Sydney Preview Jan. 27, 2023: Spot plays for Rosehill

January 26th, 2023

Sydney’s autumn carnival gets underway properly this weekend at Rosehill Gardens. The path to the world’s richest two-year-old race, the Golden Slipper (G1), begins with two Group 3 races, and the sprinter-milers begin their campaigns in the Expressway (G2).

Below are some spot plays for the features.

Race 2, 8:55 p.m. ET: Canonbury Stakes (G3), 1,100 meters (about 5 1/2 furlongs), 2-year-old colts and geldings

With the withdrawal of #5 Mafia, just six are due to head to the post for this Golden Slipper lead-up, and the form is largely unexposed. One that has shown up, however, is #1 King’s Gambit. Beginning his career in the Listed Debutant Stakes at Caulfield in October, King’s Gambit exploded away from his rivals to win by five lengths almost untouched.

He hasn’t raced since, but on that form alone it’s hard to back against him. The only one I’d consider is #6 Shinzo; the Snitzel colt is bred to be good, he’s won two trials, and he gets 3kg from King’s Gambit. #2 Red Resistance looks the best of the others.

  • $20 win: #1 King’s Gambit
  • $2 trifecta: 1, 6 with 1, 6 with all

Race 5, 10:40 p.m. ET: Widden Stakes (G3), 1,100 meters, 2-year-old fillies

The Widden has more depth than the Canonbury, with 12 runners due to start. The buzz horse in this race is the unraced #6 Learning to Fly, who could become the first Southern Hemisphere winner by Triple Crown winner Justify if she can get up in this.

Learning to Fly has won her last two trials well, beating race rival #9 Perfect Proposal home Jan. 16. Perfect Proposal finished second in her only start, the Gimcrack (G3) Oct. 1, behind subsequent Magic Millions Classic runner-up Platinum Jubilee, so it’s good form. Debut winner #1 Cigar Flick and Jan. 14 runner-up #11 Steel City look the best of the others.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #6 Learning to Fly
  • $1 trifecta: 6, 9 with 6, 9 with 1, 11

Race 8, 12:40 a.m. Saturday ET: Expressway Stakes (G2), 1,200 meters (about 6 furlongs), 3-year-olds and up

The clear standouts are #4 Forbidden Love, who used a second-place finish here as a springboard to a dual Group 1-winning autumn campaign, and #9 Golden Mile, winner in spring of the Caulfield Guineas (G1) and the Callander-Presnell (G2). Forbidden Love disappointed a little in spring, but won a trial Jan. 16 and may be set to improve. However, I feel Golden Mile is more reliable.

If there’s a potential upsetter, it’s #5 Mariamia, a graded stakes-placed mare who won her return to racing well Jan. 14. #1 Nicolini Vito and #3 Pizarro look the best of the rest.

  • $20 win: #9 Golden Mile
  • $2 trifecta: 4, 9 with 4, 5, 9 with 1, 3, 4, 5, 9