Forecast leading up to Saturday doesn’t have it raining too much and if it does, then it’s quite windy, which would likely dry out the track (barring any torrential rain). Therefore, I am certainly expecting the track to start a GOOD4. On the day there’s a slim chance of 1-5mm, which could get us into that SOFT5 range, but I’d be pretty confident in a GOOD4 the entire day.The biggest issue will be the N-NW winds. Average winds expected are around 30km/h and gusts up to even 50km/h could wreak havoc.
The 1400 and 1600m (Races 3/6/8) chute races will be the most impacted by these winds as when jostling for spots they will be doing so into a head wind for the first 200-600m. I’d say the winners of those races will be the ones who have cover early and probably no worse than midfield due to cross-wind in the straight.
In the straight races (1000-1200m – Races 1/2/4) the wind will be a cross wind, slightly from behind. Horses with inside barriers will be protected from that wind and, generally speaking, leaders and on-pace runners will be advantaged.
For the longer races (5/7/9) the leaders won’t face the head-wind for very long so I don’t see them being too advantaged, however similarly to the other races on the day, if too far back horses will likely struggle.
RACE 2 - SEPPELT WINES POSEIDON STAKES
*Note: ITZHOT and PIONEER RIVER likely to race at Moonee Valley on Friday*
I think they’ll come middle of track or the grandstand side, as the grandstand will protect them from the wind. WISDOM OF WATER and ISLAND JOY lead, MILDRED a tad behind them. MAHA and FOREVER FREE settle off-pace with SEPTEMBER RUN and PORTLAND SKY midfield. VALAQUENTA and MINHAAJ near the back and ITZHOT and POINEER RIVER last. WISDOM OF WATER knows no other way but to go fast so I’d say this will be ran well above an even tempo.
My feel is that FOREVER FREE and PORTLAND SKY are the map horses. They’ll be close enough to the speed and get cover from the cross-wind. ISLAND JOY also maps really well depending on how the race is run. I have mapped ITZHOT last, however I can see a possibility where he trails PORTLAND SKY and FOREVER FREE into it and therefore becomes another map horse. Could even be on-pace based on recent Jump Outs. MAHA gets cover and sits behind the speed, also maps well.
If ISLAND JOY and MILDRED try and stay with WISDOM OF WATER, they’re vulnerable first up and are at a disadvantage. PIONEER RIVER probably settles last too, with the pace on and I don’t think that’ll be the place to be. Think the three market favourites of SEPTEMBER RUN, VALAQUENTA and MINHAAJ are all neutral and, if good enough, get their chance.
The race to be coming out of is the ‘4cyte For Living’ which FOREVER FREE, VALAQUENTA and PORTLAND SKY come out of. VALAQUENTA was the best of the three on that occasion and definitely has improvement in him, maps a little awkwardly in my opinion, but has every chance. PORTLAND SKY got into a bumping duel with VALAQUENTA and arguably should’ve finished alongside him. FOREVER FREE led and faced a headwind last start so she definitely gets a better chance here and will likely be closer than the other two in the run. PIONEER RIVER is also out of the same race and could easily be in the finish with more luck than he got last start. He doesn’t map well but does have decent 2yo form around Larimer Street and Ole Kirk. SEPTEMBER RUN probably loses the fitness edge she had in her last race here, so I think she’s a tad short and can’t have her. MINHAAJ would have to improve a fair way to be winning this too, can’t be with her either. I think the roughie of this field is the recently gelded ITZHOT who jumped out with ISLAND JOY and was much stronger past the line than her. Don’t give the others much of a chance.
Personally, I think VALAQUENTA and PORTLAND SKY are the two to beat. Couldn’t talk you out of FOREVER FREE. Could easily play PIONEER RIVER and ITZHOT E/W in what is a pretty open race, however it looks pretty likely they head to Moonee Valley Friday night, where i could definitely play them.
RACE 3 - PARIS LANE STAKES
BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER should hold the lead and HELLOVA STREET should come to his outside. LEGIONNAIRE likely box seats with ROMANCER his outside. ICONOCLASM won’t be worked to hold a spot and should just settle off-pace/midfield and RIDDLE ME THAT won’t be cast wide this time, should find cover. FASCINO will try and hold a spot Midfield and the import MUNITIONS will be on her outside. GAULOIS has no choice but to go back and the remaining three won’t show much intent from their wide draws and will be any order at the rear. I think there will be a bit of pace in this with BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER wanting to lead, ROMANCER and LEGIONNAIRE will force HELLOVA STREET to work to get OSL therefore, making BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER work a little more to hold the fence. Won’t be lightning but definitely above average tempo.
Clear map horse is LEGIONNAIRE for me, box seating in what will be a truly run race. ROMANCER gets a good spot and has his chance if good enough as does RIDDLE ME THAT who I’d say is also be advantaged by the map.
Pretty simple, the last three are in a world of pain (BEST OF DAYS / GALAXY RAIDER / HANG MAN). FASCINO also is in a tricky spot midfield the rails. MUNITIONS, ICONOCLASM and GAULOIS are all probably neutral, same with the leaders.
LEGIONNAIRE is so well suited in this; map horse, platforms perfectly off a great performance in a fast run 1200m race, just depends if he has the class to compete at this level. RIDDLE ME THAT also comes from the same last two races as LEGIONNAIRE and has been cast 3-wide in both, definitely can improve and is arguably a more talented galloper. MUNITIONS is the x-factor whose jump outs have been workman-like but nothing that really stands out and says back me – got to respect that D.Oliver jumps off LEGIONNAIRE to ride him though. GAULOIS coming down south too with some residual fitness and likely gets enough pace on up the front to run on and be competitive. I can’t have ROMANCER unless the rain comes. BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER, HELLOVA STREET and ICONOCLASM all must be respected.
LEGIONNAIRE has come up a really backable price and think that given his that, have to be with him. Could also have a go at GAULOIS at double figures who will get this race run to suit. Wouldn’t talk you out of BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER and MUNITIONS, and if GALAXY RAIDER is feeling it, he has the right rider to get him home from the back (Pike).
RACE 6 - THE BART CUMMINGS
IN GOOD HEALTH and STEEL PRINCE to lead from SCHABAU and YOUNG RASCAL, whilst HAKY is ridden for cover. DABIYR finds a spot off-pace. Then it becomes slightly unknown. PERSAN will hold a spot behind the pace influencers around midfield. LORD BELVEDERE will probably follow PERSAN again and I’d say. CREEDANCE and ADMIRE ROBSON to their outside. SOUTH PACIFIC to head back and slot in on the fence and SOUND its outside. Can’t see SHARED AMBITION getting a spot forward and likely has to go back to near last. GAME KEEPER, POLLY GREY and KINANE to settle as the last three for sure. I reckon there will be the usual early sort of pace early with the jostling of position out front, before they steady and run at an even tempo - probably even to fast.
Forward half of the field have to be the advantaged ones. SCHABAU gets the dream map, YOUNG RASCAL and HAKY also at an advantage. PERSAN is close enough with gaps and I like how DABIYR and CREEDANCE get to follow SCHABAU into is also. STEEL PRINCE should get a good run out front also.
LORD BELVEDERE will need a heap of luck from where I’ve got him, don’t like the map at all. SOUTH PACIFIC also in a world of hurt. Don’t like GAME KEEPER, POLLY GREY or KINANE either from where I see them getting to. SHARED AMBITION doesn’t find a great spot but on class alone, can’t say he’s at a complete disadvantage.
A lot of these are here to win and get ballot exemption to the Melbourne Cup. The SCHABAU camp have openly expressed that’s his end goal. Maps better than LORD BELVEDERE and PERSON here, who beat him last start, and certainly gets the run of the race. This is his 2nd run at 2500m this prep which I love – his race to lose. STEEL PRINCE going forward is a great move and if he doesn’t have to work too hard can get a really nice run in the lead and be extremely hard to beat - deserves to be right in the market and wouldn’t talk you out of him. From the ‘Catanach’s MRC’ STEEL PRINCE is the only one I could back. The other runner I like is the Flemington specialist CREEDANCE who put in a super effort at The Valley and no doubt improves out in distance and back to the straight. Couldn’t talk you out of ADMIRE ROBSON or SOUND from that race either.
Personally, think SCHABAU and STEEL PRINCE are the best horses in this and expect the winner to come from one of those two. SCHABAU for me.
RACE 7 - TAB TURNBULL STAKES
Interesting map here. FINCHE, DALASAN or DJANGO FREEMAN will lead. I’d say FINCHE takes it on. VERRY ELLEEGANT and KINGS WILL DREAM settle in behind them. MASTER OF WINE I thought would be happy to find the fence and track VERRY ELLEEGANT. HARLEM may try to press forward but will settle for a spot outside of MASTER OF WINE and AKTAU. WARNING tries to do similar to HARLEM but probably ends up midfield. TOFFEE TONGUE and SURPRISE BABY hold and settle near tail which forces SUPERSTORM, VOW AND DECLARE, KING OF LEOGRANCE and OCEANEX to settle back in any order. Tempo looks even here, possibly even on the slower side.
VERRY ELLEEGANT looks to get all the favours here, as does KINGS WILL DREAM. MASTER OF WINE gets a great spot. DJANGO FREEMAN, DALASAN and FINCHE also get their chances from the map if good enough. I also really like the way HARLEM sets up into this race, will get a nice run into it.
All those out back and on the inside well need a heap of luck and are just a low percentage plays (AKTAU / SURPRISE BABY / VOW AND DECLARE / OCEANEX / KING OF LEOGRANCE). SURPRISE BABY could just be that good, even though I don’t like the map, can’t write him off. TOFFE TONGUE and SUPERSTORM don’t get many favours either.
Convinced that VERRY ELLEEGANT is the best horse in the race, with the best position on the map. Was crying out for the extra distance last start and probably wins The George Main with any luck or an extra 100m. The only myth about VERRY ELLEGANT and dry tracks is that she doesn’t go as well on them, took TE AKAU SHARK to beat her in the Chipping Norton last year over 1600m, which isn't her best distance. MASTER OF WINE is the main danger and will track VERRY ELLEEGANT into the race, I don’t think he’s quite as good as her, even though dry track turns gets him a little bit closer to her level. He’ll be giving her a start, and may be searching for gaps at the wrong times. KINGS WILL DREAM won this last year and to me has found a great draw to be right in this finish. Outside of that I couldn’t write off SURPRISE BABY, although a tricky map, could just be a freak. Also give HARLEM and DJANGO FREEMAN slight hopes. VERRY ELLEEGANT looks the play though for me here and could save on MASTER OF WINE.
RACE 8 - LEXUS ROSE OF KINGSTON STAKES
SIERRA SUE gets the run and will lead them up, likely carting LADY LOFT to her outside whilst SAVATIANO finds a spot behind them. FABRIC holds the box seat from Gate 1 with SOUTHBANK and I AM ELOQUENT likely pairing off. That trio will make the leaders work a little bit into the headwind from the 1400m. PRETTY BRAZEN slots in off the pace and SHE SHAO FLY gets the fence with MADAM ROUGE on the back of PRETTY BRAZEN. SPANISH WHISPER probably lobs worse than midfield whilst I’m confident that MISSILE MANTRA and INTO THE ABYSS have no early speed and will be near last. BONVICINI, RUBISAKI, PERFECT DEAL and FELICIA don’t have much choice other than to be back from their gates. With the pace coming from out wide I can see this being run at least an even tempo with the horses with inside gates making them work early.
FABRIC is probably the map horse here. I AM ELOQUENT and SOUTHBANK also get nice runs. PRETTY BRAZEN draws super also. However, I think the best run in the race would have to be MADAM ROUGE as PRETTY BRAZEN will take her nearly all the way into this.
I would not like to be anyone behind MADAM ROUGE, she’s a better horse than most of them at this point in time and they’d struggle to catch her. I also think LADY LOFT, SIERRA SUE and SAVATIANO having to work early into the strong headwind are at a slight disadvantage. SHE SHAO FLY also has a tricky gate and not much early speed, so could be stuck on the fence the whole way with nowhere to go.
MADAM ROUGE for me simply brings the best form into this with her last start performance, only being 1.4L off BEHEMOTH. She ran the ran all of the best late splits in that race; the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke. Had the starting price over PERFECT JEWEL and PRETTY BRAZEN in her first-up run where if she has clear galloping room, she probably wins that in my opinion. Loves dry tracks, which Flemington will be and finally maps well and I think betting around the $5 about her right now is a gift. Think her two main dangers are PRETTY BRAZEN and FABRIC who will be ahead of her in the run but she’s got a much better turn of foot than them. I don’t think RUBISAKI or PERFECT JEWEL can spot MADAM ROUGE a start and win either. Looks best bet of the day at Flemington for me.
OTHER RACE COMMENTS
RACE 1- DARLEY MARIBYRNONG TRIAL STAKES
For me, GENERAL BEAU has a monopoly on this race. However, there are some chances at odds who could run a big race. Take a look at the full race preview here.
RACE 4 - GILGAI STAKES
Tough betting race. ZOUTORI or TOFANE are probably the top seeds. TOFANE likely improves 2UP, can’t see ZOUTORI dropping off either. I AM SOMEONE is also the map horse in my opinion so I give him a chance in what I view as a sit and sprint, even though he lacks a bit of class in this. SANTA ANA LANE and KEMENTARI are the X-factors and the reason I don’t want to go near this race. Their best form runs the quinella, but you can’t back them with confidence, just like you really can’t be against them. Happy to stay out of this – if I was forced to spend maybe the smallest E/W bet on I AM SOMEONE.
RACE 5 - TAB EDWARD MANIFOLD STAKES
Near on impossible to map these 3yo filly’s. Still a lot of water to go under the bridge for me to be able to accurately do that. However, I do have a couple that I like in the race who I could consider. I think SUCCEED INDEED is a very good horse. Sticky from gate one it should put her forward enough and if she gets gaps, I like her chances. QUEEN OF ROCKS is the other one I like, has also drawn well, and she was unlucky not to win last start. If Pikey can keep her off the fence then she will be hard to hold out. Won’t be touching this but if I had to, 2-bet strategy on both mentioned.
RACE 9 - KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD SUPER IMPOSE STAKES
Same mapping problem as the filly’s race, hard to know who gets to where. Personally, don’t have a clear angle at this one and am happy to stay out of it.
Race 1: GENERAL BEAU (5 units W) - has a monopoly on this. - 2nd by 1L at a $1.61 / $1.14 Betfair SP.
Race 3: LEGIONNAIRE (2 units W) - maps well and great value - above average horse in my opinion. - 5th by 2.4L at a $8.80 / $2.70 Betfair SP.
Race 6: SCHABAU (2 units W) - map horse and this is a mini grand final, there to win. - 4th by 1.6L at $5.57 / $2.46 Betfair SP.
Race 7: VERRY ELLEEGANT (3 units W) - best horse in the race and the map horse. - 1st by 0.1L at a $5.64 / $2.27 Betfair SP.
Race 8: MADAM ROUGE (4 units W - BEST BET) - absolutely flying. - 4th by 2.15L at a $4.00 / $1.71 Betfair SP.
Total Unit Outlay = 16.00 units
Total Unit Returned = 16.92 units
Unit Profit at Betfair SP = 0.92 units
Betting Strategy has a max bet of 5 units. 'W' = Win bet, 'P' = Place bet, 'E/W' = Each-Way bet.
Analysis by @Max_Wills_.
Speed Maps provided using Punting Form.