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Derby Day…without doubt the best raceday of the year in Australia and it kicks off the Melbourne Cup Carnival this Saturday. Nine group races, highlighted by the $1.5 Million Aami Victoria Derby (2500m). Crack kiwi colt It’s A Dundeel, a surprise loser last Saturday, is the clear favourite with the bookies ahead of the Sydney youngster Honorius, followed by Hvasstan then Super Cool, the horse that beat It’s A Dundeel last week.

Cox Plate winner Ocean Park will back up after his triumph last week with a run, and likely win, in the Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m). The only other Cox Plate runner to back up is Glass Harmonium. A majority of the other runners are set to back in the Melbourne Cup and will use this run to blow out the cobwebs.

The mares will slog it out for bragging rights in the Myer Classic (1600m). Streama will carry the number one saddlecloth after a dominant win in the Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. The race looks very open on paper, with at least six serious threats to the class mare from Sydney.

A crack bunch of three year old sprinters will go at it in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m). Snitzerland and Sizzling look the main two on paper, but horses such as Lankan Rupee, Knight Exemplar, Jolie Bay and Nechita won’t be too far away.

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Race One: Inglis Carbine Club Stakes 1600m Form Guide
Back Me: Gee this is a cracking race to kick the day off. I will go with Union Gap. Bumped into a good one on debut, then did the job nicely in a hot maiden at Bendigo. He then went to the 1400m here and produced one of the runs of the day behind Pronto Pronto given he sat last in a slowly run race yet wound up hard. The mile looks perfect, the wide barrier looks ideal and he could be value.
Don’t Back Me: Prepared to put a line through Tatra and Pronto Pronto. Both were pretty ordinary last start and they have both have had some hard racing recently. The effort may take its toll.
Big Danger: Proverb has been freshened since winning the Dulcify at Rosehill. He got the job done, but didn’t win like a $1.65 chance should. The drop back to 1600m looks good and he should get the dream sit off the pace.
Roughie: Right To Roam will bob up eventually. I have got to stick with him because the talent is definitely there. He has just been ridden upside down at his past couple of starts and can improve with a cold ride.

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Race Two: Lexus Stakes 2500m Form Guide
Back Me: Giving Dare To Dream another chance. First two runs this time in were super, then he can be forgiven for last start at Randwick where there was dynamite on-pace bias and he had no hope from where he was. Flemington looks ideal, the 2500m looks ideal, he is on the minimum and McDonald jumps back on board.
Don’t Back Me: Putting a line through Permit because he had his chance in the same race that Dare To Dream contested. Ibicenco was ordinary last week in the Moonee Valley Cup. Can’t have him.
Big Danger: The race was left for him on a platter, but Gatewood still had to the job in the Geelong Cup and he did it well. Forget he went around in the Herbet Power because he had absolutely no luck. Classy animal and Bossy sticks with him.
Roughie: Dame Claire is a gallant mare who is never far away from the action. Led in the David Jones Cup at Caulfield and stuck on alright for fifth behind Lightinthenite. She’ll love the trip back to the 2500m at Flemington and she could be an improver at odds.

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Race Three: Wakeful Stakes 2000m Form Guide
Back Me: I think Zydeco will win the Oaks and I think she will win here also. Had no luck on debut before making amends with a sharp win at Bendigo. Then she went to the Edward Manifold and sounded the alarm bells with a bottler of a run, before catching the eye again in the Thousand Guineas. I just would like to see her position herself a touch closer to the speed, but I doubt that will happen from the barrier. However, she will still be hard to beat.
Don’t Back Me: Just appears to be a two horse race between Zydeco and Dear Demi.
Big Danger: Jimmy Cassidy produced one of the great group one rides you will ever see on Dear Demi in the Thousand Guineas. If she had a better barrier and a clear run on the home turn, she probably wins the race. I just prefer Zydeco over this filly, but they are the two clear standouts.
Roughie: Donna Cativa hasn’t done much for a while, but she got home ok last Friday night behind Kazanluk. She may run a cheeky race back on her home track and stepping out in trip.

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Race Four: Coolmore Stud Stakes 1200m Form Guide
Back Me: Big fan of the Queenslander Sizzling and I loved his first up run at Caulfield behind Snitzerland where he never got on the track but still attacked the line hard late. He races very well early in his prep, Muncey sticks with the colt and he will have fresh legs compared to his rivals.
Don’t Back Me: Even though she won, I was very concerned with Snitzerland last start. And also with her win at Moonee Valley. She just looked a bit flat in both her runs and perhaps is at the end of her campaign.
Big Danger: I am very wary of Nechita. She just oozed class in her opening two career wins from as many starts, then found the 1400m of the Golden Rose a tad too much. She was tipped out immediately and set for this race. She would have worked a few times down the Flemington straight, so that won’t be an excuse. If she gets a drag up to about the 400m, she could explode and blow these away.
Roughie: Fire Thunderbolt was enormous in the same race that Snitzerland and Sizzling raced in. He was three deep throughout but kept giving and was only beaten a long neck on the line. He’ll get a soft run and if he gets the breaks to go his way, he can certainly win.

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Race Five: Longines Mackinnon Stakes 2000m Form Guide
Back Me: It’ll be a major shock if Ocean Park gets beat. He was just outstanding last week in the Cox Plate, taking off early and sustaining a long run. He just wins here.
Don’t Back Me: Anything to beat Ocean Park.
Big Danger: December Draw was given the perfect ride in the Caulfield Cup, but he simply just doesn’t run 2400m. The freshen up back to 2000m and back to Flemington are the two big ticks. Can he beat Ocean Park? Probably not, but he should still run very well.
Roughie: Winchester is one of the best local chances to win the Melbourne Cup because he ran a beauty in the Caulfield Cup. He’ll get back to near last and work home well as he heads towards the race that stops a nation.

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Race Six: Aami Victoria Derby 2500m Form Guide
Back Me: Going for some value here in the shape of Our Desert Warrior. Won like a star on debut at Kembla before going to Warwick Farm and getting beat as a $1.45 favourite, but he did recover slowly afterwards. Then he went to the Geelong Classic and had absolutely no luck until the final 200m where he got out and worked home strongly to be beaten into fourth. He is raw, he has plenty to learn, but he has plenty of talent. $21 looks appealing and he could surprise.
Don’t Back Me: A great ride got Super Cool home last week. Despite coming back to his home track, I just question if he can run a strong 2500m against this lot.
Big Danger: The defeat of It’s A Dundeel last week has ensured that punters get a good price for him now, because he does look hard to beat. He didn’t handle the Valley at all so if you did take the shorts, forgive him. He’ll get the nice sit from the barrier and a return to a bigger track looks very ideal. The only query is whether or not he is still enjoying racing or is he a tired horse.
Roughie: Malabar Man could be a smokey at odds. He probably hit the front too soon in the Geelong Classic and was left as a sitting shot for Solemn. He ended up sticking on quite well. If he has a bunny to chase here, he could certainly run top four.

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Race Seven: Myer Classic 1600m Form Guide
Back Me: Gee this is a hard race. I think the wide barrier is a blessing for Soft Sand and she goes on top. Her three runs this time in have resulted in luck…all of it has been bad though. The wide barrier will ensure she gets into no pockets and a chance for her to unleash her finishing burst.
Don’t Back Me: If I had to pick one, I’d say Oasis Bloom because she probably lacks the class to beat these.
Big Danger: Streama was superb in the Tristarc, aided by a Bowman gem. She is proven at this level and will be hard to beat. Secret Admirer was excellent in the Caulfield Cup, despite finishing 11th. Dropping back to a mile and back to a bigger track is right up her alley. Yosei has been very stiff at her past two starts and this is the sort of race where she could charge late and win. Red Tracer is a bonny mare who always gets a cheque for connections. She’ll be right there at the finish again and Pear Tart caught the eye in the Tristarc behind Streama. Got bumped heavily at the 300m but picked herself up and found the line. If the rain came, she’d be a special in this race.
Roughie: Skyerush never really had a hope last week in an on pace dominated race. Shinn gets back on board and he rides her best. If she gets some pace in front, she might be the knockout.

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Race Eight: Yellowglen Stakes 1200m Form Guide
Back Me: In in in on Howmuchdoyouloveme. He had enough at the 150m mark first up yet still held a good margin. The screws haven’t been tightened with this horse, so expect dramatic improvement here from that first up win at Caulfield. From all reports, he worked brilliantly at Flemington during the week and if he has held his form, he should be winning.
Don’t Back Me: Anything to back Howmuchdoyouloveme. He looks a good thing.
Big Danger: Spirit Of Boom has been excellent in three runs this time, with his two Melbourne starts being at this track/distance against some quality opposition. If he can get some cover from the barrier, he could threaten the top tip. Golden Archer is a question mark at 1200m, but he always gives 110% and should be respected.
Roughie: Tiger Tees looked all at sea under the lights at the Valley in the Moir behind Buffering. He has gone back to Sydney and trialled in outstanding style. He is the knockout horse.

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Race Nine: Tab.com.au Stakes 1400m Form Guide
Back Me: Got this race between three runners- Fawkner, Free Wheeling and Morant. And I feel they will finish in that order. Fawkner was dynamite first up, then was asked to do a stack of work last start yet still drew away for another impressive win. He’ll be a great chance in the Emirates next week, but I think he’ll be winning here.
Don’t Back Me: Anything to beat the three mentioned above. I’ll be shocked if the winner came away from that trio.
Big Danger: Sit and steer job for Bowman on Free Wheeling first up at Caulfield. It was very, very easy work for all concerned and it was a sign that he has come back in superb order. He’ll be there when the whips are cracking.
Roughie: Morant has had no luck since coming to Melbourne from Western Australia. He was stiff behind Free Wheeling where he never got a clear crack until the final 100m. Give him an ounce of good luck and he’ll be right in the mix.

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