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The Cox Plate Carnival reaches a real high point on Friday night with the Group l Manikato Stakes (1200m) highlighting a bumper eight race card. The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (18:30) MSC Signs Handicap 2040m

Back Me

5 Dodging Bullets (Bet Now: $2.20) surely puts this field away. This Symon Wilde trained galloper has been in really good form of late, the latest run being a closing second to Odeon over 1800m last Wednesday at Caulfield. He will love the rise to 2040m and there is just no depth here. On form, he has to go on top.

Danger

3 Red Alto (Bet Now: $5.50) is next best for mine. Got the chocolates for us at a huge price fresh down the Flemington straight but has done bugger all since. Ran in the Cranbourne Cup and while he never threatened, I thought the run had some merit behind Folkswood in a race which was much stronger than this. Likes the Valley also.

Long Shot

4 Lord Durante (Bet Now: $8.00) is a ripping nine year old who in fact led all the way to win this race last year. He has been given a month off since contesting the JRA Cup where I thought he was far from disgraced behind Jon Snow in a high quality contest. Should lead these for fun, and we know that when the rail is true, it’s no disadvantage being on speed.

Race 2. (19:00) Chandler Macleod Country Cup 1600m

Back Me

6 Carraig Aonair (Bet Now: $4.60) for me. Hayes/Dabernig trained gelding who ran over the Flemington mile at the midweeks and was given every possible in the run by Yendall but was no match for the in form Silvera, who ran well on Blue Sapphire Day at Caulfield, and the form has held up via Violate. That reads well for this.

Danger

1 Master Reset (Bet Now: $5.50) is the clear class runner of the field hence why he has the impost. He had no admirers when resuming over 1400m at Flemington but despite that I thought he ran really well when fourth to Pure Pride, who had no luck at all in the Seymour Cup. This horse flies second up and loves the Valley.

Long Shot

2 Refulgent (Bet Now: $6.00) hasn’t done much this time in but a drop in depth and back to the Valley could spark improvement. He didn’t really do much in the Seymour Cup last Sunday but that field did have good depth to it, much stronger than what he faces here. Draws to get a suck run behind the speed and Zahra rides.

Race 3. (19:30) Sweeney Estate Agents We Know West Handicap (84) 1500m

Back Me

5 Fox Hall (Bet Now: $1.65) looks a good thing here to my eye. Tony McEvoy trained four year old who was given a lovely ride by Luke Currie to win the last on Cranbourne Cup Day, wearing down in form mare Red Is The Rose. Worked here with Hey Doc on Tuesday and clearly went better to my eye. Good enough for me here.

Danger

4 Shards (Bet Now: $10.00) was first up for the Hayes/Dabernig team over the 1400m on the Parks track a tick under three weeks back where he was an alarming drifter in betting, out to $19 from $7, but despite that, he worked home strongly late in the piece behind Moss ‘N’ Dale. Should come right on from that and in his lone run here, he ran second to Jameka in the Vase. Reads well doesn’t it.

Long Shot

2 Black Sheep (Bet Now: $9.00) has been a bit off this prep but I am prepared to give him another look on a track which he usually saves his best for. In saying that, he did run over the mile here last time out and was a bit disappointing to my eye behind Sebring Dream, but I think upon reflection, that night, that track, just didn’t suit him. If we get an even level playing field here, he’s worth the gamble.

Race 4. (20:00) Mitchelton Wines Handicap 1000m

Back Me

1 Madeenaty (Bet Now: $3.20) gets the nod but only just. This nippy filly ran in the 955m race here on Moir night and did a good job behind Super Too but was just run off her legs by that Sydney speed demon. Back to her own age now, and I think the rise to 1000m will suit because the 955m helter skelter probably isn’t her go.

Danger

5 Smart Coupe (Bet Now: $3.10) is an above average type for the Ellerton/Zahra team that is first up here. This filly had two runs in the Winter and her efforts were outstanding in winning each, and both races have turned out to be red hot form races since. Looks smart, but gee she is short enough. And her jump out last Friday…I’ve seen better jump outs.

Long Shot

6 Nature Strip (Bet Now: $4.80) had that hard market support in the red when debuting in a handy maiden event at Mornington and under apprentice Michael Poy, he toughed it out strongly after doing work in the run to win narrowly but impressively. Form out of that maiden has been okay subsequent and I like that the stable has sent him straight to town.

Race 5. (20:30) Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge Heat 3 (84) 955m

Back Me

If 3 Lady Esprit (Bet Now: $4.20) turned up with her best form, she wins. I’ll take the gamble. Hasn’t raced for four weeks since contesting the Whylie at Morphettville where she found the class a bit much behind Lope De Capio, who has franked the form again subsequent in the Durrbridge. Saves her best for this scenario and draws a sweet gate.

Danger

13 Mile High (Bet Now: $5.00) is another nice type, this one trained by John Macmillan. He ran over the 1050m at Morphettville a tick under a fortnight back where he sat on speed under young Huxtable and gave a really good kick in the straight when asked for the big effort but couldn’t hold out the finishing burst of Invisible Girl. I think back to the 955 is ideal and is down in the weights.

Long Shot

1 Plateau Gold (Bet Now: $14.00) is a former Coffs Harbour sprinter who had his first run for the Quinton Scott team at this track/distance three weeks ago and he gave a mighty sight in front but just couldn’t quite see it out when nutted by Modern Wonder. Senior jock on now and should improve off that outing.

Race 6. (21:00) The Emerson Handicap 2040m

Back Me

10 History Repeats (Bet Now: $10.00) looks a good play here. Progressive mare for the Waterhouse/Bott team who broke the maiden status three back at Hawkesbury and has been good since, including in the Pinker Pinker where she ran a gutsy third to Falika. Think she maps really well and around the Valley, I think she might take some running down.

Danger

4 Falika (Bet Now: $3.70) did a remarkable job to win the Pinker Pinker. Bungled the start badly and was near last throughout on a night where making ground was proving difficult but she came hard under Olly and surged to get the win. She does appear to have plenty of room for improvement and off that win, you can’t ignore her.

Long Shot

12 Cedar Grande (Bet Now: $20.00) is the knockout chance at odds. Robert Smerdon trained mare who has had two runs back from a spell, both over unsuitable trips, but I think she has been very good each time. The three times she has been at 2000m she has beaten a Group l performer, placed in the other, and got too far back in the SA Fillies Classic. Right in this.

Race 7. (21:30) Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes 1200m

Back Me

It’s a cracking race, but all things being equal, 2 Vega Magic (Bet Now: $2.00) should be winning this. High class animal for the Hayes/Dabernig team who should have won the Everest had it not been for the slaughter that Williams produced, dragging back instead of sliding forward. He won’t make the same mistake again here, he has upside and I think only bad luck beats him.

Danger

I think you just have to include 1 Chautauqua (Bet Now: $8.00). His efforts this Spring have been unbelievable really given the way the Sydney tracks have been playing. He just has that awful racing pattern of being disinterested early and coming off the bit a fair way out. He is a proven MV performer, and D Dunn is back on.

Long Shot

You can make a case for 3 Malaguerra (Bet Now: $27.00) here. Very good sprinter for the Gelagotis team who resumed in the Moir and considering the way the track was playing, I thought he did a really good job in defeat behind She Will Reign. The form out of that hasn’t stood up at all, plus he’s drawn wide, but he’s a dynamite second up horse.

Race 8. (22:00) Baisi Fashion Group Handicap 1200m

Back Me

1 Hellova Street (Bet Now: $4.80) on top. Tasmanian raider for Scott Brunton who resumed over 1100m on Underwood Day at Caulfield where he sat on speed and fought hard down the straight but just ran out of condition late when third to Badajoz. He is a very good horse on the fresh side, he’ll be up on speed and he loves to dig in.

Danger

2 Bassett (Bet Now: $5.00) comes through the italktravel on Blue Sapphire Day last Wednesday at Caulfield where he was perhaps ridden a bit too close to the speed but he stuck to the task and wasn’t far off when fourth to the in form Rich Charm. Has a dynamite record at this track/distance and being third up, he should be ready fitness wise.

Long Shot

11 Onerous (Bet Now: $19.00) is the watch horse here. Has had stints with Team Hawkes and Chris Waller but is now with the Beer/Hinton yard. His best form would be good enough to beat these, but he hasn’t shown it for a long time and he is a horse known to turn it up when looking the winner. Recent jump out was encouraging and he is a three time first up winner.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Seven Number 2 Vega Magic

NEXT BEST: Race One Number 5 Dodging Bullets

VALUE: Race Six Number 10 History Repeats

 

Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 13

Leg Two: 4, 5, 6, 10, 12

Leg Three: 1, 2, 3, 9, 10

Leg Four: 1, 2

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