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An excellent card of racing has been assembled for Flemington this Saturday where it is Finals Day, headlined by the Winter Championship Final (1600m). The weather is fine, the track is soft (5) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (11:45) Leilani Series Final 1400m

Back Me

3 Pria Eclipse (Bet Now: $5.00 TOP ODDS) is an absolute beauty for the Dan O’Sullivan stable and back to 1400m, hard fit, she’s likeable. Ran over the mile at Caulfield last Saturday where she was given a sweet steer by Nugent and looked home, but was grabbed on the peg by Tinkermosa. Like her back to 1400m, lands somewhere near the speed and will give her all as she always does.

Danger

4 Al Questro (Bet Now: $3.60 TOP ODDS) has returned in fab order for the Alison Sheehan team. Both runs have come at Sandown, winning first up over 1200m on the Lakeside course before racing over 1300m on the Hillside track where she was most impressive in winning and was strong to the line and through so 1400m is no issue and hard to knock the way she’s going.

Long Shot

5 Ice Girl (Bet Now: $14.00 TOP ODDS) comes through the Pop Queen race from two weeks ago here, a race which didn’t look that flash on paper and it ran up to that with the winner being the bolter. Ice Girl was solid in defeat between runners, making minor headway without really threatening. I doubt she wins, but she’s honest and can fill a first four spot with luck from the gate.

Race 2. (12:20) VRC - CRV Cup Tour Trophy 2000m

Back Me

Going the way of 7 The Statesman (Bet Now: $5.50 TOP ODDS). Specked him at odds when he resumed over the mile at Sandown three weeks back and with the lightweight, I thought he was quite good in defeat when third to Marathon Man over a trip clearly short of his best. Suited up to 2000m, fitter, has upside and though likely wanting a tad further, I’m still happy to be in his corner.

Danger

3 Maculino (Bet Now: $2.50 TOP ODDS) looks the one to beat on current form but gee he’s getting short now. Had everything fall into place last Saturday at Caulfield, getting a very soft lead and turning it into a 500m dash to the post, where he was just too good for them. 2000m at Flemington looks no issue, looks to get the lead again. I just think there’s a bit more depth this time and near even money is far too short.

Long Shot

2 Second Bullet (Bet Now: $6.50 TOP ODDS) is a few weeks between runs for the Danny O’Brien after racing over 2000m at Caulfield last time out where he got back in the run and tried hard when fifth to Pacodali. Does tend to save his best for Flemington but does look to find a winnable race here. Best days are probably behind him but is going well enough to figure in the finish I think.

Race 3. (12:55) Silver Bowl Series Final 1600m

Back Me

1 Buffalo River (Bet Now: $1.80 TOP ODDS) looks an exciting prospect for Mike Moroney and does look extremely hard to beat here. Has had two runs in Australia, winning first up at Ballarat despite pulling hard and taking on the older horses. Then went to Sandown three weeks ago where he again was bad re racing manners, but he ambled to the front halfway down the straight and won like a Stakes class horse. The 1600m is a little query with his manners, but if he does everything right, he should be too good.

Danger

2 Asgard Massif (Bet Now: $8.50 TOP ODDS) is in really good form this prep for John Sadler. Won the first two runs in impressive on speed fashion, including a win at Caulfield, before going to Sandown three weeks ago when attempting to lead all the way at a good speed and he fought on well but was beaten and held by a Stakes class galloper of the future in Buffalo River. Leads this field up and will be hard to run down.

Long Shot

5 Heavenly Emperor (Bet Now: $7.00 TOP ODDS) is a Stephen Brown trained son of Echoes Of Heaven that has won his past two, the latest coming at this track/distance several weeks ago when big odds but he was impressive in getting the job done. Was 1300-1600m that day and a few weeks between runs, so would like to think there is improvement left and with that in mind, has to be a leading chance.

Race 4. (13:30) Banjo Paterson Series Final 2600m

Back Me

This looks a lovely race for the Jim Conlan trained 5 Beau Balmain (Bet Now: $6.00 TOP ODDS). Former German galloper who was very good first up at Caulfield behind Pacodali before going to Sandown where he looked to be bolting and was the winner for the most part but as soon as he let down, the wheels started spinning on the shifty track and those in front kicked. Third up at 2600m on what is likely to be a firmer deck, I’m really keen on his chances.

Danger

1 Chouxting The Mob (Bet Now: $4.80 TOP ODDS) is absolutely flying for Simon Morrish, his last couple of wins coming here, the latest being two weeks ago over 2500m where he looked in awful trouble early on in the straight but Olly got the best out of him and lifted the stayer home to get the win. Been up a while and that was the first time in a few runs that he’s looked in trouble so is heading towards a downward spiral? Time will tell.

Long Shot

7 Flow Meter (Bet Now: $26.00 TOP ODDS) is a beauty for John Hickmott and was surprised he started near triple figures in the Chouxting The Mob race from two weeks back here. The ‘Fawke Lift’ almost lifted him home, overhauling Last Week but was bloused on the peg by the Morrish runner. Off that, I don’t see 2600m being an issue, he’s tough and gives his all every time he steps out.

Race 5. (14:10) Taj Rossi Series Final 1600m

Back Me

I think 2 Pancho (Bet Now: $7.50) can get the job done here. Chris Waller trains this youngster, who was very good when winning two back at Sandown over 1400m before remaining at that trip here two weeks ago and I reckon that was his undoing but was sound in defeat behind Rubisaki. He’ll eat up the mile IMO and in a competitive race, I’ll lean his way now he’s up in trip.

Danger

3 Rubisaki (Bet Now: $2.10) looks a talented filly for Patrick Paune who was impressive when winning her maiden at Seymour before racing over 1400m here where she was well supported and under a lovely ride from Jye McNeil, she was far too good for her rivals. I think the mile will be okay for her and she does have the runs on the board leading into the final.

Long Shot

I like 6 Hi Stranger (Bet Now: $17.00) as a horse. He was good against the tempo at Sandown behind Can’t Be Done before racing over 1400m here in the Rubisaki race where his late splits were very good out wide in running a closing third. Still a maiden, but appears to be a promising animal and he’ll definitely have no issue at the mile based on what he’s done in three runs to date.

Race 6. (14:50) Mahogany Series Final 2500m

Back Me

I reckon 5 American In Paris (Bet Now: $6.00) is going well for Symon Wilde. Was good at Caulfield two back behind Dogmatic before going to Sandown where he just got too far back in a very negative ride from Williams, giving him and the horse no chance of winning. Liked the way he closed off, but he doesn’t need to sit that far back in the run. If he can settle a pair or two closer, he’ll be dangerous I’m sure.

Danger

7 El Vincitore (Bet Now: $8.50) is a Maher/Eustace trained three year old that comes through the Tysonice race from three weeks ago at Sandown where he got the nice run just off the speed, tagging Dogmatic all the way but that in turn gave Tysonic the ideal drag up and she was just too good for El Vincitore late, but he stuck to the task and was good in defeat. Looks a real stayer so 2500m no issue and is a key chance.

Long Shot

2500m should suit the Maher/Eustace trained 9 Wealthy Wolf (Bet Now: $7.50). Ran over 2400m at Sandown a couple of Wednesdays back where he looked in a bit of trouble on the turn but balanced up in the straight and he found the line with purpose late to run second to stablemate Dunman. I think he’ll appreciate the step up in trip and getting onto a likely firmer surface will help his cause.

Race 7. (15:30) Victorian Sprint Series Final 1200m

Back Me

I think a relatively decent guide for these straight races is backing a horse who you know handles it and 11 I’m Telling Ya (Bet Now: $17.00) is a horse who definitely handles it and probably saves his best for the straight course. He ran here over 1100m two weeks ago where he was specked at odds and looked home when the button was pushed but was bloused on the line by Milwaukee. Think he’s suited up to 1200m and hopefully they can wait a few strides longer to push the button because he does have a sharp turn of foot.

Danger

2 Malibu Style (Bet Now: $10.00) isn’t one of mine but concede he’s been a grand campaigner for the Neville Parnham stable and rarely runs poorly at this level. He comes through the Jungle Edge race at Sandown from three weeks ago where he had to chase the swimmer, who rolled along at a decent clip in front and Malibu Style could have turned it up but he kept chasing and was really good in defeat. Proven down the straight, hard fit, in form, likeable.

Long Shot

5 Crown Fontein (Bet Now: $10.00) looks really hard to beat here for John Hickmott. Won the Golden Topaz at Swan Hill two back before racing over 1400m here two weeks ago in a heat of the Winter Championship when on speed and fighting really hard when fourth to Romancer. Back to 1200m, he’ll put herself near the speed and if he holds his form, I think he’ll run a beauty.

Race 8. (16:10) Winter Championship Series Final 1600m

Back Me

Expecting a much better run for the Scott Brunton trained 2 Hellova Street (Bet Now: $8.50), alongside Mystic Journey as the pride of the Apple Isle. He comes through the Blazejowski race from a few weeks ago where he was first up off a freshen up and tried hard but for mine he just looked in need of the run behind the in form Eurell runner. Has since had a jumpout at Cranbourne when given a good hit out in winning. He leads, is tough and will give his all.

Danger

Want to be very forgiving of 5 Federal (Bet Now: $14.00) and his last start flop here. He was solid enough in betting over 1400m here two weeks ago and on face value, he was ordinary behind Romancer, but I think genuine wet tracks just isn’t his go and the wheels were spinning a fair way out. Hoping for a dry track with him, because his first up run was a beauty and off that, he’d be a serious winning chance here.

Long Shot

I don’t think the last start win of 10 Romancer (Bet Now: $9.00) over the 1400m here was a fluke. Had been trialling well and his resumption behind Begood Toya Mother was solid. He was there to be beaten a fortnight after sitting on speed but he kicked and was too good, just. He should take really good improvement from that, the extra 200m is a tick and he’s better when ridden with cover.

Race 9. (16:44) Rivette Series Final 1600m

Back Me

1 Sure Knee (Bet Now: $1.95) looks the best horse in this race. It’s amazing what initiative can do and Willow had that in spades on this girl over this track/distance two weeks ago. Instead of flopping out the back, he had the filly in a midfield spot on the rail before angling onto the three wide train on the turn and from there, it was a painless watch if you were on. Been up a while but continues to race really well and is clearly the horse to beat.

Danger

1600m on the home track looks a good set up for 3 Fabric (Bet Now: $6.00), on the seven day back up after racing over 1400m at Caulfield last Saturday where nothing really went right for her, then she wanted to lay in under pressure. Thought her effort in defeat was really good and with Jamie Mott taking over, hopefully he can straighten her out and get the best out of her.

Long Shot

5 Camelle (Bet Now: $27.00) is a daughter of Camelot for Pat Carey who comes through the Sure Knee race from two weeks ago. Her run was patchy because at times she looked as if she was struggling but then she’d pick up and that’s what she did late when a closing fourth to the Waller filly. I think over time she’ll appreciate 2000m+, but the last start was encouraging enough to include her.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Nine Number 1 Sure Knee

NEXT BEST: Race Eight Number 2 Hellova Street

LONG SHOT: Race Seven Number 1 I’m Telling Ya

 

Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 1, 5, 7, 9

Leg Two: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11

Leg Three: 2

Leg Four: 1

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