Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente is the pick in what looks an enthralling renewal of the Grade 1 Ranvet Stakes on Saturday morning...
"Fiorente and It's A Dundeel are one-a-piece in the head-to-head stakes, and while I am expecting It's A Dundeel to get close, the ratings point to a narrow Fiorente win...."
Saturday's group one Ranvet Stakes over 2000m at Rosehill is the first of two scheduled clashes over 2000m between heavyweight gallopers Fiorente and It's A Dundeel.
Former import Fiorente now under the care Gai Waterhouse has steadily improved his Timeform rating, peaking at 125 winning last year's Melbourne Cup but the entire is anything but one dimensional as many past Cup winners seem to be.
Prior to the Cup victory, Fiorente showed an excellent turn of foot over 2000m in races like the G1 Turnbull Stakes (unlucky fourth) then third in the G1 Cox Plate behind Shamus Award.
Then this campaign, Fiorente has continued to retain that speed and improve further. He remains unbeaten in two starts, G2 Peter Young (1800m) and the G1 Australian Cup over 2000m taking his Timeform rating to a new high of 127 with a hint of more to come.
Back to Sydney and despite having his first run at Rosehill there is no reason to suggest Fiorente will not relish the 2000m and the opportunity to go head to head with his main Autumn rival It's A Dundeel. The clash gives him the excuse to push his Timeform rating higher.
If there is a chink in the armour of Fiorente and it is a very small one at that, is his ability to peak in the clockwise direction. Fiorente has won 5 of 10 anti-clockwise but one from eight clockwise. Still I am regarding that as an aside rather than a reason to downgrade his form.
Fiorente should have enough in hand to add the Ranvet Stakes to his CV and join Manighar and Veandercross as the only horses to have taken the Australian Cup double.
However It's A Dundeel will be no pushover. The winner of the Triple Crown during his three-year-old year and the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Spring defeating classy mare Atlantic Jewel, he will present as a formidable foe.
Timeform rated 125p off those high class performances, It's A Dundeel impressed fresh up just going under to the very smart Boban in the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes over 1600m at Warwick Farm, but his record second up is sensational - unbeaten in three attempts.
When in that state last preparation he improved nine pounds in his Timeform rating to win the Underwood Stakes so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could go to a new peak rating this afternoon.
Given that he rated 123 when second to Boban, any substantial improvement by It's A Dundeel this afternoon will see him make a real race of it with his more seasoned, older opponent.
Fiorente and It's A Dundeel are one-a-piece in the head-to-head stakes, and while I am expecting It's A Dundeel to get close, the ratings point to a narrow Fiorente win.
However the race may not necessarily be a two horse affair with the Queen's horse Carlton House showing signs of returning to his best European form that saw him placed in an Epsom Derby and runner up to So You Think in a Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Currently rated 122 in Australia, Carlton House has the potential to rate higher and his presence adds another dimension to this afternoon's feature.
Off Time: 05.40 BST
Recommendation: Back Fiorente