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Patinack Stakes preview

What a great sprint race we have here, and at weight-for-age too. It's pretty short odds this will be last running of the race under this sponsorship too given Nathna Tinkler's financial troubles at the moment. Often the most competitive sprints are in handicaps because there's a star in the mix, this time there are many top class sprinters, and no Black Caviar or Hay List, so the form needs to be analysed thoroughly. Once again, the very talented Michael Courts, @mtcourts, takes the reins.

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The four-day Flemington carnival closes with Emirates Stakes Day, a day headlined by two Group 1 races: the eponymous race over a mile, and the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) down the straight. The great mare Black Caviar has won the two previous renewals of the latter race, but with her absent this year it looms as a competitive betting proposition with some of Australia’s top sprinters engaged.

In saddlecloth order, here is a runner-by-runner preview of the Patinack. Let’s hope we can find the winner to take us out of the carnival on a good note.

#1 Buffering had a rare off night in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes last time out, fading into sixth. On face value, and given he started close to odds-on, he was disappointing, but he got pestered in front by Satin Shoes when he probably needed a softish lead before stacking them up on the bend. His straight track form is outstanding without winning – beaten only by a couple of handy types named Black Caviar and Hay List at his last three runs here – and I’m confident he’ll bounce back and win if right. Top pick.

#2 Temple of Boom is the first of the two ‘Boom’ brothers for Tony Gollan and is a horse who loves the straight and has been aimed at this race since the start of his prep. His prep runs have been OK without screaming ‘back me next time’, and while he could use a spot of rain on what’s been a firm Flemington track, he’s in with a chance.

#3 Spirit of Boom comes in with better form this prep than his more heralded half-brother, and was seriously unlucky in the Yellowglen (formerly the Salinger) over this track/trip on Derby Day. I suspect while he’s not without a hope, he’d prefer a handicap over wfa and the inside draw is a worry given how the track played on Thursday.

#4 Ready to Rip is a former Queenslander who has impressed in his first prep for Peter Moody, who has been successful in this race the past two years. However I don’t think he’s up to these class-wise, unless the rain comes.

#5 Mental got the suck run along the rails in the Manikato Stakes first-up and smashed the line to finish second to Sea Siren. It’s often said you need to be able to run a strong 1400 to be competitive down the straight and in a high-pressure Group 1 like this will prove no exception to that rule. Mental ticks that box and is a definite winning hope.

#6 Tiger Tees is another who comes out of the Yellowglen last weekend where he stuck on well for third. In the past he’s raced best when his starts have been spaced, but the decision to back him up from a smart stable should be respected. I think he’s a touch below these in terms of class, though.

#7 Bel Sprinter was once thought of as the heir apparent to Black Caviar and Hay List as Australia’s finest sprinter, but he’s been mixing his form lately. His best form has been around a bend, and his run in the Gilgai was ultra disappointing here yet he did have the inside gate on that occasion. I’m (not so bravely, given his price!) potting him in this.

#8 Fontelina won the Yellowglen last weekend at the relatively unfancied quote of $13. While he rises 4.5kg to wfa this week, I feel he is silly odds ($26) for a horse clearly on the up and certain to take improvement from that run. Best roughie in the race to my eye.

#9 Howmuchdoyouloveme has been at the centre of a ‘tubing’ investigation all week that started on Saturday morning and probably caused his alarming betting drift in the Yellowglen, where he was the first horse beaten. His win first-up in the Caulfield Sprint was very smart but I’ve got a big question mark over the quality of that field. I think if he was right he’d be up to his eyeballs in this race but the remaining doubts over his fitness make him difficult to have with any confidence.

#10 Sea Siren comes in as favourite after what ended up being a soft win from a classic Jim Cassidy ride in the Manikato Stakes. She got everything in her favour that night and is nothing if not a winner, with three G1s and a G2 to her name from just nine starts. She shouldn’t have any problems handling the straight and is on a trial for a trip to Hong Kong for the international sprint next month. Has to rate very highly.

#11 Hallowell Belle has been super consistent since returning to the Gai Waterhouse stable, missing a place just once (when fourth last start to Sea Siren) in eight runs for the Lady Trainer. She won the Gilgai here impressively last month and gets Craig Williams to steer. It’s hard to see her turning the tables on Sea Siren based on the Valley run with no weight pull but I have her in for third here, and it wouldn’t shock if she wins. Include in quaddies.

#12 Satin Shoes is the despised outsider of the field at $81 and it’s definitely hard to make a case for her other than an in-form jockey and stable. If she can get a soft lead, maybe a rough place chance but she does tend to fall away at this point in her preparation.

#13 Lone Rock is a Group 3 winner down the straight and a Group 1 winner in Adelaide but it’s hard to see her causing an upset here, and at $19 even looks unders to me. Hasn’t run a place in over a year and beaten into last (though by not far) last time out. No.

#14 Fire Thunderbolt is the first of two three year olds, both of which are backing up after unplaced performances in the Coolmore Stud Stakes last weekend. He hit the line OK for seventh after being stuck behind some tired horses and the weight pull he gets here on older horses at wfa is significant, but I think he’s just too raw for something this tough.

#15 Snitzerland is the other three year old in the race after her fifth in last week’s Coolmore where she looked to have every possible chance. I wrote last week she looked a tired horse based on her Blue Sapphire run (and she raced accordingly last weekend), so I can’t fathom why she’s being backed up. Significant weight pull but looking for the spelling paddock, surely.

Selections: I am tipping an upset, and going for Buffering to finally get that Group 1 and turn the tables on Sea Siren – but not by much. I have Hallowell Belle in for third and Fontelina is well overs, while the ‘Boom’ brothers and Mental should be thereabouts. Best of luck all!

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