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This could just be the best sprint race I have ever seen. There's no Black Caviar but, by crikey, the depth behind her is exceptional. Out of 23 runners, there are only a handful I genuinely give no hope to. This will be a very important form race for Royal Ascot as several of these intended to travel over.

From the top:

Hay List: entitled to be called the second-best sprinter in the world, with his last five defeats being behind the mighty mare. He's the only horse to have challenged her, and he's done that twice. Has to carry WFA here with 58.5. That impost is not the concern, it's the relative weights against some class runners which make him backable here. A career best may not be enough.

Albert The Fat: Group I winner of the Emirates Stks (1600m) back in the spring, as well as over 1200. Has improved since switching to the Chris Waller stable, will get back and fly home but think he's a bit high in the weights to give him a leading chance.

Toorak Toff: Group I hcp winner over 1400m at Caulfield in the spring. Not great record at Flemington but has been close up at 1200-1400. Reminds me a little of the great Planet Ruler in the late 80s - a 'specialist' miler who won both the Newmarket and the Salinger G1 handicaps powering home. Not the mpPppost consistent but has the talent.

Beaded: exceptional record missing the place just once in 23 starts, won the Doomben G1 10,000 at WFA last autumn. High up in the weights for a mare, only 2.5kg off what BC carried last year to win. Drawn well, should get a great sit behind class on-pace runners. Right in this.

Eagle Falls: won Salinger 09 down the straight, won Oakleigh Plate 2010. No luck at all when ran last in this year's Oakleigh Plate, just never saw daylight. Trainer rates him best this time of year and is flying. Massive price, genuine blowout chance.

Rain Affair: Sydney's new star having won 10 of his 11 starts, we don't really know how good he is. The few times he has been tested, he has dug deep and won. Has started fav at every start, only twice at 'black' odds. Big chance, especially if track races fair down both sides as track curator suggests.

Woorim: came from last at the 200m to win the Oakleigh Plate a fortnight ago. Only won one from nine at the distance but several on both sides of that so it's just an anomaly. Fast pace ensured here drawn next to Rain Affair, needs a clear run when it counts.
Buffering: hasn't won down the straight from four tries but the last two have been against Black Caviar at WFA (carrying 2kg more), beaten 3.8 and 2.8L. Meets Hay List 4kg better for 2L in the Lightning, 1.5kg worse for a nose against Foxwedge. Very rare he carries a weight this light. Massive price considering.

King's Rose: star mare in the Moody stable being aimed at a UK campaign later in the year. Won the Memsie (1400m) first-up in the spring, beating mostly resuming stayers. Trainer is talking her up, class will take her a long way.

Temple of Boom: three-time winner down the Flemington straight, progressing from Listed to G3 to G2. Hard task to complete the set, but was only nosed out in the Salinger in the spring, carrying 56.5kg. Honest but just out of his depth here I think.

Grand Nirvana: top class WA sprinter, another with no luck at all in the Oakleigh Plate so forget the run. Multiple G3 winner and not carried this weight in a long time but think he's a few lengths off these now.

Waratah's Secret: trainer said he got on the plane because Hay List's connections said he wasn't going to run. As per Grand Nirvana, wins plenty of G3s in Perth but not quite good enough for these.

Lone Rock: Fastnet Rock mare with a rapidly improving profile. Ran home well for fifth in the Lightning, unleashed a huge run to win the Bobbie Lewis over same C&D in September, beating Bel Sprinter and won the G1 Goodwood back in May. Glen Boss aboard, great chance.

Bel Sprinter: missed start and ruined his chances in Oakleigh Plate, held up in traffic, never really got clear. Has won five of seven starts, my biggest concern is the jockey - is Ben Melham a Group 1 jockey, especially in a 23 horse field? Capable but perhaps a touch of unders. MORNING SCRATCHING

Facile Tigre: close up in the Oakleigh Plate, won a weaker race in a field of 20 down the straight in the spring. Great record second up. Think he's still a bit untapped, has a chance but his price is a touch of unders considering his record so far and the opposition.

Rock Classic: third-up after an 18 month spell. Has touch of class, having won the Australian Guineas in 2010, but being a gelding, he's back to the track. Hasn't run a place this campaign but drops 9.5kg on last run when had no luck behind Liveandletdie. Never underestimate JB Cummings, but surely not..

Liveandletdie: has won three from four down the straight six but surely the class rise here is too great.
Master of Design: one of many hard luck stories from the Oakleigh Plate, beaten 2L into ninth without ever seeing daylight. Injured in only run down the straight. Another blowout hope.

Metallurgical: outclassed at first glance but look a bit deeper. Meets Hay List 6.5kg and Foxwedge 1kg better for 6.4 and 4.3L defeats in the Lightning when first-up. At last run before spell, he never saw daylight in the Salinger, going to the line under a tight hold (started 50/1), beaten a length. On the class side of the track, will get a great cart into the race. Worth including in exotics at a huge price.

Mr Chard: nice horse but not against these. Can confidently say he won't get anywhere near them.

Phelan Ready: winner of only two races, the 2yo Magic Millions and Golden Slipper, so he has a massive prizemoney return ($3.5m) for a poor conversion % (2 from 27). Needs luck in running with space to get out late. Could he blouse them on the line at an enormous price?

Foxwedge: the flying 3yo who marked himself as a big chance in this race when running Sepoy close at level weights on Derby Day. Fourth in the Lightning behind BC, Hay List and Buffering, and meets those who back up on better terms. Cruised to an easy victory in a jumpout down the straight on Monday. Will be a big media story if he wins thanks to the historic court case which just went against his trainer (who is contemplating retirement as a result). Have liked him since the spring, backed him a month ago, still my top pick although not as clearly as I'd have hoped.

African Pulse: handy 3yo colt who beat Karuta Queen down the straight in the spring. Caught three wide on the pace in the Oakleigh Plate, was entitled to do a bit more, beaten 2.5L. That was worst result of career, he goes quick but surely outclassed.


On the inside rail it's likely to be Rain Affair and Buffering setting a cracking pace, with Toorak Toff stalking and Woorim & Kings Rose flying home late.

On the outside, it could be African Pulse leading the likes of Hay List, Foxwedge, Facile Tigre, Master of Design and Metallurgical, with Bel Sprinter, Beaded, Lone Rock and Phelan Ready not far behind, Eagle Falls primed to swoop.

What happens from there is anyone's guess!!

I rate them:

Lone Rock
Eagle Falls
Master of Design
Hay List
Rain Affair
Facile Tigre
Bel Sprinter OUT
Phelan Ready
Toorak Toff
Waratah's Secret
King's Rose
African Pulse
Grand Nirvana
Temple Of Boom
Rock Classic
Albert The Fat
Mr Chard

but I'll be going as wide as I could afford in exotics! Good luck.


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