Australia Stakes Tips – early speed battle a key factor
Friday night’s Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at The Valley looms as an epic battle of speed and race tactics.
There’s plenty of early speed in the $200,000 feature with Hey Doc and Scales Of Justice looking to hold a forward position from the inside gates, while Cradle Mountain and Begood Toya Mother try and come across from outside barriers.
Manuel and Ashlor also have good early speed and could make it interesting if they kick up from the middle gates and go forward.
Regardless of exactly how things pan out in the first furlong, I think Scales Of Justice is guaranteed the gun run, and he has the first-up figures to take this out.
From barrier 2, he can sit outside the lead if they don’t go as expected – which will suit those on pace, or if they do go quick, he’s likely to land a pair back on the outside.
First-up last campaign, he contested the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield and sat just off the speedy Jungle Edge and Excelsior.
After enjoying the run of the race one out and one back, Scales Of Justice challenged in the straight and kicked clear to win by an increasing 3.5 lengths.
That performance rated 14.1 lengths better than standard BM, a figure that none of Friday’s rivals have matched first-up, while only Begood Toya Mother has bettered throughout his career when third-up and peaking last campaign with just 52kg in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
I can see Scales Of Justice getting a near identical run this time if he lands behind Cradle Mountain and Beegood Toya Mother, while sitting on the outside of Hey Doc.
I don’t think Cradle Mountain has the class to match it with these horses late, and that could be a disadvantage for Hey Doc if he gets held up for a few strides on the inside.
If Scales Of Justice can build momentum before Hey Doc, that should be the winning break he needs to hold that horse and the others at bay.
Begood Toya Mother is obviously a big danger, but I’m worried the early pressure may leave him vulnerable late against this class of horse at weight-for-age.
His first-up figures are a long way off Scales Of Justice’s, however, he’s reportedly strengthened up and is low-level flying and it wouldn’t surprise to see him give this a shake.
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