The TABTouch Quokka Preview 2023

The inaugural running of the TABtouch Quokka takes place at Ascot over 1200m on Saturday.

The richest race ever run in Western Australia, there is a good mix of local sprinters, up-and-coming stars, and very well credentialed eastern state raiders, to be run at 3:50pm local time or 5:50pm AEST.

We're going to run through the key chances for the $4 million slot race and analyse their chances from a ratings perspective.

The starting point in the race is clearly Amelia's Jewel, WA's boom three-year-old filly. A winner of seven races from just eight starts, her peak rating of 114 came in the Group 1 Northerly Stakes (1800m) against the older horses.

She resumed in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1100m) and ran just a pound shy of her best, indicating she's very likely to run a new peak on Saturday.

That's good, because she'll need to in order to win. No doubt about that- the next four in the market have peak ratings over a sprint trip higher than 114 that Amelia's Jewel will need to rise to.

I'd expect the winner to be running around 118-120 on Saturday, meaning Amelia's Jewel will probably need to improve 2, maybe 3 lengths to be right up there in the finish. No doubt she can do that, but can she do that from getting back to near last following the re-draw and subsequent widest barrier, over a distance perhaps still short of her best? At shorter than $3 in the market, I have to be against.

Bella Nipotina is the highest rated horse in the field and looks well placed. She ran third in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington first finishing basically alongside T J Smith winner I Wish I Win.

She struggled second up but bounced back to run second in a high rating Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley behind Imperatriz. A figure of 120 with Timeform is up to her best and would go close to winning this, but that rating has come on varying levels of rain affected tracks. Still, her Lightning run was on a good 3 and is good enough to win this.

Uncommon James, along with the two mentioned and Trix Of The Trade and Kementari, is one of five Group 1 winners in the inaugural Quokka, and he is the most recent.

He sat close to a strong tempo in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and kept finding to score, rating to 115 on that occasion. He backed that up with a 119 in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) when giving away weight to all bar Eduardo, and didn't have the best of luck on that occasion.

He's been dealt no favours with the re-draw but does have tactical speed and with a bit of early luck slotting in he'll take beating.

Asfoora also comes through the Oakleigh Plate and The Galaxy, finishing within a length of Uncommon James on both occasions. She meets him 2lbs worse at the weights from The Galaxy but had no luck there whatsoever, unable to get clear running when appearing to be bolting.

My query on her would be a strong 6 f, given most of her form is over 1000-1100m. Drawn out, she'll need to bounce well and try to cross Overpass and Red Can Man, and if she is able to find the front and keep Uncommon James wide, she'll give a sight.

Of the ones at a bigger price, Overpass and Kementari have some claims. Overpass was scratched from the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200m) due to a wet track and comes here fresh. He was only beaten by Nature Strip first up last preparation, running to 117 which would be competitive.

Kementari, since returning to racing as a gelding, has numerous ratings of 115+, with a peak of 119, identical to Uncommon James.

Beaten in the TabTouch 'The Gold Rush' before a spell, he's arguably better suited at a strong 6 f and draws ideally in barrier 5.

Going against the grain and taking on Amelia's Jewel. She and will need to a star to win from near last over 6 f in her toughest test to date but makes no appeal at $2.80. Bella Nipotina ($5.5) Uncommon James ($4.8) and Kementari ($26) look the three dangers.

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