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.

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.


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


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


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.


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


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

Betfair is a low margin exchange, just like Airbnb. We create markets for punters to take on punters. And we want winners.

Previous Meetings

Randwick has 3-8mm forecast Saturday afternoon but luckily the midweek rain was missed. Expecting a Soft 5 with the rail +3m I expect the track to play relatively fair.

Randwick R5 | G2 Premiere Stakes 1200m | 14:50

Keen to take on Redzel as $3.00 favourite here in a race with five genuine dangers with genuine improvement and at better prices!

Trapeze Artist was huge first up in the Theo Marks with 61kgs on a heavy track. He’ll improve out of sight here and he needs too. Small concern his major target is The Everest but he’s not alone there!

In Her Time is ultra-consistent and whilst only been in the care of Kris Lees for a matter of weeks it’s a positive change. Santa Ana Lane has been a new horse since his last prep. His last four starts all strong picking up two Group 1s along the way. He’ll get back and run on with Stablemate Shoals who was swept off her feet last time at the Valley in the unsuitable McEwen won by Nature Strip.

Invincible Star will cause the favourite headaches in front ensuring the speed will be on. Most of Gai’s improve into their preparation and she must be considered as a knockout at the price.

Bet Recommendation

 LAY (WIN) – Redzel for 5 units

Randwick R7 | G1 Epsom Handicap 1600m | 16:05

Strong renewal of the Epsom handicap. The slow track adds further intrigue and we’ll know the effect of the rain by this stage. The market has installed three runners clear of the main pack and I think the market is close to right.

Firstly D’Argento, Drawn barrier one to get a suck run on the fence midfield. Was an OK second behind Home Of The Brave over 1300m in the Theo Marks stakes but what worries me was that Trapeze Artist was first up that day giving him 5kgs start. There was only a length between them and to my eye D’Argento is racing like a horse that wants 2000m. I’d even argue he’d be better placed in the Underwood Stakes and on a Caulfield Cup path. Waller missed with him in the Doncaster Mile in Autumn when he had the derby at his mercy. Punters were howling when he opted for the shorter course trip.

Unforgotten was enormous in the Chelmsford Stakes. Spotted the leaders 10 lengths then found trouble in the straight but when clear careered away from them. Small concern over the quality of her opposition that day but the way she won hard to overlook. Barrier three looks a major concern, I’d prefer between 7-15 for her with some saying the fence may chop out late. Kerrin McEvoy needs clear air for her and if it comes she’s fresh enough at 1600m with a month between runs!

Pierata has gained the most from the barrier draw, can sit two, three or four pairs in front of the above mentioned from barrier four. Had a virus so missed work and was six weeks between runs when narrowly defeated in the Bill Ritchie Handicap after sitting 3w throughout running. Drops 3.5kg from that and importantly will tighten up from a fitness perspective. Had his colours lowered to Kementari twice in the Autumn in the Hobartville and Randwick Guineas but reversed the result in the Missile stakes first up. I’m confident he’s gone to another level this preparation and as good as Unforgotten is and might be, she’ll be spotting him many lengths at the 400m with a huge likelihood of being stuck in traffic.

Bet Recommendation

 BACK (WIN) – Pierata for 2 units

Flemington is fine and clear on a Good 3-4. Little wind around with the rail +14m, it’s all fresh ground so I expect a relatively even track. Horses buried fence and well back could have problems which isn’t surprising.

Flemington R4 | Martini-henry BM 64 1420m | 14:45

Keen to bet around the favourite Vinland here although it’s likely to improve fitness wise and out to 1400m. Chris Caserta (Negative jockey change), needs to be positive from barrier two or it could get messy. Concede he’s gone close in some big races but would prefer to back it third up out to a mile.

Thought the value in the race was Aberro who sneaks into the field after scratching’s. Loved his trial at Cranbourne when pushing forward and going to the line strongly. Has always competed at much stronger grades since his debut at Pakenham behind Merchant Navy who needs zero introduction.

Matt Laurie may have taken him out of his comfort zone at 1800m+ and deep into a preparation last time in. Although 326 days appears as a negative, it tells me, based off the trials that he’s back to a level that’s good enough to warrant a big run fresh here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Aberro for 2.5 units

The forecast for Sydney is clear with a Good 3-4 expected. Rail +3m should ensure the track plays evenly.

Rosehill R7 | Group 1 Golden Rose 1400m | 15:50

Fascinating contest here back to a ‘Good’ rated surface. Jonker holds the fence with Danawi kicking up out wide to slide across. Assume Zousain finds Jonker’s back or a pair back at worst, I’m expecting a strong run to the 600m mark. Graff will be with cover midfield, The Autumn Sun back in the running line saved for one big swooping run with Seabrook to his inside.

Graff disappointed as BSP favourite in the traditional lead up and was gallant in defeat after tracking wide. A saloon passage for Lean Mean Machine the difference, I find it hard to see that runner beating home Graff this time in.

Respecting Chris Waller changing course with The Autumn Sun dropping back from 1500m in the Stan Fox and applying blinkers. He was a certainty beaten in that race following a severe check at the 350m mark. Was he flattered in his finish by the wet track? Can he settle in blinkers? Does he already want further? Three great questions, but he could be the standout colt of his era and he’ll eat up a strong 1400m having proven himself over 1500m & 1600m.

Seabrook appears to be right on track for the Thousand Guineas back in Melbourne. Expecting her to finish a strong 3rd or 4th after here first up eye catcher in the McNeil Stakes.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) The Autumn Sun for 1.5 units

Melbourne looks clear with the Caulfield rail +9m. I’m expecting it to favour leaders ever so slightly with tempo a bigger factor than bias.

Caulfield R8 | Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke 1400m | 16:50

One of the great handicap races of the season. In the past four years no horse has won this race with more than 54.5kg. Stratum Star carried that weight to victory in 2015. The only horse to place with a big weight in that time was Dissident with 58kg behind Trust In A Gust with 52kg in 2014.

Land of Plenty was a standout selection until he drew barrier 15. Osborne Bulls missed a with a virus so there’s a slight chink in his armour also. Ask me three weeks ago and they were standouts for this. I’m still confident both can win but will need luck from worse than midfield.

Peaceful State was hard to miss at Moonee Valley behind Land Of Plenty. There was more merit in LOPs run and like most other I feel Peaceful State may be snagged right back here with a view for the Toorak which it has at its mercy.

Home Of The Brave has 57kg and come off a heavy track. Maps well and can kick off a strong tempo, will look the winner for a long way.  The Knockout runner drawn barrier three is Sovereign Nation. Meets Land Of Plenty 5kg better since then last met over 1400m in early May. If Beau Mertens can be positive from barrier one, he can figure fresh against the profile and win this race first up being from the strong Hayes/Dabernig Yard.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Land Of Plenty 1 unit

 BACK (WIN) Sovereign Nation for 0.5 units

Flemington R2 | Cap D’Antibes Stakes – 1100 METRES | 1:05PM

Keen on SA filly Music Bay in this after a recent trial at Gawler suggests she has come back nicely. She showed plenty of promise last prep with a win on debut before a luckless run in the Dequetteville Stakes where she still managed to get second.

Scratched from the Atlantic Jewel Stakes, where stablemate Assertive Play looked a moral beat after getting caught up on the inside, Phillip Stokes commented on the similar ability of the two and has Music Bay a bigger striding filly.  This should suit the Flemington straight.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Music Bay for 2 units

Flemington R7 | Makybe Diva Stakes -1600 METRES | 4:10PM

Happy to be with Humidor here in the feature. Looking to go back-to-back in a race that he dominated last year. An argument could be made he is going better this time around with a solid performance fresh before taking out the Grp1 Memsie in an upset win over 1400m.

Out to the mile at Flemington will only enhance his chances and with the stable declaring him their top seed ahead of Kings Will Dream, my confidence has only buoyed.

We learnt this week that Weir’s high-class galloper has been allocated top weight in the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, this is with good reason, he is exactly that, high-class and he doesn’t have to face the handicapper on Saturday.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Humidor for 2 units

The forecast for Sydney is bleak with 8-20mm forecast on Friday afternoon. A better day follows Saturday with a top of 18 and slight winds. Rosehill is rated a Soft 6 early but could deteriorate to a Soft 7 if the rain hits in Parramatta.

Rosehill R5 | Group 2 Theo Marks Quality 1300 METRES | 2:35pm

Great contest here under given the ‘Quality’ weight conditions with Trapeze Artist forced to carry 61kgs first up against a class field. Trapeze Artist opened favourite with the corporates but is drifting on the exchange with D’Argento now favoured.

Siege Of Quebec was exceptional first up beaten 1.3 lengths behind Kementari when up and on the speed. With an 8kg advantage on Trapeze Artist I expect Tommy Berry to lead and beat that runner home. Home Of The Brave was solid against Voodoo Lad in Melbourne and profiles well here with a soft run in behind the speed. 4 weeks between runs and second up ideal for him. D’Argento gets 5kg off Trapeze artist and returned well behind Winx.

Three weeks between runs is ideal dropping back in distance and this run will top him off nicely for the Epsom. Shillelagh excels on soft ground but faces a steep jump in class, that said she was airborne in Queensland and will have residual fitness from that campaign.

With three genuine winning chances and a knockout in Shillelagh the safest way is to lay Trapeze Artist who will be peaking in a month’s time in the Everest

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Trapeze Artist for 5 units

Possible showers but likely to remain a Good 4. Expect a relatively even track with all runners getting there chance dependant on race pace. The best going in the straight will be from 1 -5 horses wide. Rail out 6m entire circuit.

Caulfield R6 | McNeil Stakes 1200 METRES | 3:30PM

Positive trials and a big push from Mick Price suggest that Seabrook is flying and ready to win here first up. The last time she raced on her home track (Caulfield), she ran a luckless 3rd to Enbihaar and Oohood in the Prelude, both placed behind Written By in the Blue Diamond. Seabrook was unfortunate to miss her spot in the race but subsequently went to Sydney and proved her outstanding ability.

I like where she’s drawn here in barrier 10 as I expect that she’ll get back slightly worse than midfield, find cover and peel out in the straight. There appears to be a fair bit of speed in the race which should work in her favour.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Seabrook for 2 units

Caulfield R8 | Moniek and Susanne Sambor Heath 1100 METRES | 4:50PM

Keen on the Everest bound Brave Smash in The Heath. He’s never been unplaced here and with a great draw he’s likely to race just off the speed. Back from a 19 week spell he usually takes a few runs to hit his straps, but after a some promising trials and a positive interview from Jarrod McLean this week I’m encouraged that he will be forward enough to be right in this first up.

Dangers include in-form stablemate Voodoo Lad. He also loves Caulfield but with everything needing to go right for him this field may be a little hot.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Brave Smash for 2 units

No rain forecast between now and raceday so expect the track to be a good 4 with light wind. Anticipate the track to play fairly with the rail out 4 metres.

Moonee Valley R1 | Back Yourself Handicap 1200 METRES | 12:25PM

Interesting race to kick off the day with a number of runners first up from a spell and some needing further in distance. Merriest should have a fitness edge over most and is coming off a complete forgive run when first up at Caulfield on 28/07. She carried the top weight, drew the widest gate, failed to settle in the run, went forward 3 wide without cover with a fast tempo where the leaders were mowed down late.

Expect to see further improvement 2nd up where she’s down in the weights and maps well from barrier 2. Should settle midfield on the fence, peel out and be strong to the line. Has a reasonable record at the Valley where she won the Atlantic Jewel and placed in a group 3. She was well backed when first up and expect the money to come for it again. May go to a new level this prep.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Merriest for 2 units

Moonee Valley Race 7 | McMahon’s Dairy McKenzie Stakes 1200 METRES | 4:05PM

Keen on Brutal here, who was exactly that when racing clear of his rivals in only start at Caulfield in impressive time. Humma Humma who ran 5.5L 3rd that day has since gone down narrowly to Sunlight in the QUEZETTE. 5 weeks between runs, an encouraging jump out should have tightened him up nicely. The previous start and jump out suggest he will go forward and I can’t see any reason for them to change tactics even from the wide gate. Hard to beat.

I don’t think Brutal has too many dangers but former NZ colt Tavisan was very impressive in his Australian debut leading all the way to win at Cranbourne, pedigree suggests he might want further but if he shows the gate speed he did on debut he can give plenty of cheek at a big price the place.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Brutal for 3 units

 BACK (PLACE) Tavison for 1 unit

The forecast for Caulfield is minimal rain with a 70% of rain but only 1-4mm.  I’ll be working to a Good 4 track most likely.

Caulfield R5 | Group 3 Vain Stakes 3yo C & G 1100m | 14:40

Always a class field with the past two winners being Jukebox and Russian Revolution.  It looks a genuine tempo upfront with early speed from Tony Nicconi and Rock Hard. Tony Nicconi looks extremely short at $2.50 in early markets.

The form line I’m happy to side with is The August from the Brent Stanley yard. Strong win on debut at Donald then backed it up a month later at Flemington over 1100m (heavily backed) with Good ‘n’ Fast finishing second. That horse went on to win twice before spelling. The August over raced on that occasion but still knuckled down to tough out the win.

Looking at his trial it’s clear that his race manners have improved dramatically, and I love him off 70 days compared to others off 100+ day spells. If connections are confident with him, settling leaders back is a big possibility.  Concede the jump out of Long Leaf was strong behind Oohood but barrier two and Stable Hayes worries me greatly.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) The August for 2 units ($5 or better)

The early rating for Flemington is a Good 3. Little to no rain forecast until Saturday with 3-10mm between the morning and afternoon. Hard to imagine anything worse than a Soft 5 but hail is also a small chance so watch BOM Melbourne for updates.

Flemington R4 |VRC Member Rhonda Sexton BM84 | 14:00

Harmattan resumes here at 1400m which looks a suitable distance. Came to the end of her preparation in Autumn when failing in the Group 3 Schweppervesence Stakes at Morhphettville. Prior to that she roared through her grades smartly and has done enough to warrant a bet against a field of mares passed their prime or with minimal upside. The two big question marks are fitness and where she gets to from barrier 13.

If She’s here to win and Dwayne Dunn get cover she may SP favourite. Damien Lane (Bellaria) will try hold her out and Michael Dee (Marquita) can take a sit on harmattan. Both mares are rock hard fit and can expose any chinks in her armour. I’ll be watching the market closely and the best price will be at BSP.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Harmattan for 1 unit

Flemington R5 | VRC Member James Hibberd BM70 1200m | 14:35

Gold Mag has found a nice race here and has the figures to win if he’s right. Bolted in on debut then put in a scintillating performance at Sandown Lakeside winning by 5 lengths with 59.5kg.

There’s a handful of dangers with Illumicon, Choisborder, Tahi and Tardis the best of them. In saying that they have more negatives than Gold Mag who’s only major concern is his month gap between races. Mark Zahra offsets barrier 12 for mine and despite being rock bottom odds at $2.00 in early betting I think he can drift and win.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Gold Mag for 3 units

A few showers with a brief thunderstorm Friday but mostly fine Saturday will keep The Valley in the Good 4 rating. With the rail true most runners should get their chance depending on tempo.

Moonee Valley R6 | Mortimer Petroleum BM78 2500m | 15:10

Loved the return of the European Import Streetcar To Stars at Sandown a few weeks ago. He raced fresh which is understandable being an 8yo off a 1424day break. There’s some risk he might race flat second up given his age, but he’ll go forward in fitness. He’s drawn barrier 3 which allows a forward position for Ben Melham and I think he can turn the table on Pioneertown who is now fifth up.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Streetcar To Stars for 1 unit

Moonee Valley R7 |Open Handicap 1600m | 15:50

Looks a race with multiple winning chances here so keen to lay the early market favourite in Another Coldie. As short as $3.80 early on the exchange with his last two starts the perfect setups and coming away with only one win. This time he drops back in distance, Gets Dean Yendall after having Ethan Brown and Damien Lane prior to that. Barrier 8 could find him three-wide with Call Me Handsome the likely leader from barrier one and be very hard to run down.

If Call Me Handsome becomes the hunted and they go breakneck speed early the best closer in top form is Malaise. Malaise gets Craig Williams back in the saddle and there’s few better Moonee Valley riders than Craig, drawn barrier 14 things may pan out very well for him.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Another Coldie for 5 units

The forecast for Caulfield is minimum rain. Fog and lack of wind will help keep it in the Good 4 – Soft 5 range and with plenty of outrage across social media expect it to stay away from a Good 3 given it’s the last Saturday of July….

Caulfield R4 | 3yo + Fillies & Mares Open Hcp 1200m | 13:45

Confident here with 1200m specialist Just Hifalutin on top. Returned in terrific order at Flemington three weeks ago against the males at listed level over the same distance. Ethan Brown claims 1.5kg dropping her weight to 57kg and she’s drawn off the fence. The concern is how the track will play but hoping her fitness edge and liking for 1200m can overcome any bias if that presents. I think she’s improved this time in but will wait to take BSP odds with $3.30 appearing too short in early betting.

Merriest and Princess Of Queens come here fresh, but both might be better second up and out to 1400m. The danger to the favourite for mine is Modern Wonder who draws in and can lead at her second start for Darren Weir. Closed nicely at this track and distance behind Sharpness and Rillito so any notification from connections to ride her forward will result in a big market move from $7.00 early.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Just Hifalutin for 4 units

 BACK (WIN) Modern Wonder for 1 unit

The forecast for the second week running is Fog with minimum wind so the track will race Good 3-4 at Flemington. Small amount of rain Friday 1-4mm will be ideal and the track should play fairly with the rail +3m.

Flemington R5 | 2yo Open 1800m | 14:15

On first look it appears a tough race with a handful of chances but I’m confident Darren Weir holds the key to this race with Lift. Jumped with them on debut at Ballarat which is promising now he has gate five here meaning he can sit closer than he did on that occasion. To my eye it appears Dean Yendall was teaching him how to switch off with winning a lower priority, with the benefit of hindsight this stands out as his target race and that debut performance stamped my opinion of his quality. Darren Weir runners improve with racing and the only key negative I can find with this runner is returning to a Good rated surface off the heavy. I’m very confident that the open spaces of Flemington will suit him and hopefully Ben Allen can keep him out of trouble ‘in running’ allowing him galloping room.

Visao looks progressive but 1400m to 1800m appears an awkward step especially to Flemington. Fun Fact will look the winner leading on his own terms but again I’m confident Lift can real him in. So You Swing may be posted wide and is another in the mix but is very well found at $4.00 early.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Lift for 3 units

The forecast for Melbourne is Fog and minimum wind so the track will race Good 4 at Caulfield which is great for mid-July.  The rail is at 11m and I expect it to race fair with tempo to determine which runners are too advantage rather than any bias.

Caulfield R4 | BM78 1400m | 13:35

Competitive race here and keen to take on the Chris Waller trained The Avenger. Lacks the early speed to hold position here from barrier three and if he’s forced to be hunted early it may also tell late. Remains in a similar rating category but drops back to 1400m with the only ben Melham replacing Tye Angland the genuine positive I can find. Outside carnival times it concerns me when Waller switches horses from Sydney to Melbourne and I’d prefer three weeks between runs here to freshen this horse up. $4.00 or less appears rock bottom odds and keen to lay.

Demolition savaged the line at Moonee Valley. I thought Craig Williams was unfairly criticised for his ride that day and furthermore he’s one of the better ‘valley’ riders. This looks a better set up with two foundation runs at 1200m as he appears to be a horse than is looking for 1400m. The biggest concern is whether he gains a start as first emergency.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) The Avenger for 4 units

 BACK (WIN) Demolition for 3 units (if starting)

The forecast for Melbourne is bleak. Possible hail with 2-6mm of rain in the morning/afternoon. The track is a Good 3 with some light rain in the lead up. Expect the track to fall no worse than a Good 4 with a close watch on the forecast hail. Rail will be True.

Flemington R2 | VRC – CRV Cup Tour Trophy Open Hcp 2000m | 12:25

Keen on Sixties Groove who returns on the 7-day back up following a strong second placing against Pacodali who was primed to win at Caulfield.

Sixties Groove raced a touch fresh last week and went for home early looking the winner 300m out. His condition and perhaps a lack of turn of foot his undoing which won’t be the case here with most of this field unlikely to be able to sprint with him from a midfield position for his new rider Craig Williams.

Grand Dreamer appears the obvious danger, has measured up at listed level in the Ballarat Cup and no knock his performance in the Swan Hill cup at his latest start. I feel he needs slow/heavy conditions to show his best which won’t be the case here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Sixties Groove for 4 units

The forecast for Caloundra (Sunshine Coast) is clear skies with wind no factor. The rail is true, but the current rating is a heavy 8 which will be an issue for any horses under done or runners that don’t prefer cut in the ground.

Sunshine Coast R4 | Oxlade Stakes 1200m| 2:37pm

Keen on the favourite Granny Red Shoes here after two strong foundation runs that will have the Not A Single Doubt filly rock hard fit for a testing 1200m at Sunshine Coast. Already a winner at the venue and bred to handle the damp track despite failing on debut in Sydney on the heavy.

Will spot the leaders a big start from barrier 15 but think she can zip down the crown of the track and reel the leaders in.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – 9. Granny Red Shoes BSP for 4 units.

Sunshine Coast R6 | Lightning Qlty 1000m | 3:57pm

Interesting betting race to unfold with class mare tumbler resuming off a 300-day spell on a heavy track. Had the benefit of a Deagon barrier trial here when she was under a strong hold throughout on a chopped out soft 5.

Liked the way she went about it for a 6yo mare, looks good speed here and despite barrier two she’s a 1000m specialist primed for this.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Tumbler to Win BSP for 1.5 units.

The forecast for Brisbane is clear until Saturday with light winds only and partly cloudy conditions. Not ideal drying weather but the hardest thing mentally to get passed in how chopped out the track was in the last half on Oaks day. Therefore, I’ll be only suggesting 1unit plays for Saturday with the rail True and the track to fall in the Soft 6-7 range.

Doomben R5 | G1 Stradbroke Handicap 1350m | 2:15pm

Difficult renewal with Champagne Cuddles installed as $5.00 favourite with a 50kg impost. Has the perfect foundation now 3rd up here and provided she can sit in the first half of the field with the fence on in running I’m saying she can win this. Fence on she’ll stay hard in the market but if they are sinking in running on fence she could balloon in price. Big market watch.

Impending meets her 3.5kg worse with 57.5kg. Impossible to knock at his past six starts and is drawn to get a run to win this. Danon Liberty is first emergency and is proven on wet ground, no knock barrier six and there’s plenty of punters on him at monster prices.

Santa Ana Lane is racing in career best form, has the perfect set up here fourth up to 1350m. He won his first G1 handicap over 1400m at Caulfield. He savaged the line in the Goodwood and the only knock is barrier three if that’s an issue by this stage of the day? $14 looks over the odds for mine with Ben Melham not far away from the best rider in the field. I’m also happy to be on a horse that’s raced on better surfaces than backing up on Doomben again…

Other dangers include; Shillelagh, Crack Me up, Moss ‘n’ Dale.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Santa Ana Lane for 1 unit.

Doomben R7 | G1 Queensland Derby 2200m | 3:35pm

Exceptional race this with a handful of genuine chances. Dark Dream concerns me greatly with Synthetic Hoof Filler First Time. Big chance he’s missed some work and now very deep into his prep I’m keen to look for fresh blood. Will be laying this runner.

Live And Free looks a stayer in the making, by Savabeel with two very soft wins at his last two starts, love that fact he’s coming from Randwick 2000m still subscribing to the theory of being slightly against horses that raced on that shifty Doomben track in their leads ups for this.

Lucky For All proved himself on heavy and slow surfaces and keeps raising the bar each time he steps out. Was something beaten at Sandown when had no luck in the straight for Ethan Brown. No gets Lane on and barrier 18 over this trip and by this stage of the day might be a positive. His effort to put a gap on Furrion two starts ago at Caulfield stamped himself as a derby contender in my eyes so I’m using that as the reference point.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – Dark Dream 5 units

 BACK – Live And Free 1 unit

 BACK – Lucky For All unit

The forecast for Ipswich is fine but the early track rating is a soft 5. Little wind around so it may land in the Good 4 range. Rail is true with the fence expected to be off slightly.


Typically, a strong profile race with most runners winning up in the weights, drawn off the fence and rarely producing a first up winner. Ipswich generally favours horses that can take up a position on the speed or in the first few pairs. That augers well for Moss ‘n’ Dale who I suggested was a knockout runner in the Stradbroke Hcp last week. He failed to get a start on that occasion but has 56kg here and is drawn barrier four. He should get run of the race off the fence with Privlaka inside him. I’m A Rippa will find the fence to lead with Religify parked outside it. Lean-to Moss ‘n’ Dale with the race fitness.

Religify looks set up for it with two trials, but comes off a 230+ day spell, the positive is that it meets Lucky Hussler 2kg better off from their clash in the G2 Crystal Mile (Religify’s last start). He’s a class runner at his top and will be hard to run down on speed.


 BACK – Moss ‘n’ Dale for 2 units.

 BACK – Religify for 0.5 units.

The forecast for Brisbane is fine with the track likely to fall in the Good 4 range. I’m expecting most runners to get their chance in races with genuine tempo with the rail in the +3.5 position.


Deep race with multiple chances so keen to look outside the market with two class mares that are dropping back from competing against the males in the Stradbroke handicap.

Invincible Gem had a torrid run in transit in her lead up for this. Was wide then in the ruck with traffic all around her, when clear late she picked up and when you go through her last half a dozen starts it’s apparent she’s been in the deep end with Winx, Happy Clapper, Le Romain etc etc. Almost a G1 Randwick Guineas winner which stamps her class if you’re still not convinced. $13 is fair odds here and this looks a high-pressure race which will suit her from a mid draw.

Shillelagh is the other forgive from the Stradbroke, was primed there but found an unsuitable heavy track and connections flirted with the idea of scratching her pre-race on a wet track. She’s obviously flying and needed that hit out, back to a good track now from another suitable mid draw for a proven G1 winner against the mares makes her a bet for me again at the $13 mark.

Prompt Response on speed have be a big chance. Super Cash is racing extremely well as is Moss Trip, but both have very wide draws and will every bit of luck.


 BACK – Invincible Gem 1 unit.

 BACK – Shillelagh 1 unit.

The forecast for the Sunshine Coast is relatively clear with a 50% chance of showers on Saturday morning or lunchtime. The rail is true with a Heavy 8-9 the expected going. Monster fields and high turnover to be expected.


Very deep race but after close to 21mm of rain on Thursday I expect the track to race with the fence off by this time of the afternoon with not enough wind around to dry the track. It’s an extremely even field and many star riders have either taken holidays or returned home.

The horse drawn in the right part of the track and one that will relish a bog track is the Rob Heathcote trained Privlaka, who is rock hard fit here sixth up. He’s been a model of consistency this preparation and his figures don’t really prove how good he’s going so the early odds setters may have missed him. 1400m may be a query on a real heavy track but at $16 he’s a good gamble.

Respecting Jamaican Rain with winners coming from her last start performance at Moonee Valley. If she can improve off that run the residual fitness and liking for wet tracks will make her hard to hold out with Tegan Harrison a perfect fit for her. Hoping the market risks her and $5.00 plus is bet but with Niccanova a likely scratching on rain on heavy surface that may be wishful thinking.


 BACK (WIN) Jamaican Rain for 1.5 unit

 BACK (WIN) Privlaka for 1 unit

Caulfield R6 | G1 Futurity Stakes 1400m WFA | 3:25pm

Brave Smash looked primed here off an unlucky run last time in the CF Orr. Understand there were plenty in the smash boat as him but as an entire this is the G1 Stallion stamping race for him and looking at his preparation probably the race he’s been set for all along.

Danger appears to be Showtime after a trip away to Sydney and hit the line hard behind Trapeze Artist. That 3yo colt form always seems to measure up against the older horses at WFA level around these distances in Melbourne. Barrier 10 is a little query, where does it land on the map?

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Brave Smash for 3 units

 BACK (WIN) Showtime for 1 unit

Flemington R7 | G3 CS Hayes 1400m SWP | 4:00pm

Peaceful State. Huge win against the pattern fresh at Sandown in a BM70 that had depth. Stable indicated there’s improvement to come with this runner but he’s raw, with plenty of upside. Flemington is a big positive with his racing pattern of ‘get back and run on’.

Would prefer a wider draw than Barrier 3 with the rail likely to be a no go zone. The other issue is Team Weir going soft on him here for a big spike in the Australian Guineas. Either way he looks the real deal and will be hard to beat if he’s there to win.

Cliff’s Edge was tough fresh but that run may have been a redline performance. Set for 1600-2000m this preparation so may sprout and be further improved third up.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Peaceful State for 1 unit

Caulfield R8 | G1 CF Orr Stakes 1400m WFA| 4:45pm

Deep edition of the CF Orr stakes and going out on a limb saying that Mr Sneaky can take the step from handicapper to WFA. Looking at the Punting Form feature race reports the Australia Stakes is a clear profile race and I thought Mr Sneaky had the perfect lead up run looking to this 1400m event.

He posted strong figures at this track and distance in spring and even posted strong numbers at Flemington over 1400m. I’m not convinced 1600m is a distance that suits so this looks to be his ‘Grand Final’ with other key chances possibly vulnerable first up. Kerrin McEvoy take the ride and Barrier 13 is awkward but with other speed drawn wide he can come across with them and sit three pairs back in the running line. His best asset is a booming finish so clear air is what he needs for 400m.

Beyond Mr Sneaky I can make a case for half a dozen runners. Interested to see where Shillelagh maps in running and that mare could be an In-Play betting option if she’s not a mile back buried on the fence.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Mr Sneaky for 1 Unit

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