Sydney Preview: Spot plays for Randwick Jan. 20

January 20th, 2023

With the Magic Millions races finally completed Wednesday after being delayed at the weekend by rain, the focus in Australian racing switches back to Sydney.

The big late summer and autumn carnival gets underway properly next week with three graded stakes races, but there is a nice warm-up this weekend at Randwick with a Listed event over about seven furlongs and two Benchmark 88 events. Here are some spot plays.

Race 4, 10:05 p.m. ET: Furphy Handicap (Benchmark 88), 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), 3yos and up

The likely favorite here is #2 Logan Street Lion after his victory under a big weight Jan. 7. He will have a big chance, especially with the addition of James McDonald to ride. But I’m going to support #1 Helene Leadingstar.

A former South Australian Derby (G1) winner when known as Leicester, he went to Hong Kong and performed well, winning twice and placed at Group 3 level. Back in Australia, he put in a great effort for third at his second start back in Melbourne Jan. 7 and will appreciate the extra quarter-mile.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Helene Leadingstar
  • $4 exacta: box 1, 2

Race 6, 11:20 p.m. ET: Carrington Stakes (Listed), 1,400 meters (about 7 furlongs), 3yos and up

This is an even-looking race. There are two visitors from Melbourne here, and I’m going to support one of them in the form of #1 Looks Like Elvis. He put in a very nice effort to run second in the Listed Chester Manifold on New Year’s Day, and though he carries top weight, he’s not badly off at the weights.

#6 Vreneli has won his last two but he’s not well off at the weights given his rating; however, he won very easily last start and could make the step up.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Looks Like Elvis
  • $1 trifecta: 1, 6 with 1, 6 with all

Race 9, 1:20 a.m. ET Saturday: Ranvet Handicap (Benchmark 88), 1,600 meters (about one mile), 3yos and up

#1 Bullfinch deserves to be favorite here after a consistent summer, highlighted by a last-start second to Jojo Was A Man Dec. 31. However, most of his form is on good footing and the track is listed as soft, with showers forecast; if it remains soft, he will need to show more than he’s done to date in such conditions.

I’m going to go with #5 Bold Mac; he put in a nice effort first-up Jan. 7 and should appreciate the extra furlong.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #5 Bold Mac


Pukekohe, Race 6, 1:28 a.m. ET, Karaka Million 3-Year-Old Classic

  • $10 win/$30 show, #10 Prowess: The market says this is a clash between #1 Wild Night and #9 Legarto, but they are back runners and drawn 1 and 2, which may not help. This could open the way for Prowess, another classy filly, at reasonable odds.