The GP Turf Handicap – Grade I
GP Race #6 1 1/8m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $300.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
1 Decibel, trained by Threshold
When he ran a nose second to horse of the year Clockwork Chai in the BEL Derby he pretty much arrived on the scene as a serious turf contender and whilst he ran some very good races in the second half of the year he never really built on that run. He shoulders top weight here which may be a big ask but if he can reproduce that BEL Derby effort he is entitled to go close.
2 Exactly As Planned, trained by Maxmillion Farm
A five year old winner of over $1,600.000 he has a fitness edge here after a seasonal debut win in an SA overnight. The winner of the Pacific Classic in 2016 he ran third in the BC Turf after that but then struggled as most three year olds do when he hit his four year old season. He managed some early season placings at graded level but ran his best race back in the Pacific Classic when fourth last year. He is working very nicely and gets in here with just 119Lbs so should be a serious contender.
3 Scotus Ghostus, trained by Drabfantasy
Still a maiden but a lot better than your average maiden based on his 1.34 and 2 work at SA in January. He was fifth in the Northern Dancer in only his second start last year and whilst it would be a surprise if he can beat this field today its not beyond the realm of possibility.
4 The Joker, trained by Maxmillion Farm
A two race winning four year old he races with the same weight as a grade one winner and whilst there is no doubt he has ability i dont think the handicapper has given him a winning chance.
5 Eastern Townships, trained by Sanny Village
This grade one winner gets in here with bottom weight thanks in the main to missing all of last season. He won the Shadwell Turf Mile as a three year old and was third in the BEL Derby so undoubtedly has plenty of class and the way he won his comeback race at the beginning of January suggests he retains all of his substantial ability. He won that Optional Claimer in 1.32 and 3 and carries less weight here so he could very easily add this rich handicap to his comeback trail.
6 Sound Decision, trained by EastMoney Stables
He was winning cheap overnights by a margin before hitting black type in the River City Handicap where he won very nicely by a length. His seasonal debut saw him beaten just a nose in the San Gabriel Stakes behind two very good turfers and that was top notch form. Like Decibel he gets harsh treatment from the handicapper but has fitness on his side and is definitely improving.
This would be a very different race if it wasnt a handicap but it looks set up as the weights stand for Eastern Townships. As usual they are all capable of working the same sort of times from maidens to grade one winners so it will probably all come down to the handicap.