Melton – Saturday 30th January 2016
Distances: Victoria Derby: 2240m (MS), Victoria Cup: 2240m (MS), Australasian Trotting Championship: 2760m (SS)
Track Record: 2240m (MS) Keayang Cullen 1.53.2 (Feb 2014), 2760m (SS) Skyvalley 2.01.0 (Oct 2009)
There IS a sprint lane.
Group 1 Victoria Derby Final – 2240m Mobile Start
2015 – Menin Gate: 1.56.2
2014 – Our Maxim: 1.56.0
2013 – Ohoka Punter: 1.55.9
2012 – Scandalman: 1.57.5
2011 – Sushi Sushi: 1.55.7
Three Ways will try and hold the lead early but it can be risky at times. Power Of Red and Don’t Hold Back will both head forward early to try and maintain a forward position. Sprinter will have to go back from the bad alley. They will all be waiting for Lazarus to work forward and more than likely sit in the death seat as it did last week where it will prove too good.
LAZARUS (11): Champion Kiwi who won its heat with contempt – sat in the death seat and beat classy Zee Dana comfortably. It was the way he did it, showing great acceleration when needed winning hard held in 1.56.5 coming home in 55.5. Has won 11/13 including his last five in a row. The Group 1 Sires Stakes and Emerald (on Jewels day) is already next to his name. This horse will just toy with its rivals here and it WILL be winning.
DON’T HOLD BACK (5): One of the second picks. Has won five from six starts with the only defeat coming to Brallos Pass in the SA Derby. Has brilliant speed and inform Greg Sugars on board.
BRALLOS PASS (6): A big place chance if Kerryn Manning can get this one to one off the fence. Beat Don’t Hold Back in the SA Derby then ran second to that horse after sitting in the breeze last start. Looks to be a very nice horse in the making.
POWER OF RED (4): Holds the hopes of New South Wales with master trainer Steve Turnbull and gun daughter/driver Amanda on board. It has won five from seven including a win at Menangle in 1.51.8. Can show Gate Speed and given the right run is a place chance. Ran third in its heat after doing too much work.
KINGOFTHESTARS (10): was beaten as $1.70 favourite behind Sprinter last time after leading. Looked to be possibly Victoria’s best 3yo prior to that. Is an E/W chance despite being drawn in the second row.
Group 1 Victoria Cup – 2240m Mobile Start
2015 – Christen Me: 1.55.0
2014 – For A Reason: 1.53.8
2013 – Caribbean Blaster: 1.53.7
2012 – Smoken Up: 1.53.4
2011 – Mr Feelgood: 1.55.9
Smolda has drawn inside of Lennytheshark which means there will be decisions to be made early. The Ballarat Cup attracted a similar field last time and Smolda Led and Lenny was out the back early off a back row draw. He may decide to put the foot down on Lenny this week but either way it looks a similar scenario with Smolda leading and Lenny in the death seat.
Messini may get to the pegs first and hand up meaning it will get use of the sprint lane. Hotasel will be four pegs and getting home late. Bling It On made a mid-race move last week at Ballarat before gaining cover but I’m not sure that will be the plan this week. Luke McCarthy may have to come with one run here. My Hard Copy has drawn terribly and will have to come with one run after dropping out to last.
LENNYTHESHARK (7): is the Inter Dominion champion and ran second in the Ballarat Cup last week getting home in 55.6 in what was a sparkling trial for this. Chris Alford might put the foot down early here but I would think that will result in the death seat. He did win Australia’s biggest race in the Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park sitting in the chair so doing work isn’t against him. Will be extremely hard to beat.
SMOLDA (4): A very smart New Zealand horse who is approaching $1m in prizemoney having won 23 from 47 including last week’s Ballarat Cup. Took its time to get the lead last week but once there fought it out with Lenny to record a track record win. No stranger to big race wins having won the Ashburton Flying Stakes and also beat Beautide at Menangle in the Len Smith Stakes which is nearly impossible to do.
MESSINI (2): Could get the gun run here. Can show Gate Speed when needed and may get to the rails first then hand up to its fellow Kiwi. Only 6th in the Shepparton Cup when $3.50 favourite however prior to that was third to Tiger Tara and fifth to Arden Rooney in the NZ Cup which was a huge run. Has won five from 12 at the track and 11 from 22 at the distance and has the services of the master Gavin Lang driving.
FLAMING FLUTTER (1): Won the SA Cup last start sitting outside the leader in a tough effort. Prior to that ran third to Lenny in the Inters Final when behind the leader. No sprint lane at Gloucester Park means that Greg Sugars can manage to hold the back of the leader here it will have every chance up the sprint lane.
HOTASEL (8): Was running around Mildura this time last year, now he’s in a Victoria Cup and is a definite First 4 chance. Produced an unbelievable sprint last week to finish fifth to Smolda in the Ballarat Cup at 50/1. Prior to that was second in the SA Cup. John Justice has done wonders with this guy.
BLING IT ON (10): Unfortunately drawn 10. Last week at Ballarat circled the field early before getting the 1×1 trail for a very good third. Won four in a row prior to that including a strong FFA race at Menangle, The Shirley Turnbull Memorial (Group 2) at Bathurst and the Kevin Newman Cup (Group 3) at Menangle. With the right run he can place.
Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship – 2760m Standing Start
2015 – Flying Isa 2.03.5
2014 – My High Expectations 2.02.1
2013 – Mister Zion 2.01.8
2012 – Let Me Thru 2.06.1
2011 – One Over Kenny 2.04.7
The Standing Start always makes the Speed Map tough but as long as Monbet trots away it could just circle the field off its 20m handicap and be in the lead with a lap to go, just as it did winning its heat at Ballarat. Claudys Princess is another who could be looking for the early lead as is Glenferrie Dreamer. Habibti bungled the start last time and is drawn inside the second row – probably not ideal. One Over Da Moon although drawn 12 is six from nine behind the tapes and should begin swiftly too.
MONBET (13): The only true major player in this one. Won its heat with ridiculous ease coming from its 20m handicap and winning by almost 20m. Galloped out but still rounded them up and was audacious in winning. May be something right out of the box and I’m not sure that this time next year we won’t be talking about this horse as being a champion. Has now won five in a row and eight of its last nine including the Group 1 National Trot and NZ Trotting Free For All. I cannot see it being beaten.
CLAUDYS PRINCESS (5): Is an extremely good mare who has won her fair share of big races including the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final twice as a 3yo and 4yo. Greg Sugars takes the reins here and she is a huge chance of running second.
ONE OVER DA MOON (12): Has won six from nine from the tapes and won its heat pretty easily after leading beating Claudys. Smart Kiwi who will go well with Alford on board.
HABIBTI (9): Has enormous ability but a query at the tapes after galloping out last week. Made a huge amount of ground to run on for a fourth beaten 6m behind One Over Da Moon.