Regular Sydney punters will know Drachenfels well; he was a horse with a bit of a boom early but one who didn't always seem to finish off his races when looming to win. They gelded him after that and he seemed to be a more genuine type, winning two straight at the end of his last prep. But it's fair to say he'll never be a star.
He's had two runs this time in, and really has had little luck on either occasion. First up, he missed the start a couple of lengths, was bustled along on the fence to try and take a position and just over-raced a little because of that; he was then pulled wide in the straight into probably the worst part of the track and was one-paced the last bit, but only finished two lengths from the winner.
Then, last start, when looking to take a split a few horses off the fence, he was held up for a few strides and then slightly baulked for a run; that was enough to cost him the momentum required to be right in the finish. Again, he was only a length from the winner Eusebio, his stablemate and a rival on Saturday as well.
He zoomed up in a trial since that effort ahead of his first time Melbourne way, but he does appear well in given he meets Eusebio three kilos better off for that short defeat. He draws perfectly to sit just behind what looks a slowish speed, and I love the booking of Damian Lane. I just feel as though this sets up perfectly for Drachenfels and think he'll kick off the day in style at very, very juicy odds.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
It's a great edition of the San Domenico Stakes with several highly talented three-year-olds lining up, most of them with Golden Rose aspirations.
But after a juvenile campaign that flashed some lovely upside, I've been excited to see Redoute's Choice colt Tchaikovsky return as, hopefully, a fully furnished three-year-old. Judging from his two trials, I'm confident he's going to be one of the big improvers of his generation in his classic season.
Now, is 1100 metres too short? Possibly. I certainly don't think it's going to be his ideal trip eventually; he looks a miler in the making really, but I can see him getting a soft run and be out and ready to chase down his stablemate and likely pacesetter here, Neutrality.
This is a colt I want to be with now. Moving forward, he's ready to cement a spot in my "A" set of three-year-olds for spring.
I have little doubt that Danawi, after that setback early this campaign at Canterbury when he dumped Hugh Bowman prior to the start of his would be first- up run, has just been that half a run behind this time in. Nonetheless, he's been extremely brave in defeat on both occasions, only being gunned down late after making all the running.
Tim Martin wouldn't be backing him up on the quick turnaround if he, firstly didn't think he'd handle it, and secondly, didn't genuinely believe that there's more improvement to come. This looks an ideal scenario here if he does indeed cope with the seven-day gap, because he should be easily able to dictate proceedings, and probably at a softer pace than what he's done so over the shorter trips at those two starts.
I can see him giving a massive kick once they top the rise, and with no weight on his back, I'd be surprised if they could run him down this time.
Third up now and down on the limit, I think this race sets up very nicely for Time To Torque. He tried hard last time out behind the very talented, but injury plagued, Order Again, only to be outclassed late.
From barrier one, Michael Cahill should be able to possie him up right behind Sabhkat, who's led and won at his past two. But the drop back to 1400m might not suit Sabhakt as much as if he'd stayed at a mile, plus I can envisage him potentially being taken on from the likes of Siegfried or Zumbelina.
Either way, Time For Torque will be getting a cushy run and be ready to chase down Sabhkat when they flatten out. With the pull in the weights, I think he runs him down.
OVER THE ODDS
Easy to think that Summer Sham has been disappointing in her two starts as a four-year-old, but I personally think neither race has been suitable. That's certainly the way both of them were run; they gave her little to no chance of winning, especially the latest one, where she went way too hard in front for a 1400m race and was swamped with 200 to go.
She now comes back to six furlongs at Moonee Valley, a track and trip she's previously won at, and I'm not convinced there's a whole heap of early speed engaged here. So I think she ends up dictating terms here and does nowhere near the work she's had to do in her two runs back thus far. Forgive those efforts and I reckon you'll get rewarded with a double figure winner.
Leg 1 - 1,3
Leg 2 - 3,9,13
Leg 3 - 3,10,11,12,13
Leg 4 - 2,6
($100 = 166.67%)
Leg 1 - 1,2,3,5,13,14
Leg 2 - 1,4,5
Leg 3 - 3,5,6,9,11
Leg 4 - 5,7,9,16
($100 = 27.78%)