Nine races have been set down for Flemington this Saturday, where the feature race is the $120,000 Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m). The weather is fine, the track is good (3) and the rail is out seven metres for the entire circuit.
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Race One (12:55pm) : Racing.com Handicap (78) 2500m: Form Guide
Back Me: Going to butter up and give Practiced (Best Odds: $3.80) another go. I was really keen on him two back here, but he couldn’t quite finish it off when fifth to Taiyoo, then he went to the Valley a couple of weeks back and had absolutely no luck when sixth to Priority Road, beaten two lengths. Big leap to 2500m, but he has run well over this distance range in the past, and he does appear to be back in form now. So he looks the way to go for me.
Big Danger: Zanteco (Best Odds: $4.40) was given a peach steer by Brad Rawiller to win last time out at Geelong, sitting out the back before cutting corners, ducking and weaving his way through the field before surging late and winning with real purpose. Up to 2500m is no worry and he is in winning form, so he is a definite chance here.
Roughie: There was plenty to like about the win of Kept Woman (Best Odds: $12.00) on Wodonga Cup Day given she had to make a 600m run from midfield and was forced quite wide on the turn. It didn’t matter to her because she just kept at it and drew away to win, although tiring late, but that was understandable given the workload she had for the previous 40 odd seconds. She has since run two strong placings at the Valley and the fact she is taking on the boys instead of the mares is a good lead that the stable has confidence.
Race Two (1:30pm) : Dover Handicap (84) 2000m: Form Guide
Back Me: I’ll be surprised if the winner doesn’t come from the top three in the field, maybe even the top two. With the weight pull, I’m putting Spanish Love (Best Odds: $2.00) on top. She put together two very impressive wins here and at the Valley respectively before going to the Valley again and probably cost herself victory over Orion Love by wanting to lay in badly in the straight. Those manners were somewhat corrected when she won here, so tying that in with the 1.5kg weight pull and barrier draw advantage, I’m pretty confident she can get the job done.
Big Danger: Orion Love (Best Odds: $5.50) was ridden a treat in front by Bossy to win that race at the Valley because she was getting tired late and would have been caught in another stride or two. I think she’ll be better ridden with cover, but there is no leader here, so Bossy may have to lead again.
Roughie: Special Miss (Best Odds: $10.00) ran fourth to Orion Love at the Valley and she was very game considering she raced wide with no cover for a majority of the event, yet she stuck on and was only beaten three lengths. She gets a decent weight pull on the first two and does have more upside. Could be the knockout runner.
Race Three (2:05pm) : Seascay Handicap 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Really good race for the three year olds. Bayoonah (Best Odds: $2.90) swept past her rivals for a very impressive maiden win first up at Geelong a couple of weeks back, settling well back before peeling wide and unleashing a lovely turn of foot to win and win with ease. Mick Price doesn’t mind throwing them in the deep end, and he looks to have a promising filly here, so I’d watch the market with her.
Big Danger: Tashbeeh (Best Odds: $7.00) hasn’t been seen since winning over the mile on Ballarat Cup Day against the older horses. That was November 22, so it’s been about seven weeks since we have seen him, but he looked very impressive last week in a recent jump out win here, sitting on the speed and winning effortlessly. He is forward enough to win here.
Roughie: Herstory (Best Odds: $5.50) was given a lovely steer by Regan Bayliss to win last time out at Sandown, controlling the race in front and giving nothing else a chance with the sectionals she was running. Bit harder here, and takes on the boys, but she’ll make her own luck and give plenty of cheek. Last 100m will be the test.
Race Four (2:40pm) : Leonard Handicap (84) 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Tough race for the fillies and mares. I’m going with Barely A Scent (Best Odds: $6.00). Her last three runs have been at the Valley, with two seconds and a luckless sixth last time out behind Arena Rock given she had a wide barrier and was forced near the car park on the turn. That mare has since won again here to frank the form. Good gate, minimum weight and bigger track should see her improve and be a great chance here.
Big Danger: I was quite keen on Sense And Reason (Best Odds: $4.60) first up on Boxing Day at Sandown, and she loomed to win on the home turn, but she couldn’t quite finish it off when fifth to Cobblestones. She’s unbeaten second up, trained on the track and gets in well at the weights after the claim for Damien Thornton.
Roughie: Petite Diablesse (Best Odds: $9.50) won her first two in impressive fashion, including a win here, before running sixth to Madam Gangster at Sandown, beaten four lengths, where she seemingly had her chance, so not sure how she’ll go here, but if you like her, you’re getting about $10 to see if she can bounce back, and that does appeal to an extent.
Race Five (3:15pm) : Piping Lane Handicap 2000m: Form Guide
Back Me: I made Fulgur (Best Odds: $5.50) the best bet on the program last time out, and I am going to do the same thing. He was excellent here last time out, when beaten narrowly by Extra Zero. That horse had the soft run and perhaps the better turn of foot when it mattered most, but Fulgur was coming back on the line. Gets the weight pull, better gate and Williams sticks. I think they are the only two winning chances.
Big Danger: Extra Zero (Best Odds: $7.50) put him a very frustrating run of outs with that narrow win, but he had a very good think about it and almost didn’t accept the win with about 100m to go, but Michael Walker demanded him to greet the judge. Rises in weight, but he is racing as well as ever and strikes another winnable race.
Roughie: Crafty Crusier (Best Odds: $51.00) was a bit unlucky not to win first up at Werribee, then went to the Valley and lumped 69.5kg when tenth to Murphy’s Delight. He then raced last week over 2500m here and was solid late behind You Think So. More depth here, but he is getting fitter and is always competitive in these type of races.
Race Six (3:55pm) : Birdcage Handicap (70) 1000m: Form Guide
Back Me: Good race for the fillies and mares. I think the fillies have the edge here, and I am going to go with Wild Rain (Best Odds: $5.50), who has really put it together, spanking her maiden rivals at Kyneton before going to the Valley and narrowly picking off another in form filly in Witless. Trained on the track, in form and just seems to be getting better with each outing.
Big Danger: Simply You (Best Odds: $4.80) was simply run off her legs in the Wild Rain race at the Valley, but once she got balanced up, she really charged to the line to be only beaten two lengths. Has a stack of upside, beautifully bred and is trained on the track, so she would have had experience over the course before.
Roughie: Hebden (Best Odds: $8.00) comes to the Flemington stables of John O’Shea after having three runs in Sydney, winning the first two before running third at Warwick Farm last week behind Palazzo Pubblico, a filly who is flying at present, so the form does read well, and Hebden does have good early toe, which is an advantage over the 1000m here.
Race Seven (4:35pm) : Chester Manifold Stakes 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Red Excitement (Best Odds: $3.80) produced one of the runs of the Summer in Sydney when winning first up after a ten month spell, leading all the way with 61kg. He had plenty of injury problems during that break, so for him to do that after all that tells me he is in for an outstanding prep, and he looks beautifully placed here by Gerald Ryan, getting some weight relief and striking a very winnable race.
Big Danger: Lord Of The Sky (Best Odds: $8.00) is a money muncher, but he almost got back in the good books of punters with his fighting second in the Standish to Decircles, looking home with about 150m to go, but just got the staggers late. First go at 1400m, but maps so well here and does seem to have a liking for Flemington. He won’t be getting my money, but I won’t be surprised if he salutes.
Roughie: I was quite keen on Aeronautical (Best Odds: $21.00) in the Standish given his excellent straight track form, but he didn’t race generously at all when let down by Ollie in the straight and just plugged away for sixth. He is much better than that, so perhaps the rise to 1400m and back to a bending track could spark improvement.
Race Eight (5:15pm): Craftsman Handicap (90) 1700m: Form Guide
Back Me: I’m pretty keen on Tonopah (Best Odds: $2.20) here. He had his first run for Darren Weir at Sandown a couple of weeks back, and despite sitting wide, the Group l performer proved far too good for his rivals, winning by two lengths. Drops significantly in weight, fitter, up in trip and Williams takes over. Ticks plenty of boxes.
Big Danger: Hinchley Wood (Best Odds: $11.00) toughed it out strongly to win two back at Bendigo, then went to the Valley and stuck on very gamely when third to Priority Road at the Valley in what should be a pretty strong form race. Back to a bigger track now and only has to carry 51kg after the claim for Jess Payne.
Roughie: Stratigraphy (Best Odds: $15.00) worked home strongly from the back in the Woodford Cup at Warrnambool when fourth to Garud, beaten just under two lengths. That horse goes around earlier in the program as a live chance, so you’ll get a guide on how strong that form is by the time the gates crash back here. Drops in weight and gets barrier one, plus her last run here was a beauty.
Race Nine (5:50pm) : Domain Handicap (90) 1200m: Form Guide
Back Me: Clearly Reldas (Best Odds: $1.80) on top here. He has been outstanding in three runs back from a break, all at the Valley, starting off with a luckless third to Last Sight before spanking his rivals at the following two runs, by a combined total of 8.5 lengths. First time down the straight is the query, but he drops in weight and has loads of potential.
Big Danger: Bishops Castle (Best Odds: $13.00) ran second to Reldas a fortnight back and was very good there in attempting to lead all the way. He was comfortably beaten by Reldas, but he beat the remainder of the field comfortably himself, so he ran well; just bumped into a better one, and bumps into him here, so I doubt he can turn the tables, but he is trained here and will be out of trouble on the speed.
Roughie: Magnus Reign (Best Odds: $13.00) did a power of work last time out at the Valley when second to Boomwaa given he sat three wide on the speed and was asked to carry 58kg. Form has been franked with the winner running well last weekend at Randwick. Magnus Reign doesn’t have the best record at the track, but that was when he was with Rick Hore-Lacy. Could be a different horse now at Flemington with D K Weir training.
BEST BET: Race Five Number 5 Fulgur
NEXT BEST: Race Nine Number 9 Reldas
VALUE: Race Four Number 11 Barely A Scent
Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):
Leg One: 9, 12, 14
Leg Two: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9
Leg Three: 2, 3, 5, 7
Leg Four: 9
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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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