The Australian Group l racing season kicks off this Saturday at Caulfield with Memsie Stakes Day and what a field the Group l has assembled, with class galore. The weather is overcast, the track is good (4) and the rail is out six metres for the entire circuit.
Race 1. (12:25) Sheen Group Plate (70) 1400m
1 Justice Glory (Bet Now: $4.20) gets the nod for me. Talented filly for the Hayes/Dabernig team who trialled up well prior to resuming at Sandown where she did a bit of work in the run but she just kept finding under Ben Thompson and score a narrow but tough win. Should come on from that, has upside and rates highly.
2 Prosecution (Bet Now: $3.80) looks the obvious threat. She ran second to Justice Glory in that race mentioned above and tried really hard under Ben Allen, but just lacked the killer punch. Senior jock on noteworthy and does have the barrier advantage, so there are a few factors going her way.
6 Judy In Disguise (Bet Now: $4.80) ran third in the Justice Glory race and her effort was pretty good. She attempted to lead all the way and gave a good kick but was gathered in very late in a blanket go. Shinn goes on now, looks t lead comfortably again and should take some holding out in the opener.
Race 2. (13:00) Chandler Macleod Handicap 1400m
Want to give 8 Oregon’s Day (Bet Now: $3.40) another chance here. For punters, she was probably a bit disappointing when resuming over 1100m here two weeks back but she didn’t pull up 100% post race but that aside, I thought she closed off really well. Think she wants further which she gets here, and her two previous second up attempts read so well for this, with a Stakes win and a placing behind Fuhryk.
11 Swampland (Bet Now: $4.20) faces her toughest test to date but she has handled everything that the stable has asked her to do in recent times. Given a lovely ride by Regan to win three weeks back at Flemington, beating the highly fancied Samovare. On her home track, maps well and Symons back aboard. Ticks a few boxes.
7 Vital Importance (Bet Now: $23.00) is an underrated mare for the Parnham yard who always runs well in these kind of races. Hasn’t raced since mid July when getting back and working home well late behind Schism, who at the time was flying. Likes Caulfield and I can see her getting back, getting cover and launching late.
Race 3. (13:40) HockingStuart Plate (78) 1200m
15 Handsome Thief (Bet Now: $4.60) is a smart customer for Darren Weir who is a definite Saturday class but perhaps is here for a confidence boost after an inglorious first up effort at Sandown where he never really looked likely on the bog behind Written Era. Should get a firmer surface here and when he is at his best, he is explosive.
Siding with 1 Rich Luck (Bet Now: $26.00) as a threat. Quality galloper for the Matt Laurie yard who was confidently backed when resuming at Geelong and his class/brilliance was enough to get him home. He’s better than provincial grade and gee he finds a very winnable Saturday race here to test and see if he is indeed a Spring contender.
Going to give 16 Fursa (Bet Now: $23.00) another look. Quality South African mare that had her first run for the Weir camp over 1100m here a fortnight back and I think she should be forgiven for that. Was given a sweet ride by Williams but had to stick to the inside, which I don’t think was the A ground. She has Group l form from back home so the class/talent is clearly under the hood. Just hoping Weir has opened the hood.
Race 4. (14:15) HDF McNeil Stakes 1200m
Going to side with 3 Trekking (Bet Now: $3.50) in what could be a D-Day for him. Resumed in the Rosebud in what was a high rating and I thought his effort was strong behind Menari. Wasn’t allowed to build up momentum like the front pair and was left flatfooted but he stuck on well. He has the fitness edge here and if he is going to be a Group l performer, he has to be putting this field away.
2 Merchant Navy (Bet Now: $2.70) does look the obvious threat and I am pleased to see some support come for this high class colt for Ciaron Maher. Three for three to date and was heading down the Sires/Champagne path but stable pulled the pin and tipped him out. Jump outs have been sharp, he’s on his home track, soft draw and Zahra steers.
7 King’s Authority (Bet Now: $19.00) is a talented colt that is second up here for Sun Bloodstock and Mick Price. This son of Snitzel has only had two starts, beginning down the straight at Flemington in December and while I doubt he beat much, I thought he was pretty impressive and was immediately spelled. resumed last Wednesday at Sandown and I really liked the way he closed off behind Eurack. Lacks the class/brilliance of some of these, but he’s promising.
Race 5. (14:50) Ladbrokes Cockram Stakes 1200m
2 Fuhryk (Bet Now: $2.70) on top. Classy mare for the Hayes/Dabernig team kicking off her 4YO season. She was very good right throughout the Autumn, ending the long campaign with a dominant win against the mares in the Proud Miss. She has really looked the part at the jump outs and is beautifully in at the weights.
The class and brilliance got 13 Written Era (Bet Now: $12.00) home first up at Sandown before racing over 1100m here she looked to race a touch flat second up and didn’t ping like she normally does behind Sullivan Bay. Happy to forgive her for that because she does have credits in the bank and we know how explosive she can be.
8 Sword Of Light (Bet Now: $15.00) is a smart mare that is first up for the Ellerton/Zahra team. This girl came of age somewhat in the Autumn, winning a couple of races impressively at Caulfield before running a gutsy seventh to Egg Tart in the SA Oaks. Jump outs have been sharp and stable are quite bullish about what she can do this time in.
Race 6. (15:30) Mypunter.com.au The Heath 1100 1100m
11 So Si Bon (Bet Now: $9.50) gets the nod for me. Quality four year old for the Robbie Laing yard who jumped out really well prior to resuming down the Flemington straight, and sorry for bringing up the nightmare. Poor ride from Zahra cost him dearly. Just wins if he had clear running. Very keen to see what he does here in a good sprint race.
2 Voodoo Lad (Bet Now: $3.70) is the obvious big watch here. Classy gelding for Darren Weir that ran three times during the Autumn and was just okay without setting the world on fire. He is a brilliant first up performer and he has been very sharp from what I’ve seen at the jump outs. Knockout chance for sure.
8 Crystal Dreamer (Bet Now: $8.50) is a smart gelding that is first up for the Ellerton/Zahra team. He hasn’t raced since early May down the Flemington straight over 1000m when sitting near the speed, finding the best ground and letting down beautifully to get the win. His recent jump out was very good and he flies fresh.
Race 7. (16:10) New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes 1400m
Giving enormous respect to the WA star 5 Vega Magic (Bet Now: $2.60). He was outstanding in the Regal Roller a fortnight back. Was made to carry the 60.5kg and he lifted hard under Oliver to hold out the Japanese runner Brave Smash. 1400m at WFA is the query against a crack field, but you can’t knock a winner.
Been a fan of 12 Yankee Rose (Bet Now: $14.00) since her 2YO days and I am so pleased to see her back at the races. She is a high class mare for the Vandyke camp who ran a bottler in the Cox Plate last year behind Winx before not being 100% in the Oaks where she was later found to have had bone chips. Dodged the Autumn, been given a good break and gee she has looked the part at the trials and in a recent Cranbourne jump out. She’s ready to go.
4 Humidor (Bet Now: $21.00) is a high class animal for Darren Weir that was very good in the Lawrence, working home and hitting the line strongly late in the piece. Has a very good second up record and Zahra is a strong left hand whip rider, so that should help this very quirky horse who can lay in badly.
Race 8. (16:50) Dream Thoroughbreds Heatherlie Stakes 1700m
13 Tiamo Grace (Bet Now: $16.00) could be the big improver here at odds. She was backed at odds a fortnight back when resuming over 1400m here and didn’t really have the best of luck in the straight when appearing to have something to offer behind Here To There, who of course came out and won last Saturday, so the form reads well.
3 Tally (Bet Now: $7.00) was specked in the market when resuming over 1400m at Flemington three weeks back and he ran quite well I thought when second to Sovereign Nation. Was never going to win, but he kicked hard and was good to the line. Up to the 1700m with C Williams on, he’s likeable.
2 Assign (Bet Now: $21.00) is a classy stayer resuming for the Williams camp. He hasn’t raced since Slipper Day when taking out the Neville Sellwood, thanks to a lovely ride from Ben Melham. Not sure he has the class/brilliance to feature in a Melbourne Cup, but fresh at 1700m tells me he is forward enough to run a beauty here.
Race 9. (17:25) Comcater Handicap 1400m
16 Divine Mr Artie (Bet Now: $10.00) is nearing a win so I’ll lean his way. He ran over 1400m at Flemington a few weeks weeks back and did a ripping job in defeat. Had to come wide from the back and launched late but Nozomi, who got the breaks inside, nabbed him. Swap the runs, swap the result. He can sit closer here and is the one to beat.
2 Grande Rosso (Bet Now: $2.70) is a very good galloper for the Hayes/Dabernig team. I was quite keen on him first up in the Auries Star and he nearly got there but just ran out of puff late behind Hey Doc and Cannyescent. Loves Caulfield, has an excellent second up record…price is a bit skinny but he’s a threat for sure.
6 Hardham (Bet Now: $13.00) is a quality four year old that resumes for the David Briedoake camp. He had a ripping Autumn prep, ending it with a second in the Australian Derby to Jon Snow. That effort was superb against the bias and he would have won in another couple of strides. Jump outs have been good and he has class/quality.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Seven Number 5 Vega Magic
NEXT BEST: Race One Number 1 Justice Glory
VALUE: Race Eight Number 13 Tiamo Grace
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 2, 4, 8, 11
Leg Two: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12
Leg Three: 1, 2, 3, 9, 13
Leg Four: 2, 6, 7, 16
$50 Investment= 10.41% 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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