R8: The Darley Classic – 1200m Open G1 WFA
The track is currently a Good 3 (Friday) with generally fine weather forecast through Saturday. There is a 33km/h WSW wind forecast, which will be a direct head wind in this straight race. That will see those with some cover close to the lead best suited. As with other straight races during the carnival, we expect the field will head right out of the barriers towards the outside fence.
Speed and Tactics
The likes of Sheidel, Fell Swoop, Keen Array, Lankan Rupee and Holler can all be up there, so while there won’t be a great deal of pressure to find positions on the straight course, they should still run long at a respectable early speed.
Early Pace Rating: Just below average to just above average
Late Pace Rating: Average to above average
Best Suited: Within 3 lengths of the lead.
WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark
There’s no doubt that the lack of depth in top quality older sprinters at the moment has seen this race present as a lower than average edition. The profile created by lead up form into this race suggests that a WFA Performance Rating of at least 103-104 will be needed to win. The race could rate higher, but it would be a surprise to see something rate 102 and get away with a win.
In our assessed price order:
He’s returned in outstanding form this preparation. He ran a terrific 102.5 rating first up when wide without cover and then went to the 105 level when he was ridden quietly and ran excellent closing sectionals to win at Caulfield last start. That’s clearly the best lead up form into this race and he has four previous runs since transferring to Team Hawkes at a similar level, which says last start was certainly no fluke. From Barrier 5 here he should settle just off the leading bunch with cover (perfect) and then if he unleashes the same finishing effort he did last start, he’ll be very hard to hold out.
He was rock solid behind Rebel Dane in the Manikato last start in a 102 rating and has scope to go to a 104.8 that he ran when second in the TJ Smith in the Autumn. If there’s a query it’s that both of those peak ratings have been on soft ground. That aside, he’s clearly in this with a genuine chance.
Ran a good 103.5 rating first up behind Our Boy Malachi after being held up in the early part of the straight. Once small concern was that after being held up he still looked to peak over the last 50m of the 1000m trip. While he’ll be fitter here, it does raise a question whether he can carry that rating quality up to 1200m or whether he’ll need the benefit of another run.
Both runs this preparation have been rock solid, but in his 29 start career so far he’s peaked at a 101 rating and has never been able to push beyond that mark. We’ve given some allowance for him to go to 102 here, but it’s hard to forecast him any higher. He has a very impressive straight track record, but we can’t find him anywhere near the current market price.
He’s a promising sprinter on the way up and did a terrific job to overcome and slow start and win at Randwick last start. His peak of 100.5 so far is short of the standard needed here, but he definitely one with the type of profile that could go to a new level in this race.
He put in an improved effort in the Manikato last start but still only rated around the 100 level, which is well short of the standard needed to figure in the finish of this race. He has been to 103 in the past, so we have to allow some respect for that talent in his overall price assessment.
He was solid when beaten 2.3L by Star Turn at Caulfield last start, but so far only has a career peak rating of 100.5, which is comfortably below the standard needed to win this. He’s certainly drawn the right part of the track to run well and potentially reach a new peak, but we without the proven performance on the board we can’t assess him any shorter.
She started this preparation with prospects of being right in the mix amongst the top sprinters, but so far her performances have been disappointing. She’s gone no better than a 99 rating this preparation and while we must respect her proven 105-106 ability, you could not be confident that she’ll suddenly find that here.
His form and ratings were building nicely this preparation until he levelled off with his last run when beaten 2L by Illustrious Lad. He’s solid around the 100 rating level in recent runs and has been to 102 before, but looks likely to need a new peak to figure in the finish of this.
She’s racing in terrific form this preparation with two wins leading into this, but so far shows a clear peak of 100.5. There always has to be some allowance of a new peak, but the step needed to reach the winning mark for this race looks too great.
Came back from his UK trip with what looked a very good chance in the Manikato, but he was disappointing, beaten 3.6L. He has been to 104.5 in the past which must be respected, but it would be a big surprise if he could suddenly turn around that last run and get back to his best here.
This is short of his best 1400-1600m range and his first up run over 1100m was plain, giving no real confidence that he could do anything here.
Our Boy Malachi appeals as the clear standout value in this race. Decide how much you want to invest on the race and place the stake on him. If you stake according to your overall betting bank then we recommended a bet of 1.5% of the total bank.