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Crystal Mile preview

One of my fondest racing memories was going to Cox Plate day in my first year at uni in Melbourne, hungover as hell, missing the first couple of races, backing a horse I'd seen win a trial earlier that week at Cranbourne, on the off chance it would jump to the lead and give me a decent run for my money each-way. That horse was Fendalton at 66/1 (missed the 80s) and David Taggart gave it an absolute peach of a ride. Can guarantee I was the only one in the grandstand standing up and cheering him, with reactions of 'How the f$%* did you back that?' from all around. Ah glory days from that massive bet of a buck each-way!

Enough of the old war stories, back to the action. The Crystal Mile has long been part of Cox Plate day but has only been WFA in recent years. Taking a stab at this year's edition is Austalian racing form student Callum Gogerly, @_gogs10.


Schweppes Crystal Mile
Group 2, WFA, 1600m
Moonee Valley, 1535 AEST, 0535 BST

Speed: Not a lot to report. There is no natural leader, but I suspect Tasbeeh (6) will take up a forward spot. Would expect Royal Rapture (5) to be riding shotgun close to the speed while the favourite The United States (1) will most likely be given time to settle towards the rear of the field.

1. The United States - Second up from a spell after an extremely unlucky effort in The Dato first up. Should have finished much closer, crossing the line with Jameka. He is the proven Group 1 horse in this field. He has had his issues since that run though having been nominated for a number of features but has been found to have mucus on multiple occasions. It will be seven weeks between runs against some fit and in form opposition, but there's no doubting he is the best horse in it. It's your call!

2. Stratum Star - SCRATCHED since time of writing...

3. He Or She - Bizarrely named ex WA horse who has put in some excellent performances thus far this time in, all at Group 1 level. He has finished one position behind Black Heart Bart in his last three runs and if he was in this race he would be an odds on proposition. I see no issues back to a mile and don't be put off by his wet track form. All of his failures of Slow ground have been at Group 1 level, so I don't think we have had a true guide yet. He is yet another with a definite winning hope.

4. Lidari - Roughie in this race who is unfortunately known more for being the horse at the centre of the cobalt investigation. Wasn't too bad over an unsuitable trip first up, which indicates he is ticking over nicely. I doubt he's a winning chance here, but look for him possibly in race like the Sandown Cup (2400m) for Queen Elizabeth (2600m).

5. Royal Rapture - A Darren Weir winning machine. He seems to find one of these every spring and it's amazing how he is able to get them to hold their form so deep into a prep. He was great last time in The Toorak Handicap last time after 5 successive wins. Looks like he will probably get all the favours from the draw tucking in nicely behind the speed. He has to go to WFA and beat a pretty handy field, but I'm not brave enough to discount him and Darren Weir.

6. Tasbeeh- Ran out of his skin in his first two runs this time in, over unsuitable 1200m and in a WFA Group 1 race. His two runs since have been a little disappointing on face value. It looks like the lead will be his if he wants it, but if the expected rain comes that will categorically rule him out if you hadn't put a line through him already.

7. Federal - Good horse. Turns up and runs well in whatever event he is placed in. Was in a bit of a bumping duel on his way to the post last start in a tight finish with his rival Ulmann. He meets that horse 3kg better for a neck defeat. Goes to 1600m for the first time, but the way he closed last time, you have to be confident there shouldn't be any issues. Any rain a positive. Hard to beat.

8. Ulmann - Ahh surprise, surprise, another Darren Weir runner who has been up since July. He showed great determination to stick his neck out at the right time last start beating a couple of his key rivals. He goes to WFA here and although weights don't mean everything (as Royal Rapture has proved), he meets some of the rivals he beat last time much worse off. I'm not sure he is a genuine WFA horse.... yet. In a race where there are lots of chances, he is one that I'm happy to risk.

9. Observational - Scratched

Tips: It's a bit of a tricky race. There are a lot of variables and some different form lines all coming together. If The United States was rock hard fit and had not suffered any set backs I would be with him, but there is just enough doubt there for me to look the other way. It might be a case of right place, right time for Federal. You get each way odds to find out. Stratum Star and He Or She are definite winning chances as well and it doesn't even end there.

1. Federal
2. The United States
3. He Or She


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