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If there’s a race meeting to reflect the year that was, then it was more than likely held at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The outlook was pretty bleak when acceptances came out on Wednesday and by the time we’d progressed to final scratchings on Saturday morning, it was starting to look a lot like an office floor late on a Friday afternoon before the Christmas break.

A total of 26 scratchings from an already thin meeting, most of which can be attributed to the seven metro grade meetings in the past 15 days, certainly more so than the Good 4 track we started on. But even that didn’t last, with nuisance drizzle throughout the very average program which included two Class 2 Highway races, a Fillies and Mares Bm78 and closed with a Bm72 on a track now racing well and truly on the worst side of soft. A very forgettable day, which much like 2020, I was looking forward to being over.

It was a tale of two cities though up north with Doomben racing on an improving track as Brisbane racing continues to be the shining light across summer.

A big month ahead for them culminating in the Magic Millions meeting January 16th, and I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see the winner of the 3yo Guineas on Saturday.

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Isotope (Bris Race 8)

Without doubt the win of the day anywhere around the country, impressively defeating last season’s 2yo benchmark filly Away Game. A narrow margin on the line but you can only imagine Isotope wins running away from the other filly at 1400m. A few handy ones starting to pop up, particularly the Snowden trained Smart Image, but this filly is the deserved favourite at the moment at around $3.

Paulele (Syd Race 1)

I wouldn’t imagine it’s ideal kicking off a 2yo over 1000m at The Valley and you couldn’t find a more contrasting circuit to head to than the 1200m at Royal Randwick. But this son of Dawn Approach showed remarkable maturity after dwelling off the inside draw, driving through to lead, then to have one over racing on his outside only to find plenty when the challengers loomed, kicking well clear over the concluding stages. No doubt aided by the race falling away, mainly due to the Wyong Millions race on Wednesday, but it was a very polished win from an impressive type who’ll only have furnished further in the New Year.

Big Parade (Syd Race 9)

Compounded late after going hard in front at Kembla first up. Clearly stripped fitter for that and we saw the real Big Parade stand up Saturday. Blinkers off and enjoyed a much easier run in transit trailing the leader into the straight and put the afterburners on when the challengers came at the 300m racing away to build on his impressive 8:3-2-0 record. Was well supported first up and justified that faith second up so clearly has come back in excellent order. Is worth following.

Forgive

Rogue Rocker (Bris Race 8)

Stunning on debut and circumstances and race experience conspired against him 2nd up straight to stakes grade. Was an almost carbon copy of that run back over the same track and distance. Tracked up behind Isotope at the top of the straight, clearly no match for her but far from disgraced letting down strongly late, still wanting to do a few things wrong. Will more than likely run into the filly again in the Vo Rogue in a fortnight, but that’s at Eagle Farm and out to 1400m which are two big ticks for him. He has a good race in him this bloke.

Lashes (Syd Race 7)

Hasn’t won for a while but did have an abbreviated preparation last time in after a good run first up. Three and four deep throughout from the bad draw and still attacked the line with vigour suggesting she might not be far off breaking back into the winners circle.

More Prophets (Syd Race 10)

Sprinted quickly to score comfortably first up and was tracking into the race at the same stage Saturday but just found herself cornering three, four then five wide as a few inside her wanted to get out to the centre of a rain affected track come the last. Game effort to poke the head in front at the 150m before the run told late going down just over half a length.

Forget

Vadiyaan (Syd Race 4)

Sent back to the trials after a first up flop. Trailed like a bomb, only to let punters down again. Needs to lift.

Irish Songs (Syd Race 8)

Case to say he was a bit unlucky last start. Featured again in the steward’s report but I couldn’t find any genuine excuses in a run where he was never in it.

Arabian Hussey (Syd Race 10)

Came out of a win in midweek race in Melbourne, and a Pakenham maiden just two starts prior to that, supposedly en route to a Magic Millions Guineas. This did look a very winnable race on paper, but it all proved a bit too much for her at just start five. Did plenty of work early in the run to find the lead but was never at home Sydney way of going and was slow to recover post-race. Suspect it will be a while before we see her up here again.