Another of the G1s on the card at Caulfield is the Futurity Stakes for open age WFA gallopers. Another excellent field has paid up to run, without a dominant favourite. Recalled to the blog after a two-year absence is Darryl Frenc, @winningpunter1, the expert behind the winningpunter.org site.
italktravel Futurity Stakes
G1, WFA, AU$500,000
Caulfield, Saturday 24/2/18, 1400m
1525 local, 0425 GMT
Tough race! Six runners are coming out of the messy C.F Orr Stakes.
First I thought I would quickly go into my thoughts about the C.F Orr Stakes. Even with the headwinds it was still run in slow time. So many runners we able to travel well within their comfort zones. That’s why we saw them all being able to sprint late. There was only 3.5L between first and last. Which is never a good sign.
In my opinion, there are only two horses who I could back at their next start and that is Hartnell and Brave Smash. Hartnell worked throughout the early sectionals whilst being no closer than three wide the trip. He travelled on average four lengths further than the horses that placed second-sixth. It was an outstanding effort.
Brave Smash lobbed into a good spot but then got shuffled back. Had to get across heels halfway down the straight but then was still going strongly through the line. Was in front past the post.
The biggest issue with a race like the C.F Orr is which horses now have a good enough fitness platform to come out and improve on that run. They’re a risk from my point of view and I’ll be taking them on looking to get an edge on runners that aren’t coming off the flashing light runs.
There isn’t much speed in this. Lord Of The Sky the only horse who will go forward. Will get an uncontested lead. Dunn will push forward on Showtime. Hopefully, has him sitting outside and off the lead. Looks an average tempo and the best spot with the most advantaged positions being within three lengths of the lead.
Early markets have four runners in single figures while I have Three, Brave Smash, Showtime and Mighty Boss.
Tosen Stardom - Has the SP on his side starting favourite in the C.F Orr. Pushed 5 wide and then started over racing. The next comment is from the steward's report. “ A post race veterinary examination revealed the horse to have a poor recovery, heat stress and the thumps.”
If he was at 100% he’d be very hard to beat in this. However, I won’t be on him. After that run, I’ be surprised if he doesn’t race flat in this. If anyone could get the horse to bounce back it’d be Weir. He took him straight out of Australian Cup contention though so I’d say things aren’t all great with Tosen Stardom.
Humidor - Never won first up. First and Second up last prep over 1400m was beaten more than Five lengths on both occasions. Great horse but won’t be ready to win here.
Brave Smash - Only had two starts under the mile before coming to Australia. He was kept to 1200m runs here until finally stepping out to 1400m last start. I think we’re going to see his best getting out in trip. He has the ability to run strong sustained 600m+ sprints much like a good middle distance horse. I liked the way he sprung out of the gates last start. Ended up in the best spot, however, gave that up to trail Tshahitsi. Unfortunately for him this time Tshahitsi was restrained so he ended up unable to build momentum. If he jumps well again he can be one out one back sitting outside Mighty Boss in the perfect spot. From there the tempo will suit perfectly and Williams just needs to build into the race.
Lord Of The Sky - Missed the start then worked to the front and put in a big effort. However was definitely flattered by the slow tempo. Tempo suits him here and Robbie Laing's runners are all doing two lengths better than average. So big positives on his side. I can’t back him in a 1400m G1 though. He started $51 last start. If any pressure comes at him he’ll fold. Don’t think he can do enough mid-race to stop the big runs coming from horses like Brave Smash.
Sovereign Nation - Stamped himself as a serious competitor last prep. Has to do it at WFA now which is an unknown. Has first up ratings strong enough to compete in this. He did not look wound up at his recent trial which is a big negative. He’ll need to be closer to the speed than he normally is to win this. Considering he doesn’t look wound up I don’t see that happening. I’ll be waiting until he gets to Flemington before I back him.
Mr Sneaky - Maps poorly. Needs a very fast tempo and won’t get that here.
Wyndspelle - No wins in Australia and can’t see why that would change here.
Snitzson - Caulfield 1400m won’t suit. Too far back and doesn’t have the talent to run them down in these conditions.
Shillelagh - Has the best sprint in the race and at her peak could definitely win this. Sat out the back in the C.F Orr, got going late with a nice acceleration late. She would’ve been much better suited in a high-pressure 1400m. At WFA over 1400m at Caulfield, she’d need every single thing to go away. Chance with lots of luck but I won’t be backing her.
Mighty Boss - The flashing light run in the C.F Orr. He did enough to say that his run Guineas win at $101 wasn’t a total fluke. He got the perfect run in transit though and was entitled to be finishing off well. He’s definitely a chance in this but I can’t have him at the price.
Showtime - He can win this! First up run was outstanding off the back of some great trials. It was a clear PB that should give him a solid fitness platform to perform on. Has three runs against Mighty Boss, forgive in the Guineas and has the SP and win over him in both other starts. Here he maps perfectly with a race shape to suit. Dunn can have him travelling comfortably close to the lead. He can take over with strong mid-race sectionals and run them into the ground.
At the current prices, there are two runners I want to back and they are Brave Smash and Showtime. I’ll be backing them to return 4% of my bank on rated prices ( 100 Unit Bank ). If my assessed prices don’t change between now and race start I will be having 1.3 Units on Brave Smash and 0.8 Units on Showtime.