Kona Stakes – Grade II
SA 6 1/2f Dirt
Purse $200.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
1 Oh Awesome One, trained by John Henry
Third in this race last year as a four year old he went on to take the Bold Venture before two creditable runs in the SA Sprint and the BC Sprint. Rounding off the season with a solid win in the grade two Kennedy Road Stakes he had a much better season than most of his age group and looked set for a good season as he turned five. In his three races this year he hasnt managed the top four which is disappointing until you look at the luck he has had with the draw. Drawn wide in all his 2017 races he gets in here with the ace draw and that could be enough to see him returning to winning ways.
2 Curious Muse, trained by On The Map Racing
This six year old had been well placed to win 15 races but had never been tested at a decent level by his previous trainer. Under new ownership he stepped up to take the ungraded Forego Stakes but then got stuck in traffic in the Thomas memorial where he made ground into fifth. His works suggest that a race like this is on his radar and with a good draw and a decent win record he may just surprise some of the more established sprinters in this race.
3 Oh My Senor, trained by Ekli Stable
The winner of five last year including the grade three Jersey Shore he was putting together a nice record when the season ended. This year he hasnt managed a win but has run three super races which put him right into contention for the top spot here. A close up eighth on debut he then very nearly took the grade one Triple Bend going down by just a neck in that competitive race. The handicapper didnt do him any favors in the Carter Handicap last time out but forced to lead by the outside speed push he had little chance of winning and did well in the end to be beaten just a length. Another with a big chance in an open race.
4 Clatther, trained by Ekli Stable
This son of Pink Panther has a good win record with six from twelve and kicked off the year like a demon with a speedy win in the Toboggan. Since then he ran well with two wide draws in the Palos Verdes Stakes and the Triple Bend but disappointed a little in the Carter Handicap last time when a never dangerous last of six. If you overlook that last start he is right in this but with his closing style he will have to be right on his best form to figure in this race.
5 No Doubt About It, trained by Mb Stables
The winner of both the SA Sprint and the BC Sprint last year there is no doubt he is the most accomplished racehorse in the field. However both those wins came with the three year old weight allowance and despite a good win in the GP Sprint Championship on seasonal debut he ran pretty poorly in the Commonwealth suggesting that on levels he isnt as dominant. Hailing from the champion trainer with a decent draw he clearly has a winning chance but i feel there are one or two that may be able to beat him today.
6 Double C, trained by Team 7 Illusions
A consistent three year old he wasnt writing anything in the record book but has looked like an improver this year and may now be at this level. I really liked the way he stuck on despite a wide draw and the wide gate speed push last time in the Fleet Sprint Handicap and i think he may be the dark horse in the race. If he finds a stalk and isnt too wide i think this may be a decent priced winner.
7 Magic Time, trained by Sarah Stables
Pretty much missed the whole of last season but this son of Timepiece has looked as though he hasnt lost any of his three year old ability. I liked the way he took the Cartier Stakes last time and although that was an ungraded race he has recorded the sort of work times that suggest he is up to this level. An outsider but not without a chance.
8 Had No Idea, trained by Mb Stables
Inevitably we have a three year old in the field and normally i would automatically make it my choice but the weight allowance in this race is only three pounds and that may make it a little harder for this one. Lightly raced he was very impressive in taking the Bay Shore last time and with strong works and a few pounds he may be able to carry on the three year old dominance of the all aged races.
9 Moon Landing, trained by Mb Stables
A grand old campaigner who despite having won at grade one level has never been able to fully assert himself as a top level sprinter which he probably deserves to be. Fourth and sixth in the last two BC Sprints he had won grade ones leading into the race both times but just couldnt managed a top three finish. A close fifth in the Triple Bend and an unlucky eighth in the Commonwealth suggest that he still retains enough ability to win this race but a wide gate may see him consigned to unlucky loser again.
10 Rush Home, trained by Spankys Barn
Not tested at this level he looks a little out of his depth here especially with a wide draw.
11 Hallelujah, trained by Eastern Equine
This eight year old is a real credit to himself and showed in his only start this year that he still has that touch of class. Keeping on strongly he only went down by a neck in the Palos Verdes Stakes and if he is anywhere near his Triple Bend winning form he could record a famous win. His works are still as sharp as a knife and i just hope the wide gate speed push doesnt select him as a victim of the draw and send him tearing into the lead only to weaken late. The draw bothers me but i will be cheering him home.
Well my heart says Hallelujah and i think that despite the coffin draw he will run a huge race. I have a sneaking suspicion that Double C may run a big race but this is a very tight sprint and with a length or two covering the top ten it is anyones guess who will come out on top.