Spring Carnival top 10 horses to follow - likely star performers for the spring

  • Most looking forward to seeing Grunt, Kings Will Dream and Anjana
Michael Walker riding Mighty Boss defeats Damien Oliver riding Grunt in a jump out at Caulfield Racecourse on July 28, 2018

With the 2018 spring carnivals fast approaching, most of the good horses are back in work and slowly gearing up for their main assignments. 

A total of 28 Group 1 races are held in Sydney and Melbourne throughout the spring, and while most top-liners will contest multiple Group 1 events in their upcoming campaigns, each will have their eye firmly on one event in particular. 

A few horses really impressed in their previous preparations and look set to play a big part in the spring.

Here are my top 10 horses to follow throughout the spring carnivals:

THE AUTUMN SUN

Unbeaten in three starts, including a Group 1 win in the JJ Atkins Plate (1600m), The Autumn Sun seemed to be doing it on raw ability in his first campaign, and he could develop into a top-liner. The Caulfield Guineas has been a logical path for JJ Atkins runners in the past, and things should be no different with this Chris Waller-trained son of Redoute’s Choice.

Possible target race/s: Golden Rose, Caulfield Guineas

BRUTAL

Hawkes Racing may have a future start on their hands judging by Brutal’s debut performance at Caulfield where he destroyed his 1200m rivals to score by five lengths. He ran quicker time than the two 3YO 1200m races as well as going quicker than the mares race later in the day. His final sectionals were only bettered by Voodoo Lad, and considering he’s bred to get further, he should be winning during the spring. 

Possible target race/s: Golden Rose, Caulfield Guineas

BOOM TIME

Some may have considered his Caulfield Cup win a fluke, but he quickly dispelled any class judgments with a couple of impressive runs in the autumn. The son of Flying Spur caught the eye first-up when flashing home over 1800m with 60kg on his back before scoring a five-lengths win over 2000m at Flemington with 59kg. He’ll have to carry more weight in this year’s Caulfield Cup as well as contending with the likes of Kings Will Dream, but he could go to another level this preparation and is one to keep an eye on.

Possible target race/s: Caulfield Cup

KINGS WILL DREAM

Having qualified for the Caulfield Cup with his emphatic Mornington Cup (2400m) win, the Darren Weir-trained Kings Will Dream will be hard to beat in anything he contests. The son of Casamento was sharp enough to win over 1200m and 1400m at his first two Australian runs before winning over 1600m and 1800m, but there’s no doubting he was more impressive over the staying trip. He has reportedly taken the next step with acclimatising, and with plenty of improvement to come on what he’s done so far, he’ll be a major player in the spring. 

Possible target race/s: Caulfield Cup

GRUNT 

Grunt is arguably the most untapped horse in Australia, and his trainer Mick Price has already stated he will set the O’Reilly colt for the Cox Plate. Price also believes he’s a genuine Flemington horse, so it wouldn’t surprise to see him target the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and Turnbull Stakes (2000m) which would fit in perfectly with his Cox Plate campaign while giving him two good chances to win at Flemington. He won all four starts in the autumn, making the jump from maiden win to Group 1 win within four starts as he claimed the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington. 

Possible target races: Makybe Diva Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Cox Plate

TRAPEZE ARTIST

This powerful sprinter strikes me as a real peak specialist – meaning he’s a very talented galloper in each and every start, but he just goes to a whole new level in his target race. He peaks third or fourth-up each campaign, and that’s evident by his three-length win in the Black Opal (1200m) in his first preparation, his four-length win in the Golden Rose (1400m) next campaign, and then his two-length victory over Redzel in the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) last time in. There’s been some experimenting with his distances, but with The Everest being his target this time, he’ll be trained to peak on the day, and he’ll take a stack of beating.

Possible target race/s: The Everest

KEMENTARI

With the potential of grabbing one of the three remaining The Everest slots, Kementari’s spring campaign is a bit up in the air, but he has the ability to move up and down in distance effectively. The son of Lonhro resumes in Saturday’s Missile Stakes (1200m) and is then likely to head to Melbourne for the Memsie Stakes (1400m). From there, a decision will be made whether he comes back to 1200m in The Everest, or whether he steps out to 1600m and targets something like the Epsom Handicap.

Possible target race/s: Missile Stakes, Memsie Stakes, The Everest or Epsom Handicap

SMART MELODY

Kris Lees’ Smart Missile filly was impressive over 900m on a Heavy track on debut and then absolutely blew them away when defeating regular Saturday performer Laburnum by 5.3 lengths over 1100m on a Soft track. Her dam Sweetest Melody won seven from 12 starts and was a winner up to 1900m so there is no reason this filly can’t stretch out over a trip. She’s got the ability to be set on a Golden Rose or Flight Stakes path.
Possible target race/s: Golden Rose or Flight Stakes

ANJANA

Darren Weir’s Sebring filly couldn’t have been more impressive in her three runs to date, and she’s likely to be put on a Thousand Guineas path. She won over 1000m on debut and then bolted in by six lengths over 1200m at Ballarat before going to Moonee Valley and scoring a soft three-length victory. She possesses a brilliant turn of foot, has plenty of upside and has an experience edge over many that will be contesting the same races. 

Possible target race/s: Thousand Guineas

WINX

No surprises here, and while the daughter of Street Cry won’t make you rich on the punt, she’ll reward you with memories that will last a lifetime.  Having won 25 in a row, Winx needs just one more win to beat Black Caviar’s winning streak, while a fourth Cox Plate victory will see her surpass Kingston Town’s deeds in the weight-for-age championship. Follow the story and enjoy the ride as this mare cements herself as the greatest of all time. 

Possible target race/s: Winx Stakes, Chelmsford Stakes, George Main Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Cox Plate

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Spring Carnival top 10 horses to follow - likely star performers for the spring

With the 2018 spring carnivals fast approaching, most of the good horses are back in work and slowly gearing up for their main assignments.

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