1. GENERAL BEAU (Gelding, Brazen Beau x Phosphorescence - T: Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra J: Jamie Kah)
Aiming to emulate Mildred, who also won the 900-metre dash and then the Maribyrnong Plate in 2019.
This bloke is the consumate professional. He jumped out strongly twice before debuting over 900m in the Darley Spring Preview down the straight. He jumped well, sat handy to the speed and put his rivals to the sword under hands-and-heels riding, posting the best last 600, 400 and 200-metre splits of the meeting. His win rated significantly better than Mildred, who won the corresponding race last year before also winning last year's Maribyrnong Trial Stakes. All things being equal, those behind won't turn the tables on him and it will take a very good debutant to knock him off.
2. FINANCE TYCOON (Colt, Written Tycoon x Darook Park - T: Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes J: Luke Nolen)
$150k, Magic Millions, Gold Coast.
This 2YO son of Written Tycoon jumped out nicely prior to his debut but he was absolutely no match for General Beau on that occasion, finishing second as can be seen in the replay above. Juveniles can make rapid improvement at this stage of their careers and he's from a leading stable, but it's hard to see him turning the tables on General Beau, let alone beating home a couple of the better-credentialled debutants.
3. GUMMY BEAR (Gelding, Statue of Liberty x Cloud Jumper - T: Tim Hughes J: Jason Benbow)
He got a long way back in the Darley Spring Preview and had to pick off runs through the field, which isn't the easiest thing for inexperienced 2YOs to do. The extra 100m is in his favour and he will derive good benefit from the outing, but I can't see him beating General Beau.
4. ENUFF ALREADY (Colt, Rich Enuff x Countess Carmina - T: Levi Kavanagh J: Damian Lane)
First foal for Countess Carmina.
There were three jumpouts held down the straight on September 25 and Enuff Already's was a second slower than the opening 2YO heat. This son of Rich Enuff was up on speed from the outset and travelled strongly to the line to run second under light riding. It was a solid jumpout and he clearly looked comfortable down the straight.
5. I AM WAR (Colt, Warhorse x Abahlali - T: Trevor Andrews J: Lewis German (a))
Trevor Andrews looks to have a nice 2YO colt by Warhorse. He settled off speed in his Cranbourne jumpout on September 21 before responding well to riding over the final 200m, chasing Vinlago (also engaged here) strongly over the final furlong and past the post.
6. INGRATIATING (Colt, Frosted x Obsequious - T: James Cummings J: Damien Oliver)
By new sire Frosted, who has produced one runner to race for a minor placing in Australia - The Globe. He has had six winners in America and his first Group 1 runner in Keeneland on Saturday morning. Dam was Stakes-placed at two and claimed Group 2 and 3 races at three.
Ingratiating has had two jumpouts heading into his debut. He was no match for General Beau in his first hit-out on September 15 before going around in the slowest of three 800-metre jumpouts on September 25 where he never really got a crack at his rivals. While the inside draw can sometimes be a big disadvantage with the older horses down the straight, 2YO races generally head down to the fence and it isn't a huge negative. He's from a leading stable and looks to have ability, but there doesn't look to be any value in the $9.50 on offer.
7. UMGAWA (Colt, Shamus Award x Express Central - T: Leon & Troy Corstens J: Jye McNeil)
Dam has produced one other runner, Star Central, a winner in South Australia.
Leon and Troy Corstens put the polish on this 2YO son of the Cox Plate winner, Shamus Award. He has had two experiences down the straight, so he certainly won't get lost on Saturday. He was no match for Finance Tycoon in his first jumpout on September 15, but I liked the improvement in his second performance on September 25, where he ran second with a bit to offer on the line.
8. VINLAGO (Colt, I Am Invincible x Lucky Lago - T: Robbie Griffiths J: Luke Currie)
$50,000, Magic Millions, Adelaide. Dam was Stakes-placed on six occasions and up to 2000 metres.
Vinlago is a professional jump-and-run 2YO and having that ability to stay out of trouble can be a big bonus in early season juvenile racing. He bounced straight to the front in his Cranbourne hit-out and posted good time under light riding. I'd prefer to see him around a bend where he can really use that speed, as opposed to down the straight where they tend to sit up a bit more - but he can make his presence felt on debut.
9. CLOUDY (Filly, Frosted x Applegate - T: James Cummings J: John Allen)
Another for team Godolphin by Frosted. The dam also won her first start at two down the Flemington straight over 1000 metres in the Listed Emirates Airline Plate (2011).
Cloudy is a 2YO daughter of Frosted who makes her debut on the back of a winning jumpout down the Flemington straight. She jumped sideways as the gates opened but it didn't seem to cost her much ground and she was strong under moderate urgings over the final 100m.
10. EXCELA BELLA (Filly, Exceed and Excel x Caraveli - T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott J: Craig Williams)
$250,000, Magic Millions, Gold Coast. From the family of Blue Diamond winner Earthquake and five-time Group winner El Cambio.
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott bring Excela Belle down from Sydney and she and Vinland are the likely leaders in Saturday's race. She trialed in typical Waterhouse fashion, showing good speed around the Kensington circuit before responding to riding in the straight to win her heat. The time was solid enough for the morning and she's going to be in this a long way.
11. FAKE LOVE (Filly, I Am Invincible x Anatina - T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace J: Mark Zahra)
$380,000, Magic Millions, Gold Coast Weanling Sale. Dual Stakes-winning dam and ran second in 2014 Group 1 Galaxy.
This daughter of I Am Invincible could well be the pick of the debutants. She went to Sandown on September 10, where she jumped cleanly to race on speed before showing a lovely little change up in gears about 150m from home to win the heat. She had a subsequent jumpout at Caulfield on September 29 where she settled just off speed and closed off well to finish second with plenty in hand. She's drawn nicely in gate four to blend into the race just behind the speed and at $8.50, I think she's over the odds.
12. NAPLES (Filly, Street Boss x Italy - T: James Cummings J: William Pike)
First foal from Stakes-winning dam.
Naples went around in the fastest of three straight-track jumpouts at Flemington on September 25. She jumped cleanly and responded reasonably well to the light urgings of the rider over the final 200m. Given the timey they posted, this was a strong bit of work and with that experience down the straight under her belt, she will be competitive on debut.
Summary: It's going to take a good 2YO to beat General Beau, who was oh so impressive on debut. He is drawn perfectly in gate six and the quick back-up from Wednesday a week ago suggests he's doing really well at home. The other horse I want on side is Fake Love, who has jumped out nicely on two occasions and she will make her presence felt. Naples was strong late in her jumpout while Excela Bella trialed nicely in Sydney and will take catching.