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Sir John Monash Stakes preview

Sir John Monash Stakes preview
By Mitch Fenton

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Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking

Group racing action returns to Melbourne town on Saturday with the running of the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes, over 1100m at Caulfield under weight for age conditions.

It's typically not a hotly contested race, by Group 3 standard, with most horses either in form 'winter warriors' stepping up for a crack at stakes grade or 'B & C grade' sprinters kicking off early to try and pinch a nice cheque before the real stars return to action.

This year's race fits a similar bill, with a field of just nine accepting to contest the 'time-honoured' Caulfield Sprint.

The short-priced early favourite for the race is three year old Danerich colt, LORD OF THE SKY, trained by Robbie Laing at Cranbourne. And straight from the off I'm willing to say the fact this three year old is $2.25 is early markets makes it an attractive betting race, because I simply don't have that high an opinion of the horse.

I've got him pinned down as a one dimensional "speedy squib" who if he doesn't get the favours up on top of the speed, can't win. Maybe I am being too harsh when appraising the horse? But it's certainly not from a 'wallet' perspective.

I went head first into him at $1.50 1st up last prep around this venue, and whilst he won, he was far from impressive beating average opposition.

On the 1st of February he stepped up to Open Listed company in the listed Adams Stakes at Flemington, and against quality opposition was thrashed, never in the race with a hope at any stage.

Last time out he was too slick over the 1000m around Caulfield winning an open handicap & defeating Elite Elle in the process. But there are two knocks on the horse out of that win, both major in my opinion.

It was 1000m - his only try past 1000m was over 1118m on debut at Werribee where he finished 4th in behind some very poor opposition, when viewed from a Gr3 perspective.

He carried a tiny 51.5kg last start with the claim and rises an enormous 7.5kg, whilst rising steeply in grade. In fact the most he's carried in any of his 4 wins has been 55.5kg in a 3yo Bm78 win.

Simply can't have him even though it does look like he maps well out in front. 1100m - no. Up hugely in weight - no. WFA - no. Class - no. $2.25 is crazy and I'll be laying him on Betfair for plenty!

My clear top pick in the race is horse 6. AFRICAN PULSE.

Just look at his 1st up record. Six starts, five wins. He's that good first up I remember the stable having a plonk on him to beat Sepoy fresh, although he was subsequently scratched.....he did still come out and win first up when produced.

His only first up miss was intact last time out, when a very gallant fourth behind Shamal Wind in the Adams.

Here's where I'm at even more of a loss to explain the prices, because as mentioned Lord of the Sky ran in the Adams. He was 13th beaten 7.7L. African Pulse in the same race was fourth beaten 3L. African Pulse beat Lord of the Sky 3.7L that day AND carried 3.5kg more than him.

So under the Winter WFA scale, he meets the short-priced favourite 3kg better at the weights having beaten him nearly 4L at their last clash. Just doesn't add up. Maybe I'm missing something? But it's Africa all the way for me. Very confident he'll run well fresh as per the programme!!

The real and definite danger to African Pulse comes in the form of South Aussie galloper RIZIZ.

He was Group 1 placed two starts back in the Goodwood at Morphettville behind Smokin' Joey who subsequently was nearly the run of the race in a hotly contested Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane. That form is top grade!

He's won once and placed once from three goes at 1100m so the journey is no problem, nor is the weight fro age scale of the race. His problem MAY well be Caulfield. It's a very very tough track to negate, especially the first time a horse races on it. There's a long run down the side into what is almost a 90 degree corner leading into the straight. The old adage 'got lost around Caulfield' is very easy to understand!

He'll be spotting African Pulse a start and there doesn't look to be too much tempo in the race, but if he can balance up within a length or two of the leaders he can finish all over the top.

The others to make up the nine are;
READY TO RIP- who is a definite chance in the race. By no means hopeless and is in the best barn!
MORANT- Making up the numbers
LE BONSIR- Gr1 placed but struggles around Caulfield, in actual fact, make that struggles away from Moonee Valley.
MR MAKE BELIEVE- Needs it very wet, older, not sure any wiser.
GOOD VALUE- Bit of an unknown but would need to go to another level to get near them
JOHANNAPINE- Has lost any resemblance of form.

I'm keen to play here though!

AFRICAN PULSE straight out.....with a saver on the Exacta RIZIZ / AFRICAN PULSE.

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