The Group 1 Blacks A Fake - how they rate

by Adam Hamilton

There may not be a Kiwi-trained runner in tonight's $355,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake, but the New Zealand connection runs very deep.

A staggering eight of the 13 acceptors are either NZ-bred or started their careers across the ditch.

And they are the big guns – seven of the first eight in betting, including $2.90 favourite Spirit Of St Louis. The race goes at 10.45pm.

Let’s have a look at the chances of them all in racebook order:

(1) TRIPLE EIGHT (Odds: $6)

Trainer: Jess Tubbs

Driver: Adam Sanderson

Hamilton says: The much-travelled former high-class Kiwi needed a good draw at this level and got one in pole position. Yes he ran last in last week’s Sunshine Sprint, but was only beaten 9.6m and smashed the clock out very wide late. He’ll need luck, but is good enough if things go his way.

(2) ALTA ORLANDO (Odds: $19)

Trainer: Belinda McCarthy

Driver: Ricky Thurlow

Hamilton says: The old marvel isn’t quite what he was, but gets the draw to potentially lead early and take trail right on the speed. Not sure he can win, but must be included in trifectas.

(3) SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS ($2.90)

Trainer: Belinda McCarthy

Driver: Jack Callaghan

Hamilton says: He’s the one to beat. This is his chance to win at Grand Circuit level after four attempts for two seconds so far. No luck last week, great draw and my top pick.

(5) MACH DA VINCI ($71, emergency)

Trainer: Shane Graham

Driver: TBC

Hamilton says: Showing hints of his best form and front row helps, but place looks best.

(6) TURN IT UP ($17)

Trainer-driver: Shane Graham

Hamilton says: One-time megastar Kiwi who is racing the best he ever has since moving to Queensland. Blazing gate speed, but query at a strong 2680m, especially if he has to spend petrol early. Place preferred.

(7) LIKE A WILDFIRE ($4.20)

Trainer: Emma Stewart

Driver: Mark Pitt

Hamilton says: What a revelation. Stunning winning all three starts this campaign. By far his biggest test and drawn wide, but going so well he’s sure to be right in the mix.

(10) ZEUSS BROMAC ($23)

Trainer: Paul Fitzpatrick

Driver: Gavin Fitzpatrick

Hamilton says: Ultra consistent and classy NSW raider. Two good Menangle wins and far from disgraced from well back and wide in a leader-dominated Sunshine Sprint last week. Respect.

(11) MACH SHARD ($51)

Trainer: Belinda McCarthy

Driver: Luke McCarthy

Hamilton says: Classy opportunist at this level. Did enough without sparkling last week from a good trail. Tricky draw in a hot race. Place preferred.


I’m going with SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS to stamp himself from the gun draw. LIKE A WILDFIRE has serious X-factor, BETTER ECLIPSE is a star going places, but needs luck from inside the back row. Messenger winner MAJESTIC CRUISER will relish the 2680m and is going better than his form suggests.


Spirit Of St Louis to WIN and something each-way MAJESTIC CRUISER.


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