Technically, you get eight.
But should you be prompted to pick just one male and one female horse from the two, three and four-year-old ranks as well as one open-age horse, who would it be ?
It’s a fun question to pose and a fun question to answer – so I’ve had a go at it.
Let me know what you think and who you’d choose.
TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY – SOHO NOLITA
At her most recent run, Soho Nolita was toppled and unlike a few star juveniles at this early stage she is not unbeaten but I steer you in the direction of the Australian Pacing Gold Final at Menangle a couple of months ago.
The way this filly overcame a horror draw, casually circumnavigated the field and strolling to the lead was arrogant but the way she put away her rivals was the true signs of a brilliant filly in the making.
Bred to be otherworldly, the sibling of Soho Tribeca and Carlas Pixel has a lot to live up to but that APG victory suggested she has the talent to be the best of the family – and that’s saying something.
Others considered: Kualoa, Single Tree Road, Princess Tiffany.
TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT OR GELDING – HURRICANE HARLEY
I am about to somewhat contradict my previous selection with this one but I am veering away from the male APG champion for now.
Centenario has been the clear-cut, undisputed standout rookie colt as he romped to an unbeaten seven-race record.
But the writing was on the wall when stablemate Hurricane Harley raced tough and pushed him all the way in that APG race.
Fast-forward to a VicBred Super Series heat and Hurricane Harley showed exactly how much he’d improved as he slip-streamed Centenario then exploded past him in the lane.
There’s no doubt Mark Purdon possesses a couple of smart babies and there are one or two with huge promise in Western Australia but Hurricane Harley is the horse I’d want to own today and moving forward.
Others considered: Jesse Duke, Centenario, Another Masterpiece, Franco Edward.
THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY – SHEZ ALL ROCK
Maybe the easiest decision of them all.
She’s yet to have 10 race starts but her three-year-old season has been historically great and it’s far from over yet.
Mark Pitt guided this girl to New South Wales Oaks glory and backed it up with victory in the Victorian edition before the horse transferred to the All Stars and won the New Zealand Oaks before destroying all-comers in the Harness Jewels becoming Australia’s first ever Jewels winner.
To be frank, there’s nothing in Shez All Rock’s stratosphere right now.
Others considered: Nostra Villa, Elle Mac, Soho Burning Love, Fame Assured.
THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT OR GELDING – IGNATIUS
He’s yet to really be truly tested so I do select him with some trepidation but Tasmanian-turned-New South Welshman Ignatius looks the real deal.
Experts have even labelled him as the next truly big thing in the sport.
He’s beaten everything in his path – convincingly – and looks to have his NSW Breeders Challenge Final at his mercy.
Bigger tasks will come and he will surely be tested fully but he looks like emulating the hoof-steps of his great relation, Beautide.
Others considered: Chase Auckland, Sicario, Poster Boy, Colt Thirty One, King Of Swing.
FOUR-YEAR-OLD MARE – TELL ME TALES
Six months ago there were a trio of mares well and truly ahead of Tell Me Tales but there’s been tragedy with Petacular, injury and subsequent retirement with Spanish Armada and breeding responsibilities for Partyon.
But that’s not to suggest Tell Me Tales lands in this spot because of default because she’s developed a stunning record and looks like she’s just getting going.
Her Victoria Oaks win at three was special and to be frank, she does need to win the VicBred Final in the coming fortnight but she’s the mare on the rise.
Others considered: Carlas Pixel, Flying Moth, Perfect Look.
FOUR-YEAR-OLD ENTIRE OR GELDING – ULTIMATE MACHETE
Toughest call so far!
What Jilliby Kung Fu did in the Miracle Mile – and to a lesser extent in the Chariots of Fire – was amazing but from an ability, or likelihood, of winning multiple big Grand Circuit races I like Ultimate Machete.
He’s a great staying type in the mould of former stablemate Lazarus.
He seems like he could run countless 28-second quarters, breaking the will of his opponents. For good measure, as a four-year-old, he tackled open-age pacers and dominated them in the New Zealand Free-For-All last November.
Health permitting, I’d be stunned not to see him line up as a major player for this year’s New Zealand Cup and maybe a few of our big races, too.
Others considered: Jilliby Kung Fu, Wrappers Delight, Let It Ride.
OPEN-AGE MARE – OUR GOLDEN GODDESS (Five-year-old)
Talk about a small pool of selections.
The Orange Agent is retired. Dream About Me in still injured. Piccadilly Princess’s form wavered and was then retired. Ameretto is much closer to the end than the beginning.
Therefore, a quality mare in Our Golden Goddess remains.
She’s an excellent mare but she’s probably not quite elite just yet. I’m not certain she’d account for Shez All Rock at this stage.
She’s a multiple Group 1 winner and would seemingly have more Group races on her dinner plate in coming preparations.
Others considered: Ameretto, Eden Franco, Sheer Rocknroll
OPEN-AGE ENTIRE OR GELDING – SOHO TRIBECA (Five-year-old)
His season was staggeringly good.
At no stage did Soho Tribeca shirk the issue and he endured some of the toughest racing of any horse on the circuit. Breezing in a 1:46.9 Miracle Mile, circling a Hunter Cup field and running second to Lazarus – he did everything the hard way and left a lasting impression on the Grand Circuit scene.
With Lazarus, Lenny, Heaven Rocks and Vincent gone, the landscape has been heavily vacated and whilst My Field Marshal, the returning Hectorjayjay and others are gunning for Grand Circuit glory, no horse is more versatile and more able to handle everything a brutal Grand Circuit season has to offer.
Others considered: Chicago Bull, My Field Marshal, Shadow Sax, Hectorjayjay.