2021 The Gong Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Fri 19th November 2021


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We head to Kembla Grange for the third running of The Gong, and there is a capacity field for the $1M feature race. There are plenty of horses that have been competitive throughout the Spring Carnival, in both Sydney and Melbourne, while Archedemus is back to defend his crown. While the track, as of Friday morning, is currently a Good4, this preview is written with the expectation that the rain does come and takes it more into a soft range. 

Looking at the market, Sportsbet has Count De Rupee as the $3.70 favourite. He comes into this race on the back of a very impressive second to I’m Thunderstruck in the Golden Eagle. Behind him in the market, there are just three others in single figures. Atishu ($7), who also comes out of the Golden Eagle, I Am Superman ($7.50), who finished ran 8th in the Winner Stakes, and Aramayo ($8), who was competitive in the Epsom Handicap before finishing 3L off in the Cantala Stakes. 

However, it isn’t just limited to those four, so we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you! Read on below to find out runner by runner preview of the 2021 The Gong along with The Shark’s The Gong best tips. 

1. I Am Superman (1) – $8
Jockey – Tommy Berry
Trainer – Peter & Paul Snowden

He has had two hard sprint races to get him wound up for this and comes out of the right form race, the Classique Legend Stakes, considering Lost And Running brained them last week and I Am Superman was only 4L off him three weeks ago. He also beat Think It Over in the Autumn, who has come out and had one of the best Spring Carnivals out there, he’s drawn perfectly and Tommy Berry is in fine form. The only knock is that he is the top weight and all of his better form is over shorter than this, but he is clearly one of the main chances.

2. Berdibek (2) – $23
Jockey – Hugh Bowman
Trainer – John O’Shea

Berdibek was extremely good to go back to back earlier this season, including winning the Wyong Cup, but then was no match for them in the Newcastle Gold Cup. He has had nine weeks off since then and has won first up previously but he will be better over further and with less weight against those better suited to the trip. 

3. Aramayo (14) – $9
Jockey – James McDonald
Trainer – Chris Waller

Aramayo had an outstanding start to his preparation, placing in three straight races, including a 2nd in the Epsom Handicap. Unfortunately, he went down to Melbourne and was no match in the Cantala Stakes, however all his form is in the clockwise direction. He is also a 1600m horse but he is yet to win from 10 tries on rain affected tracks, so he will be hoping the rain stays off and the track stays in the good range. 

4. Count De Rupee (17) – $3.90
Jockey – Brock Ryan
Trainer – Robert & Luke Price

The clear favourite in the race following his outstanding 2nd in the Golden Eagle, Count De Rupee steps up to 1600m for the first time in his career. He has finished in the top three in all three of his runs this prep, including a win here at Kembla Grange first up. He has three wins and a second from four runs at the track and has good form on both good and soft tracks. 

5. Quackerjack (8) – $21
Jockey – Joshua Parr
Trainer – Mark Newnham

Did come second in this race two years ago, when it was first run, but hard to be with Quackerjack based on current form. 

6. Nudge (6) – $23
Jockey – Jason Collett
Trainer – Chris Waller

Nudge has won at the track and 1600m seems to be her go, but she’s never won 4th up and never won on soft tracks, so if the rain comes then she may be no good. She also didn’t burst through the line over 1400m her last start, so she may not be ready for a genuine 1600m this time around.

7. Archedemus (19) – $46
Jockey – Jay Ford
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

The defending champion would suprise many if he was able to feature in the finish. He does have very impressive stats – at Kembla Grange, over 1600m, and on soft tracks, while Jay Ford has one win from two tries on him. However, he hasn’t finished better than 7th this time around. 

8. Dawn Passage (9) – $18
Jockey – Tim Clark
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Dawn Passage jumped as favourite for this race last year and finished just 0.2L off the win, however he had much better form leading into that race. Back to back thirds reads a lot better than an 11th and a 15th, which he has done this time around. The blinkers going back on seems more of a desperation move than a stroke of genius and we are happy to go without.

9. Reloaded (4) – $31
Jockey – Glyn Schofield
Trainer – Chris Waller

Reloaded is quite a good fresh horse (3:1-0-1) and has had seven weeks between runs for this one. He has finished top three in four of his six runs on soft tracks, so will be hoping the rain comes, and he has done well at the distance, but there are a few better. Maybe one for the exotics?

10. Rich Hips (13) – $13
Jockey – Regan Bayliss
Trainer – Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

The Busuttin & Young camp are taking a big risk here. They were extremely impressed with her win on Melbourne Cup Day and have decided to try her at 1600m again, despite it clearly not being her best distance. She has also had three runs the Sydney way of going and hasn’t placed in all three, indicating that there may be some adjusting that needs to happen, which she can’t afford to do here. 

11. Atishu (7) – $6.50
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy
Trainer – Chris Waller

Atishu started off her first Australian prep well, winning two of her first three races. However, she couldn’t keep up in the Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle. The positive is she has finished in the top two in five of her six runs on rain affected tracks, has one win from two tries at the distance and does get some weight relief on those that have finished ahead of her in those previous two races. The issue is, she did finish well behind them in those races and Kerrin McEvoy couldn’t win a one horse race at the moment. 

12. Blue Soldier (3) – $35
Jockey – Tom Sherry
Trainer – David Payne

He finished no better than third from eight tries at group level and is unplaced from three runs on soft tracks. Happy to be without. 

13. Criaderas (20) – $20
Jockey – TBC
Trainer – James Cummings

After missing out on a start in last week’s The Hunter, Criaderas comes to Kembla Grange, where he is 1/1, for The Gong. He has now had four weeks between runs and has exceptional 2nd up form, but has drawn the widest gate in the field. If whoever the jockey is can sit in the three wide line with cover, hopefully Criaderas can burst home in the finish. However, we know the story about the Godolphin that had too much work to do and just missing. 

14. Soldier Of Love (11) – $21
Jockey – Rachel King
Trainer – Bjorn Baker

While Rachel King and Soldier Of Love have a clear affinity for one another, it is hard to see him winning this race. He hasn’t even won at listed level previously and there are some genuine Group One horses in this. 

15. Exoboom (10) – $27
Jockey – Robbie Dolan
Trainer – Peter & Paul Snowden

Exoboom was fancied as an outside chance in the Golden Eagle but failed to fire, finishing 6.4L back in 15th. He is 1/1 at the track but is also untried at the distance and would need to improve leaps and bounds to compete in the finish here. 

16. Yamazaki (5) – $41
Jockey – Andrew Adkins
Trainer – Matthew Dunn

It is hard to see any upside for Yamazaki in this race. She hasn’t won from 10 tries at 1600m and she has just one third placing from five fourth up runs. 

17e. Looks Like Elvis (16) – $67
Jockey – Alysha Collett
Trainer – Jarrod Austin

Looks Like Elvis actually wouldn’t be a bad shout as a roughie, but he is an emergency and will need luck to get in.

18e. Grove Ferry (12) – $101
Jockey – Jean Van Overmeire
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Is second emergency and would need a headstart to compete. 

19e. Parry Sound (15) – $126
Jockey – TBA
Trainer – Bjorn Baker

Is the third emergency and unlikely to get a run. 

20e. Brutality (18) – $35
Jockey – Kathy O’Hara
Trainer – Joe Pride

Has conditions to suit but needs four to pull out to get a run. 

Final Word

There are some genuine chances in this race and while Count De Rupee probably deserves to be favourite, we are happy to look around the favourite, in his first trip up to 1600m. There are also some horses, especially near the top of the market, that are deep in their preps and may have looked like nearing the end of them in their last runs. 

Based on this, we are taking I Am Superman to come out on top in the 2021 The Gong. While he has to carry the top weight, Mister Sea Wolf carried 59kg to victory in 2019, showing that it can be done. He has had two hard sprint races to start his prep, meaning he will be rock hard fit for this assignment, and we have seen the form out of the Classique Legend Stakes already. 

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The query is a strong 1600m race, but he has drawn barrier 1 and Tommy Berry will be able to find a perfect spot with cover on the fence, biting time for a gap to come up in the straight. If we are looking at an outside chance, you have to consider Criaderas 2nd up from a spell, especially if the rain comes, but we are happy to lock in I Am Superman in this year’s The Gong.

With Sportsbet offering a bonus bet back to 4th at Kembla Grange, we are confident that a bet on I Am Superman will return you cash or a bonus bet at the absolute least, which you can use on our best Railway Stakes tip we have provided for our followers! 

Best The Gong Tip: I Am Superman – Win ($8)

There are other feature races going on around the country! We have provided you with a runner-by-runner preview of the Railway Stakes over in Perth, so don’t miss out on our value play in that race!

If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our The Gong page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet

Tim is a massive follower of Horse Racing, not only in Australia but around the world. Whether it be the champions of the Spring and Autumn Carnivals or following the form lines throughout winter, Tim always has an eye on everything racing. He attempts to get to every Saturday meet he can, with Turnbull Stakes Day at the home of racing, Flemington, being a stand-out! If you want a tipster that follows all form lines, ratings, conditions and weights, not just favourites, Tim is your guy.