TRB 2018 Spring Carnival: Horse Racing Tips

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4:40pm Caulfield R8 – 2400m Open G1 Hcp – The Caulfield Cup

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 and the rail is out in the 6m position.

There are a few showers around Melbourne this week, but fine and sunny weather in between them. That should be perfect for the track, providing natural and even irrigation to keep the surface around the Good 4 level, suitable for all horses.

Moving the rail out 6m should get them past the major traffic / compaction areas of the last two meetings and see the track play very well again.

Speed and Tactics

This looks likely to be a solidly run Caulfield Cup.

Homesman (4) likes to run along at a genuine speed and should be prominent early, but will then get company from Jon Snow (15) and The Taj Mahal (19) pressing forward.

Both of those horses are well within their comfort zone running along at a good speed and will need to do that to cross from their barrier. The Taj Mahal in particular can set a strong gallop and we may see him take up the running.

With the prospect of good sustained speed for the trip, this should be a serious test of staying talent over 2400m, likely to be run in fast time.

Early Pace Rating: Above average to solid

Late Pace Rating: Moderate to below average

Best Suited: 2 to 6 lengths off the lead

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

The 10-year winning average of the Caulfield Cup has been a rating of 108.5 at the weights. The lowest has been Boom Time at 106.8 last year and the best 110.8, which was Dunaden in 2012.

That shows a very consistent and well proven standard of performance that it takes to win a Caulfield Cup and this year appears no different.

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 107 will be needed to be competitive in the finish, with the winning mark likely to be in the 108-109 range as one of more runners hit a new peak on the day.

Race Assessment

18 Youngstar: Forecast 107.5-110. Assessed $4.80

She brings a 107.5 rating from the Turnbull Stakes behind Winx, which is the best last start rating in the field, stamped by an incredibly fast last 600m rating and terrific strength through the line. That looks a perfect platform to step up to 2400m here. After just 11 starts she also profiles as one of the more likely in this field to hit a new peak in this race, which could see her hit something around the 109-110 mark, a likely winning performance. Time raters may note that she’s yet to run a fast-overall race time and that presents as a risk in what looks a solidly run 2400m race, but it’s important to recognise that she hasn’t had the opportunity to run fast time yet this preparation. She’s been contesting moderately run races that were more about the sprint home. What stands out though is that her work under those scenarios suggests she has the engine to cope with a 2400m staying test run in fast time.

A good reference can be drawn to the 2015 Cup winner Mongolian Khan who came into the race with a similar lack of fast overall times, due to a lack of opportunity. In the Caulfield Stakes his sectional work was outstanding and he showed terrific strength through the line at the end of 2000m, as Youngstar did last start. Mongolian Khan took that profile to impressively win a solidly run Caulfield Cup, significantly elevating his best time rating as the race presented him the scenario to do so. With the right rating credentials, potential to hit a new peak and one of the best staying jockeys in the world on top (K McEvoy), Youngstar profiles perfectly for this race.

2 The Cliffsofmoher: Forecast 106-110. Assessed $6.0

He brings a 105 rating from his 2.6L 4th last Saturday in the Caulfield Stakes behind Benbatl, but the performance had much more merit than that. He settled a long last, around 9-10L off the lead in the early stages and was then significantly disadvantaged when the pace came out of the race between the 1400m and 800m mark where they went a dawdling 38.5 secs. Not only did that ruin any realistic chance he had of winning, but Jordan Childs on Homesman drastically increased the pace from the 800m and by the time that cascaded back through the field, The Cliffsofmoher was left flat footed and actually lost a further length, at a time he should have been making ground. Once he gathered momentum, he unleashed a fast and sustained final 600m sprint, making up a stack of ground and hitting the line powerfully. A 105 rating in those circumstances well and truly says he can rate higher and this looks the race he could do that in.

He comes to this race on the quick back up, stepping up to 2400m (which is the distance of his career peak rating in the 2017 Epsom Derby) and most importantly from a good draw which gives the “opportunity” to hold a reasonable position, no more than 4-5 lengths back from the lead.
If there is a concern it’s that from that inside draw he will likely find himself among traffic and need luck at the right time. If he can get clear though then I expect him to be hard to hold out.

14 Kings Will Dream. Forecast 107-109. Assessed $6.50

He’s been building perfectly for this race all preparation and comes off a 107 rating when 1.8L 3rd to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes last start. Weir is a master at getting his horses to peak on the right day and after just 12 starts there’s no doubt plenty of potential for Kings Will Dream to do that in this race, which can take him to a winning performance. His peak last preparation did come over 2400m where he ran outstanding figures at Morning on a Soft 5 track. If we get more rain than forecast at Caulfield and the track gets close to that range then that may play in his favour. The only niggling concern is that after a perfect run in the Turnbull Youngstar was clearly hitting the line better than him and pulling away. That makes it difficult for to put him in front of Youngstar as a chance here, but that aside he has the perfect profile for a Caulfield Cup winner.

13 Homesman. Forecast 104-108. Assessed $17

With 53kg here he ran to a 109 rating two starts back when he won the 1800m G1 Underwood at WFA but then dropped to a 106 rating in the Caulfield Stakes last week. Anything in that range is good for this race, but he did get a big rest with the pace slow down between the 1400m and 800m in the Caulfield Stakes and didn’t see the 2000m out strongly. That has to raise some concerns about him in a solidly run 2400m here. When he raced overseas he was soundly beaten over 2400m as a 3YO coming off a superior rating at 2000m the start prior. He then dropped back to the 2000m again after that 2400m start and ran a new career peak. There’s no doubt this horse has the figures to win, but that distance angle looks a valid query.

7 The Taj Mahal. Forecast 104-106. Assessed $18

Ran a 104.7 rating winning the JRA Cup at MV last start and does have a 106.2 peak over 2400m when he won the Zipping Classic last Spring. Those figures are unlikely good enough to win, but they can be very competitive and there’s always the potential he could run to a new peak. One key asset this horse has is that he can sustain a high cruising speed and run fast overall time. That should bring him respect as a longshot chance in this race.

11 Ventura Storm. Forecast 104.5-107. Assessed $21

He’s been building nicely for this race and ran a good 104.5 rating in the Turnbull behind Winx last start, clocking some impressive sectionals home and hitting the line well. In the Autumn he ran a 107.3 over 2600m at Randwick and has a 108 rating from two seasons ago over 2400m in Italy when he won a G1 WFA race. Everything points to Ventura Storm being capable of running a big race here. If there was a doubt then it’s that his two best ratings in Australia have come at Randwick and Flemington, while he’s been far less effective at Caulfield. That’s a very minor thing though, on fundamentals he looks a longshot capable of running very well.

1 Best Solution. Forecast 104-104.5. Assessed $26

Comes to this race for Godolphin in outstanding form having won his last three, including two Group 1 wins in Germany. With 57.5kg here though it looks like he’ll need to go to a new peak to get over the top of more lightly weighted rivals and win. The other concern I have is that his terrific recent form has all come in small fields where they have ambled out of the barriers and taken up a position without any pressure at all. He suddenly comes to a big field here from a very wide draw where there will be a stack of hustle and bustle and he’ll probably have to work early to press forward and try and find a reasonable position.

6 Ace High. Forecast 103-105.5. Assessed $26

At $10 in the market he looks well under the odds to me. He comes to the race in great form, but his Hill Stakes win gives him just a 103.8 rating and his career peaks of 104.6 and 104.1 are still well short of the mark that will be needed to get in the finish of this race. Both of those peaks did come over 2400m-2500m so he does bring some potential off that 103.8 over 2000m to hit a new peak here, but it’s is very unlikely that new peak will be in the 108-109 range. It wouldn’t surprise if he peaked to run well, but I have to think he’s among the longshots to win, rather than one of the top few chances as the market suggests.

8 Duretto. Forecast 103-105.5. Assessed $26

Overseas galloper who can get to the 104-105.5 range on his overseas form with some prospect of a new peak. His main aim is the Melbourne Cup so it will be interesting to see what claims he can stamp for that with his performance here.

17 Nights Watch. Forecast 104-107. Assessd $26.00

He comes into this with a 107.4 rating from the Caulfield Stakes last start which is very competitive, but he looked to peak and fade on his run over the final 100m in that race, which is not a good indicator stepping up to a genuinely run 2400m race.

20 Jaameh. Forecast 104-105. Assessed $31.00

Second emergency so will need a couple of scratchings to get a run. His last two performance sit in the 104 to 104.7 range and he has shown the ability to run fast time over the distance. He could run a respectable race if he gains a start.

9 Red Verdon. Forecast 103-105. Assessed $31.00

European galloper who comes here well exposed and ratings that look a little short of the standard that will be needed to win this race.

3 Chestnut Coat. Forecast 104-106. Assessed $34.00

Japanese galloper that has some figures that could see him competitive with his 55.5kg, but is likely to get well back in the field and looks like he may be better suited up to 3200m in the Melbourne Cup. I’ll be keeping an eye on what he does here with a view to the first Tuesday in November.

5 Sound Check. Forecast 103-105. Assessed $34.00

European galloper now with Mike Moroney. He comes off a career peak in August when he was a close 2nd to Best Solution and actually meets him 2.5kg better off in the weights for that performance. He’s relatively lightly raced with just 16 starts so it wouldn’t surprise if he ran a decent race and put himself in the frame as a Melbourne Cup hopeful.

15 Sole Impact. Forecast 102-105. Assessed $61.00

A Japanese galloper that doesn’t look to have the ratings needed to win this. Barrier 20 doesn’t make it any easier

19 Patrick Erin. Forecast 103-105. Assessed $61.00

First emergency. He ran a 103.7 when he won the Metropolitan last start, which is not good enough for this, but he is in great form so a new peak is not out of the question. Nonetheless he still deserves to be a longshot.

4 Jon Snow. Forecast 102-104. Assessed $67.00

His best is in the 103.5 to 104 range and his 2400m ratings are a little below that level. He’s likely to be outclassed here.

16 Gallic Chieftain. Forecast 102-105. Assessed $81.00

His best is typically around the 102 level with a career peak of 104.7, which did come two starts ago. After 34 starts it’s hard to imagine him suddenly running a big new peak.

10 Vengeur Masque. Forecast 100-105. Assessed $201.00

He did run a 105.5 spike last Spring over 2600m at Flemington, but the next best of his form sits around the 101 mark, which is nowhere near good enough for this.

12 Mighty Boss. Forecast 101-103. Assessed $251.00

His 105.5 rating Caulfield Guineas win at 100/1 looks a distant fluke now as the best of his other form is in the 100.5 to 102.5 range. He looks outclassed here.

Betting Strategy

This is a very open and competitive race with a number of possible winners, so I don’t want to go over the top with my investments here backing multiple horses and saving on others.

My top pick in the race is Youngstar and she’s a nice value price so I’m happy to play her one out.

 BACK – Youngstar – Bet to WIN at $5.0+ (stake 1% of your total bank.)

Caulfield Race 9 | The Caulfield Guineas | 1600m 3YO G1 SW | 5:15pm AEST

The Track

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

With fine and sunny weather leading into Saturday we should get to a Good 3 surface. I expect the track to play well without any significant pattern.

Speed and Tactics

Native Solider (4) should adopt the front running tactics that have been successful for him in his two wins this preparation, but he was rated well in front at 1400m last start so I don’t expect him to go too fast in front here. Tavisan (9) and Leondaro Da Hinchi (10) look to work across but shouldn’t pressure Native Soldier unnecessarily.

That should see this race settle into an even type of pace, with similar or slightly faster rating sectionals over the last 600m.

Early Pace Rating: Even / Average

Late Pace Rating: Average to above average

Best Suited: Lead to 4 lengths off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

This race is really all about The Autumn Sun. His exposed best is dominant over this field and with the prospect of a new peak up to a mile, we could see a rating of 102 – 103 at the weights (105.5 – 106.5 normalised to WFA.)

Away from him, something in the 94.5 to 96.5 range at the weights will be needed to fight out the finish among the others (and of course win should The Autumn Sun run well below his best.)

Race Assessment

1. The Autumn Sun: Forecast 100 – 103. Assessed $1.65

His 104.5 rating Golden Rose win was genuine Group 1 class performance and none of the others in this race have come close to that level so far. Even if one or more of his opposition run to new peaks it would be rare to see them make a big enough step in one run to match what the Autumn Sun has done so far. What makes things even more ominous for his rivals is that he’s the one in the field that arguably has the best potential to run to a new peak himself, to reach a truly elite G1 level. 1400m in the Golden Rose was short of his best distance and we saw all the signs I’d normally look for to identify a horse that has potential to rate higher stepping up in distance.

The comment we often here about Sydney horses going to Caulfield for the first-time being disadvantaged is actually a myth. Sure, there are isolated cases where some horses don’t handle it, but the stats show that as a group they perform a little better than market expectation and well fancied horses perform much better. I can’t see another runner improving to match the peak of The Autumn Sun, he’s too good. He has the sectional speed to give them a good head start and still run over the top of them in the final 100-200m. The scenario’s that see him beaten here are if he’s terribly unlucky in the run or simply fails to perform anywhere near his best. Both of those things can happen and I’ve allowed for that in my price, but still find him at $1.65. That’s suggesting he still loses this race almost 4 in 10 times and wins a little over 6 in 10 times which doesn’t sound unreasonable at all. $1.90 in the market is definitely a good value price.

6. Gem Song: Forecast 94.5 – 96.5. Assessed $12.00

Comes off a very good 2nd last start in Sydney with a new peak of 94.8 at the weights and good prospects to reach a new peak in this race, especially if they elect to go forward from the wide draw.

2. Native Soldier: Forecast 94- 96.5. Assessed $13.00

His Prelude win brings him into this race with a 94.9 rating which is very competitive among the rest of this field. I thought he benefited from a slow down between the 800 and 400m in that race. If he doesn’t get that here then he might be a touch vulnerable at the end of 1600m.

4. Leonardo Da Hinchi: Forecast 94- 96.5. Assessed $14.00

He’s been very solid in his last two with ratings around the 95 level which are competitive here. Given this is his 6th run in his first prep he may lack the upside of some of the others, but he’s certainly in the mix.

15. Oohood: Forecast 93- 95. Assessed $21.00

The Flight Stakes returned soft figures across the clock, rating well below G1 standard. Her 93.4 ratings is comfortably below the other top chances here, so she’ll need to improve again.

7. Muswellbrook: Forecast 92- 94.8. Assessed $31.00

Brings two ratings around the 93 level which are short of the standard needed, but he does have some prospects to run a new peak.

8. Good N Fast: Forecast 89- 95. Assessed $34.00

He’s been running well from a long way back in the field over 1400m and does have a 95.3 peak over 1600m as a 2YO which can measure up if he could find that form.

5. Outrageous: Forecast 92- 94. Assessed $51.00

With a peak around 92.5 he’s well below the standard needed to win this. His last two have been at 1600m so it’s hard to see him suddenly elevating.

11. Tavisan: Forecast 90- 95. Assessed $51.00

He looks suited by the step up to 1600m but would need to significantly improve.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) The Autumn Sun at $1.7+ (stake 3.0% of your total bank.)

Caulfield Race 6 | The Thousand Guineas | 1600m 3YOF G1 SW | 3:10pm AEST

The Track

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

With fine and sunny weather leading into Saturday we should get to a Good 3 surface. I expect the track to play well without any significant pattern.

Speed and Tactics

There’s a significant lack of pace here and finding a natural leader is difficult.

Smart Melody (2) should be prominent, but going up to a mile I wouldn’t expect that James McDonald will be keen to lead. When connections of some of the wide drawn runners look at a map they should see the opportunity to press forward. That could include Thrillster (8), Aristocratic Miss (10, Peaceful (11) and Anjana (12).

However they sort themselves out, unless something totally unexpected happens, this race should be run at no faster than below average speed with a faster rating last 600m.

Early Pace Rating: Moderate to below average

Late Pace Rating: Above average to solid

Best Suited: Lead to 2.5 lengths off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on exposed form, a rating of at least 95 will be needed to be anywhere near the finish in this race. The winning mark could push as high as 98-100

Race Assessment

5. Smart Melody: Forecast 98-100. Assessed: $2.30

She was very good winning the Thousand Guineas Prelude last start. She had to do a bit of work early to find her position and never really got a break with solid sustained speed through every section. She was still able to show a nice turn of foot up the straight to put the race beyond doubt and although getting tired over the final stages she still had a length in hand. This race should be run at a much softer speed and she’s going to find her position without doing anywhere near the same amount of work early. That reserved energy will make her acceleration more effective when called on and should also mean she has no problem getting the 1600m. With clearly the best ratings and the prospect of getting the best run in the race she has a rock-solid profile with betting appeal.

1. El Dorado Dreaming: Forecast 95-97. Assessed: $8.00

Her 95 rating first up behind Smart Melody is competitive here and she showed as a 2YO that 1600m is no problem. This race won’t be run as fast though so that has certainly played a role in my assessment.

4. Thrillster: Forecast 94-96.5. Assessed: $8.00

She was a huge run in the Thousand Guineas Prelude sitting wide without cover in a solidly run race and still finishing off, running Smart Melody to a length. A repeat of that 96.5 rating would make her very hard to beat in this, but she did overachieve that day relative to her 14/1 SP and history shows that is a very relevant factor when forecasting what a horse will do next start.

7. Amphitrite: Forecast 93-95.5. Assessed: $16.00

Was an impressive Edward Manifold winner last Saturday, showing a strong sustained last 600m sprint. She’ll need to improve again to win this, but a new peak is certainly not impossible.

11. Anjana: Forecast 93-95.5. Assessed: $19.00

She showed good improvement last start when 2.2L behind smart Melody providing some sign that she may be able to recapture the form she showed as a 2YO that had her as a potential Group 1 filly. She may just appreciate the step up to 1600m here and it would not surprise to see her run a very good race.

2. Fiesta: Forecast 92.5-95. Assessed: $21.00

She’s a super consistent filly but needs to find a length or two to get in the finish of this race.

10. Qafila: Forecast 91-94. Assessed: $26.00

She’s been running on well from a long way back and looks set up to run to a new peak here over 1600m from a softer barrier draw. It wouldn’t surprise if she ran a good race here.

15. Mirette: Forecast 91-95. Assessed: $31.00

Her Benalla maiden win showed that she’s a city class horse, but this is a massive jump up in class, especially from a wide draw. It will be interesting to see how she measures up.

3. Seabrook: Forecast 91-94. Assessed: $51.00

Two runs so far this prep raise serious doubts whether she’s come back with the same level of talent we saw as a 2YO.

8. Krone: Forecast 89-92. Assessed: $51.00

Solid LS in the Edward Manifold, but was beaten 1.8L and this race is a couple of lengths stronger.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Smart Melody at $2.40+ (stake 1.7% of your total bank.)

3:30pm Caulfield R6 – 1400m 3YO

The Track

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

With generally fine weather leading into Sunday we should get to a Good 3 surface. I expect the track to play well without any significant pattern.

Speed and Tactics

The pace looks likely to be at least genuine here with Tavisan (10) almost certain to press forward, while Native Soldier (16) doesn’t look to have much choice but to press forward or risk travelling wide or back near last.

With enough others inside them likely to be working to hold positions not too far from the lead we should see a good speed and perhaps a slower rating last 600m. That will give every horse a chance.

Early Pace Rating: Genuine or better
Late Pace Rating: Moderate to below average
Best Suited: Lead to 4 lengths off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on exposed form a rating in the 93.5 to 95 range at the weights to be carried will be needed to get in the finish. The final winning mark will be potentially higher if one or more of the fancied runners can go to a new peak.

Race Assessment

10. Wagner: Forecast 94 – 96. Assessed $6.00

A very interesting runner for James Cummings down from Sydney. While his two wins this preparation have been in midweek grade, the quality of his figures suggest he’s right up to a race like this and he’s now put together two consecutive rating improvements, which shows that he’s really on an upward spiral. From barrier 7 he should end up with a good run around midfield and looks right among the leading contenders at a good value price.

4. Good n Fast: Forecast 93.5 – 96. Assessed $6.50

He was good first up making up plenty of ground from a long way back, running the best last 800m and 600m rating in the field. A better draw could see him settle a touch closer and he certainly has the ratings to win

14. Declarationofheart: Forecast 92.5 – 95.5. Assessed $7.00

He’s the lightly raced improver with just 3 starts under his belt. His 4th to Brutal last start had good merit and he looks to have new rating peaks to come. However even allowing for some of that improvement and the prospect of a good run from barrier 2, I can’t get him anywhere near the $4.40 he is in current markets. He was beaten 1L by Good N Fast last start and while he may have covered a little more ground in the run, he did have the benefit of a first up run, where as Good N Fast was off a spell. I don’t see how there can be so much gap the other way between them in the market.

11. Tavisan: Forecast 92 – 95. Assessed $11.00

His last two runs behind Encryption and Brutal have had plenty of merit and he’s almost certainly going to appreciate stepping out to 1400m. He’ll be up on the pace and could prove very hard to get past.

3. Native Soldier: Forecast 88 – 98. Assessed $13.00

A hard horse to assess. He looked like a Group 1 horse two starts ago when he bolted in a Caulfield, in a performance that even Darren Weir said surprised him. That put the writing on the wall that he was likely to regress next start and that’s exactly what he did. That big win would certainly win this race, but every one of his other 7 career starts are comfortably below the standard needed.

2. Long Leaf: Forecast 91.5 – 94. Assessed $14.00

Prepared to forgive his LS on heavy. Prior was a very good first up run over 1100m and he showed as a 2YO that 1400m is no problem. He could be a big improver in this race.

1. Marcel from Madrid: Forecast 90 – 94. Assessed $15.00

Will be suited by the 1400m and does have a rating from his Morphettville win in May that can be competitive here, but he needs to find around 2 lengths on his form this preparation to reach that.

6. Ragged Rascal: Forecast 90 – 94.5. Assessed $15.00

He was big odds when he won the Heritage in Sydney last start, but there was plenty merit in the win, sprinting home in very fast sectionals from back in the field to win impressively. He’s likely to be a mile back in the run here and will need to put up a similar performance to be competitive, but I wouldn’t rule him out.

7. Thorondor: Forecast 90 – 93. Assessed $21.00

He was good last start behind Encryption, but will need to go at least 1 to 1.5L better here to get in the finish and has been up now in his first preparation without a decent break since May. That doesn’t appeal as the profile of a horse that can run to a new peak.

8. The August: Forecast 90 – 94. Assessed $21.00

He was plain last start in his lead up behind Brutal after a very good run behind Native Soldier prior. From a good draw he could make sharp improvement and run a competitive race, but it’s hard to be confident.

12. Fighting Harada: Forecast 90 – 94. Assessed $23.00

He’s been luckless in recent runs and is certainly better than his form reads. However, this is another step up in class

5. Vassilator: Forecast 87 – 92. Assessed $41.00

He’s crying out for 1400m and could make significant improvement. But would need a big new career peak to get in the finish

Betting Strategy

This is a very even and competitive race with a stack of potential winners. On current market prices I’m happy to gamble on Wagner continuing his upward spiral to win this race.

BACK (WIN) Wagner at >$6.50 – Stake 0.7% of your total bank.

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.

Race Assessment

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.

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.)

Caulfield Race 5 | The Vain Stakes | 1100m G3 | 2.40pm

The Track

The track is currently a Good 3, but some irrigation is planned and there is the possibility of some overnight rain.

In all likelihood we’ll be racing on a Good 4 surface to start the day. We expect the track to race evenly without a major pattern.

Speed and Tactics

Rock Hard (4) and Tony Nicconi (5) look to cross those inside comfortably to take up the running.  High Ratio (7) will likely follow them across and could put some extra pressure into the race, but D Oliver’s style suggests he’s more likely to look for a sit off them.

Early Pace Rating: Average

Late Pace Rating: Average

Best Suited: Lead to 3 lengths off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Many of these are first up, but there’s plenty of rating references across the field in the 91.5 to 94 range (at the weights to be carried) so it’s impossible to see the race won in anything less than that.

Race Assessment

6. Tony Nicconi: Forecast 93 – 95. Assessed $2.10

Was very impressive winning on debut by 4L in good time by 2YO standards. His rating gives him a clear edge over this opposition and I like the combination of the early speed figures he showed in that run back to 1100m here off a freshen up.

4. The August: Forecast 90 – 92. Assessed $6.50

Has won two from two with ratings that can win this race. If he can hold the box seat then that will certainly help his chances, but if he can’t then barrier 1 is likely to become a disadvantage.

1. Long Leaf: Forecast 90 – 91.1 Assessed $9.00

Resumes here from a heavy 2YO Autumn campaign. He’s been very consistent around a rating level that is very competitive, but may need a slight new peak to win.

5. Native Soldier: Forecast 88 – 91 Assessed $11.00

He showed talent when 2L 3rd to Written By in the BD Prelude, but a hot speed did suit that day and it’s not Weir’s style to have them at their peak first up. He could win, but looks under the odds to me at $5.00. Happy to risk.

2. Ollivander: Forecast 89 – 92 Assessed $12.00

Resumes here and his early rating in December 2017 / January 2018 can be very competitive in this. He’s a longshot that could run well.

3. Rock Hard: Forecast 88 – 90 Assessed $16.00

Has won three from three in easier grade but needs a big new peak to get to the winning standard of this race.

7. High Ratio: Forecast 84 – 88 Assessed $67.00

Had every chance in a midweek last start. Yet to get anywhere near the winning standard of this race.

10. Taxi: Forecast FS Assessed $81.00

First starter – would be a surprise.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Smart Melody at $2.40+ (stake 1.7% of your total bank.)

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Other Resources

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