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Newmarket Handicap preview

It's Super Saturday at Flemington this weekend, the pinnacle of the Melbourne autumn. The first feature covered on the blog this weekend is Australia's premier sprint handicap, the $1m Newmarket Handicap.

Saddling up again this weekend for the big races is the astute Manny Galouzis, @mannygalouzis.

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Newmarket Handicap
Flemington
$1,000,000, Group 1.
1520 local time, 0420 GMT.
1200m, straight course, track expected to be Good 3-4 range.


Welcome back punters. Unfortunately we couldn't get the job done with Eurozone last week, but that doesn't stop us rolling the dice again. It's Super Saturday at Flemington and this wannabe journalist is excited. Let's kick things off with the time-honoured Newmarket Handicap.

Run down the iconic "straight-six" at Flemington, the Newmarket's honour roll is about as good as it gets. Hay List, Black Caviar, Scenic Blast, Weekend Hussler, Miss Andretti and Takeover Target; just to name a few. Winners of this race have usually gone on to do big things at Royal Ascot in recent years. In more recent times, weights haven't mattered and favourites usually get the chockies, but with winners such as the ones mentioned above, it's easy to see why. With no clear stand out this year, it looks like a dead-set raffle, but that usually just means there is value to be found.

1. Moment of Change

He did the job for the battlers in the Futurity, but it's becoming very clear to me that 1400m around Caulfield is his go. That being said, he is no slouch down the straight. Last year he ran 2nd in both the Lightning and the Newmarket. The step back to 1200m and top weight does worry me though. As good a horse as he is, I can't have him here.

2. Lankan Rupee

The epitome of a progressive horse. He has won five from his last six races, starting off at a BM78 at the Valley and culminating with an ultra-impressive win in the Oakleigh Plate. He is absolutely flying at the moment and has won down the straight before. I think he's a bit short at the 7/2 on offer but he is in this up to his ears.

3. Samaready

Slightly disappointing first up in the Lightning, though she did finish off quite nicely after being put under pressure early. Have to concede she is a big chance here, but think she is short enough. Under the odds.

4. Shamexpress

Big run first up in the Lightning, finishing off quite strongly. Should appreciate the step up to 1200m and seems to relish running down the straight. In a race with plenty of chances, I've got last year's winner on top.

5. Fontelina

Always seems to run well down the straight, could be a touch outclassed here though. Rough place chance.

6. Spirit of Boom

Brilliant in the Oakleigh Plate, he only saw daylight at the 250m mark and when he did, he exploded. Although he has never won down the straight, he has placed multiple times. I think the $17 on offer is way over the odds. He's my second pick and a great each-way chance.

7. General Truce

Started off his prep quite nicely, winning first up at Flemington and then beaten a lip at Caulfield, however he was quite disappointing in the Oakleigh Plate. Might not handle the class rise here, not for me.

8. Pago Rock

He is flying this time in, only beaten 2.3L in the Lightning and beaten a lip by Adamantium last start when coming home with a wet sail. Appreciates the 1200m and David Hayes is just starting to find some form. I'm not sure he can win, but $9 is a big price for a place. Not hopeless.

9. Unpretentious

Decent enough in the Lightning, but honestly don't think he is up to this lot. Pass.

10. Knoydart

Settled a lot further back than I thought he would in the Oakleigh Plate, which was probably his undoing. Flashed home down the outside to grab 3rd, this horse is clearly in a rich vein of form. I've got him equal third pick. He's currently showing $11 and if he gets out any further I could have something small on him. Chance.

11. Albrecht

Returned well first up but this is a decent class rise and it's been a long time between drinks for this horse. Doubt it.

12. Flamberge

Arguably the run of the race in the Oakleigh Plate, when wide without cover throughout. Was entitled to drop out and finish amongst the tail-enders after the horrible run he endured, but he kept fighting to finish fifth beaten only 3L. Has won down the straight before, he could be a place chance at big odds.

13. Mister Milton

He's won two races from 29 starts, I don't think he's going to bring up his 3rd win here.

14. Bernabeu

Not quite sure what to make of his run in the Lightning. He was well backed on the day but he stopped as if he'd been shot by a sniper in the stands. Drops 5.5kg down to the minimum here but I suppose you have to take him on trust. Prefer others.

15. Va Pensiero

Should highball out in front with the postage stamp on his back, but it would be a big surprise if he won here.

I always find it hard to do the speed maps for these races down the straight. I would imagine that the two bottom weights take up the running in front, with Moment of Change not too far away with Lankan Rupee. I don't think they will burn along too hard, so you wouldn't want to be TOO far back in running.

After it's all said and done, this race is very tricky. My ratings are $5.50 the field with five horses in single figures. I'll be betting around the favourites here, taking some exotics and hoping to get a result. I think Spirit of Boom is a big chance at a big price and with as much as $19 currently available, he is a great each-way investment.

Selections:

1. Shamexpress
2. Spirit of Boom
3. Lankan Rupee and Knoydart

Recommended Bet:

Spirit of Boom EACH-WAY and play Quinellas/Trifectas around 2,4,6,8,10,12

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