Day 1 of The Championships highlights OTI’s weekend

After a thrilling victory from Mark Twain in the Listed Roy Higgins at Flemington last weekend, we now turn our attention to Randwick. Three runners could take their place, all of which are in training with Annabel Neasham.

The clear headliner is 4-year-old mare Lady Laguna, who has rewarded owners with a once-in-a-lifetime preparation so far. Four wins and three 2nd placings from seven starts, including her first Group 1 win in the Canterbury Stakes at the start of March at Randwick, sees her in career-best form.

A month after her first Group 1 win, Lady Laguna returns to the scene of the crime at Randwick to hopefully repeat the finishing result in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.

“We needed to know if she could run out the distance, but her last start in the G1 George Ryder clearly proved that she could. She had a gallop on Tuesday in preparation for the Doncaster and is going as good as ever. She is the equal the highest-rated horse in the race but carries just 51kg.”, commented trainer Annabel Neasham.

Lady Laguna has drawn barrier 10 in a field of 20 + 4 emergencies, with Michael Dee booked to ride. See the entire field and all race details here.

Before the Group 1 Doncaster, we have Funambulist and Regal Lion engaged in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap over 2600m. 5-year-old gelding Funambulist was a late entry into the race, but given the expected heavy track conditions and weaker-than-usual initial entries, trainer Annabel Neasham thought it could develop into a good option for him.

Regal Lion comes into the Group 2 even after a second placing in the Listed Albury Cup two weeks ago. The gelding bounced back to form there and has worked well in the lead-up to the race. While both horses don’t mind a bit of rain, Annabel hopes the track won’t deteriorate to a bottomless one, or Regal Lion will likely be saved for another day.

In-from jockey Michael Dee will take the ride on Regal Lion, while Funambulist will be ridden by Declan Bates. See the whole field and all race details here.

Best of luck to all connections!