An excellent day’s racing will be rounded out with the running of the Let’s Elope Stakes for the mares. As is the case with most of these mares races, this is a wide open affair with $6.50 the field being offered. The current favourite is A Time For Julia but there are a further nine runners quoted at a price up to $13.00.
1. QUINTESSENTIAL – J McDonald (17)
Winner of the Qld Oaks in 2012, the New Zealand mare returned to Brisbane this year to claim the G3 Chairman’s Handicap and G2 Eagle Farm Cup (defeating Manighar) before running second to Moriarty in the G2 Brisbane Cup. That was the last time we’ve seen the daughter of Fast’n’Famous. She generally requires a run or two before producing her best and has drawn a horror gate.
2. DEAR DEMI – C Williams (8)
G1 VRC Oaks winner from last year who in the time since that win, has added the G2 Surround Stakes and G3 The Roses to her resume. She’s only had a brief let-up of eleven weeks since her Brisbane campaign and trainer Clarry Conners has ensured she’ll be wound up for a good first up effort by giving her two barrier trails in the past month. The most recent of which she has won. She can never be left out in races like this.
3. TALENT SHOW – J Noske (7)
Western Australian stayer who returned to racing from a twenty week spell with a pleasing second of six runners in the Listed Goodwood Spring (1300m) at Belmont Park a fortnight ago. That was well short of her best distance and the effort pleased connections enough to come to come to Victoria with her for the first time. Hard to line up her form but her record suggests her best distances are at a mile plus.
4. COMMANDING JEWEL – B Melham (3)
Winner of the G1 Thousand Guineas last October and we then didn’t see the daughter of Commands until a fortnight ago at Moonee Valley. From a good draw she had her chance over a 1000m but didn’t have the ping required to take advantage of her run. No doubt she’ll strip fitter for that effort and the step up to 1400m is a plus. Drawn to get a lovely run from gate three and is not to be overlooked.
5. OASIS BLOOM – S Arnold (4)
Smart mare who was in fine form this time last year winning the G2 Stocks Stakes and running fourth (beaten less than a length) to Appearance in the G1 Myer Classic. We’ve only seen the Al Maher mare once since the Myer and that was in the G3 Cockram Stakes as Caulfield three weeks ago. She had a nice run in transit and stuck on well to finish seventh (beaten 2 ½ lengths) behind in-form Octavia. She too will benefit greatly from that first hit-out in almost a year and is capable of showing significant improvement here.
6. BONARIA – M Rodd (13)
Winner of the G3 Schweppes Trophy (1600m) at this track back in March, taking her record for Flemington to 6:2-1-1. She too resumed in the Cockram Stakes three weeks ago and was making very good ground late, in traffic. Will get back from her draw and the track will have to be allowing back-makers to get home and should that be the case, she’s definitely one for inclusion.
7. OCTAVIA – D Dunn (10)
A super consistent mare form Mike Moroney’s yard who, at her most recent start, claimed the Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield three weeks ago. She lead them out in the Cockram but tackles the 1400m for the first time in her career and, with a big field opposing her here, she’ll be kept honest in front. The last furlong will be her biggest test.
8. CATSKINS – C Newitt (11)
Smart Dubawi mare from Chris Waller Stables who has won six of her twelve starts. She went within a half length of making her strike rate better than 50% when first up last start, she had every chance in the run and beat home all bar the in-from Velrosso. Second up last prep she started 15/4 fav in the G3 Birthday Card Stakes and after getting her chance in the run, finished eighth behind Arinosa. Drawn awkwardly and first go at the Melbourne way.
9. THY – (1)
She was spelled after finishing mid-field in the Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick in April but seems to have certainly appreciated the break judging by her outstanding win first up in the Listed Regal Roller (1400m) at Caulfield three weeks back. From near last the Peter Moody trained mare flashed home to secure a length win over the ever consistent That’s The One. Supports a fantastic second up record of 3:2-1-0 and couldn’t see any reason why she would go on with it here.
10. ALZORA – C Schofield (12)
Resumes here and when kicking off her last campaign, claimed the G3 The Vanity this track/trip before going on to run fourth in the Kewney behind Flying Snitzel and Norzita. We haven’t seen her at the trials but that was also the case prior to The Vanity. Drawn wide and from the Flemington 1400m start, will require some luck to find a position in the run.
11. GLOBAL BALANCE – S Baster (2)
Stable-mate to Alzora, this daughter of Redoute’s Choice hasn’t been seen at the races since finishing ninth of fifteen in the G1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) behind Maybe Discreet. The start prior to the Oaks she had gotten the better of Maybe Discreet and claimed the G3 Schweppes Stakes (1800m). Will get a long way back form the inside draw and have to run down most of them in the straight to be winning here.
12. JUST DISCREET – D Tourneur (14)
A smart Adelaide galloper who has had two starts back since returning from a thirteen week spell, winning the G3 Spring Stakes first up before, as 11/4 fav, running second to last in the Listed Penny Edition. She’s only ventured outside of Adelaide once before and that was for an event over this track and trip back in November of last year. She finished sixth then and despite some very solid form in her home-state since, would think from her draw, a similar result would eventuate here.
13. YOU’RE SO GOOD – D Lane (15)
A very smart Savabeel mare who in her first prep, ran second in the G1 Australian Guineas before claiming the Listed Alexandra Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley and then having no luck in the G1 Vinery Stakes at Rosehill won by Norzita. She returned from a nineteen week break in the Cockram Stakes and just held her position in the run to the line finishing eighth (beaten 3 ½ lengths) behind Octavia. Lane will have a decision to make as soon as the gates open from the wide draw but she’s a quality mare and with a run now under her belt, capable of improving rapidly.
14. LUCKY PENNY – D Gauci (9)
Ran a head second to subsequent G1 Stradbroke Handicap winner Linton in the G3 Lee Stakes at Morphettville back in May before being sent for a break. She returned in a Open mare’s race at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago but got back from her wide draw and found traffic in the run to the line, finishing fifth (4 ½ lengths) behind an impressive Elite Elle. No much went right for at the Valley and jockey was kind to her over the concluding stages.
15. CRUCIAL – J Winks (16)
Contested and performed well in, some Listed and Group mare’s races recently but her last win now was back in April of last year – eight starts ago. We haven’t seen the Anthony Freedman trained galloper since she finished a close up fourth in a mare’s race back in May. Generally produces a good run fresh but in this field from her gate, she’ll have her work cut out for her.
16. A TIME FOR JULIA – (6)
An impeccably bred Redoute’s Choice mare who claimed two of her first three starts this time last year before being spelled. She missed the Autumn and she returned to racing three weeks ago when she produce and fantastic effort in the Cockram Stakes to run Octavia to within a long neck. That was her first run for close to a year and can only assume the run would have done her the world of good. Ideally drawn in gate six and a similar effort to her Cockram run will see her go very close.
17. Text’n’Hurley – D Stackhouse (5)
She’s certainly racing through her grades for trainer Colin Little. The Hard Spun mare has won in succession, a Bendigo Maiden (1400m), a Caulfield Open (1400m) and again at Caulfield, a BM 90 (1600m) at her last three starts. Takes things to a whole new level here but can’t knock winning form.
Octavia will cross and go forward along with Alzora tracking her across and Thy handy today from her inside draw. Think Octavia will find the 1400m a touch too far. No doubt she’ll give a good account of herself but she’ll need to find a cheap sectional mid-race and I think there’ll be too many keeping her honest. Thought Lucky Penny had plenty to offer but not opportunity to deliver in her first up hit-out in at the Valley. She’ll appreciate the open space of Flemington, is unbeaten over this trip and goes well second up. Bonaria was very good first up and likes Flemington. By the time of this race, will no if those getting back in the field are able to run on or, better yet, have an advantage if they do, this Pat Hyland trained mare goes in. Dear Demi is a class mare and is advantaged by the set weights. Her break wasn’t a long way and two barrier trials would suggest that she’s ready to go first up. There’s probably half dozen more that could be included as legitimate chances and even then, you could still miss the winner so go as wide as your balance will allow in this race.