The Melbourne Cup Carnival concludes on Saturday at Flemington with a Group l double header, the Darley Classic (1200m) and Emirates Stakes (2000m). The weather is overcast, the track is good (4) and the rail is out three metres for the entire circuit.
Race One (12:15) : Maribyrnong Plate 1000m:
Back Me: 1 Azazel (Bet Now: $4.60) had really strong market support when debuting on Cox Plate Day in the Inglis Banner (1000m), and gee that move proved spot on as he came with a brilliant turn of speed from off the pace to win quite impressively despite wanting to do a bit wrong in the straight. Can only see upside with him and given he is trained on the track, he would have had a look down the straight.
Next Best: 2 Wait For No One (Bet Now: $6.00) started favourite in the Debutant (1000m) on Caulfield Guineas Day and full credit to him for winning. He did everything right. He jumped well, ran along in front and was pretty straight to the line for a narrow but decisive win. Also trained on the track, so he’s had a look down here before I am sure, and stable always have a very good record with their youngsters.
Big Danger: 15 Resin (Bet Now: $4.20) is a regally bred filly for Godolphin and John O’Shea. This girl is out of the former top class mare Beaded and she looks ready to rumble off the back of a sharp trial win at Wyong against the older horses, including proven city performer Golden Shoes. Draws the right part of the track and we know the record the stable has in juvenile events.
Long Shot: 5 Cao Cao (Bet Now: $31.00) is a Fastnet Rock colt that debuts for the Mick Price stable. He trialled a couple of weeks back at Cranbourne and looked to about his business nicely, running third in the trial. Stable have a very good record with their youngsters and this bloke looks a lovely type. Draws a touch awkwardly in the middle but I will eave that in the capable hands of Mark Zahra.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 1,2,4,5,7,15
Race Two (12:50) : Starlight Childrens Foundation Plate (90) 2000m:
Back Me: 4 Master Zephyr (Bet Now: $11.00) had really good market support in the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) last time out but he just failed to let down on the shifty track when finishing down the track behind Grand Marshal. That form held up well via Who Shot Thebarman in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, which is a tick. I think back to 2000m will really suit this horse also.
Next Best: 14 Killmacurragh (Bet Now: $5.50) rises sharply in trip/distance/class after resuming over 1400m at Pakenham last Thursday night where he led all the way for a narrow but impressive win. So much upside with him and despite hose factors mentioned earlier, you have to respect Team Hawkes, and keep in mind that on debut he beat home a subsequent Group l winner.
Big Danger: 9 Nisos (Bet Now: $17.00) is one to include here for sure at a massive price. He ran in the Country Cup at the Valley on Manikato night and was a bit unlucky not to win, getting badly held up on the turn before eventually bursting through and only going down a length when fifth to Refulgent. Really solid record at 2000m, he’ll be strong late, has upside and a turn of foot.
Long Shot: 3 Shamkiyr (Bet Now: $17.00) is from the in form Darren Weir stable. He ran over 1950m on the Parks track last time out and battled away pretty well behind Jim’s Journey in a race where the pace was very slow and that was totally against him. More genuine tempo here is expected, he’ll be better suited on the bigger track and you have to respect Weir when he steps his horses up sharply in grade.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 3,4,5,9,13,14
Race Three (13:30) : Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2600m:
Back Me: 1 Francis Of Assisi (Bet Now: $5.50) just picks himself here I think. There was a lot to like about his Bendigo Cup (2400m) triumph last Wednesday where he sat on speed most of the way before McEvoy clicked him up and the race was all over. Not sure what he beat in terms of the depth of the form, but he was strong at the end of 2400m, so 2600m is no issue, he has upside and stable have had a wonderful Spring. This could top it off.
Next Best: Some were questioning the place of 7 Venguer Masque (Bet Now: $9.50) in the Caulfield Cup but I tell you what he defied those odds and was actually pretty good behind Jameka, settling near last in the run and finishing off quite nicely. This looks more his level, trained on the track and has upside. Rates highly.
Big Danger: 5 De Little Engine (Bet Now: $5.50) finished off his race with real purpose in the Lexus last Saturday, getting back in the ruck and finishing off well behind Oceanographer, who didn’t handle the back up on Tuesday. The worry with this horse is that all the eggs were in the one basket to qualify for the Cup, so how much is left in the tank? Not sure, but you have to respect the fact that he is on the seven day turnaround.
Long Shot: 9 Angel’s Touch (Bet Now: $14.00) is an in form mare for the Darren Weir stable who comes here after racing over the 2500m under the lights at Moonee Valley last Friday night, and to the eye, she was disappointing. She had the dream run behind the speed and got out in time to let down but she couldn’t. I think returning to a bigger track will help her cause and she will stay all day, plus stable has had a very good carnival.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 1,3,5,7,9
Race Four (14:10) : Hilton Stakes 1400m:
Back Me: I think most jump out watchers had 9 Verstappen (Bet Now: $9.00) marked down immediately given how well he went alongside the likes of Extreme Choice Southern Legend and Astern, three high class animals in their own right. This bloke last raced on Cranbourne Cup where he sat outside the speed and showed good dash when asked. Trained on the track and 1400m at this level looks ideal. Negative is the wide gate but this Carnival has seen horses sit wide and still win.
Next Best: 4 Niccolance (Bet Now: $3.10) has been quite impressive in two runs/wins this time in, the latest coming over this track/distance a fortnight back when leading throughout and beating home Comin’ Through, who looks a potential star. Maps well again and third up, he should be ready fitness wise.
Big Danger: 6 Inside Agent (Bet Now: $8.50) comes through the messy Gothic Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day won by Peacock where he was blocked for most of the straight. Form looked hard to read, but it was franked in the Carbine Club via Morton’s Fork. Won at the track/distance start prior and draws well here with Hugh Bowman steering. Ticks the boxes.
Long Shot: 14 Enigman (Bet Now: $17.00) was at prohibitive odds when debuting on Bairnsdale Cup Day but despite a slight market drift, the colt was far too good, sitting on speed before Michelle Payne took the three year old to the front and careered away late. The time compared very well with the older horses later in the day, which is always a good sign, especially for a first starter. He can definitely measure up and keep in he has been nommed a few times and they elect to run here
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 2,4,6,9,14,15,16
Race Five (14:50) : Antler Luggage Handicap (96) 1600m:
Back Me: 2 Mabeel (Bet Now: $4.80) is a quality New Zealand galloper that made his Australian debut in the Moonga (1400m) and didn’t have the best of luck in the straight when finishing down the track behind Voodoo Lad, getting back in the run and held up so the run was inconclusive. Go back to the Summer in NZ and he was a couple of lengths of Kawi, New Zealands best horse. Brings that here and he will go awfully close.
Next Best: 3 Petrology (Bet Now: $17.00) is a Flemington who comes back to headquarters after closing off strongly last time out in the Murray Bridge Cup, getting a long way back in the run and finishing off late behind Sandhill Warrior. Last two efforts at the track have seen him finish near Iggimacool and Royal Rapture, which is pretty good for a race of this quality. Happy to have something on him each-way.
Big Danger: 8 Lucky Paddy (Bet Now: $5.50) had market support when racing over 1500m on Manikato night and the fluc was pretty much on the money as he made up good ground from off the pace to run third to impressive winner Master Reset, who franked the form by bolting up at Mornington. That was his second run back after a near 12 month spell, so he has enormous upside and rates highly.
Long Shot: 1 Observational (Bet Now: $9.00) comes back to the 1800m after racing here in the JRA Cup (2040m) on Moir night where I thought he was ridden a bit poorly by Oliver, getting held up badly and by the time he got clear, Real Love was off and gone. Was nommed/accepted for the Crystal Mile but was pulled out and has since since switched stables. One to watch.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 1,2,3,8,9
Race Six (15:30) : 7News Matriarch Stakes 2000m:
Back Me: 16 Happy Hannah (Bet Now: $9.00) has been set for this race for some time and I am not going to drop off her. She ran over the Randwick mile last time out and closed of beautifully out wide whereas the winner More To Gain saved ground nearer the inside and got the win. This mare is clearly looking for 2000m, which she gets here, she has upside, fresh legs, and stable is having a wonderful run at the moment. Hard to beat.
Next Best: I’d declare 2 Zanbagh (Bet Now: $8.50) a good thing if the track had give in it, but despite that, I think she is still a ripping chance here. She ran in the Myer Classic last Saturday and was enormous in defeat, sitting wide throughout on a rock hard track which she is totally against yet was only beaten a length. Hasn’t raced at 2000m for some time, but her form at that distance range and beyond is very good and she rates highly for me.
Big Danger: There was alot to like about the win of 15 Sort After (Bet Now: $8.00) on Tuesday over 1700m here. Admittedly she walked them in front, but she still showed a really good turn of foot when asked by Baster and won easily. Quick back up is only ideal to my eye when you see G Waterhouse as the trainer. She’ll roll along again and take some beating.
Long Shot: She is totally out form, but gee I think 6 Rising Romance (Bet Now: $13.00) finds a very winnable race here if she finds her best. Forget she went around in the Myer Classic (1600m) last Saturday given she was four wide no cover for the trip. If you look at her recent runs at 2000m down under: 4th in a Queen Elizabeth, 3rd in an Australian Cup and a 2nd in the McKinnon/Emirates last year. Gee if she finds any kind of form like that here, she’ll blow them away.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 2,3,4,6,8,9,10,12,15,16
Race Seven (16:15) : Emirates Stakes 2000m:
Back Me: 3 The United States (Bet Now: $3.50) looks one of the better bets on the program. Dominant win in the Crystal Mile before going to the Cantala last Saturday where was a shade unlucky not to win given he got back to last in the run and was badly held up at the top of the straight where he was looking to build momentum, and by the time that happened, the eventual horses who finished in front of him had that momentum. WFA winner at 2000m at Group l level on the seven day back up in the past and stable is going so well at the moment.
Next Best: 12 Good Standing (Bet Now: $11.00) led all the way to win the Caulfield Classic (2000m) last time out and it was pretty much a barrier trial, with Blake Shinn walking them in front into the very strong breeze, with those very slow fractions getting the horse home. Stable are in Group l winning form, and he will carry the three year old weight, which is a big tick against the older horses.
Big Danger: 2 Hauraki (Bet Now: $10.00) could be the improver here at a price. He comes through the Cox Plate where it was run at a brutal tempo and he just couldn’t get into the contest behind Winx. No horse of that quality here and I think racing on the spacious Flemington track will really suit this galloper.
Long Shot: I think 4 Happy Clapper (Bet Now: $18.00) is a really good roughie here. I thought his effort in the Cox Plate was really good considering that Moonee Valley didn’t appear to suit him and he is somewhat of a dud on rain affected ground. Firm footing will help, 2000m on a big track is a tick and the jock is in Group l winning form. I can make a case for him at around $20.
Trifecta Tips: 3/2,4,5,8,12/2,4,5,8,12
Race Eight (17:00) : Darley Classic 1200m:
Back Me: Can’t look away from 3 The Quarterback (Bet Now: $6.50). He was absolutely outstanding first up here in the Gilgai on Turnbull Day, beating home a hot field. He then went to the Manikato and due to the wide gate, his hand was forced to go back to last and ride for luck, but his last 100m was excellent. He tends to save his best for the straight course, and he was a brilliant winner of the Newmarket in the Autumn. He ticks alot of boxes here.
Next Best: I’m worried about 10 Spieth (Bet Now: $13.00). Only good horses do what he did to his rivals first up in the Lightning at Randwick. Missed the start and was back near last throughout until the straight when Jay Ford poked his way through narrow gaps and when he got a clear run, he just savaged the line and won like a star. Not sure WFA is his go, but with no Chautauqua, we are looking for the next rising star in the sprinting ranks. This could be it.
Big Danger: There were real question marks as to whether or not 1 Lankan Rupee (Bet Now: $6.00) would return to any kind of positive form. The Caulfield Sprint (1100m) was an indicator he had with a desperately unlucky third to Our Boy Malachi. Got badly held up in the early part of the straight, and first up from a decent break with 61kg, it’s not ideal. Confident he can turn the tables on Our Boy Malachi, and he is a Group l winner down the straight.
Long Shot: 11 English (Bet Now: $15.00) probably has the most lethal finishing burst on her but she just hasn’t quite put it all together this time in. Eased back from the gate last time out in the Manikato and worked home okay late behind Rebel Dane. Drawn the rail is some query, but I think she will get back and poke her way through ala Terravista last year.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 1,3,6,10,11
Race Nine (17:45) : Emirates Airline Handicap 1400m:
Back Me: 6 Lord Aspen (Bet Now: $6.50) is on the back up after racing last Saturday on the Parks track in Adelaide where he was a short priced elect and didn’t give punters much of a worry, sitting on speed all the way before being clicked up and winning well. He won at this track/distance on this day a couple of years ago in the three year old race but he has clearly had his issues. I think he can remind us here of how good he is.
Next Best: 3 Ulmann (Bet Now: $4.00) comes back in distance and grade after contesting the Crystal Mile last time out on Cox Plate Day where he got a nice sit off speed and chased hard all the way without much luck on the home turn and in the early part of the straight. Form out of that has held up via The United States and Lidari running well on Tuesday. Hard fir, in form and gets gate one.
Big Danger: 9 Demonstrate (Bet Now: $2.15) is on the back up after racing on Tuesday over this distance where it looked a bit hairy early on when he was last on the rail, but McDonald peeled him out before the turn, trucked up and when he peeled, he didn’t exactly ping, but his class got him home. He is a big gross type who will love the quick back up.
Long Shot: 10 Lucky Liberty (Bet Now: $9.00) dodged all the carnage when sprouting wings out wide to win impressively before going to Sale Cup Day where he didn’t look entirely happy on the heavy track, and had to carry the weight, but his class got him home. He has run very well without luck here previously, and he should be at peak fitness.
Trifecta Tips: Boxed 1,3,6,7,8,10
BEST BET: Race Seven Number 3 The United States
NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 1 Francis Of Assisi
VALUE: Race Six Number 16 Happy Hannah
Early Quaddie Tips (Races Two Through To Five):
Leg One: 3, 4, 5, 9, 13, 14
Leg Two: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Leg Three: 2, 4, 6, 9, 14, 15, 16
Leg Four: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9
$50 Investment= 4.76% of the dividend if successful
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16
Leg Two: 3, 4, 5, 12
Leg Three: 1, 3, 6, 10, 11
Leg Four: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10
$50 Investment= 7.14% of the dividend if successful
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