Tancred Stakes -
The Tancred Stakes is one of the most prestigious Group 1 races on the calendar, one of only two run at 2400m, along with the Caulfield Cup.
This year’s field probably doesn’t have the weight for age credentials of others, a point highlighted by the fact two thirds of the field ran in the Melbourne Cup last year, and will be better suited in the Sydney Cup a fortnight from now.
Gold Trip is the class horse of the race, with his spring form proving that – he won the Melbourne Cup with top weight, finished second in the Caulfield Cup, and was unlucky to be beaten less than three lengths in the Cox Plate. His rivals here could only dream of that CV.
But, Gold Trip is on the back-up after an unflattering performance in the Ranvet last week. It’s been an unusual prep for him, with a gut-busting run first-up before that. If just wanting to back the class, then he’s it.
Montefilia is also on the back-up from the Ranvet, and like Gold Trip, is quickly to 2400m third-up. She is a terrific mare, and was well backed last Saturday in a sign she was sure to run well – and she did run well, but just couldn’t get near the powerhouse performance of Dubai Honour.
Some of Montefilia’s career best runs have come third up, including winning a couple of Group 1s, so she has to be in the game.
You can throw a blanket over many of the rest of the Australian trained horses, all of them decent stayers, but none of them ever appealing as capable of winning a Group 1 weight for age race.
Vow and Declare is one that has proven capable at this kind of level in the past, and has returned in pleasing form this prep. Knight’s Order had a ripper of a spring, and is working up to his best this campaign. Neither would surprise.
Arapaho and Explosive Jack ran the quinella in the Canberra Cup last start, but it’s not normally the sort of form you want coming into a Tancred. But then, this isn’t a vintage year.
Sir Lucan and King Frankel are more lightly raced than most rivals, and this could be the type of race that suits an improver. Sir Lucan and his stablemate Knight’s Order will go forward, and neither will be afraid of making it a true staying test. King Frankel finished last campaign full of running and has returned in good order.
Like Dubai Honour in the Ranvet last week, Cleveland is the international raider that simply has to be respected. His credentials are not as sound as Dubai Honour’s, but Joseph O’Brien rarely gets it wrong when bringing a horse to Australia. But does he just need this run before the Sydney Cup?
Selections: 1.Gold Trip 2.Cleveland 3.Montefilia 4.Sir Lucan
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds