Betfair Insider: Group Racing Previews

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2018 Group Racing

Track will most likely be a Good 4 with sunny conditions today and tomorrow. Expect a relatively even track with all runners getting their chance dependent on race pace. Rail Position is out 6 metres the entire circuit.

Ascot R8 | G1 Kingston Town Classic 1800m | 7:50pm AEDST

This year’s Kingston Town Classic has all the makings of a stellar edition, with leading WA owner-breeder Bob Peters engaging a quartet of runners in the states biggest race. Headlined by top market chances boom filly Arcadia Queen $2.40 and Railway Stakes winner Galaxy Star $5.2 at first look the The Cerise & White seem to have a stranglehold on the race.

The main competition from the East at least from a market point of view, lies with the Jarrod McLean trained G1 Mackinnon Stakes winner Trap For Fools. I can see the appeal at the price $8.60 and with the in-form Damien Oliver in the saddle he shapes up as a big chance, but the wide draw in a race that has plenty of speed is a concern and whilst he wouldn’t surprise i’m happy to leave out.

I think the value in the race from the locals lies with Perfect Jewel. She came into this race last year with a similar boom to that of Arcadia Queen and she didn’t disappoint, when held up for a short distance on straightening before running a nice 4th.

She comes off what I think was the run of the race in the Railway. Last on the corner, she runs the fastest 400-200m split before being blocked for a run at a critical moment, only to rally and hit the line hard for 4th along the rail.

Watch below (cerise & white with blue cap)


Galaxy Star got the honors courtesy of a William Pike peach but I’m happy to take Perfect Jewel this time around given the price and the draw.

Another one who i’m backing here is Holy Snow, a runner with untapped ability which has flown under the radar for most.

The Weir team obviously have a high opinion of this horse which has been targeted for this race a long way out. Its run behind Fifty Stars at Sandown last start was excellent and it was very strong through the line. It’s shown every sign that it will appreciate the extra distance.

Blinkers again is a big plus as shown by its photo second to Unforgotten in the G2 Phar Lap the last time they were applied. It’s big overs in my opinion and happy to have something on it.

The obvious danger is Arcadia Queen. She’s chasing a hat-trick, last run odds-on favourite she was ultra impressive winning the G2 WA Guineas by 3L. Stepping up against a quality field, she has just come in too short for me and I’m happy to look elsewhere at $2.40.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Perfect Jewel for 1 Unit

 BACK – Holy Snow for 1 unit

A likely Good 4 with mostly sunny conditions predicted on the radar in Perth. Expect a relatively even track with all runners getting their chance dependent on race pace. Rail Position is out 3 metres the entire circuit.

Ascot R7 | G1 Winterbottom Stakes 1200m | 7:50pm EDST

Group 1 racing in Perth continues this Saturday with the 2018 edition of the Winterbottom Stakes over 1200m under WFA conditions. South Australian mare Viddora is back to defend her title and with a bit of luck from a good draw looks incredibly hard to beat.

A clear-cut favourite to win, she’s certainly been well found, but the support is warranted. Coming off a dominate performance in the Group 1 Moir and a forget run in the Everest, she presents as the class horse in the race.

Already well proven as a traveler, she seems to have settled in well, judging by the stable tweet on Tuesday morning.

You can watch it here:

Trainer Lloyd Kennewell buoyed my confidence this week. Talking on radio, he claimed very little had changed in comparison to last year. Coming off a similar prep and running comparable times in her work, he has the defending champ in very good order.

Can listen to full interview here:

The main danger appears to be exciting local mare Enticing Star out of the Peters camp. The one blemish in her otherwise perfect record (9:8-0-0) came in the Group 2 Waroa-Lee Steere Stakes, where the trainer advised Stewards she was showing signs of being in season.

She has since bounced back with an impressive trial win. A back-marker by nature, I doubt drawing 13 has changed any tactics but I feel the task of rounding up this field may be out of her reach.


 BACK – Viddora for 4 Units $3.00

A Good 4 early with a clear radar at Perth for the G1 Railway Stakes meeting meaning it can improve to a Good 3. The rail is at the inside position and horses sitting forward of midfield should have a slight advantage.

Ascot R8 | G1 Railway Stakes 1600m | 8:00pm EDST

The Perth carnival hits top gear with the Railway stakes shaping as a race full of intrigue. Galaxy Star heads the market with William Pike engaged. The 6yo mare will be hard to displace as favourite following her last start win in the Group 3 Asian Beau stakes over 1400m given the authority in her win.

The race profile historically favours the Lee Steere stakes or horses coming from the Flemington carnival. The last five winners all carried 53.5kg or less to victory so it’s clear that progressive horses are somewhat favoured or targeted with precision to this G1 event.

I’m not prepared to back or lay Galaxy Star at the price and think she will drift slightly from $3.60 in early betting. The market order looks close to right, but the inside draws of the two favourites (including Peaceful State) are of great concern.

Craig Williams takes the ride of Iconoclasm from Jye McNeil which is a monster switch. Barrier 12 might be considered a negative, but I anticipate that Darren Weir will want the horse ridden forward as opposed to being ‘snicked’ last start from his wide draw in the Kennedy Mile three weeks ago.

Watching his run closely he was buffeted after leaving the gates and didn’t have a clear passage in the run home to the post where his stablemate Peaceful State and others leaned all over him. His best asset is his ability to be used up twice in a race, firstly to take up a forward position and secondly to kick off a strong tempo. I’ve marked him shorter than $9.50 and any notice in change of tactics to ride the horse closer should see his price collapse.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Iconoclasm for 2 Units

A Good 4 with rail plus 8m most likely. Expecting the middle to outside fence provide the most winners again. Amazing effort from track staff all week so a big congratulations to track manager Liam O’Keefe and his team.

Flemington R7 | G1 VRC Sprint Classic 1200m | 16:10pm

Impressive field and some will argue that it’s every bit as good as The Everest with only a fraction of the prizemoney. It’s clearly an afterthought for most but the horse that sets up best is Kementari. I’ve long thought that he was an elite 1200m horse, yet team Godolphin continued to persist with him out the 1600m.

The best closer in the Manikato running into third behind Brave Smash and Spirit Of Valor when unsuited from barrier 12 on that tight turning circuit. Gets a nice switch here back to Flemington which allows him six furlongs to let down that giant sprint of his. We saw what Osborne Bulls did with 59kg last Saturday and this runner is likely to mimic that result for a stable that is in white hot form.

The other runner I’m keen to be with is US Navy Flag. He impressed in the July Cup at Newmarket in the six-furlong Group 1 race in Europe but hasn’t fired a shot in his two attempts here. I’m willing to forgive his flop on the Heavy in The Everest and Moonee Valley was never going to be a track that suited given its tight turning layout.

Easy to make a case for most runners. Spirit Of Valor was gallant in defeat behind Brave Smash. Pierata running faster time in the Sydney Stakes on Everest Day. Redzel aiming to win the race Back-To-Back. Santa Ana Lane and improver back to dry. Spright a winner up the straight and in career best form. Fleet Review has improved at both Australian starts. Invincible Star probably the best roughie had she not drawn barrier one.

Deep race but happy to be with Kementari strongly, now he’s being trained as a sprinter!

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kementari for 4 Units

 BACK– US Navy Flag for 1 Unit

A drying Soft 6 with wind around Wednesday afternoon and little rain means when could get to a Soft 5 or even Good 4. I expect most runners to get their chance to win with the rail +5m.

Flemington R8 | G1 Crown Oaks 2500m | 5:00pm

Darren Weir holds the key to this race with two dominant favourites in the early market. It’s a bold throw at the stumps with Amphitrite stepping up from 1600m to 2500m off a forgive run in the Empire Rose Stakes (formerly Myer Classic) against the older mares.

Class can carry these young fillies along way and perhaps three runs at the mile is enough foundation for her to get away with not having a 2000m lead up like four of the past five oaks winners.

The Vase and The Ethereal have been the more successful lead ups in recent times with the outlier 100/1 chance Lasqueti Spirit’s shock win in 2016 after a bold Brenton Avdulla front running ride.

Verry Elleegant won The Ethereal in fine style. After racing too fresh and it looked as if they were trying to teach her to settle in the Wakeful with a negative ride again. She wouldn’t be suited racing fresh with “three weeks” between runs so that gallop would have topped her off nicely. Weir has also added the nose roll as a grand final gear change which could be the key to her settling.

From a speed perspective Greysful Glamour and Sizzleme should make this a genuine gallop. Aristia and Verry Elleegant map perfectly and both will sit forward off midfield and take beating. The best roughie and closer looks to be Collectable.

Still a maiden but has closed off nicely at Caulfield behind Very Elleegant off a horror draw (barrier 18). Drawn better in 11 this time and gets James McDonald with Craig Williams committed to Amphitrite.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Verry Elleegant for 2.5 Units

 BACK– Collectable for 0.5 Units

Flemington, Tuesday 6th November 2018

Track – Soft 5, Rail 2m

Weather Forecast

Monday 6th – 27 degrees with 5-15mm rain, Tuesday 7th – 20 degrees with 5-15mm rain


Speed Map

Profiling the race we learn the following:

  • 3 of past 5 winners 5 or 6yo Horses
  • 5 of past 5 winners have carried 56.5kg or less, 4 of past 5 winners 55kg or less
  • 4 of past 5 winners have had a lead-up run of 2000m or further in Australia
  • 2 of past 5 winners SP favourites

Previous race winners & Lead up result:

2017– Rail True, Good 3

  • 1st – Rekindling 4 yo Horse – SP $15
  • 51.5kg BR 4 – 7th up, 52 days 4th St Ledger G1 2921m Doncaster

2016 – Rail True, Good 3

  • 1st – Almandin 7 yo Gelding – SP $11
  • 52kg BR 175th up, 30 days 1st Bart Cummings 2500m Flemington

2015 – Rail +2m, Good 3

  • 1st – Prince of Penzance 6 yo Horse – SP $101
  • 53kg BR 1 – 6th up, 10 days 2nd Moonee Valley Gold Cup G2 2500 Moonee Valley

 2014 – Rail True, Good 3

  • 1st – Protectionist 5 yo Horse – SP $8
  • 56.5kg BR 10 – 2nd up, 3 weeks 4th Herbert Power G2 2400m Caulfield

 2013 Rail True, Good 3

  • 1st – Fiorente 6 yo Horse – SP $7 fav
  • 55kg BR 14 – 5th up, 10 days 3rd Cox Plate G1 2040m Moonee Valley

The Field

#1 Best Solution: Caulfield Cup winner who fought off Homesman doggedly to win the famous Group 1 at his pet distance. Must carry 57.5 which is a difficult task and there must be a slight query over him running out 3200m.

#2 The Cliffsofmoher: Appeared to ‘blow out’ when loomed up to win the Caulfield Cup in his lead up. Looking back through his tapes there’s an argument to say he’s somewhat of a pack chaser. Flemington will suit him better than Caulfield and Ryan Moore takes over from Hugh Bowman. If he was my horse he’d be running over 2000m.

#3 Magic Circle: Bolted in at his two lead up starts in lower grade firstly in the Chester Cup over 3750m then over 3265m in the G3 Henry II Stakes. Looks weighted up to his best with Corey Brown likely him just in behind the speed. With a soft run in transit he’s likely to be in the finish.

#4 Chestnut Coat: If you can forgive his Caulfield Cup performance you can make a case to back the Japanese raider at 50/1. Ran 5th beaten only two lengths in the G1 Tenno Sho back in April with 58kg. Probably wants a good rated track though.

#5 Muntahaa: Ebor winner with 61kgs and comes here fresh off a 71-day break. Similar profile to a horse like Heartbreak City who was narrowly beaten by Almandin in an epic Cup in 2016. Rider Jim Crowley is now familiar with race riding in Australia and has come up with barrier 13 which is ideal. Will sit in the sweet spot and I’ve marked him on top.

#6 Sound Check: Forgive run in the Caulfield Cup when tempo against and didn’t have much luck. Excels on wet ground and measured up nicely at Group level in Germany. Is a winner over 2800 and 3200m and looks good value at 33/1 but will spot them all a big start.

#7 Who Shot Thebarman: Racing in great heart for a 10yo but I can’t have. Honest though.

#8 Ace High: Caved in too badly for mine in the Caulfield Cup off a soft tempo upfront. Has failed to take the next step required to win this.

#9 Marmelo: Coming in fresh off 77 days after a solid performance in the G2 Prix Kergolay. Weighted to win with Hugh Bowman and will have supporters around 15/1 from barrier 10.

#10 Avilius: Like the pathway Godolphin chose here competing in the Cox Plate after his win in the Bart Cummings 2500m at Flemington. Horse obviously thriving and definite winning chance after a faultless preparation.

#11 Yucatan: Market favourite with plenty of hype around him. James McDonald gave him an 11/10 ride and eased him down over the final 100m at his Australian debut in the Herbert Power. That race is a great pathway for this race and reports from Werribee are very positive. Gate 23 is a worry, but a slow rated surface may provide a bigger headache.

#12 Auvray: No

#13 Finche: Lightly raced stayer who needed the run at Geelong as he’d been behind in his work since arriving in Australia. Zac Purton is as good as any, but this race may have come to soon for him.

#14 Red Cardinal: Not going well enough.

#15 Venguer Masque: Racing well but just lacks a touch of class. Will get a soft run in transit but would be a ‘Prince Of Penzance’ type story if he won.

#16 Ventura Storm: A much better horse since his wind operation.  Had the perfect run in the Moonee Valley Cup and can run into the placings.

#17 A Prince Of Arran: Michael Walker looked after him on Saturday in the Lexus Stakes and he held out Brimham rocks soundly. Query at 3200m but wouldn’t totally shock.

#18 Nakeeta: Not going well enough.

#19 Sir Charles Road:Don’t think the Bendigo Cup form is strong enough to make him a winning chance but will stay 3200m and likes wet.

#20 Zacada: Can improve dramatically from the Geelong Cup and has now built a great fitness platform. Can see him running top 10.

#21 Runaway: Will have more pressure than when he did in winning the Geelong Cup. Hard to see him winning.

#22 Youngstar: Best of the closers in the Caulfield Cup when tempo was against. Likes Flemington which was evident in her run behind Winx in the Turnbull stakes. Drawn barrier 8, Craig Williams suits her, and Chris Waller rarely pushes a 4yo mare far into the deep end. Major player.

#23 Cross Counter: Lightly raced stayer for the all-conquering Charlie Appleby yard and Kerrin McEvoy is a significant booking. Early reports from Werribee were that he didn’t travel as well as others. Betting will tell the story late on Betfair and must be respected.

#24 Rostropovich: Not suited at Moonee Valley so expect big improvement stepping out to 3200m here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Muntahaa for 2 Units

 BACK– Youngstar for 1 Unit

*Speed Maps courtesy of Racing & Sports.

Good Luck Backing & Laying!

A Good 3 is likely with a 30-degree day with only 1-5mm forecast with the cool change hitting Melbourne.  The track was watered after Tuesday’s gallops but there’s a big worry about the wind in the lead up drying the track out for Derby and Cup day. Will race hard and fast!

Flemington R3 | G2 1200m Hcp | 1:00pm

Looks a genuine tempo here with Runson, Casino Wizard, Winter Bride and The Monstar all pushing forward. In that scenario it’s hard not to side with the star closers in Osborne Bulls and Missrock.

I’ve been waiting months for Osborne Bulls to get to the 1200m at Flemington. An uninterrupted run in a straight line could result in something very special. He’s probably every bit as good as Kementari over 1200m and we saw a monster performance by that runner in last week’s Manikato Stakes.

Osborne Bulls wasn’t out of place in The Everest placing third behind Redzel and Trapeze Artist. I think he’s more effective on a Good track and if the outside fence is the place to be he could space his rivals in this.

The only possible danger appears to be Missrock. Beaten only a length in this race last year to Rich Charm. She arrives here freshen this time with a solid placing behind Ball Of Muscle three weeks ago at Caulfield.

 BACK – Osborne Bulls 5 Units

 BACK– Missrock 1 Unit

Flemington R7 | G1 Victoria Derby 2500m WFA| 3:50pm

Thinkin’ Big won’t get away with a soft tempo here. The Weir stable will push forward on Savoie from a wide barrier and it will be a tempo more like the pace in the Spring Champion or Vase which was run around 7-8 lengths faster than benchmark looking at Punting Form’s figures.

Aramayo is likely to improve back onto a bigger track. Extra Brut raced too freshen and flat last time, wary the Weir stable backed off him in the lead up to the Caulfield Classic, so wouldn’t be shocked to see a big form reversal.

Star Of Carrum, Savoie, Mickey Blue Eyes and Savvy Oak all did enough in the Vase and could be suited on the 7-day back-up. Not convinced Home Ground & Farooq is the right form line from the Geelong Classic but it’s interesting Hugh Bowman has got off Savvy Oak.

Chapada looks to have improvement out to 2500m. He chased gamely behind Thinkin’ Big and I’m surprised he’s $16 in the market with James McDonald now replacing Patrick Moloney.

Will be interesting to see who the market comes for on the day but I’m going to go against media hype which has been at record level, laying the Gai Waterhouse trained Thinkin’ Big at anything less than $5.

LAY – Thinkin’ Big 5 Units

A Good 3-4 with the rail should make for great racing. The track generally plays fairly for the night meeting but tomorrow for the Cox plate meeting it’s likely that the fence will be off.

Moonee Valley R9 | G1 Cox Plate 2040m WFA| 5:00pm

Winx looking for her fourth consecutive win in the race and it’s hard to make a case against her but I’ll try nonetheless.

She’s drawn barrier six which is normally ideal but how often do you see a horse trapped three-wide in a small field. This could happen and if I were bowman I’d be pushing forward to sit 2nd at the girth of Benbatl or just off his hindquarter, that would rule out being trapped three-wide the entire.

Her jockey Hugh Bowman isn’t in career best form. His last start ride could be described as arrogant, patient or average. He mentioned that he’d be in lockdown for the final two days which I found a little odd also. Rides on runners outside Winx have well below par and he’s lucky to have avoided suspension on Rainer at Flemington on Turnbull stakes day. If he’s not confident Saturday he could be dictated too, be forced to sit three wide or be boxed in with stop start tactics with seven other jockeys aware that she stands between them and victory.

Winx is at her top and three weeks between her Turnbull win is ideal. Benbatl has landed, will be leading and is impossible to deny as a big danger. The media hype around his credentials must be ignored, but he’s raced in the world’s best company as oppose to Winx picking off our best talent.

Humidor has the best chance of upsetting her. Drawn barrier 7 to take up a position directly behind her. He won the Memsie stakes second up and has flown under the radar since then. Last year Humidor ran Winx to half a length off an unsuitable step back from the Caulfield Cup on the 7-day backup. This year, he’s fresher with blinkers back on for the first time this preparation, meaning he can stalk her and capitalize on any hiccup that she or Hugh Bowman might make.  $23 on the Exchange appeals if you’re looking to on the aging champion mare.

 BACK – Humidor 1 Unit

A Good 3-4 with the rail should make for great racing. The track generally plays fairly for the night meeting but tomorrow for the Cox plate meeting it’s likely that the fence will be off.

Moonee Valley R7 | G1 Manikato Stakes 1200m WFA| 9:30pm

Very difficult race to access with so many colliding formlines with two very good horses coming off a heavy track run in the Everest. You could spend over an hour on this race and still make a complete mess of it.

The simplest way I’ve chosen to approach it is looking at the market favourite Sunlight. A 3yo filly taking on the older horses at G1 WFA level, she’s an on-speed runner and plenty of fillies with similar profiles have tried this and failed. She Will Reign was an exception winning the G1 Moir Stakes off a two-length victory in the Golden Slipper. She dropped out near last and the perfect scenario unfolded with pressure up front enabling her to make a swooping run late.

Tonight, the likely leading tempo will be back up to 8-10 lengths above benchmark to the 600m mark. That’s 11-13 lengths faster than Sunlight travelled early last start. The chasing pack are proven WFA horses and with the world’s best onboard.

Kementari has always looked star sprinter, finally he’s back to a suitable trip, whilst I’d prefer him at Randwick or Flemington it’s hard to say he can’t win here off a freshen. US Navy Flag & Brave Smash are big improvers back to dry and 1200m. Houtzen maps perfectly, didn’t have much luck in the Moir and looks suited to 1200m.

Spirit Of Valor has drawn wide but only needs to find a trail into the race to win, his effort behind Ball Of Muscle was OK as a lead up to this. He’s still a query at genuine G1 level. Spright is another that falls in the same category, looked great in the Moir behind Viddora fresh after winning a weak renewal of the G3 WJ Healy Stakes in Brisbane.

 LAY – Sunlight to lose 5 Units

 BACK – Spright 0.5 Units the Win & 1 Unit the Place

Caulfield track managers need to take a bow, the surface has performed brilliantly. The rail has moved to the traditional 6m mark for the Cup. I expect it to play again on a Good 3 but some people have forecasted that the rail will be off in the straight, but I want to see it before believing it.

Caulfield R8 | G1 Caulfield Cup 2400m | 4:40pm

Looks a simple race to asses here with two genuine WFA form lines that really stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The Cliffsofmoher made a huge impression last week in the Caulfield Stakes. Ridden cold by Mark Zahra, but really found the line after Benbatl and Blair House put a space on the field. The horse proved himself on the backup at Ascot in June and all reports from Werribee are that he’s taken no harm from Saturday’s run.

He’s a mature WFA galloper with 56.5 kg and historically high weights in this event have less impact on the outcome as opposed to a race like the Melbourne Cup looking at recent history.

The challenger without doubt is Youngstar. Winx form is brilliant and I didn’t like her set up 1500m to 2000m last time in. She came again on the line in the Turnbull Stakes and 2400m looks ideal. Like The Cliffsofmoher, she’s drawn a great barrier.

The only question is whether she can rise to become a Group 1 WFA Star. Waller, like Aidan O’Brien is a master at peaking horses so it’s likely she can make the transition.

Bet Recommendation

 BACK – The Cliffsofmoher for 2 units

 BACK – Youngstar for 1 unit

The forecast for Sydney is bleak after rain for over a week with another 3-6mm on Saturday with the track little to no chance for the track to recover from a heavy surface. The rail at the time of print is a at the true position. By race seven I’m extremely worried the fence will be a major concern.

Randwick R7 | The Everest WFA 1200m | 16:15

For the circus its been in the build-up, they’ve assembled a quality contest worthy of G1 status. The lone international presence of US Navy Flag only is a positive for Australian Punters and on a heavy track I can’t completely put the line through him for a horse that’s won three of four starts on soft rated tracks in Europe. Coolmore have said otherwise but I’ve found dismissing trainer and owner comments is more profitable over the journey.

Redzel had his colours lowered by Santa Ana Lane last time and despite being trained by the Snowden’s there isn’t much in his sectional profile to indicate a sharp return to form. They can race a horse short of a run, but I’d lean towards not going as well as last time, although heavy is a positive and the market probably finds him to well to be any value for mine.

Santa Ana Lane has been a new horse in his past two preparations, Anthony Freedman has figured him out and he races well with sting out. It will be a strong tempo so he’s a major player from a great barrier in nine.

Le Romain is the most exposed wet tracker. Drawn well and off a nice four week freshen, his form carrying topweight in lead up makes him an appealing option at 20/1 in WFA conditions here. Glyn Schofield knows him and he’s the winner if most fail in the conditions.

Trapeze Artist won a Golden Rose off a similar ‘fail’ so I’m wary to dismiss him. He handles the wet better than most will give him credit. Still lightly raced with a good gate, of the short three favourites he’d be the one I’d like to lay the least.

Vega Magic has had the perfect preparation but I’m confident he doesn’t want heavy. The only saving grace is the win over Brave Smash in the listed Regal Roller a year ago. He’s much more effective on dry ground despite being bred to swim.

Brave Smash looks ready to peak here. Placed in this race last year and his performance behind Vega Magic in the Regal Roller was impressive at his first start in Australia. Since then he’s won a Group 1 Futurity at 1400m and improved at each start this time in. He wasn’t suited at Moonee Valley behind Viddora back to 1000m. He appears to be a stronger horse now and I’m confident he’s looking for a wet track.

In Her Time was an Impressive winner of the Sydney Stakes on this day last year. She’s a fresh horse so no knock whatsoever second up her. Will get through the wet ground, has a great barrier and a jockey that tends to pinch these big feature races. Hard to discount.

Shoals is a versatile mare that can generate winning splits from on or off the speed. Like her stablemate Santa Ana Lane the team have finally found the key to getting her to peak performance. Barrier two is the biggest negative so she needs Tim Clark’s best ride to win.

Viddora is drawn perfectly in barrier 12 but how much start can she give class horses around her? Unfashionable jockey and coming off what looked to be a career peak run. What’s left in the tank with her and wary it’s a throw at the stumps. Likely to drift in the market.

Graff dominated the field in the San Domenico, was run of the race in the Run To The Rose and gallant in defeat behind the rising star The Autumn Sun when stretched out to 1400m. He’s now rock hard fit, adept on wet ground, has a great rider, barrier and open to improvement being from an elite stable.

Osborne Bulls is the last to join the field but could SP the biggest outsider and be first past the post. Was set up awfully in the G1 Sir Rupert Clark last time off a setback. Drawn well in barrier five and if he’s not dead last has a powerful finish and will relish 1200m in the wet conditions especially at a track like Randwick with plenty of time to balance up. Tommy Berry rides him for the first time and suits him.

In summary, I want to be backing horses at 10/1 or longer as I can see six chances outside the market. The simplest way to approach the race is to lay the two I feel are least likely to peak.

Bet Recommendation

LAY – Vega Magic & Redzel for 5 units

2017 Group Racing

Flemington R8 |  G1 Emirates Stakes | 2000m | 4:55pm 

Punting Form’s Feature Race Report highlights a clear pattern of previous winners. The last four have come through the Cox Plate hitting a BM performance of -12.7 or higher.

Winx is in the paddock, Aloisia may have been deadly with a no weight in hindsight and Humidor possibly had this race at his mercy if connections had opted for this race rather than the 3200m of the Melbourne cup!

Folkswood, Gailo Chop and Happy Clapper all ran terrific races in the Cox Plate, and I side with Folkswood to have the most improvement of that trio only third up in his preparation.
Happy Clapper tends to soften up deeper into his preparation and at start six after the toughest run of the trio I’m happy to be against him.

Gailo Chop may not get his own time in front, Cliff’s Edge, It’s Somewhat, Samovare and Odeon all push forward. Despite barrier 15 I’m confident Folkswood can get a cart across from all bar Odeon who is drawn inside, in Barrier 3.

Gingernuts has had a nightmare preparation and been racing only moderate opposition in New Zealand. He’ll be spotting the leading division a big head start but now fourth up to the big Flemington track he appears to be the best of the closers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Folkswood

Flemington R8 |  Kennedy Oaks G1 | 2500m | 5:00pm 

Rail +3m. With minimal wind. Expecting the track play fairly with run on horses able to work into the race out wide.

Aloisia $1.66 on the exchange in from $1.78. The only negative I can find with Geoff McMurray shares looking at his pedigree report is the single run over a mile and then again at 2000m. To counter that argument she is running fast times and appears to be a class above this crop of 3yo fillies (and colts). You often hear trainers speak of ‘Clean Winded’ horses or natural athletes that require less work to get fit and recover than other horses. This filly falls into that category.

Paul Daily from Ratings2Win rates Aloisia $1.37 favourite from Pinot $12.10 and Luvaluva $15.10.

Pinot bolted in the Oaks trial here two starts back over 1800m but the overall time was only fair. Controlled the Ethereal from start to finish but looked very dour doing so and her sectional profile suggests similar. Can’t doubt her foundation for this run and almost three weeks between runs could freshen her up. Will need to be a long, long way in front of Aloisia to hold her out.

Blake Shinn’s ride on Luvaluva was 11/10 in the Wakeful Stakes, saved every inch of ground in the best part of the track. The fastest splits from 800m to the winning post. On the quick back-up she looks the best chance of an upset with another safe drawn in Barrier 10.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Aloisia

Current Track Rating: Good 4

Rail: True

Tuesday 7th – 17, partly cloudy, possible late shower

R7 Emirates Melbourne Cup G1 3200m

Race Profile

  • 3 of past 5 winners 6yo Horses
  • 5 of past 5 winners have carried 56.5kg or less, 4 of past 5 winners 55kg or less
  • 5 of past 5 winners have had a lead up run of 2000m or further in Australia
  • 4 of past 5 winners have been 5th or 6th up
  • 2 of past 5 winners have drawn Barrier 10 or wider
  • 1 of past 5 winners SP favourites

Major Players

1. HARTNELL: Meets Almandin better at the weights this year and comes here four weeks between runs from an OK run at best in the Caulfield Stakes. Big query running a strong 3200m and looks four lengths below his best.

2. ALMANDIN: 56.5kg is a pretty fair weight to defend his crown. Completely ignoring his last start in the Bart Cummings when connections had clearly backed off him with this race the only focus. His final sectional indicated he ‘blew out’ in fitness so expect a complete form reversal and is likely to finish in the top 3.

3. HUMIDOR: Brilliant winner of the Makybe Diva Stakes over the mile here and proved his class again running champion mare Winx to a length in the Cox Plate, which is a proven lead up profile race. 4 of the last 12 winners have come through that event. Blake Shinn got the horse to settle well last start and the only question mark over the horse is his ability to stay. Has a powerful sprint which is crucial for this event. Loves Flemington and is a major chance.

4. TIBERIAN (FR): French import that comes into the race with no Australian lead up. Has failed at G1 level in staying race in France but is hard to lay at the 30/1 quote.

5. MARMELO (GB): Winner of the G2 Prix Kergolay 3000m at Deauville. Dunaden and Americain came through that event to win the race. Hugh Bowman was ultra conservative on Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup and he found the line as good as anything. Will get along way back in running and is drawn off the fence and fits the profile perfectly as a lightly raced improving stayer with only 55kg.

6. RED CARDINAL (IRE): Finished six lengths behind Marmello in the G2 Prix Kergolay and is attempting to win without a lead up run in Australia. Kerrin McEvoy is a positive but I’d be happy to risk him.

7. JOHANNE VERMEER (IRE): Group 1 winner at 1400m and was a touch unlucky not to win the Caulfield Cup when beaten 1.5 lengths to Boom Time. Stays at 54.5kg but has drawn barrier three and will map buried the fence. Traffic a major concern and 3200m is further concern.

8. BONDI BEACH (IRE): Completely out of form. No.

9. MAX DYNAMITE: Unlucky not to win the 2015 Melbourne Cup when faced with severe traffic issues in the home straight. Drawn barrier 2 which could present the same scenario yet again. Might be past his best as an 8yo.  

10. VENTURA STORM (IRE): Flat run in the Caulfield Cup but we’ve seen Humidor complete a form reversal out of that race and getting back to Flemington is a positive for this horse. Glen Boss has a great record in the race and can push forward from a good draw. Good roughie.

12. WICKLOW BRAVE (GB): Unfancied in the Caulfield Cup and was checked rounding the bend. Runs 3200m but could be another past his prime.

13. BIG DUKE: This horse has been flying all preparation. Was a huge run in the Sydney Cup last year and thrives with racing. Like Almandin it will pay to ignore his last start when Weir stable probably backed off him with this race in mind. Drops to 53.5kg and looks the best roughie.

14. US ARMY RANGER: Looks too dour and no Australian lead up is another negative.

15. BOOM TIME: Caulfield Cup winner who has a dream run to win that race. I’m not convinced he can run a strong 3200m but concede he loves Flemington.

16. GALLANTE: Racing well below what’s required to win this but won last year’s Sydney Cup. Not for me.

17. LIBRAN: Great run in the Moonee Valley Cup and in form but doubt he can step up to this level.

18. NAKEETA (GB): Winner of the Ebor Hcp over 2787m which is a proven pathway to this race. Heartbreak City ran 2nd to Almandin after streeting his rivals in the Ebor in 2016. His win less impressive in this year’s Ebor but fits the profile as a surprise winner.

19. SINGLE GAZE: Had every favour in the Caulfield Cup and despite her toughness I’ll be against the mare.

20. WALL OF FIRE (IRE): Lightly raced stayer that was ultra-impressive in the Herbert Power behind Lord Fandango and Boom Time. Both runners bounced through the run impressively and this runner drops 5kg from that lead up run. His sectional profile last start for his final 800m indicates he’s a stayer ready for a strong 3200m. I’ve rated him $8 favourite after drawing barrier 15 which allows him to stay off the fence.

21. THOMAS HOBSON (GB): Genuine stayer boasting wins between 3000-4000m. Has been heavily backed over the past week but is attempting to win the race without an Australian lead up. Wary.

22. REKINDLING: Lightly raced and progressive stayer that wasn’t far away in the G1 St Leger over 2922m. That form is good enough to win this race but he’s 7 weeks between runs and few 4yo’s have won the event. Will be forward off midfield and will look the winner at some stage.

23. AMELIA’S STAR: Racing in career best form and happy to forgive her run in the Caulfield Cup. She looked good winning the Bart Cummings over 2500m but I’m not convinced she’ll run out 3200m.

24. CISMONTANE (NZ): Tough on speed runner from the Waterhouse & Bott yard that found a way to win off the canvas in the Lexus on Saturday. That form generally holds up for Cup day and drawing a line through Big Duke with 50kg it can finish in the first half of the race.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) WALL OF FIRE (IRE)- 2 units at $12 or more.

Flemington R7 | G1 AAMI Victoria Derby 2500m | 2500m | 3:50pm

No standout runner in this year’s renewal. Paul Daily from Ratings2Win has Tangled rated favourite at $5.40 from Ace High $6.37 and Main Stage $8.06 rounding out chances below $10. He likes the addition of blinkers to Tangled and expects him to race handy.

I can’t really knock that line of thinking but perhaps Tangled is a little immature and will be a better horse in the autumn. Geoff McMurray from the Pro Lays (Leading that competition) has provided a unique look at this race from a pedigree analysis perspective.

“Pedigree analysis allows you to make an assessment of any horse’s inherited racing ability and speed profile which provides an insight as to its optimal racing distance.” – Geoff McMurray

Weather With You has a “AAA grade pedigree” and looking at his Geelong Classic win it was tough and full of merit. I suggested that day he was likely to be a run short and his 400m indicated that was the case. There’s few better trainers on the planet of stayers than Murray Baker, this is the only race he’s been set for and I’ve rated him favourite with such a positive position on the speed map.

The biggest danger appears to be the runner up of that same race, Oceans Fourteen. If you watch the replay of the Geelong Classic very closely you see how well this horse relaxes in running for Luke Nolen. He jumped from a mile to 2200m on that occasion so will have come on significantly fitness wise but looks certain to run out a strong 2500m. Geoff McMurray rates him an ‘A Grade’ pedigree rating which confirms my confidence and his last 600m splits home were superior to Weather With You.

Whilst I respect the Sydney Colts I fear they have little to no improvement left in them. They might not require it to win but at their current market prices I see no value in the early market.

The other two worth consideration are Sully (small query a month between runs) and Greycliffe (Won with bias and big leap in grade).

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Weather With You

 BACK (WIN) Oceans Fourteen

Flemington R8 | G1 Kennedy (Cantala/Emirates) Mile | 1600m | 4:35pm 

Ask five different Analysts who wins this race and you’re likely to get five different answers. Punting Form’s race profile leans heavily to 4yo’s and horses with 56.5kg or less. Also favouring horses four or more runs into their preparation that settles midfield or forward.

A horse that fits this profile with huge class is Egg Tart. Her Brisbane winter victories were soft. It might pay to ignore her last start flop in the Toorak as she was over month between runs off a set back with an eye infection. She maps well here for the in-form Kerrin McEvoy. Paul Daily has her second pick in the market at $7.79 behind Lucky Hussler $5.50. I expect the market to risk her tomorrow so will be backing her BSP. The market won’t fancy So Si Bon. What a trilogy, the horse itself and the combination of Craig Newitt and Robbie Laing. Looking back to march he ran a big race at this track and distance in the Australian Guineas behind Hey Doc. He’s racing very well and will get to a big price.

Not 100% convinced he has the class but Chris Waller may have improved All Our Roads enough to go very close here. First up in Sydney he was terrific behind Sir Plush who was airborne. Second up at Caulfield he zipped home on a track slightly favouring leaders after a pretty conservative ride. Here he is third up dropping 6.5kg albeit jumping in grade. The early market has come for him $18-$21 into $13, if he stays hard in the market he’s the other roughie that looks specifically set for this race, that’s something most of these runners cannot boast!

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Egg Tart (BSP)

 BACK (WIN) So Si Bon

 BACK (WIN) All Our Roads

Caulfield R8 | Caulfield Cup G1 | 2000m | 4:30pm 

Punting Form have landed with market favourite Johannes Vermeer “shown the ability to take up a position forward of midfield……showed an ability to build momentum over consecutive 200m splits.” If he can replicate that explosive finish on the back-up I agree he looks hard to beat. I’m not convinced Barrier 2 is a good draw for him I’d prefer further off the fence.

Paul Daily from Ratings2win rates Johannes Vermeer a clear favourite at $3.28. His full preview can be found here. Daniel O’Sullivan has also cleared out the overseas raider in his full preview. Rating it $3.50. This horse will stay hard in the market!

Lloyd Williams has nominated Sir Isaac Newton as the leader (pacemaker) which should replicate the pressure of overseas staying events.

A runner capable of a big spike here is Humidor who was ridden cold in the Turnbull behind Winx. With the addition of Bubble Cheeker and Tongue Tie and rise in trip I’m confident Damien Lane can position him midfield from barrier seven and be in the finish. Weir poured cold water over Humidor’s chances of upsetting Winx in the lead up to the Turnbull Stakes. I read that as the stable using that run as a track gallop.

Two horses that have beaten the handicapper for mine are Bonneval and Abbey Marie. Bonneval has been passed clear from a disputed lameness issue between Racing Victoria Veterinary Stewards and Trainer Murray Baker. Like Humidor, she went around for practice last week in the Caulfield Stakes and with a more aggressive ride and clear passage she could have finished beside Johannes Vermeer. Before being cleared by vets she touched $11 on the Exchange, I think the market will continue to come for her with only 52.5kg on her back.

Jonathan Walsh from the Bookies Bag is against Bonneval. “Opened short for a horse under an injury cloud. She hasn’t drawn particularly well either. At single figure odds I will be taking her on.’

Abbey Marie is some comeback story. Had major issues since her breakthrough win in the Adelaide Oaks last year, but this preparation has come back a new horse. Drops 5.5kgs from her five length defeat in the Caulfield Stakes and now draws Barrier 5 with 2400m a positive. Looks the best roughie in the race at $23.

 BACK (WIN) Humidor

 BACK (WIN) Bonneval

 BACK (WIN) Abbey Marie

Caulfield R8 | Caulfield Guineas G1 | 1600m | 4:30pm 

Sydney Colts and Geldings have had a mortgage on this race in recent times winning the last four editions looking at the Punting Form feature race history. Another surprising trend is that three of those four winners have come through the Stan Fox which might surprise some people with prelude expected to provide the most winners.

Kementari has been heavily backed both times this preparation but negative tactics fresh and then a gap between runs has brought him undone. Peak fitness here, a positive position on the map have him top elect from the Punting Form team and I have to agree. To my eye his last furlong he ran out due to needing the run. I expect him to start SP favourite.

Daniel O’Sullivan from The Rating Bureau rates Catchy $3.70 favourite. I have serious concerns with her position on the speed map and I’m not convinced she wants a fast run 1600m. I’ve seen plenty of smart horses miss the boat here and this race looks a gut buster. Jonathan Walsh from the Bookies Bag is against Catchy ‘likely to end up four back the fence with limited room’. Ray Swannie is laying Royal Symphony from a get back position and the gear change appear a ‘desperate move’.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Kementari

 BACK (WIN) Gold Standard

Caulfield R6 | Thousand Guineas G1 | 1600m | 3:15pm 

Alizee dominated her rivals in the G1 Flight Stakes. She won running away from them and was eased down. Punting Form have high confidence and the lack of strong tempo appears to be to her advantage. The small field appeals and I think she starts odds on. Shoals looks the best of the Melbourne Filles, last start fitness gave way.

Blinkers on is a big plus for her and I’ll be saving late once the market comes for Alizee. Aloisia was huge fresh, expect her to be the best run with a view to races like the Wakeful and the Oaks.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Alizee

 BACK (WIN) Shoals on the BSP

Doomben Race 7 | Doomben Cup | 2000m | 4:01pm

It’s Somewhat find himself in another winnable G1. He loves a wet track, leads and drawn to use no petrol to find position. He needs to improve dramatically off his last start win to take this race out and it looks a really even contest on paper with plenty of runners equally suited on wet ground. There’s no strong profile aside for this race and with a capacity field for a change and multiple form lines colliding it’s not an easy race to assess.

Punting Form side with Sense Of Occasion who’s racing in career best form for Kris Lees. He’ll map well back from barrier 18 and get a nice cart into the race from horses like Vanbrugh and Maurus looking at their speed map. By race seven that’s probably the best place to be. At $10 early it’s going to be easy to see punters coming for him with a third behind Winx two starts ago in the Queen Elizabeth on a Soft 7.

Articus has come back in very good order for Darren Weir and it’s easy to see why he’s come up second favourite behind It’s Somewhat. He can position in behind the speed from barrier 8 and looking at his last start at Flemington is a horse that can absorb plenty of early pressure. Vince’s RSPs have him rating highly in the mid and closing sections of the race which add to my confidence.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Sense Of Occasion

 BACK (WIN) Articus

Doomben Race 7 | Doomben 10,000 | 1300m | 3:10pm

Russian Revolution dominates betting and rightly so. He’s the progressive 3yo colt that relishes track with give.

Vince Accardi’s RSPs indicate that he’ll be well equipped to absorb the likely fast tempo of the race. Upstart Pride and Redzelwill tear along in front but both are suspect over 1200m at this level. Redzel won a Group 3 last start over 1200m but the race was served up on plate for him with even tempo early.

Counterattack is a winner at Doomben and looks to be the best value bet. He races best on rain affected ground and maps extremely well.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Russian Revolution

 BACK (WIN) Counterattack

Rosehill Race 6 | The BMW | 1500m | 3:30pm

Very even contest here with Melbourne Form ‘MF’ and Sydney Form ‘SF’, colliding. The easiest position to take is trying to find the weakest credentialed runner at 2400m. The rise from 2000m to 2400m is stark and there is no room for pretenders here, endurance horses only!

Jameka, Tavago, Our Ivanhowe and Exospheric all possess Group 1 talent at this distance. The risk (especially at the price) is Humidor. I’m confident the analysts at Punting Form have nailed this profile. They’ve rated Jameka and Tavgo on top, with the best lays Our Ivanhowe and Humidor.

I’m wary that Our Ivanhowe is an excellent wet tracker so that leaves me with Humidor to lay. Punting Form comment: ‘We also want to oppose Humidor. He is fifth up from a spell and quite obviously his ‘Grand Final’ was last week, and he’s also failed at his only attempt beyond 2000m’. He is a different horse since that flop in the G1 NZ Derby, but my biggest concern is that he has little to no improvement left for this event.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Humidor

Moonee Valley Race 7 | William Reid Stakes | 1200m | 9:30pm

The Newmarket Handicap provided more questions than answers in one of the slowest run renewals in recent time. The one runner I think doesn’t run a strong 1200m at this stage of his career is Star Turn. He was fully wound up for the Lightning Stakes and like Bowman on Spieth, Dwayne Dunn also butchered Star Turn. He’s the first runner to lay in a weak renewal of the William Reid. The RSPs agree, suggesting he has very weak mid and closing sections.

Finding the winner appears more difficult. The Punting Form race profile favours horses specifically set for the race first or second up. Previous winners have come from range of positions in run but usually off an even tempo.

The RSPs indicate that Rock Magic, Kaepernick, Illustrious Lad and Hellbent rate amongst the best chances.

The market seems to have under-valued Kaepernick for mine. He was strong through the line in the Oakleigh Plate after negative tactics from barrier 16 and his best performances are off ‘even tempo’ races, which I expect to be the case here. At $21, he presents a great each-way play despite appearing unsuited at Weight-For-Age conditions.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Star Turn

 BACK (E/W) Kaepernick

Rosehill Race 7 | Golden Slipper | 1200m 4:10pm

I am confident betting in the Golden Slipper on the heavy surface as it rules out some key chances that are hard in the market. On breeding and current market price there’s no possible way I could be with Pariah or Catchy with very few of their breeds (Redoute’s Choice & Fastnet Rock) capable on bottomless ground. Shattering for connections or early backers as both look suited on race shape and recent form.

Punting Form feature reports show the Todman Stakes as the perfect lead up race with Vancouver and Capitalist both coming through the race to win the last two Slippers. Punting Form lean towards Menari who knocked up badly compared to Invaderwho lapped up the heavy going. Both are $26 and despite my preference for Invader on a heavy track, I could not talk you out of backing both colts.

The lay bets according to Punting Form are Houtzen, Pariah and Catchy. I can’t and won’t be laying Houtzen. Vince Accardi has her on top in his Race Speed Profiles by a clear margin to She Will Reign. Her racing pattern and lead up run with 63kg is enough to suggest she’s the best chance of those hard in the market. By race seven, I have no issue with barrier 16.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Houtzen

 LAY (WIN) Catchy

 LAY (WIN) Pariah

Flemington R7 | G1 Australian Guineas | 1200m SW | 4:30pm

Flemington will have mild weather with the track a Good 4 and wind no issue. Expect fair racing.

Cliff’s Edge appears to be the clear profile horse coming through the CS Hayes stakes. A big run last start conceding weight to his peers and running on after a wide run. Weir horses improve deeper into their preparation and this runner needs little selling.

Interestingly enough the profile also suggests horse can win this race second up and the joker in the pack is Main Stage who appears to be kept fresher this time in. Wasn’t clear late in the CS Hayes and attacked the line with plenty of vigour. Appears a big price with jockey Regan Bayliss in career best form.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Cliffs Edge for 1.5 units

 BACK (WIN) Main Stage for 0.5 units

Randwick Race 8 | Sydney Cup | 3200m | 3:35pm

Interesting race to assess with part of the field running in the abandonment with some well fancied runners pulled up. Who will be advantaged? I’m going to say the Imports Penglai Pavilion and Polarisation are likely to benefit for their first run here.

Think ‘Geelong Cup Style‘ warm up for the Melbourne Cup in spring. The Appleby trained horses have potential to do the same here if the heavy surface hasn’t knocked them around.

Big Duke looks short enough at $3.50 in early betting. In recent time no winner has won deeper than five starts into their preparation and that can be seen on Punting Form’s feature Race report.

He’s having his 9.5 start this preparation and despite looking well suited to 3200m I’m going to say others will run it faster than him and I’m still of the theory that he was flattered in his Chairman’s Hcp victory.

Libran has good figures looking at Punting Form’s race report and gets a more suitable slow surface despite the track resembling a cow paddock. Lasqueti Sprit is another I can’t have out to 2400m, she was mowed down in the AJC Oaks and that form doesn’t look strong enough against these older tougher stayers.

Dave Dwyer form the Bookies Bag is reading the same form guide and believes he was travelling poorly before they abandoned the Sydney Cup a fortnight ago.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Big Duke

Randwick Race 7 | AJC Derby | 2400m | 3:50pm

The Rosehill Guineas is the dominant lead up looking at past AJC Derby winners. Punting Form have narrowed the race down to Inference who follows that path and Prized Icon who returned to form sharply in the Tulloch Stakes.

I’m against the 7 day back up siding with the traditional Feature Report, preferring Inference who is 14 days between runs. He overcame early trouble in the guineas to run to the line strongly behind Gingernuts.

The inside draw is too his advantage and it’s well documented how unlucky he was at 2500m in the VRC Derby. He appears the best of runners hard in the market and is capable on any going.

Dave Dwyer boasts a 100% strike rate in this season’s Bookies Bag competition. Unbeaten after 11 weeks. He’s taking on Gingernuts at $3.30, he feels that price is no value as the gelding is coming here for his seventh start this preparation.

Vince Accardi’s Race Speed Profiles have Gingernuts rated on top slightly with superior mid and late closing speed. Hardham, Prized Icon, So Si Bon & Jon Snow rate next best in an even renewal according to his ratings.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Gingernuts

Randwick Race 9 | Doncaster Handicap | 1600m | 5:10pm

Vince Accardi’s RSPs have three horses rating clearly above others in the Doncaster. Le Romain, Happy Clapper and Hey Doc. Importantly the Feature Race Reports line up on Le Romain and Hey Doc. Both horses map exceptionally well in an On/Pace to Midfield position and both horses hold PB benchmark ratings at 1600m. The only negative I can find is the fact that they may have already peaked in their preparation, that aside they profile tremendously.

Happy Clapper looks ready to peak here with weight relief after an arrogant performance in the Newcastle Newmarket. His peak PB benchmark rating is this track and trip on a slow six at 18.5 lengths faster than BM. That was behind Winx last year with only 50.5kg. A return to that rating or even four lengths inferior has him winning four of the past five Doncaster’s. I lean his way ever so slightly but will not be getting heavily involved in the race.

McCreery was as ‘dead as a door nail’ last start in the George Ryder with negative tactics from the outset. Others ready to spike sharply in ratings underrated by the market are It’s Somewhat and New Tipperary.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Happy Clapper


Randwick Race 7 | Queen Elizabeth Stakes | 2000m | 3:15pm

WINX. I made the mistake of suggesting to Lay her last start. Thankfully, I have retained my job and a shout out to the person on Facebook who thought it was a sackable offence.

If they couldn’t beat her on a heavy 10 dropping back in distance three weeks between runs, I’m now not sure they ever will. Regardless of tempo she’s almost invincible and looks like she’s getting better. How she can home in 23.04 for her last 400 and 11.68 on that surface last start I’ll never know.

Steve Walters from the Bookies Bag is laying The United States to place. It looks a well-informed play around even money and is a popular horse so usually stays hard in the market. I have Winx, Harlem, Hartnell, Happy Clapper and Exospheric marked shorter than him….

Harlem looks a runner with a bright future. He might be better-suited next preparation and aimed toward a Melbourne Cup. His closing sectionals rate well with a step up to 2000m and can run a placing at big odds!

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Winx

 BACK (PLACE) Harlem

 LAY (PLACE) The United States

2015-16 Group Racing

Current Track Rating: Good 3

Rail: True

Tuesday 1st – Max 18, shower or two. 50% chance of rain (0-1mm)

R7 Emirates Melbourne Cup G1 3200m

Race Profile

  • 4 of past 5 winners 6yo Horses
  • 5 of past 5 winners have carried 56.5kg or less, 4 of past 5 winners 55kg or less
  • 5 of past 5 winners have had a lead up run of 2000m or further in Australia
  • 4 of past 4 winners have been 5th or 6th up
  • 3 of past 5 winners have drawn Barrier 10 or wider
  • 2 of past 5 winners SP favourites

Previous Winners & Lead Up Result


1st – Prince of Penzance 6 yo Horse – SP $101 53kg

BR 1 – 6th up, 10 days 2nd Moonee Valley Gold Cup G2 2500 Moonee Valley

2nd – Max Dynamite – SP $13 55kg

BR 2 – 1st up, 10 weeks 1st Lonsdale Cup G2 3300m York

3rd – Criterion – SP $19 57.5kg

BR 4 – 4th up, 10 days 2nd Cox Plate G2 2040m Moonee Valley


1st – Protectionist 5 yo Horse – SP $8 56.5kg

BR 10 – 2nd up, 3 weeks 4th Herbert Power G2 2400m Caulfield

 2nd – Red Cadeaux – SP $21 57kg

BR 14 – 3rd up, 8 week (let up) 7th September Stakes G3 2400 K Park UK

 3rd – Who Shot Thebarman – SP $21 55kg

BR 12 – 6th up, 2 weeks 13th Caulfield Cup G1 2400m Caulfield


1st – Fiorente 6 yo Horse – SP $7 fav 55kg

BR 14 – 5th up, 10 days 3rd Cox Plate G1 2040m Moonee Valley

2nd – Red Cadeaux – SP $61 56.5kg

BR 23 – 8th up, 7 wk freshen 4th Irish St Leger G1 2800m Curragh

 3rd – Mount Athos – SP $13 54 kg

BR 22 – 5th up, 10 week (let up) 2nd March Stks Listed 2800m Goodwood

Major Players

1. Big Orange (UK): Fifth in last years’ Melbourne Cup, Big Orange led at a slow tempo which was potentially detrimental to his chances as he was not able to match his rivals when the sprint went on. He’s since raced well in Dubai and has won twice (both at Group 2) level back home in the UK. He’s a more seasoned horse, in good form but hard to come into any top weight for the Melbourne Cup.

2. Our Ivanhowe: He’s racing consistently well for a genuine stayer and the 3200m looks ideal for him. His last start sixth in the Caulfield Cup to Jameka would have been pleasing for connections with the 7YO finishing the race off with the second best closing sectionals in the race. Having said all that he prefers the cut out of the ground to show his best and that looks unlikely.

3. Curren Mirotic (Japan): You never want to dismiss a Japanese runner but this 9YO takes his place without a lead up run and with some long starting prices at his past two failures in Japan. Three starts back he run 2nd in the Group 1 Tenno Sho which has been a traditionally strong form reference for the Japanese horses but must be taken on trust after being well beaten since.

4. Bondi Beach (Ireland): Bondi Beach was sent to Australia for the 2015 Melbourne Cup as a Northern Hemisphere 3YO and had no luck in the race after racing wide and being buffeted in the straight. After a spell, Bondi Beach raced back home in Ireland taking out a Listed race by 2.8L and backed that up with a Group 3 win over 2816m by a length with an SP of $1.10. He’s raced twice since at Leopardstown (Ire) over 2414m at Group 3 level running third on both occasions. His 3YO form had him pinned as a potential star but he needs to jump sharply in rating here to win.

5. Exospheric: First seen for his new trainer (L & A Freedman) in the Caulfield Cup, he ran a pleasing third for connections. He’s yet to be tested over the 3200m with the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup being a ‘stretch’ on his previous distance form. He recorded the fifth best final section of the Caulfield Cup so prefer others at this distance.

6. Hartnell: The Cup favourite, Hartnell has taken all before him this time in. He won the Chelmsford by 7.5L hard held, the Hill Stakes just as dominantly and then put 3.3L on Jameka in the Turnbull, also under hands and heels riding to the line. He controversially skipped the Caulfield Cup (a dominate favourite) to have his third consecutive start at 2000m (give or take the additional 40m of the Cox Plate) where he finished second to the champion mare Winx.

He steps up the 3200m for the third time in Australia. At his first attempt he raced too keenly in the Sydney Cup when failing at the $1.70 favourite. At his next attempt in the 2015 Melbourne Cup you could argue that he wasn’t the same horse and finished a disappointing 15th. Without doubt he is in much better form this time around but he still does race a little keen and the question will be how much that will take out of him over the 3200m. I have great respect for him but is well found.

7. Who Shot Thebarman: Racing consistently well, ran second to Grand Marshall in last weeks Moonee Valley Cup. Lacks the X-factor to win a Melbourne Cup.

8. Wicklow Brave (Ireland): He broke through for a much deserved Group 1 win last start in the Irish St Leger (2816m) holding off challenges from Order Of St George and Trip To Paris over the concluding stages. That’s top quality European staying form and carried 62kg on that occasion. His best form appears to be on the soft ground and if he can handle a dry track he’s one of the main dangers to Hartnell.

9. Almoonqith: He closed the Caulfield Cup with the fastest final sectional indicating the step up to 3200m looks ideal this time in. He had no luck in the 2015 Cup and appears to be in better form this time around. Drawn 19, he’ll be charging from the rear but looks a good chance to fill the top 4 at good odds.

10. Gallante: Winner of the 2016 Sydney Cup, Gallante needs to bounce back off a last start 13.8L seventh in the Moonee Valley Cup. Not for me.

11. Grand Marshal: Winner of last weeks Moonee Valley Cup when really stretching out nicely to defeat Who Shot Thebarman. Like many, was severely hampered in the 2015 Melbourne Cup and then ran a huge race when finishing well to Gallante in this years Sydney Cup. He drops 3.5kg from his last run has drawn perfectly in barrier 9 and looks a real smokey to run a big race on Tuesday. The $41 on offer now is value.

12. Jameka: A dominate 3L winner of the Caulfield Cup, Jameka was able to overcome a mid race ‘anchor drop’ where she threw her head around when the speed dropped before surging away from her rivals over the concluding stages. The step to 3200m is a question mark, but judging by the arrogance of her Caulfield Cup victory I don’t see it as a major issue. She looks a great chance should she switch off and a definite top three player as the market has suggested.

13. Heartbreak City (Ireland): He’s won his past three races in Ireland and England. His last start victory was in the Ebor Heritage Handicap by an impressive 4L and is certainly a horse on the rise over in Europe. He’s a lightly raced 7YO and although mixing his form across the flat and hurdles he looks to arrive here in peak form. Joao Moreira has been booked to ride and looks weighted to win.

14. Sir John Hawkwood: Didn’t do enough for mine in the Caulfield Cup so happy for him to go around with out me here.

15. Excess Knowledge: Gai Waterhouse and her ‘bone & muscle’ training style will see Excess Knowledge peaking on the day however he is very one paced and wasn’t able to match it with the likes of Grand Marshal in last weeks Moonee Valley Cup. Prefer others.

16. Beautiful Romance (UK): A lightly raced 5YO mare, she finished fifth in the Hardwicke Stakes behind the talented Dartmouth and Highland Reel, defeating the likes of Wicklow Brace and Exospheric. The distance is a query with most of her form over 2400m and below.

17. Almandin: The lightly raced 7YO is in top form having won the Harry White Classic (Listed) and the Bart Cummings (G3) at his past two starts. On both occasions he really ran through the line, which would be very pleasing for connections heading into a Melbourne Cup. He loses Oliver but is replaced by McEvoy and is value at $18 mark.

18. Assign: A tough on pace stayer, he won the Herbert Power at his last start over 2400m but the step up to 3200m appears unfavourable.

19. Grey Lion: Chased Qewy all the way in the Geelong Cup and was brave but he had Oceanographer bearing down on him hard and I cant see him holding off that horse on Tuesday.

20. Oceanographer (UK): Has quickly rocketed into second favourite after a strong showing in the Geelong Cup before backing that up 10 days later in Saturday’s Lexus Stakes where reeling in the tearaway leader Tom Melbourne. He has a lovely long action which looks very suitable to the 3200m and a turn of foot. He was no match for the likes of Heartbreak City back home but appears to be flying down under. A genuine threat as the market has predicted but three runs in 13 days is a big negative for mine.

21. Secret Number (UK): We’ve seen him once in Australia and that was an impressive second to Dandino in the Queens Cup at Flemington. He had almost a year off and returned with a listed win over 2012m by a length and a half. The stable looks to have set him up for this race with a taste of Australian racing back in 2015. I like the preparation for him and he’s a knockout runner at $41.

22. Pentathlon: Not going well enough and is outclassed here.

23. Qewy (UK): Winner of the Geelong Cup, he was ridden on speed and pulled out plenty to hold off Grey Lion and the fast finishing Oceanographer. I don’t think he’ll be ridden as aggressively on Tuesday and although Oceanographer was coming at him hard at Geelong, I think he can stay just as well when ridden quietly and there shouldn’t be such a gap in their prices. A good chance at odds.

24. Rose Of Virginia: The old saying “is running around for the members tickets” comes to mind! Beaten 15L on Saturday by Oceanographer and looks no hope on turning that margin around.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Almandin – 2 units at $15 or more.

 BACK (WIN) Heartbreak City – 2 units at $15 or more

 BACK (WIN) Wicklow Brave – 1 unit at $20 or more

Current Track Rating: Good 3

Rail: +6m

Friday 14th – 20°C – 0% chance of rain

Saturday 15th – 23°C – 0% chance of rain

R8 Caulfield Cup G1 Handicap 2400m

Race Profile

  • 3 of past 5 winners had start in Australian prior (2 used Turnbull Stakes & 1 Caulfield Stakes)
  • 2 of past 5 winners were International’s first up
  • 1 of past 5 winners have been the SP Favourite
  • 1 of past 5 winners has been a Mare (2011 Southern Speed – 4th Turnbull Stakes)
  • 2 of past 5 winners have been 4yo’s
  • 2 of past 2 International winners carried 58kg (2014 Admire Rakti & 2012 Dunaden)


Rail +6m, Good 3

1st – Mongolian Khan 4yo Horse – SP $5 fav 55kg

BR 6 – 4th up 1 week, 3rd Caulfield Stks G1 2000m Caulfield

2nd – Trip To Paris – SP $31 55kg

BR 4 – 8 week let up, 5th Lonsdale Cup G2 3300m York

3rd – Our Ivanhowe – SP $26 56kg

BR 13 – 3rd up, 2 weeks 2nd Bart Cummings G3 2520m Flemington


Rail +6m, Good 3

1st – Admire Rakti 7yo Horse – SP $11 58kg

BR 7 – 1st up 24 weeks, 13th Tenno Sho G1 3200m Kyoto

2nd – Rising Romance – SP $12 56kg

BR 14 – 4th up, 2 weeks 2nd Craven Plate G3 2000m Randwick

3rd – Lucia Valentina – SP $4 fav 53kg

BR 10 – 4th up, 2 weeks 1st Turnbull Stakes G1 2000m Flemington


Rail +6m, Good 4

1st – Fawkner 6 yo Gelding – SP $11 55kg

BR 10 – 4th up, 2 weeks 3rd Turnbull Stakes G1 2000m Flemington

2nd – Dandino – SP $11 56.5kg

BR 16 – 9 weeks, 2nd USA St Ledger 382k 2700m Arlington

3rd – Dear Demi –SP $11 53kg

BR 18 – 4th up, 2 weeks 8th Turnbull Stakes G1 2000m Flemington

Major Players

3. Exospheric: A lightly raced, yet tough stayer for the UK. Exospheric boasts classy form lines highlighted by a fifth placing to Postponed in the Grade 1 Juddmonte International over 2080m. He was put into quarantine after that run and new trainers the Freedman brothers have been playing down their expectations on Saturday. Is there horse coming to the end of his preparation?

4. Scottish: He is at his best when he’s able to dictate back in the UK and has done the majority of his racing over 2000m. He’ll give a good sight but hard to have him ahead of the others considering his last run over 2400m was back in August 2015.

5. Sir Isaac Newton: Like Exospheric, Sir Isaac Newton is a lightly raced stayer from Europe. However, I prefer the fact the stable will train this horse and the Aiden O’Brien yard is renowned as one of the best. Once again, the majority of his racing has been around the 2000m but at his one attempt of 2400m he was only beaten 4.5L by Highland Reel. He boasts the classy Juddmonte (2080m) Grade 1 form lines and was doing his best work on the line. He’s my top pick of the Europeans and looks a great bet with even luck.

8. Sir John Hawkwood: The Metropolitan winner from a fortnight ago, Sir John Hawkwood has gone to a new career peak for the John Thompson stable. He’s an improving stayer but The Metropolitan traditionally rates well below that of the Turnbull and Caulfield Cup form so I think this will be a good springboard for him moving forward.

9. Articus: Lightly raced (9 starts, 4 wins) and appearing for the first time for new trainer Andreas Wohler. Hard to get a gauge on as he’s never raced beyond 2200m. Began his career in France before racing in Germany. Australian Bloodstock have purchased an interest in him so he must be respected based on their past history (Protectionist).

10. Tally: Racing well and appears ready to peak here list past fourth up winners. He needs to make amends for an ever widening 3.2L margin to Jameka, but did so facing the breeze for the majority of the Turnbull. Brenton Avdulla needs to produce the ride of his life from Barrier 19, the positive is that he knows Caulfield, is confident and has the ability to pull it off. I won’t be laying him.

11. Jameka: Clear top pick of the locals. She was running away from the rest of the field in the Turnbull Stakes and really held her action well through the line. Hartnell bypassing this race is an absolute godsend for her and the drop back to 52.5kg will ensure she will be in the finish. Clear top pick and looks to have gone to a new level this preparation as a 4YO mare. Not sure she has much improvement left in her but she may not need it.

12. Real Love: Racing well but was well accounted for by Jameka in the Naturalism (7L). She’s raced well over 2400m in the past and I think the Weir yard will have her primed here. Second pick of the locals and love the 5.5kg weight drop even though her last start was in a Group 3.

15. Sacred Master: Strong through the line in the Metropolitan. The race was run at a relatively slow pace so his true staying capabilities were not fully tested. He’s a real knockout for the Waller yard at a big price.

Betting Strategy

Jameka is well found in the market but she looks to have the locals covered based on exposed form. Of the Internationals. Sir Isaac Newton is clear top pick forgiving his last start, while Sacred Master for the Waller camp is my value selection after not getting the race run to suit in The Metropolitan.

 BACK (WIN) Jameka – 7 units at $4 or more.

 BACK (WIN) Sir Isaac Newton – 3 units at $10 or more.

 BACK (WIN) Sacred Master – 1 unit at $20 or more.

Track – Good 3Rail +2m

Tuesday 3rd – Max 20. Partly Cloudy. Light Winds.

R7 Emirates Melbourne Cup G1 3200m

Race Profile

  • 4 of past 5 winners 6yo Horses
  • 5 of past 5 winners have carried < 56.5kg, 4 of past 5 winners 55kg or less
  • 5 of past 5 winners have had a lead up run of 2000m or further in Australia
  • 4 of past 4 winners have been 5th or 6th up
  • 4 of past 5 winners have drawn Barrier 10 or wider
  • 2 of past 5 winners SP favourites

Previous race winners & Lead up result


1st – Protectionist 5 yo Horse – SP $8 56.5kg

BR 10 – 2nd up, 3 weeks 4th Herbert Power G2 2400m Caulfield

 2nd – Red Cadeaux – SP $21 57kg

BR 14 – 3rd up, 8 week (let up) 7th September Stakes G3 2400 K Park UK

 3rd – Who Shot Thebarman – SP $21 55kg

BR 12 – 6th up, 2 weeks 13th Caulfield Cup G1 2400m Caulfield


1st – Fiorente 6 yo Horse – SP $7 fav 55kg

BR 14 – 5th up, 10 days 3rd Cox Plate G1 2040m Moonee Valley

2nd – Red Cadeaux – SP $61 56.5kg

BR 23 – 8th up, 7 wk freshen 4th Irish St Leger G1 2800m Curragh

 3rd – Mount Athos – SP $13 54 kg

BR 22 – 5th up, 10 week (let up) 2nd March Stks Listed 2800m Goodwood

Major Players

1. Snow Sky: Heavily backed 2nd favourite in the Caulfield Cup and despite having a soft run in transit failed to quicken when required beaten 4.8 lengths 5th to finish alongside Fame Game. His sectionals over the final 1000m of that Caulfield Cup Performance indicate to me that he needed the run so I can’t completely rule him out. Prior to his well-documented Hardwicke Stakes 2414m win in June, he won the G2 Yorkshire Stakes over 2816m defeating Brown Panther & Havana Beat. It’s hard to think he will beat Fame Game home off his last run but given his class he’s OK value for Top 5 & Top 10 markets. Profile is against him with 58kg.

2. Criterion: Simply flying. Beat home Mongolian Khan in the G1 Caulfield Stakes 2000m in his first run back on home soil producing fast closing sectionals. Hit the running rail around 550m from the winning post in the Cox Plate to chase home Winx in race record time. He follows the 2013 Fiorente & 2012 Green Moon path into the race and it’s fair to say he’s going as good, if not better than both of those gallopers. He performs well at Flemington, has the turn of foot required to win but has been weighted up to his best with 57.5kg.

3. Fame Game: Favourite since markets first opened and all the hype is warranted. His G1 Tenno Sho 3200m performance in May was a glimpse of what we can expect on Tuesday. He beat all except the highly talented Gold Ship savaging the line to be beaten 0.3 of a length. He’s proved he’s acclimatised well with a fast finishing 6th in the Caulfield Cup beaten only 4.85 lengths. He was last on the home turn and had little to no momentum but managed to record the fastest last 400m of the race in 23.13, final 200m in 11.51. He’s better suited at 3200m, profiles like the winner despite carrying 0.5 more than the most recent winners.  I’m confident that if he gets a trouble free run with cover he’ll win. $4 looks the right price.

4. Our Ivanhowe: Is in the profile sweet spot for the race with a tick in almost every box. His last two runs have been full of merit with the Melbourne Cup always intended to be his grand final. Beaten only 1.8 lengths 3rd in the Caulfield Cup which proved to me he’s absolutely flying.

He took off 600m from home and couldn’t quicken as well as Mongolian Khan. He was coming again at the line and that run will have him primed for Flemington which will be a more suitable track. Not sure he’s as fast as Fame Game but confident he can run top 3. Expect him to shorten from $25 on The Exchange.

5. Big Orange: Winner of the Goodwood Cup 3219m in July 2015 defeating Quest For More and Trip To Paris. He meets Trip To Paris 2kg worse at the weights off that performance. His last start failure at York was put down to losing a shoe and previous performances taking a toll. He does his best racing on Good surfaces, is a big horse so will be suited to Flemington. He sits within the profile of a possible winner and has been $120 into $70 on The Exchange he’s definitely not the worst roughie given how well Trip To Paris performed in the Caulfield Cup.

6. Hartnell: Has been kept fresh this campaign with only three runs this time in. 1st up Chelmsford, 2nd up Turnbull & 3rd up Cox Plate. His Turnbull run convinced me he’s a Flemington horse finishing only 1.3 lengths behind Preferment.  Loved his effort in the Cox Plate when fast away but beaten for position by Highland Reel. He travelled throughout the race well but needed to make his run much earlier than the 600m mark, that’s when an opportunity genuinely presented for him. He was left flat footed, but boxed on well for 5th. He drops 3.5kg from WFA to Handicap conditions into the Cup and is primed to run a big race. He won the Queens Vase at Listed level over 3219m in June 2014. He was well beaten 6.25 lengths at G1 level in the St Leger later that year over 2937m. James McDonald will take the ride but I think he’s most effective between 2000m-2400m and in hindsight maybe the Caulfield Cup was his best chance to win a big one?

8. Max Dynamite: I expect him to map further back in running then most having him somewhere near Trip To Paris. Impressive winner of the G2 Lonsdale Cup by 4.5 lengths at his last start defeating Big Orange 14 lengths and Trip to Paris 11.5 lengths on a soft track. That was his 3rd career win and prior to that he’d only won a 2200m Maiden and a 3219m Maiden Hurdle. The key point is that all wins have come on rain affected ground. He worked the house down in a track gallop at Flemington last week but I feel he’s under the odds at $14.

10. Trip To Paris: Placed in the Goodwood Cup 3 starts back conceding weight to Big Orange and Quest For More. Suffered interference between the 600-400m mark of the Caulfield Cup but regrouped to run the fastest last 400 splits of the race home in 22.80 with a final 200 of 11.60. The only horse home faster over the final 200m was Fame Game. Sits in the profile sweet spot with a winning weight and has that crucial lead up run in Australia box ticked. Hard to see him moving from the $9-10 mark.

12. Sky Hunter: Last start runner up in the G3 Legacy Cup over 2213m at Newbury in September. He carried 61kgs on that occasion beating Eagle Top (58.5kgs). Eagle Top finished 2nd to Snow Sky at level weights in the Hardwicke Stakes over 2414m so it’s not that difficult to make a case for Sky Hunter with only 54kgs here. Two starts ago in March he won the G2 City Of Gold at Meydan. He ran 3rd in the G1 French Derby as a 3yo but is yet to win beyond 2418m. He’s won 6 times from 11 starts with William Buick booked to ride, I have him top pick of the Internationals yet to race in Australia. I expect him to shorten from $50 on The Exchange.

14. Grand Marshal: I expected a much more positive ride in the Caulfield Cup but he was clearly not out there to win. Winner of the Sydney Cup in April so no issue with 3200m. Needs to be in the first half of the field, but not convinced he can run the 3200m quick enough to win. Chris Waller couldn’t have him any better and will keep hitting the line. Genuine top 10 chance.

15. Preferment: Unexpected winner of the Hill Stakes & Turnbull Stakes at 2000m this time in. Thought his run in the Cox Plate was a pass, the horse looked dour, ready for 3200m. He’s undefeated at Flemington relishing the 2500m Derby trip in his win as a 3yo. The biggest plus is the 4.5kg drop from WFA to Handicap conditions coming into this race from the Cox Plate. Stable opted to bypass the Caulfield Cup for this and he looks the standout runner of the locals. Expect his price to remain steady around the $13 mark.

17. Almoonqith: Looked a good setup for him in the G3 Geelong Cup over 2400m and had the race won a long way out his last 400 23.55 200 12.08. He only received a 1kg penalty for his 1.75 length win to Dandino with 5 lengths back to third. He won over 2800 in Meydan in the G2 Nad Al Sheeba but then failed 4 weeks later in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m. He profiles strongly for the race and with only 53.5kg and is peaking at the right time. Has drawn perfectly in barrier 10 and profiles well for the race. $17 looks rock bottom and expect him to drift.

18. Kingfisher: Runner up to Trip To Paris in the G1 Ascot Gold Cup over 4023m in June at level weights. Well beaten at his next start in the St Leger Trial 2816m by 16 lengths to Order Of St George as a $3.50 SP favourite. No Better in his most recent outing beaten 43 lengths in the St Leger 2816m won by the same horse (OOST).  Was as short as $25 in early markets but has now drifted to $44. Lloyd Williams is the new owner and it would be a remarkable training performance to turn him around here.

20. Bondi Beach: Faces a tough task as a 4yo with only 5 career starts to his name. Winner of the G3 Curragh Cup over 2816m. Runner up at his latest start in the G1 St Leger 2917m at Doncaster. Carries a feather weight with 52.5kg and commands respect trained by Aidan O’Brien. The profile is against him favouring internationals that have had at least one start in Australia leading into the Cup. It’s only a matter of time before an international wins first up into the race with the runner’s up in the last 3 years all coming off a let up from UK racing. This runner is 6th up in his first preparation off a let up. He needs to break all modern day records and logic to win and has been $24 out to $30 over the past week.

23. Excess Knowledge: Profiles well for the race being a 6yo horse on the minimum weight. His performance on Saturday when three wide in the G3 Lexus Stakes over 2500m indicates 3200m will be no issue for him. Drops 5.5 kg here but fear barrier 24 might have put an end to his winning chance. Needs a miracle ride and most likely outcome would be top five. Expect him to shorten slightly from $31.

24. Gust Of Wind: Mapped well but outsprinted over 2400m in the Caulfield Cup, still broke 12 seconds for her final 200 (11.96). Confident that she’ll be better suited to Flemington and out to 3200m. The last 10 years of profiles for the race are against her with no mare winning since Makybe Diva in 2005. Ethereal was the last 4yo mare to win in 2001. Has the right form but suspect only superstar mares win the race from now on. Expecting her to drift from $38 on the Exchange.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) FAME GAME – Despite only $4 it’s impossible to not have a winning result given his class.

 BACK (WIN) OUR IVANHOWE – Have marked him 3rd favourite at $13

 BACK (WIN) SKY HUNTER – Best International Roughie. Marked 4th favourite $15


 LAY (E/W) MAX DYNAMITE – Have rated him double his current market price.

 LAY (E/W) CRITERION – Looks weighted out of the race.

 LAY (PLACE) THE UNITED STATES – Has inferior form and 3200m a query.