Smart mare Red Tracer can continue her good form in Saturday's Group 1 Tattersall's Tiara (race 7) at Eagle Farm (off at 06:47 BST), writes Gary Crispe.
"Although drawing a little awkwardly winning rider Hugh Bowman stays aboard and she looks hard to beat again in her search for her first Group 1 win."
The Sydney-based mare, in the leading yard of Chris Waller, made her Queensland debut with a win in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes at the same track three weeks ago and she can claim the tougher Group 1 assignment over the same 1400m journey this time.
The lightly-raced mare is a daughter of Dane Shadow and a full sister to Group 1 winner Shellscrape. She is yet to win a Group 1 herself but has claimed five stakes success - three in Listed class, one in a Group 3 and last starts Group 2. But with less weight in today's race she can break through at the top level and can become just the second horse since Tripping in 1996 to win both the Dane Ripper and Tiara in the same year.
Red Tracer kicked off her autumn campaign with a fast-finishing third in the Group 2 Breeders Classic over 1200m at Warwick Farm, finishing only a length from Steps In Time. She then lifted her figure over 1300m at Rosehill with a strong on pace win over Crafty Irna in the Group 3 Millie Fox Stakes.
Stepping up to Group 1 class and to 1500m at Rosehill in the Coolmore Classic, she was caught wide throughout and turned deep before peaking on her run after that early effort and faded to finish ninth behind Ofcourseican. The rating was below her best but understandable given the tough run.
Returning to Rosehill for the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes, Red Tracer wasn't the best away but mustered speed and was ridden up to cross and lead. Approaching the turn in front she was clicked up again and dashed to a two-length break straightening but faded over the final stages as the swoopers arrived out wide, finishing fifth behind top mare More Joyous. Nonetheless, the effort matched her campaign-high figure.
Given a let up and set for a Brisbane winter carnival cameo, Waller gave the mare a trial to keep her ticking over at Hawkesbury over 1400m where she won before heading north and tackling the Dame Ripper. There she drew a poor gate but crossed to sit third before looming up on the turn. Showing real grit in the run home she lifted strongly and scored a head win over Forfeiture. Although drawing a little awkwardly winning rider Hugh Bowman stays aboard and she looks hard to beat again in her search for her first Group 1 win.
Mid Summer Music has already claimed that accolade with a last-start Group 1 success in the Stradbroke Handicap but does have a couple of things against her today. The Peter Moody-trained mare, who has a huge finishing burst, made her winter carnival debut in the Gold Coast in the Listed Prime Ministers Cup. There she drew off the track and was sent forward to sit third but despite the tough run facing the breeze four and five wide she kicked strongly and went down by only a head in a huge run behind Celtic Dancer.
She went from the coast to the city for the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 and from a better gate settled midfield. But the previous run may have flattened her because she didn't finish off like she can, battling home into ninth behind Sea Siren in a run well below her best. Although back to form when landing the aforementioned Stradbroke handicap a fortnight later, Mid Summer Music rises 3.5kg as she returns to fillies and mares grade and has drawn poorly in gate 18. Furthermore, the last horse to win the Stradbroke Handicap/Tiara double was Dane Ripper in 1997.
Fellow Victorian mare Shopaholic is fitter for two runs form a spell and should be hard to hold out. The Danny O'Brien-trained mare resumed form a let up in the Listed Straight Six at Flemington and ran on well to finish fifth, before heading to Queensland for the Stradbroke where she had just 51.5kg. She had a poor gate in barrier 18 as well, though, and did well to run on into seventh, finishing 5.5 lengths behind Mid Summer Music.
While actually meeting her worse at the weights here, there is a big turnaround in a barrier draw with Shopaholic drawing much better in gate eight this time. She will be closer in the run and will appreciate the drop in grade to her own sex.
Varenna Miss may prove a value hope on her Stradbroke run. She also drew wide in the race and was well back before finding traffic at a crucial time approaching the turn. By the time they straightened, she was still 14th but made good ground to finish 10th.
She has drawn a bit better this time, has the blinkers removed and back to her own sex can get into the finish at odds.
Victorian visitor Soft Sand was an impressive fresh up winner at Caulfield and should be further improved. She measured up to stakes grade earlier in the autumn and has obviously settled into Queensland's warmer weather nicely after scoring an eight-length Deagon trial win last week.
Back Red Tracer @ $9.00
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