The Rosehill Timeform recap featuring a race by race overview of key performers and ones to watch out of the Run To The Rose program on September 8.
Four Group races were conducted at Rosehill on Saturday with Lean Mean Machine taking out the feature event, the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m). The Zoustar colt impressed through his two-year-old season and has evidently returned bigger and better with a strong first up display. He will look to become the fourth colt in five years to claim the Run To The Rose/Golden Rose double on September 22.
Graff lost no admirers though, still managing to run second despite a torrid run in transit.
The same could be said for The Autumn Sun in the Stan Fox Stakes, running third as favourite after minimal luck in the straight behind the David Payne-trained Tarka.
Home Of The Brave made a last minute case to secure a slot in The Everest when leading throughout to win the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1500m), beating D’Argento and Trapeze Artist who more than held his own for third under a 61kg impost.
Race 1: Mandylion - Benchmark 78 Fillies & Mares Handicap (1500m)
Mandylion had been knocking on the door this prep having kicked it off with three straight placings. She was too good on Saturday where she led and kicked well.
We’ve assessed the run with a Timeform rating of 101. That’s a six pound jump on Mandylion’s prior three runs this prep. She commenced the campaign with three straight runs which returned a figure of 95.
Gwenda Markwell has a rock hard fit mare in form. There is a 1400m Benchmark 88 at Rosehill for her in two weeks.
Race 2: Handle The Truth - Class 3 Highway Handicap (1200m)
There has been a boom on Handle The Truth down in Canberra for a long time. He justified the hype on Saturday. The Star Witness three-year-old enjoyed a charmed run in behind the speed and gradually wore down the early leader Risk And Reward Horseform.
The Keith Dryden and Scott Collings-trained gelding ran to a Timeform rating of 92.
The important thing for Handle The Truth on Saturday was the boxes he ticked. The gelding showed he is capable on a rain affected track and also not just a one trick pony 1000m sprinter.
He is eligible to win one more Highway Handicap however suitable sprint Highway Handicaps are quite scarce over the coming weeks.
The stable may need to look toward the midweeks for at least his next start.
Race 3: Conarchie - Benchmark 78 3YO+ Handicap (1400m)
Conarchie is certainly not the punters friend. He’s won his past two starts at 50-1 & 25-1.
The seven-year-old has run a career best figure on Saturday. Not quite sure how he’s managed to find this sort of improvement so late in his career.
The two to watch out of the race are clearly Renewal in fourth and Don’t Give A Damn. Renewal has hit the line well in both runs this prep.
As for Don’t Give A Damn, carrying 64kg on a Heavy track like that is hardly conducive to a good result yet still wasn’t beaten far.
Race 4: Tarka - Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m)
Tarka has handled a sharp class rise in his stride coming out of a Warwick Farm midweeker and ran to a Timeform rating of 110.
It’s a winning figure that is down on recent years however there is no shame in that though. The Stan Fox has been won by some seriously good horses the past few years, Shooting To Win, Press Statement and Impending.
They were more sprinter/miler types whereas Tarka is a middle distance/staying type. He’ll head toward races like the Gloaming/Spring Champion and the VRC Derby. Could follow in the footsteps of his stablemate Ace High who won that treble 12 months ago.
The Autumn Sun is still clearly the horse to follow out of the race. He was excellent first up 1500m on a Heavy track. If Tarka didn’t pinch his run at the 400m he might have even won.
Dealmaker (2nd) and Irukandji (4th). Both are by Dundeel and also profile like Spring Champion/Victoria Derby type of three-year-olds.
Race 5: Home Of The Brave - Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m)
Most were waiting for D’Argento to reel him in but Home Of The Brave kept kicking.
The run netted Home Of The Brave a Timeform rating of 120. It’s the highest winning figure of a Theo Marks Stakes since More Joyous won the 2010 renewal with a rating of 122.
James Cummings on paper still has more to work with as well. Home Of The Brave has a peak figure of 121 from his time in the UK which the Starspangledbanner gelding ran to twice.
D’Argento probably missed an opportunity on Saturday. He was well weighted and couldn’t quite capitalise. He will however be much more in his element over a mile.
Trapeze Artist was great under 61kg first up on that track over 1300m. He gave two Group 1 performed rivals substantial weight and still wasn’t beaten far.
Lean Mean Machine, picture Sportpix.com.au
Race 6: Lean Mean Machine - Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m)
Lean Mean Machine settled in behind some pretty solid early speed. He rattled home strongly off that in the straight despite getting bumped around inside the 400m.
We awarded the run a Timeform rating of 117. It’s another winning figure, like Tarka’s Stan Fox win, which is down on prior years of the race. You look at the prior few winners of the race though and it reads Exosphere (2015), Astern (2016) and Menari (2017).
He’s $7 to win the Golden Rose and certainly profiles as a good bet considering recent history of the Golden Rose. The Run To The Rose/Golden Rose double has been achieved in three of the past four years. Hallowed Crown, Exosphere and Astern all did it.
Spare a thought for Graff in second - that was a massive run. He was stuck three wide the trip and midway up the straight still looked like he was going to win.
The Kris Lees-trained colt is certainly capable of turning the tables on Lean Mean Machine next fortnight.
Epaulette in 2012 & Dissident in 2013 were each beaten in the Run To The Rose then came out and won the main event a fortnight later.
Race 7: Invincibella - Group 2 Sheraco Stakes (1200m)
Invincibella was resuming off a great prep late last season and picked up where she left off.
The mare ran to a Timeform rating of 112. It’s the highest winning figure of the race since Catkins won in 2015 with a rating of 116.
Noire ran second giving Star Thoroughbreds a quinella in the race. Invincibella isn’t the first time a Star Thoroughbreds mare has won this race either. Driefontein claimed the 2013 renewal.
Invincibella will go the the Golden Pendant in a fortnight over seven furlongs. Realistically, most of the runners in this Sheraco Stakes will head there including third placegetter Champagne Cuddles Horseform.
Race 8: Soothing - Benchmark 88 Handicap (1100m)
Soothing produced a gritty win in testing conditions and ran to a Timeform rating of 102.
The daughter of Lonhro was clearly not at her best in those sorts of conditions, that figure is six pounds shy of what she ran the start prior.
Regardless, it’s probably time for her to head to Melbourne now and chase some black type.
Her stablemate Resin was good in third. It was a strong first up run. She can stay in Sydney and pick off a Benchmark race in the near future.
Race 9: Zourhkan - Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m)
Zourkhan put the writing on the wall for this first up where he was strong over 1500m last month. On Saturday, the import settled one out and one back. Hugh Bowman had plenty of horse under him as they turned for home.
It was Zourkhan’s first look at a soft track since November 2016 and the son of Shamardal thrives on them. The French import has a great record on rain affected ground, three wins and three placings from seven runs.
On Saturday, the Chris Waller-trained runner produced a Timeform rating of 101. It’s a new career peak for him.
There is some versatility about him having recorded wins from a mile up to 2800m. There is a 2000m Benchmark 88 at Rosehill in a fortnight he can go to third up.
The next few behind him, Tamarack, Excelsior and Prometheus, we probably won’t see them on a Saturday for a while with the carnival now underway. They’ll be able to make their presences felt at the midweeks though.