Australia Stakes Tips - hard to go past track record holder

  • Hot weather means speedy track that will suit Runson.
  • Track and distance record holder represents value at double figure odds. 
Liam Riordan riding Runson

With Melbourne copping 38-degree weather on Thursday and a windy 41 degrees on Friday, the night meeting set down for The Valley is sure to be run on a Good 3 track.

The quick surface should favour those up front in the sprint events, and that includes the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) which has attracted a stellar line-up in 2019.

Group 1 winners Brave Smash, Redkirk Warrior and Land Of Plenty resume from spells, while the other Group 1-winning duo, Fell Swoop and Malaguerra, have a fitness edge with three and two runs under their belts respectively. 

Fifty Stars has won six and finished runner-up twice from eight starts and also resumes from a break, as does Manuel who was in great form last preparation.

Whispering Brook and Princess Of Queens must be respected on their recent form, and last but certainly not least is the Moonee Valley 1200m record holder Runson who clocked a slick 1:08.77 on the same night as the Manikato Stakes which was won by Brave Smash in 1:09.36.

On that form, it’s hard to go past Runson who will make his own luck from out in front, but he does have to carry 3.5kg more this time around, and his form off a four-week break doesn’t read the best. 

However, after failing at Ascot in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), he had four weeks between runs when finishing 3rd behind Native Soldier and Manolo Blahniq over 1200m at Caulfield last start. 

Native Soldier was only 1.7 lengths from Whispering Brook at his first-up run where he clearly ran out of condition, while Manolo Blahniq has franked the form with a win in the Lister Chester Manifold (1400m) last start. 

Runson carried 4.5kg more than that pair and was having his first run since travelling to Perth, I can imagine he would have been given an easy time when he got back, and perhaps went into that run underdone. 

Trainers Leon and Troy Corstens would have started winding back up with the speedy son of Delzao, and he should be cherry ripe to make it two from two at the track and trip.

As far as his opposition go, Brave Smash and Redkirk Warrior rate highest but Brave Smash is yet to win in seven first-up attempts, while Redkirk Warrior is being aimed at the All-Star Mile this campaign so it’s highly unlikely he’ll be forward enough for this.

This looks like a pipe-opener for Land Of Plenty and Fifty Stars, but it wouldn’t surprise to see either run a big race. 

Manuel maps poorly and may need the run, and I’m not sure about either of the mares in this grade.

If Malaguerra and Fell Swoop secure soft runs behind the speed, they could finish over the top if the leaders weaken, but I’m banking on Runson to recapture the form that saw him post a race record here, and if he can reproduce that run, he’ll prove hard to beat. 

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Australia Stakes Tips - hard to go past track record holder

Aaron Hamilton previews Friday night's Group 2 Australia Stakes at The Valley and gives his top selection for the race.

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