VIDEO: Simon Marshall – Australian Cup and Newmarket Handicap

It’s Super Saturday this weekend and we have three big Group 1 races for analysis.

There are two meetings to look forward to: one at Flemington and the other at Rosehill Gardens.

At Flemington we have the Newmarket Handicap, worth $1.2 million for the sprinters, as well as the Australian Cup run at weight-for-age level over 2000m and worth $1.5 million. At Rosehill Gardens we’ll look forward to seeing the fillies and mares fight it out in the Coolmore Classic over 1500m.

In the Newmarket Handicap all the talk has been around four-year-old stallion Spieth. Trained by Bryce Heys, he received 55.5kg from the handicapper and, for a horse that hasn’t won a Group 1 race, he is very close to the likes of the proven performer Terravista. Last year’s winner The Quarterback will carry 55kg.

Despite the weights not appearing to be in his favour, I still think he is the horse to beat. Last year he ran an unlucky second in the Darley Classic to Malaguerra over the straight six (the same distance as this race) and he was also a little unlucky when returning from a spell when finishing second behind Terravista in the Lightning Stakes, carrying 58.5kg. Under the handicap conditions he now meets that winner better at the weights and just needs the luck from his barrier one but has a champion jockey, Hugh Bowman, aboard to navigate his course.

We move on now to the Australian Cup. This year’s edition is an even affair with only two horses in the field having won a Group 1 race over 2000m (#2 Awesome Rock and #3 The United States).

I’m leaning towards last year’s Caulfield Cup winner in Jameka. The star mare has had two runs this time in and both were very impressive. She now steps up to the 2000m on the spacious Flemington track and I think it’ll suit her perfectly. If she salutes it could be a big day for Hugh Bowman, who replaces Luke Nolen in the saddle. I feel the dangers will come are #6 Exospheric, #3 The United States and #10 Humidor, who is still learning what the caper is all about. Throw them in your multiples.

Finally, we turn our attention to Sydney where the rain continues to fall. At this stage it seems as if they’ll run on a Heavy 8 or Heavy 9 but, due to the inconsistency of the weather forecast, I’ll provide you my numbers without a great deal of confidence.

In the Coolmore Classic I’ve marked three-year-old filly #14 Omei Sword on top. From the Chris Waller stable, her first up run when second in the Surround Stakes over 1400m was eye-catching, she seems to handle the wet and with natural improvement stepping up to the 1500m I think she can take the next step. Her main rivals will be #11 Euro Angel, who boasts an impressive record, and Group 1 winning Kiwi #7 La Bella Diosa who looks a great hope coming off her first Australian win at Randwick a fortnight ago.

To my all-important SuperPicks.

1 Australian Cup: R8 #11 Jameka (Profit Plus 50% WIN)

2 Coolmore Classic: R7 #13 Zanbagh (Money Back – Run 2nd or 3rd)