TRB Race Assessments

The Rating Bureau is Australia’s leading supplier of horse racing data, software and analysis. TRB’s WFA Performance Ratings are an industry leading assessment of horse quality.

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Check out the Hub weekly for their race assessments right throughout the Spring Carnival.

Latest TRB Race Assessments

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Flemington Race 8 | The Emirates Stakes | 2000m Open WFA G1 | 4.55pm

The Track

The track should race as a good 3 with a sunny 25c forecast.

The rail remains at 3m from Oaks Day and there’s no reason to expect it won’t play evenly again.

Speed and Tactics

There looks to be good potential genuine speed here. Gailo Chop (9) and Cliffs Edge (10) should press forward and both have run along at genuine speed in recent starts.

One or more of It’s Somewhat (11), Samovare (13) and Folkswood (15) could also press forward.

Early Pace Rating: Genuine to Above Average

Late Pace Rating: Moderate to Below Average

Best Suited: Lead to 4 lengths off.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on the lead up form of contenders, a rating of at least 102-104 will be needed to figure in the finish.

There’s often a perception that horses coming through the Cox Plate into this race may have already peaked and are perhaps a risk in this race, but the G1 WFA championship has proven to be the dominant form line.

8 of the last 9 winners of this race have come through the Cox Plate. Up until 2016 they did it on a 7 day back up, but the change of programming now places this race 14 days after the Cox Plate. Last year we saw Awesome Rock come through the Cox Plate to win this race 14 days later.

Since 2008, the Cox Plate has provided 88.8% of the winners of this race (8 out of 9) from just 27% of the runners.

If you had proportionally bet every horse out of the Cox Plate into this race during that time then you would have made +108% POT.

Race Assessment

3. Gailo Chop: Forecast 101 – 105. Assessed $5.00

He ran fairly in the Cox Plate, but many past winners of this race have done the same. His prior win in the Caulfield Stakes returned a 105 rating that could win this race and prior to that he went 103 in the Underwood behind Bonneval. That’s the best recent form of any horse in this race and while there’s that uncertainty about bouncing back from last start, this is a race where every other horse has one query or another over them and the market is offering the right price to take a gamble.

7. Folkswood: Forecast 101 – 104. Assessed $5.50

He was good in the Cox Plate, rating 103, consistent with his prior Cranbourne Cup win. The wide draw and structure of this map makes it very awkward for McEvoy, but on talent he’s right up to winning this race.

15. Cliff’s Edge: Forecast 99 – 102 Assessed $7.00

This is a step up on his recent races against 3YO’s, but on his speed related measures and dropping down to 51kg @ WFA here he’s capable of giving plenty of cheek from up near the lead.

4. Tosen Stardom: Forecast 100 – 102 Assessed $8.00

He was plain LS in the Kennedy Mile, but his 102 rating Toorak win and the prospect of settling closer here from a good draw bring him into the race with a competitive chance.

1. Happy Clapper: Forecast 100 – 102. Assessed $9.00

He was okay in the Cox Plate which is the right lead up for this and on talent his 104.8 peaks at 1600m are right up to this race. The query is how he’ll go at a genuinely run 2000m? His past runs in those conditions have rated lower.

10. Gingernuts: 99 – 102. Assessed $18.00

He won the ATC Derby in the Autumn but it only rated moderately and there has been nothing happen since then that has made me question that. His runs in NZ this prep have been okay, but certainly not of this standard so I can’t see why he’s $6.00 in the market for this race? If he can come here, settle well back in the field and then explode to a big new peak to run them all down then all credit to him and I’ll certainly be proven wrong (not the first time), but I can’t possibly find him as anything but a longshot in this race.

2. It’s Somewhat: Forecast 98 – 102. Assessed $26.00

His two ratings this prep are well below the standard need to win this race. His Doncaster Peak could be very competitive but he got away with a slow pace on a bias track that day and this race will be nothing like that.

11. Odeon: Forecast 98.5 – 100. Assessed $31.00

He won well on Cup Day, but this is another big step up.

Betting Strategy

This is an open race with a number of competitive chances, so I don’t want to get too deeply involved. Gailo Chop was just fair last start but the Cox Plate is the right form line and his prior ratings can win this, so I’m happy to gamble on him at a good price.

 BACK (WIN)  GAILO CHOP – Bet to WIN at >$5.00 – Stake 0.8% of your total bank.

Flemington Race 7 | The Melbourne Cup | 3200m Open G1 Hcp | 3.00pm

The Track

Tuesday is forecast to be a cloudy 14c. Even if they start the day at a Good 4, the track should be racing as a Good 3 by Cup time.

Speed and Tactics

This looks likely to be an even to genuinely run 3200m. Single Gaze (11), Cismontane (17) and Gallante (18) should press forward and it wouldn’t surprise to see Marmelo (16) tag along with them.

There may also be a surprise or two with the one or more wide drawn international runners being positive from the start.

Early Pace Rating: Genuine

Late Pace Rating: Below average to moderate

Best Suited: 3L to 7-8L off the lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on lead up form and the prospects of different runners improving into this rate, a rating of at least 107 will be needed to be somewhere in the finish. The winning mark is likely to be in the 109-110 range, which would be consistent with the last two years, but just below the 10-year average.

Race Assessment

5. Marmelo: Forecast 105 – 110. Assessed $5.50

He looks to profile ideally for the Melbourne Cup. He’s a lightly raced stayer still on the improve and before arriving in Australia he won the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) in France, a race previously won by Americain (2010) and Protectionist (2014) before they came to Australia and produced eye catching runs at their first Australian start… and then went on to win The Melbourne Cup. Marmelo’s Caulfield Cup run was outstanding. He was a mile back in the run and clocked excellent sectional ratings over the final 800m (the best of any horse on the day at Caulfield) to hit the line powerfully.

On a day where on pace / close to the fence was an advantage at Caulfield, he ran on wide in the straight and made up more ground from the 600m to finishing line than any other horse at the meeting. The combination of his quality overseas form and that excellent lead up run at Caulfield and step up to 3200m sets him up perfectly to run to a big new peak in this race. I’d expect him to settle no worse than midfield in this race and from that position he looks enormously hard to beat. It’s an open race, but he’s clearly on top.

7. Johannes Vermeer: Forecast 105 – 109. Assessed $8.00

His two runs since arriving in Australia have been terrific and suggest he’s right up to the standard needed to be super competitive in a Melbourne Cup with just 54.5kg. He was a strong closer in the Caulfield Cup and while he’s not yet proven at 3200m, I think that angle is a little bit overplayed. We obviously don’t know for certain, but the fact that he ran the 2nd best rating last 800m of any horse on Caulfield Cup day says there’s no obvious reason to doubt him. From a good draw Melham should have him forward of midfield

2. Almandin: Forecast 105 – 109.5 Assessed $9.00

He’s looking to go back to back and was right on track before a moderate last start run in the Bart Cummings. That presents some uncertainty, but on his prior win in the JRA (which was one of the most impressive across the entire carnival) he would be right in the finish of this race and it’s worth noting the Williams camp did produce both Efficient (2007) and Green Moon (2012) to win off moderate lead up run. Don’t discount the reigning champ!

13. Big Duke: Forecast 104 – 109. Assessed $13.00

He looks the best longshot in this race. I would have preferred a much better lead up run, but there were some excuses in the MV Cup, which was run at a moderate tempo and he was unable to build momentum and get clear at the crucial stage. Prior to that he was tracking perfectly for the Melbourne Cup and on those ratings, he only needs to improve another 1 to 1.5L to be right in the finish of this. Another appealing aspect to his form is that his run in the 3200m Sydney Cup earlier this year was very good, making up a stack of ground in a genuinely run, fast time race. The only query over him is that last start run, but if there’s a trainer you can be willing to forgive a moderate last start run, it’s D K Weir. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Big Duke run a terrific race.

3. Humidor: Forecast 101 – 112. Assessed $13.00

His Cox Plate run was outstanding, a big new career peak at the elite G1 WFA level. On that performance along he’d be a dominant favourite in this race, but the big query is 3200m. Weir is confident he’ll run it, but there’s not a lot in the profile of his sectionals to generate the same confidence. In three 2400m runs so far, there may have been some excuses, but he’s hardly created the impression that he can get a strong 3200m, let alone be suited by it. He’s also run in both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate before this race so you have to question whether he’s had his grand final already in the Cox Plate. I’m stuck in the middle with him, on talent and form quality it would not surprise one bit to see him win this race, but there’s a few niggling doubts.

20. Wall of Fire: Forecast 104 – 108. Assessed $16.00

He profiles well here as an overseas runner with the right type of international form, who has come to Australia and produced an eye-catching lead up run, in this case in the 2400m Herbert Power. It’s the same race Protectionist produced a similar run in before blowing the field away in the 2014 Melbourne Cup. Wall of Fire will need to make significant improvement from the Herbert Power (as Protectionist did) but that’s certainly a possibility.

23. Amelie’s Star: Forecast 103-108. Assessed $18.00

Her win in the Bart Cummings carried forward to this race with just 51kg puts her at a rating of 106.7 and she does have a 108 from earlier in her career at 2400m when under the care of P Moody. That suggests she has the talent to be very competitive in this race, it’s just a matter of whether she can bounce back from the Caulfield Cup where she was ridden upside down and beaten 5.5 lengths. It would not surprise me if she went close in this.

21. Thomas Hobson: 102-107. Assessed $21.00

He’s an international runner without an Australian lead up, so I have to be against him (there have been 93 since Vintage Crop for zero winners.) On his best ratings this year he can certainly be very competitive, so that deserves respect, but I’ve been dodging these types as betting prospects since 2004 and it has served me well.

22. Rekindling: Forecast 101 – 106. Assessed $26.00

He’s a northern hemisphere 3YO that certainly has the right form / ratings for this race but he comes here without an Australian lead up run (negative) and he’s already had a long season up in the Northern Hemisphere. That raises a concern about whether he can turn up here and run to the peak needed to win the race, especially as a young, smaller than average horse up against a large field of seasoned stayers. 2018 might be his year for this race.

15. Boom Time: Forecast 100 – 106 Assessed $31.00

His longshot win in the Caulfield Cup puts him at 106.3 for this race, which can be competitive, but he had plenty in his favour that day and will need a new peak to challenge for a win in this. I wouldn’t rule out that possibility, but he deserves to be a longshot chance.

9. Max Dynamite: Forecast 100 – 107 Assessed $34.00

His run here two years ago when 2nd to Prince of Penzance would be very hard to beat, but he’s only had four runs in between and hasn’t run anywhere near the figures needed to be competitive. He also comes here without an Australian lead up run.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Marmelo – 50% of your total race outlay – to WIN (Stake 0.7% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)

 BACK (WIN) Johannes Vermeer – 35% of your total race outlay – (Stake 0.5% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)

 BACK (WIN) Big Duke – 15% of your total race outlay (Stake 0.2% of your total bank if working from a dedicated betting bank.)


Caulfield Race 8 | The Caulfield Cup| 2400m G1 Hcp | 4.30pm

The Track

The track is currently a Good 3 (rail +6m), with 16c forecast on Saturday.

Expect the track to race very evenly, with ground on the fence to 5-6 horses out perfectly fine. Race pace and position will be far more influential in results than the track itself.

Speed and Tactics

This looks likely to be a genuine (or faster) run Caulfield Cup. Sir Isaac Newton (17) has been noted as going forward by team Williams and that looks the key to a genuine speed. Marmelo (10) is likely to also press forward with Jon Snow (6) and possibly Single Gaze (12). The likes of Boom Time (3), Johannes Vermeer (2) and Ventura Storm (4) will look to hold positions in the first 4-6.

Early Pace Rating: Between above average and just above average
Late Pace Rating: Average
Best Suited: Lead to 5L off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

A few of the key contenders here are coming off moderate last start run, but that aside, it looks a very solid Caulfield Cup. The winner will need to rate at least 107 at the weights and more likely in the 108-110 range, which fits right with the 10-year average for the race of 108.7

Race Assessment

3. Johannes Vermeer: Forecast 107 – 110. Assessed $3.50

He burst onto the scene as a Cup contender with an outstanding 2nd last Saturday behind Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes. With other top chances coming off moderate last start run, Johannes Vermeer brings clearly the best last start rating into this field and it’s reasonable to expect he can improve with the benefit of that run last week. He comes into this race with a last start figure of 108.2 at the weights, comparing well with Jameka in 2016 who came into the race with a 108.6 last start figure and Mongolian Khan in 2015 who came in with a 107.6. Like Johannes Vermeer, both of those Caulfield Cup winners had clearly the best last start rating for the race. It’s interesting to see the similarities with Mongolian Khan who came off the Caulfield Stakes on the 7-day back up with a very similar overall rating and final 200m sectional profile to Johannes Vermeer. While his last start run may have come as a surprise, the quality of the figures, 7-day back up and prospect of an ideal run just off the lead present Johannes Vermeer with imposing credentials for the Caulfield Cup. He’s clearly the one to beat.

15. Harlem: Forecast 103 – 110. Assessed $7.50

He was plain last start behind Amelies Star, but his prior win over 2000m at Caulfield returned a figure that can definitely win this race with just 51.5kg. There has to be a query if he can get back to that form, but there was no fluke in the quality of the win and Hayes has an outstanding record putting the blinkers on in staying races, like he has with Harlem here. He’ll need some luck in the run from barrier 1, but could end up following Johannes Vermeer.

1. Humidor: Forecast 104.5 – 109 Assessed $8.00

Another that looked right on track to win this before putting in a well below par run behind Winx last start. He’s been set for this race all along so if Weir can get him back to his best then there is absolutely no doubt he can win. I do have a concern though about his tendency to hang in, which was there again last start.

11. Bonneval: Forecast 103 – 109. Assessed $12.00

She looked very hard to beat in this after winning the G1 WFA Underwood, but was then plain behind Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes. She’s also had a cloud over her about lameness, but she’s been passed fit, so I’m not factoring that in at all. The biggest worry is how far back she’ll get in this field. Working through her figures, she’s going to need to improve a few lengths to give some of these a decent head start and run them down. Even allowing for some improvement, I can’t assess her any better than a $12 chance (currently $8.)

2. Marmelo: Forecast 102 – 108. Assessed $14.00

Overseas visitor targeting the Melbourne Cup and his best figures are clearly in the 2800-3000m distance range. However, he can race forward and has staying talent so it would not surprise one bit if he was very competitive.

16. Amelies Star: Forecast 103 – 107 Assessed $15.00

Has been building perfectly this preparation, which led to a good win in the Bart Cummings last start. Her rating from that run though is still around 1.5L below the standard needed to win this and she did enjoy a perfect trip. Barrier 13 and her likely position in the run is more challenging here, but the Weir factor could also see her improve a little more. She’s not hopeless but I can’t get her any shorter than $15 and the market is currently $9

4. Jon Snow: Forecast 103.5 – 105.5. Assessed $18.00

He’s racing well, but recent figures are still around 3L below the standard needed here. I’ve been optimistic with improvement for this race which he’s been set for all along and I still can’t mark him any better than an $18 chance. That’s much longer than the $11 currently on offer.

7. Ventura Storm: Forecast 102-107. Assessed $23.00

He’s been racing okay this preparation and on his overseas peaks he could be right in the finish. However, he hasn’t done quite enough in his lead-ups for me, so he’s hard to like.

14. Abbey Marie: 102.5 – 105 Assessed $23.00

Was sound enough behind Gailo Chop last start and barrier 5 here stepping up to 2400m could allow her to settle a couple of lengths closer and run to a new peak. She’s certainly a longshot but it wouldn’t surprise if she was thereabouts.

9. Inference: Forecast 102 – 105 Assessed $26.00

Has been running soundly in WFA lead up races. He could be thereabouts, but needs to find another 3 lengths to be in the finish.

13. Boom Time: Forecast 100 – 105 Assessed $51.00

Ran well in a very fast Herbert Power last Saturday. Less pressure here could see him improve, but he’ll need a big spike to get in the finish.

Betting Strategy

The credentials Johannes Vermeer brings to this off his last start run are imposing and he’s a standout for me. Harlem is the other that appeals at a value price in current markets so I’m happy to play him for a smaller profit.

A race like this should see nice prices bet on the exchange in the 30 minutes leading up to the race.

 BACK (WIN) Johannes Vermeer at >$3.50 – Stake 1.2% of your total bank.

 BACK (WIN) Harlem at >$7.50 – Stake 0.3% of your total bank.


Moonee Valley Race 7 | Manikato Stakes | 1200m G1 WFA | 9.30pm

The Track

The track is currently a Good 3 (rail true), with 26c forecast on Friday (mostly sunny).

Expect the track to be in terrific condition and race evenly, with the pace of each race far more influential than the track.

Speed and Tactics

Expect Vega Magic (3) to be ridden with intent (unlike The Everest) with Hey Doc (9) and possibly Super Cash (8) pressing forward from out wide. Malaguerra (11) may try similar, but there’s some query about whether he still has the early pace and the prospect of doing too much early work may put Oliver off.

Even with a couple of wider drawn runners going forward, they don’t look particularly fast early, so the pace seems likely to be even at best.

Early Pace Rating: Below average to average

Late Pace Rating: Average to above average

Best Suited: Lead to 3L off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on lead up form, a rating of at least 104 and perhaps as high as 106 will be needed to win. A number of the runners in this race have yet to reach that level at any stage in their career.

Race Assessment

2. Vega Magic: Forecast 105 – 107. Assessed $1.90

Ridden terribly in The Everest (back, wide, over-racing, then running on in the worse part of the track) he did an amazing job to finish second beaten just 0.8L. That run showed he’s right up to his earlier wins in the Spring which rated in the 106.5-107 range, which is comfortably clear of the others in this race. From Barrier 3 I’d expect Craig Williams to ride him like the best horse and either lead or at the very worst end up 1 x 1 outside In Her Time. He’s impossible to fault in this race and rightfully a dominant top choice.

9. In Her Time: Forecast 103.5 – 104.5. Assessed $7.00

She returned with a new career peak first up and then backed it up against last start. Those two x 104.5 ratings are clearly the next best form in this race and from Barrier 2 she should only be one pair back from the lead. If Vega Magic leads she’ll get the chance to follow and peel off his back. If a horse like Super Cash or Hey Doc crosses to lead then she may need some luck and could potentially be held up.

1. Chautauqua: Forecast 101 – 104 Assessed $11.00

He’s racing OK, but some stiffer competition this prep, travelling at a slower early speed than usual and perhaps the effects of age has meant that he’s not been as effective. He’s impossible to like here, but has been finishing off his races well so he’s still certainly some threat.

8. English: Forecast 98 – 104. Assessed $17.00

She was great behind In Her Time two starts ago but then plain in the Everest. The talent is there to be super competitive, but consistency is not her strong suit.

10. Viddora: Forecast 100 – 102.5. Assessed $21.00

She’s a very consistent Mare, but looks a level below needed to win this race.

6. Voodoo Lad: Forecast 97 – 101 Assessed $34.00

He was solid enough in the Moir Stakes, but 100-101 is around his performance range and that’s well short of the standard needed here. Barrier 1 does him no favours either.

4. Hey Doc: Forecast 96 – 101. Assessed $34.00

Freshened back from the 1600m Makybe Diva Stakes. He’s maxed out at a 101 rating though and this doesn’t look the scenario he could explode to a new peak.

11. Super Cash: Forecast 98.5-100. Assessed $34.00

She has a one-off spike of 104, but the rest of her form is well below that level and her first up win only hit 98.5. Hard to like.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Vega Magic at >$1.90 – Stake 2.1% of your total bank.

Caulfield Race 8 | The Caulfield Guineas | 1600m G1 | 4.30pm

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 (rail true), with 20c forecast on Saturday (mostly sunny)

Expect the track to race very evenly, with ground on the fence to 5-6 horses out perfectly fine. Race pace and position will be far more influential in results than the track itself.

Speed and Tactics 

This looks likely to be a fast run Guineas. The Mission (11) was responsible for a near record pace in the G1 Golden Rose back on 23/9 and then set another fast pace at Moonee Valley in the Stutt Stakes on 29/9. It would be a surprise if he can cross from a wide draw and then steady to run even splits.

On the inside, Showtime (1) raced just off The Mission in the Stutt and set a fast pace over 1400m prior to that at Flemington. Throw in Perast (2) and potentially Sircconi (13) following The Mission across and it’s hard to see anything but a strongly race that will be a serious test of 1600m.

Early Pace Rating: Between above average and fast
Late Pace Rating: Slow to moderate
Best Suited: 3L to 6L off lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

Based on the exposed form of the main chances, a rating of no less than 97 (at the weights) will be required to win this race and we are more likely to see the winner run to a new peak in the 98-100 range. There’s quite a long tail in this race with many of them yet to get anywhere near that mark.

Race Assessment

16. Catchy: Forecast 97 – 99. Assessed $3.70

Although beaten in two of her three runs this preparation, she’s been gradually improving her ratings with each run and looks set up to run a new peak here. Her 3rd in the Thousand Guineas prelude had a stack of merit. Settling too far back off a moderate pace with 58.5kg (a big weight for an early 3YO filly), she showed an excellent turn of foot between the 600m and 200m (a sign of her class) and then kept coming over the final stages to finish just 0.5L from Booker. She recorded the best rating last 600m speed rating of any horse at that star-studded Caulfield meeting, a top effort carrying +8.5kg over WFA. Even in her 2YO days she always appealed as the type of filly that could be better as a 3YO over more distance and that’s exactly what she gets here. From barrier 3 I’d expect her to end up in the ideal settling range of 3 to 5L from the lead in and while she’ll need some luck in running, the fact that a few of these will start to struggle inside the 400m should open up some gaps for Zahra to weave through. It’s very rare for a 3YOF to tackle the boys in the Caulfield Guineas, but it may end up a masterstroke by the Hayes & Dabernig team as Catchy presents with some very appealing figures and looks the one to beat.

11. Kementari: Forecast 94 – 98. Assessed $6.00

His 2YO win back in May 17 showed he had the talent to be a Group 1 winner and while his two runs this prep haven’t been anything to rave about, they look to have set a perfect platform for this race. Barrier 10 and the map looks to present a tactical challenge for lane, but a genuinely run 1600m looks the type of scenario that could see Kementari run to a new career peak. If he does that he can be right in the finish.

6. Royal Symphony: Forecast 93 – 98.5 Assessed $6.00

He was poorly suited by the way the Caulfield Guineas Prelude was run (slow speed 800m-400m) and there’s no doubt he has the talent to win this race. The concern again is how far back he’ll get. The pace will be suitable this time so he can certainly win, but I can’t see any value in the current $4.00 – $4.20 market price.

7. Gold Standard: Forecast 93 – 97. Assessed $9.00

He hasn’t run since the Golden Rose where he was 4th, but did beat Perast home 1.8L and that horse came down to Melbourne to win the Guineas Prelude at his next start. Prior to that Gold Standard ran a competitive rating for this race when he was a dominant winner of the Stan Fox. While maybe lacking the potential class of the top chances, his overall form / ratings measure up as competitive and he is one that looks certain to get an ideal run in the race.

5. Showtime: Forecast 91 – 96. Assessed $15.00

Won a fast run Stutt Stakes last start and while he needs to make further improvement to win this, he has at least proven he can cope with a high-pressure 1600m and has run a time rating that is somewhere in the mix. It wouldn’t surprise to see him progress off that last start win and run well here.

8. Perast: Forecast 92 – 95 Assessed $17.00

Won the Caulfield Guineas Prelude last start, but I feel he was flattered there getting away with a very soft speed from the 800m-400m and just dashing home up the straight, which disadvantaged those behind. A strong run 1600m is an entirely different scenario here so I have to be negative on him, all be it he’s not hopeless in the race.

9. Sanctioned: Forecast 91 – 94. Assessed $31.00

Drops back from the 2000m Spring Champion when running on okay from a long way back. He’s likely to be a long way back again though and while a strong pace should suit, it’s hard to see him sprinting home over the top of a horse like Royal Symphony.

13. Salsamor: Forecast 90 – 94 Assessed $41.00

Ran on well to finished 2nd in the Stutt Stakes, but was ideally suited back off the speed and this is much harder. He’s capable of improvement, but the step to actually winning is likely to be too large.

12. Eclair Sunshine: 88 – 95 Assessed $51.00

He announced himself as a contender this Spring when a close 2nd to Royal Symphony at Flemington, but was then poor last start in the Guineas Prelude and ran more like his Flemington SP of 60/1 indicated. A wide draw doesn’t help his prospects here.

14. Levendi: Forecast 88 – 92 Assessed $51.00

Totally unsuited in the Guineas Prelude and he is an improving type, but the step needed to win this looks too large.

15. Holy Snow: Forecast 89 – 92 Assessed $67.00

Ran on well in the Stutt Stakes but this is much harder and he’s likely to be a mile back in the field again.

17. Mighty Boss: Forecast 88 – 92 Assessed $67.00

Had every chance in the Stutt Stakes last start and could only run 1.6L 4th. This is much harder.

Betting Strategy

On current prices Catchy looks a nice betting prospect in this race with what looks to be some hidden merit in the quality of her figures and the potential to run to a new career peak over 1600m.

 BACK (WIN) Catchy at >$3.70 – Stake 1.1% of your total bank.


Caulfield Race 7 | Blue Diamond Stakes | 1200m G1 SW G1 | 4:05pm AEDT

The Track

The track is currently a Good 4 with the rail out 3m.

There’s a 65% chance of a shower sometime from Saturday morning through to early afternoon. If that arrives it should keep the track in the Good 4 range, otherwise it’s likely we’ll get to a Good 3 by race time.

The track is likely to play evenly, with ground from the fence to five horses off suitable to run on in the straight.

Speed and Tactics

Ennis Hill (4) ran a big new peak leading last start so Baster should be positive on her early. There are no obvious other front runners in the race, but plenty that “could” be attempt to go forward. Assuming the emergencies come out, the likes of Grand Symphony (5), Crossing The Abbey (8), Lady Horseowner (10), Encryption (12) and Written By (14) can add early pressure to the race. In such a large field it’s almost certain they’ll end up running along at least a genuine early speed, making this a solid test of 1200m.

Early Pace Rating: Genuine

Late Pace Rating: Below Average

Best Suited: All horses will get their chance

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

This is one of the more even Blue Diamond’s in recent memory, with lower rating lead up form than we typically see. At least an 89 rating at the weights will be needed to win, with new peaks most likely pushing it to the 90-92 level.

Race Assessment

1. Long Leaf: Forecast 88-90. Assessed $6.50

He’s unbeaten in three starts with his last two ratings right up to best in the lead up to this race. He’s had the perfect preparation in a stable that has won this race six times before, maps well settling forward of midfield and has a top class, big race jockey in K McEvoy riding. It’s impossible to knock him.

6. Encryption: Forecast 88-90. Assessed $6.50

He looks the big value in the race to me. The race won by Ennis Hill at Caulfield in the lead up was very strong on the clock, run in good time by 2YO standards with strong closing sectionals, backed up clear margins back through the field. Encryption’s rating from his 2nd placing in that race is right up to the leading chances here and we’ve already seen the form hold up well with Prairie Fire (3rd) winning last Saturday and improving his rating by around +1.3 lengths. Encryption gives the impression he’ll be better suited going to 1200m and holds as much potential as any of these to improve to a new peak for this race. Barrier 12 (after emergencies come out) looks awkward, but the perceived disadvantage is drastically overrated at Caulfield. History shows that in big fields, wide drawn runners actually have a much better winning strike rate than those drawn inside. It’s difficult to be confident of actually winning, but Encryption stands out as a great value hope at a longshot’s price.

13. Ennis Hill: Forecast 87-90. Assessed $8.50

She brings the best lead up rating into this race courtesy of her last start win over 1000m at this track. She did control the race at a moderate speed (which adds merit to the overall time run), but her speed over the last 100m wasn’t great. That could mean she’s a risk going to a more genuinely run 1200m or that she was short of fitness and will peak here at a rating level that can certainly win this race.

16. Oohood: Forecast 86-88.5. Assessed $11.00

She’s hasn’t had much luck in two runs this prep, but that’s the risk with her get back run style.  The way she’s finishing off says 1200m is ideal and barrier 10 is a nice draw at this track & distance in a big field.

8. Plague Stone: 86-88. Assessed $13.00

Running second in the BD Prelude is a good reference for this race and his run had merit after covering ground out wide (all be it just one turn in Caulfield sprints.) The figures from that race weren’t terribly strong, but there’s no doubt he’s been set to peak here, so he’s in the race among the better chances.

11. Kinky Boom: 86-88. Assessed $13.00

Boom horse that was visually impressive on debut, but it was a weak race and the figures were nothing to get excited about. With this filly it’s all about her potential to improve though. It would not surprise at all to see her win but I don’t see her as a betting prospect.

2. Written By: 86-87. Assessed $14.00

He won the BD Prelude which is naturally the dominant lead up form for this race. The figures on the clock weren’t great though which as me questioning the form a little. That said, in a race where there is no standout strong form, he still fits among the bunch with some chance.

4. Prairie Fire: 87-88. Assessed $15.00

Ran 3rd to Ennis Hill / Encryption before coming out to win the Talindert last Saturday. I like that he’s on a upward spiral of improvement heading into this race, but barrier 1 looks a clear negative. He doesn’t have great early speed and in a large field like this, being buried back on the fence means you need a significant amount of luck.

5. Ollivander: 84-87. Assessed $26.00

He was terrible last start behind Written By, but prior to that had form / ratings around Long Leaf and did win over 1100m at this track. He’s not the worst.

12. Lady Horseowner: 85-87. Assessed $26.00

She definitely needs to improve on her two ratings so far, but they’re at least somewhere close enough that says the task isn’t impossible. She’s a longshot that could run into a place.

Betting Strategy

This is a super competitive race with a stack of potential winners.

Encryption stands out as clearly the best betting value to me, but as a $6.50 chance he’s still only around a 15% chance to win.

If he runs as well as I expect then I want profit from that opinion, not lose simply because he went close but didn’t win. With that in mind the best play here is to definitely back Encryption for the win & place.

 BACK – ENCRYPTION – Bet to WIN at > $6.50 Stake 0.5% of your total bank.

 BACK – ENCRYPTION – Bet to PLACE at > $2.50 Stake 1.5% of your total bank.


The Track

The track is currently a Heavy 9 with a further 20-30mm of rain forecast on Friday and 10-20mm of rain on Saturday. The track will race as a very heavy 10. The rail is out 3m from last Saturday’s meeting which was conducted on a Soft 7 track.

That rail position is still likely to leave at least 3m of ground on the inside of the straight showing wear and tear from last week’s meeting. That could result in horses away from the fence being better suited. We’ll be monitoring early races to confirm one way or another.

Speed and Tactics

This looks likely to be a solid to fast run Golden Slipper courtesy of Houtzen drawn in Barrier 16 (comes into 14 assuming the emergencies come out). She has run along at above average to fast speed at every start so far and it’s very likely she’ll do that again here. We don’t expect she’ll have much trouble crossing the field, but it will be very tough for her to then back off the pace to anything below a solid level.

Others such as She Will Reign (13), Teaspoon (14), Madeenaty (9) and Diamond Tathaga (7) can all be thereabouts in the run, but Houtzen will be the one controlling the pace.

Early Pace Rating: Solid to fast

Late Pace Rating: Moderate to slow

Best Suited: 2 to 6 lengths off the lead.

WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark

This year’s Golden Slipper lacks depth at the top end compared to years gone by and as a result the winning standard will quite possibly end up lower. Typically, we would expect the winner to run to a WFA Performance Rating of around 95.5 to 96.5 at the weights carried (103-104 normalised to WFA) but this year’s race looks more likely to be won at somewhere in the 93 to 94 range.

Race Assessment


History is against Blue Diamond winners completing the double, but this is an unusual year as mentioned above and the gap to the Golden Slipper is now shorter. Catchy was outstanding in winning the Blue Diamond, coming from a long way back off an unsuitable moderate pace and clocking a very powerful last 200m rating as she attacked the line. Had the race been run at more genuine pace she would have won by further and come into this as a clear favourite. The key here is that she’s certain to get a more genuine pace courtesy of Houtzen and that looks a scenario that could bring out her absolute best and push her to a new rating peak. Barrier 8 looks ideal, it should see her settle 4L to 6L off the lead at the 600m and within striking distance as they turn for home ready to unleash her powerful finish. The wet is an unknown but there have been multiple wet track Slipper winners come into the race without a run in the conditions, so there’s no reason to be put off by that factor at all. Catchy has a super competitive overall rating for this race and most importantly has the best late strength profile and that could be the key factor at the end of 1200m on very heavy ground. She looks the horse to beat!


She was super impressive in her first three career wins, before having her colours lowered by Frolic last start on a very heavy track at Randwick. There were some genuine excuses for that defeat and while the loss is factored into our assessment, the level of overall talent she has displayed so far must still be the key factor. There have been plenty of Golden Slipper winners that came into the race off less than a peak rating at their last start.


She’s unbeaten in four runs so far and could not have been more impressive in those victories. She’s run the overall time figures to win a Golden Slipper and it would be no surprise if she did that here. However, the concern is just how fast she’ll go early in the very heavy conditions and how that may leave her vulnerable at the end of the 1200m trip. She had to cross from wide in the Magic Millions and led at a fast pace… and while the win was very impressive, Chauffeur did almost run her down after cruising along back in the field and then just running home in a similar speed rating to his first section. He’s not in the same class as her, but the fact he ran her to half a length has to raise some concerns about her vulnerability with superior horses chasing her home in the Golden Slipper. That’s even more relevant in the very heavy conditions which will be more physically taxing compared to 1200m on a good track.


Ran well to finish second in the Blue Diamond behind Catchy after travelling wide, although it should be noted the pace was moderate and there was only one bend. It’s hard to think he could beat her home on talent, but that’s not the only factor that determines the outcome of races. If he gets the right trip and handles the ground better than others, then he can certainly be a factor in the finish.


Finished 2.5L behind Catchy in the Blue Diamond before coming to Sydney last week to win the Magic Night stakes by 1.8L. On that run she’s capable of being competitive in this race and showed last week that she can handle at least Soft 7 ground.


His debut win and then very unlucky defeat behind Pariah two runs ago stamped Menari as a real Slipper contender, but he was disappointing in the Todman Stakes last start on a very heavy track at Randwick. That’s hard to turn around for this race, but he definitely has the talent to be right in the finish if he can produce his best.


Started big odds when he won the Black Opal, but he produced some very good figures off a moderate pace. The wet track and more solid tempo here are big changes to that run, but if he handles those conditions he’s capable of being thereabouts.


He was the run of the race in the G2 Todman last start, when just nosed about by Gunnison. There was a bit to like about the figures out of that race and we know that he gets through very heavy ground particularly well. He’s not hopeless here and it wouldn’t surprise us if he ran into a placing. His biggest challenge will be not getting too far back early.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Catchy at $4.60+. Stake 1% of your total bank

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