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The feature race of the today and, like it is almost every year, it’s filled with a quality field of sixteen runners plus four emergencies. Several of the entrants we’ve seen already this week and it’s hard to know with any great certainty whether this was their primary race or if they are just having a second bit of the Spring Carnival cherry. Regardless, it makes for a great race with the early favourite at Fawkner at $4.60 with no less than five runners at $7.00 on the second line of betting.

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Emirates Stakes Form Guide

 1. FAT AL – T Berry (5)

Winner of the G1 Epsom Handicap at his last start and in the process, taking his career tally to six wins from ten starts. He’s a tough on-pacer who has drawn perfectly in gate five and whilst he’ll be kept honest with several competitors also keen to roll forward, he’s a winner and has proven in the past that he is very hard to run down.

Odds: $7.50


2. HAPPY TRIALS – D Oliver (10)

A deserved winner of the G2 Dato Tan (beating Green Moon) at Moonee Valley three starts back over a mile before an honest effort in the G1 Turnball and a tenth in the Cox Plate – both over 2000m. He’s better suited back to the mile and given he’s a WFA winner, in well at the weights with 58kgs. Not hopeless at $15.00

Odds: $7.50
3. PLAYING GOD – S Parnham (1)

Western Australian galloper who ran same nice races when he came across last Spring including a third in the G1 Turnball Stakes behind December Draw. He heads into this race with a two runs under his belt in WA after a seven month spell with the latest of them a closing third, over 1200m. Has the ability but comes into this race on a light preparation.

Odds: $7.50


4. SOLZHENITSYN – C Brown (2)

Hasn’t ran a bad race in four runs this prep and claimed the G1 Toorak Handicap two starts back over this distance. He didn’t have a great deal of luck or room in running at his next start when third behind Silent Achiever and Rangirangdoo in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley. Gets a lovely run from gate two and is a definite contender.

Odds: $7.50


5. WALL STREET – S Arnold (13)

An 8yo who put in a good effort last Saturday in the Tab.com.au Stakes and behind Fawkner, finishing third beaten two and half lengths. That was his first run in nine weeks so a bit of a surprise to see him back up so quickly. He ran sixth in this race last year and won back 2010 by a pimple over Dao Dao.

Odds: $7.50


6. AMBIDEXTER –      (7)

Excellent when resuming in the Theo Marks Stakes in Sydney three runs back, beaten Fat Al narrowly before he had the tables turned on him in the Epsom – beaten a head. Competed for the first time the Victorian way of going last start in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley and finished fifth of seven (beaten 2.6). The tight Valley circuit and the WFA conditions probably found him out there – expecting a much better here at the bigger Flemington circuit.

Odds: $7.50


7. HE’S REMARKABLE – G Boss (14)

He won the G3 Newmarket Handicap in good style first up back in the Autumn but failed miserably in two subsequent starts and was sent back home to NZ. He’s had three runs thus far this time in for Roger James (Silent Achiever) with the most recent being a third in the G1 Spring Classic at Hastings (NZ). Has the ability and respect the fact that the stable have brought him across but can be hard to catch and would want a few dollars more than the $9.00 on offer.

Odds: $7.50


8. SECRET ADMIRER – J McDonald (20)

She lines up for her second start this week and fourth in the past month. She was caught in traffic last week in the Myer Classic and only got clear late to finish well for a half length third to Appearance. Should’ve gone close last week – had she won, would they be backing her up here? Also has gate 20 to contend with.

Odds: $7.50


9. STREAMA – J Bowman (16)

She started favourite in the Myer Classic last Saturday after her impressive performance in the G2 Tristarc at Caulfield the start before. Unlike the Tristarc however, she was kept honest in front last Saturday and was a spent force when they hit the furlong and finished eighth, beaten 3.1kgs. Doesn’t get any weight relief despite taking on the boys from last start and drawn wide.

Odds: $7.50


10. FAWKNER – N Hall (3)

He is three from three this prep including two Listed race wins and at his most recent start, the G3 Tab.com.au Stakes (1400m). They went hard in that race and it played into his hands as he mowed them down inside the last furlong running close to track record time. Not doubting his ability but of concern is where he’ll be from his inside draw. Given that factor, thought he’d be a point or two longer than his current quote.

Odds: $7.50


11. HAPPY ZERO – D Dunn (6)

Former Hong Kong galloper who has had ten starts now in Australia with the best of them being a third in the G1 Stradbroke Handicap in June. Not bad first up in The Shorts, which has proven a good form race and then not suited to the Caulfield track last time out behind Whateverwhenever. He should be doing his best work late and worth throwing in as value for any multiples.

Odds: $7.50


12. ROLLING PIN – L Nolen (19)

He has been in career best form this time in and claimed the G3 Cameron Handicap and G2 Shannon Stakes in succession before a close up third in the G1 Epsom Handicap behind Fat Al. Went around here on Saturday in an unsuitable 1200m event but that was only a hit-out for this but unfortunately, they’ve come up with gate 19.

Odds: $7.50


13. YOSEI – M Rodd (8)

Group 1 winning mare that hasn’t had much luck in any of her recent starts. She was a fast finishing third to Solzhenitsyn in the G1 Toorak Handicap and than, last Saturday, was last on the fence when they turned for home in the Myer Classic and had little luck thereafter, finishing second to last. Smart on her day and deserves a change of luck.

Odds: $7.50


14. PEAR TART – C Munce (15)

Patinack Farm mare who ran a good race second up behind Streama in the G2 Tristarc after settling in her preferred position of on pace. Didn’t get that opportunity last Saturday in the Myer Classic from her wider gate and just held her position in the run to the line finishing eleventh of thirteen. At her best when allowed to lead but has drawn wide here and won’t be able to hold them off late if she does.

Odds: $7.50


15. SMOKIN’ JOEY – J Cassidy (4)

Chased home Moment of Change, We’re Gonna Rock and Solzhenitzyn second up in the G1 Rupert Clarke before getting too far back in the Listed Weekend Hussler as 7/2 favourite. Interestingly he was taken to Sale for his last start and under 60kgs, ran fourth (beaten 1.9) to the inform Sertorius. Drops significantly in weight today and going on his Rupert Clarke run, from a good draw, would be one of the better roughies in the race.

Odds: $7.50


16. SPIRIT SONG – C Williams (12)

She’s an inform mare and given her last start placings in the G1 Toorak and G3 Tesio Stakes, she won’t be without her supporters. Chased home Star of Giselle last start under 58.5kgs so gets a nice weight drop in this race but it is still 2.5kgs more than she had to carry in the Toorak and she had every chance on that occasion

Odds: $7.50


17. FREE WHEELING –       (11) (EM)

He had every chance when resuming in the Listed Heading Out at Caulfield on 1000 Guineas Day and won accordingly before stepping out in the Tab.com.au Stakes last Saturday. Loomed up to the leaders in good style but was no match for Fawkner who had tracked him through, over the last furlong. First go at the mile but gives every impression it’ll suit, also drawn a little more favourably than Fawkner for mine.

Odds: $7.50


18. STAR OF GISELLE – C Newitt (18) (EM)

She’s a very much in-form mare who has won a RST 89, Listed Race-Tech and at her most recent start, G3 Tesio Stakes in succession. She’ bowls along out in front and makes her own luck, so even if she does get a start, she’ll have to do a bit of work from her horror draw.

Odds: $7.50


19. OVER QUOTA – P Mertens (9) (EM)

7yo who, whilst not winning this prep, has been going well in three backs from a spell including a second in the Seymour Cup behind the smart Callanish and at his most recent start, sixth of eleven behind Sertorius and Smokin’ Joey at Sale. Drops six kilos from that run to here but this it is his first crack at the elite level.

Odds: $7.50


20. STRIKE THE STARS – V Duric (17)

Has shown plenty of ability in his career to date including good performances in the Classic Sydney 3yo races during the Autumn but in two runs back, has been accounted for, admittedly over unsuitably shorter trips. He’ll need luck not only to get a start but also plenty in the run.

Odds: $7.50

The last Group 1 of the Carnival is a beauty and finding the winner will not be an easy task given the calibre and size of the field. It’s for these reasons that I’m steering away from the $4.60 on offer for Fawkner – and the fact that from his inside draw, he may need a bit of luck. I’m sticking with the Epsom form and like the fact that both horses – Fat Al and Ambidexter, come into this race on the fresher side than most of their competitors. Fat Al will be in a good position throughout from his gate and Ambidexter will enjoy the solid pace and Flemington mile. Happy Trials shouldn’t be forgotten and is better suited back to this distance and weight conditions.

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