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Australian Racing: Imperatriz backed for Flemington glory

There's a great day of racing in store at Flemington with a Group 1 triple-header with the Champions Sprint, Champions Mile and Champions Stakes all set to take place at the Melbourne venue.

Meanwhile, in Sydney the Five Diamonds is the most valuable race of the day at Rosehill, while there’s also a Group 2 contest at Ascot.

Race 6 Flemington

Imperatriz @ 1.85

Race 8 Flemington

Prowess @ 5.50

Race 8 Rosehill

Antino @ 2.80

Imperatriz primed for Sprint success

The first of the three Group 1s on the Flemington card is the 1200m Champions Sprint.

The four-year-old In Secret is expected to have her supporters, having tackled some hot contests this spell, including when beaten just over a length in The Everest at Randwick October 14th.

The filly raced from off the pace on that occasion and finished strongly when racing on a good 4 track in the valuable contest.

While she has shown a liking for this venue when taking out the Newmarket Handicap over track and trip when racing at this level in March, likely favourite IMPERATRIZ is preferred here.

Trained by Michael Walker, the selection showed good form in New Zealand winning four times at the highest level prior to switching to Australia.

The 1.85 five-year-old suffered a Group 1 defeat when runner-up over 1300m in the Canterbury Stakes on a soft 5 track at Randwick on her Australian debut in March, but has won all four starts since.

All four of those victories have come at Moonee Valley, with three of them coming at the highest level including when taking out a six-runner renewal of the Manikato Stakes October 28th.

Regular pilot Opie Bosson is again in the saddle here and his mount looks capable of continuing her winning run racing down the straight here.

Prowess goes for Champions glory

The third of the Flemington Group 1 races is the 2000m Champions Stakes, with West Wind Blows expected to jump as favourite.

The five-year-old showed good form at a lower level in Europe but has proven himself to be a Group 1 performer in two starts for the Simon & Ed Crisford team this spring.

The first of those saw him place second over this trip when contesting the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes here October 7th.

Two weeks later the gelding lost out narrowly when stepped up to 2400m for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup.

It’s of note that the gelding has won just once from seven starts this year and, while expected to go well, he looks opposable.

The four-year-old filly PROWESS showed Group 1-winning form in New Zealand and recorded her second Group 1 success when taking the Vinery Stud Stakes over this trip at Rosehill in March.

Trained by Roger James & Robert Wellwood, the filly placed second over an inadequate 1400m in a Group 3 at Hawera first up last month.

The 5.50 pick went one better when taking out the Group 2 Crystal Mile over 1600m at Moonee Valley October 28th and she should appreciate the return to this distance.

Mark Zahra’s mount arrives here in good form and receiving weight from her rivals she is selected to deliver a victory.

Antino to shine at Rosehill

The big race of the day at Rosehill is the 1800m Five Diamonds, worth $2,000,000 and set to take place on a soft 6 track.

The Tony Gollan-trained ANTINO has proven himself at the highest level when losing out narrowly in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap over 1600m at Caulfield last month.

The 2.80 five-year-old followed that up with a narrow defeat in Moonee Valley’s Group 1 Crystal Mile over 1600m and he shapes as if he will have no issues with the extra 200m he tackles here.

Sam Clipperton’s mount has won both previous starts on soft going, albeit at a lower level, and he is selected to register his second victory of this spell.

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