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Australian Racing: Tutta La Vita chasing Champions Stakes glory

There’s big race action in both Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday with three Group 1’s split between Moonee Valley and Randwick, highlighted by the Cox Plate at the former.

Race 9 Moonee Valley

Alligator Blood @ 6.00 

Race 7 Moonee Valley

Air Assault @ 6.00 

Race 7 Randwick

Tutta La Vita @ 6.00 

Blood to take Plate

The big race of the day comes up as the penultimate contest on Moonee Valley’s 10-race card, with Hong Kong star Romantic Warrior expected to jump as favourite in a 12-runner field.

The six-year-old has demonstrated good form at Sha Tin in the last two years, winning twice in Group 1 company.

Those Group 1 victories include an impressive four-and-a-half-length victory against international rivals in the Hong Kong Cup over 2000m in December.

However, the gelding has been beaten in four of his last five starts, including when fourth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes over 2000m at Flemington earlier this month.

While the six-year-old is expected to have improved for that effort, it’s notable that he has nearly four lengths to find with Gold Trip on that form and he looks opposable in this field.

ALLIGATOR BLOOD could finish only fifth in this race last year, however, he arrives here in better form this time around.

Trained by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, the seven-year-old has won Group 1 races at Caulfield on each of his last two starts, including the Might And Power over 2000m two weeks ago.

Prior to that, the gelding delivered a length success in the 1800m Underwood Stakes, with that form working out well thanks to the subsequent Group 1 wins of Without A Fight and Attrition. 

Tim Clark’s mount has a good barrier five from the rail and looks capable of providing connections with a big race success.

Assault to take Vase

Two races earlier and over the Cox Plate distance, the Group 2 Drummond Golf Vase for three-year-old’s is set to take place.

The Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock-trained Verdad is expected to jump as favourite following a good sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas Prelude over 1600m two weeks ago.

While the son of Justify brings the best form into this contest, he has to prove he stays this trip and AIR ASSAULT is preferred on this occasion.

Damian Lane’s mount showed ability over shorter distance including when taking out the Group 3 SA Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m on a soft 6 track at Morphettville Parks in May.

While the gelding finished held up in a couple of sprints to start this spell, he took a step forward when upped to 1800m for the Listed Hill Smith Stakes, winning in impressive fashion at Morphettville.

While this race looks tougher, the gelding remains open to improvement stepping up in trip and is taken to deliver a victory on his first start in Melbourne. 

Tutta for Champion success

The Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m for three-year-old’s is the feature race at Randwick.

Tom Kitten looks to hold strong claims for the James Cummings team and is expected to be on the premises having finished in the top three in all four starts this spell.

However, preference is for TUTTA LA VITA, the sole filly in the line-up here who placed third in the Group 1 Darley Flight Stakes over 1600m here when last in action four weeks ago. 

Trained by Chris Waller, the filly finished strongly from off the pace in the style of a horse who would appreciate the step up in distance she gets here.

Jason Collett takes the ride for the first time, with the filly heading into this event on the back of a length success in a 1030m barrier trial at Rosehill earlier this month.

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