Sydney Preview Dec. 9-10, 2022: Spot Plays for Randwick

December 8th, 2022

Just when you thought the big money was gone for a while in Sydney, it’s back, courtesy of the A$2 million Ingham (G2) at Randwick.

Formerly known as the Villiers, the race over about a mile has been renamed after Australian chicken magnates Bob and Jack Ingham, who were the biggest owners in New South Wales racing for many years until selling their operation to Godolphin in 2008.

The day also features two Listed events and a A$500,000 contest for horses sold at the numerous Inglis sales around Australia. All races are subject to the TwinSpires Rest of the World Bet Back offer, so let’s have a look at the features.

Race 4, 10:05 a.m. ET: Christmas Cup (Listed), 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), 3-year-olds and up

Seven of the 11 runners in this contest contested the ATC Cup over 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 26, so you’d have to think that will be a good guide for this. In that event, #4 Bonny Ezra caused a 30-1 upset when coming from last under a great Robbie Dolan ride to beat #1 Dr Drill, with #5 Regal Lion and #10 Rondino close in fourth and fifth.

Bonny Ezra will be about two pounds closer in the weights to Dr Drill as a result of her victory. Both have shown the ability to stay the extra quarter mile, so they should go close again, as should Regal Lion, who will definitely appreciate the step up in distance.

There are two strong hopes among the quartet that didn’t contest the ATC Cup: #2 Warning, who ran two very good races over the Flemington carnival at the beginning of November, and recent Sandown Cup winner #6 Gin Martini. Of the pair, I favor Warning, given that Gin Martini is facing the difficult task of coming back from two miles.

It’s an even affair, but I’m going with Bonny Ezra to pick up consecutive wins.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #4 Bonny Ezra
  • $1 trifecta: 1, 4 with 1, 4, 5 with 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 10

Race 5, 10:40 a.m. ET: Inglis Nursery (Restricted Listed), 1,000 meters (about 5 furlongs), 2-year-olds

Most of these juveniles are first-time starters, so good luck trying to work this one out. Ultimately, it’s going to be best to follow the market, and the trials form.

There are two previous winners in the event: #3 Disneck, who showed a great turn of foot to win his second start, and #6 Blanc de Blanc, who just beat #12 Saltaire on his debut. Both should be decent chances again.

The one to beat, however, appears to be the first-time starter #8 Facile, from the Gerald Ryan stable. She’s trialled twice and lived up to her name, scoring facile victories of more than three lengths each time without being asked for her best. She could be at short odds, but she looks to be a very good chance.

#4 The Little Pumper might be the best of the other first-time starters.

  • $10 win: #8 Facile
  • $1 trifecta: 8 with 3, 4, 6, 12 with 3, 4, 6, 12

Race 7, 12:00 a.m. Saturday ET: Razor Sharp Handicap (Listed), 1,200 meters (about 6 furlongs), 3-year-olds and up

There’s some decent form in this event. #4 Waihaha Falls may start favorite after a series of good recent runs, most recently finishing second in a Rating 88 event at Newcastle Nov. 12. He’s adept in all track conditions and should be thereabouts.

Perhaps the best form in the race, however, belongs to #10 Brigantine. From the powerful Godolphin team, he was placed in Group company several times last spring and this season won a Rating 88 event Sept. 17 before finishing third in the A$1 million Silver Eagle Oct. 15. Freshened for this, he looks ready to run a big race.

#2 Taksu, #5 Sky Command, and #7 Fox Fighter are good options for exotics.

  • $20 win: #10 Brigantine
  • $1 trifecta: 10 with 2, 4, 5, 7 with 2, 4, 5, 7

Race 8, 12:40 a.m. Saturday ET: The Ingham (G2), 1,600 meters (about 1 mile), 3-year-olds and up

With A$2 million at stake, it’s no surprise the entry numbers are high here; so high, in fact, that the pre-post favorite, #22 Nugget, probably won’t get a run; he’s the second alternate entry for the 20-horse field. He’s a great chance if he gets in, but we’ll presume he won’t when trying to assess this race.

There are some high-quality horses here, notably #1 Huetor, a Group 1 winner in Brisbane over winter, and #2 Sunshine Rising, the former Hong Kong galloper who three years ago was finishing third in the Hong Kong International Cup (G1). However, both are up in the weights and have question marks over them — Huetor as to whether he’s ready to win in his first race for six months, and Sunshine Rising over whether he can recapture his best form.

Six of these horses ran in The Gong at Kembla Grange Nov. 19, including the winner, #6 Riodini. He is up seven rating points after that victory, but he’s proven himself in top class before and his victory was more meritorious given he sat wide without cover. He has strong prospects again.

Riodini’s trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have two other runners, both solid chances: #5 Surf Dancer, sixth in The Gong, and #16 Dajraan, a winner first-up in the Festival (G3) Nov. 26 over a field that included Sunshine Rising and another Ingham rival, the ever-consistent #4 Kirwan’s Lane.

Also with a strong hand is champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller, who has five runners. The market says the best of them is #11 Atishu, but she has a horrible draw of 20, and his best prospect may be #12 New Mandate, who should improve on his Australian debut when seventh in the Five Diamonds Nov. 5.

The chances don’t end there, and if you get the exotics right here you’ll probably do very well. But I’ll support Waterhouse and Bott with Riodini and Dajraan.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #6 Riodini
  • $1 trifecta: 6, 16 with 6, 12, 16 with 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, 16