An outstanding card of racing has been assembled for Caulfield this Saturday, headlined by the Group l Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), supported by two other majors. The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is out three metres for the entire circuit.
Race 1. (12:35) Mornington Cup Prelude 2000m
I think the best version of 1 Jaameh (Bet Now: $5.50) would see him prove too good for this lot. He had a somewhat frustrating Spring in the sense that he couldn’t quite get in the Cups, but eventually got his win in the Queens Cup on Stakes Day. Been given a good break and his trial win at Wodong3a looked very good, especially his last 75m when given a little squeeze from Lachie King. He’ll do me.
3 Midterm (Bet Now: $8.50) is a Team Williams galloper who hasn’t been seen since the Geelong Cup when running a gallant fourth to Runaway on a day where making ground was somewhat difficult. As is the case with the stable, the market will be the guide, along with riding tactics notifications, but gate one should see him take use of it and prove hard to beat.
Not sure she wins but for exotics I’d certainly be including 5 I’m A Princess (Bet Now: $6.50) for Tony McEvoy. Her run was somewhat hidden in the Carlyon Cup. Got too far back in the run and was left flat footed but she was coming late and was good to the line and through it. Up to 2000m will really suit her. Lacks the class, but down in the weights and will be strong late.
Race 2. (13:10) Autumn Classic 1800m
1 Aramayo (Bet Now: $3.70) on top for me. He got a definite pass mark when resuming in the Autumn Stakes a fortnight ago when near the speed and battling away well in defeat when fourth to the dominant winner Hawkshot. He only had one soft trial leading into that resumption so you’d like to think there is a stack of improvement to come and he was an impressive second up winner last prep.
Been waiting and waiting for 13 Lunar Flare (Bet Now: $3.90) to produce something pretty good and it indeed happened under the lights at the Valley where the blinkers were on and she romped clear to win like a good horse, something she promised to do after a really eye catching debut at Cranbourne. Got a bit of upside and timing about her and she deserves a crack at this level.
14 Amanikan (Bet Now: $34.00) is the real unknown. Mick Kent trains this filly, who has been kept on ice since scoring an impressive maiden win at Sandown back on January 2. Has been nominated a couple of times since but does accept here and has been kept up to the mark with a Feb 11 jumpout win at Cranbourne when squeezed in the straight and responding well. Always have to respect the stable.
Race 3. (13:45) Mannerism Stakes 1400m
The dry track is the knock but 4 Jamaican Rain (Bet Now: $5.00) has just trialled up too well to go past her. Richard Laming trains this quality mare, who had just the one run in the Spring, which came here in the Cockram when a close up fifth to Ellicazoom, beaten three lengths. Been given a good break and has had two Cranbourne jumpouts, firstly over 800m on January 29 before romping up over 1200m on February 11, so for mine, she’s had the grounding to run a positive race first up.
1 I Am A Star (Bet Now: $3.60) looks one of the key dangers. She resumed in the Bellmaine a fortnight ago where the race shape probably didn’t suit but she kept finding the line in a game performance when third to the in form Princess Of Queens. 1400m, fitter are the big ticks. I hope they go forward and have her near the speed, because that is when she races best.
8 Naantali (Bet Now: $5.00) is a talented mare for the Maher/Eustace team that is starting to creep up in grade but she’s well and truly earned that after bolting up at Caulfield three weeks ago in what was more or less a barrier trial for the mare but she took the gaps when they appeared and won with authority. If she can handle the class rise, she’ll look a winning threat at some stage.
Race 4. (14:20) Angus Armanasco Stakes 1400m
1 Futooh (Bet Now: $7.00) doesn’t have the greatest of winning strike rates but she’s got a touch of class/quality about her and up to 1400m is a big tick. Resumed in the Kevin Hayes where those on speed dominated and sprinted when asked, leaving this girl flat footed but she was good late, suggesting extra ground will suit. But you’d think this is nearly D-Day for her.
2 Angelic Ruler (Bet Now: $3.00) was on face value a touch disappointing in the Sliced Bread race from January 5 at Ascot before being freshened up and running in the Bunbury Classic where she looked a good thing on paper and while the margin was nothing flash, she was always in control and her class got her home. That was her first run in a month, so there should be room to improve and this is a weak Group ll.
9 Street Icon (Bet Now: $9.50) is a daughter of Street Boss for the Maher/Eustace stable who is 2/2 to date. Debuted with a pretty sharp win at Bairnsdale in good time before being freshened up and racing at the Sandown midweeks where she landed on speed under Zahra and once asked for the big effort, she responded with a good turn of foot and won impressively. Harder here, but a bit to like about the way she’s going.
Race 5. (14:55) Zeditave Stakes 1200m
Class comes to the fore here I think in the shape of 1 Zousain (Bet Now: $1.45), who is absolutely thrown in here at the weights scale. Multiple Group l placegetter who has taken on the best of the best in his age group and ran huge races, most notably in the Golden Rose when beaten a lip by The Autumn Sun. The trials in Sydney have been outstanding, good gate, sits off a good speed and should be winning.
I think the Blinkers going on could help improve 5 Poised To Strike (Bet Now: $5.50) but enough to trouble Zousain? Don’t think so. He ran well in the Manfred behind Tin Hat but was well held by that horse on the line. I think his best chance of winning will be if they crawl in front and turn it into a sit/sprint…but at the same time, that should also suit the fav. Not sure this horse can win but should run well.
7 Terbium…(Bet Now: $7.50) just how good is he? 3/3 for the Stokes team, the latest coming last Wednesday Sandown when carrying the big weight but still showing a lovely turn of foot and getting the job done. Very progressive galloper who faces his toughest test to date, but senior jock takes over, weight relief, has hard race fitness and you don’t know how good they are until they’re beaten.
Race 6. (15:30) Futurity Stakes 1400m
All things being equal, 11 Alizee (Bet Now: $2.45) should be far too good for this lot and likely wins the All Star Mile also. She’s 2/2 this prep and has been high class each time. Christmas Classic win was outstanding when first up and conceding weight. Freshened up and ran in the Expressway where she was a notable drifter in betting, likely due to the wet track, but she looked to handle it easy and won like a star off a slow tempo. She’s low flying and looks the winner.
Jamie Lovett told me on Monday the one thing he wanted with 3 Brave Smash (Bet Now: $7.00) was an inside gate and he’s got it, so I’m expecting a big run from him. He loomed large to win the CF Orr last time but condition just gave out the last 150m. Blinkers are back on, inside gate, won the race last year. There is a lot going for him and now with the good gate, he can win for sure.
8 Best of Days (Bet Now: $13.00) looks the real knockout. He produced a ripping return in the CF Orr, closing off strongly late in restricted room, a fab effort for a horse who is probably better suited at handicap level compared to WFA, but the resumption tells me he can certainly measure up at WFA. Can he beat Alizee? I’d say no, but it should be a cob web cleaner for the All Star Mile/Doncaster.
Race 7. (16:10) Blue Diamond Stakes 1200m
If the Prelude hasn’t busted 11 Athiri, (Bet Now: $7.50) I’m convinced she’ll look the winner at some stage. She trialled up enormous prior to resuming in the Prelude where she was wide no cover on speed and gave the perfect drag up to the eventual winner Lyre, but stuck on very well in defeat. Up to 1200m should suit…just hope she gets cover and has last look at them.
I think respect still has to be given to the Anthony Freedman trained 7 Lyre. (Bet Now: $5.50). She was tough when winning the maiden two back at Sale before going to the Prelude where she started long odds but got the ideal run, three wide on the back of Athiri before peeling out and finishing off strongly to win. The 1200m should be okay for her and there is nothing wrong with the way she’s gone about it.
8 Vinicunca (Bet Now: $9.00) is a WaterBott trained filly who ran an enormous race first up in the Prelude I thought. Worked a bit to find the front before Baster got a cheap furlong before the turn, suiting those on speed, and she fought on well when second to Lyre. Think she’ll take good improvement from that and from the barrier, Baster will either lead or get the sit behind Free Of Debt/I Am Immortal. Either way, she’s likeable.
Race 8. (16:50) Oakleigh Plate 1100m
I think things will need to fall into place for 3 Nature Strip (Bet Now: $2.30) to be winning. Visually and on the overall clock, he was spectacular first up. But what did he beat? Yes, Voodoo Lad was in the race, but that race shape isn’t his go at all, so a forgive there. What else? With due respect, he beat nothing, and while he ran freakish middle splits, his last 200m was in around 12.5. Will that late speed get him home? You’ll have to take a short price. If it was a 1000m race, I’d be really keen on him. Just has to stretch it to 1100m at the top level.
I think 2 Viddora (Bet Now: $14.00) is somewhat forgotten here and she comfortably beat Nature Strip the lone time they met. Just forget her run in the Winterbottom. Too far back, no real luck in the run and she just didn’t seem 100%. Been given the break and her two jumpouts leading up to this have been quite good to the eye. Nothing spectacular but enough to suggest she’s ready to run a big race.
Really keen to see 10 Eduardo (Bet Now: $10.00) resume for Sarah Zschoke. He was one of the real feel good stories of the Spring, rising from provincial level to being a Group winner and looking a potential Group l horse. That’s the path he’s heading down, starting off here before an Oakleigh Plate tilt. Trialled at Cranbourne and went like an absolute jet. He’s just so reliable and yet to run a bad race. The gate though is a nightmare.
Race 9. (17:30) Peter Young Stakes 1800m
You’d think only second up syndrome will be beating 8 Avilius (Bet Now: $2.10). He looked to parade quite big in condition when resuming in the Carlyon Cup but was still hard in the market and with help from a peach McEvoy steer, his class came to the fore late and he proved too good. 1800m, fitter, upside…all points to him winning again. Just second up syndrome the only query.
10 Shillelagh (Bet Now: $18.00) is crying out for Flemington, so whatever she does here, she’ll improve lengths on, but she’s got class and ran an enormous race second up last prep in the Epsom when beaten a length by Hartnell. She resumed in the CF Orr where she was back near last in a slowly run race and was a total forgive/forget run. Suited up to 1800m and she can be a big improver.
5 Harlem (Bet Now: $21.00) should run a positive race en route to attempting to defending his Australian Cup crown. He resumed in the Carlyon Cup and closed off alright late in the piece I thought when fourth to Avilius. Turning the tables would seem an ask given how brilliant Avilius was, but he can sit near the speed if need be and any hint of bias towards those on speed will help his chances if he’s ridden positively.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Nine Number 8 Avilius
NEXT BEST: Race Six Number 11 Alizee
LONG SHOT: Race Seven Number 11 Athiri
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 3, 11
Leg Two: 2, 3, 7, 8, 11
Leg Three: 2, 3, 6, 10
Leg Four: 8
$50 Investment = 125% 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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