This weekend sees the racing action really start to intensify, with a number of spring players, intriguing runners and everything in between.
Just Horse Racing will be at Flemington tomorrow covering all the actions from Makybe Diva Stakes Day, while a big card is also seen at Warwick Farm.
Here is a preview of this weekend’s racing from Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins:
A very strong card today in what is definitely a guide to many spring prospects.
Race 1 – Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m)
The three year old fillies go around here. It is likely to be a quick dash up the straight with a number of fillies capable of leading or sitting near the pace. CELEBRITY GIRL looks a nice horse and she is unbeaten from one start. But at $1.80 I think she is a risk, especially with so many other lightly raced horses in the race. If I was to have a bet in the race – which I’d say is unlikely – I’d probably go for the value in SECRET STATUS. A bit disappointing first up, for sure, but I reckon she needs to be ridden off the pace. She should get her chance with the pace in the race. Danger could be ERVBEFEL, who comes out of the Quezette Stakes.
Race 2 – Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m)
Competitive little race here. Conceivably, you could back quite a few horses here. I know Ben Asgari (check out his website here) is very keen on the prospects of THAT’S THE ONE , and I can understand the wraps after a big win here four weeks ago. However, I have a big issue with GODSPEED being second favourite. He’ll improve for the first up run, sure, but he is only second favourite because of the hype surrounding him. He should be double figure odds. 1400m will definitely suit him though. The one who I think is way over the odds is RUNNING TALL, who is a winner over the track and distance. Remember, he beat Decircles by 2L that day in the VRC Sires Produce Stakes, and Decircles trumped Godspeed by almost five lengths.
Race 3 – Listed The Sofitel (1400m)
This race was the starting point for Viewed in 2008. Perhaps a horse like DREAMAWAY or MUSHATTA could head that way? Anyway, let’s focus on the present. Speaking of Dreamaway, she could be the one around the $10 mark. She knows how to win, that’s for sure. 1400m would suit, she’s drawn nice and looks to map well, and Flemington should suit her. The other one to watch at around the same mark is BULLBARS. Won the CS Hayes over this track and distance in March, beating subsequent Warwick Stakes placegetter Startsmeup. Should have similar conditions here, and has drawn better today.
Race 4 – Group 3 Danehill Stakes (1200m)
It would be an upset of major proportions if SEPOY was beaten here. He’s won down the straight, and really he’s in a different class. At odds, perhaps it might be worth having something on ABSALON to place? In much weaker races in Queensland, he has created a good impression. I can see him finishing about five lengths off Sepoy, the question is, will that be enough to see him finish second or third?
Race 5 – Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m)
Always a high class race and this is no exception. I was hurting last time after PARABLES produced the run of the race to finish second to Mid Summer Music in the Cockram. Flemington will suit her racing style incredibly. I will be very surprised if she misses a place, and really, she should win. The other two I’m interested in are KEEP THE PEACE and DO RA MI. Australian punters have never seen the best of Keep The Peace, but on her day she is an outstanding mare. I think she’s at her best around a mile, but a strong 1400m should suit. She won the Mudgway last spring, defeating subsequent Emirates Stakes winner Wall Street. Has trialled impressively in New Zealand and should not be $12. Similarly, Do Ra Mi should not be $13. Didn’t run to her best in the Cockram, but her two runs at the Flemington 1400m have been good. In particular her run in the Kewney was something special, indicating she is best when ridden quiet with a solid tempo. Will have to go back from the gate, so just hope they are able to make ground today.
Race 6 – Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m)
Always a great race, and this year is no exception. There is no doubt that LIGHTS OF HEAVEN deserves to be favourite, as she has class on her side. Furthermore, there are not many in this field who will be suited by the 1600m – she is one of them. At really good odds though, I’m considering having something on AT FIRST SIGHT each way. He was outstanding first up in the Aurie’s Star, when really I expected him to be tailed off. He is obviously suited by the long straight at Flemington and the step up to 1600m (although I expect him to go better over further). The last Epsom Derby placegetter to step out over the Flemington 1600m was a winner – that was the ill-fated Our Aqaleem. Won’t be going stupid, but for a bit of an interest in the race, he may be one at odds. I think imports hold the key to the race, with GLASS HARMONIUM a logical threat, DON CARLOS interesting first up for Moroney (he has a big wrap on him from Ireland) and even MIDAS TOUCH with a very slim hope. I can’t have PLAYING GOD or ONCE WERE WILD.
Race 7 – Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m)
There’s no doubt this is one of the stronger editions of this race. And most punters have been wanting to support the exciting BEL SPRINTER. It’s not hard to see why – his Caulfield win was incredibly impressive. However, I believe he needs to make another step up to be winning here. There are plenty of chances here. Personally I’m keen on the chances of DUBLEANNY. Everyone would love a horse who is as game and as tough as her. She has a clear liking for the Flemington straight and she knows where the winning post is. I really think she is as good a chance as Bel Sprinter. At odds, there are plenty who could fill a place. These include the likes of DOUBTFUL JACK, who is renowned at Flemington but needs it a bit wetter; PHELAN READY, who seems to be back to a bit of his old form; and EAGLE FALLS, who goes best second up.
Race 8 – The Sofitel Girls Day Out Handicap (2000m)
This race has stepped up from the 1700m it has been run at in recent times. When at 1700m the last two years it was won by Mr Charlie and Speed Gifted. I’m thinking it will be the Kiwis or the imports winning again. DECEMBER DRAW is one of our fifteen horses to follow and he is a short priced favourite here. If he reproduces his run from May, when he defeated subsequent Ipswich Cup winner Gold In Dubai by five lengths, he’ll win here. The other one that I’m keen on here is GREEN MOON. His run first up was outstanding, while he had no chance second up given the biased Moonee Valley track. He’s a good chance. LARISTAN is also a chance given his second up form, while I concede other place chances to MY SCOTSGREY and TARA MAN.
A meeting originally scheduled for Randwick had to be moved west because of concerns over the grandstand. Still a strong meeting, but a different perspective must be adopted.
Race 1 – @RoyalRandwick on Twitter Handicap (1600m)
Only 7 runners here after the scratching of Gazza Guru and Status Quo. May have something on LETCHWORTH if I was betting, but that’s extremely unlikely.
Race 2 – Carousel 1 Oct On Sale Now Handicap (1400m)
Another pretty boring race. Perhaps OUR BILLY BLUE could be the one to watch, given he has a good first up record. But another race I’m keen to avoid.
Race 3 – Royal Randwick TV on Youtube Handicap (1200m)
Now it starts to get interesting. OAKFIELD BEAUTY is an okay mare fresh, but she flies second up. She’s trialled well into this, and I reckon she has to be a chance – although there’s no doubt she’ll be better next start. INDISCRETIONS obviously has a lot of talent but also a lot of problems. She’s a deserved favourite but I want to see her return in good fashion. Next best SHE’S A ROCK STAR.
Race 4 -Listed Concorde Stakes (1100m)
I love horses like DECISION TIME. Despite all his problems, he’s a winner. He is incredibly classy at his best and I think 1100m suits first up. Has to carry 58kg but he definitely deserves that weight. Go boy! OBSEQUIOUS looks a good chance while fresh, given she has won stakes races at her last two first up runs. ZARATONE was very good last start, when I believed he would go too hard in front and capitulate. Less speed here, although there still looks to be quite a bit of pace. He could skip away from them again, although he has failed at two starts at Warwick Farm.
Race 5 – Group 2 Furious Stakes (1400m)
Great race, but the query here is there looks to be a lack of pace. This could spell disaster for a number of horses, including ELITE FALLS, ANISE and possibly PANE IN THE GLASS, although the latter is a bit more versatile I reckon. Still, while I reckon Pane In The Glass is the best horse in the race, I am going to go for fillies I reckon will race forward. Based on her last run, I think I am going to have something on FLORENTINA. She was very good after a wide run last start and should get and easier run here. The other one I can entertain is STREAMA, who I tipped last start. She was very good and will have improved for the run. I believe that Florentina is more likely to go forward though and can probably hold them off. Tough race.
Race 6 – Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m)
A nice edition of this race. I know he is a maiden but STRIKE THE STARS is a very promising horse. He is one of my fifteen horses to follow, on the pure belief that he is the ideal type for the Spring Champion Stakes and Victoria Derby. I believe he can break his maiden status in stunning fashion here. 50.5kg is nothing these days and the weight difference could give him enough of an advantage. MY KINGDOM OF FIFE is the class horse in the race, and this race will tell if he is on the way to the Cox Plate and/or the Caulfield Cup. If I was looking for something at odds, perhaps ZARA DANCER. He’s at $31 but he’ll go forward and if there is no speed, which looks possible, maybe he could hold them all off. I’ll also be interested to see HAWK ISLAND after a pleasing first up run. I tipped STARTSMEUP in the Warwick Stakes, and he didn’t disappoint running a nice third. Not sure how he’ll go here, but he probably heads towards the lead too and is a chance. I should also note, I don’t know how people are tipping TRUSTING – hasn’t won since 2009, so not for me!
Race 7 – Listed Ming Dynasty Handicap (1400m)
Seeing as I like Strike The Stars in the Chelmsford, I should go for DARCI BE GOOD here. Good win last start, and was incredible second up last preparation in the Fernhill Handicap. Should go very close here. The other two that I don’t mind are BOYS ON TOUR , who has been racing in better races than this and is weighted well, and SANGSTER, who will probably improve onto the firmer track. Next best AMBIDEXTER.
Race 8 – Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m)
A great running of the Tramway, but a bit difficult to figure out. At odds, I don’t mind PARTHIAN. Probably best on a firm track, he’s got good stats at the trip and he’s two from three second up. SECRET ADMIRER was fantastic first up and if there is a bit of pace on she’ll fly home. TRIPLE ELEGANCE should be fitter by now, and his third up stats are good so could be a chance. He does need to lift though. SINCERO is a Stradbroke winner, but goes up 7.5kg on his Stradbroke win and it’s almost as good a field. A bit of a query. At odds maybe ALL SILENT or even GATHERING. Open race.
R1 – 1. Secret Status
Danger – 6. Ervbefel
R2 – 1. Running Tall
Danger – 8. That’s The One
R3 – 8. Dreamaway
Danger – 7. Bullbars
R4 – 1. Sepoy
Place Roughie – 3. Absalon
R5 – 7. Parables
Dangers – 4. Keep The Peace/5. Do Ra Mi
R6 – 16. Lights of Heaven
Roughie – 7. At First Sight
R7 – 14. Dubleanny
R8 – 4. December Draw
Danger – 10. Green Moon
R1 – 5. Letchworth
R2 – 1. Our Billy Blue
R3 – 1. Oakfield Beauty
Danger – 6. Indiscretions
R4 – 1. Decision Time
Danger – 8. Obsequious
R5 – 5. Florentina
Danger – 4. Streama
R6 – 12. Strike The Stars
Danger – 1. My Kingdom of Fife
R7 – 1. Darci Be Good
Dangers – 4. Boys on Tour/10. Sangster
R8 – 15. Parthian
Danger – Secret Admirer