Over the last couple of years, the Geelong Cup (2400m) hasn’t been a real guide towards the Melbourne Cup, but an exceptionally strong field has been assembled for the 2015 edition, which highlights a bumper nine race card on Wednesday. The weather forecast is for showers, the track is good (3) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
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Race One (12:30) : B&B Aluminium Handicap (64) 1400m:
Back Me: Bajour (Best Odds: $8.00) is a kiwi stayer making his Australian debut for Danny O’Brien. He was last seen in April at Hastings contesting the Hawkes Bay Cup (2200m) when running seventh. Hasn’t really caught my eye at the jump outs, and he normally doesn’t perform well fresh, but he has class and market moves should be monitored closely.
Big Danger: Unbreakable (Best Odds: $3.80) resumed on Benalla Cup Day and he was pretty good I thought when running fourth to Zamperini, on a day where leaders were near unbeatable. Fitter, McDonald on from a good gate; should take a power of beating.
Roughie: Night Wolf (Best Odds: $10.00) resumed at Hamilton and worked to the line pretty strongly late when second to impressive winner Social Media. He has run well on this track previously, he runs well second up and Ben Melham has a pretty good strike when steering Kathryn Durden runners.
Race Two (13:00) : Roderick Insurance Brokers Handicap (70) 1200m:
Back Me: I’m going to give We’ve Got This (Best Odds: $2.40) one more chance. He was given every chance in front at Caulfield when ridden by Mark Zahra but he couldn’t quite finish it off and had to settle for second to Ruettiger. He has become costly to follow as a punter throughout his career, but gee he looks well placed in a race like this.
Big Danger: Bottle Of Smoke (Best Odds: $4.00) closed off very nicely when resuming at Bendigo, making up solid ground late to run fourth to Staviva, beaten just under two lengths. That horse has run well since without winning. Bottle Of Smoke ran fourth in the Armanasco as a three year old filly in the Autumn, so trainer Mick Price does have an opinion of her, and if she was to win here, then she will more than likely find a race during Cup Week.
Roughie: La Venta (Best Odds: $17.00) is an interesting runner here. Former Peter Moody galloper now with Darren Weir. She had her first start for Weir at Caulfield and wasn’t beaten that far behind Group l performer Haybah, beaten just over four lengths. Weir had nominated the in form Osteria for this race also, but has elected to stick with this mare. That could be a guide as to how they rate this mares chances.
Race Three (13:35) : Wilsons Real Estate Handicap (78) 2400m:
Back Me: There was plenty to like about the win of the Lloyd Williams galloper Annus Mirabilis (Best Odds: $3.30) over 2500m at Pakenham a month back, storming home from the back to win very impressively on face value. Oliver on from gate one, so he really should get every chance, and there is more upside with him compared to most of these.
Big Danger: Huffanpuff (Best Odds: $13.00) is the really interesting runner here. Former kiwi who was with the legendary Kevin Myers and is now under the care of local trainer Kathryn Durden. He has only had three starts, all of which have been around the 2200m range, winning two and running a narrow second in the other. His racing pattern back home was to get back and charge. Interesting to see how he goes but the booking of McDonald is worth noting.
Roughie: Zanteca (Best Odds: $2.80) hadn’t done much in her opening two runs this time in, but she was much better in the Pinker Pinker Plate (2080m) at Cranbourne when just missing out on picking up Long Face Grace. Once she finds form, like most mares, they hold it, and Darren Weir is flying with his runners at the moment, in particular mares.
Race Four (14:10) : Shojun Concrete Handicap (70) 1700m:
Back Me: Kapset (Best Odds: $4.60) was very good when resuming behind Staviva at Bendigo, but he has been a touch disappointing in two runs since, the latest being at Ballarat when a battling seventh to Overberg. He is better than that, so I think I’ll give him one more chance here on a track where he has run well on in the past.
Big Danger: Triple Gold (Best Odds: $9.00) resumed on his home track at Caulfield over the mile and closed off very nicely late when eighth to Sun Flash, beaten just over two lengths. The third horse from that race has come out and won to frank the form. Upside with this horse and he will be very strong late.
Roughie: Irksome (Best Odds: $7.00) ran home well last start at Ballarat when third to the very impressive Lord Athanaeum, who is a Group l performer. That was over 1400m and I think Irksome will appreciate the rise to 1700m, and he did bolt in over this track/distance around this time last year.
Race Five (14:45) : Winter & Taylor ISUZU Dual Choice Plate (84) 1200m:
Back Me: Really keen here on Weinholt. (Best Odds: $11.00) I thought he was fantastic when resuming at the Valley given he had to come very wide on the turn, which was the no no for the night but he still hit the line strongly behind Kaepernick, who ran well at Stakes level last Wednesday. Draws much better here and won’t mind some give in the track if there is rain about.
Big Danger: Malaguerra (Best Odds: $2.80) was tested very strongly last start at Ballarat when sitting on speed, and for a few strides he looked beaten but he fended them off and got the job done, beating home Onerous. Meets that horse 1.5kg worse, so he will need to be at his best to remain the edge of the Team Hawkes runner, but he looks a serious threat, especially if he finds the lead easily.
Roughie: The watch horse is Kingdom Of Dreams (Best Odds: $16.00). He did bugger all in two runs during the latter part of the Autumn, but he jumped out on Friday at Flemington and went very well I thought in winning. He is a serious winning chance if he brings his best form, and on the jump out, he could be heading back in the positive direction.
Race Six (15:20) : Emsley Lodge Geelong Classic 2200m:
Back Me: Colonel Custer (Best Odds: $5.50) was having his first run in five weeks when a well backed favourite in the Hill Smith (1800m) at Morphettville and that break between runs beat him on the line. He should take good improvement off that and you always have to respect the stable when they bring horses to Victoria.
Big Danger: Very interested to see how Ragnaar (Best Odds: $5.00) backs up here. He cruised up on the turn as the winner it seemed in the Caulfield Classic, but he just went backwards soon after. Stable said he was on the wrong leg, so forgive him for that, and on his Stutt Stakes run, he will be a major contender here.
Roughie: Bullish Stock (Best Odds: $11.00) took on the older horses in a Benchmark 58 at Benalla last week and though the opposition was poor, the win was dominant and he did beat older horses, and I don’t care the strength of his rivals, any three year old to beat older horses early in the season has to be respected. Stable is also flying with their three year olds.
Race Seven (16:00) : William Hill Geelong Cup 2400m:
Back Me: I don’t think Dandino (Best Odds: $3.60) will win the Melbourne Cup, but I am pretty confident he will be winning this. He was outstanding in defeat when a close up fourth to Preferment in the Turnbull after sitting wide no cover on speed. Beautifully suited at the weights I think and if he gets cover from the barrier, he really should be winning.
Big Danger: Sertorius (Best Odds: $14.00) took an absolute eternity to wind up in the Herbert Power (2400m) but he did get going and was pretty good I thought through the line behind impressive winner Amralah. Gets much needed weight relief here and he is a local, so no doubt trainer Jamie Edwards will have him wound up to win his hometown cup.
Roughie: Maygrove (Best Odds: $21.00) was a bit off in his first two runs this time in, but he was excellent I thought in the Bart Cummings against the bias when making up solid ground late to run fourth to Let’s Make A Deal. Once this horse finds form, he holds it, so I am expecting him to be a contender here, and the stable are obviously in form.
Race Eight (16:40) : Rosemont Stud Stakes 1200m:
Back Me: Northoza (Best Odds: $11.00) resumes here for Mick Price after just two runs during the Winter where she didn’t really fire a shot after such a promising prep this time last year. Recent Cranbourne trial was excellent but interesting to note that Oliver rides the stablemate Pilly’s Wish and not this mare with stable rider Craig Newitt riding Northoza.
Big Danger: Exclusive Lass (Best Odds: $11.00) could not have been more impressive two back at the Valley before stepping up to Stakes level at Caulfield and finding that class a bit rich when last to Politeness. She is a Stakes horse, but perhaps they were aiming a bit high there. This is her level and McEvoy sticks.
Roughie: Nautical (Best Odds: $15.00) resumed over 1100m at Caulfield and wasn’t beaten far when just over three lengths away from the winner Afleet Esprit. Second up last time in she ran third to Miss Rose De Lago, and that horse recently won a Stakes race. Look for Nautical to be steaming late.
Race Nine (17:20) : Geelong Australia Handicap (78) 1500m:
Back Me: Show A Star (Best Odds: $3.60) for me here. He resumes for Gai Waterhouse after an excellent opening prep. He trialled really well in Sydney behind subsequent multiple stakes winner Counterattack, then had a Flemington jump out on October 1 and ran solid time in running second in his respective jump out. He flashed home on debut in which was his lone first up effort, and resuming at 1500m here tells me he is fit enough to win.
Big Danger: Kincaple Chief (Best Odds: $26.00) was not wanted in betting when resuming over 1200m at Ballarat but he worked home strongly in a leader dominated race when fourth to Malaguerra. Up to 1500m suits, he is fitter and he scored a strong second up win last time in, beating home De Little Engine, who has since won a couple of Stakes races and will go around as a chance in the Geelong Cup.
Roughie: Belorum (Best Odds: $4.40) didn’t really do a great deal in his first two runs this time in, but he was excellent last start at Caulfield when second to Kayjay’s Joy, beaten just over a length after covering a stack of ground out the back. Knocking on the door to win a race, and he finds a good one here. Just needs luck from the wide gate.
BEST BET: Race Seven Number 2 Dandino
NEXT BEST: Three Number 2 Annus Mirabilis
VALUE: Race Eight Number 3 Nautical
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 2, 4, 5, 11, 12
Leg Two: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 12
Leg Three: 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 15, 16
Leg Four: 3, 8, 9, 10
$50 Investment= 5.95% of the dividend if successful.
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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