Shamal Wind will be out to make amends for her close and unlucky second to Spirit Of Boom in last year’s Caulfield Sprint when she again lines up in the Group 2 feature this Saturday and punters believe she can, making her the $4.60 favourite. She’s found herself in a competitive renewal of the race with six more runners quoted at $10.00 or less in early markets including Driefontein who, after opening at $8.50, has firmed into second favourite at $6.50. Driefontein will be returning form a spell as will Group 1 winners Bel Esprit and Miracles Of Life. Bel Esprit has been unwanted in early betting, drifting alarmingly from $8.50 out to $13.00 whilst Miracles Of Life, who is now with Snowden Racing, solid at $8.50.
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1. BEL SPRINTER – B Melham (5) 59kgs
It’s been a year and a half and ten runs since this now 7yo last won a race – the G1 The Galaxy. He’ll return here from a twenty-one week spell and looked very good in winning his only barrier trial by 2.8 lengths recently. He has won five from seven first up however, he has missed a place in his two most recent fresh runs – The G1 Oakleigh Plate and G1 Moir Stakes, after getting too far back in the run. Looks better placed this grade and whilst he’ll be hitting the line strongly, may find a few too slick to run down over this trip with the 59kgs.
2. DRIEFONTEIN – V Duric (13) 57.5kgs
She rounded out a profitable campaign, where the 5yo mare picked up the G1 Robert Sangster, with a few good runs in Brisbane including a second to Cosmic Endeavour in the G2 Dane Ripper Stakes. Returns to racing here off a fourmonth spell and has an outstanding fresh record, finishing in the top two in each of her four first-up runs with two wins, including the G3 Sheraco Stakes where she defeated Peron. Tough mare whose biggest obstacle may be the wide draw.
3. UNPRETENTIOUS – D Oliver (3) 56.5kgs
Got too far back and found the pace too hot when seventh (5.6 lengths) to Angelic Light and Lankan Rupee in the G2 McEwan (1000m) before running last of five in the G1 Moir Stakes (1200m) but finishing only 1.7 lengths from the winner Buffering. Drew the inside gate last start and had to settle close to the speed than he generally does. Will appreciate the drop back in grade and if Oliver can navigate a clear path from an inside gate, will be finishing hard.
4. MIRACLES OF LIFE – J Bowman (4) 56kgs
The Blue Diamond Stakes winner steps out for new owners and trainers – Peter and Paul Snowden, with two barrier trials under her belt in preparation for her return off a five month break. Started favourite in each of her past two fresh runs, the G3 McNeil Stakes and Listed Bob Hoysted, but has missed a place on each occasion. Good draw and jockey will give her every chance to start life for the new trainers on a winning note.
5. BIG MONEY – (6) 55.5kgs
Lightly raced 5yo galloper by Choisir that blossomed last campaign with four wins from five starts including the G3 Healy Stakes and a strong win in the Listed Ramornie Handicap at Grafton. The Ramornie, back in July, was his most recent run however if the Ron Northam trained galloper has continued to improve at the rate he did last prep, he could easily measure up to the better grade here.
6. PAGO ROCK – D Whyte (7) 55.5kgs
It’s been over a year and seventeen starts now since the Hayes/Dabernig trained runner last saluted however, he has run some good races during that time, finishing second to Temple Of Boom at G2 level and running fourth behind Snitzerland in the G1 The Lightning earlier this year. His three starts back from a spell this prep however haven’t seen him reach those levels with his most recent start his best this campaign, seeing him finish fifth (4.1 lengths) to Target In Sight. Just held his spot in the run last start and whilst he drops 2kgs on that run for this, needs to lift on current form to win here.
7. SHAMAL WIND – N Hall (8) 55kgs
As always, the daughter of Dubawi has produced big finishes at each of her three starts this campaign but by small margins, hasn’t quite been able to pick up the winner. She ran a head third to Girl Guide and A Time For Julia in the G3 Sportingbet Sprint (1200m) before coming wide and running home, a position not many on the day came from, to run third again behind Griante in the Listed Series Final. Will enjoy the solid tempo here, has the benefit of several runs under her belt, and will again be finishing hard.
8. I’M ALL THE TALK – C Williams (9)
Did all he could do first up on a heavy track and under 58kgs when fifth in the G3 Concorde Stakes before, on firmer surfaces, good performances at his subsequent two starts – the G2 The Shorts and a Randwick Welter. Led and beat all bar the highly touted Terravista in The Shorts and under 61kgs in the Welter, again led and was only caught late when second to That’s A Good Idea who had last shot. Makes his own luck in front and will give them plenty to chase with 54.5kgs on his back.
9. KARACATIS – D Lane (12) 54.5kgs
Adelaide galloper who closed well to finish a head second to Whitlam in the Listed Wylie Quality (1100m) last start, his third this campaign, and he races well when coming across to Victoria, including winning the Listed Christmas Stakes and running fourth in the G2 Yellowglen Stakes. He has drawn wide here though and best efforts have come when settling closer to the speed. May find it hard to find such a position from out there.
10. FACILE TIGRE – G Boss (2)
Closing in on three years since this 8yo gelding last won a race but as he will be on Saturday, has produced some cheeky efforts at big odds when first up from a spell. He finished within two lengths of Big Money in a short winter campaign in Brisbane, running sixth in the Listed Lightning and fifth in the Healy Stakes. Hasn’t been seen at the trials but from an inside draw, light weight and Boss aboard, he might be one for multiple players to include.
11. WHITLAM – (1) 53kgs
Resumed from a seventeen week spell as an unwanted 40/1 shot but belied his price with a big finish, winning the Wylie Quality by head over Karacatis. His second up is good with the only time he has missed a place in five runs, coming on a slow track in the G1 Goodwood Handicap. Will need to be very good again though to win here from an inside draw which he’ll get back from.
12. PHELAN READY – C Newitt (11) 53kgs
He did it! Five and a half years since he claimed the Golden Slipper Stakes as a 2yo, the now 8yo gelding finally registered another win, taking out an Eagle Farm Open class (1400m) race by 1.3 lengths. That was his latest run and it came eleven weeks ago. Game man who thinks he can make it back-to-back wins.
13. TERMAL CURRENT – C Schofield (10) 53kgs
Peter Moody’s 4yo gelding didn’t quite come up as expected during the autumn after spring campaign that was full of promise and included a G3 win over Not Listnin’tome. Has had a seventh month break and been gelded since, a move that often sees horses produce significant improvement. Showed a lot early in his campaign and if he can recapture that form, or get close to it, should be competitive here.
A lot of speed drawn wide here with I’m All The Talk, Driefontein and Karacatis all looking to come across, setting up a good tempo. The first two are capable of sticking on provided that at their first look at Caulfield, they make the turn with little drama.With only one turn to negotiate and drawing closer to the fence, thought Unpretentious might get the luck required and finish well here. Found himself in two unsuitable races back from a spell but this one might just pan out as he needs it to. Big Money will track the speed and finish strongly and tipping he has come back better again.
- BIG MONEY
- SHAMAL WIND