It was Destiny’s Kiss who stole the show by taking out a strong Winter Cup as a rising 11-year-old, winning the race for a second time after claiming the 2013 renewal.
Destiny’s Kiss flew the flag for the older brigade however the card was filled with progressive winners, namely Enforcement and Kapajack who bookended the program.
Race 1: Enforcement - 2YO Handicap (1100m)
Enforcement was gelded prior to this prep and now he is a racehorse. On Saturday he led and produced a nice kick at the 250m.
We awarded the win a Timeform rating of 100. He beat a Group placed filly in Rotator which pushes his claims to that rating.
The Snowden stable are looking at a race like The Rosebud for him. They aren’t getting too carried away at this point which is probably fair enough.
Overall, the penny has dropped for the winner and there is plenty to like.
Race 2: Upper House - TAB Highway Class 3 Plate (1500m)
Upper House has been in excellent form at country level so far this prep. He brought it to Highway Handicap level on Saturday and produced a Timeform rating of 78.
It was a good win under the circumstances. Saturday’s Highway Handicap was conducted under Set Weights so as a Benchmark 55 horse, the son of Zariz was meeting better credentialled horses badly at the weights.
Zardoro in second was luckless. He should have won if he got a bit more clear room. Pat’s Nipper in fifth was also solid to the line.
Race 3: Passage Of Time - Benchmark 94 3YO+ Handicap (1300m)
Passage Of Time was another winner early in the card enjoying career best form after being gelded. It was a clinical success. He led and kept rolling in the straight.
The Northern Meteor gelding is running figures to suggest he can perform at stakes level again, he was stakes placed in 2017.
Joe Pride has already stated Passage Of Time should go to the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill in a fortnight. The five-year-old will get some weight relief there compared to the 60kg he carried on Saturday.
Race 4: River Bird - Benchmark 78 3&4YO Handicap (1200m)
After a long time out of the saddle it was good to see Jenny Duggan back riding winners in town on a Saturday.
94 is the Timeform rating we’ve landed on. It is a figure still shy of her best. The daughter of Epaulette placed behind Fiesta in the Widden Stakes as a two-year-old.
Race 4 at Rosehill on Saturday has the potential to be a decent form race moving forward. The first three across the line will all be chasing BOBS cash in weak races over the next month or so. All have good upside about them and relatively low Benchmarks around the 70 mark.
Race 5: So You Win - Benchmark 88 3YO+ Handicap (1800m)
So You Win has put two wins together now. He’s run figures in both those successes which suggest he is up to Listed, even Group 3 middle distance racing. He ran overall time well inside standard which was the only example of that at Rosehill on Saturday.
There is a 2000m Open Handicap at Rosehill in a fortnight. He will take a tonne of beating there. Then there is another 2000m Open Handicap at Randwick two weeks after that.
He’s a Bobs Extra horse too so he’s really cashing in for connections this prep.
Mister Belvedere in fourth is making all the right noises in his first Australian prep. He can follow So You Win to those same 2000m Open Handicaps and would carry a lot less weight than So You Win if he did.
Race 6: Destiny’s Kiss - Listed Winter Cup (2400m)
Destiny's Kiss is incredible. He has now won the Winter Cup twice after claiming his first Winter Cup in 2013.
He’s run a high rating for a Winter Cup and also carried the highest weight to victory in the race through the past 20 years.
It’s also worth noting this is the first time since 2012 the Winter Cup has attracted a double figure field. For a while now they’ve barely been able to pay a dividend for third in a Winter Cup, sometimes not even that.
Yogi was a shade unlucky in second. High Bridge was solid out wide in fourth as was Saunter Boy nearer to the rail in fifth. They’ll all likely be headed to the Stayers Cup (3200m) at Rosehill on June 29. With the light weight I’d probably be siding with High Bridge there over two miles.
A lot of these horses in the finish are imported stayers having just their first or second Australian preps. Overall, it is probably one of the more interesting Winter Cups we’ll see.
Race 7: Nicci’s Gold - Benchmark 78 F+M Handicap (1500m)
Nicci's Gold has an excellent second up record - four wins from six second up outings. She’s run up to her previous best on Saturday.
The daughter of Nicconi has now won over $300,000 and she hasn’t raced beyond high Benchmark 70, low Benchmark 80 level, it’s just a case of her being well placed.
These off season fillies and mares races generally aren’t the form lines you want to hone in on.
That said, Zavance was working to the line nicely for a close fifth. She’s improved with each run this campaign and should be at her peak next start. The daughter of Mossman could be ready to go if the Snowden’s can keep her against her own sex.
Waking Moment is another runner of interest too. The daughter of Authorized ran sixth, beaten less than a length in her stable debut for Chris Waller. There is an 1800m fillies and mares race for her at Rosehill in two weeks and ideally she will go there second up.
Race 8: Albumin - Benchmark 88 Handicap (1100m)
Albumin enjoyed a dream run midfield on the fence behind a hot tempo. The Foxwedge gelding got the splits through tiring on pacers in the straight and was strong through the line.
After progressing through his grades as a three-year-old 12 months ago, Saturday was his first win as a four-year-old and produced a Timeform rating of 105.
The odds on favourite Sylvia's Mother was held up at the top of the straight and once clear was good late. Market expectations aside, it was a solid run from her against the older horses.
Tango Rain was brave in third. He’d been struggling for form so that was a bounce back effort.
Watch the replay again for Drachenfels in sixth. It was an eye catching effort from a horse who was dead last on straightening.
Race 9: Kapajack - Benchmark 78 3YO+ Handicap (1300m)
There has always been a massive wrap on Kapajack who is really justifying it this prep. The Lonhro gelding has improved with each run this campaign and ran a career best figure on Saturday taking on the older horses.
You get the feel Team Hawkes will allow him to work through the grades this winter and pick up some BOBS cash, then perhaps aim up at a Magic Millions race over the summer.
Outside of Kapajack, there isn’t much to discuss out of the last event at Rosehill on Saturday. It was simply a case of a potential stakes level horse taking on your standard, off season types.