Sprinters converge for speedy Randwick Highway

Amy McLucas will ride the Matthew Dale-trained Acappella Sun in Saturday’s 1000m Class Three Highway Plate at Royal Randwick. Image – Bradley Photos.

Looking at the Thunderbet speed map (see below), 13 horses love to lead, and if you blink, you could miss an epic race in the 1000m Class Three Highway Plate at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Most of this field are only a few starts into their preparation and will be peaking for this, while others are first-up and haven’t trialled. 

The track is a good four, and the rail is out four metres.   

My on-top selection is Acappella Sun ($6.50). Trainer Matthew Dale did accept for two races on the day but has elected to take on this field.

The four-year-old mare goes into this much fitter third-up, and its past two starts have been in more challenging company when contesting Benchmark 84 and Benchmark 78 Handicaps.

Her last start was in the wrong part of the track last start at Kembla Grange, but she wasn’t too far off the pace. 

With the speed in the race, Jockey Amy McLucas, who claims two kilograms, should be able to slot in midfield from barrier 11. 

The only concern is that it’s never won over the 1000m, but the way the race is going to be run, I think it will finish over the top of them.

My second pick is Emperor ($1.70), trained by MatthewHighwayDunn.  

This four-year-old gelding won first up after being gelded in early November at Randwick. 

I usually don’t like horses drawn the car park (barrier 18), and its last run was a perfect one from barrier 4, but its win and time were sensational over the 1000m trip. 

It drops 1 ½ kilos on that effort, and Nash Rawiller stays on board. The Murwillumbah galloper recently won a barrier trial at Ballina, and on that, it will be hard to beat again.

My third is Florino ($9), which went around favourite and disappointed in a 1200m Highway at Randwick in October. 

It’s back to its preferred distance and has been freshened for this. The Scone galloper won a trial on its home track in late November, and Josh Parr goes on board for the first time.

I’m happy to forgive, and I’m sure it will run a race.

The ‘Each Way Play’ this week is the Rodney Northam-trained Jacenza ($31

This four-year-old gelding last start led first-up at Warwick Farm over 1100m. 

It goes into this 2nd up, which it has won before, and blinkers have been added for the first time.  

During his last preparation, he was very competitive in similar fields, and Reece Jones stays on board. He is at massive odds.

Thunderbet selections

  1. Acappella Sun ($6.50)
  2. Emperor ($1.70)
  3. Florino ($9)

Each Way Play: Jacenza ($31 & $6)