be the value in the markets.
The airborne galloper is up in grade but looks a genuine chance to keep the wins coming.
The Star Turn five-year-old is proving to be one classy chestnut and chases win number four on the trot in Saturday’s $2 million acid test.
He comes off back-to-back sprint wins over shorter distances here at the Randwick track to give him an unbeaten record at the course.
He is yet to win over further than 1100m, however his recent form suggests the six furlongs will be a non-issue.
Last start saw him cart 61kg to an over one-length win at 1000m, while the run prior he was enormous putting nearly five lengths on his closest rival over 1100m here with 59.5kg.
Jockey Nash Rawiller is riding in freakishly good form this season and retains the ride on this up-and-comer who will relish racing with 55.5kg.
Completing the chances under $10 in the markets at $9 is then the Scott Collings-trained Mogo Magic in gate four.
This Duporth four-year-old is undefeated coming into the event with a perfect five-from-five record against lesser company.
He has been strong however carrying big weights to big wins in the winter including a 60kg effort over 1100m here back on July 29 ahead of his return.
Two recent winning trials at Goulburn have him ready to go with his undefeated record going on the line now.
2023 The Kosciuszko Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||4x10x8826x||FRONT PAGE||Matthew Dale||Tyler Schiller||8||59kg||110|
|2||x01x71016x||MNEMENTH||Mitchell Beer||Tommy Berry||7||59kg||106|
|3||4127x1622x||FAR TOO EASY||David McColm||James Orman||12||58.5kg||109|
|4||152x18711x||AKASAWA||Paul Messara & Leah Gavranich||Aaron Bullock||10||58.5kg||100|
|5||x5421x53x5||CAVALIER CHARLES||Matthew Dale||Hugh Bowman||14||57.5kg||96|
|6||7x4713164x||I’VE BEAN TRYIN’||Matthew Kelley||Jason Collett||11||57.5kg||88|
|7||21x145125x||OPAL RIDGE||Luke Pepper||James McDonald||2||57kg||112|
|8||11x1x11x||MOGO MAGIC||Scott Collings||Nick Heywood||4||57kg||89|
|9||3x2311141x||BIANCO VILANO||Ron Stubbs||Craig Williams||9||57kg||84|
|10||021125×181||OUR LAST CASH||Donna Scott||Ms Rachel King||13||56.5kg||91|
|11||42118214×0||SIZZLE MINIZZLE||Brett Robb||Sam Clipperton||5||56.5kg||84|
|12||x33450x111||DERRY GROVE||Matthew Dunn||Nash Rawiller||6||55.5kg||82|
|13||3260x1x11x||BROKEN HILL||Cody Morgan||Dylan Gibbons (a)||3||55kg||84|
|14||2x113146x3||KIMBERLEY SECRETS||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||1||54kg||83|
|15e||18x5x6003x||ART CADEAU||Terry Robinson||0||59kg||106|
|17e||1438910×51||SUPER HELPFUL||Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones||Adam Hyeronimus||0||58.5kg||96|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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