The Armchair Punter is loving this crop of three-year-olds

Stephen Brassel - Tuesday August 29

You can't help but get excited by the current crop of three-year-old's as we move into the spring and I've got to say I'm excited.

I'm licking my lips at this current crop of three-year-olds.

WHAT A CROP OF THREE-YEAR-OLDS

You can't help but lick your lips at the upcoming spring when running through the list of three-year-olds strutting their stuff, and they just keep coming.

One of the great things is, all those who set the standard during the autumn seem to have returned in top order and, to make it even better they've been boosted by an interchange bench which looks just as exciting.

The Everest is being touted as the major target for Slipper heroine She Will Reign along with Houtzen, maybe Menari and Pariah but if they don't all get to The Everest there are multiple big race targets available as 'left overs' during the spring.

I loved the run of Assimilate on Saturday and Addictive Nature will only get better as will Astoria and Mahalangur who chased the first two home in the Ming Dynasty.

Kementari seems to be coming along nicely then there's Royal Symphony, Invader, Esperance and Saturday's Moonee Valley winners Roomooz and Overshare have obviously come on just to add into the mix.

And the list goes on and on.

DO TIMES TELL AN ALWARD TALE?

It took all day for Alward to get up in the fourth at Rosehill on Saturday and as a consequence the import was downgraded in the eyes of many.

Sure, he's going to be better 12 months down the track but the times recorded for the race tell an interesting tale.

The moderate early speed resulted in the Chris Waller trained galloper getting home in 34.35 for the last 600m of the 2000m race and eight of the first nine home broke 35 seconds for the sectional while runner-up Chatelard recorded 35.04.

In the following race, the higher-grade Premier's Cup was run at a slicker tempo but all the same it was over 1900m. The winner Dee I Cee came home in 35.62, or around eight lengths slower than Alward for the 600m split.

Despite his narrow win Sportsbet are still very much respecting the five-year-old in betting on the Metropolitan and have him listed as $11 second favourite for the big race.

No surprises the Chris Waller stable has the first five in early betting on the Metrop with Antonio Giuseppe a $10 favourite followed by Sayed $11 with Tom Melbourne at $13 along with Life Less Ordinary.

Alward gets up in the last stride to win.

GREG POLSON INSIGHT PROVES INVALUABLE

Long-time Racenet analyst and tipster Greg Polson handed out some sage advice leading into Saturday's Rosehill meeting which certainly proved valuable to those who took note.

He pointed out of that of all horses who have carried 61kg or more at the venue since the start of the year only one had been successful, and even more damning was the fact that in the past 4½ years horses carrying 61kg or more were winning at less than 6.8%.

On Saturday Awoke and Chatuchak both carried 61kg in the second event and started first and second favourites at $2.40 and $4.50 yet they were overhauled late by the 53.5kg weighted Mariquita.

HAYES' AND DABERNIG FILLIES A CREDIT TO STABLE

While both Catchy and Tulip have been beaten on their resumptions as three-year-old's nobody can deny the David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig stable have done a great job getting their star two-year-old fillies back for the new season.

Catchy, Tulip and Formality were three of the top youngsters of the autumn and the trio all seem to have come back exactly where they left off, and for that matter so has Madeenaty.

Formality won at Randwick when she resumed and Catchy and Tulip have gone down narrowly to high quality opponents the last two weeks but lost no caste along the way while Madeenaty did what she does, showed a ton of speed before finding her level over the last bit against the better gallopers when fourth in the San Domenico.

It certainly makes life much easier for punters getting exactly the type of performance you are expecting.

VALE DREW MORPHETT OAM

Like everyone I was shocked and saddened to hear the sudden passing of legendary commentator and all-round great bloke Drew Morphett over the weekend.

I knew Drew well from my days at the Sydney Swans and also through our love of the horses with our relationship crossing seamlessly between the AFL and the racecourse.

The last time we caught up was at Moonee Valley on a winters day last year when Prince Of Brooklyn, a horse he and his wife Kaz were involved in was resuming.

He told me the Prince would be better for the run but still expected he'd go well. He went down narrowly in a photo finish, a good thing beaten.

Somewhat ironically the winner of that race was Firsthand a horse part-owned by fellow sports commentator Ryan Phelan.

Along with his media commitments Drew and Kaz ran Coverdale Agistment and it was just over a week ago they were involved with a winner when Princess Of Queens scored impressively at Sandown but sadly he and Kaz, together, won't get the chance to enjoy where the mare's journey goes from here.

Drew was on twitter only last week tweeting how he was honoured to sit next to Rugby League hero Cameron Smith, labelling him a legend. It should have been the other way around.

On behalf of myself and everyone at Racenet our sincere condolences to Karen and the Morphett family, a champion bloke taken far too soon.

LET'S HOPE NEXT WEEK FINISHES BETTER FOR JOSH ADAMS

Josh Adams was the central player in two major incidents during the week and nobody could argue he deserves a bit of good fortune this week when he partners Happy Clapper in Saturday's Tramway Stakes at Randwick.

After returning from a well-documented absence from racing the former star young hoop has been in top form riding nine winners in the past week, including a treble at Gunnedah on Monday followed by a double at Muswellbrook on Tuesday.

However, it was his losing ride on $1.28 chance Floki at Muswellbrook, followed by a narrow fourth at Warwick Farm on Wednesday which catapulted the 25 year-old into the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Floki was a terribly unlucky third when the four-year-old all-but went over the inside fence before 24-hours later, aboard Tenorino stewards outed Adams for failing to ride the horse to the line, losing third placing in the last stride.

If you haven't seen the two races take a look below;

1) Floki at Muswellbrook

2) Tenorino at Warwick Farm

TALK ABOUT STRIKE RATES – THIS BLOKE IS FLYING!

Brad Widdup is certainly making a name for himself in the training ranks since branching out from Godolphin but it's his winning strike rate which is a real eye-opener.

Since kicking off with his first starter Junglized winning on the Canberra Acton track in May the Widdup barn has produced 10 winners from just 29 starters at a winning strike rate of 34% while another five runners have filled the placings.

Last Thursday at Hawkesbury Widdup nabbed a double, combining with Tim Clark and later with Corey Brown to land long-priced winners Dancers ($31) and Workdrinks ($21), a $600/1 double!

However, while Corey Brown and Tim Clark were the winning hoops on Thursday it is regular stable rider Christian Reith who has the 'real' association with the stable saluting at 41% with seven wins from just 17 rides for Widdup.

FOLLOW ME

I was keen on Assimilate in the Ming Dynasty on Saturday and while he was beaten there's no doubt everyone found him from a future viewpoint such was his outstanding performance.

The son of Sebring was dragged back from a wide gate and gave away an impossible start before charging home to go down in a photo finish.

He ran his last 600m in 33.38 which was clearly the quickest of the race and I've no doubt he'll be winning a big race, if not this spring, certainly next autumn.

Have a look at Assimilate belting down the outside from last to go down narrowly.

FORGET ME

Craig Williams - Charlevoix combination. For the second successive outing Willo and Charlie got into all sorts of trouble and never got clear running, although on this occasion I doubt whether he would have finished in the placings if he did get clear earlier anyway.

All the same enough is enough. Time to go your separate ways boys.

Check out Charlevoix on Saturday. The race was well and truly over before he got out.

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