Turn it up! Great weekend of thoroughbred racing

Racing writer Jonny Turner takes a look at the best of Sunday's incredible line-up of thoroughbred races. 

Open 1200m sprint, Wingatui, 3.39pm

This is a really open race.

Turncoat was very good winning on Champions Day, narrowly beating The Precious One. He meets his Wingatui rival just half a kilo worse off, going from a 5kg advantage to 4.5kg.

Both are right in this race, as is Johnny Jones, who was very unlucky when fourth behind them in their previous clash.

Morweka disappointed in the same event, but had plenty of excuses after suffering interference.

Pippi Rea was ordinary behind Turncoat, but has since beaten Johnny Jones and gone a good race at Riccarton in running second.

Don Carlo disappointed there and will be a major player tomorrow, so long as the track does not deteriorate past dead4.

Selections: Turncoat (8), The Precious One (6), Don Carlo (2), Johnny Jones (5).

3yr-old fillies stakes event, Wingatui, 4.49pm

The draws have opened this race right up with leading contenders Siracusa and Live Drama both parked out in barrier 12 and 13 respectively.

Both have the class to win, but will need to either be exceptional or get a slice of luck to score.

Live Drama was brilliant in the Gore Guineas, only just going down.

Siracusa looks to have a touch of class and impressed in her short spring campaign.

Trifolium has drawn perfectly in barrier 4 and should have no problems measuring up in listed company.

Her sixth behind Showbeel in the Desert Gold Stakes was excellent and that form reference, combined with her nice gate, means she has to be my top pick.

Asathought also has to go in ahead of Live Drama and Siracusa after her excellent third in the Southland Guineas.

She was another winner out of the race’s draws, when getting barrier 1.

Selections: Trifolium (3), Asathought (6), Live Drama (2), Siracusa (7).

New Zealand Derby, Ellerslie, 5.05pm

This year’s Derby looks like a match race between Dragon Leap and Two Illicit, but there are few levellers quite like putting 3yr-olds over 2400m.

It has been impossible not to be impressed with Dragon Leap’s rapid rise.

His Avondale Guineas win screamed class.

Two Illicit’s Waikato Guineas win took her already impressive form to another level, which now places her right beside Dragon Leap.

The trickiest question may be who to put in third and fourth. I think few will relish 2400m like Sherwood Forrest, so i put him in ahead of Scorpz.

Selections: Dragon Leap (1), Two Illicit (16), Sherwood Forest (2), Scorpz (3).

Australian Guineas, Flemington, 6.10pm

Has there been a more highly anticipated rematch than Cataylst vs Alligator Blood?

Their first meeting was one of the best horse races I have seen in months, if not years.

Catalyst is clearly a star and will undoubtedly throw an even tougher challenge at his rival, having the benefit of a run in Australia and at Flemington.

He has been at around $2.50 odds compared with Alligator Blood’s $3.20 price this week. There was almost nothing between them in their last battle and I think the same should be true of their prices.

Selections: Alligator Blood (1), Catalyst (4) Chenier (7), Alabama Express (3).

Chipping Norton Stakes, Randwick, 6.30pm

New Zealand Star Te Akau Shark has the big task in trying to follow in Winx’s footsteps after her wins in the past four runnings of this race.

What he has on his side is he appears to be returning to Sydney a more mature and more powerful prospect than in the spring.

This is his shot at an Australian group 1 win; let’s hope he takes it.

I can’t underrate Winx’s old sparring partner Happy Clapper, though it appears bookmakers have. I put him in ahead of Dream Force and Avilius.

Selections: Te Akau Shark (3), Happy Clapper (2), Dreamforce (4), Avilius (1).


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