2023 Golden Eagle: runner-by-runner preview

31 OCTOBER 2023



The Golden Eagle is an exciting $10 million race for four-year-old’s, and there have been four runnings so far. What we are seeing of the winners so far is that they have all been coming into this race of a Group 1 1600m run, three of the four have been Group 1 winners already, and they have all drawn between barriers 1-10. This year’s edition appears the strongest yet.


Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: Nash Rawiller

Group 1 record: 3rd Stradbroke Handicap

No horse brings better form into the Golden Eagle than Hawaii Five Oh. He hasn’t won at his last four starts, but he has chased home Think About It in three of them and Private Eye in the other, and been beaten two lengths or less each time.

Hawaii Five Oh’s three runs this prep have all been excellent, including sixth in the Everest last start after racing wide. We’ve already seen Espiona, who finished behind him, come out of that race and win The Invitation last week.

There’s every reason to think Hawaii Five Oh will be better at 1400m than the sprint trips he’s been racing over, but also has to tackle 1500m for the first time. From barrier four, he’ll be able to get the run of the race, and will certainly look the winner in the straight at some stage.


Trainer: Mitchell Freedman

Jockey: Beau Mertens

Group 1 record: 1st Toorak Handicap, 2nd Australian Guineas

Two of the four Golden Eagle winners so far were coming off Group 1 wins in a 1600m handicap – Kolding won the Epsom in 2019 and I’m Thunderstruck won the Toorak in 2021. Attrition won the Toorak last start, so brings in a premium formline that must be taken seriously.

His form stacks up wherever you look – second in the Australian Guineas to Legarto earlier this year, was only beaten two lengths by Mr Brightside earlier this prep, and finished in front of Tuvalu in the Feehan before that horse ran second to Alligator Blood in the Underwood.

Barrier 19 is clearly going to be problematic for Attrition. He’s a versatile horse that can settle behind the speed or back in the field, but Beau Mertens is going to have to pull off a gem from out there.


Trainer: James Cummings

Jockey: Ben Melham

Group 1 record: 2nd Rosehill Guineas

Pericles was one of the form horses in the early spring, coming back a much better horse at four than he had shown at three. He was tested as a stayer last season, running in both the VRC and ATC Derbies, but has been kept to shorter trips this time around.

He won the Spring Preview and Tramway at his first two starts this campaign, before a setback kept him out of the Epsom. He was six weeks between runs when finishing third in the Silver Eagle, and you’d think will be better for it.

Pericles has drawn gate one, and has the tactical speed to take advantage of it. He should be handy to the pace and can even take up the running if Melham sees an advantage in doing so.


Trainer: James Cummings

Jockey: Zac Lloyd

Group 1 record: 1st Caulfield Guineas, 3rd Epsom Handicap

Golden Mile has had a mixed career so far. He was good enough last spring to win a Caulfield Guineas and run fourth in the Golden Rose, won the Theo Marks and finished third in the Epsom this campaign, but has also finished in the bottom two in races like the George Ryder, Doncaster, Missile Stakes and Winx Stakes.

Will the real Golden Mile please stand up?

A midfield finish in the King Charles last start, 4-6 lengths behind Fangirl and Mr Brightside, probably sums him up. Neither of those two horses are here, and nor have any of the field proven themselves to be at that level. Still, he does need to bring his absolute best to be competitive here, as task made difficult by barrier 18. He’ll no doubt push forward from out wide.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Tommy Berry

Group 1 record: 1st Queensland Derby, 2nd Epsom Handicap, 3rd Doomben Cup

Kovalica has had a boom on him for a good while now, ever since winning four races in a row last summer as hot favourite. A Queensland campaign saw him win the Queensland Guineas and Queensland Derby either side of a Doomben Cup placing against older horses.

The question was whether he would target the Golden Eagle or Cox Plate, and Chris Waller has chosen this race despite many thinking Kovalica would be better suited to 2000m than 1500m. He was a pass mark in the Theo Marks first-up, was simply stunning in the Epsom when storming home to run second on a day that suited those up on the speed, and he was superb again in the King Charles last start with an eye-catching fifth behind Fangirl and Mr Brightside.

Those last two runs were over 1600m, and Kovalica ran out of Randwick straight both times. Now he comes to Rosehill, where it’s harder to run on, and has 100m shorter to do it. It just doesn’t feel like a winning set-up, despite his obvious talent. He’ll have to concede a big start after drawing 16 too. He’ll prove himself a genuine superstar if he wins.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Kathy O’Hara

Group 1 record: 1st Epsom Handicap

Rediener comes into the Golden Eagle as a Group 1 winner, which is something Kolding, Colette and I’m Thunderstruck already were when winning this race. He took out the Epsom two starts back, having won the Bill Ritchie at the start before. Like a few in this field, he was found out last start in the King Charles, when tackling the absolute elite.

He’s probably a horse that had his birthday earlier this prep, winning the Epsom thanks to a beautiful ride, helpful track pattern, and only 50kg’s on his back. This is a stronger field now, but he’s drawn beautifully to go forward and put himself in the mix once more. He should give his backers a sight, and could sneak a place.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Jason Collett

Group 1 record: 3rd Makybe Diva Stakes, Caulfield Guineas

Osipenko has always appealed as a horse that has Group 1 talent. He was by far the best run in the Caulfield Guineas last year when getting beaten half a length after drawing the car park and having to try to round up the entire field, and he was only 1-2 lengths off the likes of Anamoe, Fangirl and Mr Brightside in the Sydney autumn.

He has chased Fangirl and Mr Brightside again this spring, but is still proving to be a length or two off them. However, that sort of form could easily be good enough to win a Golden Eagle. He failed in the Turnbull Stakes last start, where he was racing on the speed in a brutally run race – even still, he was far from disgraced behind some serious horses.

Osipenko looks the underrated runner in the middle part of the week, especially given he has drawn a nice gate for Jason Collett to have some options in the early reckoning. If Collett makes the right calls and has him third or fourth pair, he should be somewhere in the finish.


Trainer: Edward Cummings

Jockey: Tyler Schiller

Group 1 record: no starts

Strait Acer is one of the most improved horses in training, getting better with every start. He won Midway Handicaps in late August and early September, and has kept improving enough to run second in the Silver Eagle last start.

That was the B-set, and he takes on the A-graders of his age group now, but who’s to say he hasn’t improved again and can be competitive with them? He’s drawn sweetly to be able to settle in the front half of the field for Tyler Schiller, and has a win at the track and distance already.

Strait Acer is one of the outsiders, but beware the horse that hasn’t reached their ceiling yet.


Trainer: Michael Freedman

Jockey: Koby Jennings

Group 1 record: 1st Rosehill Guineas

Communist was a surprise winner of the Randwick Guineas back in March, and backed that up with solid runs in the George Ryder and Doncaster Mile, but he simply hasn’t fired a shot in the spring so far. He’s been beaten an average of five lengths in good races behind good horses, and that seems to be about his level. It would be a shock to see him turn things around to be in the finish here.


Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: Brett Prebble

Group 1 record: no starts

Coin Toss won a few races in Singapore before coming to Australia and transferring to the Waterhouse/Bott stable. Singapore form rarely stacks up in the best races here, and we saw further proof of that in the Silver Eagle when he ran okay without ever threatening. He was only first-up there, and should take great benefit from the run as well as being benefited by a step up in distance, but he’s 100-1 and deserves to be.


Trainer: John Symons & Sheila Laxon

Jockey: Jaden Lloyd

Group 1 record: no starts

Knight’s Choice cut a swathe through the Queensland winter, peeling off four wins in a row from breaking his maiden all the way to taking out the Winx Guineas. He’s returned as a four-year-old with a couple of performances best described as fair, in lesser grade than this. He’s one horse in the race you’d confidently say can’t win.


Trainer: Keiji Yoshimura

Jockey: Josh Parr

Group 1 record: 3rd NHK Mile

Obamburumai is the first of four northern hemisphere three-year-old’s in the Golden Eagle, eligible for the race because they are considered to be the age of four when in Australia. While the other three are from the UK and not expected to be in the finish, this horse is from Japan, which usually sends shudders through the opposition.

Obamburumai has only had five career starts, all in the 1400m-1600m distance range. He’s won three of them, and was placed at Group 1 level last start, albeit back in May.

Where he sits in the pecking order is difficult to tie in, but a 20 horse field around Rosehill is very different to anything Obamburumai has faced in his own country, and every international that has tackled the Golden Eagle so far has failed to make an impression. Until they do, they have to be risked. Especially first-up, in what is sure to be a high pressure race.


Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: Adam Hyeronimus

Group 1 record: no starts

New Endeavour brought moderate 1400m-1600m form with him from the UK, transferred to the Warehouse/Bott camp after 10 starts over there. He took his place in the Silver Eagle at his first start in Australia, and performed respectively under forgivable circumstances when caught wide for the entire race, with nothing left in the tank late.

He’s drawn awkwardly again here, and looks to be making up the numbers.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Craig Williams

Group 1 record: no starts

Age of Kings brings slightly better form to Australia than New Endeavour did, with a Group 3 win at Ascot last start. Now under the care of Chris Waller, this horse has had two trials in preparation for the Golden Eagle, but nothing in his work has suggested he’ll be winning a $10 million race anytime soon.

Craig Williams in riding beautifully, and will be sure to give his mount every chance, but it’s rare for Waller horses to win races under this type of set-up, and it’s more likely he’ll be one to watch in the autumn.


Trainer: Charles Hills

Jockey: Regan Bayliss

Group 1 record: no starts

Galeron is the third UK galloper in the Golden Eagle with a solid but not spectacular record over the 1400m-1600m range. He hasn’t won for over a year, and has run last in two of his last three races, which begs the question as to what he is doing here. Peter V’landys must have forgotten all those rants about unknown internationals in the Melbourne Cup, given 20% of this field is made up of them.


Trainer: Simon Miller

Jockey: Damian Lane

Group 1 record: 1st Northerly Stakes, 2nd The Quokka

Amelia’s Jewel has become the most fascinating horse in Australia. She first made waves with three big wins as a two-year-old in WA, followed it up with another three wins including at Group 1 level in her three-year-old spring. Debate raged over whether she was the real deal and could win a Cox Plate, or was she overrated and would be found out in Melbourne and/or Sydney.

Three runs into the spring, and we aren’t much the wiser. She won the Let’s Elope first-up, in an effortless performance against a moderate field, which didn’t tell us much. Second-up she won the Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley, setting a track record for 1600m there in the process, but on a very fast night.

Then came the Toorak Handicap last start, when starting $2.40 favourite in her first real test on the Eastern seaboard, and it’s fair to say she failed it comprehensively. She never fired a shot after having every possible chance in the run, and now the jury is well and truly out.

Trainer Simon Miller claims Amelia’s Jewel is back and working as well as ever on the track, but talk from the stable has been quite erratic all along. Drawing barrier five will give Damien Lane every possible chance to get the run he wants, whether that is settling midfield or just worse, or taking a handier position.

Priced at $4 now, the market on the day will tell a significant story. If she firms from that quote, then the ratings gurus have her pegged as clearly superior and she probably just wins. But if she gets out to $6 or more, then perhaps she’s just a good horse but not a great one.


Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Jockey: Sam Clipperton

Group 1 record: 1st Sangster Stakes, 2nd Surround Stakes

Ruthless Dame put together a fantastic autumn, winning the Sangster in Adelaide, being nosed out of the Surround Stakes in Sydney, and finishing fifth in the Stradbroke behind Think About It (with Hawaii Five Oh in third).

She’s been building her form through the spring with the Golden Eagle as her grand final, not bad in The Shorts behind Private Eye first-up, okay again in the Silver Eagle while disadvantaged at the weights scale, before splitting two very good horses (Espiona and Magic Time) last week when second in The Invitation.

It felt like the Maher/Eustace stable was timing Ruthless Dame’s run to the minute, backing up into this race at full fitness, and ready to peak fourth-up. All of that may well be true, but now she’s come up with barrier 20 on grand final day, and all the best laid plans may be up in flames. If Sam Clipperton can perform a miracle from out there, she’s the best roughie in the race.


Trainer: Ken & Bev Kelso

Jockey: Michael Dee

Group 1 record: 1st Australian Guineas, New Zealand Guineas, 3rd Tarzino Trophy

Legarto is probably the most interesting runner in the Golden Eagle field, is certainly the only dual Group 1 winner, and likely the best value of the favoured runners given she hasn’t been seen in Australia this campaign.

The Kiwi mare has only had nine career starts, but won seven of them. Only one of them was this country, when taking out the Australian Guineas as a highly respected $6.50 chance.

The form around Legarto has been strong enough to stack up in the Melbourne or Sydney spring – she wasn’t far off Prowess in January, and we’ve seen that mare win at Group 1 level here and take out a Group 2 at Moonee Valley last week; she beat Attrition in the Australian Guineas, and he is now a Toorak Handicap winner; La Crique was behind her last start, and this time last year that mare started odds-on in the Empire Rose.

Legarto comes into the Golden Eagle with form that doesn’t exactly scream that she’s a better horse now than when she won the Guineas, and she’ll need to be. Skew Wiff had the best of her first-up, and that mare didn’t stack up against the second and third tier mares in the Caulfield carnival. Legarto won the Matamata Cup last start, a Listed event.

She’s drawn barrier six, so Mick Dee will be looking to give her the run of the race. She’s a month between runs, but don’t let that worry you if you like her – her runs have always been well spaced across her career, and she won the Australian Guineas off a six week break.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Group 1 record: no starts

Vienna Princess was a somewhat surprising winner of the Silver Eagle, albeit specked from $18 into $15 on the official flucs of the day. She was a decent three-year-old, but one that kept improving as she raced through winter, and she has gone to another level now at four.

She won with authority first-up in benchmark 88 grade, and then did so again in the Silver Eagle. This is another big step up again, but she’s drawn to get a nice run from a middle barrier, and keeps improving with each run – that’s the key to her chances, if she can again.


Trainer: Kris Lees

Jockey: Dylan Gibbons

Group 1 record: no starts

Razeta is a backmarker that usually leaves herself far too much to do, and will likely be in the same boat again here from barrier 15. She settled last in the Silver Eagle, and passed a handful of horses in the home straight, and before that never came into the Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle. There’s a bit of rain forecast on Saturday, and if the heavens open enough to see the track downgraded to a heavy, she’ll be in with a rough chance. If not, she’s just not fast enough to beat this field.


There aren’t any out-and-out leaders, just a few horses that have done it before but prefer to race handy, like Golden Mile, Pericles and Rediener. The latter two have drawn inside gates, so won’t need to do any work early, while Golden Mile will need to ping the gates if he wants to get over. There’s every chance this becomes a moderately run race, despite the $10M prizemoney being offered. If so, Hawaii Five Oh is probably advantaged, but himself, Legarto, Amelia’s Jewel and Osipenko all have the quality and right draw to get a lovely run. Let the best horse win.

SELECTIONS: 1.Legarto 2.Hawaii Five Oh 3.Amelia’s Jewel 4.Osipenko

I Wish I Win takes out a classic Golden Eagle from Fangirl – both horses have subsequently proven to be elite.

1 Comment

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John Mas
03 November 2023

Really if you like betting in 20 horse fields you have more money then me lolllll

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