With renovations taking place at Caulfield, their traditional Boxing Day program will be run and won at Sportingbet Park Sandown-Lakeside. Eight races are set down, with two blacktype races highlighting the program, both carrying $120,000 prizemoney and Listed status; The Christmas Stakes (1200m) and Lord Stakes (1600m).
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Race One (1:00pm) : Joe Brown Plate (78) 1600m: Form Guide
Back Me: Duke Of Brunswick (Best Odds: $3.50) put behind him a frustrating run of placings with a strong on speed maiden win at Wangaratta three weeks back. The three horses to have raced since out of that event have all run well, so the form has held up for now, plus two back he ran second to Roundabout, who won again not long after. He looks the obvious one here and he looks as though he’ll relish the 1600m. Pretty keen on him here.
Big Danger: Arctowski (Best Odds: $9.00) is another who put behind a losing sequence with an off speed win at Kilmore, aided by a brilliant ride from Michael Walker. He is another who has great form around him, with the two placegetters from that race, Radical and Piran, both winning their maidens impressively at their next outing. Slight query on whether or not he runs a decent mile, but he is in the right stable and strikes a winnable race.
Roughie: Making Mayhem (Best Odds: $4.00) was a strong winner of the Eureka Stockade on Ballarat Cup Day before going to Flemington and taking on the older horses, where he was far from disgraced when third to the in form Madam Gangster and above average Profit Share. Back to his own age now and although suspect at 1600m, he does have the class factor on his side.
Race Two (1:40pm) : Allan Wicks Handicap (90) 1200m: Form Guide
Back Me: Putting the Chris Waller mare Sense And Reason (Best Odds: $7.50) on top. She did all her racing in Sydney last time in, winning a couple of races before ending her prep with a fourth to stablemate Made To Order. Now in Melbourne, and although she generally needs the run first up, she did look very sharp in a December 12 jump out at Flemington, and she does have the class factor on her side here.
Big Danger: Cobblestones (Best Odds: $6.00) put together two strong seconds at Bendigo and Moonee Valley respectively before going to Flemington where she got stuck wide with no cover for the entire trip and folded up in the straight to run ninth to Madam Gangster. Draws much better here, gets in well at the weights and looks a serious threat.
Roughie: Aces And Angels (Best Odds: $17.00) returns to racing after a frustrating campaign in Winter, which saw her run second on a couple of occasions and finishing just outside the placings on numerous other occasions. Can produce a decent run fresh, draws one and carries 52.5kg thanks to the Jackie Beriman claim.
Race Three (2:20pm) : Ken Sturt Handicap (84) 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Really keen here on Madam Gangster (Best Odds: $2.45) to continue her sparkling form to date. She arguably should have beaten the above average Profit Share first up at Seymour had she received normal luck. She then stayed at Seymour, lumped 60kg, sat wide yet drew clear to win impressively and beat a subsequent winner, then Madam Gangster came to Flemington, and aided by a lovely Craig Williams ride, she powered to the line to win and win well, getting revenge on Profit Share. Draws the paint, still relatively well in at the weights, and being fourth up, she should have a little bit of improvement left. Extremely hard to beat and looks one of the better bets on the program.
Big Danger: Petite Diablesse (Best Odds: $4.60) produced a barnstorming finish to win first up at Sale, then went to Flemington and provided apprentice Jess Payne with her first win at ‘headquarters’ with a brilliant ground saving ride to nail Calming Influence on the line. She’ll have to do more work here with a more genuine tempo likely, plus she rises 4kg from last start, but she has a good gate and is absolutely flying.
Roughie: Young Tigers Jeuney (Best Odds: $8.50) ran a close third to Petite Diablesse at Flemington after settling outside Calming Influence, with those two really controlling the race at the front before being bloused late. Young Tigers Jeuney only rises half a kilo compared to 4kg with the Big Danger, so she is likeable here.
Race Four (3:00pm) : Dennis Hanrahan Handicap (70) 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Yellen (Best Odds: $9.00) worked home well on debut at Kilmore before going to Bendigo and leading all the way to win impressively thanks to a gun front running steer by in form hoop James Winks. That win was on November 26 and hasn’t done any trials/jump outs since, so obviously she is fit enough and appears to have so much upside for the best stable in Australia.
Big Danger: Boundary (Best Odds: $5.50) has been excellent in all three career runs to date, winning on debut at Geelong before running a game second in the 3YO Magic Millions at Ballarat, then coming to the Hillside track and looking to get lost on the turn before balancing up and charging late to run third to Northoza. Looks well above average and can bounce back to the winners list.
Roughie: Amarela (Best Odds: $4.60) produced a barnstorming performance under the guidance of Ollie to win on debut at Seymour in really impressive fashion, coming from last on the turn. Nigel Blackiston always produces a quality young filly at this time of year, and he looks to have got another one. Only problem is barrier eleven, but she has Michael Walker in the saddle, and he has been in sparkling form recently.
Race Five (3:40pm) : Jackie Loughlin Christmas Stakes 1200m: Form Guide
Back Me: I like a plan that comes off and that appears as though it could happen with the smart Wodonga mare Sumakaray (Best Odds: $15.00), who resumes here after an eight month spell. She hasn’t been seen since running last to Pago Rock at Caulfield. She comes here off the back of a very slick trial win at Albury a couple of weeks, bolting in by over three lengths and running good time. She can sit on the speed or off it, and I think the latter tactic will be used given there appears to be abundance of speed engaged here. Hoping she gets the gun trail and launches when peeled out.
Big Danger: Anlon (Best Odds: $7.00) resumes here for the all conquering Darren Weir after a Winter prep which was plagued by wet tracks and bad luck, but the horses that he ran behind were of high quality, including Pillar Of Creation, Nearest To Pin and Akavoroun. He is a three time winner first up and a fast run 1200m looks ideal.
Roughie: I was really keen on Tried And Tired (Best Odds: $7.00) a couple of weeks back at Flemington, and he looked the winner 300m out, but he didn’t ping at all when let down by Ollie and he just plugged away for a rather disappointing fifth, beaten a length. The drop back to 1200m and up in class is interesting, a sign maybe that the stable still have confidence in him. His trial prior to resuming was too good to ignore, so a bit like Anlon, fast run 1200m suits.
Race Six (4:20pm) : Lord Stakes 1600m: Form Guide
Back Me: Great each way bet here IMO in the shape of Tax Evader (Best Odds: $7.00), who has been outstanding in two runs back from a break without a great deal of luck. He got caught near the inside first up on Ballarat Cup Day, which wasn’t the place to be, yet made up ground, then went to Flemington and had little luck behind Mighty Like in what looks to be a hot form race. That’s the form race to look at when betting here, and I thought he represented great value here.
Big Danger: If you are an owner, you’d like to have a stable full of horses like Mighty Like (Best Odds: $4.20). He just tries his guts out every time he steps out onto the track, and more often than not, he wins. He has won his two runs back from a break, first up on Ballarat Cup Day then slogging it out best at Flemington. He should only be improved by added fitness and up to the mile also, so there is no reason why he can’t win again.
Roughie: Chile Express (Best Odds: $21.00) made up a stack of ground when they raced on the Hillside track three weeks back, running fourth to Onpicalo. He was one of only a couple to make significant ground from the back in a race totally dominated by those on the speed. As I keep saying, the Robbie Griffiths stable is the one to follow during the Summer months and Chile Express should improve big time from last start.
Race Seven (5:00pm) : Frank O’Brien Handicap (78) 1600m: Form Guide
Back Me: The punters weren’t far off the mark when Epic Saga (Best Odds: $5.50) ran a narrow second to Audino over the Flemington mile a couple of weeks back, just failing to pick up the winner, who had a dream run on the speed. Epic Saga will get a better tempo here, gets a good draw and the 2kg claim for young Thornton, so I think he is a safe way to go.
Big Danger: The most interesting horse on the program here is Tonopah (Best Odds: $6.00), who has his first run for Darren Weir. He promised a fair bit when racing in Sydney, but never really reached the heights that was expected of him. 1600m is a touch short of his best, but as we know, Darren Weir is the best of the best when it comes to getting the best out of tried horses, and Brad Rawiller rides this bloke instead of his normal mount Live For Today.
Roughie: Valediction (Best Odds: $16.00) hasn’t raced since finishing down the track in the Australian Hurdle behind Gotta Take Care, where he didn’t look all that happy in the heavy going. Has jumped out recently at Flemington, and has look surprisingly sharp. In an open race, he can roll forward and give plenty of cheek at odds.
Race Eight (5:40pm) : Master Yearlings Heat One Handicap (70) 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Sava Nugget (Best Odds: $9.00) was given a gun ride by John Allen to win first up at Warrnambool before going to Terang and storming home to beat all bar The Ten Bob, who is accepted here but will more than likely run at the Valley. Sava Nugget has proved in the past he can be competitive in the city, but he is in career best form now, so he deserves another crack, and looks to be a serious chance.
Big Danger: Synthetic (Best Odds: $26.00) was too bad to be true first up at the Valley when running last behind Last Sight, but I’ll put that run down to the fact that he simply may not have handled the tight turns. His jumpouts prior to that run were excellent, so I am prepared to overlook the fresh run and give him another chance here.
Roughie: The Terricks (Best Odds: $17.00) resumes for Robbie Griffiths after a really strong opening campaign, which saw him place behind the likes of Refulgent and Artie Mortie. The latter races here also, and from when they last met, The Terricks does get a 1kg weight pull and more favourable conditions, plus the stable is in form. Best form is over further, but resumes without a trial, so he is the watch horse here.
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BEST BET: Race Three Number 5 Madam Gangster
NEXT BEST: Race One Number 4 Duke Of Brunswick
VALUE: Race Six Number 9 Tax Evader
Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):
Leg One: 4, 5, 7, 9
Leg Two: 6, 7, 9, 11
Leg Three: 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13
Leg Four: 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 17
$50 Investment= 5.78% of the dividend if successful.
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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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