Ranvet Stakes Day Rosehill - March 22

Ajax Stakes 1500m (SR6)

An intriguing Group 2 lead-up to the Doncaster kicks-off the Sydney quaddie on Saturday. There are three realistic hopes from leading yards which have built-up impressive records. After long delibarations, I have settled on Messene from Team Hawkes. This five-year-old has eight wins and two seconds from 11 starts and returned to racing with a gutsy win the National Sprint in Canberra just under three weeks ago. The son of Lonhro drops in weight for this, is two from two over the distance and has never missed a place second up. The danger comes from the Gai Waterhouse barn in Ecuador. Like Messene, he's also missed the pace just once in 11 career starts, with five victories. Gai is spruiking this four-year-old as a leading chance in the 'Donny'. You can draw a form line between these two hopes through wins over Kaypers - Ecuador beat it by 0.8 lengths in a 1400m BM95 two starts ago, while Messene crushed it by 2.5 lengths over 1550m before going for a spell. Tony McEvoy saddles up Mouro (7 wins & 5 seconds from 14 starts), which was super first up at Flemington. He's meets Messene 4kgs worse for a 1.5 length defeat almost a year ago. Chris Waller's import, Weary, was an eye-catcher at his first Australian run and will improve.

Selections: Messene, Ecuador, Mouro, Weary 

Coolmore Classic 1500m (SR7)

A visitor from Japan has added extra spice to this Group 1 for mares, which is minus the country's best Red Tracer. After the Myer Classic at Flemington the spring, Chris Waller said Catkins was his 'next Red Tracer'. And the four-year-old mare will have to be the equal of her stablemate, after drawing barrier 14 and having to lump 58kg. At my own peril, I'm going to take on Waller and Hugh Bowman. I'm tipping Sharnee Rose eachway from the inside gate. She's third up after two handy runs behind Catkins and meets her 2.5kg better. The five-year-old from the Kris Lee operation beat Red Tracer third run in last prep over 1400m at this track. If she backs up (1st attempt at running on successive Saturdays), Peter Moody's A Time For Julia can figure with Glen Boss aboard. Watch out for classy filly Real Surreal from Team Hawkes. If Corey Brown can overcome a wide gate and get some cover, she is a definte chance and Catkins is too good to leave out of the multiples.   

Selections: Sharnee Rose, A Time For Julia, Real Surreal, Catkins

Ranvet Stakes 2000m (MR8)

With all due respect to the other 7 runners, this should be a weight for age shootout between Fiorente and It's A Dundeel. Their form is far superior to the other rivals. Trained by Gai Waterhouse, Fiorente is is going for four straight wins - a run which started with his Melbourne Cup victory. The six-year-old gelding has only had one start in Sydney - running a fast-finishing third to All Too Hard in the All Ages Stakes overs 1400m at Randwick 11 months ago. It's A Dundeel's only run at the track and distance ended in a seven-length win in the Rosehill Guineas. Fitness tolled first-up behind Boban, but IAD has never lost in three goes second-up. I think this might be the first time he tastes defeat second run in, with the Melbourne Cup winner fitter after two gutsy Melbourne victories.  Kiwi mare Silent Achiever is back in form and can figure in the minor placings, while Gai's second runner Carlton House might lead on its own and kick strongly.

Selections: Fiorente, It's A Dundeel, Silent Achiever, Carlton House

Phar Lap Stakes 1500 (SR9)

A cracking three-year-old race to finish the card, with a mix of promising and proven runners here. This could also tell us if Darely's four-time Group 1 winning filly, Guelph, is gone. After dominating early in her career, Guelph's two runs back from a spell have been ordinary. Saturday is 'D Day' and I can't tip her until she shows something. With another classy filly, Solicit, staying in Melbourne this is an absolute lottery. Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller have multiple chances, but I'm going for Trent Busuttin's High Tec purely on potential. I saw this bloke's Aussie debut and he absolutely toyed with a Class 2 field at Wyong. It was a nice pipe-opener and I note Hugh Bowman has stuck with him. Liberty's Choice also looks to have some upside at its second run this prep and it has run some good races in handy fields. However, it has just one win from nine outings! Rock Sturdy from Joe Pride's stable looks to be going places as well. Woodbine, with 'Olly' on board is a definite chance. Of course, this could all mean nothing if Guelph found her best!

Selections: High Tec, Liberty's Choice, Rock Sturdy, Woodbine

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