Railway Stakes Tips - hard to split two $14 chances

  • Who will win the Ascot Group 1?

The Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot is fast becoming my favourite race having tipped four of the past five winners including Great Shot last year at $26.

I’m hopeful of keeping the Railway hot streak going on Saturday by backing two runners at double figure odds. 

Firstly, the favourite, Galaxy Star, was most impressive last start winning the Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) in 1:22.17 while running her final 600m in 33:84.

That time and final sectional rates considerably higher than Gatting who won the Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) in 1:24.32 and ran his last 600m in 34:10.

However, Galaxy Star drops 2kg on that run while Gatting drops 5kg, and that 3kg weight swing is certainly enough to see Gatting at least match Galaxy Star’s final 600m sprint – and the quicker overall time was only related to early speed.

Gatting was also first-up from a spell and should have room for improvement, and his previous 1600m effort at Belmont rates three lengths above Galaxy Star who was third-up as she will be in Saturday’s Group 1. 

Trainer Darren Mcauliffe used the same preparation for Gatting last Summer where he kicked off over 1400m with a 1.5-length 6th placing behind Silverstream over 1400m before finishing 1.7 lengths from Material Man in the Northam Cup (1600m).

But judging by Gatting’s last start win where he sailed past Achernar Star and Great Shot, he’s returned as a superior five-year-old that is approaching his prime, and maybe the blinkers going on is what he’s needed all this time.

I think this was Gatting’s most explosive victory to date and considering his five most recent victories have been between 1800m and 2200m, he should only improve over the slightly longer trip while the 5kg weight reduction should see him launching out of the pack.

Former West Australian rider and leading Victorian jockey Damian Lane takes the ride from barrier 1, and considering Lane isn’t riding on of Darren Weir’s two runners, I think that’s a good push for the local Gatting. 

The only negative I can find with Gatting is that the bar plates go on, and that’s an indicator his feet aren’t 100 percent.

Material Man had the measure of Gatting in all three runs last campaign, and he won the Northam Cup when first-up over the mile. 

He was given two trials in August but missed the Melbourne Spring Carnival with a hoof injury, and after recovering, he then started to build again with three trials throughout October and November.

He’s set for a big first-up run, but the query is the weight he concedes to horses he has been beating in the past.

I’m not willing to risk him as he’s a proven winner and just seems to know how to get his head past the post first.

Gatting and Material Man are both $14 in the market and are drawn to get ideal runs, and with even luck, they’ll prove hard to beat. 

Peaceful State looks the pick of the Weir pair, but each time he has performed well over 1600m, his following run at a mile has been well below par and that’s a warning sign I can’t ignore. 

I have a slight leaning toward Gatting, but will cover another base with the ultra-consistent Material Man.

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Railway Stakes Tips - hard to split two $14 chances

Aaron Hamilton previews the Group 1 Railway Stakes and gives his top selections for the races.

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