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2017 racing in Melbourne kicks off at Flemington on Sunday for their traditional New Years program, highlighted by the Standish Handicap (1200m) and Bagot Handicap (2800m). The weather is overcast, the track is good (4) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.




Race One (13:35) : New Year Plate Plate 1000m:

Back Me: Keen to go with 2 Miss Wahoo (Bet Now: $5.50). She has only had the one race start, which came on Caulfield Guineas Day in the Debutant where she had to do a fair bit of work to drag up the pack to the front few and by the time she did that, she was gassed but far from disgraced in defeat. I can’t find a recent jump out for her, but she looks above average, has the race experience and prep under the belt.
Big Danger: The boom filly is clearly 10 Oscietra (Bet Now: $2.05), the first foal of the great mare Black Caviar. It’s easy to understand the hype given who her mum and the romance with it. Outside that, her jump outs have been tidy enough to suggest she’ll run well, and is a definite winning threat, but her $1.50 opening price is poison.
Long Shot: 7 I’ll Have A Bit (Bet Now: $21.00) debuts here for the in form John McArdle yard and looks a little professional. This daugghter of Smart Missile comes here off the back of a December 23 jump out at Balnarring where she sat off speed before being clicked up and she took the narrow gap with confidence and was throttled down the final 50m with plenty up the sleeve. Keen to see how she measures up.


Race Two (14:10) : Straight Draw Handicap 2000m:

Back Me: 10 Flying Light (Bet Now: $3.20) is a horse in really good form this time in the Hayes/Dabernig team. He ran over this track/distance a tick over two weeks back when ridden absolute treat near the speed by Regan Bayliss, getting the charmed run before pouncing at the right time and then fending off Gallic Chieftain. I don’t think there is as much depth here, so I am happy to be in his corner.
Big Danger: 2 Goldstream (Bet Now: $13.00) made his debut for Darren Weir over the mile on Pakenham Cup Day where like most who were off the speed, just had no hope given the leader and eventual winner Mihany absolutely crawled them in front and gave nothing a look in. Better suited on the bigger track, up to 2000m and now he has the run under the belt, plus he has class on his side given he is the Italian Derby winner.
Long Shot: 7 Kourkam (Bet Now: $7.00) closed off okay fresh in the Wodonga Cup before racing over the mile here where he had the nit sit off the tempo but the three in front of him gave a good kick and he just couldn’t sprint with them when fourth to Kenjorwood. That form has held up with that horse winning the Lord Stakes. Third up at 2000m looks ideal, has upside…ticks some boxes.


Race Three (14:45) : Bryan Moore Handicap (70) 1600m:

Back Me: 3 Lunar Spin (Bet Now: $5.00) was given a peach ride from Williams to win at the Moonee Valley mile two back before racing over the same track/distance and having absolutely no luck at all when second to In Fairness. I think he will be better suited on the bigger track and Williams jumps back aboard.
Big Danger: 2 Crocodile Rock (Bet Now: $2.40) is such an interesting runner here. He made his Australian debut at Sandown in April over 2100m where he did a power of work to lead them and from there he just kept rolling and gave nothing else a look in, going on to win by three lengths and running solid time. First up at the mile is some query but he looks above average.
Long Shot: 10 Silver Stratum (Bet Now: $12.00) chased hard two back at Bendigo when fourth to all the way winner Dubai King before going to that race won by In Fairness and she just didn’t quite appear to handle the tight turns that the Valley has to offer but she was more than sound in defeat. Big track will really suit her and Yendall remains on. A threat.


Race Four (15:20) : Nouvelle Star Handicap (70) 1000m:

Back Me: 1 Scandimania (Bet Now: $4.60) bolted up over 955m at the Valley fresh before stepping up to 1000m where she led all the way and to be fair, she was somewhat lucky to win, but the picket is next to her name. She certainly won’t get it all her own way here, but being third up, she should be at peak fitness and despite the weight is one of the hardest to beat.
Big Danger: 3 Magna Rossa (Bet Now: $5.00) is a hard mare to follow and trust, but her best is just about better than most engaged here. She ran over this track/distance last time out where she chased hard down the entire straight but couldn’t quite finish it off well enough and had to settle for second to Lyuba, who was luckless at Caulfield. She finds a very winnable race to break the run of outs.
Long Shot: 4 Trinity Hill (Bet Now: $10.00) is a talented mare who was considered good enough to tackle the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton where she was far from disgraced behind classy mare Risque. Given a 12+ month break and resumed at Yarra Valley where she came with a well timed run under Aaron Lynch to get the job done. Has a stack of upside, draws the right part of the track and gets Jake Bayliss back aboard.



Race Five (16:00) : Red Tempo Handicap (70) 1400m:

Back Me: The worst kind of gear change looks to have made a real racehorse of 6 Portman (Bet Now: $6.50). Both starts/wins this time in have come at Bendigo. Toyed with them fresh in a maiden in pretty arrogant fashion before taking on the older horses and despite being off the bit on the turn, he was strong and picked up hard late to get the win. Williams jumps back aboard and he just only needs to overcome the gate to be a contender here.
Big Danger: 13 Viceroy (Bet Now: $11.00) ran over 1400m at Sandown last Saturday where he got a long way back in the run and was quite keen throughout, which left him a bit gassed to my eye without about 150m to go when he was right there and knocking down the door for a victory. I like that Oliver remains on him, and with cover and betting racing manners, he can threaten.
Long Shot: 5 Red Alto (Bet Now: $7.50) is a classy animal who was contesting some rich races during his 3YO year without winning. That run of outs stopped when he resumed at Kyneton in what looked a maiden with some depth but as expected, he made light work of them. He is much better than 70 grade. The only negative is that he might race flat second up. Still, class might be enough.



Race Six (16:40) : Standish Handicap 1200m:

Back Me: 5 Rough Justice (Bet Now: $6.50) looks a sensational price to my eye at around the $8 mark. He ran over 1400m here a tick over three weeks back where he had the charmed run behind the tempo and chased hard down the entire Flemington straight but just couldn’t pick up Snoopy. Not the most reliable record down the straight, but he is in ripping form and is well weighted.
Big Danger: 9 Divine Mr Artie (Bet Now: $2.80) resumed over this track/distance a tick over three weeks back at the same meeting mentioned above and he clearly produced the win of the day for mine. He sat just off the speed before Williams gave him clear air and once he pounced, he put the race away with ease. Has a stack of upside and though poorly weighted, there was a bit of arrogance about the fresh performance.
Long Shot: 4 Odyssey Moon (Bet Now: $17.00) was a drifter in betting when resuming down the straight a tick over a fortnight ago where he got back in the run and couldn’t really come on at all when finishing down the track behind surprise winner Decision Time. Draws the right part of the track now and gets Callow steering. Sharp improver.



Race Seven (17:20) : Bagot Handicap 2800m:

Back Me: 1 Lord Van Percy (Bet Now: $3.80) is a horse who can be very hard to trust but he is the clear class runner and has to be respected. He ran over this track/distance last time out and was seemingly given every chance in the run by Mark Zahra but the horse just couldn’t get past Boom Time, one of the form stayers in Victoria. The weight has to be an issue, but on the flip side, he’ll get a soft trip from the gate and is a threat.
Big Danger: 8 Bullish Stock (Bet Now: $8.00) was well beaten as an odds on favourite at Moonee Valley last start but i think he can bounce back here. He is a consistent galloper who will definitely run out the trip and has placed in listed company over the same course and distance.
Long Shot: 13 He’s A Genius (Bet Now: $21.00) is the knockout chance at odds. He ran over 2400m at Sandown last Saturday where he got a long way back in the run in a race dominated by those nearer the inside and pace but this bloke really finished his race off with purpose to run fourth to Annus Miralibis. He will want the speed on, and if that does indeed eventuate, he’ll threaten.



Race Eight (17:55) : Summer Racing Handicap (78) 1600m:

Back Me: 8 La Fleurette (Bet Now: $10.00) ran over 1400m at Sandown last Saturday where she had market support at a price and aided by a lovely steer from apprentice Melissa Julius, she sprouted wings out wide late to nab them in the final couple of strides. Senior rider jumps aboard now and she draws to get lovely cover and ambush late ala last start.
Big Danger: 7 Loveitt (Bet Now: $8.00) was very good in defeat when racing over 1700m here last start where she got back in a slowly run race yet still finished off her race with real purpose late in the piece when third to Hell Or Highwater. Back to the mile looks ideal and she just needs luck from the tricky draw to be right in the finish.
Long Shot: 9 My Obsession (Bet Now: $14.00) is one of the rare Darren Weir runners that is hard to trust, but gee she finds a very winnable race here. She ran at Mornington last start over 1500m where she sat near last in the run and couldn’t overcome the bias towards those nearer the inside and on speed when fifth to Casinoholic. Big track should suit, genuine tempo and with the right run, she can threaten.



BEST BET: Race Five Number 6 Portman

NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 3 Lunar Spin

VALUE: Race Eight Number 8 La Fleurette



Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13

Leg Two: 3, 4, 5, 6, 9

Leg Three: 1, 6, 7, 8, 13

Leg Four: 1, 2, 7, 8, 9

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