James McDonald says it takes a good horse to win the Tancred Stakes and Spanish Mission can deliver his fourth success in the race.
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The Tancred Stakes is one of my favourite races to ride in.
It’s a race that’s I’ve been lucky to have tasted good success in recent years but early on it was a bit of a bridesmaid race.
In 2013 I was stiff on Silent Achiever when she ran second to Fiveandahalfstar then the following year Silent Achiever knocked me off on Dundeel.
But then it all turned around in 2016 when Hartnell gave me one of my biggest thrills by beating To The World from Japan in the race.
Then Avilius won it in 2019 and in 2020 it was a Verry Elleegant romp.
It’s one of the real good horses’ races on the calendar and it’s a very enjoyable race to ride in because it’s a very tactical staying race.
This year I’m riding Spanish Mission and I’m really glad to have had a ride on the horse in the Australian Cup.
I think that experience will prove beneficial having had a sit on him.
If I had the Australian Cup ride over again, I would have gone a bit slower and kept him in a rhythm.
I definitely learned a bit about the horse having ridden him at Flemington and I think the 2400m should suit him better and I think he will have benefited from his last run.
Amazingly he’s never raced on heavy ground despite coming from England so I’m hoping the ground suits him.
I’m sure he would have had his share of gallops on heavy ground before he came to Australia so it shouldn’t be new to him.
He’s a massive hope.
The other Group 1 on Saturday is the Vinery Stud Stakes.
I ride Pretty Amazing for Chris Waller and she is a lovely filly that is doing everything right as she works her way up through the grades.
She’s taking everything in her stride, she handles all the different types of surfaces and the way she ate up the ground late last time indicates the additional ground this week will be too her liking.
Her work since the Kembla Grange Classic has been excellent, I think the 2000m is right up her alley and she is going to give a great sight against some good quality horses.
I think they’re a good, deep crop of fillies’ this year.
Outside of my Group 1 rides, I’ve got a few that should handle the ground and run well.
In the Midway (Race 1) I ride Dalaalaat for Nathan Doyle.
I thought his first-up run was super. I loved his work over the last furlong.
He’ll strip fitter out of that run, is proven in the heavy ground at Rosehill, it really looks tailor made for him. I think he will be hard to beat.
For Chris (Waller) I’ve got Kiku in the Emancipation Stakes (Race 5) and Imaging in the Doncaster Prelude (Race 6).
Kiki is going OK and handles wet ground. I thought it was an encouraging run last start in the Ajax so back to mares’ grade and staying down in the weights looks to suit her.
She can improve again this week and she should be pretty close to her top now so don’t count her out.
Imaging is an interesting ride. He’s a horse that generally runs quite well fresh and he has an excellent record on rain-affected tracks.
If you think back to the spring, he didn’t have the best of luck first-up in the Winx Stakes and was beaten less than two lengths. That reads all right for a race like this where he’s only got 55.5kg on his preferred type of surface.
A bit of news for The Championships, I’ve committed to last year’s winner Cascadian for the Doncaster.
He’s a really good horse that ran well in the Australian Cup and the All-Star Mile and he’s proven at Randwick.
I had a look back through his form the other day and he hasn’t finished further back than fifth since the Toorak in the spring if 2020. Since then he’s had 16 starts and 13 of them have been in Group 1s or races with a minimum of a $1m purse.
Hard to knock him and I’m sure he’ll run well.
I’m also going to ride Libertini in the Sapphire Stakes on Queen Elizabeth day.
Everyone knows how good a horse she is but they don’t trial any better than she did the other day and her first-up assignment is a decent drop in class compared with the races she’s run in since her three-year-old days.
That’s it for this week, good luck and I’ll be back for the big Randwick carnival next Friday.
Originally published as James McDonald column for Tancred Stakes day at Rosehill