2021 The Kosciuszko: runner-by-runner preview

Handle The Truth won the 2019 The Kosciuszko. Photo: AAP.
Handle The Truth won the 2019 edition of The Kosciuszko and will aim to be the only horse to win the feature race twice at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Photo: AAP.

The Kosciuszko, the world’s richest race for country-trained horses, carrying $1.3 million in prizemoney, will be run and won at Royal Randwick on Saturday. 

The unique concept of The Kosciuszko has captured the imagination of NSW racing fans, with each horse in the race nominated by a winner of the Kosciuszko sweepstakes, who share in the prizemoney of their nominated horse. 

For only $5.00, the value of a ticket, ticket holders will be watching and hoping their selected charges can put their best hooves forward in the rich race. 

NSW Country and Picnic Racing form analyst, Logan Kubica, has run his eye over the field and offers his views on each runner.

Front Page

Trainer : Geoff Duryea (Corowa)

Career: 10:4-3-0

Last Start: 2nd of 10 BM84 HCP (1200m) Moonee Valley.

Southern Cross Bet price: $7

Form: Front Page is looking for redemption after cruelly missing out last year when sustaining an injury on the way to Sydney. 

The talented Magnus gelding has some good form down in Victoria this prep, the latest run being a 4 lengths second placing to subsequent Listed winner Lombardo. 

A horse who loves the six furlongs (7:4-1-0) and won’t mind the rain hitting throughout the week with a good soft record (4:3-1-0).

Comment: I don’t know what it is, but I’m just not quite sold, could make me look stupid.

Handle The Truth

Trainer: Keith Dryden (Canberra)

Career: 31:9-4-3

Last Start: 7th of 8 Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) Royal Randwick.

Southern Cross Bet price: $4.40

Form: Looking to become the first two-time winner of The Kosciuszko after taking out the 2019 edition before defending the title gallantly last year, finishing 4th.

The first to gain a slot and you can understand why he is the favourite chasing home Everest contenders both times this prep, finishing 4th, beaten 4.5 lengths in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes and 7th, beaten 6.7 lengths in the Group 2 The Shorts.

Comment: Far from disgraced against Everest contenders, top pick.

Art Cadeau

Trainer: Terry Robinson (Shoalhaven Heads)

Career: 11:5-6-0

Last Start: 1st of 16 Country Championships Final (1400m) Royal Randwick.

Southern Cross Bet price: $8

Form: Ultra-consistent gelding who’s never missed the top 2 in 11 starts to date and was last seen in the Country Champs final, winning by half a length. 

Has flown under the radar a touch coming in first up (3:1-2-0) but that was Robinson’s plan from the start and looked good in his one public trial when working home nicely for second 2.4 lengths behind Group 2 winner, Trumbull, and ahead of stakes winners Aim and Roheryn. 

Comment: Tough ask to win first up so I’ll lean the place. 

Plonka

Trainer: Warren Gavenlock (Coffs Harbour)

Career: 23:5-4-2

Last Start: 5th of 8 BM78 HCP (1200m) Gosford.

Southern Cross Bet price: $41

Form: A warrior and a horse you would love to own. He is always in the picture late in races.

This race is short of his best distance, however he is still solid over the six furlongs (7:2-1-1).

Would have liked to see a couple stronger efforts this prep but Warren has a track record of getting his boy firing grand final day, having finished 3rd, beaten 0.3 lengths and 6th, beaten 2.4 lengths in the last two Country Champs Final.

Comment: I can’t believe he is the outsider of the field with the runs on the board; outside place chance.

Aheadofhistime

Trainer: Trevor Hardy (Coffs Harbour)

Career: 29:6-0-5

Last Start: 3rd of 8 BM85 HCP (1200m) Eagle Farm.

Southern Cross Bet price: $51

Form: He shot into The Kosciuszko calculations after back-to-back wins, taking out the Coffs Harbour Daniel Baker Sprint and the Prelude by 0.7 lengths and 3.7 lengths respectively. 

The Coffs Harbour galloper made the trip over the border to Queensland last start, running 2.5 lengths back in BM85 company. He has had a trial since to hold fitness.

Comment: Not good enough.

Spiranac

Trainer: Rodney Northam (Scone)

Career: 14:6-1-1

Last Start: 1st of 13 The Panorama (1300m) Bathurst.

Southern Cross Bet price: $9

Form: Spiranac booked her spot into The Kosciuszko with a bang running away with The Panorama at Bathurst by 3.3 lengths. 

Rodney will have her firing third up (3:2-0-1). She is 2 from 3 over the 1200m, and the only miss was a 6.8 lengths defeat in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes. 

I think she needs it soft 5 or better to be a winning chance but look for her late.

Comment: With the rain around, I don’t think she can win, could sneak a placing.

Ceasefire

Trainer: Paul Messara (Scone)

Career: 4:3-0-0

Last Start: 1st of 11 BM66 HCP (1100m) Scone.

Southern Cross Bet price: $34

Form: In his short career, he has chalked up 3 wins in 4 starts, including a 6.2 length win on debut, with the only defeat coming in a Highway Class 3. 

Mightily impressive last start in BM66 company taking a sit just off and letting down beautifully in the straight to go home by over a length and a half.

He has kept fit with a trial in between.

Comment: Concerned by his only run at 1200m after he faded, however it was in his first prep, happy to let him go around.

Edit

Trainer: Cody Morgan (Tamworth)

Career: 7:3-2-0

Last Start: 1st of 11 Spring Cup (1200m) Tamworth.

Southern Cross Bet price: $5

Form: Former Kiwi galloper who built a great record (6:2-2-0) across the Tasman. 

Loved the move to Australia and it’s showing in his racing with a couple handy trials before his one and only start in the Spring Cup, flying home from last at the turn to put almost 2 lengths on them. 

Scary thing about that performance was Cody said he was 3/4 fit and wasn’t expecting a winning effort.

Comment: Tough to assess his form but the talents there, in my top 4.

Ice In Vancouver

Trainer: Cody Morgan (Tamworth)

Career: 6:3-0-1

Last Start: 3rd of 16 Class 6 Plate (1,175m) Grafton.

Southern Cross Bet price: $34

Form: A horse who Cody has always had big raps on, so much so they contested The Kosciuszko last year at only his third start where unfortunately he pulled up with a cardiac arrhythmia. 

After a good spell, he resumed in April with a dominant 3.9 length victory, before stepping up to BM78 class, finishing 7th, beaten 5.7 lengths and a Class 6, finishing 3rd, beaten 0.15 of a length.

Comment: Would have liked a stronger performance last start.

Island Bay Boy

Trainer: Tony Sergi (Queanbeyan)

Career: 8:4-1-0

Last Start: 1st of 7 BM75 HCP (1200m) Queanbeyan.

Southern Cross Bet price: $21

Form: An excellent All Too Hard gelding who’s won 4 of his 8 starts, the latest being a commanding 2.4 length win on the home track and on a heavy 8. 

The start before he endured a tough run, racing 3 wide but stuck on finishing 5.1 lengths off the winner King Of Sparta, who placed in the Group 2 Roman Consul recently. 

Tony’s kept him rock hard fit with a couple trials in the 7 weeks in between runs.

Comment: I don’t like the form but he could come into calculations on a heavy.

Mr Hussill

Trainer: Cameron Crockett (Scone)

Career: 6:3-1-2

Last Start: 2nd of 15 Class 3 HCP (1200m) Royal Randwick.

Southern Cross Bet price: $15

Form: Who could have predicted a couple months ago this son of Husson would find his way into The Kosciuszko, but what a horse, and training effort from Cam Crockett. 

He was almost two years off the scene and wasted no time establishing his case, storming over the top first up in a Highway Class 2, following up with a couple luckless placings in class 3 company. 

Comment: Maybe grabs a place, so include in the exotics.

Nadaraja

Trainer: Stephen Jones (Scone)

Career: 4:3-1-0

Last Start: 1st of 9 Class 2 HCP (1100m) Scone.

Southern Cross Bet price: $15

Form: The x-factor of the race looking to emulate what It’s Me accomplished last year going from a maiden win to The Kosciuszko win in their first campaigns. 

Since running 2nd, beaten 2.3 lengths on debut, he’s rattled off three on the trot by margins of 1 length, 5.6 lengths and 2.8 lengths: the last couple at Class 2 level. 

There are questions on his wet form record (2:1-1-0), both run in maiden company.

Comment: A promising horse but not there yet.

Patino Ruby

Trainer:  Brett Cavanough (Scone)

Career: 7:3-2-0

Last Start: 4th of 10 BM78 HCP (1100m) Randwick.

Southern Cross Bet price: $15

Form: Brett Cavanough will defend The Kosciuszko title with this up-and-coming More Than Ready mare. 

Her only two unplaced efforts were a 5th, beaten 2.2 lengths in a Highway Class 3 and a 4th, beaten 2.4 lengths last start in a BM78 beating home rival Spiranac. 

Those performances were split by a devastating 2.9 length win in a 3YO BM72 in June with second horse, Zorocat, winning a Midway since.

Comment: My value pick, only carrying 53.5kg.

Sunrise Ruby

Trainer: Mitchell Beer (Albury)

Career: 6:4-1-0

Last Start: 2nd of 10 BM72 HCP (1250m) Randwick (Kensington).

Southern Cross Bet price: $15

Form: Mitch Beer is keen to go one better after a narrow second with Redouble last year.

This time, the Albury trainer brings along a filly with untapped potential, with champion jockey Glen Boss even pleading her case on social media, and you can see why after 4 wins from 6 starts.

Comment: I think she needs to find a couple lengths.