Talking Points: Saturday - 25th of November 2023

Bustler flew the flag for the locals in the Railway with a new peak rating, is it the right form for The Northerly?

BUSTLER Picture: Western Racepix


The interstate raiders of Tuvalu, Roots and Forgot You, who accounted for a combined market percentage of 42.3% were nowhere to be seen in Saturday's Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).

Tuvalu and Roots were especially disappointing given their starting prices and second and third in the market. Tuvalu has run to 113, actually only two pounds below the winner given the weight he carried but still disappointing nonetheless, eight pounds off his peak rating.

He'll be better suited at weight-for-age in The Northerly but will also have to face Zaaki there and isn't going to get an easy lead which he might need.

Roots at 104 was also eight pounds off her best effort and I wonder if we'll see her again in Perth with Tommy Berry saying she raced flat. She could drop back to the 1400m, which I think is her better distance, and contest The Gold Rush. Her best figures would go a fair way to winning that and if the market gets rid of her there she might be interesting.

Bustler was well backed late in betting, starting single figures at $9 with the Lee Steere Stakes just edging the R J Peters Stakes as the lead up. Both Bustler (1st) and Dom To Shoot (3rd) came through the Lee Steere and Bustler was probably the one to take out of that race.

He didn't have much luck on that occasion when beaten three lengths but has still had to post a new career peak to win on Saturday. His 115 Timeform rating has just bettered his 114 which he'd run when fifth in The Northerly behind Amelia's Jewel and when winning the Belmont Sprint earlier this year.

115 is about standard for a Railway winner but is three pounds higher than Trix Of The Trade (112) ran last year.

It's well below Western Empire's 121 the year prior but matches the mares Inspirational Girl (115) and Galaxy Star (115), bettering Regal Power (109) and Great Shot (113) in recent years.

The biggest talking point out of the Railway however is the horrendous record winners have in The Northerly (formerly The Kingston Town).

Only four horses in history have done the double, the latest being Sniper's Bullet in 2009 who ran to 120 and 118 in his Railway/Kingston Town double.

Looking at the recent winners of the race, their rating and their price/finishing position in The Northerly, it doesn't bode well for Bustler.

Year Horse Railway Rating Northerly Finish/SP Northerly Rating
2022 Trix Of The Trade 112 6th     $12 113 (+1)
2021 Western Empire 121 2nd    $1.20 115 (-6)
2020 Inspirational Girl 115 2nd    $2.10 106+ (-9)
2019 Regal Power 109 6th    $9 111 (+2)
2018 Galaxy Star 115 3rd    $5.50 110 (-5)
2017 Great Shot 113 8th      $41 104 (-9)

Some disappointing results and ratings dips considering the prices of a few of these, namely Western Empire and Inspirational Girl.

It remains to be seen if Bustler can buck the trend but there's every chance he starts single figures in The Northerly, which all revolves around how close Zaaki runs to form. We've seen Tuvalu and Roots well off their best out west, but if Zaaki comes over with zest he's better than the rest.