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Track: Ascot | Distance: 1600m | Condition: Handicap | Rail Position: True Entire | Expected Track Condition: Good 4 | Prizemoney: $1,500,000


Buster Bash has drawn smack bang in the middle of the line and will forward to his customary role of pacemaker. Marocchino having drawn directly to his outside, was incredibly tough when leading the Northam Cup at a strong tempo, should be sitting on his breeze, keeping him honest and ensuring the race is run at a genuine tempo.

Karli’s Karma looks the best placed horse to utilise her new-found gate speed and hop on the back of either runner she desires. Shaun O’Donnell may be thinking Marocchino as the preferable option, to keep those drawn ugly out in the cheap seats. The visitor Yonkers will be looking to muscle his way in behind Karli, which may end up a somewhat sticky draw with the likes of Resortman, Searchin Roc’s, Ironclad & Trix Of The Trade all possessing similar gate speed and wanting to make use of the good marbles.

Comfort Me drew a near identical hole when landing the one-one in last years Railway and it isn’t a complete impossibility that occurs again – jumping as well as ever. Last Of The Line and Treasured Star are drawn out with him and will be hoping he’s kept out deep and leads up a three wide line.

With the speed around him, Alaskan God will naturally be forced back. A fascinating race, within a race could be watch how William Pike (Treasured Star) navigates drawing outside the favourite. I dare say he’ll be looking to get outside of him and keep him in a pocket, rather than snag right back to last and follow him into the race – doubt he outsprints Alaskan.


1. RESORTMAN Four months ago, Resortman had not won black type – he is now your topweight for a Group One Railway Stakes. Quite surreal. It was presumed this bloke would skip this and head straight to the WFA Gold Rush, but with the dearth of Eastern Staters on the horizon and the fact he’s been more than competitive against all these runners, you can understand why they are having a pop. While he is topweight and does have negative weight swings on most runners, they aren’t insurmountable. If he runs out a strong mile and the inside pad plays better than it did when last @ the true position, he’s more than a live chance of producing some Michael Lane tears.

2. YONKERS My knowledge of the two raiders is thin at best, but in a race lacking any real proven star performers, you need to respect a runner who has amassed over a million bucks in prize money. His pet trip is closer to 1000, and I’d say he’s one we’ll have a closer look in the Northerly.

3. GOD HAS CHOSEN Ugly draw, lead up form is fair at best and looks like he will probably settle dead last in running. Will jump triple figures.

4. KAPTAIN KAOS Like God Has Chosen, has earnt the majority of his points through one winter WFA victory. His lead up form makes him impossible to consider.

5. MAROCCHINO Pre-barrier draw, this bloke wasn’t impossible to be my on topper – tells you a story about the quality of this race. The blinkers went back on, in the WFA Hyperion Stakes in the winter, when he jumped from the widest gate, lead them up on an inside pad with some queries and was so brave in defeat. Thought his run in the Eurythmic was huge, before he got track conditions to suit in the Northam Cup. Clearly a better horse the harder and faster they go, look for him to keep Buster Bash honest in the breeze – don’t think he’s impossible to run a hole at a big price.

6. COMFORT ME Just doesn’t look to be going as well as 12 months ago and even if Peter Knuckey can repeat his heroics in the saddle of last year, I don’t think he plays a part in the finish.

7. ALASKAN GOD There has been a little bit of swagger permeating out of the Morton camp about this bloke for quite some time, and it’s not hard to see why. Was simply dominant as the distances increased earlier this year culminating in a WATC Derby victory, he’ll likely progress to a Northerly Stakes after this and only be more popular (though that is under WFA conditions) with punters as he does so. Has the brightest future of this lot, but won’t have many behind him here. Will need the right cart into this and track conditions to suit.

8. BUSTER BASH Was gifted the Luckygray Stakes a week ago, when handed the top and never challenged for a second in running. This is appreciably harder, but rolls forward with no weight, is proven off the 7 day back-up and makes his own luck. They very likely reel him in by the 150 here, but he definitely gives some cheek.

9. IRONCLAD Again, the Eastern horses aren’t my specialty and I’d take my opinion with a very small grain of salt, but it’s hard not to be impressed with his recent effort in a what I believe was a strong Cranbourne Cup. Jumped super, could have settled in the first few but was restrained to near last due to the wide draw (always love finding a runner who could have settled significantly closer, but was forced rearward due to the alley). Was placed in the Group Two Linlithgow Stakes before that and has drawn to land in a perfect spot. In a year we continually emphasise the fact it’s a thin old Railway, you simply have to consider an Eastern Stater on the minimum who clearly relishes a firm deck. What a training performance it would be to get a horse to win off a 7 day break, jumping on a plane in between.

10. KARLI’S KARMA The rise of this mare under Summer Dickson is quite remarkable. After settling rearward and winning on a heavily on-pace Belmont deck first up, she stepped out into a 66+ at Ascot, jumped like we hadn’t seen in the past and let down incredibly for a horse racing on speed. Instantly we all knew we had a late Railway Stakes contender, qualification pending. Super stiff to miss a start in the Asian Beau after being emergency one, she stepped out into highly unsuitable WFA conditions (she got 2kg’s off Massimo, but points dictated she should have got 13.5), was still well found in the market and only went down narrowly after racing in the breeze. Considering she was a month between runs and up against one the states toughest on pace, WFA performers, the effort was phenomenal. Realistically it was the perfect result, as it elevated her to the final Railway field, while keeping her on the minimum. This map should see her land right on the leaders hammer, giving her a back to follow (which she didn’t get last start) and allowing her to be saved up for that sharp sprint we’ve seen at her last couple. She’s the mapped horse and if she repeats the Lee-Steere performance with a little bit of cover – good luck getting past her.

11. LAST OF THE LINE Given a tune up in the RJ Peters a week ago, he was a really good performance with the big weight. I dare say Stephen Miller has got this bloke back very close to his peak, but like his runner in the Guineas (Saintorio), the barrier gods have not been kind. If Brad Parnham can get either of the pair up from their draws, the owners should be slinging, and slinging hard.

12. NOTORIOUS ONE Is a galloper that usually causes his own downfall with his racing mannerisms but I actually felt for the first time in a long time, he was just a bit ordinary in the Lee Steere. Will jump a very big quote.

13. SEARCHIN ROC’S I was fairly vocal in the fact I thought Devoted was a moral for this race if he got a run, so it’s worth remembering that there hasn’t been a huge amount between him and this filly. While the barrier and Kyra Yuill steer proved the difference in the RJ Peters a week ago, she gets a perfect draw to land in a near identical spot, again on the minimum. This is definitely winnable and I dare say the post-race interviews will be worth tuning into if she does salute.

14. STARTRADE 10 months ago I took $2.30 about this bloke in a 70+ at Geraldton and felt pretty good about myself. He’s now not only competing in a Railway Stakes, but has to be some kind of wild hope. Was given a peach in the Asian Beau, when narrowly missing Treasured Star and the owners have rewarded that steer by giving Chris Nicoll another huge opportunity here.

15. TREASURED STAR I reckon if she drew a gate, I may well have come round to the early pre-post favourite, but this looks a task and a half. You’d suspect Pikey will be looking to follow the Comfort Me – Last Of The Line, three wide train and potentially even get on the outside of Alaskan God and make life tough for him. I remember a few years ago I wrote Regal Power off with a very similar setup and was made to look like a dickhead (not for the first time). I’ll just put the pencil through her here, not the pen.

16. TRIX OF THE TRADE With an imposing record of 8 wins from 13 starts, it’s amazing I can say that this bloke still gets under my guard. Until now hasn’t had an inch of luck with the barrier draws, but that’s always been offset by Troy Turner, who’s yet to ride a bad race on him. Will have Alaskan God in his rear vision mirror, so will be looking to use the barrier to his advantage and utilise the toughness we’ve seen in his career to date. Will be popular.


Pre barrier draw, I was fairly confident that the gates and map would determine which way I went, and that’s exactly how it’s eventuated. With Karli’s Karma drawn to follow Buster Bash & Marocchino across, and have a head start on the major players, she gets the nod. In my mind, purely on map and the progression of her campaign to date she deserves favouritism (seeing the money which came her for at WFA, it isn’t inconceivable that she starts favourite by the time they jump here). In a race with no Western Empire’s, so much of this will come down to who gets the breaks in running and what type of track conditions we end up encountering. There aren’t many runners I would talk you out of, but the on top selection was an easy one at the current quote.


10. Karli’s Karma
9. Ironclad
1. Resortman
5. Marocchino

Betting Strategy

I’ll be making Karli’s Karma my clear result. With the uncertainty over exactly how good our bunch is, I think the double figures for Ironclad is enough to consider a save on the raider. If if the inside pad isn’t as ugly as it was a few weeks ago, Resortman might be another cheap save at something close to that $20 mark. Karli’s Karma the result.

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