6YO mare Galaxy Star has never missed a top-two finish in 12 career starts with her record showing that she has been a winner on 9 occasions and runner-up three times. After trialling as a 2YO and as a 3YO, it wasn’t until her 4YO season that she first started under race conditions. Since making a winning debut over 1200m, the Redoute’s Choice mare has been patiently taken through the grades. Resuming this term, she was given her first go at Stakes Company in the G3 Northerly over 1400m first-up. Under 53kg the mare started favourite and was attacking the line strongly to get within a nose of the winner, Man Booker. Second-up and again at 1400m, she carried 55kg under the handicap conditions when settling near the rear of the seven-horse field. Letting down strongly in the closing stages she put them away in good style to score by 2.5 lengths. Carrying just 53kg for her biggest test to date, she draws an inside gate and is a winner at her only attempt at the mile. With William Pike in the saddle, as they say “Back Pike……..”
The Justin Warwick trained chestnut is the top-weight with 57kg and will tackle this race first-up. Warwick was readying Material Man for a trip east and the Melbourne Spring Carnival until niggling hoof issues forced them to stay in the west and ready for the summer riches. The gelding has trialled twice to prepare for his return with both trials solid efforts at 1000m and 1100m. This will be his second attempt to claim the Railway after carrying 53kg when finishing within one length of the winner Great Shot in 2017. Starting on five occasions for three wins and two seconds since this race last year, his results included a half-length 2nd in the G1 Kingston Town behind Pounamu which was followed by 2nd over 2100m in the G2 Ted Van Heemst, again to Pounamu. Turning the tables at their next meeting in the Perth Cup, the gelding was sent for a spell. Returning with wins at 1400m and then the mile in the winter, Material Man has a strong first-up record of 4: 3-0-1 and is a five time winner at the mile.
Looking to overcome a winless streak that has surpassed two years, the now 5YO entire will race in a 4th state trying to recapture winning form. After six starts for the season, Kris Lees heads across the Nullarbor and has booked Ben Melham to take the ride, with Melham having ridden the entire once previously, in the Doncaster Mile earlier this year. Taking on the 2000m Inglis Cup at Caulfield 3 starts back, punters were keen on his chances for success when he was sent to the post as an odds-on elect. Settling just behind the speed with Damien Oliver up, the best he could do was 4th when beaten just under two lengths. Back to the mile for the G2 Crystal Mile at The Valley, he loomed up but could not get past Cliff’s Edge and had to be content with 2nd. Back out to 2000m in the Mackinnon last start, the run had merit when two lengths from Trap For Fools. A two-time winner at the mile, he will carry 54kg- the only time he has carried below 55.5kg in the past two years was his 53.5kg in the Doncaster.
Carrying 53.5kg to victory in this race last year, Great Shot is back to defend his title and rises to 55.5kg as he looks to become the first back-to-back winner of the Railway since Tudor Mak completed the feat in 1966/67. Winless since claiming this race last year, Great Shot has returned the figures of 7: 0-3-2 since his maiden G1 success. After finishing 4.5 lengths from Pounamu in the Kingston Town, trainer Rhys Radford sent the gelding for a spell in readiness for a Winter prep. Starting three times in that campaign, he was 5th at 1200m in the G3 Roma Cup behind Rock Magic first-up. Appreciating the rise in distance, it was only Material Man that was able to get the better of him in both the Belmont Sprint and the Hyperion Stakes. Following a similar campaign that proved successful in 2017, Great Shot comes into the Railway with placings in the traditional lead-ups of the Northerly and the Lee Steere, races he placed in during his 2017 assault. With the track figures of 16: 3-5-3 and two from two at the Ascot mile, he is a track specialist.
The Railway Stakes is Perth’s oldest Group 1 race and is run over 1600m. Conditions of the race are 3YO and older quality handicap with the minimum weight set to 53kg. The race was first held in 1887 and since 1979 has been run at Group 1 level.
Total prizemoney on offer in 2018 is $1million with the winner to receive $590,000. The 2017 winner was the Rhys Radford trained Great Shot, ridden by Craig Staples. Other winners of the race include Sniper’s Bullet, Old Comrade, Northerly, Better Loosen Up and the dual winner Luckygray.
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|Date:||Saturday 24th November 2018|
|Race Time:||19:00 AEST|
|Race Type:||Quality Handicap|
|2017 Winner:||Great Shot|
|Market:||2018 Railway Stakes Odds|
|2016||Scales Of Justice|
The 1600m start at Ascot is in a chute that provides a short 200m run to the first turn that is a sweeping bend leading in to the long back straight. Despite this appearing that horses drawn wide would be severely disadvantaged by this, five of the past eight winners have jumped from a double digit gate. In fact of those five, four of them all jumped from gate 12. The past 2 winners have jumped from gate 8.
As expected local jockeys have a good record in this race. Paul Harvey is the pick of the locals, having ridden the winner three times, his most recent success coming in 2004. Shaun O’Donnell has ridden the winner twice with his most recent success coming in 2013 when riding Luckygray to victory. South African Douglas Whyte who is based in Hong Kong won the race aboard Scales Of Justice in 2016.
The last twelve editions of this race have been won by a different trainer on each occasion. Trevor Andrews is the last trainer to have multiple success in the race, training Luckygray to victory in 2013 and Modem in 2004. Lindsey Smith trained the 2016 winner with Scales Of Justice and overall the local trainers have a better record than their eastern counterparts.