WINTER CHALLENGE - 1500m, Rosehill R8
Semana is the early favourite for the Winter Challenge at Rosehill, but as first emergency is yet to gain an official start in the field. She is proving herself to be the classic Maher & Eustace improver, having picked her way through the grades in autumn and winter.
The form behind and around the Winning Rupert filly has been excellent, and her last start win was comfortably a career best. Despite that only being a benchmark 78, the ease of her three length win suggested that she has black type wins in her future, and that may very well start on Saturday.
Resonator is the clear and obvious danger to Semana, given the Waterhouse/Bott three-year-old was able to get the better of her last month, at their only previous meeting. He will actually meet her 2kg’s better for that win, and the two of them will no doubt be eyeballing each other up the front again.
They are certainly the two horses you want to be following out of this race going forward. While the Winter Stakes has attracted a big field, it isn’t necessarily a deep one. Five of the runners are from the Chris Waller yard, either first-up or out-of-form, and unlikely to contend. Longvillers is the one we are waiting to see improve, and third-up would fit the stable pattern.
Barbie’s Fox is a consistent, honest sort who may well be ready to win again for the Hayes camp, and will be around the mark somewhere. But she doesn’t have the improvement in her at this stage of her career or preparation that the likes of Semana and Resonator do.
Acquitted is in a similar mould to Barbie’s Fox, usually thereabouts, but unlikely to be able to reel in the favourites if all are given an equal chance.
Norwegian Bliss is starting to lose the fans she gained through the first part of her career when winning seven races in a row from debut. She just hasn’t been the same mare at all in three runs this year, and is certainly at the crossroads now.
Assuming Semana gets in the field, there aren’t any rivals that will be keen to go head-to-head on the pace with her and Resonator. Brookspire is likely to take the sit behind them, and Norwegian Bliss has traditionally been up on the premises.
If the two favourites go like cut cats and lose control against each other, which is on the cards given both are still young and inexperienced, then the race will be set up for something to sweep into the race behind them. Barbie’s Fox and Acquitted are the two most consistent horses you’d trust to do so.
Selections: 1.Resonator 2.Semana 3.Barbie’s Fox 4.Acquitted
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds