Flemington Race 7 | The Bart Cummings | 2500m G3 | 4.30pm

The Track

The track is currently a Good 3 (rail +9m), with 23c forecast on Saturday.

The last three similar meetings suggest that off the fence (4 to 6 horses) will be the best ground. This will best suit horses off-pace to just off midfield looking to peel out and run on.

Speed and Tactics 

This looks likely to be a solidly run staying test. Granddukeoftuscany (2) set a strong pace in front over this track and distance last start, while Broadside (1) also has a natural style that has seen him lead at above average pace in recent starts.

Early Pace Rating: Between above average and fast
Late Pace Rating: Slow to moderate
Best Suited: 3L to 7L off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings - Winning Benchmark

This is a high quality G3 race with leading chances for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups (Harlem and Almandin) engaged. While both have last start peaks of 106-107 at today’s weights, their barrier draws and likely tactics / positions in-running create the potential for this race to be won in a slightly lower rating, around the 105 mark.

Race Assessment

1. Almandin: Forecast 104 - 107.5. Assessed $3.00

His last start JRA Trophy win says Listed Race, but it was a Group 1 quality performance, running excellent figures while still being eased down over the final 100m. He’s a supreme stayer and will be incredibly hard to beat here, however from Barrier 11 he’s likely to be ridden stone cold and will be spotting them a big start. That combined with the presence of some other solid chances in the race make it impossible to think the current $2.00 quote is value. He might blow them away again, but I have no regrets at all passing the current price.

3. Harlem: Forecast 103.5 - 107. Assessed $3.80

Genuine Good tracks and the benefit of his first Australian preparation have seen him return with two excellent runs, including a big rating win over 2000m at Caulfield last start. That was only second up and his overseas peak did come over 2400m third up, so there’s every reason to think he can improve again for this race. His barrier and likely tactics to settle well back in the field are a challenge, but he’s right in this and capable of giving Almandin a real race.

4. Amelies Star: Forecast 103 - 105.5 Assessed $6.00

Although beaten 4.7L behind Harlem last start, her run had a stack of merit. From a very wide draw she settled 10L back off the lead and while never really a hope from there, she ran on very well, clocking the best last 800m rating of the race, with clearly the best rating last 200m. She gets to 2400m here which was the distance of her big career peak at Rosehill (105.5 at today’s weights), a figure that can be extremely competitive here. Most importantly she goes from a scenario where she was 10L off the lead last start and giving Harlem 5L, to most likely settling around 4L off the lead here and having a 3-4L head start on him. The combination of her talent, step to 2400m, a much more favourable in-run scenario and the overall Darren Weir polish presents Amelie’s Star as likeable good value prospect in this race.

9. Crocodile Rock: Forecast 101.5 - 104. Assessed $10.00

Beaten 2.8L by Almandin last start, but he did a good job to race handy to a fast speed and battle on. He’s still a very lightly raced stayer capable of making improvement, so it wouldn’t surprise to see him run a very competitive race.

2. Tally: Forecast 100 - 102. Assessed $31.00

He was making great progress this prep until a below par performance last start. He has the talent to be thereabouts, but needs to improve sharply.

8. Vengeur Masque: Forecast 99 - 103 Assessed $31.00

Was given no hope behind Harlem last start when wide in a solidly run race. He’s stepping up to his right distance now and could improve sharply, all be it he would need a big new peak to be somewhere in the finish.

5. Broadside: Forecast 99 - 101. Assessed $41.00

He’s racing well this preparation and a G3 handicap is his level, but he’s found a hot race here and looks poorly suited as an on-pace runner from Barrier 1, both on the expected track pattern and pressure expected from Granddukeoftuscany.

11. Yogi: Forecast 99 - 102 Assessed $41.00

Beaten 3.2L behind Almandin last start and is likely to be back with him in the run here. Hard to see a case for him to turn the tables.

10. Kellstorm: 95 - 98 Assessed $101.00

He’s a wet tracker and won’t find those conditions at Flemington in this race.

13. Granddukeoftuscany: Forecast 98 - 100 Assessed $251.00

Was tough last start to lead at a strong speed and be beaten just 3.8L by Almandin. That was a career spike though, so at best he might match that or just as likely regress back to his previous form.

6. Kinema: Forecast 95 - 100 Assessed $501.00

Has shown nothing in seven starts so far in 2017.

7. Pentathlon: Forecast 90 - 97 Assessed $501.00

It’s been 12 months since he finished closer than 5.5L from the winner in any race. He looks significantly outclassed.

Betting Strategy

While the favourite Almandin looks no value in this race, he is the “talent” and experience has taught me not to get too deeply invested taking these types of horses on. With that in mind, I’m happy to play small and speculate on Amelie’s Star peaking to win this race for a nice result, but no meaningful bank damage if she doesn’t.

 BACK (WIN) Amelies Star at >$6.00 – Stake 0.7% of your total bank.

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