Betfair Insider Racing Preview

The Betfair Insider is the resident Exchange expert and the go-to for your weekly racing tips. He provides commentary, opinion and educates on all things Thoroughbred racing. Check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for the latest odds.

Caulfield Race 10 | Tristarc Stakes Group 2 1400m | 5:50pm

A bit of rain has struck Melbourne this week and we’re going to see the Caulfield Cup card run on a track with give of the natural variety. Some forecast sun and minimal rain Friday will give it a chance to dry before some potential annoying showers raceday.

Tipping we’re right in between the Good 4/Soft 5 range. Interestingly the rail will remain in the true on the quick back up from racing on Wednesday.

Major Players

Savatiano (6) – Sure to have come on from her run in the Blazer first up behind Haut Brion Her who got all the favours at headquarters. Although she has only won once second up, she does boast four 2nd placings from her other four attempts. Drawn the widest and maps horribly which has potential to cause serious headaches in the run (especially if she finds herself planted under a hesitant ride). Expect her to keep drifting in the betting and if you do fancy there’s only one way to do it – via the BSP.

Pohutukawa (7) – Market told us she needed the run in the Tibbie at Newcastle where she got barely got a pass mark for mine before making good improvement in the leader dictated Blazer. Respect anything that the stable send around and would think they could have her no better heading in but she has burnt the fingertips of punters on more than one occasion and looks far too skinny at $5.

Baccarat Baby (8) – Class saw the Queensland mare (who is 16: 8-2-2 for her career) home when she resumed over 1200m at Doomben at a trip short of her best. Hellyer knows her so well and have no problems with him on against some of the VIC boys. Will have options open to him from the gun alley and he’ll make full use, having her prominent in run. Brings fresh blood to an even group of mares and possesses real X-Factor. Imagine camp hold Empire Rose ambitions on Derby Day and this race is well within her on the way through. The $9 a great bet.

Naantali (10) – Comes through a high rating Gilgai where she tackled some genuine G1 WFA stars. The effort to be beaten only 2.5L behind Sunlight (baring in mind she was first up) reads very well. Playing at home today, plum draw and Kah has the benefit of a sit on her previously now. Getting out to 1400m a big factor and is a solid gamble for each way players at better than double figures.

Angelic Ruler (11) – Been a benchmark mare in these kind of races in Victoria for a couple of her travelling campaigns now, problem is she just can’t seem to win one. Oliver sticks but has drawn the car park alongside Savatiano.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Baccarat Baby 2 units (WIN)

 BACK – Naantali 0.5 unit (WIN)


Randwick Race 7 | The Everest 1200m | 4:15pm

The Everest beckons in NSW and we’re finally going to have the Sydney weather gods turn it on for their big day. This means we should see the race run on a good track which we haven’t had the pleasure of in the first two editions.

With a Good 4 surface (chance of an upgrade) and rail in the true position we’ll hopefully see a fair playing surface with the fastest horses winning, which is all us as punters can ask for.

Major Players

Santa Ana Lane (1) – He was excellent in the Gilgai resuming behind the match-hardened Sunlight and expect the outing has really brought him on heading into this. Race should be run to suit with a hot tempo (there’s $14M up for grabs) and from barrier two suggesting he won’t get as far back as we usually see him. A three-time winner second up and one thing he will certainly appreciate is the firmer footing. Ticks a lot of boxes and until this week was the ruling favourite from a fair way out.

Pierata (2) – When he got that much deserved G1 in the All Aged over the autumn I thought we had seen the last of him as millions at stud awaited. Alas, he has been afforded a spring swan song with this race the only reason as to why. His lead up has been nothing short of outstanding. Enormous against the bias first up behind Redzel in the Concorde (home 32.67) before turning the tables in the Shorts. Horse has never been going better, they’ll utilise the pole and Berry will be switched on not allowing him to get cluttered away too far out of it.

Alizee (8) – Godolphin had headaches deciding on which soldier would represent the Blue Army and feel they’ve pulled the right rein with her. Been freshened from her 3rd placing in the Memsie at Caulfield and her recent trial (Rand 27th Sept) was all you wanted to see. Draw will have her in the second half of the field but with the speed on hoping she gets her chance to blend in from the approach to the turn. At around $15 is forgotten in markets to a degree and have to keep her on side.

Arcadia Queen (11) – Been the talk of the town this week after putting in a stellar gallop on Tuesday which has seen her firm noticeably into favouritism. Faultless campaign to date, not putting a foot wrong in her work and first up win in the Theo Marks showcased the ability we all know she has. I do have a question on the strength of that form line as majority of these seasoned WFA stars would destroy those too. The Harbour Bridge was kind coming up with 3 which will see her afforded the right run in transit and we might just uncover Waller’s heiress apparent.

Yes Yes Yes (12) – Secured the Chris Waller Racing slot after the retirement of Enticing Star and the 3yo aspect surely adds a fair bit of intrigue. Looked to have the Golden Rose shot to bits at the furlong but was denied behind Bivouac. Nothing wrong at all with the set up for him dropping 1400-1200m and we know they’ll have him peaking.

He’s the only winner in the history of the race but can’t come in to Redzel (3). Massive respect for the Snowdens and their ability as grand final trainers but not sure he gets to dominate the race as he’d like to with the presence of other speed influences, most noticeably Nature Strip (4).

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Pierata 1 units (WIN)

 BACK – Alizee 0.5 unit (WIN)

Randwick Race 7 | Epsom Handicap Group 1 1600m | 4:05pm

Sydney has had next to no rain this week so expecting a track in the Good 3-4 range even after they’ve irrigated in lead up. A possible sprinkle race day morning is forecast but after a week of sun and a bit of breeze about it won’t stop track from playing fast.

Randwick has suited those on-speed on a good surface in recent weeks and suggesting being prominent in run no disadvantage once again with the rail out 3m.

Major Players

Dreamforce (1) – A winner with a terrific overall record (in the money 20/27 starts) who has been set for the race third up. Gets the services of an in-form Nash Rawiller but he will need to be used early from the outside draw which may tell late. Not disgraced when Avilius gave him windburn last start but have a few in front here and the $5.50 that went up early looks seriously under the odds – expect him to start closer to double figures.

Te Akau Shark (4) – Arrived from NZ with a massive spruik and was very good in the G2 Tramway over 1400m behind Dreamforce who he has a 3kg weight swing on here. Think he beats him home off that run and if the tempo is solid enough he is really going to let them know he’s in it late. Do have the slightest of queries with the month between runs.

Kolding (9) – Had no luck first up in the same Dreamforce race yet still closed off in 33.89 (L600) untested with the pattern against. Backed it up with a win in the G3 Bill Ritchie where he looked to peak 100m out but came again to grab Fierce Impact on the line, suggesting he wants the mile. Appeals with a featherweight on his back and expect continued support with him to jump your clear favourite.

Rock (10) – The fresh blood hasn’t put a foot wrong this preparation stringing together three on the trot. He was very good winning the G3 Cameron at Newcastle coming from well off the speed and although untried at the 1600m should relish it. McEvoy a key booking and will be doing a fair bit of work to make the 50.5kg. Hard to see him missing the drum and if you’re an each way player he is an attractive proposition.

Nettoyer (16) – There’s a good race in her this prep. Had limited room to operate returning behind Samadoubt (who was airborne) and although 100-1 was a bit to like about the run. Saw nothing but rump steak in the Cameron behind Rock, only getting clear air inside the 100m. Not saying she would’ve beaten him but effort to get as close as she did was outstanding and can make a case for her running well again at a big price. From draw she shouldn’t encounter the traffic she has been.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kolding 2 units (WIN)

 BACK – Nettoyer 0.5 unit (WIN ) & 0.5 unit (PLACE )


Flemington Race 6 | Gilgai Stakes Group 2 1200m | 3:45pm

A near-perfect Melbourne week will ensure the Flemington track starts the day as a Good 4 in line with the instructions our track managers have been given to “ensure give” but given its reputation as the best draining track in the country we should see an early upgrade.

Rail is out 9m to preserve inside ground as the Carnival builds so hoping we don’t see any bias and things play fairly for the punters.

Major Players

Santa Ana Lane (1) – Finally see him step out off multiple trials/jump outs after the abandoned planned return in Sydney due to the wet. The ruling Everest favourite will no doubt take good benefit from his return (a noted second up performer) but a 90% Santa is a monster threat in this. Set weight conditions of the race see him in very well giving just 1-2kg to his main rivals. The $3 about right.

Zoutori (4) – Devastating in the G2 Bobbie Lewis down the straight six where he sailed past them and won as he liked yet still clocked a very tidy 33.18 L600 under minimal urgings. One I’m very keen to follow through the spring and looks to me like they might keep him to the sprint trips. Couple of G1 horses already have runs on the board but this bloke is on his way. Drawn the widest, expect Lane to ride him reasonably patiently and give him room to wind into his work. Has a proper turn of foot.

Tyzone (5) – Albeit in much lesser company has always performed first up (6: 4-0-1) and trialled well at the Gold Coast. Good respect for the Edmonds camp bringing him straight to Melbourne and his effort over the QLD winter when 2nd to Trekking in the Stradbroke could be the making of him.

Sunlight (7) – Well documented that she improves deeper into a campaign and thrives off racing (unbeaten 3rd up) but not sure I can get her quite as short as she is early at $2.80. Pulled up lame behind Redzel in the G3 Concorde before sticking at it behind Nature Strip in the Moir last week when she came under pressure before the turn. Loves quick ground and record here is excellent but from a pricing standpoint happy to take on.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Zoutori 2 units (WIN)

LAY – Sunlight 1 unit (WIN)

It’s the opening day of Everest Carnival and track conditions are going to play a big part in the results. It’s currently a Heavy 9 with a the Rail in the true.

RANDWICK RACE 5 | BILL RITCHIE HANDICAP  1400M | 2:40PM

I’m with the New Zealand-trained mare Avantage, returning to Sydney where she is a proven winning the Group 3 Birthday Card stakes before following up with an impressive 1.7L 3rd in the Arrowfield stakes behind the very smart Classique Legend.

She arrives off the back of a first-up runner-up performance at Ruakaka last month where she didn’t get a lot of luck. After missing the start a little, she pushed forward and probably felt it in the final stages and will be much better for the run.

Not a great deal of speed in the race and Punting Form have her crossing to sit on the pace.

Her wet form is solid and with James McDonald in the saddle, plus a little on-pace bias, this mare is going to be extremely hard to get past.

Star of the Seas loves the wet and I see him as the main danger after a terrific return in the Tramway Stakes working home against the bias with Te Akau Shark.

BETTING STRATEGY

 BACK –  Avantage to Win for 2 units

 BACK –  Star of the Seas to Win for 1 unit

Flemington Race 3 | Exford Plate Listed 1400m | 1:40pm

Track will be a Good 3-4 which punters just love. Dry racing produces the best results and less lanes.

Hopefully the watering of tracks ‘agenda’ stays quiet through the media until Cup week when the imports arrive and Taylor Swift rolls into town.


Major Players

3 – Roccabascerana – Nice gelding but looks a big query out to 1400m with his keen going racing style. Despite putting a margin on his rivals at both career starts in Adelaide, he still needs to take a big leap to go close in this class. I believe the Corporates have installed him as early market favourite to pull the wool over the punter’s eyes.

10 – Scottish Dancer – Impressive maiden winner at Benalla at 1400m when trapped 4w throughout. Will win plenty of races but wary he’ll be a bit one paced now staying at the same distance with two weeks between runs. Look forward to seeing him 2000m+. Progressive.

11 – Tenley – Looks a similar story to stablemate Exhilarates who failed late in her preparation on wet tracks and now comes back to dry ground. Tenley started $4.80 in the Golden Slipper and looks to have come back well despite getting a mile out of her ground behind the spruik filly Libertini. She might be one run away from her top but at $7.50 early I think she represents good value in a race with few chances

12 – La Tene – Might be forced to work into a good spot from barrier 10 or be trapped three wide. Most will reference the second to Dalasan this track and trip in Autumn, but I’m not convinced she’s as good as Tenley.

13 – Missile Mantra – Lost her position in the H.D.F McNeil and shuffled mid race in a typical ‘quiet’ D Lane ride. Was strong enough through the line once clear and looks better suited at Flemington off a wide barrier. I anticipate a market drift from $5 but think she’s capable of sharp improvement.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Tenley for 2 units at 7.00+

 BACK – Missile Mantra for 0.5 units at BSP

The track will likely be a Good 4 with little chance of rain on the radar. Rail Out 4m Entire Circuit.

Randwick Race 6 | Mostyn Copper Show County Qlty 1200m | 3:05pm

Spring is well and truly in the air and I always enjoy this time of the year when we see the return of some classy animals. Trope was always one that I had some time for as a 3yo and I think could flourish into a really nice horse now he’s a matured.

He returns after 17-week break where he won on debut, after another encouraging 2nd he tackled the Arrowfield 3yo Sprint Group 2 where he was well supported in the market. He drew wide and got a long way back where he rattled home after being 10L off them on the bend. Similar story in the Hawkesbury Guineas where he settled towards rear 9.5L, got clear running straightening and went down narrowly to Military Zone.

Buoyed by a recent trial (Watch here) and with a genuine tempo set by Dreamforce & Mandylion, I see him getting exactly what he needs to be a real force.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Trope for 1 units


Randwick Race 7 | Winx Stakes 1400m | 3:45pm

No Winx? No worries. This years Winx Stakes will have a different winner for the first time in four years.

A tough race to assess with more than half the field resuming here. Tricky to identify runners targeted specifically for this and who can win it on their way to bigger and better events. Avilius the obvious class horse who will look to make it three wins in a row at Group 1 level. I assume cox pate is his target, but he should be forward enough to go close here.

Happy Clapper flies fresh and looks a major player but like Avilius is well found in the market.

The stable under James Cummings are flying with eye catching ‘first up’ wins with Exhilarates and Bivouac at Caulfield and Alizee at Rosehill last week.

Whilst I respect the credentials of Verry Elleegant, I have a slight query on her at 1400m fresh against these. Le Romain who returns to Randwick off a first-up run at Rosehill has the best figures at the distance but races best on wet tracks which is well known. If that first-up run was a trial in his trainer’s eyes. Expect bold improvement here.

Youngstar can run a big final 600m and races better fresh than her form reads. Residual fitness off her Brisbane Winter Campaign will hold her in very good stead. If Waller is training her for middle-distance racing, she could be the knockout at odds here.

Kings Will Dream is the other at odds that is of interest. Performs to my eye best at 1400-1600m and fresh is no issue despite a long layoff. I just want Jason Collett to be positive from barrier two.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Kings Will Dream to win for 1 unit

 BACK – Le Romain to win for 0.5 unit

 BACK – Youngstar to win for 0.5 units

The track will likely be a Soft 7 with a chance of rain on the radar and plenty of wind. Rail Out 4m Entire Circuit.

Flemington Race 8 | VRC Recognition Hcp 1600m | 4:15pm

Reykjavik looks hard to beat here off the back of winning the Winter Championship Final two weeks ago. It’s now in a race that doesn’t appear much tougher.

He settled perfectly just off mid-field last start before finding the gaps courtesy of Linda Meech to burst through at about the 200 to win in impressive fashion. Watch that below.

The obvious query, and it’s a big one, is the jump from 54kg to 59kg.

Given how impressively he won, I’d like to think he will overcome this and from barrier 3, I see him replicating the last run.

Also coming out of the Winter Championship is Holbien, who crossed and went forward to sit 2nd on the outside of Hellova Street who faded in the race.

He meets Reykjavik 6.5kg better in this and with a lack of speed in the race, he should be able to cross comfortably enough from the wide gate and be in the finish at a good price.

The main dangers for mine lie with the Travimyfriend who surprised punters with an impressive win last start at Caulfield and Organza who was winding up well behind him.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Reykjavik for 2 units

 BACK – Holbien for 1 unit

Caulfield Race 8 | Sir John Monash Stakes G3 1100m | 3:30pm

The track will likely be a Soft 6-7 with rain on the radar and even possible hail. Should be a slight advantage to settle forward of midfield with the rail +3m.

Major Players

3. Bandipur – Now with Richard Laming so slight query off the freshen, assume he’s been kept up to the mark in winning ‘offseason form’. Craig Williams on from barrier 10 which might be the place to be this late in the day given the conditions. Big watch for lanes. Has a commanding record at this track and distance at $6-6.50 looks the mark.

4. Ken’s Dream – Went amiss after a second over 1000m at MV on an Australia Stakes path. Maher and Eustace look on the money here keeping him to the shorter trips. Not a 1400-1600m horse. Did enough at St Arnaud in a 900m trial last Wednesday and appears to best roughie at $19 if he can get clear running from barrier 2.

6. Oak Door – At his best right in this with Ben Melham a key booking. Off 266-day spell is concerning. Wouldn’t surprise at $26. No rush to back him but is a big market watch for a noted front runner.

9. Heart Conquered – Still lightly raced and raced a bit fresh last time. Races well the Melbourne way. Likely to drift but is a winning chance.

11. Miss Norway – Forgiving her last start is right in this. Barrier one may be another recipe for traffic woes pending the track pattern. The bigger worry is the possibility of a heavy surface. Weather watch!

13. Soothing – Looks primed here off a few quiet trials. The latest at Randwick over 1045m an eye catcher and this looks like a nice kick off race to pick off one or two out of peak spring to steal before a freshen up with eyes on the later Flemington carnival.

Linda Meech the perfect booking. This mare just needs to settle into a rhythm then explode under her own steam. Barrier 4 means options. $4.40 appeals and can see her jump shorter given how well Godolphin are targeting black type races.

14. Crack The Code – Not completely convinced with this 3yo filly stepping to open company now. Concerned she won’t do her best work on the rain-affected ground and this may be a pipe opener for a 1200m race in a few weeks’ time.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Soothing for 3 units

The Autumn Racing Carnival wraps up at Eagle Farm this weekend with a huge day of racing on the card including three Group 1 races. The tracks is currently rated a Good 4 and is likely to play that way come Saturday with mild 20-23 degree temperatures forcasted for the next two days. However, look for a late downgrade if the rain does come. Currently, we are looking at a 40% chance of a late shower on Saturday.

The rail will be out 2m and I’m expecting a fast run race with backmarkers getting a fair chance of winning. Despatch will sit in behind leaders who are likely to be I’m A Rippa, Home Of The Brave and Dollar For Dollar.


Eagle Farm Race 8 | Stradbroke G1 1400m | 2:15PM

Major Players

1. The Bostonian: Overcame trouble to win the Doomben 10,000 stylishly in a bunched finish at big odds. Took up a good position in the Kingsford-Smith stepping up in trip to make it back-to-back G1 wins. Meets others worse at the weights now under handicap conditions but have drawn well to map forward of midfield behind a hot tempo. A chance but well found at $4.60.

2. Home Of The Brave: Class galloper getting in well here with 56kg, small query with so much speed engaged from an extremely wide barrier. 1400m his pet distance and fly’s fresh. Will go very close.

3. Despatch: G1 Goodwood winner last start and 54.5kg is still a winning weight. Vorster replaces Pannel in the saddle and should take a sit in behind a hot tempo despite drawing barrier one, leading may bring him unstuck with speed injection from out wide. If the splits come, he has the turn of foot to put this field away. He’ll be a winner for me despite going to 1400m for the first time.

4. Widgee Turf: Dominant win last time at Caulfield and don’t mind the setup dropping back from a soft mile to 1400m on a bigger track that should be playing fairly for backmarkers with the rail now out 2m. Billy Egan a concern at G1 level, lacks consistency. Knockout runner.

5. Trekking: Drops 5kgs after going down a length to The Bostonian (meets him 3kg better) in the Kingsford-Smith G1 at Eagle Farm. Drawn Perfectly in barrier 13 for Kerrin McEvoy for his racing style. Expect him to stay hard in the market and should beat the Kiwi topweight home.

7. Endless Drama: Had little option but to go back from barrier 17 last start in the Kingsford-Smith but rattled home at cricket score odds. Tony Pike has got this entire flying and a G1 would add plenty of value to him at stud. Barrier 8 puts him into calculations but looks well found in early betting at $15. Expect a drift.

8. Spright: Class mare that finds plenty of trouble given her racing pattern often tailing off near last. Completely airborne this preparation and looks well suited her with 53.5kgs. Mad tempo upfront and drawn around some good winning chances that can take her into race. She’s been up a long time but if fresh enough I can easily see the race panning out perfectly or her. Will fly late and be in the finish at a fair price.

11. Viridine: Did enough last start in the Moreton Cup when three weeks between runs after a big win in the Ortensia Stakes at Scone. Looks overpriced at $17-18 in early markets with a mid draw and likelihood of sitting in the sweet spot midfield. Has an electric turn of foot so when the splits come in the home straight, he may well be a few lengths ahead of the closers drawn wide with a strong rider in Tim Clark and only 53.5kg on his back.

19. Tactical Advantage: Appears to be racing in career best form and last start run in the Doomben 10,000 is worth watching. Under a good hold most of the race and only got fully clear in the final 200-150m mark to close off nicely. Brenton Avdulla replaces Larry Cassidy which must be a positive. Like the four weeks between runs for this galloper and if he balloons to $51 after opening that quote with the corporates, he’s another knockout runner.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Viridine – 1.5 units at $13+

 BACK – Spright – 0.5 units at $13+

 BACK – Despatch – 0.5 units at $13+

The track is currently rated a Soft 7 and likely to stay around that Soft 7-6 mark with the rail in the True. Expect a relatively even track where winners will be able to come from anywhere, with ground from the fence to five or six horses off the fence being suitable in the straight.

Day 1 of the Championships at Royal Randwick is loaded with group races, featuring four Group 1’s. The Insider has found plenty of value across this impressive card.


RANDWICK RACE 4 | COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL G1 1400M | 1:55PM

A race that generates plenty of interest with the horses from the bush chancing their hand at some serious cash. Noble Boy will start favourite and returned to his best taking out the Wild Card at Muswellbrook on a heavy 8.

Drawn 5 with Hughey aboard, he rates as the one to beat but has come in a little short in a big field where I think he will fall back in the field and find himself in the middle of a pack of horses.

I’d prefer to look elsewhere with the in-form Dubbo galloper Westlink. Jumping from barrier 3, I have it sitting about 3-4 back with Hyeronimus looking to get him clear running in the straight.

He’s received two gem rides in his previous two starts doing exactly that and has surged clear in the final stages at Dubbo and then Cowra.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Westlink for 1 Unit $20 or higher


RANDWICK RACE 6 | INGLIS SIRES’ G1 1400M | 3:15PM

There’s plenty of value in this race with no clear favourite and I’m working around the slipper runners over the 1400m.

I was sucked in last time but I’m heading back to the well with Castelvecchio after it skipped the Golden Slipper to concentrate on the longer 2yo races.

It absolutely flew home in the skyline behind Microphone when he struggled to tack on over the 1200m. Out to the 1400m now after a 5 week break with an encouraging trial in-between and I believe he will be extremely hard to hold off at a great price.

The danger is the Kiwi filly Probabeel. It was ultra-impressive in New Zealand before making good ground at its first Australian start in the Heavy 10. Will have a conditioning benefit from the run and should be very strong over the final stages of the 1400m.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Castelvecchio for 1 Unit

 BACK – Probabeel for 1 Unit


RANDWICK RACE 8 | T J SMITH STAKES G1 1200M | 4:35PM

I’m keen on the chances of Trapeze Artist going back-to-back in this. Gerald Ryan knows how to set this bloke up for a Grand Final. A strong all the way win in the Canterbury Stakes and an encouraging trial in-between, I believe he is set to strike after the four-week let up.

I don’t see Trapeze Artist taking up the lead. Blake Shinn will try get a spot mid field one off the fence where he can get a clear shot at them in the straight.

I have Pierata as the danger in this. It ran good times over the 1100m last start. Out to 1200m now in the wet will be ideal and I’d say he will be there when the whips are cracking.

 BACK – Trapeze Artist for 2 Units

 BACK – Pierata for 1 Units

The track is currently rated a Soft 7 and likely to stay around that Soft 7-5 mark with the rail out 6 Metres Entire Circuit. Expecting a slight on pace advantage, with the fence to six horses off suitable ground in the straight. The two most recent similar meetings on 23/2/19 and 26/9/18 have played that way, with just off the fence in the 3-6 lane position potentially being a little better as the meeting progresses.


Rosehill Race 3 | Tulloch Stakes |  G2 2000M | 1:50PM

Producing the Derby winner for the last two years in a row, The Tulloch stakes is sure to draw plenty of attention.

NZ usually have a strong contingent and this year is no different with Dual Group One winner Madison County and NZ Derby place getters In A Twinkling & Platinum Invador in the race.

Madison County is early favourite as trainer Murray Baker looks to repeat his 2017 double that he achieved with Jon Snow. Finding the line strongly behind The Autumn Sun, he will have plenty of admirers.

Still untested out to the 2000m, what he’s shown suggests he will get the trip and if Baker is confident, I don’t doubt it. However with a minor set back last week when becoming fractious in the float suffering multiple lacerations, he was consequently scratched which is not ideal and enough for me to look at another.

I’m with In A Twinkling here, with even luck he would have both the NZ Derby and Avondale Guineas next to his name. Trapped deep in both races he just continued to find and is the clear NZ staying benchmark for mine which has stood up in Australia time and time again.

Drawn 7 in a small field and J-Mac saddles up, he should get a clear crack at them on Saturday. The only query for mine is the drop back to 2000m may leave him a little flat with the grand final being the ATC Derby next weekend.

The main danger lies with the Tasmanian Derby winner Cossetot. Proven on the soft track, he looks like he will be in the finish.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – In a Twinkling for 3 Units

The track is currently rated a Heavy 8 and likely to stay around that Slow 7 to Heavy 8 mark. Turning my attention to Sydney with 5 Group 1’s. Both Winx and the new kid on the block The Autumn Sun will step out for Chris Waller in the George Ryder and The Rosehill Guineas. Throw in the Ranvet for good measure and this is all before the main event the Golden Slipper! Historically the inside will be off in the straight & horses that settle off the rails & get 3 horses or wider turning for home will be advantaged. Leaders will need to get off the fence coming to the corner to be a chance

Rosehill Race 7 | LONGINES GOLDEN SLIPPER G1 1200m | 4:30pm

It’s one of the more intriguing Slippers in memory and it’s hard to know where to start when assessing with track conditions playing a big part.

Godolphin field 7 runners and I’ve landed on the Medaglia D’Oro filly Tenley. Remains undefeated and has drawn a to get a great steer from James McDonald. Her last two wins have been stunning. Responds to the jockey in somewhat ‘push button’ fashion and gets herself to balance up, for a booming final sprint once she sees clear running, I love that she’s proven herself at the 1200m already and confident her breeding will allow her to get through the testing going.

Beyond Tenley there appears to be plenty of dangers in this race and a strong argument could be presented. Yes Yes Yes couldn’t of been more impressive in the Todman, By Rubick a sun of Encosta De Lago he too should handle the wet ground with ease. Barrier 19 presents a big task for Blake Shinn, perhaps by race seven it could even be an advantage. The filly (Tenley) appears stronger to my eye off their final lead up performances.

Favourite Cosmic Force draws well and obviously gets through the ground, but I just feel there may have been a slight overreaction from the market despite him being a professional young colt. Barrier 2 should be fine with Microphone kicking up from inside him.

The one I like at an price is emerging prospect Pin Sec. Obviously, there are question marks over her under-performing opposition in the Black Opal but she destroyed them. Proven in the soft and breeding suggest heavy will be no issue. Also drawn near winning chances for Tommy Berry who has an amazing knack of popping up to win big races.

If Tenley can show the same turn of foot in the wet ground, I’m very confident she wins with even luck in running.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Tenley 3.5 unit

 BACK – Pin Sec 0.5 unit at 20 or better.

Weather forecast is a top of 28 with light winds. Rail +4m and expect the track to race fairly. In the straight races the middle to outside areas are likely to be of advantage.

Flemington Race 6 | Seppelt Wins Newmarket Handicap G1 1200m | 3:15pm

Expecting monster turnover on the Exchange with a capacity field. Osborne Bulls holds as favourite $4.60 fav with most corporates folding into $4.00 early. HOW?! I can’t knock his lead up run but he did SP $3.00 in the G2 Gilgai Stakes in Cup week when edging out Bons Away and Runson. His Everest run justifies the quote but I’m confident there’s enough talent to see layers risk him at $6 or better.

Graff appears to be an improver with William Pike replacing Tommy Berry. Was restrained last time and won’t hand Tommy for the ride as it may have been stable instructions? Regardless, I thought that cost it the race last time. He meets Osborne Bulls 2kg better for this and will map closer in the run. I’m confident he’s a better horse on top of the ground which he gets here and can finally be rewarded for the talent he promised in spring when narrowly beaten in the Golden Rose and a forgive run in the Everest.

Santa Ana Lane owes us nothing. Three-time G1 winner and although I’d rather him second up to 1200m who in Australia can question Anthony Freedman setting horses for G1 races over the past 12-18 months? Lay them at your peril. With most horses spearing to the outside fence a mid draw in barrier 10 could play to a big advantage for a closer.

Eduardo run out of his skin in the Oakleigh Plate. Went toe-to-toe with nature Strip and beaten under a length by booker. His ability to absorb pressure is incredible for a horse with only five race starts. If he stays sound he could be anything, basically a lightly raced version of Redzel.

Zousain is a complete forgive off his last start. Connections had Royal Ascot in mind pre-race but a lack of pace early clearly upset the Zoustar colt. He’s a better horse with pressure in the race and is a knockout who won’t be fancied by the market. If he balloons to 25-30/1 I’ll be making him a winner.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Eduardo 1.75 unit

 BACK – Graff 1.5 units

 BACK – Santa Ana Lane 1.5u

 BACK – Zousain 0.25u $26 or better

Expect an even track at both Randwick (Likely Good 4, Rail 6m) and Flemington ( Likely Good 3, Rail 2m) with all runners getting their chance dependant on race pace. Flemington races down the straight usually mean the best going will be from the inside rail to the middle.

FLEMINGTON RACE 8 | AUSTRALIAN GUINEAS 1600M | 2:45PM

In one of the best editions of the Australian Guineas we’ve seen in recent years, I’m keen on Stars Of Carrum at big odds. Has shown that he possesses a stack of ability on his day as proven by some massive runs in the spring.

I thought his run a fortnight ago in the CS Hayes was very encouraging considering he faced a wall of horses the entire way down the straight. He still ran the fastest final 200m despite never seeing daylight and being nursed across the line. I like the fact that he has drawn wide in barrier 13 here as he’ll get back and surely find enough space to charge home.

This is a very even race with plenty of chances so I’m more than happy to take the big odds to see whether he’s good enough.

 BACK – Stars Of Carrum 1 unit


RANDWICK RACE 3 | SKYLINE STAKES 1200M | 1:55PM

As a horse, Castelvecchio really excites me. He seems to have something pretty special about him and what’s surprising is he has managed showcase his ability over 1200m. Coming from last in the Millenium, he was pushed on the turn, only to kick into gear and absolutely fly down the outside to win comfortably at Warwick Farm.  WATCH HERE

Breeding suggests he’s going to only get better over further. I’m happy to concede he may not be a Golden Slipper horse but I think he’s got enough raw ability to win this race.

The main danger is Microphone and with good reason. Posting impressive figures in the Talindert Stakes, he will have plenty of supporters but my confidence was buoyed by Punting Form’s feature race report and I’m happy to take him on as favourite with what I think could be a future star.

 BACK – Castelvecchio 1 unit

A Good 4 early and given plenty of forecast rain missed Melbourne the track should improve to a Good 3. Rail back to true should mean it plays fair to all runners.

Caulfield Race 8 | CF Orr Stakes G1 1400m| 3:20pm

The first Group 1 of the Melbourne carnival and the market looks cramped at the top end. Kementari looking for his second g1, his first came 12 months ago in the Randwick Guineas. I feel he’s really missed some great opportunities in the past with poor programming. I think he’s an elite 1200-1400m horse but given his get back racing style and barrier two he could come unstuck or look a good thing beaten yet again. $3.60 doesn’t appeal and would need closer to $5 to bet, which may arise late.

Land Of Plenty has drawn well in 11 and Damien Lane looks back in form. Not convinced he’ll be wound right up here but is definitely a ‘new’ horse since August last year. Wary Redkirk Warrior may sprout second up but liked his effort at Moonee Valley. Fifty Stars was a pass mark in the same race but fancy he peaks in the Futurity. D’Argento races well fresh but like Kementari has a shocking inside draw (barrier one).

The big value runner for me is Best Of Days. Godolphin are flying and this entire resumes off a G1 Kennedy Mile win albeit with 52kg. That was a high-pressure race and I loved the way he took the gap when his opportunity came late to overpower Le Romain. Imports generally improve in their second preparation in Australia and this horse rarely runs a bad race, $19 is luxury odds early.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Best Of Days for 2 Units

A Good 4 with a top 35 and Sunny. The rail is out 9m, expect a slight advantage to on-speed runners. The best going in the straight will be from 1 – 5 horses wide.

Caulfield R6 | Blue Star Print Handicap | 3:30pm

Mount Kilcoy showed a stack of ability in his first prep as a 3yo and appears to have come back in good order with a solid first up outing at Flemington when it ran on well to finish within 2 lengths of the winner. Was easy in the betting that day which may indicate he’s got a fair bit of improvement from the run. With little speed in the race I expect that he’ll sit handier than usual, somewhere midfield hopefully with cover.

He may be just short of his ideal distance here but I believe he’ll have the quality to overcome this field and will keep improving out to 2000m.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Mount Kilcoy for 2 Units

Caulfield R7 | Polytrack W.J. Adams Stakes | 4:10pm

Written By is ticking plenty of boxes for me. He’s yet to run a bad race, has perfect first-up/fresh form and is 4-from-4 at Caulfield. The only two blips on the record have come in the Golden Slipper where he raced keenly and the Coolmore, which was a brave performance and a post race Vet examination revealed the he suffered some superficial lacerations during the race.

He had a jumpout at Caulfield last week showcasing his gate speed to go to the front and put in a nice effort where he rallied again late under his own steam. WATCH HERE

Add into the mix Jockey Jordan Childs’ and Trainer Grahame Beggs’ comments from earlier in the week (READ HERE) suggest the colt has come to hand quickly this time in.

Nature Strip is obviously a very fast horse and over the 1000m he will be given full rein. I’ve just found the two a lot closer together than what the market is suggesting.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Written By for 2 Units

A Good 4 early with the track improving to a Good 3 with a top 28 degrees forecast and minimal wind. The rail is out 9m and the outside barriers may have a slight advantage in the straight races.

Flemington R5 | Inglis Dash 1100m | 3:20pm

Looks an extremely weak contest with 250k up for grabs in this ‘Inglis Horse Only’ race. That presents a great opportunity for a setup. Robbie Laing trains Thorondor who measure up in spring at group two level in the 1200m Danehill stakes here behind Encryption starting a $21.

Had the advantage of the outside rail and no draws barrier one which is a concern. Craig Williams is a positive but at $3.00 he’s very well exposed in the market.

The value runner who’s been $13 into $9 in early betting is Ollivander. Returns here off a 139-day break, comes back a gelding and now has a cross over nose band. Damien Lane takes the ride and the gelding looked relaxed in a recent jump out which can be seen here.

Ollivander started hard in the market in the Blue Diamond Preview & Prelude and run very well in the former. He has ability and the new gear changes could be the making of him. Ellerton & Zahra are known for off season setups and this looks to be one of them in an average affair.

Can make a case against most others in the market and feel that lightly raced The Sisters & Physicality need to make a very big step up here to make their presence felt.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Ollivander for 2 Units


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