TRB Race Assessment: Free Horse Racing Tips

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1:00pm Flemington Race 5 – 1200m LR HCP

Speed & Assessed Price Summary


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 97 at the weights carried will be needed to win.


Assessed Prices and Comments

In our assessed price order.

3 Rich Charm. $4.80

He was very good FUP at this T&D two runs ago when a close second to Great Again with a 98.5 rating that is hard to beat in this. He also has four other runs in the 97-99 range to confirm his talent at a level to win this race.

I’m not too worried about his last start 9th, there were genuine excuses when held up badly from the 200m mark, but he has had some issues, so I can’t be totally confident he will bounce right back to that peak. Still, he brings the best recent rating in the field and is drawn to find the likely right part of the straight.

1 Great Again. $6.00

A good effort when narrowly beating Rich Charm two starts ago, but does pay the price with weight, leaving him with a 97 rating. There were excuses last start when racing wide at MV on a day where the fence was best and he also pulled up lame.

Profiles wise, his five best ratings are on wet ground, which he gets here and four of them are at 97+, which is the level that could win this race. He’s right in the mix here.

4 I am Someone. $7.50

He beat Prezado and Order of Command last start over 1100m which reads well, but he did get a stack of weight off them and Lord Von Costa (an $11 chance in the market this race) was less than a length behind him.

His 94 rating says to me the form isn’t as strong as some of the other references, but the thing in his favour is that it’s his most recent run and he’s still potentially on the up this preparation. It wouldn’t surprise me if he won, but $4.80 in the market is skinny.

7 Tavisan. $8.50

Another that looks under the odds in the market to me at $5.00. His last two ratings of 94.6 and 94.1 (his best this prep) won’t be good enough to win this, so he finds himself needing to improve at least 1.5 lengths. He did run 97-98 in three runs last winter, but it’s a stretch to think he’s suddenly going to elevate to that level off his recent figures.

2 Malibu Style. $10.00

Below his best last start, but did run 95.7 the start before when not much luck behind Great Again, which isn’t far off the mark. Back up to 1200m suits where four of his last five runs have rated between 95.7 and 97.6. There’s no doubt that on his best he’s capable of being extremely competitive.

9 Lord Von Costa. $14.00

Ran 94 LS when beaten 0.8L behind I Am Someone and finished off well enough. That’s about his general level of talent, which is short of winning this, but he does have a one off spike of 98, so he’s not hopeless.

10 Hi Stranger. $15.00

The 3YO brings different a formline from his 2.8L 2nd to the smart Front Page last start with a 94.9 rating that is only about a length off the required standard. That was a new peak though and he was 50/1 so there’s has to be allowance that he’ll regress back towards his more consistent 92.5 to 93.5.

6 Snitzkraft. $16.00

His 94 last start was a solid effort, but I have to go back nine runs to find a rating that can win this race and that was on dry ground. His nine best ratings are on dry, so I have to query him on a wet track. Single figures odds in the current market looks far too short.

5 Milwaukee. $26.00

His last two have been well below his best and even prior to that, I have to go back 12 months to this race last year (when 2nd) to find a rating that could win.

8 Rich Itch. $34.00

His typically form sits in the 92-93 range which some spikes around the 96.5 level, which are still short of the likely standard here.


Betting Strategy

It’s a very competitive race with a number of queries and plenty of potential winners that wouldn’t surprise.

BACK – Rich Charm – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

1:00pm Flemington Race 3 – 1600m 2YO LR HCP

Speed & Assessed Price Summary


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 82.5 at the weights carried will be needed to win.


Assessed Prices and Comments

In our assessed price order.

1 Cherry Tortoni. $3.00

He’s been visually impressive in his two wins so far, showing a nice turn of foot and good late strength that suggests he’s still very much on the way up. His work on the clock and overall ratings of 77.5 and 81.1 (adjusted to the 61kg he carries here) aren’t anything special yet, but this is not a strong race.

He meets many of those he easily defeated last start and looks as suited as any of them by the step up to 1600m. He sets up nicely to run a new peak in this race and is clearly the one to beat, but I’m not getting carried away.

2 Narvaez. $6.50

He only won a Bendigo 2YO Open last start, but it was at this trip of 1600m and the quality of his last 600m off a weak early pace had some merit that stacks up well against those who finished behind Cheery Tortoni last start. Their form is certainly no better than his.

He has the blinkers off for this, but will still race up on the lead and if they do happen to go slow through the middle stages, that 600m sprint he showed last start could make him hard to get past. With the different formline to those Cherry Tortoni beat easily last start, he profiles as the main danger for me.

6 Alcyone. $8.50

He got a mile back behind Cherry Tortoni last start and was one paced for most of the straight, but was spotted making up late ground and was very strong past the post. He’s crying out for the 1600m here and is one that could improve massively in this race.

He will however get a long way back again, which still presents betting risk, especially given he takes some time to wind up. He seems well enough found in the market so I can’t back him, but he’s definitely one of the threats.

11 Toyz on Fire. $9.50

Another that brings different form to the main lead up won by Cherry Tortoni. She ran good sectionals making up ground over 1300m behind Mystique Falcon last start (who is also in this race), but I felt she was there to win at the 100m mark and peaked on her run late.

She ran 84 on debut over 1170m that stacks up well, but peaking late over 1300m with a rating short of what’s needed to win this doesn’t instill confidence going to 1600m.

5 Mystique Falcon. $14.00

Looked beaten part way up the straight last start over 1300m at Sandown, but fought back to win. Her 80.7 is not hopeless here, but she doesn’t look to have the same upside as some of the others, especially at 1600m.

12 Insaaf. $16.00

Didn’t show any real acceleration in the race won by Cherry Tortoni last start, but was solid through the line and past the post, which gives some hope that 1600m will suit. She could run a new peak and be more competitive.

4 Confrontational. $18.00

Was beaten 2.4 lengths behind Navraez last start and had his chance to do better.

7 Burleigh Boy. $23.00

Should be fitter for his first up 3L defeat to Cherry Tortoni, but needs to make a big improvement.

3 Super Yulong. $31.00

Didn’t have the best of luck when beaten 4.4L behind Cherry Tortoni last start ,but it’s still a stretch to think he’s a genuine threat here.

9 Maui. $51.00

Ran ok okay behind Cherry Tortoni last start but was still beaten 4 lengths.

10 Trodaire. $67.00

Beaten 4 lengths by Cherry Tortoni last start without any obvious signs that he can suddenly improve.

8 Johnny Get Angry. $251.00

Beaten 5.5L behind Cherry Tortoni last start and while I’m sure he’s better than that and will appreciate 1600m, he does look outlcassed at this level.

13 Billieo. $1001.00

Beaten a long way in two midweek races so far. Well and truly outclassed.


Betting Strategy

I’m reluctant to bet into races against my top pick (Cherry Tortoni) just because the price is a little short. He may get out on the day.

BACK – Navraez – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

4:00pm Doomben Race 8 – 1630m F&M Gp3 WFA

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 5 (Friday morning) and the rail is out 4.5m the entire circuit.

With fine weather Friday (22c) and partly cloudy (but no rain) 22c on Saturday, the track should get back very close to a Good 4 by the time this race comes around.

I’m expecting jockeys to get a couple of horses off the fence in the straight as the meeting goes on, but there’s a strong history for the +4.5m position and similar to say that on-pace and handy runners will still have a natural advantage.

Speed & Tactics

(** in the above map indicates that a horse has a recent rating up to the minimum winning standard of the race – a positive factor.)

A big factor looks to be the lack of natural on-pace runners in this race. Shuhood should hold the lead easily, while Baccarat Baby and Paint The Town Two are likely to press forward, but they don’t have a huge amount of resistance inside them. All of the others typically settle well back off the lead. The likes of Tricky Gal and Krone look to land in nice positions without doing any work early.

Early Pace Rating: Above Average

Late Pace Rating: Below Average

Best Suited: Lead to 3L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form a rating of at least 95.5 at the weights carried will be needed to win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

6 Krone. Rated 95-97. $3.80

A 96.8 rating two starts ago over 1350m at this track says she has the recent form & talent to win. Last start she got way too far back (10 lengths) over 1400m at Eagle Farm and worked home solidly, doing her best work late. The big change here is the structure of the map, which looks ideal for her to hold a position around midfield or just forward of that without doing any work at all.

That’s similar to two starts ago when she ran her 96.8 figure. With older ratings around the same level at 1600m this distance is no concern. With the Gollan stable in red hot form at the moment, she looks very hard to beat.

2 Baccarat Baby. Rated 95-97. $4.00

Excuses for the 92 rating last start when wide with no cover in a genuinely run race, still battling on well late. Prior to that she’s run 95.7, 95.4 and 96.5, which are all right up to this race. On top of that the map looks a key positive for her. She should press forward and find a position close to the lead, which is ideal in a race that lacks speed. Hard to beat.

12 Shuhood. Rated 92-96. $6.50

Likely found the 1800m too far last start, but prior to that she ran 95 and 93 over 1600m, which is not too far off the mark for this. There’s a good chance she gets a very soft lead here and on a favourable track, that’s the perfect scenario for a horse to improve back to their best, perhaps a new peak. If Shuhood can do that, she’s capable of winning.

9 Tricky Gal. Rated 91.5-96. $11.00

Tough to assess confidently. She ran 96 two starts ago over 1400m at Eagle Farm which was a big spike over the best of her other form, which has been consistently in the 91-92 range. She went to Sydney on heavy ground last start and regressed back to that 92 mark.

Most of the time a horse like this will run closer to their general level (91-92) but I certainly can’t rule out the potential for her to get back towards that 96, especially as it only came two starts ago.

5 Sure Knee. Rated 91.5-94. $15.00

On talent she’s up to this race, but her six best ratings are all the Melbourne way of going and two recent Sydney runs of 91.3 and 94.5 won’t be good enough to win this race. She’s also likely to be a long way back in a race that lacks speed.

1 Teleplay. Rated 90-93. $21.00

She’s a well proven 95-97 mare on her best form, which is capable of winning, but her last four runs have been well below that level with peaks of 92.3 and 90.1. It’s a big ask to suddenly bounce back, especially going to 1600m for the first time.

3 Delectation Girl. Rated 89-91. $23.00

She’s run three ratings in the 95.5 to 98.5 range in her 13 Australian starts so far (all when big odds), which says the talent is there, but her other 10 runs are not competitive here, including her last two. She also lacks early speed and will get back in the field. Single figure odds about her in the market looks very speculative, especially as she’s yet to even win a race in Australia.

4 Paint the Town Two. Rated 89-91. $26.00

Hasn’t been sighted in two QLD runs this prep (up from VIC). Her best of 97 and 95 is capable here and they are as recent as Feb / March, but I suspect the improving track is a little against her. It’s a stretch to think she’ll suddenly improve.

11 Barefoot. Rated 88-91. $34.00

She’s been ideally suited by fast speed in her last two, running 91-92 ratings. That’s not good enough to win this and she faces what looks a much less favourable pace scenario.

7 Strome. Rated 87-91. $67.00

The 95.5+ standard for this race is a shade beyond her career best and her form this preparation is a couple of lengths below that.

8 Red Stina. Rated 87-90. $126.00

She’s dropping back from recent runs over 2400 and 1800m (x2) where she lacked early speed and got well back. It’s hard to imagine she can drop back to 1600m, settle back in a moderately run race and improve to a new peak that’s good enough to win this.

10 Mewstone Rock. Rated 86-89. $251.00

She’s outclassed in this race, especially getting back in the field.


Betting Strategy

On current prices, all the betting value lies with Krone.

BACK – Korne – Bet to WIN (stake 1.2% of your bank)

3:22pm Doomben Race 7 – 1350m LR HCP

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 5 (Friday morning) and the rail is out 4.5m the entire circuit.

With fine weather Friday (22c) and partly cloudy (but no rain) 22c on Saturday, the track should get back very close to a Good 4 by the time this race comes around.

I’m expecting jockeys to get a couple of horses off the fence in the straight as the meeting goes on, but there’s a strong history for the +4.5m position and similar to say that on-pace and handy runners will still have a natural advantage.

Speed & Tactics

(** in the above map indicates that a horse has a recent rating up to the minimum winning standard of the race – a positive factor.)

Inquiry and Twitchy Frank show out clearly in the early stages here. Eight of nine career wins for Inquiry have come when leading and he does have an above average cruising speed, so I suspect Wiggins will be looking to cross Twitchy Frank and take up the running.

That cruising speed should ensure that the chasers have their chance to make ground over the final 400m if good enough.

Early Pace Rating: Above Average

Late Pace Rating: Below Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form a rating of at least 97 at the weights carried will be needed to win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

1 Scallopini. Rated 96-98. $3.40

He’s come back in great style this preparation, running terrific sectionals to win first-up with a 98 rating and then a 95.7 last start when coming from more than 6 lengths back at the 600m for 3rd. What I like about him in this race is that up to 1350m on this map he should find a position no worse than midfield around 3 lengths off the lead and be much closer than he was last start.

That’s a perfect scenario for him to improve on the 95.7 last start and back towards his 98 prior. His consistency is such a huge asset. In 11 runs Since Feb 2019 he’s won 5 times and been beaten 0.7L or less in four other runs. He looks the one to beat here.

3 Spectroscope. Rated 95-98. $5.50

An interesting runner, first-up since February. His last two first-up runs have been over 1400m from inside draws where he’s been able to settle handy, much closer than he normally does. He ran a very close 3rd on both occasions in Open Hcp grade (0.2L and 0.3L) with ratings of 98 and 99.8 which are capable of winning this race.

In a broader sense he’s run between 97 and 99.5 in nine of his last 20 runs and 95+ in 14 of his last 20. He looks to land in a nice position on the map, similar to his last two first-up runs and if he goes anywhere near as well as he did in those, he’s capable of winning. He looks great value at double figure odds in the market.

7 Inquiry. Rated 94-97. $6.00

He missed the start at the Gold Coast at his last run as a $1.40 favourite, couldn’t find the lead and although he had clear running in plenty of time to win, he didn’t look the same horse. Prior to that though he was outstanding, running 101 to win impressively over 1200m at the Gold Coast. This is 1350m though and at that trip he brings a 96.7 from three starts ago at this track, when well beaten by Red Chase.

As the likely leader with good sustained speed he’s certainly a good chance, but it’s tough to forecast him running any better than 96-97 and with that uncertainty over his last run, he may rate a touch lower. He can certainly win, but there are some queries.

4 Twitchy Frank. Rated 92-97. $8.00

Off a 4 week freshen up for new trainer Tony Gollan. She has multiple ratings from her TAS and VIC runs around the 97 level that could win this race. The big query is that he last two runs in April / May in VIC were poor, well below her previous very consistent best. She’s hard to assess in this race.

2 Chapter and Verse. Rated 93-96. $9.00

He ran 95.5 last start at Eagle Farm and does have peak ratings around the 97 level which can put him in the finish of this race. The query is that he lacks early speed and from mid-wide draws he consistently settled 6 lengths+ back from the lead. That’s likely to be tough to make up on the day.

5 Right or Wrong. Rated 91-97. $14.00

He’s an inconsistent 8YO who resumed from a 574 day spell back in May and has run ratings of 91.2, 97 and 92.3 last start. He’s a horse that does have the talent to run 97+, but it’s impossible to be confident and his price has to reflect that.

8 Star Reflection. Rated 92-94. $23.00

Her old form is up to this race, but it’s been 12 months since she’s run a rating that puts her in the finish of this and her last two are approximately two lengths short.

11 Bargannon. Rated 89-93. $51.00

First-up for 231 days. His general good level of form is at least a couple of lengths short of winning this.

10 Ready for Danger. Rated 88-92. $101.00

First-up for 189 days and best suited over 1800m-2000m. It’s hard to imagine he can run 97+ over this trip.


Betting Strategy

Scallopini is the horse to beat, but on current prices, there’s no compelling value (may change on the day.)

I typically don’t like to bet against a top rater/favourite that I like purely on the basis of price, but Spectroscope appeals as the terrific value in current markets, so I’m happy to speculate on him first-up.

BACK – Spectroscope – Bet to WIN (stake 0.6% of your bank)

3:22pm Eagle Farm Race 7 1800m 3YO F Gp2 SW

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 (Friday morning) and the rail is out 5m from the 1500m to the winning post and 4m the remainder.

History and last week’s meeting suggest that jockeys may get away from the fence in the home straight, but it shouldn’t have a major impact on chances. There’s plenty of space across the Eagle Farm straight to find a run in the right ground if good enough.

The caveat to that is varying reports about the extent of possible showers on Saturday. If showers to come and we get more than 1-2mm, then the track will start to chop up and riders will likely get wider in the straight as the meeting goes on, best suiting run-on horses.

Speed & Tactics

(** in the above map indicates that a horse has a recent rating up to the minimum winning standard of the race – a positive factor.)

The presence of Money Magic (12) drawn wide and almost certain to go forward looks the key factor that should ensure respectable early speed in this race. It also wouldn’t surprise to see some early moves (between the 800m and 600m) that injects pressure a little earlier than normal.

Riders closer to the lead will know they need to get off the fence rounding the turn, so they don’t want to sit too quiet for too long or they get trapped on the inside and those from off the pace will also be looking to build early momentum so they can find that ground as soon as possible.

Early Pace Rating: Average

Late Pace Rating: Average

Best Suited: Lead to 5L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form a rating of at least 95 at the weights carried will be needed to win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

2 Vanna Girl. Rated 96-98. $2.20

Her 97 rating last start win in the at Doomben over 1600m in the Pam O’Neil Stakes is the mark to beat here and she did it from a long way back in the field with outstanding, dominant sectionals. She ran the best rating last 800,600,400 and 200m of the entire meeting.

Both of her last two wins at a mile have given me the impression that she’ll be even better over further, so the step to 1800m looks very much in her favour. She’ll get a long way back again, but the quality of her acceleration and most importantly a likely suitable track pattern says that making up the ground is well within her capability.

She only needs to run close to her last start 97 to probably win this race and there’s a good chance she can run even better than that stepping up to 1800m. A horse with the best recent form & figures and a setup that has good potential to bring a new peak has been a very profitable betting profile over the years and Vanna Girl fits firmly into that group.

4 Celestial Falls. Rated 94.5-96. $5.50

She’s come back well this preparation running a near peak first up over 1400m and then a clear new peak 96 rating 2nd up when beaten 0.5 lengths by Vanna Girl. She showed as a 3YO that 1800m is no problem and she will get an ideal run on the map.

Interestingly, the blinkers come off, which appears to be the first time she will race without them. It looks a move to help her relax more and be strong at the 1800m, but that unknown must also carry some small risk that she won’t be as effective without them.

There’s also perhaps a slight query is whether she can find the A1 ground in the straight, especially if showers arrive and they’re getting out very wide. They’re minor points which must be factored into her price for me, but there’s no doubt that on talent she’s a genuine winning chance and threat to Vanna Girl.

9 Sky Horse. Rated 91.5-94. $10.00

A Melbourne filly for Maher & Eustace, she brings a different form line after finishing 3.6L 4th to Supergiant at this T&D in the Gunsynd Classic last start. She ran 91.6 in that race with the fast pace giving her every chance to do better in my opinion. She is however much better drawn to settle closer here which will help her conserver energy for the business end and she did run a 94 at her prior start in Melbourne over 1600m on Heavy.

Somewhere in the range of her last two runs looks a realistic forecast and as a lightly raced filly there’s also some potential for a new peak. It wouldn’t surprise me if she ran very well in this race, but at $5.50 in the betting market she’s far too short for me.

8 California Salto. Rated 92-94. $15.00

Beaten 2.3 lengths behind Vanna Girl last start with a 93 rating and did enough over the final 200m to suggest she’ll appreciate the 1800m trip. Like many in this race though, Vanna Girl game from behind her with a clearly superior turn of foot. Still, with the potential to hold or even slightly improve on the last start 93 rating, she’s certainly not hopeless.

10 Shuhood. Rated 91.5-93.5. $19.00

Ran a new peak of 93.6 last start when 2L 4th to Vanna Girl. It’s hard to forecast her running better than that up to 1800m here and there’s some chance she’ll regress.

11 Al Jood. Rated 89-93. $23.00

Ran a big new peak 95.6 last start off a 49 day break when beaten just 0.8 lengths by Vanna Girl last start. Her next best form is around the 91 level so there’s always uncertainty weighing up whether that run was simply a spike she’ll regress off, or a new level of form she might be able to hold.

Given she was $51 last start, has had 6 runs this preparation and every other run she’s had isn’t good enough for this race, I tend to think she’s more likely to regress.

5 Cellarmaid. Rated 89-92.5. $31.00

An equal career peak 92.6 last start over this trip at the Gold Coast is not far off, but she was ideally suited and even flattered a little by the very fast pace in that race. She’s likely to be in a similar rear position here with a less suitable pace. Under that scenario it’s hard to forecast her running any better than last start and there’s some chance she’ll regress slightly.

7 Money Magic. Rated 88-91.5. $31.00

Got an easy time up on the lead last start and ran okay for second with a 91.4 rating. She’ll have to do a little more work early here and the early speed will almost certainly be more genuine. She’s still lightly raced with potential upside, but I can’t see her improving enough to get to the 95+ standard.

1 Florent. Rated 88-91.5. $41.00

Up from Melbourne. The 1800m looks suitable and she’s racing well, but her 91 peaks are well below the standard needed here. It’s rare for a horse to improve the extent she’ll need to in order to win.

6 Dee Day Diva. Rated 88-90. $81.00

Settled back in the race won by Vanna Girl last start and while she made ground over the final 200m, she didn’t have the turn of foot to do much before that. She seems to have peaked in the 89-90 rating range and is well exposed this preparation with 8 previous runs, so it’s hard to see any improvement.

13 Adelase. Rated 87-90. $101.00

Ran to a clear new peak of 90.5 last start, but that’s still a few lengths short. It’s extremely rare to see a horse take another big jump.

14 Miss Penfold. Rated 87-89. $101.00

Started $51 behind Vanna Girl and failed to make any impression in the straight.

12 Soul Purpose. Rated 81-85. $1001.00

Six runs into her first prep with a peak of 82.9 from NSW provincial form. She’s massively outclassed here.

3 Miss Cavallo. Rated 78-84. $1501.00

Her best is in the 89-90 range, which is nowhere near good enough and they have been over 1000m-1200m. She’s yet to break an 80 rating in two runs at 1800m and 1850m. She looks massively outclassed.

15 Hallowed Girl. Rated 80-84. $1501.00

She’s massively outclassed here.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Vanna Girl – Bet to WIN (stake 2.2% of your bank)

3:35 Eagle Farm Race 8 1400m Gp1 HCP

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 (Friday morning) and the rail is out 3m. With fine weather and a top of 23c forecast, we should be racing on genuine Good ground.

Back on 15/2 the rail was in the normal position and raced evenly, which led into 22/2 with the rail out 3m, which also raced evenly.

However, after a two-month break, we returned to Eagle Farm on 23/5 with the rail in the true position and we saw the inside was a disadvantage, especially as the meeting went on.

That raises a query we might also see the inside a disadvantage on Saturday, with horses 6+ off the fence in the straight best suited, particularly in the second half of the meeting.

Speed & Tactics

Note: To provide a clearer picture of the likely map scenario, emergency runners have been taken out. If Baccarat Baby (1st em) gets a run, she will race somewhere just off the lead from barrier 3. The 3rd emergency Bandipur will race handy from barrier 7 in the unlikely event that he gets a run. That would make it a little more difficult for the mid-wide drawn runners looking to press forward.

(** in the above map indicates that a horse has a recent rating up to the minimum winning standard of the race – a positive factor.)

There isn’t a huge amount of natural early speed, but with a big field and the strong possibility that at least a couple of the middle to wider drawn horses in the map above will press forward, the pace should still end up faster than average.

Early Pace Rating: Above Average

Late Pace Rating: Average

Best Suited: 1.5L to 6L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form a rating of at least 104.5 at the weights carried will be needed to win The Stradbroke.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

16 Dawn Passage. Rated 103.5-106. $5.50

He brings a strong rating profile with recent runs of 104.8, 104.3 and 107.3 in his last three. That peak 107 came over 1400m in a strongly run race on good ground, which’s he’s likely to get here. Last start he did some early work in a genuinely run 1350m and ran to 104.8. It might be a similar case here as well. What tactics will be adopted from that draw on this map?

With the light weight, I have to think they’re more likely to try and press forward with him. That carries some risk of a tough run which destroys his chances, but equally if he finds a nice position just off the lead then he’s going to be advantaged over some of his dangers. It places pressure right on the shoulders on young jockey James Innes Jnr. The consistency and strength of that rating profile is hard to ignore, so Dawn Passage is certainly the one to beat, but at $4.80 in the market there’s no betting appeal.

1 Trekking. Rated 103-105.5. $7.00

Won this race last year with a 104.3. A 105.8 last start from his Goodwood win is an excellent lead up, although he will be much further back in the run this time. Even taking that into account, his sustained sectional speed and a track pattern that should suit his style makes it easy to see him running very well. A forecast performance range of 103 to 105.5 with no real queries makes him a leading chance. I couldn’t mark him any longer than $7 in this race and could have gone to $6.50, so anything $8+ is a decent value bet.

8 Vega One. Rated 102-105. $11.00

Hist last start at Eagle Farm over 1200m was a total forgive (wide NC) and prior to that he ran 100.6 over 1200m at Doomben when unsuited by the speed, with outstanding sectionals. I think he’s crying out for 1400m which he gets here and he does have two ratings at the trip of 105.6 and 104.2 which were run last preparation.

Add to that an older career spike of 108 (over 1350m) and there’s no doubt that with 52kg he has the talent to win this race. The draw and map are a challenge, but I expect him to improve significantly on his recent form and it wouldn’t surprise me if he won.

17 Hightail. Rated 102.5-104.5. $11.00

He comes into this race 3rd up off a new peak 103.8 last start when he won the Gold Coast Guineas and a soft draw to get a nice run a few lengths off the lead. He needs to run another new peak to win, but he has the right timing in his preparation and map set up to do it.

5 Victorem. Rated 102.5-105. $12.00

He was back to his best last start over 1200m at Eagle Farm with an impressive win that returned a competitive 103.7 rating. That’s about as good as he goes, but the way he finished off that race and the prospect of an ideal run around midfield in this race does give some prospect that he could run a slightly better figure.

9 Chief Ironside. Rated 102-104. $17.00

He’s been an inconsistent type in five Australian runs so far but ran a solid 102.3 in the Scone Cup (1600m) last start after racing up on the lead and does have a big spike 106 over 1600m at Moonee Valley last Spring. Notably, he gets the blinkers on for the first time dropping back to 1400m here and that combined with the map suggests he will race forward.

What he has shown in his two peak runs is that he can handle pressure and a high cruising speed, which will be needed in this race. It’s not unreasonable to think he improves on this last start 102.3, which puts him right in the zone to run a very competitive race. He’s far from hopeless.

7 Crack Me Up. Rated 102.5-104.5. $18.00

I thought his first-up run for new trainer Bjorn Baker was excellent, getting a mile back and running home in excellent sectionals to suggest he’s come back very well. A 102.9 from that run is a nice platform to improve off and his two peaks over the past two years of 103.7 say he can improve. He’s probably not quite good enough, but he is flying and does have old form of 104-106, so he can’t be totally discounted. He’s a longshot that could run very well.

18 Exhilarates. Rated 101-103.5. $19.00

She’s racing in good form, but has a ratings ceiling at this stage in the 102-103 range which won’t be good enough. She has a similar set up to Hightail which could see her run a new peak, but off a last start 102 it will need to be a notable improvement if she’s to win.

10 Graff. Rated 99-104. $19.00

Ran 102.2 first up to say he’s come back well and was then disappointing last start over 1300m with a 97.4. Last Spring, he ran ratings of 106, 105 and 103.5 so the talent is there to win, which has to be respected. Blinkers and tongue tie off here looks like a total reset for the horse, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he improved. He’s not the worst.

2 Kementari. Rated 101.5-104. $26.00

He’s been racing okay after returning from failed stallion duties, running on late over 1200m without threatening to win. I do like that he is stepping up to 1400m here, a trip which looks more suitable. That could certainly help him improve on his recent form around the 101 level to something in the 103 to 104 range. It’s likely not quite good enough to win, but two years ago he was running 107’s so he can’t be totally ruled out.

3 Niccanova. Rated 101-103.8. $26.00

Ran 100.3 first-up over 1200m at Eagle Farm when wide with no cover, which looks to set up him well to progress towards his peaks of 103.8. They’ve come at 1400m and 1350m, so this distance is certainly his sweet spot. The draw looks a challenge but the map suggests it’s possible he works across to find a decent position without too much early work. He needs a new peak to win, but certainly isn’t the worst.

11 Deep Image. Rated 101-103. $31.00

Two runs this prep of 102.6 and 100 with peaks of 104.4 and 104.1 put him in a bunch with a range of others that could run well, but probably aren’t quite good enough to win.

14 Outback Barbie. Rated 100-103. $34.00

Two runs this prep of 100.8 and 98.9 show she needs to make good improvement to be competitive. 12 months ago she was running 103.5 and 104 ratings so it’s not impossible for her to be very competitive, but her overall profile says she’s a longshot.

20 Brave Song (Emergency 2). Rated 100-103. $34.00

He has three peak ratings in the 104.5 to 106 range that say he’s capable of measuring up on his day. His best in three runs this prep though is 100.7, so those peaks seem unlikely. Still, unlike many others, he’s at least proven he can get to the required level.

6 Tyzone. Rated 98-102. $51.00

Second in this race last year and will carry 0.5kg less this time, giving him a very competitive 104.4 rating from that run. However, his next best figures are in the 102.5-103 range and in three runs this prep he’s run a best of 100. With a tough draw to also contend with, he’s a longshot.

13 Madam Rouge. Rated 100-102.5. $51.00

Freshened with a 35-day break for this, her form this prep reads poor, but they’ve all been on wet tracks. Her 8 best ratings are all on Good ground, which she gets here. The last time she ran on Good ground she ran 104.3 and 102.8 in Dec 19 / Jan 20 over 1200m. On the negative side, her 1400m figures aren’t up to that level, which must be a query.

15 Bam’s On Fire. Rated 101-103. $51.00

She’s a super consistent mare, but looks to have a ceiling in the 102 to 103 range, which won’t be good enough to win this. Barrier 1 may also be far from ideal by this stage of the day.

22 Military Zone (Emergency 4). Rated 100-102.5. $51.00

He’s consistent enough, but looks a touch outclassed with a 104.5+ mark needed.

19 Baccarat Baby (Emergency 1). Rated 99-101. $67.00

Recent form around the 100.5 level isn’t good enough. She has a couple of 103.5 ratings in her past, but even that’s still going to be short.

21 Bandipur (Emergency 3). Rated 98-102. $81.00

With 51kg he’s not the worst on his best ratings, but his recent form isn’t up to it and 1400m is a real stretch.

4 Ranier. Rated 98-101.5. $101.00

He’s racing in career best form with two peaks this preparation, but at 101.3 and 101.4 they’re well short of what’s needed to win this race. Add to that the fact he’ll be a mile back in the run and it’s impossible to see him as anything but a big longshot.

12 Winter Bride. Rated 97-99. $201.00

We have to go back to Winter last year to find a run where she broke the 100-barrier. Five runs since then have been around the 98.5 mark with a 99.4 best. I can’t make a case for her, especially as 1400m seems a touch too far.

23 Delectation Girl (Emergency 5). Rated 95-100. $301.00

Looks outclassed.


Betting Strategy

This is a very tough race to bet in and one I’d normally steer clear of. However, there are a few longshots that seem great value and we can get away with spending less than 1% of the bank for a nett dividend between $6.50 and $10 in one of them win (based on current prices.)

BACK – Vega One – Bet to WIN (stake 0.35% of your bank)

BACK – Chief Ironside – Bet to WIN (stake 0.25% of your bank)

BACK – Crack Me Up – Bet to WIN (stake 0.25% of your bank)

3:45 Rosehill Race 6 1400m 3YO Gp3 SWP

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 (Friday morning) and the rail is in the true position.

With fine sunny weather for the remainder of Friday (29c) and Saturday (27c) we should be racing on a Good 3 surface for most of the meeting.

The pattern of similar meetings in the past is mixed, but with a run of good weather heading into the meeting the most likely seems to be that we’ll see a relatively even track, but monitor early races.

Speed & Tactics

(** in the above map indicates that a horse has a recent rating up to the minimum winning standard of the race – a positive factor.)

Bandersnatch (2) is first-up, a consistent leader and likes to run along at a well above average speed. With plenty of others also pressing forward in the early stages, it seems highly likely we’ll end up with a solid pace and slower sectionals home.

Early Pace Rating: Solid

Late Pace Rating: Moderate

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form and the prospect for new peaks, a rating of at least 97 at the weights carried will be needed to challenge for the win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

14 Icebath. Rated 95-98. $6.00

She was heavily backed in the lead-up won by Indy Car and had no luck at all. After losing momentum mid-stages, she was then stopped in her tracks at the 250m mark, had to get clear and pick up again, finishing strongly to be beaten 1.5 lengths.

The winner Indy Car had an ideal run suited by a strong speed and with full momentum around the outside. Making some allowance for that and a 2.5kg swing in the weight, Icebath’s run looks to have merit in the 97-98 range, which is right up to winning this. Given that was her last start and she appears to be well suited by another solid speed, I have to put her on top.

4 Bandersnatch. Rated 95-98. $6.50

He’s first up here off two trials, which for me were better than his trials prior to last prep. First-up last time he led at a strong speed and won impressively with a 98.5 rating (1300m) which is very hard to beat here.

He also ran a 97.5 over 1500m on wet ground a few runs later, so the prospect of 1400m here is no problem at all. From a noted first-up stable and the proven ability to run along at a strong speed and rate to the required level, he looks right in it with a genuine chance.

1 Dawn Passage. Rated 95-98.5. $7.00

He’s the potential big improver in this race. I think he needs a dry track to show his best, so I’m more than happy to overlook last start in the Arrowfield on Heavy 8. His first-up run over 1200m on Soft 6 was excellent, showing that he has come back well this preparation.

The last time he ran over 1400m on dry ground was in the Group 1 Golden Rose, where he returned a 98.5 rating, which would almost certainly put him in the finish of this race. While is run style presents betting risk, I think the set up of this presents the ideal scenario to return to something like his best. Can win!

7 Rule The World. Rated 95-97.5. $9.50

He’s first-up here off a 161-day break and notably, he’s had three trials, for a Waterhouse & Bott camp that are dynamic first-up, so I expect him to be ready to go. First-up last time he won a fast run 1400m with a 97 rating, which is very competitive in this race. After just four career starts and with what looks a nice map, there’s also some chance that he resumes here with a new peak. He’s the best longshot in the race.

2 Indy Car. Rated 95-97. $10.00

He’s the risk in this race for me, especially at $5.00 in the market. His 1400m win last start (over the unlucky Icebath) was sound, but nothing special. He was ideally suited by a fast speed and was able to build momentum around the outside at the perfect time.

With the weight increase for today, that win produced a 95.6 rating for this race, which almost certainly will not be good enough to win. He needs to find a new peak of 97+ where a number of the others have already proven they can run to that level. It’s not impossible that he can improve again, but taking $5.00 about such horses is a losing bet in the long-term.

6 Spend. Rated 93-97. $12.00

He’s racing in solid form with a last start 97.2 at Bendigo and four-week freshen since. On raw figures he’s a very competitive chance. However, so far, I feel like he’s enjoyed races run at just an average or slower speed and that 1400m is right up his upper limit.

Last start at Bendigo he was found wanting over the final 50m when the early pace wasn’t strong at all. That poses a slight for me in what looks a more strongly run 1400m… I fancy that others will be stronger than him late.

3 Eleven Eleven. Rated 92-97. $16.00

He wasn’t too bad first-up with a 93.7 after getting back from a wide draw. His best figures of 100 and 97.8 came over 1400m on dry ground, so there’s no doubt he has the talent to win this race. The map looks very tough for him here though and we’ve yet to see evidence that he has returned to his best figures this preparation.

13 St Covets Spirit. Rated 94-96.5. $16.00

She ran a solid 96.4 behind Rubisaki last start and does have a 98.2 peak in her history, so the talent is there to be very competitive. This map looks much tougher for her than last start though, so I question if she can improve off that to something in the 97+ range.

12 Mirra Vision. Rated 93-96. $21.00

Last start was a total forgive and prior to that she has 94-95 form with signs that she could improve stepping up to 1400m. For those reasons she’s certainly not hopeless here, but still has to rate a longshot.

5 Groundswell. Rated 92.5-95. $26.00

I think 1400m suits him better than the 1200m of last start, but he doesn’t look to be the same horse we saw last Spring.

10 Battleground. Rated 91-94. $26.00

Comes off a 4.3L win at the Provincials last start with a 92.3 rating, which is well below the required standard here. He did run 96.4 in a Listed race at Gosford last prep so he can improve, but it’s a stretch to think he can run 97+ here.

8 Chat. Rated 92-94. $67.00

He’s a 92-94 type horse and looks outclassed in a race where there’s quite a bit of depth around the 97 level.

9 Mos Crown. Rated 89-92.5. $201.00

His best so far is 92.5 and he finds a tougher map that recent runs. He looks outclassed.


Betting Strategy

This is a very tough race to bet in with plenty of potential winners. If you want to be, I’m looking to speculate on the two on-pace first-up runners that appeal as decent value, but play small.

BACK – Bandersnatch – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

BACK – Rule The World – Bet to WIN (stake 0.3% of your bank)

2:20 Randwick Race 5 1600m 2YO Gp1 SW

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 5 (Friday morning) with the rail out 7m.

With fine sunny weather for the remainder of Friday (26c) and Saturday (23c) we should be racing on a Good 4 surface for the meeting.

The pattern of similar meetings in the past is a little mixed, but the most likely seems to be that we’ll see a relatively even track, with some chance that on pace / handy runners closer to the inside will have some advantage.

Speed & Tactics

(** in the above map indicates that a horse has a recent rating up to the minimum winning standard of the race – a positive factor.)

The structure of the map makes it difficult to see too much early speed.

Fayerra and Holyfield will show out early, but neither are likely to be intent to roll along at any great speed at all. Glenfiddich should press forward, but with a long straight run before they get to a turn, he has plenty of time to find a position without adding too much to the pace and pressure. There’s really nothing else in this race that looks like it could generate early pace here.

I think at best we’ll see a below average pace and potentially slower than that, especially through the middle stages.

The interesting angle to this race is that the pace scenario is much different to solid early pace scenarios we saw in the two main leads up races, the G1 Sires Produce and Fernhill Hcp last week. That may end up crucial.

Early Pace Rating: Below Average

Late Pace Rating: Above Average

Best Suited: Lead to 3L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on the exposed form and the prospect for new peaks, a rating of at least 89 at the weights carried will be needed to challenge for the win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

1 Kings Legacy. Rated 89-92. $2.60

His 90.5 lead up rating in the G1 Sires is clearly the best in the field, coming out of the race that has produced 12 of the last 15 Champagne Stakes winners. He did start 20/1 in the Sires, but I don’t read too much into that.

He went around first-up in the Golden Slipper and naturally battled, which was to be expected. They key for me is that he’s always appealed as a horse that was looking for distance and he had a base to run to the level he did in the Sires. Late December 2019 he ran an 89 rating when he won a G3 at Eagle Farm, with clear signs that he would appreciate further.

Strong ratings at big SP’s can be an indication of a spike / fluke run that is unlikely to be repeated, but I don’t think that applies to Kings Legacy at all. While it may have been hard to predict he would win the G1 Sires, it was no surprise or fluke that he was able to run a 90.5 over 1400m, his QLD form suggested he could do that.

What I also liked about his Sires win is that he showed a turn of foot and late strength, which makes the step to 1600m look suitable. The only question mark is the pace in this race won’t be as strong as we saw in the Sires, but at the same time he was 8 lengths back in that race and should settle much closer here, no more than 4 lengths off the lead. He’s clearly the horse to beat.

4 Holyfield. Rated 87-90. $6.50

His G3 win over 1400m at Rosehill returned an 87.2 rating, which is a length below the minimum 89 standard needed, but there was plenty of extra merit. He had plenty of pressure up on the lead, but I liked the way he was still then able to kick strongly in the straight to establish a clear margin over the chasers and then hold off Untamed late (who subsequently won the Fernhill.)

That’s an appealing run coming into a race where the pace up on the lead should be more suitable. If he can show that same kick as they top the rise here, he will certainly give Kings Legacy and the others behind him a big challenge to chase down.

The Maher stable has a terrific record in Sydney as does jockey Tom Marquand who has been a standout performer over recent months. There’s a bit to like about Holyfield, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was well backed.

6 Ole Kirk. Rated 87-90. $7.00

He’s a progressive Colt that ran well enough in the G1 Sires with an 87 rating and there is obviously some potential there to improve. That gives him a genuine chance, but he looks far too well found at $4.00 in the market.

Kings Legacy came from behind him in the run in the Sires with a much better last 800m, 600m and clearly better last 400m and 200m split. Ole Kirk was 1.6 lengths behind Kings Legacy at the 200m mark and finished beaten 1.9 lengths. While he could improve up to 1600m, the Sires doesn’t exactly tell me that he’s crying out for the trip.

It’s likely the SP difference between the two in the Sires ($21 vs $6) that has them priced the way they are in the market, but as mentioned above, the last start SP for Kings Legacy doesn’t have the same meaning for me as would normally be the case. Off their performances in the Sires I must have a bigger gap between Kings Legacy and Ole Kirk, so while I do respect that he can win the race, I have to risk him.

3 Aim. Rated 85-90. $8.50

He’s a hard horse to assess for this race. At his second start last December he bolted in by 4 lengths at Randwick with a 91 rating and signs that he would appreciate further than 1200m. That gave him good prospects to measure up to Group 1 company when we got to these races.

In his runs since though he’s never come close to that 91 rating. It is possible though to make a long line of excuses; He was caught in the inside, significant worst going in the Magic Millions, where he did start $4.50 favourite.

He was very unlucky when held up and beaten 2.1 lengths behind Mamaragan over 1200m and should have worst been fighting out the finish, which suggests rating merit around 88.5… very competitive in this race. Mamaragan subsequently ran 3rd in the Golden Slipper and an unluck 3rd in the G1 Sires, so the form certainly stacks up. Aim then encountered two wet tracks, which didn’t seem to his liking at all.

An optimistic view is that back to a dry track here and up over 1600m he could be a massive improver. He has shown merit in the 88.5 to 91 range over 1200m so there’s absolutely no doubt he has the talent to win this race.

Balancing that is that there’s a reasonable degree of speculation in saying the last two wet tracks didn’t suit him (he may just be going poorly now) and he is now having his 7th start in what is effectively his first campaign, with just a 49 day break let up before the run behind Mamaragan. It’s impossible to back Aim with any confidence at all, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if he finds his best, he’ll be fighting out the finish of this race.

5 Untamed. Rated 87-89. $8.50

Fernhill winners don’t have a great record in this race, but I suspect that’s largely because the competing G1 Sires form line is normally at least close to genuine Group 1 class and much stronger than the Listed Fernhill. That’s not so much the case in 2020, with Untamed’s 87 rating last Saturday less than two lengths behind Kings Legacy’s G1 Sires win.

It was a similar scenario in 2016, where the runners out of the G1 Sires into this race didn’t have genuine Group 1 quality and we saw Prized Icon come out of the Fernhill to win. Untamed showed last week that he’s a strong 1600m horse and the benefit of that run at the trip with a quick back up into this race has some appeal.

Whether he has the turn of foot though in a race that will be run at a softer speed than last week is some query. Still, he brings a competitive last start performance, maps well and still looks on the up this preparation. He deserves plenty of respect at good odds.

9 Fayerra. Rated 84-87. $23.00

She was only 0.3 lengths behind Untamed last week in the Fernhill. After being under pressure on the turn, she battled it out well all the way up the straight.

Her 85.5 rating is well short of what’s needed here and she is well exposed this preparation, but that experience at the distance, a quick back up and a softer pace up near the lead is a scenario that says she’s far from the worst.

2 Glenfiddich. Rated 84-87. $31.00

He showed really good strength in his 86 rating two starts ago over 1500m at Mornington, giving the indication that he could certainly get further. He failed back to 1400m in the G1 Sires, but that was also the first time he saw any type of wet track and he may not have appreciated the Heavy at all. It’s hard to see him winning, but back to dry here and up to 1600m it wouldn’t surprise me if he improved sharply.

7 Not an Option. Rated 83-87. $41.00

Ran on over 1100m first up on wet and while he is looking for further, I’m not sure going straight to 1600m second up is the type of platform that can see him improve the 4 lengths he needs to figure in the finish of this race.

8 Philizzy. Rated 80-85. $251.00

Totally outclassed on what we’ve seen so far.

10 Mandalong Beyond. Rated 87-90. $5001.00

My price might still be unders. Incredibly outclassed.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Kings Legacy – Bet to WIN (stake 1.4% of your bank)

BACK – Holyfield – Bet to WIN (stake 0.6% of your bank)

2:30 Randwick Race 6 2400m 3YO+  Gp1 SW

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 6 (Thursday morning) with further showers forecast overnight and into Friday. Saturday should be relatively clear, but cloudy with a top of 25 degrees.

I expect we’ll be racing on a Soft 7.

With the rail out 4m, there’s a solid history to suggest the track should race evenly enough, with jockeys spreading wide across the home straight. That will hopefully mean luck in running isn’t a major factor on the day.

Caveat: There is a westerly wind forecast so that’s worth keeping an eye on. If it kicks up to greater than 30km/h, we could see runners looking to peel wide on the home turn and run on down the outside become disadvantaged compared to those closer to the inside.

Speed & Tactics

Dorothy Of Oz (1) and Shout The Bar (10) look to show out early on and shouldn’t have too much trouble pairing off in front.

Dorothy Of Oz went very fast in front last week in the Adrian Knox after crossing from a wide draw, but an inside draw here with the blinkers off presents a scenario where she can be much more controlled early.

Aspect Ratio (13) has the blinkers on for the first time, so she’s one that could potentially press forward and put a little more pace into the early stages.

Tactics on Probabeel will be interesting. It’s not impossible to think that she presses forward, but on balance, given she’s up to 2400m I expect a conservative ride to give her every opportunity to finish off strongly.

The inside drawn runners look content to find a position behind the lead, so I don’t expect any of them will add any pressure in the early stages.

Even if there is some bustle to the turn out of the home straight, this looks a race where the tempo could slacken in the middle stages to at least a below average level, if not a little slower.

That would place it somewhere between the pace extremes of the two main lead up races; the Vinery Study Stakes which was run at a terribly slow pace and the Adrian Knox Stakes, which was run at a very fast pace.

Early Pace Rating: Below Average

Late Pace Rating: Above Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form and the prospect for new peaks, a rating of at least 97.5 at the weights carried will be needed to challenge for the win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

2 Shout the Bar. Rated 96-98.5. $3.90

She controlled the Vinery Study Stakes at a very slow speed, but what I loved about her win was that approaching the turn she was under more pressure than just about any other runner, she was then under siege inside the 400m and also with about 100m to go, but kept finding to win comfortably in the end.

They’re the type of traits we typically see from horses that are suited by a step up in distance, so there’s no reason at all to be concerned about her going up to 2400m in this race. Her 98.5 rating from the Vinery is the best lead figure in this race and she’ll be right up near the lead again, making her own luck. In a very competitive race, she’s the one with the profile that is most likely to be underestimated by the market.

4 Colette. Rated 97-98.5. $4.00

She’s the rapid improver in the field and couldn’t have been more impressive in her Adrian Knox Stakes win last week. She relished the fast pace and showed terrific staying talent, so the step to 2400m is if anything in her favour.

Her 97.5 rating is naturally among the top few in the race and there’s every chance that she could stretch to another new peak in this. The uncertainty from my perspective is if this race is run at a below average speed or slower and requires a much faster sprint home, will she be as dynamic?

If it’s a tough staying test over 2400m then she’s well and truly advantaged, but a more even or moderately run race is a much different challenge. Either way she’s a leading chance and impossible to knock, but I think she’s a little too well found at $3.00 in the market.

1 Probabeel. Rated 96.5-98. $5.00

There’s no doubt that on class and her overall performance ratings she’s right up to winning this race. The unknown is stepping to 2400m and the fact that if ridden conservatively, she’ll be giving the other chances a good headstart and may have to make a long run.

She was only 2.6 lengths off Shout The Bar at the 800m in the G1 Vinery and couldn’t run her down. In this race she’ll possibly be giving way 5 lengths or more head start. That’s just a small knock that I’ve had to factor into my price, but there’s no doubt she’s still a leading chance and capable of winning.

3 Nudge. Rated 95.5-97.5. $7.50

She ranged up to beat Shout The Bar in the G1 Vinery, but couldn’t go on with it over the final 100m and was beaten 1.3 lengths. She was only 3rd up there and did peak deep into her preparation during the Spring, so there’s every chance she’ll be much fitter for this.

It’s not unrealistic to think she could improve on her 96.6 rating and put herself somewhere in the finish here. An ideal run on the map gives her every chance.

9 Quintessa. Rated 90-94. $21.00

There was plenty to like about her Adrian Knox run last week. She was only 3rd up, raced close to the hot speed and still showed a nice turn of foot in the straight to kick clear, before being claimed about 75m from the finish, weakening to be beaten 3.6 lengths.

She’ll be fitter for that run and looks to get a much more favourable pace here, from an ideal position on the map. That’s a nice set up for her to improve significantly in this race. She’s the best longshot in my book.

7 Toffee Tongue. Rated 91-94.5. $21.00

She was a strong late closer in the Adrian Knox last Saturday, but still beaten 2.8 lengths by Colette. She’s not hopeless, but I’m generally not a fan of horses that appear to be flashing home late when the early pace has been hot. She’s still a relative longshot for me.

8 Dorothy of Oz. Rated 87-91. $34.00

Went way too hard in the Adrian Knox last week and dropped out. The blinkers are off here and she has a kinder inside draw to find the front without needing to be revved up so much. With one of the best front-running riders in the country on top (T Clark) it wouldn’t shock me if she improved sharply.

5 Game of Thorns. Rated 89-92. $41.00

She had her chance behind Shout The Bar in the Vinery. He best form sits around the 91 level, so it’s hard to imagine her suddenly elevating to 97.5 or better.

12 Stick em Up. Rated 86-90. $151.00

Beaten 5 lengths behind Colette last start at big odds, when the pace gave her every chance to do better. The pace here isn’t as suitable.

6 Contrition. Rated 87-90. $201.00

Unsuited by the slow pace in the Vinery, but still started 100/1 and will get a long way back here again. Outclassed.

10 Aspect Ratio. Rated 85-89. $301.00

Beaten almost eight lengths by Shout The Bar last start at 100/1. Outclassed.

11 Strange Charm. Rated 84-88. $401.00

Beaten over eight lengths by Shout The Bar last start at 200/1. Outclassed.

13 Satin Rain. Rated 84-87. $501.00

Beaten over six lengths by Colette last start at 200/1. Outclassed.

14 Cosmic Haze. Rated 84-87. $501.00

Beaten over seven lengths by Colette last start at 200/1. Outclassed.


Betting Strategy

This is certainly a low confidence race. I suspect the eventual pace will play a key role. If stronger than expected it will advantage Colette, while a slower pace advantages Shout The Bar, Probabeel and potentially some other longshots.

If you’re interested in betting, then Shout The Bar is the one with the profile that is most likely to be underestimated by the market and that looks the case on current prices.

BACK – Shout the Bar – Bet to WIN (stake 1% of your bank)

Betfair’s new Jockey Challenge markets should provide value as markets gather momentum. I have no suggested bets but here are my thoughts for the day.

James McDonald is always hard to beat and will be again on Saturday as he rides four favourites along with some others that aren’t hopeless. However all of his favourites have slight queries which in my opinion make him far from a certainty to win the jockey’s challenge.

Cosmic Force and Savatiano rated below their best last start, Funstar has a tricky map and Danon Premium, while bringing the aura of a top class Japanese galloper, will have to contend with some genuine opposition on a wet track, which by all reports may not be ideal.

I suspect he’ll be well fancied and rightfully so, but with a few queries there I struggle to see how he’ll represent value, so I have to look around him.

Tom Marquand has been the big overachiever against market expectations in the Sydney jockey ranks this calendar year with a +42% POT if you had backed all of his rides, which is quite remarkable over more than 120 races.

What that means is he often surprises by riding winners (and also placegetters) beyond our expectations. When I consider that along with the fact that he brings a strong book of rides to this meeting including Young Rascal, Addeybb and Animate, there’s plenty to like about his prospects as a Jockey Challenge winner.

Looking wider, I’m interested in how the market shapes up around Tim Clark. He’s one that can potentially get off to a great early start with strong rides Postcode and Yao Dash in the first two races and then he has a number of others across the day that can run well.

The other aspect that appeals about his book is that he has a stack of rides that look to map nicely up near the lead and he is one of the best on-pace jockeys in Australia. That gives him nice prospects to not only ride winners, but also placegetters that can add to his tally.

5:15 Randwick Race 9 1600m 3YO+  Gp1 HCP

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 6 (Friday morning) with a 90% chance of rain and possibly a thunderstorm late in the afternoon / early evening. Somewhere between 10mm and 25mm of rain is forecast, which at best will see the track a Soft 7 and potentially in the heavy range.

The last meeting at Randwick with a true rail was 29/2 on Good 4 ground. It was an advantage to be off the fence around the home turn and in the straight that day. This meeting last year was on Soft 7 ground, off a similar one-month break from racing. That was also a day where off the fence was a clear advantage.

There’s every reason to think we’ll see another meeting here where runners able to get off the fence (3+) around the home turn and out to lanes 5+ in the straight will be advantaged.

Speed & Tactics

Quackerjack (1) should be intent on holding the lead, but will have to cope with plenty of pressure from middle to wide drawn runners that decide to work forward, which in a large field like this typically results in a strong early speed.

Those back off the pace will get the right scenario to make ground, but in such a large field it’s still a big challenge to give away more than 5-6 lengths head start and win.

Early Pace Rating: Solid

Late Pace Rating: Below Average

Best Suited: 2L to 6L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form and the prospect for new peaks, a rating of at least 103 at the weights carried will be needed to challenge for the win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

17 Shared Ambition. Rated 102-105. $8.50

He’s the x-factor in this race. He’s a lightly raced, very promising type that ran 103.7 over 2000m LS in a slowly run race that developed into a fast sprint home. He’s been freshened up with a 28 day break and trial in between and although back to 1600m, the anticipated strong speed on wet ground will see horses with 2000m stamina well suited.

It’s also worth noting that Chris Waller has used this 2000m back to 1600m with great effect for G1 Randwick mile races. He’s had 7 horses run in the Doncaster up to $21 SP off a last start 2000m run for two winners and a second pacing. He’s tried it twice in the G1 Epsom (Spring) for one winner. That set up for Shared Ambition with a 103.7 last start rating that is potentially good enough to win and a profile that says he still has upside makes him likable, all be it in a very open race.

9 Yulong Prince. Rated 101-104.5. $9.00

He ran 102 LS over 1500m with clear signs that he’ll appreciate a step up to 1600m, especially one that is run at a strong speed. He comes to this race 3rd up and ready to peak, prepared by a trainer (Waller) that has an outstanding record in this race.

It’s more than reasonable to forecast him improving on his last start 102 to run 103+ in this race, which suggests he can certainly win. He’s a great value longshot.

20 Prince Fawaz. Rated 99-105. $10.00

Prince Fawaz returned to form LS with a 105.4 in the G1 Rosehill Guineas, a figure that is extremely hard to beat in this. The slight drag is that it did come out of nowhere as a big new career spike and he was $41.

He’s only a lightly raced 3YO though and we know that early in his career he promised to be top class. With that in mind, it’s not unrealistic to think he might be fulfilling his potential this preparation and could back up that last start run with something similar. He’s definitely capable of winning.

19 Brandenburg. Rated 101-104.5. $11.00

He’s racing consistently this prep running 102.5 FUP, 101.9 and then 103.4 last start, so there’s no doubt he can win. He also maps well, but there’s a stack of other horses hovering around that 102-103 mark, so I can’t possibly find him anywhere near $6.50 in the market.

12 Imaging. Rated 100.5-104. $11.00

I liked the turn of foot he showed to win the G2 Ajax Stakes last start over 1500m on Heavy ground, so we know the conditions in this race won’t be an issue. He’s another horse that looks set for the race by Waller and he has good prospects to improve on this last start 102.4 to a level that could win. Will definitely need a great ride by K McEvoy from that barrier.

1 Melody Belle. Rated 100-102.5. $18.00

$7.50 in the market for her seems massively under the odds to me. I love her as a horse, backed her in the All Star Mile and if this were WFA my assessment would be completely different. However, with 57kg under handicap conditions she brings peak ratings in the 102 to 102.5 range, which can be very competitive, but is very unlikely to be good enough to win.

She needs to run a new peak in order to win this race and do it coming from a long way back in the field. That’s not impossible, but it’s not the profile of a horse that should be single figure odds in the market. Mares in general have a poor record in the Doncaster (-45% POT in the last 15 years) and of the three that have won the race in with a big weight in modern times, two of them were among the best mares we’ve ever seen; Sunline fell in with 58kg and Winx won with 56.5kg.

The third mare was More Joyous (57.5kg) who you could easily argue was also a champion. As great as Melody Belle is, she isn’t at the level of those three, so I have to take her on.

8 Super Seth. Rated 100-103. $18.00

He’s $8.50 in the market which seems big unders to me. He has a peak of 102.3 so far, which won’t be good enough to win and while he does profile like has horse that has a good new peak in him, his last start run and set-up of this race doesn’t seem the ideal platform to achieve that.

There were excuses last start, but I can hardly say they were the difference between being beaten 4.3L by Dreamforce and fighting out the finish. Also, barrier 2 in a capacity field doesn’t look the draw to find the right part of the track around the home turn and into the straight.

I’m sure he has the talent to win a race like this if everything goes his way, but the way he presents here is not consistent with a horse that should be single figure odds.

11 Con Te Partiro. Rated 101-103.5. $19.00

She’s another good value longshot in the race. He G1 Coolmore win over 1500m on Heavy ground rated 103.8, which is extremely competitive in this race. Her profile says she’s a candidate to regress, but that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to happen. If she can hold her form then she’s going to be somewhere in the mix.

3 Homesman. Rated 100-103. $21.00

The draw (22) before emergencies come out is obviously a massive challenge, but on talent he’s not the worst. He ran 102 first up over 1600m in the Chipping Norton behind Te Akau Shark and has rated in the 105 to 106 range over 1600m to 1800m in the past.

2 Kolding. Rated 99-103. $26.00

He hasn’t looked the same horse this preparation that we saw in the Spring when he won the G1 Epsom and then Golden Eagle. His 104.6 peak could win this race, but his best this preparation is in the 99-100 range. Perhaps coming back to Sydney will help, but it’s still a massive leap of faith to think about backing him.

5 Mister Sea Wolf. Rated 97-103. $26.00

He ran 96.3 first up, which is similar to the 96.9 he ran first up last prep, after which he improved significantly to win over 1500m at Rosehill with a 103.4 rating. He backed that up two runs later with a 103.9 rating win over 1600m. If he improves in the same way second up this preparation then he can run a very good race.

10 Cascadian. Rated 100-103. $26.00

He found form last Saturday with a 101.5 win in the Doncaster Prelude and has rated 103 over 1600m before. He’s another that needs to improve on his last start, but has shown the level of talent needed to get somewhere in the finish.

13 Quackerjack. Rated 98-103. $26.00

He had a few excuses last start when beaten by Imaging, but did run a 103 prior over 1300m and has old form of 103.9 over 1600m on Soft 7 ground at this track as a 3YO. He needs to lift, but it wouldn’t totally surprise.

14 Star of the Seas. Rated 98-102.5. $31.00

He loves it heavy and on his best has ratings in the 102-103 range, which can be competitive. He’ll need to improve off last start though and then perhaps a little more to actually win.

23 Reloaded. Rated 99-102. $41.00

3rd emergency. He’s racing very consistently with 101.5 ratings, but needs to find a clear new peak (if he could get a run)

4 Kings Will Dream. Rated 98-102. $41.00

On his very best he can run around the 103 mark, but his last two of 93.5 and 100.6 make that seem unlikely.

7 Mr Quickie. Rated 99-103. $41.00

He didn’t have much luck in the All Star Mile, so his 99.5 rating doesn’t read too bad for this and he does have a spike 104.8 over 1600m in his history. However, he’s very much unproven on wet ground, has a tough draw and a jockey (G Schofield) who has only ridden 2 winners from 40 metro rides on genuine chances up to $10 SP this season. He’s just 3 wins from 88 metro rides up to $21 SP. That’s not encouraging.

18 Nettoyer. Rated 98-102. $51.00

She’s absolutely flying this preparation but generally peaks in the 99-101 range. She does have a one off spike 103 though and that came over this track and distance, so she’s certainly not the worst.

6 Best Of Days. Rated 98-102. $67.00

Can run to 103-103.5 on his best form but only comes off a 97.8 first up behind Dream Force. Barrier 21 adds to his challenge.

16 Night’s Watch. Rated 97.5-102. $81.00

Had a birthday last week when he won over 2000m. That 99.8 rating is well short of this though. He is another though who has 103 form on his best.

22 Wolfe. Rated 96-102. $101.00

2nd emergency. A best of 102 so far and he was disappointing last start over 1400m.

21 Dr Drill. Rated 96-102. $151.00

1st emergency. His best form is in the 102.5 to 105 ranges, so it’s not impossible for him to be very competitive. However, he comes to this off just one fair run over 1200m.

24 Rainbow Thief. Rated 96-101. $301.00

4th emergency. Looks outclassed at this level, even with a light weight.

15 Tally. Rated 94-100. $501.00

Impossible to see him getting close to them first up over 1600m from a long way back in the field.


Betting Strategy

The open nature of this race doesn’t give it the greatest appeal from a typical betting perspective, however, I am strong in my opinions against Melody Belle and Super Seth, which creates value among a few other good priced runners.

With that in mind, if you want to play then my suggestion is to bet wide across a number of the value runners at double-figure odds and still get a nice result if one of them win.

Total outlay is 2% of your bank with a return of 6% to 7% on current prices. That’s a net dividend of $3 to $3.50.

BACK – Shared Ambition – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

BACK – Yulong Prince – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

BACK – Prince Fawaz – Bet to WIN (stake 0.4% of your bank)

BACK – Imaging – Bet to WIN (stake 0.4% of your bank)

BACK – Con Te Partiro – Bet to WIN (stake 0.2% of your bank)

3:55 Randwick Race 7 2400m 3YO Gp1 SW – Australian Derby

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 6 (Friday morning) with a 90% chance of rain and possibly a thunderstorm late in the afternoon/early evening. Somewhere between 10mm and 25mm of rain is forecast, which at best will see the track a Soft 7 and potentially in the heavy range.

The last meeting at Randwick with a true rail was 29/2 on Good 4 ground. It was an advantage to be off the fence around the home turn and in the straight that day. This meeting last year was on Soft 7 ground, off a similar one-month break from racing. That was also a day where off the fence was a clear advantage.

There’s every reason to think we’ll see another meeting here where runners able to get off the fence (3+) around the home turn and out to lanes 5+ in the straight will be advantaged.

Speed & Tactics

There’s no significant early speed in this race. Sacramento should be intent on holding the lead and I expect Warning and Sherwood Forest to press forward, but once they find positions, the natural style of these horses can see the race really slow down in the middle stages.

That will make it a very tactical affair, especially for those back in the field who face some risk of giving away too much start if they don’t start making ground at the right time.

Early Pace Rating: Moderate

Late Pace Rating: Above Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form and the prospect for new peaks, a rating of at least 98 at the weights carried will be needed to challenge for the win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

1 Castelvecchio. Rated 98-101. $3.10

He bounced back to form LS with a 100 rating that is clearly the mark to beat in this. He did benefit though from an incredible ride that saw him settling handy to the pace on a day where that was a big advantage.

He’s very unlikely to get that here and should settle back in the second half of the field in a race that sets up to be run moderately, leaving him with much more to do if he’s to replicate that type of rating. In his favour though is that he comes into this race 4th up and that was the run he peaked in the Cox Plate last Spring with a 103 rating.

Anything close to that will definitely win this race! He’s also drawn to get to the right part of the track if off the fence is an advantage on the day. Overall, he’s the horse to beat, but there’s no real edge in the current market price ($2.80). That may change on the day.

3 Warning. Rated 97-100. $3.80

He’s the value in the race for me. His lead-up form doesn’t read that well, but in my book, he’s a genuine stayer and hasn’t been suited over shorter distances, back off the lead on the inside of runners, in races that have required a sprint home.

Last Spring he rated 92.7, 96 and then elevated to 100.2 when he won the Victoria Derby, stepping up to 2500m on Soft 7 ground in a race where he went forward from a wide draw and settled up near the lead. He was able to peel out at the 600m, get rolling and the forge clear at the 350m, staying the trip strongly and running through the line better than anything.

This prep he’s run 94 and 94.6 in his two lead-ups (vs 92.7 and 96 in the Spring) and now steps up to 2400m on Soft ground, from a wide draw where he “should” press forward to settle up near the lead. Berry can effectively control the race and choose when he starts to increase the pressure and tempo, utilising Warning’s biggest asset… that he’s a genuine stayer!

This race looks set up for him to elevate significantly towards that 100 mark, which will be very hard to beat.

2 Shadow Hero. Rated 95-100. $6.00

He was tracking perfectly this campaign with a 97.4 rating win in the G1 Randwick Guineas and signs he could elevate his rating over further, towards his previous peak of 100. He was disappointing in the Rosehill Guineas over 2000m though and does, of course, have that failure in the Vic Derby behind Warning last Spring.

He, no doubt, has the talent to win this race, but those two references make it difficult to be confident about him. That has to be reflected in his assessed price. Expect him to improve significantly on his last start 89 rating, which could take him close to winning.

6 Quick Thinker. Rated 95-97.5. $10.00

He’s not hopeless off a 95 rating win last Saturday over 2000m on Soft 7 at Rosehill. He steps to 2400m here on a quick back up, which is a scenario that could produce a new peak. He also loves it wet, so Heavy ground would be a positive.

4 Sherwood Forest. Rated 93-96. $21.00

He ran 97 to win a very fast run NZ Derby but was quite disappointing in the Rosehill Guineas. He wasn’t set for that race, so there’s no doubt he’ll be in better shape here, but he needs to improve back to that 97 rating and then a touch better to win this race.

7 Zebrowski. Rated 93-95. $26.00

Ran second to Quick Thinker last Saturday with a 92.7 rating. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ran a new peak, but it’s rare to see a horse improve the extent he needs to in order to win this race.

12 Sacramento. Rated 91-96. $34.00

If there’s to be an absolute blow out in the race, it could be this gelding (Waterhouse & Bott). His 90.5 best is well short, but he looks likely he could control the race in front and if he manages to slow it right down in the middle stages, one thing he does have is the ability to sprint a fast last 600m, that could give the others something to really catch.

He’s also the only horse in the field that has a 2400m lead-up run. Last week we saw Shout The Bar from the same stable lead and control the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at a slow speed and significantly elevate her rating to a new peak and win.

That has no influence on Sacramento and he’s still a significant longshot, but it does show the type of profile that can result in sudden improvement. He’s the best longshot in the race for me and could get to a massive price on the Exchange in trading. Worth something very small.

5 Eric The Eel. Rated 93-95.5. $41.00

Racing well against older horses in QLD and was very good to win LS coming from well back after a slow early speed. However, his 93.6 peak is well short of this race and he’s going to be back near last again in a race that won’t be run to suit.

8 Chains Of Honour. Rated 90-94. $101.00

Was beaten 8L at 80/1 in the Rosehill Guineas last start. He’s lightly raced and more talented than that run suggests, but still not good enough to win this.

10 Diasonic. Rated 90-93. $126.00

3rd to Quick Thinker last Saturday after having every possible chance. His 91.6 is nowhere near good enough.

9 Skiddaw. Rated 90-93. $126.00

Won at Bendigo last Saturday with a 91 rating that had extra merit after travelling wide. Even taking that into account, he looks outclassed in this.

11 Get The Idea. Rated 88-91. $301.00

Totally outclassed.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Warning – Bet to WIN (stake 1.1% of your bank)

BACK – Sacramento – Bet to WIN (stake 0.15% of your bank)

4:10 Bendigo Race 7 1400m 3YO LR SWP – Bendigo Guineas

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position. A forecast of 27c on Saturday should see the track push towards a Good 3 by the time we get to this race.

There’s a solid history of the most recent similar meetings to suggest the track should race evenly.

Speed & Tactics

There’s not a huge amount of natural early speed, with Spend likely to get to the front easily in the early stages. However, in such a big field with a cluster of horses drawn out wide that like to settle just off the pace, we’ll no doubt see a few press forward and inject a little more pressure.

Early Pace Rating: Above Average

Late Pace Rating: Below average

Best Suited: Lead to 3.5L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of 93+ at the weights carried will be needed to be somewhere in the finish with a good chance to win the race.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

7 Riddle Me That. Rated 92-94.5. $4.80

He’s an improved horse this preparation, running 93.5 FUP when he won at Pakenham (wide no cover) and then 94 last start when 2nd to Spend after also being wide with no cover. I really liked the way he wanted to find the line late in that race, despite doing a stack of early work.

Only 3rd up here, still with some scope for this preparation and a map that suggests his wide draw is a challenge, but certainly not horrible. I’m leaning his way on top in an open race.

3 Spend. Rated 92.5-94.5. $6.50

He’s a long way down in class here on the G1 George Ryder last Saturday where he rated down on his prior form with a 90.3. Prior to that he ran 94.4 to win at Flemington when he got away with a slow speed to the 600m mark. That reference along with a positive map gives him a solid profile to say he’s one of the main chances, but he looks tight in the market at $4.80.

There are some queries. He’s 5th up now, rated down last start (weakening from the 150m) and has been from Melbourne to Sydney and now back again to Melbourne for this run 7 days later. This race also looks like it has more early pressure than his win at Flemington. There’s no doubt he can still win, but I can’t be keen at the current market price.

2 Star Surprise. Rated 92-94. $7.50

I think he’s a more talented horse than his form shows so far. His first-up run at Flemington over 1100m was fair, but he improved nicely LS at Moonee Valley when running a very powerful last 200m, making up over 5 lengths and attacking the line strongly.

The step up to 1400m with at least genuine pace up front looks ideal for him as does the wide-open space and long straight at this track. I expect him to improve significantly on his last start 89 rating, which could take him close to winning.

16 Debtndeficit. Rated 92-94. $0.00

I liked her 90.8 rating return at Sandown LS where she never really travelled in her comfort zone and chased strongly late, hitting the line well. She’ll be better suited up to 1400m here and can progress towards a 92.8 she ran over this trip at Flemington last preparation and perhaps better. I think there’s a bit of substance to this filly with new peaks to come, so she can certainly win.

12 Score. Rated 90-92. $14.00

Racing honestly in the 90 to 91.7 range over recent starts and is drawn to get a soft run. Will need to find a new peak to win though.

17 Toffee Doll. Rated 89-91.5. $15.00

First emergency. She’s lightly raced and still improving. She ran 89 FUP at Flemington and then another 89 last start in the Albury Guineas when closing late from a long way back. She’s drawn to settle a little closer here and could run a new peak that makes her competitive.

11 Campese. Rated 90-92. $17.00

He’s a lightly raced type with ratings of 90 and 92.5 this preparation and the potential to improve further. This draw / map looks to make it tough though.

6 Igniting. Rated 90-93. $21.00

Ran 89.5 last start over 1100m which is only a couple of lengths away from the required standard and could appreciate stepping up to 1400m.

1 Condos Express. Rated 89-91. $26.00

He showed early promise last winter, but seems to have plateaued in his ratings at a level just short of what’s needed here. Fresh off a 45-day break and having his first go at 1400m? That combined with the tough draw makes it hard to forecast him running the new peak needed to win.

5 Heirborn. Rated 86-91. $26.00

Only rated 84.2 FUP when every chance and has a career best of 90. No doubt he has the potential for new peaks, but on exposed form he has to be a longshot for me.

15 Zousonic. Rated 90-93. $26.00

Was outstanding LS running on from well back with very fast sectionals to win, after being poorly suited by a slow speed. A 91 from that race isn’t hopeless, but she will need to improve again and faces a tough draw/map.

14 Rich Hips. Rated 88-91. $34.00

Best form is in the 88-89 range. She needs to run a new peak and improve well beyond the typical step we see horses take.

19 Golden Gorge. Rated 87-90. $34.00

3rd emergency. His debut 93.5 back in December (this track) suggested he might be well above average, but he’s not got close to that since with a best of 90.4 in three subsequent runs and just 80.8 last start.

8 Treaty Of Seville. Rated 87-90. $51.00

Racing in the 87-88 range and could improve up to 1400m, but I doubt he can get to the 93+ level.

9 Peidra. Rated 84-88. $51.00

Has only rated 86 and 83 in two starts this prep. Even giving her some credit for older form in the 90-91.5 range, it’s impossible to find her any shorter than $51.

13 Vegas Jewel. Rated 87-90. $51.00

She’s a nice filly and did run a 96.6 last preparation, but that was at 2000m. She’s likely to be a long way back here first up over 1400m and it’s hard to see her running 93+.

4 Independent Road. Rated 85-89. $101.00

First up here and needs a clear new career peak to get in the finish, which seems very unlikely.

10 Reckoning. Rated 84-88. $201.00

Visually a decent win at Echuca last start, but it was a moderate rating. He looks outclassed here.

18 Not Alone. Rated 82-85. $501.00

2nd emergency. Totally outclassed.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Riddle Me That – Bet to WIN (stake 0.8% of your bank)

BACK – Star Surprise – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

BACK – Debtndeficit – Bet to WIN (stake 0.4% of your bank)

4:30 Rosehill Race 7 1200m 2YO Gp1 SW – The Golden Slipper

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 7 (Friday morning) with 36 degrees forecast for the rest of the day and a fine 25 degrees on Saturday.

The track should improve to at least a Soft 5, if not pushing towards the Good 4 range.

With the rail out 3m there’s a reasonable history to suggest the track will race evenly. Under those circumstances, we typically have seen a wide spread of winners from forward and back in the field.

Speed & Tactics

As the map shows, there’s plenty of speed here, especially drawn out wide via Farnan and Mildred.

I expect this to be a fast run, genuine high-pressure Golden Slipper. Historically that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to settle off the pace to win. The race is primarily about talent and the ability of each horse to run a strong 1200m in fast time.

Early Pace Rating: Fast

Late Pace Rating: Moderate

Best Suited: Lead to 5L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form and the prospect for new peaks, a rating of at least 94 at the weights carried will be needed to challenge of the win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

1 Tagaloa. Rated 92-95.5. $4.20

He was outstanding in the Blue Diamond, rate 95.1, but with extra merit given he saw three-wide on a day where being on the fence was a big advantage. He was ridden very quietly in the Todman as his final leadup, giving Farnan a 3.8 length head start at the top of the straight in a below average pace race (the furthest back he’s ever been) before running strong sustained sectionals to narrow that margin to 1.8 lengths.

This is a horse that relishes high pressure at 1200m as we saw in the Blue Diamond and he’s going to get that here. I expect Walker to be more positive in the early stages here with a view to settling just off the lead and potentially making Farnan work harder to get across. That’s an ideal scenario for him to run back closer to his 95 rating in the Blue Diamond if not a little better.

The most powerful profile in recent history for Golden Slipper winners is coming off a 1st / 2nd placing in a Sydney lead up race either 7 or 14 days before the Golden Slipper. In the last 15 years, horses in this group have represented 34% of runners but won 73.3% of the races and backing them all has returned a +40% POT.

Tagaloa is a horse that fits that profile perfectly and brings a recent rating that is up to a level that can win this race. With what looks a nice map, he ticks all the boxes for me.

3 Farnan. Rated 92.5-95. $4.50

He’s built perfectly towards this race, much like Gai’s previous Slipper winners have. He’s run consecutive new peaks in his last two starts/wins of 93.6 and 95.1, which gives him both quality and consistency.

Much is made of the wide barrier and he will have to go faster early than he’s ever done before, but it’s brave to knock a horse on that alone. Last year we saw Kiamichi cross from 14 to lead and win, while the year before Estijaab did exactly the same thing from barrier 14.

Farnan brings a very profitable form profile with a win in the Todman two weeks ago (see comments above on Tagaloa) and a recent rating that’s up to winning this race. He’s a leading chance.

2 Hanseatic. Rated 92-94.5. $7.50

He was narrowly beaten by Tagaloa in the Blue Diamond after having a much better run. I wasn’t disappointed in the performance, because he did run a new peak of 94.6 and was simply beaten by a better horse on the day. That rating says he has the talent to win this race, so I’m certainly giving him plenty of respect.

One thing that does weigh on my mind though is that in the past 15 years, 26 horses have tried to come from the Blue Diamond straight into the Golden Slipper without a Sydney lead up and none have been able to win. 21 of them have been unplaced.

Not many of them have been as talented as Hanseatic and that doesn’t mean he can’t win, but it’s hard to find him as a betting prospect when others come with slightly better ratings and the more successful form profile.

4 Prague. Rated 89.5-92. $14.00

He won the Pago Pago Stakes last Saturday, so does come into this race with the right type of form profile. His 89.6 from that race is not good enough, but he was the only winner on the day to travel inside lane 5 at the 400m and inside lane 7 in the straight. The merit in his performance may have been 1 to 2 lengths better than the rating shows. He’s a decent longshot that wouldn’t totally surprise.

8 Away Game. Rated 90-92.5. $15.00

She’s a very consistent Filly that ran 92.6 in the Magic Millions and then 92.1 LS in the Blue Diamond behind Tagaloa when four wide the trip on a day when being on the rail was a big advantage. It was a terrific run. Her figures say she has the talent to be very competitive, so there’s plenty of respect there.

The big query is that she’s now in her 6th run in her first prep and has been to QLD for the MM, Victoria for the Blue Diamond and now in Sydney for this race. I have to wonder how much is left in the tank?

9 Dame Giselle. Rated 87.5-92. $18.00

A little difficult to confidently assess in this race. Her 94 rating win 2nd up last prep in November says she has the talent to win. However, she was disappointing first up and then won narrowly second up with an 87.6, which did have extra merit after travelling wide against the track pattern. The query is how much extra merit? Is she going well enough to get back to that 94 level and potentially better in order to win? It wouldn’t totally surprise me if she won, but I much prefer others.

18 Minhaaj. Rated 91-93. $18.00

An interesting runner off an 85 rating Maiden win at Bendigo and then big improvement to win with a 91 rating at Flemington. There’s no doubt the visual impressiveness of that win was flattered by the moderate opposition and the fact that they were all running very slowly over the final 200m. Minhaaj was simply slowing down less than the others as she extended her margin.

Still, a 91 rating is not that far off the standard here, so any further improvement gives her claims. 22 horses have tried to win the Golden Slipper after just two previous run and none have been successful, with 19 unplaced. I think that last win is a little overrated by the market, so she’s not one for me.

12 Personal. Rated 90-92.5. $26.00

She was great in the Blue Diamond running 92.7 and possibly could have gone close to winning with even luck. However, she has to come to this race off the Blue Diamond which doesn’t seem ideal (see comments on Hanseatic) and looks far less suited on the map than others, likely to give away a big start.

7 Mamaragan. Rated 88-91. $31.00

She was good winning over 1200m at Randwick on debut with an 89.1 rating. That’s well short of winning this though, so she needs to find a +2 length new peak in an even faster/high-pressure race. There have only been 6 horses in the last 15 years try to win the Golden Slipper at their second race start. Five ran unplaced. The other was Mosheen who ran second at 100/1 and proved to be a future multiple Group 1 winner. I’m not sure Mamaragan is that type of horse.

14 Hungry Heart. Rated 89-91. $31.00

I think she’s a talented Filly and her 89 rating last start win at Randwick with scope to improve is not hopeless. I think we’ll see her best when she gets up to 1400-1600m, which suggests she’ll cope well with a fast run 1200m, but I don’t think she can make the necessary improvement to challenge the top chances.

10 See You Soon. Rated 87.5-91. $61.00

A best of 87.6 which came last start is too far below the level required.

13 Muntaseera. Rated 87-90. $71.00

On her best, 90-91 ratings suggest she’s not far off. However, she’s proving inconsistent and was plain last start at Flemington behind Minhaaj.

17 Rathlin. Rated 87.5-90. $71.00

He’s having his 7th run in his first pre and has run in the Magic Millions, Blue Diamond and now Golden Slipper. His best could see him finish top 5-6, but I can’t see him winning.

5 Kings Legacy. Rated 87-91. $101.00

It’s hard to imagine could come into a Golden Slipper first up and be competitive, especially with a best of just 89.6. Perhaps he can do something that sets him up as a chance in the Sires Produce.

11 Mildred. Rated 84-87. $201.00

She’s well exposed now and still has a best of 87. Outclassed.

16 Thermosphere. Rated 84-88. $251.00

She won the Magic Knight last Saturday, which is the same as Kiamichi did prior to winning the Golden Slipper last year. However, the figures out of that Fillies race were terrible this year. She looks well and truly outclassed.

19 Time Is Precious. Rated 83-87. $501.00

Emergency. Looks totally outclassed.

20 Philizzy. Rated 82-87. $501.00

Emergency. Looks totally outclassed.


Betting Strategy

For me, Tagaloa and Farnan profile clearly strongest on both their ratings and general set up for this race. I’m happy to be on both, with a leaning to Tagaloa for the bigger result.

BACK – Tagaloa – Bet to WIN (stake 1.5% of your bank)

BACK – Farnan – Bet to WIN (stake 0.7% of your bank)

8:30 Moonee Valley Race 7 1200m 3YO+  Gp1 WFA William Reid Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position. It should remain that way.

The past couple of similar meetings have seen on-pace and handy horses do far better than those trying to run-on from back in the field. That’s my starting point for this meeting, while recognising that it’s far from guaranteed and could race more evenly.

Speed & Tactics

Good speed here with Pippie almost certain to burn across from the outside like she did in the Oakleigh Plate and set a strong speed. I also expect Vital Silver to try and work forward.

There’s plenty of interest in that inside brigade and the battle to try and find nice position just off the lead.

Bivouac’s early speed out of the gates is crucial here. I expect Bowman to try and hold the box seat and do everything possible to avoid ending up three pairs back on the fence as we saw in the G1 Manikato last Spring.

Early Pace Rating: Solid

Late Pace Rating: Below Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

The winning mark for this revolves around how Bivouac performs. He comes off a 108 last start and is well proven in the 106-108 range. If he runs up to that level then Exceedance is the only horse that can match him on exposed form, but he has to be a query off that first-up run.

Allowing for the fact that Bivouac may under-perform, the next level of standard looks to be around the 103 mark.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

9 Bivouac. Rated 104-108. $2.30

He was back to his stunning best in the Newmarket with a dominant 108 rating win. Exceedance is the only other horse in this field that has ever come close to that mark. Drawing barrier 1 again for the 1200m at Moonee Valley though brings nightmares of the Manikato last Spring.

Bivouac came off a 106 rating into that race, drew barrier 1 and was unlucky when boxed in three pairs back on the fence. The big key here though is I doubt very much Bowman will allow himself to end up 3 pairs back on the fence in this race.

Of course, he can’t guarantee that, but I’m sure he’ll be doing everything possible to prevent it. If Bivouac runs anywhere near his well proven 106-108 level of form he almost certainly wins. He’s more like a $1.15 chance if you could guarantee a 106-108 performance, with the other 14% made up of the chance Exceedance also runs in that range to beat him (a relatively low chance given a plain FUP run), or something else jumps out of the ground to that elite level (which is extremely unlikely.)

So, pricing Bivouac for me then becomes a question of what percentage chance I think he is of not running to his 106-108 level, either via bad luck, injury, or simply an unexpected below par run when having every chance. Four of Bivouac’s last six runs have been in the 106 to 108 range (67%).

The two times he didn’t was in the Manikato last year when unlucky and first-up in the Oakleigh Plate when horribly disadvantaged on a hot rails biased track. I’m not going to be as aggressive as suggesting he’s a 67% chance to run into his range here, but I can’t reasonably think he’s less than a 50% chance.

At that level he comes out at an assessed price of $2.30. That seems a good balanced perspective of his chances here and on current market prices that makes him a nice bet.

11 Loving Gaby. Rated 101.5-103. $5.00

She’s proving an ultra-consistent Filly with a 103.1 last start in the G1 Newmarket over 1200m and 101 first up in the G1 Lightning Stakes over 1000m.

Her final two runs last preparation over 1200m were 103.3 and 102.6… so it’s reasonable to think she’s going to run around the 103 level here, perhaps she could even stretch to a slight new peak. She’s clearly the one that will be there to strike if Bivouac doesn’t run up to his level, as she did in the G1 Manikato Stakes.

3 Gytrash. Rated 100-104. $12.00

He’s typically a 100.5 type of horse, which won’t be good enough to win this, but he did run a big 104.5 spike first up when he won the G1 Lightning Stakes. Such spikes are rarely repeated, but the fact his was only two starts ago has to keep him in the market with some claims.

1 Scales of Justice. Rated 100.2-102. $14.00

He’s been freshened for this, which givens him some claims to get back to his 102 that he ran first up at this track and distance in January to win the G2 Australia Stakes. He looks to map well.

The big challenge for her is the barrier draw and map. It looks very awkward for her. She likely doesn’t have the speed needed to press forward within her comfort zone to find a position closer to the lead, but the alternative of drifting a long way back or racing wide also makes the task difficult.

10 Exceedance. Rated 99-104. $15.00

The toughest horse to assess in the field. He ran 108 last Spring to win the Coolmore up the Flemington straight and prior to that has peaks of 104.9 and 104.7. We know he can beat Bivouac but he was hardly eye catching first-up in the Newmarket, a race he was surely set to fire in as a valuable Colt.

We can look for excuses and reasons to forgive and perhaps some are valid, but it’s a huge leap for faith to just assume he’ll bounce back to the elite level it will take to win this.

Add to that the fact that he’s going to be well back in the field giving all of the other decent chances a head start AND there’s some chance the track will be favouring those closer to the lead… I can’t possibly find an angle to like him, but accept that he does have the talent to win.

7 Pippie. Rated 98-101. $16.00

She was great in the Oakleigh Plate, but up 4.5kg to WFA gives her a peak performance of 100, which won’t be good enough to win this. She needs to find a new peak and hope that Bivouac under-performs. The track pattern might give her a good chance to improve, but it’s still a stretch to consider her anything better than a mid-tier longshot.

4 Vital Silver. Rated 98-100.5. $26.00

First-up here and he did close last prep with a rating of 100.9 when 2nd to Loving Gaby in the G1 Manikato and 100.3 when 2nd to Hey Doc in the G1 Winterbottom. He needs a clear new peak and as a 6YO, that’s hard to see happening.

6 Mystic Journey. Rated 98-101. $31.00

This looks an odd race for her to resume in. 1200m is short of her best and a solid pace up front creates some risk that she simply gets too far out of her ground. She’ll need to match her career best figures to find herself in the mix here, but they’ve all come at 1600m.

5 Zoutori. Rated 98.5-100 $51.00

He’s racing well, but under WFA conditions his peak form sits in the 98.5 to 100 range, which isn’t good enough.

2 Rock Magic Rated 97-100. $81.00

He is a proven 98-100 horse, but that’s not good enough and he’s a 10YO first-up from a spell.

8 Embrace Me – Rated 96-99.5. $126.00

She was good running 99.6 two runs ago at this T&D behind Scales of Justice and does have another similar performance as a 3YO, but they’re still not good enough and represent rare spikes in her form. Her general level of form in the 93-96.5 range is a long way short.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Bivouac – Bet to WIN (stake 1.8% of your bank)

4:45 Caulfield Race 7 1600m Opn WFA – The All Star Mile

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is out 6m. There is a 90% chance of rain on Friday afternoon / evening with 8-20mm forecast. Saturday will only be 18c, which is not great for drying.

Depending on the extent of rain, it looks like we’ll be racing on a Soft 5 – Soft 6 track.

History says that track will race relatively even early, but as the meeting progresses the inside could become inferior ground.

Speed & Tactics

Alligator Blood and Streets of Avalon look to work across the field early and will be aiming to control the race in front.

So Si Bon was forward last start from an inside draw, but there’s a stable theory that he runs his best races when ridden quitter, so it will be interesting to see what Luke Nolen does on him early from an awkward draw? He’s one that has the potential (if he pushes forward) to make Alligator Blood and Streets of Avalon work a little harder to get cross.

Melody Belle and Heart of Puissance look to easily land in a position just behind the two leaders, without doing any work at all.

How will Dalasan be ridden? This is a decent looking map for him to press forward, but will the experience of doing similar in the Caulfield Guineas, only to end up wide with no cover mean he’s ridden conservatively here?

Kolding gets the blinkers on for the first time which could see him take up a reasonable position. Regal Power also shouldn’t be too far away from a good draw.

Does Flit roll forward? I’m not sure if she has the speed to do that comfortably in a large field like this?

I suspect the pace will be around average in the early stages with Maloney and Melham on the leaders then looking to slow it through the middle stages, before steadily increasing again somewhere between the 800m and 600m for the sprint home.

The track should well enough not to disadvantage back-runners (especially if the inside cuts out a little as the meeting progresses), but the potential for this race to slow in the middle stages leads me to think that those within 4 lengths of the lead will be best placed, while those further back will be far less suited.

Early Pace Rating: Average

Late Pace Rating: Above Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

It’s difficult to confidently work out a winning standard for this race with a number of talented first up runners and other top-class types such as Bivouac and Libertini coming off first-up runs below their best.

With such a deep race though, it’s likely that at least one of them will run 105 or greater, so that’s my reference point to assessing the claims each horse has to potentially win the race.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

9 Melody Belle. Rated 100-103. $4.00

I’m making an optimistic case to say she should be favourite in this race. Granted on the way form reads, everything says Alligator Blood is the horse to beat, but I think Melody Belle comes into this race ready to run a big peak.

Allowing for the fact she was disadvantaged by the rails bias at Caulfield first-up, her 97.3 rating on that day has merit more like a 99.5, which is the perfect starting point for her.

She has peaks at 1600m of 102 and 101, with a 102.5 in the 2000m G1 WFA Mackinnon Stakes. All of those ratings came last Spring. She’s certainly good enough to run to a level that can win this race.

It seems a natural progression that she can go from a first-up performance with 99.5 merit to something in the 101 to 102 range here. That puts her on par with the 101.6 that Alligator Blood ran last start to win the Australian Guineas.

However, as I said earlier, I think there’s at least some potential in this race for Melody Belle to run to a new peak, beyond the 102 level.

Last Spring, she was 7 lengths off the lead at the 800m mark in the 1600m G1 Empire Rose before winning by 1.5 lengths and 8.7 lengths off the lead in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes, before running home to be beaten 1 length.

They were both strongly run races, which saw her individual speed rating to the 800m mark a few lengths below average in both races.

The way the map shapes up for this race, Melody Belle can settle two to four lengths (at most) from the lead and with no more than just an average early speed expected up front, she’ll clock a similar speed rating to the 800m mark as she did in those two strongly run Spring races.

If she can run home in anything like the same sectionals that she did at Flemington last Spring after going at a similar early speed here, but do it from a position around five lengths closer to the lead then we could be looking at a significant new peak for her that wins this race.

Of course, I’m making some positive assumptions about her improving off that first-up run and being at her absolute best on the day, but she does have a history of rating higher second-up, so it’s hardly a stretch to expect that here.

She has the talent, a likely soft track which is ideal and what looks a perfect map / pace scenario. Clearly the best betting prospect in the race for me.

11 Alligator Blood. Rated 100-102. $4.40

He’s won 10 from 11 starts with his only defeat when he was run down right on the line by Super Seth in the G1 Caulfield Guineas.

He should get a relatively comfortable time on the lead here and 1600m at Caulfield with the rail out 6m is typically a very positive scenario for leaders.

The issue I have is that the rating level I can forecast him to achieve doesn’t get him anywhere near being a $2.60 dominant favourite as he is in the market right now.

He comes into this race off a 101.6 rating win in the G1 Australian Guineas over 1600m at Flemington last start. In that race he ran along at an average early speed, got a nice break with a slow section from the 800m to 600m and then sprinted a solid last 600m to win.

It was a good win, but didn’t have the same strength in figures to his prior 103.1 rating win in the CS Hayes Stakes and 103.9 rating win prior to that in the 3YO Magic Millions Guineas, both over 1400m.

At a 101.6 rating he’s still extremely hard to beat in this race, but far from dominant. The fact that he has run consecutively lower ratings in his last two starts has me a little nervous. A horse can only hold their best form together for a certain number of runs before they start to decline and Alligator Blood has been up for a long time now.

With that in mind, it’s very difficult for me to forecast that he will run much better than a 101.6 here.

Of course he may, especially if the nature of the Caulfield track is more to his liking than Flemington, but if he’s a 20% chance of doing that, I think he’s at least a 30% chance of running a rating lower than his last start, which won’t be good enough to win. The remaining 50% has him running to a similar level, which could win or see him narrowly beaten.

All things considered, he’s still very hard to beat, but I can’t have him anywhere near the $2.60 to $2.70 in the current market. If he wins at something like that starting price, I’ll gladly cop it on the chin.

4 Regal Power. Rated 100-102. $8.00

He comes off a 101 rating 2nd in the Australian Cup last Saturday over 2000m, where I like the turn of foot he showed, but he peaked on that run about 100m out from the line. That was only his second up run, so I think he has good prospects to be fitter here, especially on the 7 day back up.

Back to 1600m doesn’t look ideal, but he has a soft draw on a map that should see him settle in the front half of the field, which is likely to be an advantage.

15 Flit. Rated 98-102. $10.00

She ran a 103.1 rating first up over 1200m and was then a little flat 2nd up over 1400m behind Probabeel, but did race wide without cover and still ran a 99 rating, which is far from poor.

Any improvement from that 99 last start towards her 103 peak makes her very competitive in this race and even a potential winner.

The big challenge for her is the barrier draw and map. It looks very awkward for her. She likely doesn’t have the speed needed to press forward within her comfort zone to find a position closer to the lead, but the alternative of drifting a long way back or racing wide also makes the task difficult.

That said, talent is always the number one focus for me because assumptions about barriers and maps can be quickly proven wrong and Flit is a filly that has shown the type of talent that could win this race. She’s the best longshot in the field for me.

3 Fierce Impact. Rated 99-101.5. $13.00

He’s been ultra-consistent since last Spring, running 101, 100 in his two G1 Hcp wins at 1600m and then returning this prep with 2 x 101 ratings in the G1 CF Orr and G1 Chipping Norton Stakes.

A performance like that here will be somewhere around the finish, but he may need a touch better to actually win. From barrier 12 he’s likely to be at least 5 lengths back in the field here which isn’t ideal, but he may be aided if they’re swooping around the outside by this stage of the day.

1 Kolding. Rated 98-101.5. $16.00

His 103 rating peak from the Golden Eagle is good enough to win this, but that was last prep and he was beaten 6 lengths by Streets Of Avalon at this track last start. Most notably he lost ground from the 200m mark to the finish, which I didn’t like at all.

Chris Waller has put the blinkers or for the first time, but his record doing that is only average and it reads more like a decision that is searching for answers to that last start failure than a calculated plan to improve the horse.

I’m often happy to overlook one poor run, but Kolding is yet to prove this preparation that he’s ready to run to something like his 103 peak, which I can’t look past. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won, but I can’t possibly like him off that last run.

13 Superstorm. Rated 98-101. $23.00

He was strong late in the Australian Guineas, but lacks early speed which will almost certainly see him give away a big start here, even more than he did in the Guineas.

In a race that won’t be run strongly, I’m not sure he has the turn of foot at 1600m to make up the necessary ground and win. I expect him to run well, but would prefer to see him over 1800m-2000m.

7 Mr Quickie. Rated. 97-101. $26.00

He ran 101.6 first up last prep at 1600m in the G1 Makybe Diva, so he’s certainly not without some claims. However that performance is a spike in his career form and he’s more typically a 98-100 horse at weight-for-age. He’s not hopeless, but hard to like first-up.

2 Black Heart Bart. Rated 95-98.5 $34.00

He loves Caulfield and did run 2 x 104 ratings at this track last preparation over 1800m and 2000m, so there’s absolutely no doubt that even as a 9YO, he has the talent that could win this race. The issue is the he’s only second up here off a moderate 90 rating first-up. He has to make massive improvement second-up and he hasn’t been able to do that in either of his last two preparations. His best has typically come 3rd up and beyond.

5 Streets Of Avalon Rated 95-98. $61.00

His 102 rating to win the CF Orr technically gives him a last start rating that could win this race. However, that was a massive spike on his previous 98 rating best and after 43 career starts that makes him a prime candidate to regress this start. Perhaps more significantly, he steps up to 1600m here and everything in his prior form suggests that trip is beyond his best.

6 So Si Bon Rated 95-99. $61.00

Has run 94 and 95.5 so far this prep, which is a long way below what’s required. His best form could have him finish not too far away, but he needs to improve significantly.

12 Dalasan Rated 95-100. $61.00

He’s been disappointing in three runs this preparation around the 95 rating level. He showed last Spring that he can run to 100.5, but it’s hard to see him doing that in this race.

10 Aristia Rated 94-98. $151.00

Her best form places here in the 97-5 to 98.5 range, which is well short of what’s needed here. She’s also only every won two races and they were at 2000 and 2500m as a 3YO.

14 Heart Of Puissance Rated 95-99. $151.00

He was a hyped 3YO coming into this preparation and he does look to have more talent than his 95.2 rating peak shows. However, he was disappointing first-up with just a 91.6, so it’s impossible for me to think he could run to a level here that could go close to winning.

8 Star Missile Rated 92-95. $9,999.00

A best of 95.8 and two runs this preparation with a peak of 90.3. He’s also not at his best on Soft ground. Beyond outclassed.


Betting Strategy

My main angle here is working around Alligator Blood, so I’m happy to extend beyond my top pick with other value runners. Total outlay: 2% of bank.

BACK – Melody Belle – Bet to WIN (stake 1.3% of your bank)

BACK – Regal Power – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)

BACK – Flit – Bet to WIN (stake 0.3% of your bank)

1:25 Rosehill Race 2 1200m 2YO C&G Gp3 SW – Pago Pago Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 6 and the rail is in the true position. A good drying day on Friday should see the track to get back to a Soft 5, but there is some potential for showers late Saturday afternoon.

The track has delivered a mixed bag over the past 12 months of similar meetings, including even tracks, those where off the fence was best and a couple where runners on the fence had an advantage. It’s impossible to predict with confidence what we’ll get on Saturday.

A 25km-40km southerly wind could be an important influencing factor. The wind will be blowing directly into the face of those up on the lead and further back without cover, right from the start of races up to 1500m and for a good portion of longer races, until they start turning out of the back, towards the home straight. Runners with cover could be advantaged on the day.

This race is early in the day so we won’t have a great guide by then, but it will definitely be worth keeping an eye on each race as the day progresses to see if a significant pattern develops.

Speed & Tactics

Postcode showed good speed out of the gates in the Skyline Stakes last start (which six of the 9 in this race come out of) and ran along at a well above average speed.

He’s drawn wider here with a bit more work to do, so I expect the pace will be at least in that above average range, if not a little stronger.

Early Pace Rating: Above Average to Solid

Late Pace Rating: Moderate

Best Suited: 1.5 to 4.5L off the lead.


Winning Standard

I’m forecasting that and 88+ mark will be needed to be somewhere in the finish of this race. It doesn’t look a strong Pago Pago, but there’s always the chance that one of them improves significantly to a big new peak.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

7 Kumasi. Rated 88-90. $3.80

He’s the new kid on the block here after winning narrowly, but very impressively on debut over 1000m at Gosford. His 88 rating from that run measures up as the best last start performance in this field, which seems strange coming from a Provincial race, but it was particularly strong on the clock by 2YO standards and the top two across the line beat the 3rd horse by 4 lengths, another sign of a well above average race.

The second horse from that race Diniki failed at Warwick Farm on Wednesday, but he was truck-loaded in betting to start $1.60, a reflection of the market’s impression of the Gosford race.

What I really liked about Kumasi’s win was his late strength, giving the clear impression that he has the potential to rate higher and will appreciate stepping up to 1200m. He’s the horse on the way up here off a strong last start performance, which I always find appealing from a betting perspective.

1 Aim. Rated 87-90. $4.20

He was desperately unlucky in the Skyline Stakes and should have gone close to challenging for the win. His 84.8 rating was more like an 88 performance and he does get solid pace again in this race, which will suit.

I’m sure he won’t be getting cluttered up among horses this time and with clear running he can certainly run home over the top of them. I believe that we’ll see his best when he gets to 1400m, but he certainly could still be good enough to get away with this race over 1200m.

3 Ilovemyself. Rated 85-89. $6.50

Comes here off a debut win at Flemington where he was held up and still good enough to win. It’s worth pointing out tough that the race was particularly weak on the clock and the leaders were stopping late, which certainly added some flattery to the visual appeal of the win.

His 85.2 rating from that win is already stretched beyond the merit we saw on the clock and further allowance for being held up could make it read more like an 87 rating, but there’s a lot of assumptions in there.

The horses he beat would be at least $31 or longer in this race, so I’m not convinced about the strength of the form at all.

All of that said, he’s still a lightly raced horse with plenty of potential to improve, especially stepping up to 1200m, so I’m happy to respect that. I can’t possibly find him anywhere near the $3.00 currently in the market though.

2 Prague. Rated 83.5-90. $8.00

He’s tough to assess here after going around $2.60 in the Skyline Stakes off a strong 90.7 rating win prior, but he disappointing, rating well down at just 82.2. Can he bounce back? Or has he now had enough this time in?

5 Postcode. Rated 83-85.5. $15.00

Led at an above-average speed in the Skyline and was pretty much gone at the 200m, gradually weakening through the field to be beaten 2.9 lengths. He could be fitter for that and improve significantly, which I have given some respect to, but there’s still a query about him at 1200m. He also looks likely to go just as fast on the lead in this race, potentially into a headwind.

9 Argenteus. Rated 84-87. $17.00

Started $6.50 on debut in the Skyline and didn’t have a lot of room at a key time, but was still beaten 3 lengths. It wouldn’t surprise if he improved, but he’s hard to like.

4 Osamu. Rated 85-87.5. $21.00

He ran home solidly enough in the Skyline Stakes for 2nd, but did start 20/1 and Chris Waller 2YO’s have been perennial underachievers against market expectations in the past 2 seasons. This season he’s had just 3 winners from 32 metro 2YO runners in NSW and they were all 1st / 2nd up. Osamu comes into this race 4th up, still needing to run a new peak. That’s hard to like.

6 Mission River. Rated 83-86. $31.00

Pulled up lame in the Skyline Stakes as an $8.50 chance, but even his best prior to that is about 2 lengths short of what’s needed here.

8 I Am Swerving. Rated 83-86. $34.00

Made good ground from a long way back in a 2YO Maiden at Canterbury on debut and definitely has scope to improve on that 83.5 rating. However, it’s rare to see a horse improve the level he’ll need to if he’s to win this.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Kumasi – Bet to WIN (stake 1.2% of your bank)

3:25 Flemington Race 6 1200m Gp1 HCP – The Newmark Hcp

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 7, but with some sunny breaks on Friday and a bit of wind around, the recuperative powers of Flemington should see it get back to something like a Soft 5, perhaps Good 4 by race time.

The rail is out 8m, which doesn’t make it any easier to predict what they’ll do in the straight races. At the last similar meeting on 18th January (9m rail), well away from the fence was best ground in the straight.

Speed & Tactics

There’s not a huge amount of speed on paper here. A decent sized field and the desire for some of the inside runners to work across towards the middle or wider should mean they don’t walk in front, but it’s hard to imagine them going much faster than a below average pace.

Early Pace Rating: Below Average

Late Pace Rating: Above Average

Best Suited: Lead to 3L off the lead


Winning Standard

It’s difficult to confidently work out a winning standard for this race with a number of talented first up runners and other top-class types such as Bivouac and Libertini coming off first-up runs below their best.

With such a deep race though, it’s likely that at least one of them will run 105 or greater, so that’s my reference point to assessing the claims each horse has to potentially win the race.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

11 Loving Gaby 102-106 $4.20

I feel her 102.2 rating run in the Lightning behind Gytrash was clearly better than that… racing over on the rails side, which was arguably the slower ground. It was at least more like a 104-105 performance. The other thing I love is that she’s had that first-up run.

Historically this race has proven very hard to win first up and having that run under her belt gives Loving Gaby a nice platform to step up to 1200m and potentially run a new peak. Last preparation her two best ratings (104.2, 103.6) came over 1200m, with the best of them up this straight course behind Nature Strip, leaving other good sprinters in her wake. The fact that there are queries around the other top-class contenders in this race makes me lean her way as top pick.

6 Exceedance 103-107 $4.40

A big query runner first-up here. On talent he’s enormously hard to beat with a 106.3 first-up last prep, another 106 3rd up and then massive 109.5 when he won the G1 Coolmore, defeating Bivouac.

Anywhere close to that will win this race, but we’ve yet to see how he’s returned this preparation and there has to be some allowance for that in pricing. Historically this race has proven very hard to win first-up with something like just 1 winner in 30 years? From 2005 we’ve seen just 1 winner from 33 horses that have attempted to win first-up. Only a handful where in the market as genuine chances like Exceedance, so I don’t place any great emphasis on it, but it still gives reason to stop and think.

On balance my $4.40 is similar to the current market at 120% so from that perspective I’m still positive on his credentials here, all be it cautious with that uncertainty about the fact that he is first-up

5 Bivouac 102-107 $7.50

He’s an elite talent with peak ratings of 109, 108.5 and 107.5 under the handicap conditions here. The query is what to make of his first-up run? He wasn’t able to hold a decent position in a fast run 1100m race and had no chance racing off the fence the entire way when lane 1 was clearly best.

That makes a case to say his 99 rating from that day wasn’t too bad and he definitely is better suited here. However, it’s a big leap of faith to assume he’s going to bounce back to something like his best. He can certainly win this race, but it’s difficult to be confident.

1 Gytrash 102-105.5 $9.00

He ran a big new peak 105.7 to win the G1 Lightning, up from 101.7. A repeat is very hard to beat in this, but the fact it was a clear +2L improvement on his previous and he was 20/1 on the day makes him a candidate to regress a little off that mark. That’s reflected in his $9 assessment.

4 The Inevitable 102.5-105 $10.00

He’s a big watch here. With 54.5kg here, he ran to ratings of 105.3 (1200m) and 103.7 (1300m) last preparation, which can be very competitive in this race.

He was a first up winner over 1000m at this track last preparation (102.7) and by all reports is flying in the lead up to his return here. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went close or even won.

2 Zoutori 101.5-103.5 $13.00

He was unlucky not to win the G1 Oakleigh Plate first-up. His 103.2 was a slight new peak, which can be competitive, but he’ll need another new career peak to win.

13 Libertini 99-104 $18.00

She has peaks of 105.9 and 105.8 last prep which suggest she can win this race, but a 98.7 first-up without a great deal of excuses does raise a query about how she’s returned this preparation?

9 Tofane 95-101 $51.00

Has a best of 103.3 over 1100m at this track, but was ordinary first-up in the Lightning.

12 Banquo 97-100 $67.00

Blinkers first time could see him run a new peak, but his 99.4 best is well short of the required standard.

10 Trope 96-102 $81.00

Unsuited in the Oakleigh Plate, but his best in the 102-103 range is safely short and I didn’t see enough first up to say he’s any guarantee to even get back to that level, let alone a new peak.

3 Despatch 96-101 $101.00

Apart from a one-off spike in the Goodwood (104), he’s a 100-101 horse, which is well short of this.

7 Halvorsen 96-101 $101.00

He was good in the Oakleigh Plate and prior to that ran 101.4. That’s safely short of this standard though.

8 Mystyko 95-99 $201.00

Looks outclassed coming off a 5L defeat in the Oakleigh Plate and a one-off peak last preparation of 101.5.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Loving Gaby – Bet to WIN (stake 1% of your bank)

4:25 Randwick Race 7 – 1600m 3YO Gp1 SW – The Randwick Guineas

The Track

The track is currently a Heavy 8 after 57mm rain on Thursday. There is a medium (50%) chance of showers over Friday and Saturday, but the weather will also be warm enough to help dry the track.

I think best case (no further showers) we can get to a Soft 6, perhaps the better side of that. If the track does get hit by a little more rain between now and then, a Soft 7 is probably as good as it will get.

The most recent history of the 3m rail position, including on Soft ground suggests a relatively even track. If there is to be a pattern, older history suggests that off the fence rounding the home turn and in the straight (4+ horses) will be the better ground.

Speed & Tactics

There’s a notable lack of genuine pace in this race. Brandenburg should press forward as he did in the Hobartville and Microphone has little choice but to do the same.

The map suggests Reloaded has the right scenario to also be positive, but you never know with the Waller stable.

Those wide drawn runners will create some speed early, but once positions are found, the natural cruising speed of key runners suggests the pace will be no better than below average, potentially slower than that.

Early Pace Rating: Below average

Late Pace Rating: Above average

Best Suited: Lead to 3L off the lead.


Winning Standard

It’s difficult to confidently work out a winning standard for this race and most of them are still very much on the up this preparation and rated well below their best last start in the Hobartville Stakes.

It’s impossible to see anything lower than a 97 being good enough to win though, so that’s my starting point in assessing the chances for this race. Depending on which runners improve and to what extent, the winner could easily run something like a 99-100 rating.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

3 – Microphone 96-98.5. Rated $5.50

I think there’s a bit to like about him here in a very open race. Firstly, he started a $2.20 favourite in the Hobartville Stakes so he brings a big last start SP edge over the other key chances in this race.

He was beaten by Brandenburg, but raced on the fence the entire trip, which was definitely a disadvantage at Randwick that day and there’s no doubt in my mind that it cost him winning.

The 96.1 he ran in the Hobartville was more like a 97-98 performance when I consider his disadvantage being on the fence.

His prior win at Caulfield over 1400m left me thinking that he was ready for 1600m, so going to this trip now, in a race where he’ll be up on the speed without a great deal of pace looks an appealing scenario. Microphone isn’t the best horse in the race, but he might just be the one best credentialled and suited.

5 – Shadow Hero 94-98.5. Rated $6.00

He was solid in the Hobartville, running on from well back with good sustained sectionals that suggest he’s come back well. His 91 rating from that run doesn’t get close here, so it’s all about how much improvement can he make? The positives are that he improved from a 94 rating FUP last prep over 1500m to run a 101 second up over 1800m.

If he does that here, he’ll almost certainly win the race. The other key thing in his favour I think is the barrier draw. The inside draw on this map gives him a chance to settle no worse than 4-5 lengths back (perhaps a shade closer) as opposed to being 6+ lengths back in many of his runs.

Notably, his two peaks from last prep of 101.1 and 100.3 came in races where he drew inside and was able to settle in that 4-5 length range, rather than further back.

There’s no doubt he looks set to run well and can certainly win, but given he does need to improve so much from that first up rating though, it’s difficult to get him near the $4.80 currently in the market.

6 – Brandenburg 96.5-98. Rated $6.00

He won the Hobartville with a 97.2 rating, which is hard to beat here and since 2006 when the Randwick Guineas was first run (prior was Canterbury Guineas over 1900m), last start winners have won 50% of the races, representing just 16% of the runners.

The drag on his Hobartville reference is that he did start $41, almost 20 x the price of Microphone. On the positive side, Brandenburg showed last preparation that he improved with racing, taking steps forward in his rating in four consecutive runs, culminating in a 98 peak when a close 2nd to Dalasan in the G3 Carbine Club.

Resuming with a 97.2 this prep looks a very positive sign about his future prospects if he can continue to improve. That profile with the fact that he’ll also be up on the lead in a race that lacks pace gives him genuine claims to win again.

1 – Castelvecchio 94-98. Rated $7.00

He’s $4.60 in current markets, but I can’t find him anywhere near that price. He was good first up in the Hobartville, but his last 800m and 600m splits were inferior to Shadow Hero and Warning and while he was better late, but they had to come from behind Castelvecchio and use more of their energy earlier in the race.

In this race, Shadow Hero will be in front of Castelvecchio in the run and in three head to head meetings so far, Shadow Hero has also beaten him home each time. There’s rarely much between them and my pricing reflects that, but I find it hard to justify that Castelvecchio should be shorter than Shadow Hero in this particular race.

Of course, there’s no doubting his talent and he could power down the outside and blow them away, but there’s nothing there that suggests to me he’s likely to be undervalued by the betting market.

8 – Reloaded 95.5-97.5. Rated $8.00

He raced on the fence to the turn in the Hobartville which was a disadvantage on the day and was still only beaten 0.5 lengths by Brandenburg. That 96.2 first-up rating was a new career peak and perhaps had merit more like a 97 performance.

He’s still very lightly raced with just 5 starts, so there’s every chance that he has further new peaks ahead of him. Stepping up to a mile and the potential to be advantaged by going forward in this race is a scenario that could definitely see him improve again, so he deserves respect as a winning chance.

4 – Warning 92-97. Rated $15.00

He was 9+ lengths back in the Hobartville so his run was even better than it looked. Still, he was beaten 4.5 lengths and needs to go from an 88.5 rating to 97+ here, which is very tough to do.

He only got close to that rating last prep when he got up to 2000m, so it’s hard for me to be optimistic that he can suddenly do that at 1600m in a race that doesn’t have a great deal of early pace. I think he’s come back in nice order and can run well again, but $7 in current markets seems a crazy short price.

9 – Kubrick 92-96. Rated $17.00

I felt he had his chance in the Hobartville and was beaten 5.5 lengths. The Slow 7 track was blamed, but it won’t be much better than that again on Saturday.

The fact he was $6.50 in the Hobartville and a proven 97-98 horse last preparation has kept him in my market among the 2nd tier chances, but it’s impossible to be optimistic off that last start run. If he was easy in the market then I could mark him longer than $17.

10 – Pancho 93-95. Rated $23.00

He was beaten 1.9L in the Hobartville with a 93.9 rating. His best is a 94.9, so he needs a 2+ points new peak to get himself to a level that could possibly win this race and then he still has a number of others likely to be around a similar mark.

11 – Conqueror 91-95. Rated $34.00

He’s been consistent around the 96 mark but has been to NZ and back (2nd to Probabeel in the Karaka Millions) and also now not raced for 42 days. That seems a very unlikely scenario for him to run the new career peak needed to win this race.

7 – Prince Fawaz 88-95. Rated $101.00

Showed big promise as a 2YO in Brisbane, but didn’t look the same horse in two runs during the Spring and his first up run in the Hobartville did nothing to change that perspective.

12 – The Holy One 89-94. Rated $151.00

Best is 93 and only ran 84.7 in the Hobartville.

13 – Fortress Command 88-94. Rated $151.00

Beaten 5.6 lengths at 40/1 in the Hobartville. Impossible to like.

14 – Sirmaze 88-93. Rated $201.00

He was excellent first up at Canberra from a long way back, but this is aiming too high.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Microphone – Bet to WIN (stake 0.7% of your bank)

BACK – Brandenburg – Bet to WIN (stake 0.7% of your bank)

4:10 Flemington Race 7 1600m 3YO Gp1 SW – The Australian Guineas

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and with a sunny 22c forecast for Saturday it should improve a little and perhaps get to a Good 3 by race time.

There’s a strong history over recent similar meetings to say the track should race very evenly in the circle races (i.e. those greater than 1200m). Race pace is likely to be far more influential on the outcome of races than the track itself, unlike last week at Caulfield.

Speed & Tactics

Early Pace Rating: Below average

Late Pace Rating: Above average to solid

Best Suited: Lead to 2.5L off the lead.

The standout feature of this race is a total lack of genuine early pace. The lead will be up for grabs to any jockey that wants to show that intent early.

There’s no reason that Ryan Maloney shouldn’t attempt to lead on Alligator Blood again. The key question is whether Michael Dee on Alabama Express wants to take up the running himself? Or if he’s happy to sit outside Alligator Blood? I suspect Damien Lane on Catalyst will be happy to let Alabama Express work across him so he can take up a trailing position.

The early speed will almost certainly be slow. It’s then a question of at what stage of the race the speed starts to increase? In the CS Hayes that started passing the 800m.

Both Maloney and Dee will be mindful of the step up to 1600m here, so I think regardless of who leads, the speed increase may be delayed a little more, until closer to the 600m mark.

The advantage will be firmly with those runners closer to the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 101.5 will be needed to be somewhere in the finish of this race, with the actual winning mark likely in the 102 to 103 range.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

4 – Catalyst 102-104. Rated $2.60

Proved himself up to the top grade after arriving from NZ, staging an epic battle down the straight with Alligator Blood in the CS Hayes Stakes. With a 1kg turnaround in the weights for this race, he comes in with a last start 103, which is the best last start rating in the field.

We know he has the turn of foot to match any other horse in a slow pace scenario and we saw further evidence of that over 1600m last November when he came from back off a slow pace to win the G1 NZ 2000 Guineas at Riccarton (on Good 3).

The factor that makes me lean his way is that on paper he has more potential than Alligator Blood to improve, both in fitness 3rd up and stepping up to 1600m. D Lane won’t want to be giving too much start though in a race that is likely to become a sprint over the final 600m. I feel he’ll need to be right on the heels of the leaders passing the 600m and then rely on that improvement potential from last start to get him over the top late.

1 – Alligator Blood 101.5-103. Rated $3.30

This horse has tactical speed, a terrific turn of foot and we saw last start in the CS Hayes that he also has terrific fighting qualities. He’s an improved horse from last preparation when run down by Super Seth in the G1 Caulfield Guineas, a race that was run at a much stronger speed than he’ll enjoy on Saturday.

It seems natural to favour Catalyst stepping up to the mile and I do think that is slightly in his favour, but it’s certainly not clear cut in my book that the distance increase is against Alligator Blood. The speed increased passing the 800m in the CS Hayes Stakes and Alligator Blood fought off Catalyst after being challenged in the final 200m.

In this race there’s a very good chance that speed increase will be delayed until the 600m, perhaps even further, which can help Alligator Blood conserve his energy a little longer. That, combined with a slow early pace and his top-class sectional speed over 600m, leaves no doubt in my mind that if at his best, he’s capable of fighting off Catalyst and the other chasers again.

3 – Alabama Express 100-102. Rated $6.00

He brings the different form line courtesy of his win over older horses in the G1 CF Orr Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield. His 100.6 rating sits a length behind the top two in this race and there was perhaps some extra merit after he travelled wide.

I say “perhaps” because we also saw on the day that Miss Siska was able to sit wide and win and historically (surprisingly), horses that do get caught three-wide on a below-average pace or slower in Caulfield 1400m races still win their fair share of races.

The fact he needs improve his overall performance rating 1 to 1.5 lengths to win this race (which would be his 3rd consecutive new peak) has to be reflected in his assessed price, but what I will say he that he gets the perfect type of scenario to maximise his potential here, settling close up to the lead in a 1600m race that will likely become a sprint over the final 600m. Figures suggest his 600m sectional speed is very competitive with the top two chances.

7 – Chenier 98.5-101. Rated $13.00

He’s another that on paper has good potential to improve from the CS Hayes Stakes, especially as he was first-up that day and will definitely appreciate stepping up to 1600m. That said, I can’t find him anywhere near the $6 quote currently in the market.

He meets the top two 2.5kg to 3.5kg worse off at the weight here (which isn’t everything), but just as importantly, the map here suggests he may be giving them at least a length greater head start than he did in the CS Hayes, which is a very relevant factor in a slowly run race.

The key question though is how much does he improve off that first-up run? The reality is that we won’t know until after the race, so it’s a speculative exercise. He needs to improve his performance rating at least 3 points to reach the 101.5 minimum standard for this race and potentially 4 to 4.5 points to win this race.

One approach I like to take in these scenarios is to look at previous horses with a similar lightly-raced profile and existing peak off their last start… how many of those improved to a new peak at their next start and by how much? From 95 three-year-olds over the last 3 years with a very similar rating & career profile to Chenier, 18% of them improved to a new peak at their next start at an average of 2 rating points.

Only 4 of them (4.2%) improved by a new peak of 3 points or more, which is the challenge that Chenier faces to get himself in the finish with the better hopes. The fact that he was only first-up last start and will clearly be better suited by the 1600m likely puts him in a group that says he has a better chance than the average expressed above, but I feel he’s currently priced as if he’s guaranteed to make at least 2 to 3 points improvement and history shows from similarly talented horses in a similar scenario that such improvement is far from a foregone conclusion.

6 – Superstorm 97.5-101. Rated $26.00

His 97.6 rating first up in WA is well below the level required here but he definitely brings some X-factor to this race with plenty of potential to improve to a new peak. That said, being back near last in a slowly run race, giving all of the key chances a head start in running is far from an ideal scenario to improve at least 4-5 rating points to a massive new peak. It’s certainly not impossible, but I have to mark him as a longshot.

2 – Dalasan 96-100. Rated $31.00

His best is in the 100-102 range so he does have the talent to be competitive, but in two runs this prep he’s only rated 94.9 (with some excuses) and then 95.1 last start in the CS Hayes. It would be a big surprise if he could suddenly bounce back to a level good enough to win such a deep race as this.

5 – Soul Patch 96-99. Rated $67.00

His closing splits in the CS Hayes have him touted in some circles as the best longshot in this race, but I personally can’t have him in that bracket. He only ran 96 in the CS Hayes over 1400m and has a career peak of 97, which came over 2040m in the Spring.

Historically, only 3% of three-year-olds that have a previous peak in the 94-97 range at 2000m or further are able to run a new peak at 1600m or less, at an average of 2 points. In other words, such horses typically need to get back to that 2000m+ trip to improve to a new level.

Soul Patch needs to improve 5 to 6 rating points and do that at a distance short of his best. That seems extremely unlikely to me. I do think he has returned well though and can finish of stylishly, but ultimately needs further than 1600m to be a factor at this level.

8 – Commodus 85-90. Rated $5001.00

Beaten in three maidens so far. He’s totally outclassed in this race.


Betting Strategy

My opinion is very similar to the market at the moment so it’s impossible to identify a clear-cut betting prospect.

Depending on what way the market moves, I could entertain a value bet on any of the top three chances, providing the right type of edge is there. Below are the price points where I’d get interested:

  • Catalyst @ $2.90+ (1.5% of bank)
  • Alligator Blood @ $3.60+ (1.2% of bank)
  • Alabama Express @ $8+ (0.6% of bank)

If there’s no sufficient value edge on any of the top 3, I’ll gladly sit out.

2:30 pm Caulfield Race 6 1400m 3YO+ Gp1 WFA – Futurity Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 5 and while we don’t have great drying weather, it should be into the Good 4 range come race time.

There are some indications through the history of similar meetings that “off-fence” could become a little better as the day goes on, especially with some cut in the track.

Monitor as the day goes on for any signs of that pattern.

Speed & Tactics

Early Pace Rating: Below average

Late Pace Rating: Above average to solid

Best Suited: Lead to 2.5L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 100 will be needed to win this race and potentially in the 101-102 range.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

8 – Super Seth 99.5-101.5. Rated $2.70

He was very good first-up winning over 1200m with a 100 rating that in itself may be good enough to win this race. He showed clear signs in that run though (as he has done in the past) that he’ll appreciate further than 1200m, so the step up to 1400m here is ideal.

Add to that what looks to be an ideal position on the map and he has excellent prospects to run to at least 100 again, if not higher in the 101-102 range. He’s clearly the horse to beat for me.

7 – Melody Belle 98.5-100.5. Rated $3.80

A terrific NZ mare, first-up here and reportedly not fully wound up as she’s set to peak 2nd up in the All Star Mile. She firmly established herself as a 101-102 type last preparation in the 1600m to 2000m distance range, but with next start being her target, I’d be surprised if she ran to that level first-up at 1400m.

Something in the 98.5 – 100.5 range seems most likely, which is still extremely competitive, but hard to price anywhere near $2.90 in the market.

1 – Kolding 98.5-100. Rated $4.60

He ran 98.5 first up over 1200m behind Standout in the G2 Expressway Stakes, beaten 2.2 lengths in 4th. There’s no doubt that 1200m is not his go, but I’m not convinced that a 1400m race with not a great deal of early speed is ideal either.

It was clear in the Expressway that he didn’t have the acceleration of some of the others and he only really made an impression in the last 50m. That doesn’t mean he can’t win this, I do expect him to improve, but given he’ll almost certainly be behind both Super Seth and Melody Bell in the run and has at best comparable ratings, I have to mark him longer than those two.

6 – Cape of Good Hope 96.5-98.5. Rated $19.00

His 104.8 rating when he won the G1 Caulfield Stakes first-up in the Spring says he has the class, but 1400m first-up is obviously well short of his best. Blinkers on for the first time and D Oliver riding though suggest he’s here to run well, so it wouldn’t surprise if he was competitive.

3 – Streets of Avalon 94-99. Rated $21.00

A big step up in class, but with multiple runs in the 97 to 98.5 range, he only needs to spike the next step in improvement on the day and he could run a cheeky race. A soft time up on the lead will give him every chance to do that.

4 – Wild Planet 95-98.5. Rated $23.00

He’s much better suited here at 1400m than the 1100m first-up. He’ll need a big new peak to win, but his 97.5 to 98.5 best runs are not far off.

2 – Black Heart Bart 94-96.5. Rated $34.00

Typically takes a run or two to start getting towards his better form and he’ll likely settle back here. It’s tough to see him being able to sprint past the better chances in front of him.

10 – Kazio 92-94. Rated $2001.00

He’s a 92-93 type gelding, which is a long way below a level that can be competitive in this race.


Betting Strategy

BACK – SuperSeth – Bet to WIN (stake 1.5% of your bank)

3:10pm Caulfield Race 7 1200m 2YO Gp1 SW – The Blue Diamond Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Soft 5 and while we don’t have great drying weather, it should be into the Good 4 range come race time.

There are some indications through the history of similar meetings that “off-fence” could become a little better as the day goes on, especially with some cut in the track.

That could be especially relevant in this race with the favourite, Hanseatic, drawn barrier 1. Monitor as the day goes on for any signs of that pattern.

Speed & Tactics

Letzbeglam (3) looks the most likely leader to me, especially with the Snowden stable announcing that they want Rulership (6) to be ridden with a sit rather than leading as he did in the Prelude for colts and geldings.

Tactics on Away Game (10) appear likely to be the key influence on just how strong the early pressure will be. Jye McNeil looks to have little option but to show some intent early, but there’s nothing wrong with sitting three-wide in Caulfield sprints, especially if the alternative is to use too much energy early. If he is happy to take a sit a length or two back off the lead, then Letzbeglam may get control at somewhere between an average and just above-average pace. If Away Game is ridden more aggressively then the pace may be pushed a little beyond the above-average level, but still not particularly fast.

On exposed form it’s very difficult to see any other runner injecting extra speed into the race.

Early Pace Rating: Above average

Late Pace Rating: Below average to average

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead.


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 99.5 (normalised to WFA) will be needed to win this race and potentially higher.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

2 – Hanseatic 98-101 Rated $2.90

His 98-rating win in the Preview for colts and geldings was an outstanding performance. He was poorly suited by a particularly slow speed between the 600m and 400-metre marks, had to sacrifice ground to ease and find a clear passage to the outside and then showed the acceleration of a very good horse to run down Rulership.

There’s no doubt that he’s better than that 98 rating suggests and a race like this which will almost certainly have at least genuine speed through the middle stages and be increasing to a fast speed between the 600m and 400-metre marks is a perfect scenario for him to elevate his performance to a 100+ level.
On talent that makes him clearly the horse to beat.

The concern is barrier 1 and whether traffic becomes a hindrance. Looking at the map, it’s impossible to see him anywhere but on the fence, either three or four pairs back.

Statistically, horses in Caulfield sprints that settle fifth to eighth on the fence win far less often than they should when you consider their starting price. If you back enough of them, even favoured runners, you’ll end up well behind.
A number of genuine chances ahead of him in the run and the prospect of decent speed do reduce the risk of traffic issues, but certainly don’t eliminate it. There’s also some chance that the inside part of the track could be inferior by this stage of the day, which is another reason to be uncertain about what his right price is at the moment.

Miracles Of Life (2013) jumped from barrier 1, settled three pairs back on the fence (on a fair track) and then with good speed ahead of her, the gaps opened up so she could get off the fence passing the 500-metre mark and her superior turn of foot did the rest. If this track ends up fair and those same type of gaps open for Hanseatic, we’re likely to see a similar result… but that’s a big couple of IF’s!

As a punter these types of scenarios are the most difficult to reconcile. He’s the most talented horse in the race, but the other factors in his profile have a strong history of negative value in the betting market. I’ve tried to reflect that in my price assuming a reasonably even track. If the inside does prove to be inferior ground then I’d have to mark him longer.

11 – Letzbeglam 98-100 Rated $5.50

Her 99.5-rating win in the Prelude for fillies is technically the best last-start rating leading into this race. She did that sitting three-wide with no cover, which isn’t a big deal in Caulfield sprints, but it certainly doesn’t help. I was also impressed with her strength at the line, comfortably holding the chasers. The quality of that rating and the potential to control this race while not facing too much pressure on the lead gives her genuine claims to win.

That last-start $31 SP raises some concerns, but her profile is remarkably similar to last year’s winner, Lyre. She won a provincial maiden as Letzbeglam did and then came out at her next start to win the Prelude for fillies at 25/1 with a 100 rating, almost identical to Letzbeglam’s 30/1 SP and 99.5 rating. While not the most likely winner, Letzbeglam is arguably the best-value play in the race. If she runs anywhere near her 99.5 rating from last start then it’s hard to see her missing a place and it could very well be good enough to win.

6 – Rulership 97-100 Rated $6.00

He was very good in the Prelude for colts and geldings, controlling the race in front and showing nice acceleration before getting run down by Hanseatic on the line. I felt he did benefit from the particularly slow section from the 600m to 400m in that race, but at the same time he certainly wasn’t stopping late and was still solid in the run past the post.

He’ll need to improve on his 97.3 rating win in that race but did run 98.5 on debut in Sydney and the Snowden stable is very confident that he can be better ridden with a sit, which is the aim in this race. He’s right among the genuine chances.

5 – Tagaloa 94-99 Rated $14.00

He was beaten 1.5 lengths by Hanseatic in the Prelude but was only first-up and I’m certain he wasn’t suited by the lack of speed from the 800m to 400-metre marks in the race. A step up to 1200m and more genuine speed through the middle stages looks an ideal scenario for him to run a big new peak. He’s a longshot I can see running well.

8 – Away Game 94-99 Rated $14.00

Her 100 rating in in the 2YO Magic Millions says she has the talent to figure in the finish of this race. She rated down last start in Sydney with a 95, but worked early to find the lead and raced on the fence, which was later proven to be inferior ground, so I think the win was better than it looked.
The query is that she has been up for a long time now, since November last year so I have to wonder if she has another peak performance in her.

3 – Rathlin 96-98.5 Rated $16.00

He did enjoy a nice run in the Prelude but is another that may not have appreciated the lack of pressure and can improve here in a more genuinely run race. I’m not sure he’s good enough to win, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran another very good race.

12 – Muntaseera 94-98 Rated $21.00

She ran a strong 98.5 winning at Rosehill back in November, which suggests she can measure up to this race. However, she was disappointing behind Letzbeglam first-up with a 93.6 and faces a big task to improve here. She’s far from hopeless, but is hard to like.

10 – Aryaaf 93-96 Rated $51.00

Ran a 97 on debut back in November, but was well below that first up last start when rating just 89 behind Mildred. That’s not Blue Diamond form.

7 – Glenfiddich 93-95 Rated $61.00

Ran a new peak 93 when beaten 2L behind Hanseatic last start and that was after travelling wide. It would be a surprise if he could improve again to a level that could get in the finish of this race.

9 – A Beautiful Night 92-95 Rated $101.00

Her best of 95 came over 1000m with signs that further could be a risk. She only rated 88.5 last start when stepping up to 1100m, so it’s impossible to make any case for her up to 1200m here.

14 – Riverina Storm 91-94 Rated $101.00

Has a peak of 91, which is a long way short here. She is one that profiles as likely to run a big new peak in this race though, so it wouldn’t surprise if she finished in the front half of the field.

4 – Tanker 91-94 Rated $151.00

Beaten 2.8L behind Hanseatic last start after travelling wide, but there’s not a great deal there to make me think he can suddenly improve 3 lengths.

13 – Personal 91-93 Rated $201.00

Blinkers first time, but only has a peak of 88. Outclassed.

1 – Ideas Man 83-93 Rated $301.00

Beaten 5.8L behind Mildred LS. His 93 on debut says he’s better than that, but still well below Blue Diamond class.

15 – Fayerra 86-90

$5,001.00 Beaten 3.8 lengths behind Rulership in Sydney last start at $81 SP. Totally outclassed.

16 – Difficult 80-90

$5,001.00 Beaten 6.4 lengths and 4 lengths in two runs so far, both in much easier races than this. Totally outclassed.


Betting Strategy

There’s not a huge amount of betting appeal in this race for me, primarily due to the conflict of talent vs value around the favourite Hanseatic.

I rarely like to get involved in races if it means betting against the most talented horse and likely winner, just because he/she is poor value.

Still, Letzbeglam does present with a rock-solid profile to win a G1 Blue Diamond and represents genuine value in current markets. She may even get to a better price late in exchange trading. If there’s a bet to make in the race, then she’s it.

BACK – LETZBEGLAM – Bet to WIN (stake 0.7% of your bank)

2:50 – Flemington Race 5 1400m, 3YO C&G Gp3 SWP – CS Hayes Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position. There is some chance of a thunderstorm late on Friday and some showers on Saturday. Depending on the level of rainfall we could be racing on a Good 4 or Soft 5 track. I’ll be surprised if it’s worse than that.

With the rail true and some moisture in the ground, I expect the inside to be some disadvantage. Getting 3+ horses away from the fence around the turn and into the home straight is likely to be the better ground. Horses settling off the fence prior to the turn may also gain some advantage.

Speed & Tactics

The scratching of Big Parade leaves us with a notable lack of genuine early speed. The likes of Alligator Blood and Spend can press forward, but with a small field and no pressure, it’s hard to imagine anything but a slow to moderate early speed.

Early Pace Rating: Slow to moderate

Late Pace Rating: Fast

Best Suited: Lead to 2L off the lead


Winning Standard

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 100 will be needed to win this race. The only way it could be lower is if both Alligator Blood and Catalyst fail to run up to expectations, which is unlikely.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

3 – Alligator Blood. 100-102.5. Rated $2.00

A super horse that has come back even better this preparation. He ran to peaks of 99.7 and 99.4 in the Spring, but topped those with a 100 rating when he won at Eagle Farm second up and then 102.7 when he bolted in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas. The way he raced away from his opposition in that race to win in very fast time had Group 1 quality stamped over it. With two new peaks in his last two starts, we still yet don’t really know how good he is… he could still have new peaks to come. His biggest asset is his combination of early tactical speed and good acceleration.

The ability to quicken so well when already holding a head start on his main dangers is the reason he’s won 8 from 9 and was only nailed right on the post in the other, the G1 Caulfield Guineas over 1600m. His rating profile is a little stronger than Catalyst at this stage and when combined with the fact that in a moderately run race he’ll almost certainly be ahead of Catalyst in the run, it’s impossible not to have Alligator Blood clearly on top. The potential risk I can see is if hard on the rail prior to the turn is 1- 2 lengths inferior and Ryan Maloney settles in that lane. Hopefully by race 5 that will be clear and if necessary, he’ll be able to avoid that.

1 – Catalyst 99-101.5. Rated $3.00

I’m excited to see this Gelding travel over from NZ because he’s profiled like a top-class prospect ever since he won at Hastings last August and his first up win at Ellerslie on 25th Jan well and truly confirmed that. His 100.6 rating from that run at 1200m was a new peak and given he was better over 1400m last prep, he holds prospects to improve even further on that.

There’s no doubt that at his top he poses a genuine threat to Alligator Blood, so I have no knock on him at all. It will be interesting to see what tactics James McDonald adopts from barrier 7 in the small field. He’s typically been ridden off the pace, but did go forward from a wide draw first up over 1200m at Hastings and this is a map that could certainly reward those tactics here. If he did end up forward then he could turn for home either on terms or right on the tail of Alligator Blood and then it would really be race on!

4 – Dalasan. 95-99.5. Rated $10.00

He never looked comfortable first up over 1200m on Soft 7 ground, especially after being slow away, so his 94.2 rating wasn’t too bad.

He was 0.8L 2nd to Alligator Blood over 1400m in the Spring with a 99.4 rating and ran the same mark when he won the Carbine Club Stakes later that Spring, so the potential is there to be very competitive and really push the top two. It’s a leap of faith though to forecast him at his best off that indifferent first up run.

8 – Chenier. 94-97. Rated $26.00

His 94 rating debut last March with signs there was more to come highlighted him as an exciting prospect, but he failed to improve on that at his second start, before a long spell.

I’m keen to see what he can do this preparation and it wouldn’t surprise me if he resumed with a big new peak, but he’s impossible to like off a 94 peak in a race with at least 3 others holding much stronger ratings.

6 – Spend. 90-97. Rated $51.00

A 97 on debut (heavy track) before spelling suggested he could be up to this level and he was hard in the market first up in the Manfred Stakes (won by Super Seth), but ran poorly with an 88 rating. Impossible to like off that.

5 – Soul Patch. 92-96. Rated $81.00

First up and best suited at 2000m+. His best at the longer trips is 96.4, so it’s incredibly unlikely he can come here first up over 1400m and resume with a big new career peak, especially in a race that will be run at an unsuitably slow speed.

2 – Yourdeel. 92-95. Rated $201.00

First up with blinkers off to try and turnaround a horrible preparation in the Spring where he looked nothing like the horse we saw in NZ. His best there was only 94, which still isn’t good enough.


Betting Strategy

It’s impossible for me to be too much different to the current market on both Alligator Blood and Catalyst. My 100% prices on them are similar to the 125% in current markets, which says to me that all the fat is in the longer priced horses, that are well under their true odds at the moment.

On profile Alligator Blood is the horse I want to be on. Exchange trading is likely the best option for him to provide a worthwhile price at some stage in the final 10 minutes of action before they jump.

BACK – ALLIGATOR BLOOD – Bet to WIN (stake 2.0% of your bank)

1:45 08 Feb 20 Caulfield Race 3 1100m 2YO F Gp2 SW

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position. With 30c forecast, we should get to racing on a genuine Good 3. History says the track is likely to race evenly, with some natural advantage to on-pace / handy runners.

Speed & Tactics


Early Pace Rating: Above average to solid

Late Pace Rating: Below average to moderate

Best Suited: Lead to 4L off the lead

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 84.5+ will be needed to be any chance of winning this race. With the prospect of one or more running new peaks though, the eventual winning standard could end up in the 87-90 range.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

2 – Muntaseera 86-90. Rated $2.70

What I’ve seen of her so far suggests she’s a smart 2YO. Her win at Rosehill in November was very impressive, showing the turn of foot of a good horse to win by 3.5L in a strong 89.3 rating, which is clearly the best of the exposed form in this race. First up here off a 70 day break, her recent jumpout with Group 1 3YOF Loving Gaby suggests she has returned in very good order.

Her lack of early speed is a little worry for me, but on the map she’s surround by others that also lack speed, so she actually may end holding a reasonable position and the pace up front should suit ideally. On exposed talent I simply have to be with her.

4 – Fresh. 86-90. Rated $3.20

She was unsuited over 1000m LS, especially after racing wide and the way she finished off suggests 1100m here will be much more suitable. That gives her prospects to improve on her LS 84.7 rating towards a new peak that challenges Muntaseera, especially with a head start in the run. I have no knock on her at all as a winning chance.

1 – A Beautiful Night. 85.5-88. Rated $7.00

Her 85.8 win LS over 1000m at Caulfield (beating Fresh) and the fact that she will race forward gives her a profile that has to be respected. The queries are that she got away with a cheap run to the 400m LS and comes here to a higher pressure race, stepping up to 1100m.

3 – Unstoppabelle. 80-84. Rated $21.00

She was the real eye catcher LS, running on strongly with very good sectionals behind A Beautiful Night and Fresh. She no doubt has new peaks to come, but really lacks early speed which is likely to see her well back in the field again.

I expect her to be charging home, but think she needs at least 1200m and even 1400m to be a serious chance against this type of opposition.

10 – Geist. 80-84. Rated $21.00

Another that closed well late LS behind A Beautiful Mind and Fresh. She has an 84 on debut in November when just 2.2L behind Hanseatic, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she improved to be competitive in this.

7 – Riverina Storm. 81-84. Rated $26.00

Was an impressive maiden winner on debut at Geelong, suited by a solid speed. She needs to improve on her 81.8 to be a factor here though.

5 – Diamondesque. 79-83. Rated $41.00

Her 79.3 on debut at Moonee Valley in December is well short. She has to improve significantly.

8 – Letzbeglam. 80-84. Rated $21.00

Another that closed well late LS behind A Beautiful Mind and Fresh. She has an 84 on debut in November when just 2.2L behind Hanseatic, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she improved to be competitive in this.

13 – Into Glory Ride. Rated $51.00

On debut. Looks too tough.

11 – Clean Machine. Rated $51.00

On debut. Looks too tough.

12 – Drone Strike. Rated $201.00

Had excuses on debut behind A Beautiful Night but was big odds that day, so impossible to like here.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Muntaseera – Bet to WIN (stake 1.5% of your bank)

2:20 08 Feb 20 Caulfield Race 4 1100m 2YO C&G Gp3 SW

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position. With 30c forecast, we should get to racing on a genuine Good 3. History says the track is likely to race evenly, with some natural advantage to on-pace / handy runners.

Speed & Tactics


Early Pace Rating: Average to Above average

Late Pace Rating: Below average to average

Best Suited: Lead to 3L off the lead

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 87+ will be needed to be any chance of winning this race. The one-off peaks of key runners suggest that the actually winning mark could reach as high as 90-91.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

7 – Rulership 89.5-92. Rated $2.90

I was particularly impressed with his debut win at Randwick on 25th Jan where he ran a strong 91 rating, quickened from the front and still very strong approaching the line before being eased down.

He may not need to run any better than 90-91 to win this race, but still looks like he has a bit more to offer. With the prospect of racing up on the lead here and having a good head start on Hanseatic who could be mid-field and buried on the inside, there’s no doubt in my mind that Rulership is the better value of the two.

1 – Hanseatic. 87-92. Rated $3.10

It’s difficult to be confident in an assessment of his first up win as the time was very moderate, but I’m confident that he was inhibited by a lack of race speed through the middle stages of that race and in a different scenario would have rated higher than the 87 recorded. He did run 91.9 on debut back in November, so he’s clearly a top class prospect that is very hard to beat here.

The map does look a little awkward for him though, with some risk he gets buried around midfield on the inside. For me that’s not the profile of a horse that is a $2.25 chance worth backing, all be it I accept that if the breaks go his away, he could win like a short-priced favourite.

2 – Rathlin. 86-90.4. Rated $11.00

I think he’s a better horse than the market gives him credit for. In QLD he ran a 90.9 winning over 1100m, which measures up here and then had little option but to get 9-10L back in the 2YO Magic Millions from barrier 15, but closed strongly and was doing his best work late.

His 86.5 from that run gives him a range here that could see him race very competitively, especially from a good drawn, which should see him settle forward of midfield. He’s the best longshot in the race.

6 – Tagaloa. 84-88. Rated $12.00

His 84.4 best is comfortably short of the standard here, but that was back in November, so he certainly has the profile of a horse that could resume with a new peak that puts him in the competitive zone. A recent jumpout suggests he’s returned well.

5 – Jabali Ridge. 84.5-87.5 . Rated $16.00

His 86.4 LS win at Flemington was a solid win that isn’t far off being competitive here. If he can improve to a new peak then he comes into the picture with some chance.

4 – Hard Landing. 84.5 -87.5. Rated $23.00

First-up after an 85.5 rating win on debut up the Flemington straight. He needs to resume with a clear new peak, which isn’t impossible.

15 – Winsum. Rated $31.00

On debut and has jumped out well, but have to think this is too tough.

9 – Valaquenta. 82-85. Rated $51.00

He attracted a bit of attention after his debut win over 1000m at Moonee Valley, but I couldn’t see why. Very moderate measures on the clock and tight margins suggest it was just a maiden race. Good 2YO’s can improve sharply at their second start, but I’m happy for him to prove that first before I become a fan.

3 – Tanker. 77-83. Rated $101.00

Has a solid SP profile after a 85.4 debut back in October 2019, but two runs since have been poor. He did pull up with an issue LS, so perhaps he can improve, but it’s taking a massive leap of faith to assess him at anywhere close to that debut.

10 – Spirit Of Giving. 77-83. Rated $101.00

Has a solid SP profile after a 85.4 debut back in October 2019, but two runs since have been poor. He did pull up with an issue LS, so perhaps he can improve, but it’s taking a massive leap of faith to assess him at anywhere close to that debut.

8 – Glenfiddich. 78-82. Rated $151.00

Led and was run down by Hanseatic LS over 1000m in a race that didn’t have a lot of speed in the middle stages. That suggests he’s outclassed in a race with more depth here.

14 – Southern. 75-81. Rated $301.00

Some excuses LS, but was still beaten 8L by Hanseatic LS at big odds.

12 – Mysterious Art. 74-80. Rated $501.00

Beaten 5.3L by Hanseatic LS at very good odds. Looks totally outclassed.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rulership – Bet to WIN (stake 1.3% of your bank)

 BACK – Rathlin – Bet to WIN (stake 0.3% of your bank)

12:55 Randwick Race 1 1100m 2YO F Gp3 SWP – Widden Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail out 3m. History over the last 12+ months shows the 3m position playing very evenly, so I expect the same on Saturday.

Speed & Tactics

The 2YO Magic Millions winner Away Game looks the logical and easy lead here. It’s hard to see any other runner pressing the pace, so Tom Marquand should be able to get away with a slow to moderate speed.

The small field means they should all be in touch rounding the turn, but in a race that is likely to be a fast sprint over the final 400m-600m, those closest to the lead will be best suited.


Early Pace Rating: Slow to moderate

Late Pace Rating: Fast

Best Suited: Lead to 1.5L off the lead


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

1 – Away Game. 85-89. Rated $2.00

She ran to a big new peak 89 rating winning the 2YO Magic Millions Class on the Gold Coast 21 days ago, which is clearly the best form reference for this. I don’t necessarily expect her to be at that level here, but her prior rating of 83.7 is also better than the current peak of any other runner in this race.

She only needs to run somewhere in that range and it will be up to one of the others to hit a big new peak to have any chance of beating her. With the prospect of also controlling this race on the lead, Away Game is the only one I can possibly like in this race.

2 – Phillizzy. 82-86. Rated $6.00

Scored a stylish win on debut from well back on the Kensington track and she won’t get as far back here, which will help. However, she still needs to improve significantly to match Away Game, so it’s hard to see any betting value in her$3.50 market price.

4 – Centimental. 83-87. Rated $6.00

Debuted back in December with an 83 rating when a close second at Rosehill and did look good in a recent trial. She can certainly resume with a new peak, which gives her claims.

3 – In Flanders. 81.5-84.5. Rated $10.00

81.5 last start behind the G1 class Cellsabeel is well below what will be needed to win this, but she should race a lot closer from the inside draw and that gives her good prospects to improve.

5 – September Run. 80-85. Rated $12.00

She’s very tough to assess after getting a mile back on debut in December and hanging badly. Her recent trial suggests an improved effort here, but she was also $21 on debut, which doesn’t inspire confidence.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Away Game – Bet to WIN (stake 2.0% of your bank)

4:10 Caulfield Race 7 1200m 3YO, Gp3 SWP – Manfred Stakes

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail out 10m. The big problem is 10-40mm of rain forecast on Saturday from late morning onwards (95% chance.)

If that rain comes, then I’d expect the ground will be in the soft to heavy range. The inside section of the track will chop out as the meeting progresses, forcing jockeys to scout wide to find better ground, well away from the fence.

Speed & Tactics

As you can see from the map above, Free of Debt (4) looks to lead very comfortably and control this race on his own. Jye McNeil has become a very effective front-running rider, so I expect he’ll get away with a moderate early speed and then gradually increase it past the 800m, with a fast last 600m.

A small field should still give all runners some chance, but it will certainly be an advantage to be closer.


Early Pace Rating: Moderate to below average

Late Pace Rating: Solid to fast

Best Suited: Lead to 1.5L off the lead


WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 96 at the weights to be carried will be needed to win.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

5 – Dalasan. 96.5-100. Rated $2.60

Resumes here off a last prep where 3 of his 5 runs rated in the 98.5 to 100.5 range, which is a strong profile for this race. His best of 100.5 came first up last preparation when he was very impressive beating Scales of Justice on Soft ground.

His only other time on Soft ground was 98.5 winning the G3 Carbine Club Stakes in the Spring. With the prospect of getting a good run just off the lead in a race that lacks speed, it’s difficult not to forecast him running somewhere close to his better figures. He’s clearly the one to beat.

6 – Spend. 94-97. Rated $5.50

First up off one debut run back in the winter where he ran a 96.7 winning at Rosehill on Heavy 8, so the wet here will be no problem. The style of that win suggests he’s well above average and a recent jump-out suggests he can show more speed here than he did on debut and settle handy to the lead.

The unknown is with just one run under his belt, can he return at that level or better, which is likely need to win this race? Market intelligence will be key to a more accurate assessment of him.

3 – Groundswell. 93-97. Rated $6.00

He made rapid progress in the Spring from an 88 rating first up win at Geelong, to a 98 when 3rd to Alligator Blood @ 1400m and then 96, 95.3 in two runs at 1600m. There’s a theory that he might not be a genuine Miler and like his G1 winning full sister Shoals, we may ultimately see his best over the shorter trips.

If that is the case, it’s realistic to think he could resume at somewhere near the 98 level, which could win. He’s likely to be ridden quietly and look to finish hard. The only drag is that the lack of pace is likely to be against him, but it would not surprise me at all to see him storming home.

1 – Super Seth. 93-97. Rated $7.50

Returning Caulfield Guineas with a 98.2 rating from that race has him $4.40 in the market, but I have a doubt if he can produce that type of form at 1200m. Although he’s won 3 times at 1200m, from very early on in his career he looked to me like a horse that would run his best figures in the 1400m to 1600m range.

Despite that winning 1200m record, his best ratings below 1600m are in the 92.7 to 93.7 range, which won’t be good enough to win this. With just one rating good enough coming at 1600m, I find him hard to like… all be it I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see him win.

4 – Free of Debt. 92-96.5. Rated $9.00

He’s the big query runner here, resuming after being injury in the Golden Slipper 10 months ago. He did run a 96.6 rating prior to that over this track / distance in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes, so on talent there’s at least one reference there to say he can be very competitive.

The other big key is that he looks to get control of this race on his own, which can be a big advantage. The market will be very interesting on him. If there is support, then it wouldn’t surprise to see him run extremely well.

7 – Express Pass. 89-92. Rated $41.00

Resumes here but his two best ratings of 92.8 and 91.3 are well short of the standard needed. He needs a monster new peak.

5 – Alburq. 88-91. Rated $81.00

Well exposed this prep now with a best of 90.5. That’s nowhere near winning this race.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Dalasan – Bet to WIN (stake 1.5% of your bank)

5:00pm Gold Coast Race 7 – 1200m 2YO Opn SW – Magic Millions Classic

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail out 1m from the 1000m to 400m and then true the remainder.

With 30 degrees on Friday and 31 on Saturday the track should race as a Good 3. There is a 50% chance of showers in the late afternoon and evening (0 to 4mm).

We saw an identical set up for this same meeting last year where the track raced very evenly, so it’s reasonable to think that’s what we’ll get again in 2020.

Speed & Tactics

 

 

As you can see from the map above, there’s good speed drawn right across the line. While not all will be going out with a plan to participate in a battle for the lead, a map structure like this in a big field makes it impossible to see anything but a solid to fast pace.

Those off the pace will get their chance to make up ground if good enough. With a few up front likely to be getting tired towards the 200m mark, luck in running for those back off the speed will certainly play a role. The ability to build momentum and get clear running when needed is vital.


Early Pace Rating: Solid to Fast

Late Pace Rating: Moderate to slow

Best Suited: 2L to 5L off the lead


WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 97 to 100 (normalised to WFA) will be needed to be in the finish of this race. It’s impossible to see anything less than 97 being good enough, while the prospects of one or more strong contenders running a new peak could very well push the winning standard towards the 99-100 level.


Race Assessment

In our assessed price order.

5 – Aim. 96.5-100. Rated $7

His win at Randwick on 21/12 was highly impressive, recording a 99 Rating, stamped by a strong sustained close and big margin spread back through the field. He’s a colt with plenty of substance that will relish the fast pace in this race. The big concern is barrier 2!

Unless he’s ridden with some intent early, the best I can see him is four pairs back on the fence. Riding him further forwards risks taking the horse out of his comfort zone and a recipe that has worked well so far.

Fields tend to fan wide around the turn at the Gold Coast and that can create some initial space for those looking to get up the inside, but in the very large fields like this, it’s easy for more than a few to come off the camber and roll back towards the inside as they look to balance up in the straight.

That can close any gaps that appeared early and create plenty of traffic problems for a horse like Aim. On talent, I think he’s the horse to beat, but that better than average potential for bad luck in the run is a betting risk, reflected in my assessed price.

1 – Kings Legacy. 96.5-99. Rated $7.50

He emerged as a top chance after his strong win at Eagle Farm last start, recording a 97. I really like the way he knuckled down to chase Every Rose over the final 200m. The Snowden’s have tinkered with his gear by adding some winkers and with a suitable pace up front he’s one that could run to a new peak and win.

11 – Gotta Kiss. 96.5-99. Rated $8.50

The best of the local hopes for me. She’s built a nice rating profile in three starts so far with a 96.5 on debut, 94.5 at her second start and then new peak of 97.0 when she won at Eagle Farm on 28/12, fresh off a 63-day break.

Such consistency around that level leaves no doubt that she’s a quality filly and she gives the impression that she could actually appreciate 1200m. With soft run behind the hot speed, Gotta Kiss has a nice scenario to run a new peak that could win. She’s a good value chance in my book.

2 – Farnan. 95.5-98. Rated $9

On indirect form lines his 1 length win over Every Rose in the Wyong Magic Millions stacks up well after that filly was just 0.5 lengths behind Kings Legacy at her next start.

I think Every Rose improved 2nd up after that first up run at Wyong, so the Kings Legacy run is stronger, but Farnan’s 95.5 rating is not far off the mark and a 30 day freshen up is the type of break where a 2YO can make a significant improvement.

He’s another that could end up with a nice run and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he won, but the $6.00 seems to have a bit too much potential factored in for me.

10 – Every Rose. 95-97.5. Rated $10

She’s racing very well with competitive ratings and I did like the kick she gave the last start before getting run down late by Kings Legacy. That was a clear improvement on her prior run behind Farnan and any further improvement certainly puts her right in contention. The query is whether the pressure upfront in this race will be telling late.

3 – Rathlin. 93.5-98.5. Rated $14

He only won a four horse Phelan Ready Stakes at Doomben on 18/12, but his widening 3 length margin through the line and strong merit on the clock, especially against the Fillies race won by Away Game on the same day highlighted this as a quality performance.

He only needs to hold that 98.5 rating to be right in the mix, but the barrier looks to make that difficult. Still, that’s just one factor and could be offset by finding some cover and being able to get clear & build momentum at the right time. He can’t be ruled out as a potential winner.

13 – Lady Banff. 95.5-97.5. Rated $18

She did some work early and then showed good fight when only run down late by Gotta Kiss. That run had some merit and her ratings aren’t far off the mark. The query is the pressure up front and whether she’s able to absorb that and run a new peak.

14 – Away Game. 92.5-96. Rated $23

She’s an improving type that comes off a nice win last start, but needs to improve at least 2 lengths.

4 – Conceited. 93.5-96.5. Rated $26

$9 in the market looks massive unders to me. While he’s a Colt with good scope to improve, I felt his debut Fleminton win rated moderately, so it was no surprise to see he was beaten as favourite last week at the Gold Coast.

That performance was a slight improvement, but is still 2 to 3 lengths short of what’s needed to be competitive in the finish of this race. More so, he needs to make that improvement giving away a much bigger start in this race as he’s likely to be at least 8-10 lengths back from the lead on settling.

15 – Stellar Pauline. 89.5-95.5. Rated $31

Her ratings aren’t good enough, but she has a solid SP profile and the Snowden stable have reported that she’s made big improvement since her last run.

6 – Wisdom of Water. 92.5-96. Rated $31

He beat Conceited last week at the Gold Coast but his 92.5 rating isn’t anywhere near good enough to win this. He needs to make massive improvement.

7 – Nitrous. 92.5-96. Rated $41

His last start Sydney win is at least 3 lengths short of what’s needed to be a potential winner of this race.

9 – Euphoric Summer. 91.5-95. Rated $41

She was a well beaten 3.3L 3rd behind Kings Legacy last start. It would be a surprise if she could turn that around to win this.

12 – Dusty Tycoon. 91.5-94. Rated $41

He’s two from two so far and did make good improvement at his last start win at Doomben. However, he needs to improve another 3-4 lengths here and that looks tough from a wide draw.

19 – The Drinks Cart (2nd EM). 91.5-95.5. Rated $81

Had every chance last week when beaten 1 length by Wisdom of Water and I don’t think that form is strong enough.

8 – Kavak. 90.5-94. Rated $101

Beaten 3 lengths by Rathlin last start over 1110m and looks even more of a risk in a high pressure 1200m.

16 – Smart N Sexy. 88.5-93.5. Rated $101

Could improve with blinkers on, but her form looks well short of this standard.

17 – Bribery (1st EM). 89.5-94.5. Rated $101

Was doing her best work late last week behind Queen Kay at the Gold Coast and the blinkers on could see her improve. I’d be surprised if it’s enough though.

20 – Cosmic Gossip (3rd EM). 79.5-84.5. Rated $1001

Totally outclassed

21 – Poupee (4th EM). 81.5-85.5. Rated $1001

Totally outclassed


Betting Strategy

This is an incredibly even race with plenty of queries, which makes it tough to bet with any confidence. Gotta Kiss does appeal as genuine value though so I’m happy to risk something small.

 BACK – Gotta Kiss – Bet to WIN (stake 0.5% of your bank)


Current Results

Total Units Staked: 67.35

Total Units Returned: 64.89

ROI: -3.66%


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