Sydney Specials: Kembla Grange - Saturday, 19th November 2022

Kembla Grange hosts Saturday racing in New South Wales with the $1 million ‘The Gong’

We head to Kembla for their big card featuring The Gong and The Warra, to accompany the Count De Rupee midway and the Eleven Eleven bm78. A touching tribute to last year's winners of the feature races, including the unfortunately ill-fated Count De Rupee.

While last year the Count De Rupee looked an obvious choice given he went within a head of I'm Thunderstruck in the Golden Eagle the start prior, this year is incredibly open.

A fun fact about The Gong- each of the three winners- Mister Sea Wolf, Archedemus and Count De Rupee, won precisely one more race after winning it.

Those three winners have run to 117, 106 and 118 respectively and this year will almost certainly require a rating closer to Mister Sea Wolf than Archedemus with some handy types engaged.

Old Flame comes up a narrow favourite which looks understandable if not entirely enticing. He ran to 116 in the Linlithgow at Flemington last start and looks well in with 124lbs, but a very wide draw and somewhat unproven at a mile have me going another direction.

Purple Sector is an absolute tease and there may be no way to measure that other than 'never back him', but even taking abord some of his un-winning tendencies, he looks a big price.

He ran to 114 on the Timeform scale last start when run down late at Randwick which is the second time he's run to that mark in four starts this preparation which is basically as good as he goes, and at the weights is good enough to be right in the finish here at $16/5.

Beaten a head by Old Flame when both were first up and now getting a 12lbs weight swing, with a key position in run advantage has me leaning his way. He's a thoroughly dislikeable horse (from a punter's perspective- I'm sure the owners love the 600k he's banked), so 'The Gong' looks right up his alley.

I found the day very tough to label anything in the market a best bet, so my other play will also be at odds in the other feature race, 'The Warra' over 1000m.

It's a very intriguing race, mainly due to the returning Bruckner, who was last seen running second to Home Affairs in the Coolmore Stud Stakes. He ran to 114 there and has won a trial leading but 5 f and a wide draw first up off over a year is enough to stay out.

Interestingly, the start prior to the Coolmore he ran in the Danehill won impressively by Kallos, who would go on to start $15 to Bruckner's $81 in the Group One.

He lost his way a bit but has come back quite well Kallos, winning first up and running to 107 before a sound effort behind Asfoora, running to 106 second He disappointed last time down the straight in a hot race but if you forgive that, his weight adjusted ratings with 121lbs have him right in the mix.

Drawn wide isn't ideal but that isn't really an issue out of the 5 f chute at Kembla. Positioning will be important however as he wouldn't be the first to fall victim to the pace v position debate that runs through trainers and jockeys' heads (there isn't one- especially with only one bend).

If he can sit forward of midfield with Malkovich and Remlaps Gem locking horns, I think he can outrun his quote of $18/5.


Bet of the day: Race 8 #14 Purple Sector @ $16/5

Also backing: Race 7 #6 Kallos @ $18/5

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