Less than six weeks until the first Group 1 of the 2023/2024 racing season; join us below as we preview the horses to watch during the upcoming spring carnivals.
The recent injection of prize money and introduction of new events in New South Wales and Victoria has never been a better time to follow the sport of kings!
The talented Kovalica has the spring firmly set in his sights. The three-year-old Ocean Park gelding capped off a stunning Brisbane winter campaign with an effortless win in the Group 1 Queensland Derby, and there doesn’t look to be a ceiling for the Chris Waller trained runner. His performance to fill a minor placing in the Group 1 Doomben Cup under weight-for-age conditions was first class, and the form out of that race speaks volumes.
With a menagerie of spring options, including handicap, weight-for-age, and new pop-up events, Kovalica is one serious horse to follow. The Caufield Cup looks ideal, while the W.S. Cox Plate, the Melbourne Cup, and the race that stops the nation would also suit. His career record is near faultless, the prizemoney is heading north, and he is ready to continue his upward trajectory. Big watch!
The Everest champion Giga Kick can stamp his authority as the best sprinter in the world during the upcoming spring. The Scissor Kick gelding got the Group 1 gorilla off the back during the Brisbane winter with a stunning victory in the Doomben 10,000, and the Clayton Douglas trained runner looks destined to continue on his winning ways. While returning to base camp to defend his Everest crown seems the obvious path, there are also several other suitable options for the three-year-old who has amassed nearly $10 million in prize money.
The new and improved Champions Sprint on the final day of Melbourne Cup week will complement an already impressive resume, and a trip to Hong Kong beckons if the spring goes according to plan. His camp looks destined to meet the King in June next year!
i wish i win
The enigmatic I Wish I Win can grow an extra leg over the next few months. The Savabeel gelding took out the Golden Eagle last spring before turning heads in the autumn with a blistering victory in the Group 1 T J Smith. With a chance to climb the Everest already pencilled in and with the other traditional lead-up events in his sights, the Peter Moody trained runner is in for a monster spring.
With a huge turn of foot, and the ability to produce sizzling late sectionals, any event from 1000m up to 1600m is front and centre in his wheelhouse. The option to stretch the big boy out to the 2040m for the weight-for-age championships of Australasia, maybe a real possibility for all associated. He is an elite athlete!
The world-class Romantic Warrior is heading down under for a tilt at the Melbourne spring. The Hong Kong-based Acclamation gelding has already won over $16 million and is the current Group 1 Hong Kong Cup champion.
With lead-up races already planned for the early spring on route to a date at Moonee Valley, where legends are made, the five-year-old has several time-honoured features at his mercy.
The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington looks like an ideal target, and with James McDonald already boasting a winning association, and an ongoing commitment to ride, it could be a long spring for Australian-based runners. The traditional races on the path towards the two cups and a plate could be a foregone conclusion.
without a fight
Without A Fight can springboard to an Australian Group 1 win after an impressive victory in the Group 2 Q22 at Eagle Farm. The former import, now based at Flemington with Anthony and Sam Freedman, will have supporters in all feature events he enters over 2000m. His international form reads incredibly well for our feature events, and his current rating gets him in well at the weights for all the handicap events. A start on the first Tuesday in November seems a formality.
With the money man Mark Zahra already committed to the spring for the talented six-year-old, there is no reason why they can’t build on their winning association. The Teofilo gelding has an enviable career record, and the owners who took the punt to bring him to Australia have already been rewarded with $1 million in prize money. He is a serious customer to keep your eye on.
Nothing beats the spring!