Race Assessment: Newmarket Handicap

Flemington Race 6 | Newmarket Handicap | 1200m G1 Hcp  | 3.15pm AEDST


The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 with the rail out 4m. Sunny weather on Friday and Saturday should see us racing on a Good 3 surface.

There is one straight race prior to the Newmarket, so we’ll get an opportunity to see what Jockeys do and if there is a significant pattern. I expect they’ll come down the middle of the track.

Speed and Tactics 

Thronum (7) and Lord Of The Sky (1) look the two likely pacemakers here. Booker (3) is likely to sit right on their tail with the others typically settling a couple of lengths or more back off the lead.

Both Thronum and Lord Of The Sky can settle into a well below average speed if able to take up their position without being pushed early and that looks a distinct possibility here.

We could be looking at a race which is just even early with much faster speed ratings over the final 600m. The last three editions of this race have been run that way and while it doesn’t make it impossible for those well back in the field, those settling closer have some advantage.

Early Pace Rating: Below Average

Late Pace Rating: Above Average

Best Suited: Lead to 3 lengths off the lead

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on lead up form, the winner of this race is likely to rate in the 105 to 106 range at the weights. This year’s race looks similar in strength to the last two years won by Redkirk Warrior and The Quarterback, but below the historical average and even the prior two years won by Brazen Beau and Lankan Rupee.

The historical average of this race has been established by some genuinely elite Group 1 Sprinters such as Lankan Rupee, Hay List, Black Caviar, Weekend Hussler, Miss Andretti and Takeover Target.

Race Assessment

In our assessed price order:

He comes off two good WFA runs and drops 6kg – 6.5kg for this under handicap conditions, presenting him with ratings of 104.8 and 105.2 his two runs this campaign, which are right up to the expected winning standard of this race. As a leader here with no weight and the ability to travel at a below average speed early and sprint fast late, he can really give the others something to chase. The fact that his last start figure came over 1400m provides some assurance that he’ll be strong at the end of 1200m. There’s no doubt this is an extremely competitive race with a stack of possible winners, but Thronum looks up there with the best of them, at an attractive price in the market.

She was excellent in the Oakleigh Plate and brings a 105.2 rating to this race that is in the winning zone. It is +1L better than her next best figure so there’s a slight ? If she can repeat, but 1200m suits and she’s going to be ideally positioned just behind the lead, ready to stake her claim inside the 200m.

A 105.5 rating from his Coolmore win in the Spring says he can win this, but it did come off a very fast pace up front and he only rated 101.5 first up. I’m sure he’ll improve on that figure here, but whether he can get to the 105+ needed to win in a race that is unlikely to be run at a fast speed must be a query. What he does have in his favour is that he’s still relatively untapped compared to the rest and 3YO’s that have shown enough talent to warrant being weighted above the minimum have a very good record in this race. That “X-Factor” and potential for a new peak has to be considered here so I have him among the chances, but I couldn’t price him any shorter than $8.50.

His first up win in the Lightning was outstanding, coming from well back off a below average speed, clocking excellent sustained sectionals.  His 105.4 from that race goes with his 2 x 104.8 from other Flemington straight runs, well and truly showing his liking for the course. What has to be balanced with that though is that in his last two preparations he has been poor 2nd up. I can see him winning, but that uncertainty means I’d want a price premium.

His 103.2 last start to go with his 104.2 from the Everest is not that far off the winning standard here and he’s one that should map well not too far back off the lead.

She was beaten 1.9L in the Oakleigh Plate, but the run had much more merit than it appears after giving them close to 8 lengths start at the 600m mark. Up the straight here she’ll be at least a couple of lengths closer than that which will help and looks a very likely improver towards her previous peaks around the 105 level. If the market gets generous with her then she’d be a great value prospect at good odds.

His 4th in the WFA Lightning with a big weight drop here brings him into this with a 105 last start rating, which is capable of being right in the finish. That’s his best in more than 12 months, so can he repeat or will he regress? The best of his older form has multiple ratings around the 105.8-106 mark, so last start was certainly no fluke and if he has returned like his old self, there’s absolutely no doubt that he can win this race. He’s a lightweight chance that should be respected.

The majority of this field would need to fail to enable the Ellerton 3rd stringer to get the prize.

He’s well exposed now, but suited under hcp conditions after a solid 1.9L 5th in the Lightning. He’s capable of running a good race at odds.

She’s inconsistent but brings a 104.5 from her last start 3rd placing in the Lightning. She’s never put two in a row together near that level but can’t be totally discounted.

Profiles more like a 101 -102 rater and would need to take a big leap forward to get in the finish of this race.

He has some spike runs that are capable of seeing him very competitive here, but has become very inconsistent.

He’s a 1400m-1600m horse and even if best ratings in that distance range aren’t up to the winning standard of this.

Doesn’t look to have the talent to reach the winning level here.

His peak is in the 100-101 range, which won’t be good enough here.

Betting Strategy

This is a very even race with a stack of possible winners. With that in mind I don’t want to get invested too heavily.  I’m happy outlay a small amount and gamble on Thronum at a great value price.

The likes of Booker, Catchy, Supido would be tempting if they get out to a big value price on the Exchange as the race approaches (it’s hard to see anything else likely to do that based on the current market.)

Back on Betfair BACK – THRONUM – Bet to WIN at > $7.50 – Stake 0.5% of your total bank.

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