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Australian Racing: Riff Rocket to reach new heights

There’s a big day of Group 1 action in Sydney with four Group 1’s at Randwick, including the $4,000,000 Doncaster Handicap.

Race 7 Randwick

Imperatriz @ 3.20

Race 8 Randwick

Militarize @ 9.00

Race 9 Randwick

Riff Rocket @ 2.70

Imperatriz for T J Smith success

The second of the previously mentioned Group 1 races is the 1200m T J Smith Stakes, with last year’s winner I Wish I Win expected to have his supporters.

The gelding has made just two starts since that triumph, including when a good second in The Everest over this track and trip in October.

Trained by Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman, the son of Savabeel won on a heavy 9 track 12 months ago and a wet track is again expected here.

While James McDonald’s mount usually runs well, first-up fellow ex-New Zealand-trained galloper IMPERATRIZ is preferred on this occasion.

The five-year-old had won six consecutive starts prior to finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap over this distance at Flemington last month.

However, the mare returned to winning ways when taking the Group 1 William Reid over the same distance at Moonee Valley two weeks later.

Opie Bosson’s mount races in Sydney for the first time since suffering a defeat over 1300m in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes here in March last year.

Mark Walker’s mare handles testing underfoot conditions and, having demonstrated her tactical versatility this prep, she looks capable of completing a double.

Militarize for Doncaster glory

The previously mentioned Doncaster Handicap over 1600m comes up as the eighth race on a 10-race program.

Another Wil is expected to start favourite for Ciaron Maher with in-form hoop Jamie Kah in the saddle.

Having only broken his maiden when contesting a 1614m contest at Moe in July last year, the gelding has shown good progress this prep.

The four-year-old resumed with an impressive win at Benchmark 64 level when racing over 1400m on the Hillside course at Sandown in January.

The son of Street Bost justified favouritism in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude over 1500m at Rosehill last week and will be looking to do likewise here.

However, a wide barrier tempers enthusiasm somewhat and while Japan’s Obamburumai is respected also, preference is for the three-year-old MILITARIZE.

Trained by Chris Waller, the colt has demonstrated good form at the top level this prep, including when going down narrowly in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas last month.

The selection raced over this trip on that occasion and delivered a highly creditable third when racing against his elders in the 1500m Group 1 George Ryder subsequently.

The colt lost out by just over a length when third in an 18-runner renewal of the Rosehill feature that day.

The three-year-old demonstrated a liking for this venue when winning twice at the top level here as a juvenile last season.

The pick boasts a good barrier in four here and, with Zac Purton flying in from Hong Kong for the ride, he looks up to getting the better of his older rivals in this field.

Rocket to launch in Derby

The ATC Australian Derby over 2400m is the fourth of the Group 1 races at Randwick with RIFF ROCKET going in search of a third Group 1 victory.

Chris Waller’s gelding is a confirmed stayer having taken out the Group 1 Victoria Derby over 2500m when racing on a good 4 track at Flemington in November.

The three-year-old is the winner of two of his three starts this prep, most recently when taking the 2000m Group 1 Rosehill Guineas at Rosehill two weeks ago.

While unproven on the forecast heavy 8 going the selection impressed on a soft 5 surface when saluting in Listed company at Flemington last October.

James McDonald’s mount sets the standard on form and looks up to registering the seventh win of his career.

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