Sydney Preview: Spot Plays for Dec. 30

December 29th, 2022

New Year’s Eve is fairly quiet for racing in Sydney, with most of the big guns resting, getting ready for either the Magic Millions carnival in Queensland in the next two weekends or for the start of the Sydney autumn carnival at the end of January.

Betting opportunities continue to be strong, however. Royal Randwick plays host to a 10-race card, where all the races are worth A$150,000 (about $101,000), and with all but three of them featuring at least 12 runners, there should be some decent prices available.

Twin Spires once again offers its Rest of the World Bet Back promotion on all races at Randwick, where those who opt in can get up to $10 of their first win bets back in each race featuring at least six starters if their horse finishes second.

Assuming that the opt-in is taken, let’s have a look at some plays.

Race 4, 10:05 p.m. ET Friday: Egroup Security H., 1,100 meters (about 5 1/2 furlongs), Benchmark 78 fillies & mares

There’s plenty of form in this race. Chris Waller has four starters, and there’s a good chance one of them, #2 Pretty Wild, will be strongly favored given she hasn’t finished outside the top two in four career starts. From barrier 4, she should be prominent.

However, she runs into the much-improved #6 Edna, from the Craig Carmody stable. It took her seven starts to get out of maidens, but she has now won three of her last four and was an easy winner at Canterbury Dec. 9. Randwick will provide a tougher test, but she is running so well that she should be competitive, possibly at good odds.

#3 Fearnought, #4 Miss Fox, #5 Starboreta, and #8 Po Kare Kare look to be good exotic candidates.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #6 Edna
  • $1 trifecta: 2, 6 with 2, 6 with 3, 4, 5, 8

Race 6, 11:20 p.m. ET Friday: Maroubra Mile, 1,600 meters (about one mile), Benchmark 100

A surprisingly small field of eight faces the starter here. The one to beat is probably #3 Steely, who has twice finished second to the well-regarded import Nugget in the past six weeks. Nugget went on to win a Listed race in Melbourne last week, so the form is very strong.

Two horses that opposed Steely at his most recent effort behind Nugget are back: third-placed #5 Bullfinch and fourth-placed #1 Jojo Was A Man. The latter has run again since, winning a Benchmark 88 at Randwick Dec. 24, but has gone up five rating points for that effort and could struggle against what is a better field. Bullfinch may be the better option for exotics.

Other exotic options include last-start winner #7 Mach Schnell and the honest trier #2 Purple Sector.

  • $20 win: #3 Steely
  • $1 trifecta: 3 with 1, 2, 5, 7 with 1, 2, 5, 7

Race 7, 12:00 a.m. ET Saturday: Fujitsu General H., 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), Benchmark 78

When leading Victorian trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace head north with stayers they are normally very competitive. Here they send #9 Matron Bullwinkel to Randwick after finishing second over the same 1 1/4-mile trip at Pakenham Dec. 3; prior to that she’d won on Oaks Day at Flemington. She looks a very strong chance here.

Also heading north from Victoria is #2 Ain’tnodeeldun. He was much improved when stepping up to 1 1/8 miles at Sandown Dec. 10, finishing a close second, and he also has claims. The best of the locals look to be #4 Tony Be, second here Dec. 17, and #5 Too Much Caviar, a winner at Warwick Farm Dec. 21 for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #9 Matron Bullwinkel
  • $1 trifecta: 2, 9 with 2, 4, 9 with 2, 4, 5, 9

Race 8, 12:40 a.m. ET Saturday: TAB H., 1,100 meters, Benchmark 78

The big fancy in this sprint is likely to be #4 Dehorned Unicorn after two starts this season which have produced a great win Nov. 26 and a good effort for second behind the exciting mare I Am Me. Back to Benchmark 78 company, he looks to be in with a huge chance.

Four runners that featured in a blanket finish over five furlongs here Dec. 17 are back: #3 Our Bellagio Miss, #12 Vowmaster, #11 Lancaster Bomber, and #1 Quick Tempo. The latter may be the best chance as he will probably appreciate the extra half-furlong the most. It’s also worth keeping an eye on #8 Stromboli, fresh from a break.

  • $20 win: #4 Dehorned Unicorn
  • $1 trifecta: 4 with 1, 8, 12 with 1, 3, 8, 11, 12