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 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

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

Previous Meetings

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

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