It Will Be Noses and Nostrils in Highlander Stakes

Highlander Stakes – Grade II
WO Race #10 6f Turf Graded Stake
Purse $200.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.

1   Elijah G   Mb Stables   Gallardo A A

A very successful sprinting season as a three year old culminated in a close sixth in the BC Turf Sprint. With opportunities as a four year old more limited he has been a little less ambitious this year but has won three of his last four and looks now to launch his attack on a second BC try. A strong winner of the Beau Stakes last time in 56 seconds flat he will look for a similar run from this ace draw, sitting behind the speed and pouncing down the stretch. The only downside to his record is that he has found one too good at this level on occasions but that may not be enough to stop him today.

2   The Grandmaster   John Henry   Salles L

This seven year old son of Cherokee Sunset gained notoriety when taking the 2020 BC Turf Sprint after finishing fifth in both the previous years. On his day he is a cracking sort who has won 12 stakes races in his long and illustrious career and today he gets a great draw to try and put himself back into the BC after winning the Shakertown in April. At seven you have to wonder whether he has still got it but his form this year has been as good as ever and his works as slick so i am really liking his chances. An interesting choice of rider is worth noting but if he runs his best race he will win.

3   A New Car   Gdp Inc   Stein J

The fun thing about HRP is that a good horse can run over any trip and usually run well and this is a good example. Where some may find this sixth furlong a challenge this one will be doing his best work in the final furlong and whilst his form doesn’t shout off the page his works suggest there has been plenty of improvement recently. His last three starts have been from tough draws so today’s gate three will be perfect for him to possibly cause a shock.

4   Shelbags   Lindeman Prairie   Lermyte J

A regular in claimers until the end of 2020 he went through that part of the improvement curve we all love and turned himself into a top sprinter for the stable that claimed him for $9 in 2021. A close fifth in the BC Turf Sprint last year he has continued that sort fo form this year with 3 runs culminating in a nose second in the Daytona last time. Strangely he has never run six furlongs on turf but i do feel that this may be his best trip so a good effort should be expected.

5   King Ranch South   Shore Stables   Husbands S P

Beat Shelbags a nose in the Daytona last time which was a much improved run and suggests he is definitely going the right way up his improvement curve. I do feel that this time the draw favors Shelbags so he will have to improve a little more to confirm that result but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did. The works are sharp and he is unbeaten this year so there are plenty of pointers to a big effort.

6   Suicide Blitz   High Voltage   Civaci S

A lightly raced four year old he was only a half length behind Shelbags and King Ranch in the Daytona, albeit in seventh place, so you have to take his chance pretty seriously. Though he took a while to break maidens as a younger horse he has started this season off like a pro and he is certain to be right there at the end. Having said that a look at all the form in this race puts them all within a length so that could be first or last. His last start is his best effort which is always a plus.

7   Shakespearean   Mb Stables   Boulanger G

The Mb Stables juggernaut kicks into gear at this time of year as they try and qualify as many horses as possible into the BC where a win is basically free money. Of the three runners from the stable in this race this is certainly the most consistent having taken home a paycheck in every race except his last. That last effort in the Jaipour was so far out of character that you have to put it down to the wide draw and a race engine brain fart rather than any decline in ability. It is hard to know where to put him in the race although there is unlikely to be more than a length between most of them at the end and he has enough form to come out on top.

8   Daddys Operation   TwinTowersRacing   Contreras L

Oh my, this is just the sort of runner that makes a fool out of me. On paper i would say he is a bit better on dirt and not up to this level on turf but i have long learned not to write off runners from this stable and a glance back at recent form see’s a good fifth in the Mathis Brother Mile. I wont be tipping it but it wouldn’t surprise me if he came home at 20/1.

9   Grayte Trois   Gdp Inc   Boulanger B C

Improved efforts in his last two over this trip and surface suggests he is moving up his improvement curve and his works support that progress making him a lively outsider type. The draw will make it tough for him but if he can find a mid pack position and nearish the rail then he will be finishing on strongly at the end. I like the works, i like the improved form, i am not sure i like the jockey or draw.

10   Dreams Of Men   Maxmillion Farm   Ryan S

The turf king brings his router here in the hope that the old adage that routers can sprint just as well at HRP is alive and well. He showed plenty of pace to win a sprint on the down hill track at SA which was a little surprising considering he had been placed at stakes level at nine furlongs showing little early pace but this of course is a click and play game and the trainer that picked him up for $41 two races ago has booted him out front in both his wins for the new yard. I would expect the wide gate speed push to help him again today but this is a step up and he will have to be quick to beat them to the turn.


11   Blown Coverage   Angelos Stable   Kimura K

His last two efforts have been pretty good considering he made a name for himself as a turf sprinter but one feels he is one of those horses that does well in any race. An impressive winner of the San Simeon at the start of the year he may well relish this return to sprinting although has had no favors from the draw monster. He will need luck but if he gets it will be coming on strongly at the end.

12    Insist Always   Mb Stables   Bahen S R

He has been second in the grade one Jaipur for the last two years so clearly loves this trip and surface. With three runners in the race the stable will have options with this one but as we all know you need a bit of skill and a lot of luck from the car park and we wont really know how he is going to run until after they cross the line. Swap this one with either of the stable mates and i would be very keen, out here too much is left to chance to be confident.

SUMMARY

If you look through most of the turf sprinting form you end up putting ten of these horses within a length of each other which basically makes it impossible to be choose a winner. The Grandmaster will love his draw and this wily old battler will be ready for a fight so he may be a safe bet. Out of the others well i would suggest an eleven horse dead heat for second and i wouldn’t be that far off.



Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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