Friday, 24 October 2014

Cox Plate preview II

And the alternative angle from Mitch Fenton. Certainly a few contrasting opinions to the previous post!

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Sportingbet Cox Plate
Group I, 2040m WFA
Form Guide here

By Mitch Fenton

Website
Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking



1.SACRED FALLS (NZ) – 9 – C.WALLER / Z.PURTON
ODDS: $6.50 (early fixed-odds prices from TAB)

The term champion, as many old-timers will tell you, is one bandied around far to often when it comes to modern day racehorses. But in my humble opinion this horse is a champion, if he can win the Cox Plate I believe it becomes an undoubtable fact.

Only champions can win back to back Doncaster Handicaps, Australia’s premier mile race, and he’s done exactly that. Add to that another Gr1 Randwick mile win in the George Main, plus the Gr1 NZ 2,000 Guineas when trained in New Zealand and you see one hell of a resume.

He’s had a terrific preparation for the race which has been Chris Waller’s target for the horse since his slashing second behind It’s A Dundeel in the 2000m Queen Elizabeth in the Autumn.

He was sound resuming in the Warwick Stakes when fourth beaten a length and a half on a heavy track, then second-up he finished fourth beaten 1.5L also on the heavy.

He exploded to his brilliant best third up crushing a quality field in the Gr1 George Main over the Randwick mile. He travelled perfectly the whole way, but struggled to get a run on straightening, but the world class riding skills of Zac Purton came to the fore and he angled back inside to get a clear run. Once he did get clear the horse exploded and put the race to bed in an instant. He won officially by 1.5L but Purton eased him down to a trot on the line. Despite that he still ran faster last 400m and 200m sectionals than Caulfield Cup placegetter Lucia Valentina who was flying home late herself.

Last time out in the Caulfield Stakes he was terrific again. From barrier 12 of 12 Purton snicked him straight back and across to last on the fence, where he settled down some 10-12L off the leader Side Glance. The lead time was very modest, some 2.6L slower than the class benchmark, so the fact the Sacred Falls was able to still run on so strongly from the tail and get within 2.5L of the winner, was very impressive. He clocked the fastest last 600m in the race and had the second fastest 400m and 200m splits – with Purton looking after him late when no chance of winning. He was 21 days between runs in the Caulfield Stakes, so no doubt that run would have tightened him right up to be peaking on his ‘grand final’ day.

He won’t get so far back this time around but from gate 9 Purton will need to weave a tiny bit of magic to get him into a good trailing roll midfield, although this task could be aided somewhat by the likely cracking hot tempo The Cleaner will set and likely string them out a bit. Should have beaten It’s A Dundeel in the Queen Elizabeth, and that horse is by far and away the benchmark of 2000m horses in 2014 in Australia. Handles the Valley no problem, will be very hard to beat!

2.FAWKNER – 4 – R.HICKMOTT / N.HALL
ODDS: $4.80

Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner who has proven in his two runs back this spring that he is a genuine WFA superstar!

Speaking of champions, the last horse the win the Caulfield Cup and then back up 12 months later and win the Cox Plate was the great Might and Power, who lead all the way to win the 1998 edition after scoring in the 1997 Caulfield Cup. In between those two wins Might and Power won the Melbourne Cup though, Fawkner tried valiantly last year but could only manage a game 6th. You’ll never see another horse quite like Might and Power but that fact that you can draw some parallels between the pair speaks volumes about Fawkner’s quality. If he can win this, which he has a massive chance of doing, he too would fall into the rarefied ‘champion’ class.

First up this campaign he was beaten a nostril by the high-flying Dissident in the Gr 1600m Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington. Dissident was coming off a devastating win in the Gr1 1400m Memsie Stakes, so he had the fitness edge but Fawkner still managed to get within the barest possible margin of winning the race.

Last start in the 2000m Gr1 Caulfield Stakes, he was able to go one better and salute the judge. Nick Hall gave him an absolutely charmed run in transit juts behind the speed and he managed to get the job done, beating Criterion by a long head. It was a solid sort of win but I thought given the run he had in transit he was entitled to win easier. But maybe that’s not so much a knock on Fawkner but a glowing endorsement of how well Criterion ran?

Put into perspective, Criterion was 3L off Fawkner at the 400m and got beaten a head. Sacred Falls was 5L behind him at the 400m only to be beaten 2.5L in the finish eased down.

He’s again drawn to get the perfect run from gate 4, and there’s no doubt he’ll be peaking here, but I think at the current price he’s a touch of ‘unders’.

He’s very good, and I may well end up being totally wrong but I’m leaning towards others.

3.SIDE GLANCE (GB) – 7 – J.SPENCER / A.BALDING
ODDS: $51

Globe trotting, English trained gelding who returns to Melbourne after snaring last year’s Gr1 Mackinnon Stakes on VRC Derby Day at Flemington. After the week before having finished a fading 6th in the Cox Plate beaten 4L behind Shamus Award.

He ran in the race last year having come off a 3rd placing in the Gr1 Arlington Millios in the USA beaten 2L, and he follows the same path this year, having again run third in that same race beaten 2.5L this time around.

He’s run honestly in big races all around the world including; two fourth-placed finishes in the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup at Meydan – fifth in both the Hong Kong and Singapore Cups and as previously mentioned two places in Gr1 races in the USA. But despite all those good runs he’s only won the one Gr1 in 17 attempts, which was last year’s Mackinnon, which is always at least two or three levels below the Cox Plate.

Typically honest in the Caulfield Stakes where he led at modest fractions, before battling on to finish third beaten just 2L.

Strikes a much stronger Cox Plate than the one he failed in 12 months ago, and arrives here in virtually identical form. Hard to see him improving enough the challenge the placings.

4.HAPPY TRAILS – 2 – D.OLIVER / P.BESHARA
ODDS: $11
Enormous effort in this race last year when finishing second, steaming home from well back to just miss Shamus Award on the post who lead all the way and had the huge weight pull 3yos receive under the WFA scale.

Has raced with next to no luck this campaign, never getting a clear passage in the Memsie or Turnbull.

The only two runs you can assess him of are his terrific second in the Underwood Stakes beaten a nose by Foreteller and his latest run when fifth beaten 2.8L in the Caulfield Stakes.

The Underwood run was terrific, it was a glimpse of the form he was showing us 12 months ago when he nearly win the Cox Plate.

His last run in the Caulfield Stakes however wasn’t the run of a coming Cox Plate winner. Whilst he still ground home well, he lacked that zip that saw him get within an inch last year. To me he just doesn’t seem to be going as well as he was 12 months ago.

Will get a good run and Oliver takes the reigns from gate 2, but I rate him a place chance at best.

5.FORETELLER (GB) – 1 – T.BERRY / C.WALLER
ODDS: $21

Was the run of the race when fourth in the race last year (and I’m not just saying that because I backed him…!), he ran the fastest last 1200m – 1000m – 800m – 600m & 400m sectionals of the race, but Newitt just set him to big of a task from so far back in the field.

Is certainly going every bit as well as he was 12 months ago when he ran so well. He was the run of the race 1st up when fourth in the Lawrence behind Star Rolling. Again ran a huge race second up when fourbehind The Cleaner in the Dato at MV. That day he spotted the tearaway Tasmanian 10L at the 800m mark and got within a length in the finish, peeling off the fastest last 600,400 & 200m sectionals of the race.

Broke through to win in the Gr1 Underwood when he just nosed out Happy Trails, flashing home late.

Only fair last start in the Caulfield Stakes, finishing 8th well beaten by 5L. That run probably sums him up in this grade, he’ll run home very well but usually find one or two better.

That being said he’s the best each way value in the race at $21, if he got the breaks go his way, a win wouldn’t completely shock me.

6.THE CLEANER – 14 – S.ARNOLD / M.BURLES
ODDS: $10
The horse they call “The Lion of Longford”…The ‘feel-good’ story of the 2014 Cox Plate.

He arrives here off the back of a hat-trick of Moonee Valley wins – an open handicap carrying 60.5kg, the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam and the Gr3 JRA Cup last start over the Cox Plate distance of 2040m.

He only knows one way the race, go to the front, roll along and say catch me if you can!

He’ll have to work across from the outside gate of 14, which no horse in some four decades has successfully done to win. He’ll ensure the tempo is genuine, but judging by his JRA Cup win, I think this class will be too hot for him, as much as I would love to see him win the race from a sentimental standpoint. There’ll be a lot more pressure on a lot sooner, and it’ll be the genuine best horses in Australia and a couple from overseas chasing him down this time around, not Mourinho, Sangster, Mr O’Ceirin ect….

Hope so, but I can’t have him.

7.GUEST OF HONOUR (IRE) – 10 – C.WILLIAMS / M.BOTTI
ODDS: $81

I honestly have to question what this Pommie trained entire is doing even getting a run in our nation’s premier horse race!

He has one Group race win to his credit, which came at Gr2 level over a mile in Britain, where he beat home Mull of Killough…just!

Mull of Killough for some crazy reason was admitted into last year’s Cox Plate field where he finish 11th beaten nearly 9L. He then ran in a listed 1800m race on Derby Day and the best he could manage was 3rd! So needless to say anymore, that form is useless for a race of this calibre. He’s had one 2000m run where he flopped, with all his best runs being over the mile.

I won’t turn this political, but why the MVRC let a horse like this in the field instead of a local horse like Mourinho or Chivalry (who were both balloted out), who would have more chance of winning than this slug, I can’t answer.

Hope he stays out of the way!!

8.CRITERION (NZ) – 6 – J.MCDONALD / D.PAYNE
ODDS: $10

4 year old gelding that was dominant in Sydney’s Autumn carnival once he got out too a suitable staying trip.
Thrashed a quality field in the Gr1 Rosehill Guineas in March, winning by an ever widening 3.5L. Treating a field full of stars with disdain…including;

~Cameron Handicap winner and Epsom placegetter HOOKED,
~winner of 2 Group 1’s this Spring and leading Cox Plate hope before bleeding last start DISSIDENT
~2013 Cox Plate winner SHAMUS AWARD

He then backed up that effort with a gutsy AJC Derby win on a bottomless Randwick track, it appeared more that class got him home that day, rather than him being an out and out stayer!

He’s had four runs this prep and he’s progressed terrifically and looks set to peak here.

First up he was a length and a half of Tiger Tees in the Warwick Stakes over 1400m.

Seventh beaten 5L second up in the 1600m Chelmsford where he ran right of the track and didn’t see himself, but was vetted and cleared of any issues.

Third-up he got out to 2000m Hill Stakes, which I firmly believe is his ideal trip – in four goes at the 2000m trip he’s won once and had three seconds : won the Gr1 Rosehill Guineas, runner up in last year’s Gr1 Spring Champion, runner up in the Gr2 Hill Stakes and then last start runner up in the Gr1 Caulfield Stakes behind Fawkner.

His Caulfield Stakes run was the run of the race for mine! He settled back worse than mid-field on the fence. Was held up passing the 600m mark. Ran up behind leader in the early stages of the straight, before finally hooking around the heels of eventual winner Fawkner around the 200 mark and charging to the line to just miss out. He clearly ran the fastest last 400m and 200m sectionals of the race, his last 200m when he finally got clear was ultra impressive.

James McDonald, Australia’s form rider, takes the mount off Hugh Bowman who is suspended, so that’s definitely of no detriment to the horse's hopes.

He’s a horse who can take a while to wind up, so a Cox Plate should suit him down to the ground as jockeys take off early and the pressure goes on sooner than it would in any other 2000m race. Having won over 2400m, you can rest assured a high pressure 2040m race won’t be an issue for his staying capacity.

Massive chance!

9.SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ) – 11 – N.RAWILLER / R.JAMES
ODDS: $13

The forgotten horse this spring really after starring during the Sydney Autumn carnival where she rounded out a hat trick of Gr1 wins by taking the 2000m Ranvet Stakes and 2400m BMW, beating home It’s A Dundeel on both occasions.

Has only been fair in her three runs this campaign although it does pay to remember that all her best form is from 2000m – 2400m, so you can’t read too much into her first two efforts over 1400m in the Memsie and 1800m in the Underwood….But that said you would have liked to see her finding the line better than she did in those race still.

Last start in the Turnbull again she was only very average. Oliver got her into clear air at the top of the long Flemington straight but she only plugged away. Shoreham was 3.3L behind her at the 400m mark and beat her home. No knock on Shoreham, he was a top hope in the Gr3 Geelong Cup during the week. But I say HOPE and GROUP 3. This is the Australasian WFA Championship!

My assessment of her is simply she’s not as effective the ‘Melbourne way of going” as she is the “Sydney way”! In 18 anti-clockwise / Sydney way run she’s had 8 wins and 5 places – a win strike of 44% and in the placings 72% of the time.

In 11 clockwise / Melbourne way runs, she’s won twice and been unplaced on all other nine occasions for a win strike rate of just 18% and a place strike rate of 18%. It’s a big discrepancy.

All told I can’t see her figuring in this!

10.ROYAL DESCENT – 3 – G.BOSS / C.WALLER
ODDS: $11

Hasn’t been the ‘punters pal’ this prep having had four starts and finishing second on all four occasions. In two of those runner up efforts, the Gr2 Chelmsford and the Gr1 Epsom, she’s gone down by the very narrowest of margins, a nose! You’d love to own her though because she gives her all each start and inevitably comes home with a decent cheque.

It’s been 18 months and 13 starts now since she last won a race, which amazing was the Gr1 AJC Oaks over 2400m, which she won by a whopping 10L. Her three other wins have also been very dominant, the Gr3 Adrian Know (2.5L), Rosehill 3yo BM75 (3L) and a Canterbury maiden (2.5L).

What these stats suggest to me is that when she’s locked in a dog fight, in a driving go to the line she’s not at her best. She shies away from the fight….

I don’t think she’ll be at all suited by the high-pressure ‘cauldron’ which is the Cox Plate.

On form she’s a great hope. She gave Epsom winner 3kg in weight last time when beaten a nose and was gallant chasing home Sacred Falls in the George Main the start prior.

However when a horse is racking up so many placings I regard it as something psychological with the horse, not a continued run of bad luck! Might run 2nd??? She seems to love doing it -- Very much doubt she can win!

11.ADELAIDE (IRE) – 13 – R.MOORE / A.O’BRIEN
ODDS: $7

All-conquering Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has prepared this colt, with the horse to be transferred to Chris Waller and prepared locally following this run.

Very much disadvantaged under the WFA scale because by northern-hemisphere standards he’s still only a 3 year old, but southern hemisphere he’s classed as a 4 year old. That means he carries 56kg, 6.5kg more than our local 3yo colts and geldings are asked to carry (Ed. - half a year older matters a lot of 3yos). That’s a pivotal factor.

Hasn’t missed the placings in his seven start career, with three wins and four minor placings to his name. However all seven of those runs have been in races restricted to 3 year olds. He’s yet to tackle the older horses. Given the fact he does meet seasoned, tough and classy older horses here minus the weight relief I really don’t rate him a winning chance at all. At $7 he’s the best lay in the race.

I’ve watched him race abroad (even backed him during the Royal Ascot carnival when a well beaten second) and while he has ability and is a lovely looking colt, he hasn’t shown himself to be any world beater. If he were I very much doubt he’d be sent to Australia, with a race like the Arc having just been run.

LAY OF THE DAY.

12.ALMALAD – 8 – C.NEWITT / G.WATERHOUSE
ODDS: $41

Looked like he could be a star at two when he won three from three including the Gr1 JJ Atkins on Stradbroke Day at Eagle Farm, but hasn’t found that next gear needed to go on and be a dominant 3yo.

Whacked away in the Run to the Rose (ninth) first up before showing improvement to finish fourth in the Golden Rose beaten 1.6L. Was never going to win that day but did box on like a horse looking for further.

Sure enough next start over a mile in the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley he impressed winning the Gr3, but the form to come out of that race has proven to be second or third class.

Took on the cream of the three year old crop last start in the Caulfield Guineas and crumbled under the pressure. He went forward and parked outside Rich Enuff but was quickly beaten passing the 600m and dropped right out to finish the race 8th beaten 7L. Rich Enuff was able to keep running and only get run over late.

This will be another high pressure race and with The Cleaner engaged, it’ll be nothing short of trench warfare up the front where it’s likely Almalad will head, with just 49.5kg on his back.

The 49.5kg 3yos carry is always a huge factor, usually because they can roll forward and make the older horses with their much bigger weights have to chase from a long way out. However with the expected tempo, to be a hot one, I think we’ll see a repeat of the Guineas from this Waterhouse horse where it was just too much acid.

Don’t fancy!

13.SWEYNESSE – 12 – C.SCHOFIELD / J.O’SHEA
ODDS: $26

Lovely looking 3yo colt by Lonhro who won his first four starts including the Spring Stakes and Gloaming Stakes both at Group 3 level.

Ran third last start in the Gr1 Spring Champion, in what many dubbed a match race between Sweynesse and Gr1 Flight Stakes winning filly First Seal. McEvoy and Collett rode as though it was a match race themselves taking of before the turn and matching motors, only for Hampton Court to pounce and finish right over that top after the fancied pair had run each other into the ground.

Poorly drawn out in gate 12 so I assume they’d have no alternative than to roll forward into what will be a suicide speed set by The Cleaner. But he might be able to slot in just behind them.

On what I’ve seen of him he’s not brilliant enough to win a Cox Plate, although I could be wrong, but he’s a definite place hope and I’d be including him in multiples most definitely.

14.WANDJINA – 5 – D.YENDALL / G.WATERHOUSE
ODDS: $41

Started 100/1 in the Caulfield Guineas and had it not been for the fact he’s trained by Gai, he probably would have been 500/1 on form! Going into the race he’d had eight starts for a solitary win, which came in a 3yo NMW at Warwick Farm in February this year. His three runs in Melbourne had been very ordinary.

But as Gai’s can so often do, he pulled out an enormous run on the big day! He sat back in 12th position and rattled home posting the fastest last 600,400 and 200m splits of the race to just nab third placing. It was a good run, but given the fact that the leader Rich Enuff ran along 9L faster than average it was set-up for backmarkers to make ground late. (Just shows how good Rich Enuff is!!!)

The horse Wandjina made his run in the home straight with and beat home by a nose, Kumaon, came out and flopped last Saturday, so that’s not the best sign.

Clearly looks like the further he goes the better he’ll get. Definitely lean his way out of Gai’s pair. If it weren’t for her training I’d give him no hope of winning, but Gai has the magic touch and she’s produced plenty bigger upsets than what it would be if Wandjina won here off such a good Guineas run.

I’ll throw him in first 4s.

SELECTIONS (BASED ON GOOD/DEAD)
#1 SACRED FALLS
#8 CRITERION
#2 FAWKNER
#5 FORETELLER
#13 SWEYNESSE

SUGGESTED BETS:
• 5 UNITS EACH WAY @ $7 #1 SACRED FALLS
• 3 UNITS EACH WAY @ $11 #8 CRITERION
• Trifecta; 1,2,8 / 1,2,8 / 1,2,5,8,13,14 ($54 = 100%)

Cox Plate preview 1

The weight-for-age championship of Australia takes place every spring at the quirky Moonee Valley racecourse. No superstars this year, just a field of very good horses and thus it looks like being 7/2 the field.

Two previews to post for the great race - first up, the pros from Premium Punting.

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Sportingbet Cox Plate
Group 1 WFA 2040m
Race 8 - 5:40PM (0740 UK time)

By Premium Punting
Website
Twitter: @premiumpunting

Speed Map – No queries on who leads



As stated above, there is no doubt that The Cleaner will be scooting across as they past the post the first time to lead from Side Glance, Almalad with Royal Descent & Fawkner to get excellent runs on inside just off the speed, exerting very little energy to lob into those spots. It is sure to be a very genuine gallop well above the historical benchmark. The map reads very awkwardly for international raider Adelaide, who does have the capability as proven last start to go back, but if he intends to settle just off the speed he will likely be caught 3-4 wide facing the breeze.

Key Historical Factors:
There are three interesting historical factors that have been identified in this race:
- 5/23 editions been won by the SP favourite.
- 10/30 winners come from Caulfield Stakes prior. With all of them finishing in top four that run.
- 5/62 3YO runners in the race have won.

Prepost Market:
As you can see, as what can commonly occur with our WFA probabilities, is that our market looks very similar to the current public markets. Below is a short comment on all the runners we have priced in our 100% market:


1. Sacred Falls: Forced well back from outside gate and closed strongly in the Caulfield Stakes. Proved two runs back in winning G1 George Main Stakes that more than any horse in the country he is capable of pulling out a world class rating. Will park midfield off the fence in a good position. In only ever fifth-up run advanced in last year’s Emirates. More than capable and if becomes an overlay is worth backing again.

2. Fawkner: Advanced 2nd up winning Caulfield Stakes, brilliant effort once again. Fantastic horse that is capable at any distance. Advanced 3rd up last spring in Turnbull when up to 2000m. Maps very well exerting little energy to park just off the speed. We have him replicating his last start rating which leaves him as a deserving favourite in the race. Is drifts to $4.70+ is worth backing again.

3. Side Glance: Did well in Caulfield Stakes to battle on well for third. Did have all favours though at the front which is becoming a tradition in that race. Won't lead this time with The Cleaner crossing, two things could occur, he will hate it and be beaten off early or he will show his toughness as he has shown in his UK runs and box on. Second up last spring 2000m won McKinnon in a tough, grinding performance. Am respecting of him and he isn’t worthy of that massive quote.

4. Happy Trails: Had awkward run last time, had runner annoying him whole trip in Crackerjack King. Never clear run prior also in Turnbull. Same gate as last year when huge 2nd. Hasn’t had a better lead up than last year and he will need to be 2-3L superior this time as that was the lowest rating Cox Plate in the last 20 years. Wouldn’t fully surprise but will need to be super.

6. The Cleaner: What a warrior! Looked gone as always in home turn in JRA Cup but just kept fighting. Will scoot across and lead from the outside alley, not a major concern. Although it is unlikely he can improve on last start rating, he will certainly test his superior rivals by settling +10L above the benchmark and really leave it down to the tough horse behind him.

8. Criterion: Huge effort running new PB performance last run when closing strongly in Caulfield Stakes. Will settle in similar position to that run here around off-midfield/back. Bowman being suspended isn't ideal but does not lose too much with McDonald replacing him. Do still expect him to rate down on that PB performance as he did last preparation when winning Rosehill Guineas. Found about his right price like a lot of these.

10. Royal Descent: What a frustration for connections this preparation with four seconds. Best of those last start in very quickly run Epsom Handicap. Maps well settling off pace to the inside of the favourite. Losing Bowman not ideal to her also but Boss has had plenty of recent success in this race. Could not blame anyone for not trusting her anymore but she is an overlay on our market. Could be the one to give Waller his first major.

11. Adelaide: Freshened. Travelled the Atlantic a few times already as a 3YO. Was a tad unlucky up to 2400m at Longchamp last run when veering off racing line. Lugged out win prior at Arlington but was too good for them in the end. Has one of the best jockeys aboard and he will need all his brilliance to figure out where he settles on this map as if he parks in his desired position he will be wide. Market slightly over rated him but it is understandable that the bookmakers fear an Aiden O’Brien raider.

12. Sweynesse: Spiralling figures to date even though was surprisingly beaten by Hampton Court last run, jockeys on him and First Seal too focused on their ding-dong battle too much? Up in distance expect will go back again as it looks like he appreciates building into a race no matter the distance. Won 4/5 and is a worthy 3YO participant as it is expected he will continue his spiralling pattern here and be reasonably competitive. Expect he will at least be the first 3YO over the line.

RECOMMENDED BETS
Current overlays are ROYAL DESCENT and SIDE GLANCE (each-way). Outside of that our market is very similar to the publics so we will be advising clients to bet late to hope more overlays arise.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Manikato Stakes preview

Moonee Valley's great raceday has been split into two now, in a move doesn't sit well with too many of the traditionalists (like me). The headline act on Friday night is the Group 1 Manikato Stakes, amassing a tremendous field of sprinters. With the preview, it's Mitch Fenton.

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2014 MANIKATO STAKES PREVIEW
Group 1, 1200m WFA
Form guide

By Mitch Fenton

Website
Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking

1.BUFFERING – 4 – D.BROWNE / R.HEATHCOTE
ODDS: $6.50 (early TAB prices quoted)

Qld champion who finally broke his Group 1 maiden in this race 12 months ago when beating Hong Kong star Lucky Nine. Amazingly he now has four Group 1 wins to his name after claiming another one last start in the Moir Stakes at this track and trip.

Was allowed to lead and dictate in the Moir when Newitt decided to take the sit on Lankan Rupee, and after being beautifully rated by Browne in front he was too tough and staved them all off again!

He was at his most vulnerable being first up against quality horses that had the race fitness edge and they couldn’t beat him. Will be further improved by the run and I personally don’t think any of those that finished behind him in the Moir can turn the tables now he’ll strip fitter for this race.

Goes into this race following the exact same program as 12 months ago, and he’s going every bit as well as he was then, probably better.

There is some new flesh on the scene in the form of Terravista, Not listenin’tome and Bounding, but they haven’t proven themselves against the tough battle hardened Gr1 open sprinters at WFA level.

Will lead them up and it’ll take a good effort to get past him as it looks as though he’ll be able to dictate terms again out in front. Has the heart of a lion!

2.LANKAN RUPEE – 9 – C.NEWITT / M.PRICE
ODDS: $4.20

After an all-conquering autumn campaign that saw him win the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap & TJ Smith Stakes, he was rightfully touted as the world’s premier sprinter.

But his bubble has burst somewhat this campaign being beaten at both outings the McEwen & Moir, albeit by a very slender margin on both occasions. He’s not going as bad as some pundits might be suggesting though, because in reality he’s only been beaten by about a cumulative total of 10 inches in the two defeats.

But he’s simply not going anywhere near as well as he was during the autumn! The Lankan Rupee we saw in the autumn would have blitzed the fields he has been beaten in this prep.

Thought Newitt made a blunder last start with his tactics, he jumped out a length in front but handed up the lead to Buffering without a fight. That suggests to me that the horse might be slightly amiss or it was just a poor split second decision. Cast your mind back to the TJ Smith, Lankan lead Buffering and thrashed him, which only three horses have ever done to Buffering and they go ok – Sepoy, Hay List & Black Caviar!

Price cited a hoof issue as the potential problem, so if that was the only issue and it’s been remedied he can definitely bounce back!

Write him off at your own peril.

3.TEMPLE OF BOOM – 8 - T.GOLLAN / MS. T.HARRISON
ODDS: $26

Evergreen Qld sprinter who is as honest as the day is long.

Has run in this race the past two years, finishing unplaced on both occasions (beaten 2.8 and 3.1 lengths). They have been his only two Moonee Valley runs.

Had a terrific Qld Winter Carnival when, culminating in a terrific secnd in the Stradbroke beaten very narrowly by River Lad who had the pull in the weights. (Group 1 record - 17 starts: one win, two seconds, one third).

Both runs this time in have been as honest as ever, both down the Flemington straight, that he loves so much, in the Bobbie Lewis & Gilgai. Both times he’s bumped into the very promising Hawkes sprinter Chautauqua, who blitzed all-comers in devastating fashion.

Has raced against his statesman Buffering nine times during his career and Buffering leads that head-to-head 7-2.

Will give an honest account, but prefer him down the straight.

4.MOMENT OF CHANGE – 10 - C.SCHOFIELD / PG.MOODY
ODDS: $19

Triple Group 1 winning sprinter who has been freshened up since flopping in the Memsie won by his stablemate Dissident back in late August.

Chased Buffering home on four occasions last Spring, including a heart-breaking nose margin in Perth’s 1200m Gr1 Winterbottom Stakes.

Was an absolutely luckless fourth in this race last year behind Buffering, he missed the start and was flushed wide on cornering but ran the fastest closing 600, 400 and 200m times to get within a half length of the Qlder.

Has a terrific fresh record, so the big each-way odds on offer are fairly generous for mine. Watch out for him launching late!

5.REBEL DANE – 3 - C.WILLIAMS / G.PORTELLI
ODDS: $9.00

Hasn’t won in over 12 months, with his latest win coming in the 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. Showed last start when third in the Moir behind Buffering that he’s getting back to something like the form that saw him claim a Group 1 crown.

Will probably try and settle closer to the speed to this around if possible, he just can’t afford to be giving Buffering to big a start and expect to beat him. He was 3.3L off Buffering in the Moir and did close him down to a short neck, but settling closer is the key to his chances of beating Buffering around the Valley.

Good chance.

6.FAMOUS SEAMUS – 5 – T.CLARK / N.MAYFIELD-SMITH
ODDS: $26

Beat Buffering and Temple of Boom to claim the 1200m Gr1 BTC Cup during the Brisbane Winter carnival to leave punters on the floor.

Two runs this time in have been terrific. He was third first-up behind Terravista in The Shorts but he was really chewing up the ground at the end of the 1100m and got within 2L of that winner. Second up he overcame an average run in transit, posted three deep, to tough it out and win the 1200m Gr2 Premiere Stakes at Royal Randwick.

He’s super honest and deserves a crack at Australia’s elite sprinters, wouldn’t be surprised to see him up filling a place.

7.TERRAVISTA – 7 – J.PRIDE / H.BOWMAN
ODDS: $3.75

Up-and-coming sprinter who boasts an impressive career record of eight wins and a placing from just 11 starts.

Has won both starts this campaign; first up in the 1200m Gr3 Show County back in August he was far too good for last week's Listed sprint winner at Caulfield, In Cahoots, in what was a soft 2L win.

Second up on the 20th of September in 1100m Gr2 The Shorts he again proved to strong. He won the race by 2L on the line but against the slightly better class of opposition, it looked like he was all out on the line.

He’s been kept fresh for his first crack at a Gr1 sprint, which has worked well for him in the past.

I just can’t have him though and think he’s THE LAY OF THE DAY!

He’s untried at Moonee Valley, he’s untried the Melbourne way and he rises exponentially in grade from a weak quality Gr2 handicap to a Gr1 WFA against not only Australia’s best, but some of the world’s best!

Those are all very big queries for me, especially the class rise.

Absolutely ridiculous odds. That’s not to say he couldn’t win, but you’d want at LEAST double what they're offering now!

Leave me out!

8.ICONIC – 1 – N.HALL / T.McEVOY
ODDS: $61

Was a slashing run in the Gr2 1000m Schillaci Stakes on Guineas Day.

This is a bridge too far though, and he represents a big risk in my eye over the 1200m, which he’s had two tries at for two failures.

Think he needs an 1100m race in lesser company.

9.NOT LISTENIN’TOME – 1 - T.BERRY / G.MOORE
ODDS: $21

Twice Gr1 placed as a three year-old when in the Hawkes stable – in the 1200m Coolmore Stud Stakes when second behind Zoustar last spring and was also second in the Canterbury Stakes behind gun mare Appearance.

Simply found the 1000m of the Schillaci too short and they were too nippy for him but he still got to the line in good fashion.

This is the acid test for him meeting our best sprinters at level weights now as a four year-old, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him measure right up. Whether or not this is it I’m not sure, but I’m confident he’s a Gr1 type.

Nice each way bet, can win!

10.PLATELET – 12 – B.MELHAM / D.WEIR
ODDS: $21

Dual Gr1 winning mare, who also comes here through the Schillaci Stakes on Guineas Day.

She won those Group 1s at successive outings back in early 2013 in the Sangster and Goodwood both run over 1200m at Morphettville.

Deserves a crack at this grade no doubt, but I think as genuine as she is, this will just be a bit too much for her. Melbourne Gr1 WFA is worlds apart from Adelaide Fillies and Mares & handicap races.

11.BOUNDING – 11 – M.DU PLESSIS / K & B KELSO
ODDS: $34

Kiwi sprint mare with a terrific career record of seven wins and five placings from 12 starts, having never missed the placings.

One of those wins was a Gr1, the Railway Stakes, NZ’s premier sprint race held on New Year’s Day and three of the others have come at Group 3 level.

The form isn’t terrific by any stretch out of those wins though. The fourth horse in that Railway Stakes was Durham Town, he was 2L behind Bounding. We saw him over here in Qld in 2012. He was unplaced and uncompetitive in four Qld runs, and they were only in Gr3 / Listed company.

Think this will be too rich for her.

12.ANGELIC LIGHT – 6 - R.GRIFFITHS / D.OLIVER
ODDS: $17

She was the giant killer second run back this campaign toppling the ‘world’s best sprinter’ Lankan Rupee in a shock upset result in the 1000m Gr2 McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Has returned from that 12 month injury layoff in great order, going better than she ever has!

Last start she was fourth in the Moir beaten just under a length behind Buffering, in a race he controlled from the front. He proved her win over Lankan Rupee was no fluke and that she genuinely belongs at this level.

She’s big odds for a horse that beat Lankan Rupee fair and square two back and was under a length off a horse who is a whole lot shorter in the market for this race, last time out.

Wouldn’t shock me one bit to see her win again!

SELECTIONS (BASED ON GOOD/DEAD)
#1 BUFFERING
#2 LANKAN RUPEE
#9 NOT LISTENIN’TOME
#5 REBEL DANE
#4 MOMENT OF CHANGE


There looks absolutely no natural speed runners in the race that would be capable of going serving it up to Buffering out in front…UNLESS like they did in the TJ Smith they let Lankan Rupee run, as opposed to taking hold like they did in the Moir! But considering he’s had issues of some description I’d be surprised if Newitt’s tactics were to lock horns with Buffering. That said I can see this race unfolding a lot like the Moir Stakes, and a lot like last year’s Manikato, in which Buffering led on his own, controlled the race and toughed it out at the end while horses flew at him from left, right and centre.

SUGGESTED BET:
• 5 UNITS WIN / 10 UNITS PLACE
#1 BUFFERING @$6.50 & $1.75

Big profit if he wins, but still make a small profit if he gets beaten and runs the place.
Can’t see him possibly missing the top 3!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Geelong Cup preview

With the Caulfield Cup been and gone, the stayers on the cusp of getting into the Melbourne Cup field will be doing everything to scrape into the field. One of the options is Wednesday's Geelong Cup. It might not have the quality of the years it was won by Media Puzzle, Americain and Dunaden, but it's still an important race of its own.

It's been a while between drinks but Mitch Fenton returns to the blog with his preview of one of Australia's strongest provincial races.

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Geelong Cup
Group III, 2400m Handicap.
Form Guide here

By Mitch Fenton

Website
Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking

MORE SUCCESS LIKELY FOR ANOTHER IMPORTED STAYER

1.SERTORIUS. R.MALONEY – J.EDWARDS
Terrific old tough, staying horse trained in the bush and as tough as teak.

Has twice placed at Gr1, in the 2014 Futurity at Caulfield over 1400m when second behind Moment of Change (no doubt should have won race!) and then backed it up with a third to The Offer in the Sydney Cup later in the Autumn.

Career highlight though was a totally dominant Zipping Classic (Sandown Classic) win last Spring over this trip of 2400m under weight-for-age conditions.

His three runs this time in have been very respectable considering they’ve all been at Gr1 WFA level against Australia’s elite in the Memsie 1st up, followed by the Makybe Diva then the Caulfield Stakes at his latest outing.

He drops a LONG way in class back to Gr3 handicap level and gets out to his pet journey of 2400m. That means he does get the top-weight of 58kg, which sounds a lot but in reality it’s pretty cheap considering the class he has. It’s also 1kg under WFA and he’s only conceding the bottom weight 4kg. So in essence of it all he’s very well in at the weights.

His 2400m stats are by far and away his best of any race distance.

He’s had three goes at the mile and a half for two wins – last year’s listed Bendigo Cup & the Gr2 Zipping Classic at Sandown.
His miss was a terrific fourth in Sydney’s annual premier staying race ‘The BMW’ at WFA.
He was beaten 2.5L behind Silent Achiever, It’s A Dundeel was 2nd with Melbourne & Australian Cup champion Fiorente in 3rd.
Fiorente, who would go on the be named Australia’s Champion Stayer was just half a length in front of him in the end……at level weights!
A repeat of that kind of effort by Sertorious and he’d win this with a leg in the air…His lead up racing suggests he’s going just as well as he was in the Autumn when he pulled out that run!!

Comes up with gate 11 of 13 but Ryan Maloney, who is very underrated , should be able to overcome that with the aid of having the best horse in the field under him.

The one to beat!

2.SHOREHAM. C.SYMONS – S.HASAN
Very honest staying type who was terrific last time out in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington running the second fastest last 600m in the race and the fastest last 400m in the even. The only horse to run a faster last 600m was Saturday’s Caulfield Cup placegetter & Melbourne Cup fancy, Lucia Valentina….she ran the second fastest last 400m, being eclipsed by Shoreham. So the form is as good as it gets!!

In that race he settled down in last place 12L off the lead, which was 5L behind Lucia Valentina in the run and was beaten in the end by 5L so he ran every bit as well as the horse that was so gallant in the Gr1 Caulfield Cup.

The further he gets out in trip the better, he’s a genuine stayer who posses a more than handy turn of foot.

Hasn’t won in 13 months though and that’s a concern with him, he certainly doesn’t win out of turn. He’s only saluted the judge three times in 25 race starts.

A repeat of his last start effort and he’ll be terribly hard to beat, I just won’t be rushing into take 5/1 about him, or any horse, that has a 12% career winning strike rate, essentially meaning he wins one in 10!

3.WISH COME TRUE. C.SCHOFIELD – P.MOODY
Irish bred import who joined the all conquering Moody stable last year after a second placed effort in the Italian Derby. Has only won one since arriving on our shores, a open 2040m at Moonee Valley mid-winter on a soft track, beating the less than champion stablemate Voila Ici home.

Good in the Newcastle Cup when third, whacking away til the end, but never looked a winner. Flopped last start when up in grade in the Gr1 Metrop, without excuses!

In the year 2014 the Geelong Cup is one of the spring’s feature staying races and is always a good pointer the higher quality races over the carnival, so in saying that I’m more than willing to risk this horse who hasn’t shown enough to suggest he’s up to winning a race of this calibre.

4.ZANBAGH. M.PAYNE – P.PAYNE
Talented staying mare, formerly trained by the late Guy Walter, who ran second in the AJC Oaks, splitting last week's Caulfield Cup placegetters Rising Romance and Lucia Valentina. That’s an amazingly good form reference for a race like this!

Was also runner-up in the VRC Oaks last Spring, beaten ever so narrowly by Kirramosa, despite it being just her seventh start in a race.

Has had three runs back + a trial this campaign since joining Patrick Payne and none of her four efforts seen publicly could give you any type of confidence about her.

She put in an improved sort of effort last time out in the Benalla Cup when third beaten two lengths, but the form out of that race hasn’t stood up at all, with seven horses having subsequent runs and not one of them even placing.

Gets weight relief here..which is a plus!

I’m loathed to dismiss her chances entirely, as we’ve seen how good she is…..at her best. Signs this campaign suggest she’s racing a fair way below that mark, but it wouldn’t shock me if she turned it all around in a big way out to 2400m now. The Caulfield Cup result alone is reason enough to include her in all multiples.

5.MORE THAN SACRED. G.BOSS – R.SMERDON
Emphatic winner of the Gr1 3200m Auckland Cup in NZ back in March, who after that win was transferred to Melbourne to be prepared by leading trainer Robert Smerdon.

Has had two runs in Australia and both have been very good efforts. First up here he was 2.5L fourth in a 2000m race at Caulfield behind Longeron and he improved dramatically from the run… finishing second narrowly beaten by Mourinho in the Cranbourne Cup second up. That form line is very strong with Mourinho having twice placed behind leading Cox Plate fancy The Cleaner in Group races at Moonee Valley. Arguably unlucky not to have won at Cranbourne with the winner hampering him somewhat in the straight, despite no protest being officially lodged.

As proven by his NZ form he gets better the further he runs! 2400m third up suits perfectly, a distance he’s won at three times… he’s down on the minimum weight with 54kg and gets the ‘Spring King’ Glenn Boss’ services again.

Bit of a sticky draw in barrier 13, but it’s not a huge field, and G.Boss is the perfect man to overcome such an obstacle.

Good value, good bet!

6.LIKE A CAROUSEL. C.NEWITT – K.KEYS
Beat Saturday’s Randwick listed winner Mulaqen & Unchain My Heart (a long way back in Caulfield Cup) in the Harry White Classic on AFL Grand Final Day at Sandown.

Deserves a shot at this level of race during the Spring, we all know how good the stable is going, but I’d be surprised if he’s up to this type of grade.

Place at best for mine.

7.MARKSMANSHIP. K.MCEVOY – C.MAHER
A well-beaten second last start in the 2500m Bart Cummings at Flemington, behind a horse that was well fancied by many in the Caulfield Cup, Who Shot Thebarman….Didn’t measure up to the top level that horse but he did run admirably beaten only 4L in Australia’s premier mile and a half race.

I’d suggest he’d need a slow to heavy track to be competitive here, having never won a race on good or dead ground.

8.CARAVAN ROLLS ON. C.WILLIAMS – D.O’BRIEN
Talented import and winner of last year's Sandown Cup over 3200m in the Spring time. Gun jockey C.Williams rides, but still needs further to produce his best I feel. Not completely hopeless but I do very much prefer others.

9.CORREGGIO. D.HOLLAND – M.JOHNSON
Very, very rough First Four hope. Doubt he’s up to it.

10.OMINOUS. D.DUNN – N.BLACKISTON
Outclassed on his very best form, and is terribly out of form. Couldn’t have him.

11.ALI VITAL. D.GAUCI – R.LAING
OK in the Cranbourne Cup, but that was a career best effort. Hard to see him making the massive improvement he would need off that run to bother these.

12.PRETTY BLONDE. D.YENDALL – K.HEALY
Outclassed.

13.WALTZING TO WIN. B .CLARIDGE – D.HUXTABLE
Outclassed.

SELECTIONS
I’ve assessed it as a race with 4 winning chances engaged.
#1 SERTORIOUS $7.00
#2 SHOREHAM $10
#4 ZANBAGH $7.00
#5 MORE THAN SACRED $5.50

SUGGESTED BET: I will be backing all four of them, and playing it safe with a flat stake on each (ie. $25 etc..)…meaning any of the four winning would produce a profit.

In order of preference I’d rank them…..
#5 MORE THAN SACRED, very well weighted for a Gr1 winner and on the upward spiral. Pull in weights against Sertorious decisive factor. Gets 4kg!

#1 SERTORIUS, Is the proven class runner in the race. In good form, but does give the other main hopes good chunks of weight.

#2 SHOREHAM, coming in off a terrific run in a great form race the Turnbull. Poor winning strike rate off-putting.

#4 ZANBAGH, would win and win easily on her best. Hasn’t shown much since transferring stables though, taking on trust after Caulfield Cup result.

If you only want to back one I’d suggest MORE THAN SACRED!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Champions Day Long Distance Cup

It might have been rather wet this week, and a rather soggy track to race on, but it's still British Champions Day at Ascot. Based on the quality available for the respective races, it's hard to argue against the opening race being the strongest field of the day. Up steps Adam Webb, @adamwebb121

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Long Distance Cup
1.45pm, Group 2, 2m

QIPCO British Champions Day begins Ascot’s final flat card of the year with the stayers in the Long Distance Cup and with the persistent deluge of rain that has hit the Berkshire track this week, we are in for National Hunt style ground. To win this race you will need a thorough stayer who gets every single yard of the two mile trip.

Leading Light has proved to be one of the best stayers on either side of the Irish Sea this season. Last year’s Ladbrokes St Leger winner started his season with a bloodless success at Navan in the Vintage Crop Stakes over a mile and six furlongs beating Royal Diamond and Pale Mimosa. He then went off odds-on in a competitive field at Royal Ascot in the Gold Cup where he only just doing enough to see of the disqualified Estimate and Missunited. The consensus of jockey Joseph O’Brien was that he hadn’t seen out the distance however his class got him through the closing stages.

He then came out and won easily at the Curragh in the Irish St Leger Trial before being given a poor ride in the Irish St Leger itself as the whole field bar Eye Of The Storm allowed a strong stayer in Brown Panther too much rope on the front end and when he kicked for home the race was all but over for the chasing pack. Softer ground here shouldn’t be a concern having won his maiden on heavy ground plus his running style will definitely help as he only does what is required of him.

The young pretender in the staying division scene is Dermot Weld’s four year old Forgotten Rules who has looked devastating on two starts to date including in a Punchestown bumper where he won on the bridle by … lengths. He then made his flat debut at Galway in a maiden and again visually was impressive before missing the Irish St Leger due to the fast ground. This is by far his toughest task to date and he will need to confirm the visual impressions of both starts so far plus the testing ground is an unknown for this son of Nayef.

Estimate has had a much busier campaign than last season. Her return to action this year was a career best when second to Leading Light in the Ascot Gold Cup however was subsequently disqualified due to a prohibited substance found in her urine sample. She then disappointed in the Goodwood Cup behind Cavalryman with jockey Ryan Moore suggesting she was in season which could have explained the poor run.

She then showed a return to form when second behind Pale Mimosa in the Lonsdale Cup before gaining her first success of the year in the Doncaster Cup when beating Whiplash Willie who reopposes here. From all her runs over the last year, Estimate has looked an out and out stayer and potentially the way for her to win the race is by going from the front and stretching her rivals. Ryan Moore is no stranger to this tactic having used it to great effect in the Prix du Cadran a week last Sunday on High Jinx and with there looking to be a lack of pace, it could be that Moore uses his initiative and tries to get the fractions spot on from the front.

Having mentioned Whiplash Willie above, it’s best to mention him next. For those who read this blog on Arc day, he was my fancy for the Cadran for the simple reason that you need a strong stayer and he was the strongest. However, David Probert became a victim of the French ruling as he allowed himself to get trapped on the rail and when he wanted to make his challenge, he simply couldn’t with a weakening horse in front of him and another keeping him in. Once he got the gaps it was far too late and he was a never nearer fourth. The distance is no issue here and the ground should be fine so he has every chance of running into a place but the concern would be whether he is over his Longchamp excursions.

Pallasator is a fascinating contender here and has been running consistently well all year. His return in the Old Newton Cup off top weight was a strong comeback effort when second to De Rigueur before winning on the Sunday of the King George meeting in a twelve furlong handicap beating Double Bluff. He then got a four pound penalty and went off a short priced favourite for the hugely competitive Ebor Handicap at York in which he was drawn in the car park in 22. Despite that, he was dropped in and ran another solid race in defeat when fourth to Mutual Regard having made up plenty of ground from the back of the field.

His run in the Irish St Leger when sixth behind Brown Panther can be forgiven for two reasons. Firstly for a rare bad ride from Andrea Atzeni although it wouldn’t be fair to just point the finger at him and his behaviour pre-race was a huge worry with him not handling the preliminaries at all. His last run at Newmarket however showed Atzeni in a different light as he gave the horse a superb ride to beat Flying Officer when making all the running. He has already won on soft ground before and goes in with a big chance but I doubt the mix of the ground and distance will be to his advantage.

Flying Officer has been lightly raced for John Gosden and only seen twice this year. He won at Nottingham before his second to Pallasator at Newmarket. It will be interesting to see how he gets on as he is in the Horses in Training Sale at Newmarket towards the end of the month but the feeling from his last start was that Pallasator was always going to hold him off and it just could be that two miles stretches his stamina.

Big Orange has improved markedly as the season has progressed. He was only beaten three and a half lengths by Hartnell over course and distance in the Queen’s Vase but has since gone on to win twice, including when beating Whiplash Willie at Chester two starts ago before performing a career best when winning at Ascot in the Noel Murless Stakes beating Marzocco over a mile and six furlongs. He is still unexposed as a stayer but I feel he will be one for next year and this is a very stiff task.

Marzocco has ran consistently enough in Group One company this season including when fifth behind Kingston Hill in the St Leger but will hate the ground and isn’t good enough to win a race of this quality.

The outsider of the field Biographer is definitely interesting. He has been trained for this race and with Estimate around the 5/1 mark, he could be overpriced at 25’s. He was disappointing earlier in the season before coming back to some sort of form last time in the Doncaster Cup behind Estimate and he is one who won’t mind the ground here.

Conclusion

It’s hard to oppose the market leader LEADING LIGHT who we knows act on the track and the ground shouldn’t pose any issue to him. If given a positive ride then Estimate must go very close on what will be her final start before going to stud whilst Forgotten Rules could easily win this but the ground is a major unknown. Pallasator is definitely interesting but one at a price that I can see easily running into the frame is BIOGRAPHER who has been trained for this race and his trainer David Lanigan seemed sweet on his chances when on Racing UK the other day.

Win – Leading Light
E/W - Biographer


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Caulfield Cup preview II 2014

Race 9 - 5:40PM G1 Caulfield Cup (2400 METRES)
Preview from Premium Punting - @premiumpunting

Speed Map



This map provided is pre-settling, so you can see what each runner faces to get to their desired position and how much early energy will be exerted in doing so. It also shows the problems faced by some runners if they choose to run to their previous historical pattern.

As the majority of speed maps show with a big field, there does look to be very genuine speed in the race with Japanese horse Bande going to take the lead from Lidari and Renew (if he gets a run). Brambles will then be attempting to find cover in the 2nd-3rd pair. Highly doubt connections of Big Memory will be taking the risk of going forward and expect he will shuffle back through the field.

Few horses drawn wide like Sea Moon & The Offer have early decisions to make to prevent from being trapped very wide past the post the first time.

PrePost Market:
As always, our markets are set to 100% with every runner rated >$25 eliminated. Premium Racing Services clients get a market <100% to gain a wagering edge and to help find the stronger overlays to be wagered upon.

The Japanese runners
There has been a lot of airplay about the Japanese horses since they have confirmed they would be participating in this year’s spring carnival, and that is for good reason as their racing is the best in the world. But what must be factored in is that they will never bring their best horses down due to the fantastic prize money on offer on their home soil, so we will only ever see their horses the level below the elite. The question is how do you compare Japan’s ‘B’ grade stakes horses to our ‘A’ grade stakes horses? This is where our collateral ratings significantly help do the work for us.

On our collateral Japanese figures, Bande has a similar profile to Pop Rock, who came second behind his fellow Japanese raider Delta Blues in the 2006 Melbourne Cup. Pop Rock in his Caulfield Cup run prior was forced out very wide straightening up and closed very strongly and finding it tight for room last 50m. He was posted a Melbourne up favourite after the run and eneded up being the $6 SP favourite on the day. Bande’s figures are very similar to that entire when he came down, but his racing style isn’t as he is a fast rolling leader with excellent stamina compared to Pop Rock who enjoyed being around 6-8L off the leader. His win at Listed level last start was dominant and his run three starts back in particular in a G2 rated highly when comparable to G2 rating in Australian handicaps. In Australia, when seeing bandages on it is generally a major concern, but the training regimes are different in Japan and we have been advised that it is not of as much concern as it would be for an Australian trainer. He is more than capable of holding on but is a slight underlay on our market.

Four runs back over this trip Admire Rakti was fourth in the Japan Cup, one of the more lower rating editions in recent times but is still one of best races in the world. Craig Williams was on board that race. What was surprising was that he has been appointed as the topweight for the cups, as he was SP $88 in the Japan Cup. Run prior rated solidly also at G2 level, very similar to Japan Cup figure. He likely settles off-midfield/back and will be looking to get to the outside and run on. It will be very tough for him with the large weight as on our analysis he is not worthy of that title. Is rated just outside $25+ on our market.

Junoob
Advanced again fourth up in very tough G1 Metropolitan win. Jockey Shinn went too early and was left in front a long way out but he was very tough to win well. It was a very high rating race which was run in very fast time, over 2.7 seconds faster than average when including the daily variant, as the times were very fast that day at Randwick. Maps in a good spot around midfield three wide with cover. Receives a large jockey bonus with HK champion Douglas Whyte to take the ride. Will only need to replicate a similar rating to last start to be the one to beat and currently looks excellent value.

Lidari
Had every chance when running a brave second in G1 Turnbull Stakes. Gets 1.5kg weight swing to winner Lucia Valentina and maps well again to exert very little early energy to find an on pace position. Major query is whether he can at least hold his PB rating. In saying this two starts back when 4th in the Underwood Stakes he produced a PB rating and then obviously achieved another one 1L superior last start. Currently a backable overlay as we have him rating similarly to last start.

Brambles
Brave in defeat last run in the Turnbull Stakes, is back to his best after terrible tendon injury a few years ago. Proven in winning QLD Derby back in 2012 that 2400m isn't a worry, if anything he is one of those rare on pace runners that thrives on the extra distance due to his stamina and toughness. Drops 1kg from the Turnbull meaning he only gets a 0.5kg weight swing to the winner and current favourite in this race Lucia Valentina and even though we have him rated behind her he is left to be the much better value in current markets. Is one that wouldn’t surprise of was backed into a shorter quote.

Who Shot Thebarman
Well placed to win Bart Cummings easily last start at headquarters, proved his dominance on the race in the last 150m when he pulled clear. Talented gelding who is capable of reeling off a fast split when required. This was proven in particular in NZ in his 3200m G1 Auckland Cup victory which was run a crazy 5.4sec faster than par. Clearly honest winning 8/14 and expect that from the rear he will have one of the sharpest sprints when they peel out in the home turn. Also a backable overlay onwards to a hopeful Melbourne Cup start.

The Offer & Seismos are also overlays on a market but due to their large odds and with many other overlays present we will be only playing them in multiples.

Recommended Bets:
As with every horse race no matter what grade it is, value must be present to wager on them. Back the current overlays on our market JUNOOB, LIDARI, BRAMBLES & WHO SHOT THEBARMAN.

Read more about their services on the Premium Punting website.

Caulfield Cup preview I 2014

2014 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup
2400m Group 1
Track- Good 3

Preview by Lachie Brown, @LBrownTweet

While not the strongest Caulfield Cup it’s sure to be an intriguing contest especially with so many planning to go onto the Melbourne Cup. Lucia Valentina is clear favourite at around $4 however it does look like a fairly even race.

Speed
Definitely won’t be the fastest edition of the Caulfield Cup. The runners yet to be seen in Australia are Bande, Admire Rakti and Seismos. Bande will lead from his middle gate, Seismos up there and Admire Rakti midfield. The early speed map suggested a wall of horses behind Bande, among them are Lidari, Gris Caro (now scratched) and Sydney horses Big Memory and The Offer (doubtful). From inside gates Green Moon and Stipulate are sure to get good runs while the likes of Junoob, Rising Romance and Who Shot Thebarman may be out very wide as they leave the straight. Lucia Valentina will also be midfield judging from her last run. Sea Moon and Dandino (now scratched) will go right back from their outside barriers.

Runners

1. Admire Rakti- Japanese runner carrying top weight. Fourth in the Japan cup over 2400 four starts back, finishing ahead of 2012 Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden (fifth). Classy galloper and for what it’s worth has reportedly been running well at Werribee. First up last campaign finished second over 3000m. Deserved topweight, but would prefer to back it in the Melbourne Cup. Can’t back at price.

2. Dandino- Scratched.

3. Green Moon- Was good late when resuming over 1600. Like many others in the race was very disappointing last start in the Turnbull. His second to Fiorente in the autumn tells me he can still run well. Has ran second in this race before and has a solid third up record, six starts for two wins and two seconds. Still has a good run left in him and is at the odds to find out whether Saturday is the day he produces it.

4. Sea Moon- Off International form would be going very close but has offered very little outside of the Bart Cummings stakes and the Herbert Power. Last start ran fifth of nine when first up was disappointing and being beaten home by the likes of Anudjawun and Waltzing To Win isn’t exactly Caulfield Cup form. Could pull out a big run… Probably won’t.

5. Bande- Last start won by five lengths when exploding around the turn. Hasn’t run poorly in a long time, his form especially over 2400 is exceptional, albeit below pattern class in Japan. Should get the lead with out doing to much work and is sure to give a massive sight. Has the better claims of the two Japanese horses and at his best will run a massive race. The $8 or $9 is very tempting in an even race.

6. The Offer- Has been disappointing this prep, all three runs have been overrated. The gelding does however get to 2400, a distance he prefers and one where he will be able to hit top gear. Three of his four Australian wins have been on Heavy 9s the other a Dead 5, so the Good 3 track he will face will not be to suit. His peak race is the Melbourne Cup and that’s the race I’d rather bet on him. Injury doubt at time of publication, vet inspection in the morning.

7. Seismos- Was a solid winner last start over 2700m. Will want every metre and some on Saturday. Trained by Marco Botti (trainer of Dandino) so knows which horses to take out, his first-up record is good, two wins and a second from five. Don’t think he will have the turn of foot to keep off the run on horses. Will be better suited to Melbourne Cup but don’t be surprised if he runs a big race.

8. Hawkspur- Good win in the Chelmsford when third-up. Has had the exact same prep as he did last year when running on strongly late for 7th (when drawn wide). Going well, but not quite as well as last year. If he gets luck in-running he is a big chance. Won’t be backing him unless his odds double ($15-$30)

9.Junoob- Chris Waller trained gelding who is unbeaten away from heavy tracks this campaign. Was impressive when beating Criterion in the Hill Stakes and followed it up with another win in the Metropolitan, albeit a weak edition of the race. From a wide barrier he won’t be getting any favours in the run. Don’t think the form from the Metropolitan will be overly good going forward. Happy to risk.

10. Moriarty- Previous attempt in the race, when tenth, was very solid making up good ground from the back while never looking like he was going to threaten the placings. Form has only been ok this prep until a good win in the Craven Plate last start. Won’t be winning and is only a small chance to be running into the placings.

11. Who Shot Thebarman- Took a while to get past some horses who would struggle to do anything in this race before eventually getting clear to win comfortably as an odds-on pop last start. Start be. Won the Auckland Cup before racing in Australia. Has only had 14 career starts so with improvement still to come he has to be considered a chance.

12. Dear Demi- Has had a really good campaign, she flashed home first- and second-up before beating Commanding Jewel in the Stocks Stakes. Was only fair last start when seventh behind Fawkner, on the occasion failed to sprint like she had previously. If she brings her A-game she can definitely match her efforts in the race last year when third. $6 the place looks tempting.

13. Stipulate- Established himself as a Caulfield Cup player when winning the Heatherlie (now known as the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes) three starts back, following start was disappointing when beaten into seventh without making up ground better than any other runner. Really liked his run last start in the Turnbull when fourth to Lucia Valentina. Gets to 2400, a distance which he should appreciate for the first time in Australia and is at the right price. Should run very well.

14. Lidari- Has been super honest this prep and form guide says the same thing, fifth, fourth, fourth, second. Ran out of his skin last start in the Turnbull, the race was run to suit the horse, if given a similar run can match his performance, or maybe go one better. Does meet Lucia Valentina 1.5kgs better at the weights. Was super keen on the horse at 30 and 40 to 1, current price not so much. The way the race is run should benefit the horse but the price is too short. Luke Nolen jumping ship to Brambles isn’t exactly confidence boosting either.

15. Lucia Valentina- Sensational in winning the Tramway first up when she flew down the middle of the track, got home nicely second up when sixth. Pretty much the only horse to make up ground in the Turnbull, a race she won very impressively. Well weighted, having to carry 53kg. Deserves to be favourite but query is where she will be in running, midfield or better and she wins or goes thereabouts, but has to be a massive concern if she goes back. Huge chance but happy to risk her on the fact that she may go back and have to do much late.

16. Rising Romance- A Group 1 Oaks winner over this distance, but hasn’t been going so well this campaign. Was a decent fourth first-up in the Tramway, and OK second up she was disappointing last start when beaten by Moriarty as a short price favourite. The 4yo now gets to her preferred distance with her record standing at a win and a second from two starts. Wide barrier no help and fairly short. Won’t be carrying my money.

17. Big Memory- Has been racing really well in the last year. First up honest second to Brambles, settled midfield in the JRA Cup but still ran ok. Nothing wrong with his win last start to get into the race but is yet to face a field that has anywhere near the sort of class he faces on Saturday

18. Gris Caro- Scratched

19. Brambles- Gets into the field because of scratching, pre injury was a Queensland Derby winner, G1 2400m, who looked like one of the most exciting horses in the country. Was off the season for over a year and a half and it wasn’t until three starts ago where he showed anything running third in the Heatherlie (ATB Stakes), very good the following start when winning. Last start third in the Turnbull shows he truly is getting right back to his best. Should enjoy the extra distance and the race will be run to give him every chance.

20. Araldo- 7yo who has only had 14 starts who has been racing well. Last spring the horse won a Bart Cummings and placed in a Lexus. Was a very good third in the Metropolitan however he will be to far back around the turn to be in with a chance of winning this. Can’t see him turning the tables on Junoob and hence can’t encourage betting on him.

21. Unchain My Heart (EMG)- Good mare but won’t be figuring in the finish. Races best at 2 miles, a distance where her last two wins have been at. Completely outclassed and can’t imagine she’ll be going past many in the straight. 200 to 1 is unders.

22. Renew (EMG)- Leader with one Australian start which was terrible, sat right on the pace and was struggling a long way from home, dropping out from the 600. Overseas form is nothing special. Won’t matter if he gets a run or not, off his previous run he won’t be in the finish.

Suggested bet(s)- Not a high play race. The OTI pair (Brambles and Lidari) are big chances but are now very short. Back Bande, Hawkspur to win the same amount and have a penny on Green Moon at $40.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hayne to NFL – What does it mean for Parramatta and Jarryd Hayne?

A bombshell dropped in the NRL today as the epitome one-man team, Jarrad Hayne of Parramatta has announced he's heading to bright lights of the NFL. But will it work? Regular rugby league contributor Chris Ryan, @imdabomb82 has his say on today's hot topic.

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Hayne to NFL – What does it mean for Parramatta and Jarryd Hayne?

Wow. That’s the word on every rugby league fans lips right now, especially Parramatta fans, although the f word follows for the Eels faithful. The out of the blue news has hit this morning that Jarryd Hayne is leaving rugby league and the Parramatta Eels to pursue his NFL dream. So beyond all the shock and hyperbole, what does this actually mean for both the Eels and what are the realistic chances for Hayne?

First of all a little about me, I’m a Parramatta Eels member and lifetime supporter. I’m also a professional punter who analyses rugby league religiously, watches all 201 NRL games every year, some twice for research reasons. And I also happen to watch and wager on almost as many NFL games. A few college games thrown in too. So what of Hayne chances in the NFL?

Well firstly what position would he play? For those not familiar with the NFL, the positions in the NFL are much more rigid than in rugby league, and the roles much more defined and narrow. I can’t imagine Hayne wants to play anything but on offence with the ball in his hands, so that rules out playing Corner or Safety. And naturally he isn’t big enough to play offensive or defensive line. The 2 most obvious positions for him are Wide Receiver or Running Back. The talk about RB I think is misguided. RB’s tend to be nuggetty, surprising small (usually under 6 foot, and some as short as 5’6”), and have explosive speed off the first step. Hayne is much taller than that, has an upright running style, and whilst he has great long range running speed, he doesn’t necessarily have explosive off the mark speed. As a WR he would be slightly undersized at 6’2”, but not too much. His speed would be near the mark, if a tad short. And would ultimately be the position that he would covet. Learning the routes to run, and a seemingly never ending playbook would be incredibly difficult for someone who has never played the game. EVERY single player he would be competing against for a spot would have been playing American Football for their entire lives, and have already played at high level and under scrutiny at college level. As supremely talented as Jarryd Hayne is, as freakish an athlete as he is, every single one of the current WR’s on NFL rosters, and those competing for spots would have been described as a ‘freakish athlete’ at some point in their careers. I doubt he can get on an NFL roster as a WR within a year.

In my opinion (and also alluded to by Hayne in his press conference) his best chance is as a kick/punt returner on what is known in NFL as ‘special teams’. The role is somewhat similar to fullback in rugby league. You stand out the back and field punts and kickoffs, and SOMETIMES run the ball back. The role of kick returner has greatly diminished in recent times, with far more often than not the job being purely to make a clean catch on the ball (which Hayne excels at!) and not run back at all. For those not familiar with the NFL you would be astounded at how limited this role is. You could quite comfortably be the no.1 kick returner on the team and touch the ball only a handful of times in a game, and actually run the ball back only 1 to 3 times a game. And on many occasions ZERO times a game. Given how clean his hands are, Hayne may have a legitimate shot at this role. His speed and ability to break a tackle or side step give him a chance. This would be his best shot at finding his way onto an NFL roster. And from there you may be given the chance to have a few snaps at training at WR to possibly play the position down the track. And even then you may be only the 4th or 5th choice WR on the team, and perhaps play only a few plays a game.

I’m a big Jarryd Hayne fan, have seen every 1st grade game he has ever played, and have huge respect for his ability. Do I think he can make it in the NFL? Probably not. It is extremely cut throat and competitive over there for roster spots. I think at this stage it’s next to no chance of him being a star/big time player in the NFL, but concede he could make it onto a roster as a special teams player. Whilst in the AFL the likes of code hoppers Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau have been signed purely for a marketing perspective, I highly doubt that will happen in the NFL. They don’t need it. The fact he is a ‘project player’ with some additional marketing clout for a broader audience MAY help him if he is borderline for a spot. But it really is an IF.

And what of Parramatta? After making a big step forward last year after back to back spoons, it can’t be denied that this is a MASSIVE blow to Parramatta. No single player in the game is more important or influential to their team than Jarryd Hayne is to Parramatta. Not Johnathon Thurston, not Cameron Smith, not Sam Burgess. Parramatta has often been called a one player team, and whilst cruel, it’s not far off the mark. Fortunately there are a few high level fullbacks possibly available this late in the recruiting piece. Josh Hoffman has been granted a release from Brisbane if he can get a gig elsewhere, Brett Stewart is trying to get a release from Manly, there has been talk of Brisbane letting go of Ben Barba with their glut of fullbacks. And even talk of Israel Folau or Kurtley Beale leaving union, and Izzy has previously been linked to the Eels, almost signing, and his younger brother currently plays in the under 20s team, so it may not be so far-fetched.

Parramatta MUST get one of these high profile players to be a chance next year. Josh Hoffman seems the most likely as he has already been granted a release if he wants it, he would come the cheapest of all those mentioned as he comes off an ordinary season (which was purely because Anthony Griffin played him in the wrong position at 5/8th) and is unwanted. He would be a good bet given his price, youth and upside. Plus the difference in his salary v Hayne’s would be massive so Parramatta could bring in other players to sure up other areas of weakness. Brett Stewart is coming off a fantastic 2014, and an underrated one too. He would be a great pickup, but is closer to the end of his career and would come with a higher paycheck. Ben Barba is coming off a horror year, which is purely his own making, and unless you can get him at a discount rate or have real strong belief that he can return to previous highs, he should be avoided at all costs. Izzy is a completely different proposition, as the ability to get him is probably very low, but to rebound from the loss of Hayne with a player of almost the same stature would be a massive coup. Beale is a greater risk, a problem child with no guarantee he would be a success in rugby league. News has come through this morning that Parramatta has signed Canberra winger and occasional fullback Reece Robinson, and whilst a handy player, he isn’t the answer in the fullback jersey. I can imagine some talk of Corey Norman returning to the fullback role he played at Brisbane, but coming off an ineffectual first year for the Eels, he needs to keep his current spot first, rather than switching.

Either way you slice it, it’s an enormous blow to the Eels, and knocks them down several pegs for 2015. They need to grab a high profile fullback as replacement and look for the silver lining of using the excess funds to add a quality player in another position to ease the Hayne blow.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Cesarewitch preview

As the British Flat racing season winds down, it doesn't get any easier to find a winner. The Cesarewitch is renowned as one of the toughest races of the year - hats off to Sam Preen, @SamPreen for this epic preview of the 34 runner field.

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BETFRED CESAREWITCH
3:50 NEWMARKET
Class 2 Heritage Handicap
2m 2f, £250,000
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Saddler’s Rock
A race which jump trainers like to enter, it’s no surprise to see Saddler’s Rock being entered on his first start for Jonjo O’Neill. Not been at his best since a comfortable winner of the 2012 Goodwood Cup, he was disappointing when bidding for back to back wins last year, and though he had an eyecatching performance in the Irish Leger, that proved to be a fluke, having disappointing on all starts this year, including when finishing eleventh (promoted to tenth) in the Ascot Gold Cup, “won” by Estimate. Difficult to fancy now his best days are safely behind him.

Brass Ring
Became a useful stayer in time, having previously finished third to Pique Sous at Ascot, and plugged on past knackered horses to finish a distant fourth in this year’s Goodwood Cup, and was hardly disgraced at the Doncaster Cup, when finishing a short head sixth, three lengths behind winner Estimate, on ground softer than ideal (first run on good to soft). Better ground an obvious plus, as is the drop back down to handicap level.

Suegioo
Has his moment back in May, landing the Chester Cup, from Angel Gabrial, the latter who reversed the form when landing the Northumberland Plate, a 1-2 for the good Dr Koukash, and was a staying on ninth in York’s Ebor, under Paolo Sirigu. Bounced back in the Mallard Stakes in the rain softened ground at Doncaster, keeping on for third, and doing enough to hold of Mick Channon’s Elidor. Fairly versatile when it comes to the ground, and stamina is assured, having picked up the Chester Cup over half a furlong further.

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For the rest of his detailed runner-by-runner preview, read the original article here on his blog.

Caulfield Stakes preview

The open class highlight of tomorrow's great raceday at Caulfield is the weight-for-age Caulfield Stakes. Another talented blog debutant with the preview, please welcome Lachie Brown, @LBrownTweet

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2014 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes
Group 1, 2000m

What an edition of the Caulfield Stakes! With four of the top five in Cox Plate betting running around it’s a high class race. There will be no excuses, the track expected to be a perfect Good 3.

Speed

While it won’t be an overly strong gallop, there are potentially three horses who will want to lead. It looks as if Crackerjack King and Side Glance will be up there, but don’t be surprised if Dissident is as well. Fawkner and Sertorious won’t be far away. Sacred Falls and Happy Trails will be next in running and the likes of Kirramosa, Dear Demi, Criterion and Foreteller will be settling near the rear.

Runners

1.Sacred Falls- Coming off a good win in the Group 1 George Main Stakes. Trained by Chris Waller he steps up to 2000m for the first time this campaign and his record at the trip is very good with two starts for two seconds, both to It’s A Dundeel at group 1 level. Is yet to race at Caulfield however if he finds cover from his wide barrier (12) he has to be included as one of the better chances.

2. Side Glance- After a winless campaign overseas, Side Glance returns to Australia. His form here has been good, a respectable sixth in the Cox Plate and a Group 1 win in the Mackinnon Stakes. Like Sacred Falls he is yet to race at Caulfield but that should be no concern. The gelding will be partnered by British jockey Jamie Spencer who was onboard when winning the Mackinnon. The stable plans to go to the Mackinnon again this year and he will probably be better suited there.

3. Fawkner- Was brilliant when returning over 1600m going down a head to Dissident. The Caulfield Cup winner now runs at a preferred distance where he is certain to get a good run from barrier 4. To be ridden by Nick Hall the 7yo will be better second up, where his record is 5 starts for 3 wins and a second. Looks extremely well placed here, should go very close and will shorten in Cox Plate markets after the race.

4. Happy Trails- Luckless when second up in the Turnbull Stakes and because of it (Ed. - harshly) Michael Rodd has been replaced by Damian Oliver who has previously won the Group 1 Emirates Stakes on the gelding. Before that he was impressive, going down in a photo to Foreteller in the Underwood. After four starts this preparation he should be able to give this race a shake.

5. Foreteller- Three-time Group 1 winner, who has done all his racing in Melbourne this prep. Usually gets back in the field but has run home strongly in all three starts this campaign. Won last start when sitting fourth so while stable may want to sit midfield, barrier 10 may prevent that. Will run well but may struggle to make up the lengths required in the straight.

6. Sertorius- Would be great to see Sertorius win a Group 1 but not likely here. Million dollar earner and is extremely honest but is a couple of lengths of this strong field. If racing in Group 2s and 3s there is nothing stopping him winning another million but can’t have here in such a high class race. Will try hard.

7. Crackerjack King- Was a solo leader last start in the Underwood but jockey Michael Walker had him well fof the rails the trip, good third. Scratched from the Turnbull last week. Australian form prior Underwood was terrible albeit in races to short for him. International form says 2000m is his best trip and he steps up to it for the first time in Australia. Depending on Side Glance and Dissident, Crackerjack King may be given the lead in which case he is a chance.

8. Massiyn- Showed promise when second in the Bendigo Cup, Australian form either side of that has been poor, until a sound run first up this prep in much lower grade. Would have to improve drastically to win this but not completely out of it.

9. Criterion- Rosehill Guineas and ATC Derby winner who is having his first run in Victoria this prep. Has a brilliant turn of foot but is yet to show it this campaign despite a third to Tiger Tees first-up and an honorable second to Junoob last start. Right price and can go close if he brings his best.

10. Dissident- Has three Group 1s to his name all over distances shorter than what he competes in on Saturday. Being trained for the Cox Plate he was superb in winning the Memsie Stakes first up, beat key chance in this race Fawkner second up and was very good going back to 1400m last start. Has been almost flawless this campaign, only doubt is the 2000m, with one previous start at the distance when sixth in the Rosehill Guineas, keep in mind the race was run on a heavy 9. Is favourite and obviously a massive chance.

11. Dear Demi- Flashed home first up over 1200m and a win over Commanding Jewel last start is proof that the mare has come back in terrific order. Hard to tell what her best distance is, but a good second in the Mackinnon last year and her form this campaign means she is a good chance.

12. Kirramosa- Not sure how well the Crown Oaks-winning mare is going this time in, runs have been average finishing mid-field in both her starts. Won a Wakeful over this distance last year, but this field is a lot tougher. Can’t see her winning, or running into the places.

Suggested Bet

Keen on Fawkner here and think price is generous. Only other horse I could back at the current odds is Criterion.