2018 Surround Stakes – Preview and Tips
This years edition of the Surround Stakes is its first under Group 1 status. Held at Royal Randwick, it’s a 1400 metre race for three-year-old fillies and features a touch of class with some of the contenders set to do battle this Saturday.
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Here’s the field:
221x8 1. Shoals (4), J: J Parr, W: 56 kgs, 11.00
113x1 2. Alizee (10), J: G Schofield, W: 56 kgs, 2.15
X3615 3. Melody Belle (9), J: H Bowman, W: 56 kgs, 12.00
127x4 4. Frolic (5), J: J Collett, W: 56 kgs, 10.00
237x1 5. Rimraam (3), J: K McEvoy, W: 56 kgs, 19.00
__122 6. Shumookh (1), J: T Clark, W: 56 kgs, 4.50
310x3 7. Torvill (11), J: C Reith, W: 56 kgs, 16.00
X111x 8. Unforgotten (7), J: J Ford, W: 56 kgs, 12.00
241x9 9. Yulong Xingsheng (6), J: J Lloyd, W: 56 kgs, 81.00
3x131 10. Moss Trip (2), J: B Avdulla, W: 56 kgs, 26.00
253x2 11. Touch Of Mink (8), J: Ms R King, W: 56 kgs, 91.00
It looks like the weather gods will have a say in Sydney this weekend. The track is expected to be soft, which is par for the course at this time of the year for the Autumn Carnival up in NSW. Keeping that in mind, horses that favour the softer ground will come into contention for the Surround Stakes, a brand new addition to the Group 1 list of races; this one specifically for the three-year-old fillies. There are three Group 1 winners here, let’s see how the field stacks up.
It was unusual for a filly to take on the older mares and win, as what happened with Shoals victory in last years Group 1 Myer Classic on VRC Derby Day. Her form up to then was impeccable; five wins and two seconds from seven starts. her only blemish was her first run back this prep, finishing 8th from 9. Has won on a heavy track in Sydney before, so is not unaccustomed to adverse conditions. I reckon she’ll bounce back to form here.
Godolphin’s Alizee will start favourite no doubt, after her fine win in the Light Fingers Stakes a fortnight ago. She too is a Group 1 winner, taking out last years Flight Stakes at Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day. Sure to be there at the finish. Make her your anchor bet.
The Kiwi filly Melody Belle has been a busy traveller in the last year. She won the Million Dollar Karaka Millions at Ellerslie this time last year, then went on to pick up the Group 1 Manawatu Sires Produce. Now with the Te Akau team, she too will enjoy the softer ground, and after a couple of indifferent runs of late, could figure in the finish.
Frolic is an interesting runner, who hasn’t been sighted for nearly a year. She returned to racing two weeks ago in the Light Fingers running fourth to Alizee. A very capable filly, who it must be remembered was runner-up in last years Golden Slipper behind She Will Reign on a track rated a heavy 10.
Victorian filly Rimraam has been working through the grades down south and takes her opportunity as a genuine contender in the Surround Stakes. Her form-line reads solid, and she’s only been out of the money once (7th out of 12 in last years VRC Oaks). I think she’s well over the odds at $19’s, and considering she won a Group 3 at her last start, you’d be wise to invest some cool cash on her.
Sydney filly Shumookh is one of the big improvers, despite only attending the races officially just three times. She’s a Waterhouse/Bott filly, so you know she’ll turn up with her dancing shoes. However, a soft track, and battled hardened competitors await. A Group 1 event like the Surround Stakes is no place for a newbie.
Of the others, the Chris Waller trained Unforgotten is a three-time winner in benchmark races, so probably can’t be truly considered a genuine chance here. Sydney filly Torvill has a good form-line if you lock it into the Light Fingers Stakes run the other day where she finished third to Alizee. Runs before that were useful but in lower company.
I’m going to go with Shoals in this one, to just edge favourite Alizee, with Frolic filling in third possie. The soft track will play a part, so keep in mind Melody Belle too.
Shoals, Alizee, Frolic
Rimraam, $19.00 SP
Surround Stakes – check the odds on William Hill