Race Assessment: Danehill Stakes

Flemington Race 8 | The Danehill Stakes | 1200m 3YO G2 SWP | 4:50pm AEST

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position.

There is the possibility of a few showers around Melbourne on Friday and during the day on Saturday. The track can probably take a few mls of rain and stay in the Good 4 range though so I’m happy enough to work on that basis.

Exactly where they’ll come up the straight is up in the air with a mixture of patterns based on past similar meetings. I lean towards them more like to come towards the middle of the straight and further out which will give a slight edge to middle / wider drawn runners.

Speed and Tactics

Ef Troop (4) should look to us his free front running style here, along with Native Soldier (12) who went to a new level last start when let run along in front. That should ensure a genuine tempo, potentially faster if one or both get a little fired up. All runners should get their chance to win if good enough.

Early Pace Rating: Genuine or better

Late Pace Rating: Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4 lengths off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings - Winning Benchmark

Based on exposed form a rating of at least 92.5 to 94 at the weights will be needed to get in the finish, potentially up to 98 if Native Solider can show that his dominant last start win wasn’t a standout spike performance.


In our assessed price order:

3. Native Soldier: Forecast 90 - 98. Assessed $3.20

He was brilliant last start, leading at a strong speed winning easily in fast time and a big new rating peak. If he repeats that then he almost certainly wins this race. The concern is that the performance came out of nowhere and even surprised the trainer Darren Weir and he’s mentioned that a couple of times when asked, which is always a worry. It creates an impression that it could have been a genuine spike and that he’ll regress in his rating here. You can’t ignore the performance but at the same time I can’t forecast him to run up to that level again. He’s a difficult horse to assess.

2. Marcel From Madrid: Forecast 92 - 94. Assessed $7.50

He was good last start when caught wide behind Brutal and does have a 94 peak from last preparation that would be hard to beat here. He’s a definitely contender although I can’t find him anywhere near the $5.50 in the market.

6. Spin: Forecast 92 - 95. Assessed $8.00

He’s the big value in this race. He was heavily backed last start in the Up and Coming Stakes at Randwick $7 to $5 but got a mile back in a very slowly run race that was not much more than a sprint over the final 400m and thus had no chance of winning. However, he recorded a very fast last 800m figure which was the best in the field and gave all bar one of those that finished in front of him 5.5kg in weight. It was a clear sign that although beaten 2.8L, his run was up there with the very best in the race. 1400m might be his best trip, but I like the fact he comes to 1200m off a freshen up and strikes a race with much better speed up font where he won’t be anywhere near as far back. He can run very well here and looks a great longshot at $15-$17 in the market.

12. Tavisan: Forecast 92 - 94. Assessed $10.00

His 93.6 rating when second to Brutal last start is competitive here. He may appreciate further than 1200m now that he’s had two runs at this distance already this prep, but is no doubt among the chances.

1. Encryption: Forecast 90 - 92.5. Assessed $12.00

Got too far back behind Native Soldier last start and should settle closer here, especially with the addition of blinkers. He could be a big improver.

4. Ef Troop: Forecast 89 - 95. Assessed $13.00

He’s a very hard horse to assess. His best as a 2YO was brilliant and could win this race comfortably, but he’s struggled for consistency. His first up run in Brisbane definitely had excuses but doesn’t go anywhere close to suggesting he has returned near his best and was just unlucky on the day.

11. Ocean Knight: Forecast 89 - 92. Assessed $16.00

He was solid first up behind Brutal, but needs a clear career peak to win this race and that looks very unlikely to come over 1200m. He looks to need 1400m and at $7.50 in the market I’d be very happy to lay him, but I suspect he’ll be a drifter on the day.

9. Thorondor: Forecast 89 - 92. Assessed $18.00

Solid ratings around the 90 mark, but needs to find at least another 1-2 lengths to be a player in this race. That’s not impossible, but is speculative.

5. Vassilator: Forecast 86 - 92. Assessed $51.00

Okay first up behind Native Solider but is already looking for 1400m.

8. Al Dorama: Forecast 86 - 90. Assessed $61.00

Should appreciate the 1200m here, but still needs to find a number of lengths to challenge these.

7 Sanctimonious.: Forecast 84 - 90. Assessed $67.00

Made no impression LS behind Native Soldier. Looks outclassed.

10. Mig Energy: Forecast 84 - 90. Assessed $201.00

Weak LS behind Brutal. Looks outclassed.

Betting Strategy

The query over Native Soldier’s last start spike presents plenty uncertainty here, but I’m very comfortably that Spin represents great value in this race.

 BACK (WIN) Spin at $9+ (stake 0.5% of your total bank.)

 BACK (PLACE) Spin at $2.30+ (stake 1.5% of your bank.)

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