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Lexus Newmarket Handicap preview

The highlight of the Victorian autumn, or as it is currently titled, 'The Festival of Racing', is Super Saturday at Flemington. Seems to be a lot of Super Saturdays around these days. Anyway, this one contain the Newmarket and the Australian Cup, on a card with several other black-type races.

Returning to the blog after a successful debut is the team from @puntingstars. Read more of their work on their website.

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Lexus Newmarket Handicap
Group 1, AU$1,250,000, 1200m
Flemington R7
Saturday, 1555 local, 0455 GMT


A field of thirteen will contest this year's Newmarket Handicap down the famous 'straight six' at fabulous Flemington.

It would be fair to say it's not exactly the field punters would have imagined three months ago with the likes of Flying Artie, Supido, Chautauqua and English all not appearing in the final field.

Despite criticism from a few pundits during the week, we thought the track last week at Flemington played incredibly well and are expecting more of the same with the rail remaining in the true position.

Straight races are a different beast to races around the circle but with little wind forecast it should play pretty even with a possibility that horses drawn inside will dart across to the home straight rail

The speed in the race will come from the likes of Sheidel (barrier 3) who's fresh an all the way victory in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate, Star Turn (11) who was game down the straight in the Lightning and perhaps Voodoo Lad (2).

Joao Moreira jumps aboard Extreme Choice (13) which is an enormous upgrade from Craig Newitt, particularly following the negative ride in the Oakleigh Plate. The horse was a very late nomination and he didn't seem to handle Flemington well at his only visit in the Spring but with the Magic Man on and drawn to stalk the leaders he must be respected. The run at Caulfield was huge given the other placegetters settled first and second in the run and Newitt came from the second half of the field to dive late.

The old stager Terravista had too much zip for them in the Lightning and is yet to miss a place in six visits to Flemington. He clearly loves the straight and is a proven top line performer. Drawn out with Corey Brown on top he'll be ridden cold and have the last crack at them.

Spieth draws the inside alley with Hugh Bowman on. He's our top-rated runner in the race but the horse might need a 'Flying Artie Coolmore' type ride from Bowman if all the runners head across to the rail and he gets trapped a few pairs back. The horse is flying and his run fresh was super, enjoys Flemington and will be hard to beat here.

The Quarterback will be back near last attempting to fly home and become a back-to-back winner of the Newmarket. He presents in here fresh and we'd be prepared to risk him with Newitt aboard.

Sheidel is as honest as the day is long but let's not beat around the bush. She was aided by wind, negative rides and track conditions in the Oakleigh Plate but still got the job done. Credit to her and the Hayes team for riding positive. We prefer her round a bend where she can slingshot but she will run well again that's for sure. Not much fat in the price at $8 but you'd be very brave to lay her.

DK Weir's only runner in the race is Voodoo Lad who's drawn inside and presents here fresh and faces a task to run a place. He's probably more of a 1400m horse and doesn't have the traditional platform to compete but Mr Weir can certainly produce them in big races. In saying that, he won't make our final numbers.

A really intriguing runner is Illustrious Lad who came of age last preparation and all of a sudden blossomed from a fringe Saturday horse to a fringe Group 1 horse. His run first up was very solid, drops 5.5kgs and goes up to a more suitable 1200m in this race. He's drawn ideally and is a legitimate chance.

Tivaci has been kept fresh for this assignment after being stretched out to 2000m last preparation. Nice record track and distance and he can run a place at nice odds.

Star Turn gets winkers for the first time after a sound effort in the Lightning. Second-up runs have been solid but at $6.50 there seems very little value in the price. Looking elsewhere for value but certainly can win.

A mare we have a lot of time for is Super Cash who's drawn nicely but does face a challenge in this field. Great win first-up and has ran well down the straight. Can see her getting to a silly each-way quote and like Tivaci is a place bet/exotic option.

Counterattack looks out of his depth in a race like this and Redkirk Warrior will need to improve on his Australian figures to threaten. Inspector is just making up the numbers.

Overall it looks a fairly marginal race from a betting perspective but if you get into the market at the right time it can be a profitable one.

Suggested betting plan (100 unit bank)

Spieth @ Best Of The Best (assessed price of 3.50) x 0.50 unit win
Extreme Choice @ BOB (assessed 4.80) x 0.40 unit win
Illustrious Lad @ BOB (assessed 6.5) x 0.30 unit win

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