Ascot Preview 4/12

I haven’t even looked at the first four races so this preview is for R5 to R9.

R5 I thought SOLAIA was the best value bet all day in a very open race. She was very unlucky first up being very wide throughout, in a race where a couple of others struggled to obtain winning runs in the straight. She has beaten Kissonallforcheeks and Western Empire and she should get a nice run in the race. Very hard to choose between the rest of these but barrier suitablility probably suggests that the favourite COMFORT ME and MASSIMO are the ones to beat. VALOUR ROAD does meet most of these way better off at the weights than in the Railway where he had no luck at all. Had he drawn an inside barrier today I’d be a lot keener on him.

R6 I really dislike these three year old races from an analytical perspective but I think STAY SAFE is the logical pick given it comes out of a stronger race and would be top weight had this been a handicap. That gives him the edge I feel over LIWA who should have won last start. This type of race is bread and butter stuff for the Bob Peters owned Pink and White so you have to respect REAL DANGER who ran on very well last start in a career best performance. Pike has his work cut out aboard though from a wide barrier. Other than Stay Safe only ACEFIRE is sure to run the 1400m so should be respected off two consecutive wins. On paper though most of these would have won like it did last start. I’m not interested in betting here

R7 Both SHEZA CHALMER and BRIGHT DIAMOND were very unlucky last start and given they have drawn ideally it’s hard to leave either one out of the Quaddie here. I have a preference for the former who is in the same stable as the very unlucky Winterbottom runner Cup Night. The value horse might be LA FAROLA though. It won on the same day these other two competed in a different race and the race time was very similar. She drops 3kg though and the others don’t. The inside barrier is probably her concern though given she drew wide last start and got a long way back.

R8 Probably only three horses can win this and the market says only one can. WESTERN EMPIRE is clearly the one they all have to beat but he does go up 5.5kg and has an outside barrier. Plenty of speed in the race might negate that factor though and Pike is going to be on high alert. This is the acid test for the horse but he does look something very special. He probably has to be to beat the three year old filly SEARCHIN’ ROC’S getting 8.5kg off him, and taking on a Group 1 Eastern States winner in REGAL POWER. Three of the past six editions have been won by three year old Fillies and although her time last start leaves a bit to be desired it was actually quicker than Kay Cee and Perfect Reflection did in winning the same race before being victorious in this. She should get the ideal run in transit and I’, expecting her to run 1800m given her sire won an Australian Cup at 2000. Other than being certain to run the distance Regal Power doesn’t have a great statistical reference here but he has won a barrier trial in preparation and you would expect Pat Carberry to follow Willie Pike every where he goes. I’d rather back SR Each Way and see if she can cause an upset, rather than back a $1.35 favourite.

  1. WESTERN EMPIRE
  2. SOLAIA
  3. REGAL POWER

R9 I found this nearly impossible to be honest but was on DOWNFORCE last week off a decent run behind Comfort Me. He was never in the race but did run on okay suggesting a mile would suit. And this is an easier race with a 2kg claim making this a winnable one for him. BENJI’s is probably the interesting one with Blinkers going on. He is a big horse who should have benefited off a first up run. It seems the trainer has always aimed high with him and he has run some respectable races against decent opposition, without flattering himself. Drawn to run very well. Hard to pick between the two Bob Peter’s horses EXPRESSIONIST and MEMORABLE MISS. Pike chose the former but he latter drew better. The interview I just saw with Willy Pike suggested he is reasonably keen on the chances of his mount. I jjust thought DOWNFORCE was the value runner in the race thouigh anything could win this without surprising.

Winterbottom Stakes 2021

Below are the last 14 winners of this race (with their Age. Gender and Barrier Draw) which became a Group one race in 2011. Prior to 2006 there were some very notable winners though and many of us who have been around a while will remember the likes of Marasco, Miss Andretti and Ellicorsam, all of whom were prolific winners and did come East and taste success subsequently.

2020 ELITE STREET 4G (12)

2019 HEY DOC 6G (13)

2018 VOODOO LAD 7G (13)

2017 VIDDORA 5M (7)

2016 TAKEDOWN 4G (8)

2015 BUFFERING 8G (8)

2014 MAGNIFISIO 5M (10)

2013 BUFFERING 6G (8)

2012 BARAKEY 5G (9)

2011 ORTENSIA 6M (2)

2010 HADABECLORKA 9G (5)

2009 ORTENSIA 4M (5)

2008 TAKEOVER TARGET 9g (1)

2007 GLORY HUNTER 5G (6)

  1. All of the past 9 winners have drawn barriers 7-13 and only one horse has won inside barrier 8 in the past ten years. The last three winners have drawn 12-13.
  2. Five of the last Eight winners sat first or second in the run, and one other was further forward than midfield (Magnifisio).
  3. Seven of the last Fourteen winners (50%) have been aged six or over,and three of those have been eight and nine year olds Ten of the twelve have been aged five or over. That is quite an odd statistic for a Group one sprint.
  4. Seven of the past Fourteen editions have been won by an Eastern States galloper.
  5. Six of last Seventeen have been won by a Mare or Filly (Female). Celebrity Queen went close last year and perhaps was a little unlucky.

This has also been quite a good race for long shots or at least those at double figure odds particularly when there hasn’t been a high class and obvious Eastern States sprinter. The last three winners have started $31, $13 and $13 with the 2010 winner Hadabeclorka going around at at least $41 ( I got way better than that from memory). Takedown started at $9 along with Glory Hunter, and the mare Magnifisio was victorious at $7.50. So perhaps value is the way to go this year too? I have a couple in mind.

Analysis;

I won’t be previewing every horse here but just hope the winner comes from this list.

ELITE STREET- He is the horse they all have to beat given his form this preparation. In fact he has never really looked like getting beat in all three runs and that is rare to say with a horse that generally gets back in his races. I don’t know if he is any value however and I’d be slightly more confident if the race was less than 1200m. Yes he did win this race last year but there were a few unlucky runners that day. Drawn perfectly and the race shape should really suit him today. No real knock but I just think he is more of a $3.20 chance. That ironically might eventuate.

RED CAN MAN- Better suited second up and at 1200m. Can make his presence felt from up on the pace but generally seems to find a couple too good for him at this level.

LAVERROD- He is one that seems massively overpriced to me. He ran as well as you could have expected last start behind Elite Street when trapped wide and exposed for the entire race. His first and second up record read two wins from twelve and his 1200m record is nearly flawless from and Each Way perspective. Third up he can peak and it did take him a little while to his his straps in Melbourne during the Autumn when he eventually put two decent wins together. The second of those was with 60kg in fast time. He probably needs to find three to four lengths improvement to win this but he is the type that could with better fitness levels and he should get the ideal run in a midfield position from a decent barrier. Class is probably the big question mark but he can at least fill a place if he peaks today.

INDIAN PACIFIC- Group 1 placed in Melbourne over the Autumn and hard to ignore his strike rate. Trainer often produces an upset and he is a horse that makes his own luck. Statistically the freshen up could be the key today but you’d probably have like to see him draw a lower barrier.

CUP NIGHT- I’ve loved his two trials this time in and I think the wide barrier is ideal for him today given he is a big horse. He’s a horse that has apparently had his fair or misfortune (and injury) and because of that has been targeted at this race rather than the longer races this Spring/Summer. He ran similarly to Elite Street in the Roma Cup last preparation and he probably wasn’t 100% that day either. I think he has the necessary class and is one of the few horses that represent value in the race.

STAGEMAN- This horse is nearly always a hard luck story and that was the case last start and in this race last year. Drawing wide is probably advantageous for him so he will get his chance today. Elite Street does seem to have his measure overall but at 1200m with the right run this horse could possibly turn the tables. Pike has preferred the stablemate Graceful Girl but probably best not to read too much into that given her form and the barrier draw might advantage this horse more. I think he is very good value today also.

I SEERED I SEERED- Worth noting he had no luck at all last start and he has drawn to advantage today. The negative is he meets Elite Street 2kg worse off and the 1200m in this class might be too much of an ask.

GRACEFUL GIRL- She ran on hard at the finish last start and is probably better suited at 1200m than Elite Street. The problem is she meets him 3kg worse and has a very wide barrier to contend with. She might get too far back today and almost certainly will be giving Elite Street a start. Interestingly her Dam Avenida Madeiro won two decent sprint races from very wide barriers and was runner up in this. She has also produced LONG BEACH who isn’t absolutely hopeless in this race either.

WILCHINO- This mare is a stablemate to Elite Street and is low flying at the moment with six wins in a row. We know she is good enough given the effort Of Graceful Girl two weeks ago as she left that mare in her wake two starts ago, albeit GG was unlucky (but wouldn’t have beaten her at 1000m that day). She drops 3.5kg off her first win at 1200m last start and the only query is how she handles that trip against this class. She was tiring late last start but that was also the case at 1000m the previous start. Pressure up front might be the deciding factor in her chances but she has proved she can cope with that. Great chance of winning today with the inside barrier actually looking an asset. She has also been heavily backed and seems very under the odds right now.

Summary;

I’ve been keen on CUP NIGHT at odds for weeks since I saw his second trail this preparation. The second one was even better and his form looks good enough overall. Unlike most of the Group class sprinters in Perth this spring he hasn’t had an opportunity against Elite Street yet. If he can reproduce his trial form today then he seems tremendous value. Hard to knock Elite Street and Wilchino (excepting the odds) and the odds of Laverrod make me enthusiastic about his chances. . My first Four;

  1. Cup Night
  2. Elite Street
  3. Wilchino
  4. Laverrod

Railway Stakes 2021

Valour Road- 4-1/6 on Soft tracks. Only 1/11 Springtime but 5/10 Autumn/Winter. 3/4 fourth up. 1/1 distance and might be looking for a mile now. Barrier makes it tough.

Massimo– Hard to fault strike rate and in good form for new stable. Barrier should be no issue for him as he should be leading or right on pace. Has won 1650m with 60kg, and best run last preparation was over a mile behind Valour Road beaten less than a length.

The Velvet King– Has a habit of missing away nowadays which cost him last start. 1/13 with 58kg+ so lower weight here is a bonus. Best form is below a mile and on Soft tracks.

Dance Music– Barrier makes her task harder and not well weighted against horses who have better form. 8-7/18 this track. Never won third up.

Too Close The Sun– Overraced and failed first up but 4-1/6 second up. Ran second in this race last year. Only 1/8 at this track and best form statistically is at 2000m+. Also has better stats from wider barriers. Inside barrier though ensures it will be on the pace.

Comfort Me– All wins with 8-14 days between runs. Trainer has won this race before. Class the big question mark and a mile in this class is problematic perhaps. Barrier does him no favours.

Dig Deep– Not won beyond 1500m and no wins from nine starts in Springtime. All wins from barriers 1-6 a positive. 0/7 with more than three weeks between runs. Not much suggests he can win.

Kaptain Kaos– Visors go on. Meets KOAFC 2.5kg better for defeat last start when maybe not the best ride ,race pattern. Does tend to get back in his races. Last start actually an improvement on previous meeting with same horse where he was beaten further at level weights. 1/1 at distance and first go backing up.

Kay Cee– Failed this race last year but had 3kg more and not ridden by Steve Parnham. Was an eyecatching finish late last start though well beaten. Perfectly drawn and has had wide barriers only two starts this preparation. WFA winner as a 3yo and could be set to peak here. Has been out of form for some time but apparently she has had niggling issues since her Lee-Steere win last year and is now injury free and back to her best according to trainer.

Kissonallforcheeks– Chris Parnham choice for race. Lowest weight ever carried. One run at a mile a failure on Heavy going but last run indicates no issue. 1/1 fifth up but first go backing up. Dam was 5-2/8 when backing up and had multiple wins at 1600m. Record actually better when been drawn outside barrier 6. Does have two victories over Western Empire and ridden upside down when well beaten against it two starts back.

Naughty By Nature– Seems to prefer Belmont (3/5) but 2-2/4 at a mile. Only 1/11 below a mile. Any rain would be beneficial but best win was on a dry track at 2000m. 4-2/7 third and fourth up and ridden upside down last start. First ride for new jockey. Perhaps a place chance at big odds?

Notorious One– CJP preferred stablemate Massimo? Would have needed run last start and could be looking for a mile now. Seems to do a bit wrong in his races and that might count against him at this level. Drawn well but might have preferred more galloping room.

Platoon– Not a bad run in this race last year and third (when backing up) the year before (career best when 4th up from a wide barrier which is the same scenario here. Ridden upside down last start. 1/20 beyond 1400m. Hard to get warm about him from a wide barrier but excuses last start when game enough and he could run a placing at big odds.

Son Of Bacchus– Probably tested class wise but did run well against KOAFC last week. Strike rate only fair. First time he has carried less than 54kg and did win backing up three starts ago. Well drawn to run a career best.

Tellem We’re Comin– Record at this track is ordinary but 4/7 at this distance. 8 of 9 wins with William Pike aboard. Blinkers go back on and has won all three starts when they have been applied. Much better record at Belmont albeit a lot less starts. First ride aboard for Troy Turner. Meets Kaptain Kaos 3.5kg better for 1.75L defeat at Northam. Would be a shock if he won but the blinkers haven’t been on since first start this preparation when placed in a WFA race.

Western Empire- So impressive last start and that made it 5 wins in a row. Pike is going for four wins in a row in this race and he looks the best chance of all of those winners on paper pre race (odds suggest that). This time last year he looked the three year old that could go on to win this race twelve months on, though he did lose his way a bit late in that preparation. Very hard to knock him but interestingly he is 0-3/4 in fields of 11 or more runners. He is 6/7 with less than 10 runners. Pike will be under enormous pressure to ensure a trouble free run here but there is no better jockey to rise to the occasion. Probably a little bit unders at odds on though. I’d say $2.20 is a fair price given this is a Group 1.

Media Baron- Seems outclassed if he does get a run. His best stat is 5-1/9 at distances 1500-1600m but he hasn’t run a single placing in 13 starts this time of the year.

Analysis;

It might be a case of only bad luck beating the favourite Western Empire here in this big field but the odds aren’t attractive at all since he is second up in a big field and 1600m might be short of his pet distance (mother won a Perth Cup at 2400m).

Kay Cee appeals a little with her 53kg if she can indeed return to her three year old form. She has drawn well to run a big race at big odds and was charging late last start. Kissonallfourcheeks is probably the main danger on paper to the favourite and the backup form of her Dam is very encouraging. Just wish she had drawn out a bit further. Massimo is a bit hard to knock the way he is going for his new stable and with his overall career strike rate. He is as hard as nails and will be making his own luck most likely in front of the favourite. Kaptain Kaos is an up and comer who gets a gear change and should improve off his last run given the break between races If you give KOAFC a hope then he has to be one too. Platoon looks a place chance at big odds and who knows what might happen here given the favoured pair have drawn inside? Tellem We’re Comin is the intriguing runner. Not much going for him apart from the distance and the fact he has Blinkers going back on (3/3).

Melbourne Cup 2021

No exhaustive historical or otherwise study from me this year. I think the race has got the better of me over the past four years. Just a top four with reasons given.

  1. INCENTIVISE– I find it hard not to pick him given I thought the handicapper would give him 58kg, and he only has 57kg.. Might And Power was a younger horse and given a 4kg penalty out of his Caulfield Cup, yet this horse only gets a 1.5kg rise in weight as a five year oild. Not to mention he had won two G1 races preceding the Caulfield Cup, whereas Might And Power had only won his first. At distances over 2000m this horse is 4/4 with a combined winning margin of over 34 lengths. We have never seen the likes of it before coming into this race not to mention he is going for ten wins in a row here. I Don’t think the weight or distance will beat him. The only query for me is can he go to the well one more time? This horse was beaten 18 lengths in a Toowoomba Maiden on March 27 this year, yet here he is seven months later as a resounding Melbourne Cup favourite. What’s a fair price? I’d say $3.25.

2, SIR LUCAN– Recent history suggests he will go close to winning this being a Northern Hemisphere three year old with 50kg. His form overseas ties in well with Cox Plate winner State Of Rest, and it seems he has settled in well here, inportantly injury free and moving well. His ill fated full brother Sir Dragonet debuted here to win the Cox Plate last year with the same jockey aboard, and then ran a respectable race in this race (needed a wet track which he didn’t get). He has been getting too far back in his races overseas and the advice to G.Boss has been to be more positive in this race early. His run in the Great Voltigeur at York almost mirrors that of 2019 winner Cross Counter who carried 1kg more to victory here.

3. SELINO– I think he is the best ‘super roughie’ in the race. It appears he is next to useless on wet tracks, yet his dry track form reads 3-5/11. His form at 2800m and above reads 3-3/7 and his fifth up from a spell record is 2/3 (he is that here). His run two starts back was very good behind Grand Promenade (giving him 3kg) and you just have to forget his Caulfield Cup run where the track was too wet and the distance was too short (actually came back in trip 100m). Jockey Ron Stewart reunites in a similar scenario to the Sydney Cup in the Autumn, which this horse won after being 3 wide from the 1000m mark. He has two placings behind Spanish Mission in England at level weights so could be competitive with that horse here with 3.5kg less. Each Way @ $67.

4. TRALEE ROSE– Found her best form last start in the Geelong Cup where she had a beautiful run in transit off a fast pace. Arguably the runner up Dr. Drill had a sweeter run though ,and absolutely looked the winner, yet she held him off and was drawing away on the line. That run might have done her the world of good as she isn’t used to winning in that fashion. For instance she won here over 2800m in January by 7 lengths. Most of all I’m encouraged by the time she ran at Geelong. Since Media Puzzle broke the clock in 2002 running sub 2 minutes 26 only one winner has been quicker, Prince Of Arran in 2019, on a drier rated track. He nearly won the Melbourne Cup that year (might have been stiff not to), and we all know Media Puzzle blized it in his year. She drops more weight into this than both of them, so her prospects look excellent if she can repeat that last run.

Caulfield Cup 2021

Historically it’s quite a difficult race to assess but the last 18 winners have been aged 4-6 and 12 of those 18 have drawn a single figure barrier. If my memory serves correct 6 of these winners ran first 4 in the ATC Derby in the Autumn, and that race would still, in my opinion be the best long term guide to his race. As is so often the case in races at Caulfield it is advantageous to be somewhere near the pace, especially on the turn. And if not, a rails run on straightening can be a winning move (Tawqeet 2006, Diatribe 2001, Boom Time 2017).

2020 Verry Eleegant

2019  Mer De Glace

2018   Best Solution

2017 – Boom Time

2016 – Jameka

2015 – Mongolian Khan

2014 – Admire Rakti

2013 – Fawkner

2012 – Dunaden

2011 – Southern Speed

2010 – Descarado

2009 – Viewed

2008 – All The Good[1]

2007 – Master O’Reilly

2006 – Tawqeet

2005 – Railings

2004 – Elvstroem

2003 – Mummify

2002 – Northerly

Four of the past Twelve winners were having their first start in Australia and Five of Twelve had their last start overseas (Dunaden had won the Melbourne Cup the previous year). All The Good, Best Solution, Mer De Glace and Verry Eleegant had won their prior race. In fact Four of the past Five winners won their previous start.

  • Seven of the past 12 Caulfield Cups have been won by Australian or New Zealand-trained horses, five of which had their final lead-up run in the Turnbull Stakes;
  • 13 of the past 32 Cup winners have come via the Turnbull, nine of which finished top three.
  • Boom Time won in 2016 a week after finishing third in the Herbert Power Stakes, just the third horse to win the Cup out of the Herbert Power in the past 30 years;
  • Mongolian Khan also won the Cup on a seven-day back-up, out of the Caulfield Stakes, and is the only horse since Mummify (2003) to do so; and
  • Favourite backers had a super run between Taufan’s Melody and Boom Time, with half of the 16 editions between 1999 and 2016 won by the favourite; and
  • Between 1978 and 1998 just three favourites were successful and seven winners started $21 or longer including three at $51 or better.
  • Unlike most handicap races the higher weighted horses have a better strike rate in this. Mer De Glace, Best Solution, Dunaden, Admire Rakti, Fawkner, Viewed and Verry Eleegant carried 55kg or more to win in recent times.
  • Between 1988 and 2007 just three horses won with more than 54.5kg, but eight of the past 12 have been won by horses carrying at least 55kg; and
  • 52.5kg is the most successful weight in the past Twelve years with three wins, while  Boom Time had 52kg.in 2016.

Winning barriers have also been shared around in the last thirteen editions with six winners starting from the inside half of the field and the other seven starting from 10 or wider.

  • In the past 30 years, gates three, seven and nine are the most successful Caulfield Cup barriers with four wins a piece; and
  • No horse has won from barrier one since Velocity in 1941.
  • Four-year-olds are the most successful age group in Caulfield Cup history with Best Solution, Descarado, Southern Speed, Mongolian Khan, Jameka and Mer De Glace horses of that vintage to have won in the past decade. They have a better than 50 per cent record since 1988, having won 17  of the 33 editions;
  • Six-year-olds have been the equal-most-successful age group in the past Thirteen years with four wins

Caulfield Guineas 2021

Saturday sees the running of the 2021 Caulfield Guineas a Group 1 set weights race for three year olds. First run in 1881 it has an amazing honour roll of winners that includes the likes of Surround, Luskin Star, Manikato, Red Anchor, Mahogany, Redoute’s Choice, Lonhro and  Weekend Hussler. In this preview I am primarily looking at the last Twenty winners back to 2001 in the quest to help us find the winner of this years edition. Below are the those horses with their barrier draw, lead up run, jockey and starting price;

2020 OLE KIRK (7) 1st Golden Rose- Rosehill W.Pike $4.20

2019 SUPER SETH (4) 5th Guineas Prelude Caulfield M.Zahra $7.50

2018 THE AUTUMN SUN (5) 1st Golden Rose 1400m Rosehill J.Macdonald $1.73

2017 MIGHTY BOSS (5) 4th Stutt Stakes M/Valley 1600m M.Walker $101.00

2016 DIVINE PROPHET (1) Second Stan Fox Stakes Rosehill 1500m D.Dunn $7.00

2015 PRESS STATEMENT (14) First Stan Fox Stakes Rosehill 1500m H.Bowman $2.50

2014 SHOOTING TO WIN (8) First Stan Fox Stakes Rosehill  1500m J.Mcdonald $7.50

2013 LONG JOHN (1) Third (0.9L)Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m K.McEvoy $3.75

2012 ALL TOO HARD (3) Fourth 3L George Main Stakes Randwick 1600m D.Dunn $12

2011 HELMET (5) First Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m K.McEvoy $2.10

2010 ANACHEEVA (1) First Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m L.Nolen $6

2009 STARSPANGLEDBANNER (1) Fourth (0.6L) Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m D.Nikolic $13

2008 WHOBEGOTYOU (11) First Bill Stutt Stakes M/Valley 1600m M.Rodd $3

2007 WEEKEND HUSSLER (4) First Sandown 3yo Open 1400m B.Rawiller $1.90

2006 WONDERFUL WORLD (8) First Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m L.Nolen $6.50

2005 GOD’S OWN (12) Second (0.1L) Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m G.Boss $7.50

2004 ECONSUL (4) Sixth (3L) Stan Fox StakesWarwick Farm 1400m C.Munce $41

2003 IN TOP SWING (4) Second (2L) Guineas Prelude Caulfield 1400m N.Callow $21

2002 HELENUS (7) First Bill Stutt Stakes M/Valley 1600m S.King $4.25

2001 LONHRO (10) First Stan Fox Stakes Randwick 1400m D.Gauci $7

Pertinent statistics;

A) 16/20 drew barriers 1-8. Looking back to 1995 those same barriers have provided 29 of the last 35 winners (82%) so it is advantageous to draw favourably in this race. 12 of the last 18  winners have drawn barriers 1-5 which is a 66 % winning ratio. 4 of the last 9 winners have drawn barrier 1 and. 8 of the last 11 winners have drawn 1 or 5, quite a statistic

B) 8/20 ran in Guineas Prelude prior and one other (Helenus) ran a close third in the Guineas Prelude before winning the Stutt Stakes prior to this race.  5/16 came out of the Stan Fox Stakes in Sydney including 3 of the past 5  winners. The programming for that race was changed last year though to be 5 weeks prior to the Caulfield Guineas, hardly ideal from a historical perspective,

            C) 19 of 20 winners had less than a sixteen day break between runs.

D) 11 of 20 won their last start, and a further 7 finished in the first 4 placings last start. 18/19 finished within three lengths of the winner. Super Seth the odd one out last year.

E) 7 of 20  won their last start by more than 2 lengths

F) 11 of 20 were in the first four horses turning for home. Those that have come from well back in the field have generally had a class edge (Whobegotyou, Helenus) or produced a freakish effort to win (Lonhro, God’s Own, Super Seth). Divine Prophet was close enough to the leaders when he won, and got a great rails run. Mighty Boss two years ago also got a dream rails run.

G) 12 of 20 started their Caulfield Guineas preparation in Sydney

H) 16 of last 19 winners had 3 starts or more in their current preparation prior to winning this race. The Autumn Sun two years ago did not, but he was a class above the rest and started odds on. Ole Kirk didn’t either but he also won the Golden Rose prior.

I) .6 of last 10  winners came via Sydney from a distance ranging from  1400m-1600m.

J) 4 of the last 7 winners (and 5 of last 7) have come out of a race at a distance of more than 1400m.

K) The better performed Autumn 2yo’s from the Golden Slipper or Blue Diamond just don’t tend to win this race. Not one on the above list were prominent in either race, or the leadups to them which is quite damning.

L) 7 of the last 12 winners have Danehill (Sire) lineage.

I) The Hawkes stable has won three of the past nine editions ,and Sydney based stables have won seven of the past ten.

Average starting price $13.00 is more than you should expect from a set weights race. But it tells you something about the unpredictability of three year old races at this time of the year, where all are open to huge improvement, and many trainers are yet to find out what is the best distance for their horse.

Race Speed;

There does look to be enough speed in this race to give every horse it’s chance in theory. The likes of Lightsaber (needs to cross and will probably lead), Mr Mozart, Alpine Edge, Zerelle and possibly Tiger Of Malay can all be on speed with Hitotsu not too far away. Interestingly only one of the aformentioned has drawn an awkward barrier so there are a few on pacers here who shouldn’t have to work too hard to maintain a position. That could be a telling factor at the finish as it is generally a race that suits a horse that is up on the pace.

Analysis;

I don’t really want to spend too much time on assessing form here and would rather let the history stats speak for themselves. And it has been a good race over the years to do just that. I don’t think there is too much doubt that ANAMOE is the best horse in this race, with ARTORIUS not far astern. But the market reflects that a little too much in my opinion as both horses don’t really fit the winning profile, Anamoe because of the barrier, and Artorius because of his racing pattern (barrier might be a bonus despite that). Yes, they are the best horses in the race but Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper form in the Autumn hasn’t provided the winner of this race since 1999 if my memory serves correct, and how much better are they is the question (i’m guessing 1-2 Lengths) . If this was Randwick or perhaps Flemington at 1600m, then you’d be confident one or the other could win. The fact it is this race, and it’s at Caulfield probably means they have to have everything go right to win. Do note that Artorius has a gear change of Cheekers though. That could be very beneficial for him. For that reason I’m looking to these as being value hopes;

ALPINE EDGE- He had no luck last start, bottled up for a run in the straight and he couldn’t get a clear run. I’m not totally convinced he would have won had he got out but he would have finished a lot closer. You can line his form up with Anamoe/Artorius here through Brisbane filly Startantes. She was beaten 2.89 lengths in the Golden Rose and only just beat Alpine Edge with 4kg less at Doomben in August. That comparison puts him right in this race from a good barrier. My nagging doubt is his ability to run 1600m (breeding doesn’t suggest so) and the Blinkers are going on which might not make that task any easier. 2009 winner Starspangledbanner had a very similar profile though before winning this running a close fourth in the same lead up race and not having breeding on his side.

LIGHTSABER– He has drawn a bit awkwardly but is a go forward horse which gives him the opportunity to overcome it. It seems very likely he will run the mile out here and the most interesting statistic for him is that he is unbeaten 4/4 beyond 1200m on dry tracks. His only failure ( a really bad one) was on a very wet track in Sydney in the Sires, but I think you have to put a line through that. He could be the one they all have to beat here providing the surface is dry and he can find the lead or sit second.

MR MOZART– Is in the right stable and already has a victory over Artorius when weights favoured him a little. He only just got beat last start in the Stutt Stakes and realistically if you watch that race he would have won had he not had to work a little early from his wide barrier. That and the fact he had to come three wide on the turn was easily the difference between winning and losing. So we know he can run the distance and he is going to get a good run in the race. Yet to race on a wet track but he has the breeding to suggest any surface is okay for him. Great chance at a great price.

FORGOT YOU– His barrier is so bad I was initially prepared to leave him out but I’m not too sure he can be ignored. He has hit a massive flat spot before the turn before winning his last two starts so had he drawn inside here would probably struggle to get mobile before the turn. He is going to need clear galloping room and a fast pace up front to bring the leaders back to him, but I think on balance he is twice the price he should be. In fact on his win two starts back (incredible effort) you could make a case that he is the best horse in this race. He is the only horse to win at a mile and is unbeaten 2/2 beyond 1400m. One to watch especially in view of the Derby and even the Cox Plate. He faces a task historically from that barrier but his winning form coming in is a positive in that regard.

HITOTSU– This is possibly a bridge too far for him off an obscure preparation but he did win last start, has had a stable change, and the time was okay. The runner up has won since and he does have good draw which gives him some hope if he can improve again. By the champion Japanese miler Maurice so he should appreciate this distance.

TIGER OF MALAY– The inside barrier brings him into the race and a tight Caulfield track might be to his liking. 1600m might be ask though and he has been found wanting a little at Group 1 level. With the right run here he could look the winner in the straight and looks a decent place hope.

RIVERPLATE– Just a little mention for him though he has nothing going for him whatsoever on an historical basis. Blinkers go on and he looks as though he needs them badly. A watch of his last two races suggests he hasn’t enjoyed being near the rails or in between horses but you can see the ability is there. An outside barrier ironically is probably what ne needs and you can never underestimate this stable in big races with double figure priced horses. Untapped and could run a big race.

Summing up;

I hope I haven’t missed the winner with those mentioned above and have settled on this First 4, with the Trifecta choices all around the $15 mark, which is a bit odd.

  1. MR MOZART
  2. Lightsaber
  3. Alpine Edge
  4. Artorius

Very hard for me to leave out one of my favourite horses’ in Anamoe. If he wins it will be spectacular for sure and it could happen. Riverplate could be an interesting watch too, and I’ll be having a very small Each Way play on him.

GOLDEN ROSE 2021

Race 8 (4.05pm AEST) at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney on Saturday is the 1400m Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes for three year olds. The race was initially known as the Peter Pan Stakes and was first staged in 1992. Between that year and 2002 it was run at varying distances of 1350-1550m. It didn’t attain it’s current name until 2003, was switched from the Autumn to Spring in 2008, and didn’t achieve it’s Group 1 status until 2009. Below are the last Eighteen winners since the renaming in 2003, and below that are some historical precedents set by the victors;

2020 Ole Kirk

2019 Bivouac

2018 The Autumn Sun

2017 Trapeze Artist

2016 Astern

2015 Exosphere

2014 Hallowed Crown

2013 Zoustar

2012 Epaulette

2011 Manawanui

2010 Toorak Toff

2009 Denman

2008 Duporth

2007 Forensics

2006 Court Command

2005 Paratroopers

2004 Doonan

2003 In Top Swing

1) 15/18 won (9) or placed (3) last start. Biggest beaten margin at prior start is 3.1 lengths, which was Trapeze Artist back in 2017. 13/16 finished top 4 at their last start.

2) 17/18 winners have been a Colt or Gelding. Bearing in mind though that Fillies would always be vastly outnumbered in this event.

3) 12/18 dropped in weight by at least 1kg. 2/14 carried 1.5kg more than last start. Trapeze Artist stayed at the same weight and The Autumn Sun was

4) 10/18 have started at $6.50 odds or better.

5) 8 of the last 11 winners have been second up in their preparation and 11/18 overall.

6) 7 of last 13 winners came from worse than midfield on the turn to win.. (Exosphere came from 5th of an 8 horse field on the turn in 2015). Trapeze Artist came from 6th (field of 14) last year. The Autumn Sun came from last of a field of 9 last year. Quite odd given Rosehill is more a track that suits on pacers.

7) 7/18 trained by Darley (now Godolphin).

8) Hugh Bowman is the only rider to win the race more than once, and in fact has captured 5 of the last 18.

9) Since the race has switched to the Spring 9 of the 13  winners came into the race with Four (4) or Five (5) career starts. The last two winners have had 6+ starts

10)  8 of the past 18  have won from barrier 8 or wider, (Bivouac in 2019 started barrier 6 of 8)  so the right horse can overcome that disadvantage. Given the strike rate of backmarkers in recent times it also suggests that a high tempo negates wide barriers to a large degree.

11) 8 of the last 12  (Since it has become a Spring race) have come direct from the main lead up race The Run To The Rose. 2 others came from the Up And Coming Stakes and 2 from the 1500m Stan Fox. The programming of the Up And Coming has now changed though.  

12) 17 of the past 18 winners had been trained in Sydney and had their last start in Sydney. Only Toorak Toff came via Melbourrne but he had raced in Sydney the previous Autumn.

13) 2 of the last 8 winners had a significant gear change after being unplaced at their previous start. Both won this race at better than double figure odds (Zoustar, Trapeze Artist).

Analysis;

I’m not going to get too in depth with this one but I think historically it’s hard to go past the favourite ANAMOE here. Godolphin trained, second up, dropping 2kg off a first up win. Coming from the right lead up race, he should sit midfield or slightly worse. The negatives are his price, a possible moderate tempo, and he might not get an economical run in transit. He is the class horse of the field though (only wide draws prevented him from winning the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper) and looks the one to beat.

REMARQUE looks quite good from an historical perspective too. Hugh Bowman aboard, a gear change, and he comes out of the right lead up race. He loomed to win there but Anamoe was just too good for him. He might have needed that hitout though having missed a run leading in. His mother won a Group 1 race at this distance ,and he has drawn better than the favourite and should be in front of him in the run this time. Only having his 5th run today he probably has more upside than most of this field, and looks the type of horse that normally wins this (A limited Autumn preparation).

IN THE CONGO should get a softer lead than last start where you could argue he should have won the Run To The Rose. He was attacked there by the Golden Slipper winner but put paid to him halfway down the straight only to be a sitting shot for the winner at the death. Last 600m sectionals suggest they weren’t going that fast up on the pace, but nevertheless the co leader did finish well astern of him. On paper he looks to be the only leader in the race, and if that transpires here he may only need to run the distance out to win. Tim Clark back aboard looks a bonus.

ARTORIUS may be the only horse class wise to consider, and he should appreciate dropping in weight. The barrier looks a bit awkward for him though given the speed map, and I think he was a bit fortunate to win the Blue Diamond with the horror run Amamoe acquired on the day.

As 2yo’s the Fillies were well inferior to the Colts and Geldings and looking at recent times it doesn’t appear that has changed. JAMAEA looks the best of them but she probably needs to find a length or two to bridge the gap here, and she might not get a pace to suit. STARTANTES is an interesting runner having won her last three races in Brisbane since Blinkers were applied. On times she probably can’t win this but it might be a weak edition of this race, and she is hard fit. The draw looks awkward for her and interesting all her wins are from no wider than barrier 4.

TIGER OF MALAY, GIANNIS and ROYALZEL were all good in the Dulcify lead up but the time was a bit weak and the formline looks inferior to the Run To The Rose, given what happened during the Brisbane Winter. TOM looks the pick of them given he has drawn an ideal barrier and can race on the pace form there. He also meets the other two 1.5kg better for last start.

Summing up;

In the interests of value perhaps REMARQUE is the way to go. Bowman aboard and he can be ridden more positively today and be the one for ANAMOE to run down late. Not much between he and that horse on a historical basis but he has the Gear Change, upside and missed most of the Autumn 2yo features. IN THE CONGO also looks a winning hope if he can settle in the lead unopposed. Apparently he can get a bit too aggressive early but there is no better rider of leaders than Tim Clark who jumps aboard today.

My First four;

  1. REMARQUE (value)
  2. Anamoe
  3. In The Congo (value)
  4. Startantes (unbeaten in Blinkers and probably over the odds)

SIR RUPERT CLARKE STAKES 2021

Race 8 at Caulfield tomorrow sees the 2021 running of the Sir Rupert Clarke stakes, a 1400m Group one race that throws up some amazing historical precedents which no other race in Australia can match.

For that reason it is my favourite race of the spring. It has been quite easy to predict in recent and certainly challenges the Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane as the premier 1400 metre handicap race in the country.

YEAR HORSE JOCKEY BR SP WT Age/Sex Form, Weight Drop, Stage of Preparation

2020 BEHEMOTH (5) $3.80 60kg 5G 1st Memsie Stakes WFA. Third up.

2019 BEGOOD TO YA MOTHER (3) $3 52kg -7kg 5G 6th Memsie Stakes 1400m WFA (2.9L) Third up.

2018 JUNGLE CAT J.DOYLE (5) $13 58kg +1kg  6h- 1st Dubai 1200m G1 First up.

2017 SANTA ANA LANE D.YENDALL (6) $26 52kg- 5g- 4th (1L) M/Valley 1200m Open Listed (-3.5) Third up.

2016 BON AURUM K. McEVOY (5) $4.50 52kg- 4H- 1st  Flemington Sofitel 1400m (Open) (-2) Third up.

2015 STRATUM STAR C.WILLIAMS 15 $8.50 54.5kg 4H- 3rd Memsie Stakes Caulf WFA (-4) Third up.

2014 TRUST IN A GUST  D. LANE 9  52 $6  4H-  1st Le Pine Funeral Stakes Caul (-3.5) Fourth up.

2013 REBEL DANE   G.BOSS    14      $5.50 55.5 4H- 4th Bobbie Lewis (-2) Third up

2012  MOMENT OF CHANGE  L.NOLAN  15  $4.50 52.5 –  4G 3rd Tramway Handicap (-1.5) Third up.

2011 TOORAK TOFF C,WILLIAMS 5   $12  56.5   4H  5th Bobbie Lewis (-0.5) Second Up.
2010 RESPONSE C.WILLIAMS 5 $4.75 53.5 4M 2nd Cockram – 2nd Lets Elope (-2) Third up
2009 TURFFONTEIN G.BOSS 11 $15 55.5 5H 7th Premiere Stk-5th Bobbie Lewis ( +0.5) Third up.
2008 ORANGE COUNTY D.OLIVER 15 $9 54 6G 4th McEwen Stk-3rd Bobbie Lewis (-2) Third up.
2007 BON HOFFA V.DURIC 3 $3.80f 53 5H 1st Caul 1200m Hcp-1st Bobbie Lewis (0) Third up.
2006 REWAAYA C.WILLIAMS 1 $3.70 51 4M 14th Cockram Stk-1st Lets Elope Stk (-2) Third up.
2005 BARELY A MOMENT C.WILLIAMS 8 $8 52 4H 8th MV 1200m 1MW-LY-2nd Memsie Stk (-5.5) Third up.
2004 REGAL ROLLER M.FLAHERTY 11 $4.60 55.5 5G 4th Bletchingly Stk-1st Liston Stk-1st Memsie Stk (-2.5) Fourth up.
2003 EXCEED AND EXCEL C.BROWN 5 $7 52.5 3C 6th San Domenico-1st Up & Coming Stk-1st Roman Consul (-4) Fourth up.
2002 PERNOD K.MCEVOY 15 $12 53.5 5M 1st Cockram Stk
2001 MR. MURPHY D.OLIVER 13 $11 54.5 4H 9th Caul 1200m Hcp
2000 TESTA ROSSA B.PREBBLE 9 7-2f 58.5 4H 1st McEwen Trpy
1999 TESTA ROSSA D.OLIVER 12 5 54.5 3C 1st San Domenico-1st Up & Coming Stk-2nd Ascot Vale Stk
1998 LORD LUSKIN S.BASTER 8 33 51 6G 3rd VRC Winter Final-4th Sand 1000m Hcp-13th Bobbie Lewis
1997 CUT UP ROUGH S.KING 15 12 57 7G 3rd Manikato Stks-3rd Bobbie Lewis
1996 ENCOSTA DE LAGO S.KING 18 4 50 3C 5th MV McKenzie Stks-1st Ascot Vale Stk
1995 OUR MAIZCAY B.YORK 2 1-1f 52.5 3C 1st Up & Coming Stk-1st Roman Consul-1st Ascot Vale Stk
1994 POETIC KING D.OLIVER 2 2f 55.5 4G 1st Bletchingly Stks-3rd Bobbie Lewis
1993 BLACK ROUGE N.WILSON 8 16 52.5 5G 8th MV 1200m Hcp-4th Manikato Stk-4th Memsie Stk
1992 MANNERISM D.OLIVER 11 11-4f 56 5M 1st Let’s Elope Stk
1991 ST. JUDE B.YORK 4 9-2f 57 4H 4th Bobbie Lewis
1990 SUBMARINER D.OLIVER 4 8 49 4H 6th Caul 1200m Hcp

IN THE LAST 29 YEARS:

AGE / SEX

3C – 4 WINNERS
4G – 2 WINNER
4H – 10 WINNERS
4M – 2 WINNER
5G – 5 WINNERS
5H – 2 WINNERS
5M – 2 WINNERS
6H -1 WINNER

6G – 2 WINNERS
7G – 1 WINNER

BARRIER
(1-5) 13 WINS
(6-10) 6 WINS
(11-15) 11 WINS
(16+) 1 WIN

LAST START
13 last start winners have won
8 horses were placed at their last run
9 horses unplaced (inc 4 x 4th, 5th & 6th)

I’m utilising 31 years of data ,and remarkably 17 winners in that period have been Entires (a horse or colt, not a gelding). That factor alone accounts for over 50% per cent of winners, and over 60% of those (10) have been four years of age. There have been four 3yo Colts, and two 5yo Entires also win in this period. In the 2014 years edtion of this race there were six entires engaged, who astonishingly  finished in the first eight placings.

The other factor that has played a major factor in the outcome of the race is the leadup. The most prolific has clearly been the Bobbie Lewis Quality run down the straight at Flemington, two weeks prior). It has provided nine of the past 29 winners, including five of the last nine but none of the last 4 winners came out of that race, and a change of programming appears to now make that race far less of an influence. It is now run a week before this race rather than two and three weeks prior, as was the case.

Interestingly only one of those actually won the Bobbie Lewis (Bon Hoffa in 2007), though all bar one horse that has come out of that race (to win this), has finished in the first five placings. Four of the last five Bobbie Lewis representatives that went on to win this have been Entires, and three of those have been four year olds.

Mares do have an average record in the race with only four winners in the past 31 years, and none have come out of the Bobbie Lewis. Three of the four female winners  came via the Let’s Elope Stakes.

Barriers have played little consequence in the outcome of this race so I think it is best not to be put off by wider draws. Stratum Star in 2015 (Barrier 15), Rebel Dane in 2013 (Barrier 14), and Moment Of Change in 2012 (barrier 15) are strong recent examples suggesting that if the horse is good enough it can still win from a poor draw. And barriers 11-15 have a better record than the inside barriers of 1-5. Barrier 15 has won four of the last seventeen editions and two of the last seven..Barrier 5 has had 7 winners in the period 1999-2020. Only 7 of the past 23 winners have drawn inside barrier 5 and only 2 of the past 17 have done so.

.

The weight range 49kg-55.5kg has provided 24 of the past 31 winners which might once again help us whittle down the chances this year.

Jockey Craig Williams knows what it takes to win the race having been successful on six of the past 17  occasions (oddly all have been 4yo’s), and Damien Oliver has won the race six times since 1990. Those two have now won it a combined 11 times in the past 28 years. That is a rarity in any horse race.

10 of the last 20 winners have been four year olds, as have 7 of the last 10.

25 of the last 29 winners finished in the first 5 placings last start

18 of the last 19 winners have started at $15 or less

14 of the last 20 winners have been third up into their preparation. Four have been fourth up and one has been second up, and one has been first up.

3 of the last 6 winners have come out of the Memsie Stakes.

Former winners of this race have sired 2 of the past 9 winners. Bon Hoffa (Bon Aurum), and Barely A Moment (Moment Of Change),

The ideal candidate to win this race would have the following criteria;

  1. Aged 5 years or less
  2. Be a Colt or Horse (Entire)
  3. Have finished with a win or placing last start, or finished fourth or fifth less than 2L from the winner.
  4. Preferably coming into the race third up
  5. Dropping in weight from last start.
  6. Preferably be drawn outside barrier 4
  7. Be at starting odds of $15 or less.

Speed map;

Buffalo River probably leads from a good barrier. Poland, Groundswell and Beau Rossa can all go forward. With Streets Of Avalon now scratched the balance of power has probably now shifted to those horses that can race on the pace.  The likes of Behemoth and Probabeel can be close enough, and be first to pounce on the leaders at the top of the straight, if they get the necessary luck in running from their inside barriers.

Analysis;

BEHEMOTH– 9-4/17 inside barriers (1-6). Won with 60kg last year and t Won three in a row last Spring before tackling The Everest in Sydney Craig Williams riding in him in this race looks a massive bonus historically.

PROBABEEL– Beat home Behemoth easily in the Futurity at WFA in the Autumn here. 3/3 at this track and 11-2/14 Dry and Dead tracks. Only 1-3/6 barriers 1-6. Second up 4-1/5. Some great stats for he if the weather holds.

DALASAN– Meets Behemoth 3.5kg better for 1.8L defeat April 2020 over 1200m. 5yo Stallion in a good Stallion race. Did very little first up with the stayer Irish Flame beating him home at M/Valley. May not be quick enough for this 1400m G1 sprint.

BEAU ROSSA– Deserves to be favourite. Unlucky not to win last start and meets Behemoth 4kg better for two narrow defeats recently at level weights.. 4-3/7 barriers 1-6. Barrier 1 could be a negative but not sure if he could have won from a very wide barrier given his racing pattern. Tongue Tie On first time?

BUFFALO RIVER- Tough test at 1400m first up and needs a wet track given 0/8 on dry tracks. Meets Regardsmaree 4.5kg better for narrow defeat first up last preparation. Wasn’t too far away in G2 WFA on dry track behind Star Of The Seas. His biggest asset might be the light weight which he hasn’t experience before. 5-5/10 at 1400m and inside barrier won’t hurt. Any significant rain would bring him right into it.

SIERRA SUE– Should have won Feehan last start and would have had more weight here had she done so. Superstorm won that race but was well beaten by Beau Rossa prior. 50% win rate on left handed tracks. Came back from 1600m to 1400m off 7 day backup to win Mildura Cup easily a few starts back. Historically a poor race for Mares but she is a WFA winner recently and not too sure if many of that ilk have found themselves in this with 52.5kg. The wider barrier might actually aid her more than the three favourites who have drawn inside.

GROUNDSWELL– .0/6 at Caulfield? All wins are when $5 or less. All wins when first, second or third up and is third up in this. 5 of his 6 wins are with more than three weeks between runs.

AYSAR- 4yo Stallion suited to this race but has been very disappointing lately. Both career wins at 1300m and with more than three weeks between runs.

IRISH FLAME– Surprisingly good run first up at unsuitable distance and drops a lot in weight. Only 2/11 at distance. Best form on wet tracks and soft track might have helped him first up.1/9 second up and prefers wide barriers.

ROMANCER– 0-0/3 this track. 2/14 distance. Best form on Dead tracks. Looks outclassed but 2-2/4 with this light weight. Freshen up could assist.

SAMIZDAT– WA galloper that prefers wet tracks. Might not be a G1 standard horse. 2/2 third up and 1400m okay for him as he probably doesn’t run a mile. Barrier good for him,

AMISH BOY– Placed in a G1 race with this weight which was a career best. Wide draw does him no favours as he probably has to get further back in the field than desirable. Good run first up but had every possible favour and still got beaten, 4yo Stallion a positive though strike rate is not. Historically he has a lot going for him and the barrier is not such a negative from that stance. Only win 1200m with more than three week between runs.

DICE ROLL– Probably not up to this class although he meets Sierra Sue on same terms for beating her narrowly a few starts back. 50% win rate first up, and distance suitable. Handicapper ratings suggest he will struggle.

REGARDSMAREE– Stablemate of above and looks tested with higher rated horses carrying the same weight as him. Narrowly won off 7 day break last preparation. Good run last week when firth  beaten by some decent class horses and a big margin to sixth. Could surprise but this is a much harder race.

POLAND– 4yo Stallion with form around Amish Boy and had no luck first up when three wide the entire race. He meets that horse 2kg better here. Blinkers go back on after they were removed first up and when first applied he won. Could be a big improver here and his trip to Sydney in the Autumn could have helped him mature further. 1/1 this track and distance where he beat Amish Boy and that was his last run at this trip (2/2). I can’t see why he is four times the price of AB in some markets given he is also drawn better and can race on the pace. Needs luck from an awkward barrier

I’M THUNDERSTRUCK– Very good four year old on the up. Two starts ago he ran nearly two seconds faster than the open mares race on the same day at 1400m. The winner of that race Chassis was just beaten by Probabeel (in receipt of 4kg) recently. Cross Over Noseband went on before last two victories, and he won very easily first up a few months ago, Horror barrier but won from wide barriers at his last two starts. Horse that he beat twice (Tuvalu)  has won it’s other three career starts. Potentially the best horse in the race but set a task here with no historical precedent. His early odds of $8.50 were trimmed to $7 when he got a start. That makes no sense whatsoever given a likely pacemaker made way for him which now makes his task of winning even more difficult. More of a $10-$12 chance for mine from the barrier, but he can win for sure if he gets a fast pace up front.

Summary;

I’ve been with BEAU ROSSA since the Memsie but have to admit I’d like to have seen him with a kilo or so less weight. The fact is though he meets Behemoth 4kg better for two narrow defeats, and with ordinary luck he should turn the tables on that horse. I think $5 is acceptable given he should be a tiny bit shorter than that. The barrier might bring about his downfall but Linda Meech does also hold the aces to some extent. She just needs to be forward of both Behemoth and Probabeel with clear running before the turn. SIERRA SUE looks the weighted horse and has supreme fitness levels. A WFA winning mare in here with 52.5kg is very enticing and she is clearly double the price she should be. That part I just can’t understand. POLAND could be the real surprise packet and represents enormous value in the race. If he can get an economical run he can make his presence felt. It will be a tragic if I’M THUNDERSTRUCK doesn’t get a run. If he does I’ll certainly be on him too. PROBABEEL has some great stats for the race if the track stays dry, and how can you possibly ignore BEHEMOTH especially with Williams in the saddle? Expect AMISH BOY to be running on hard and his historical stats look as solid as Beau Rossa, maybe superior. My first 4 as the field stands.

  1. BEAU ROSSA
  2. Sierra Sue (signiificant value)
  3. Poland (significant value)
  4. Amish Boy

Makybe Diva Stakes 2021

I’m not having too much luck with these previews so far with Embracer (second), Tofane (third) and The Chosen One (third). Two of those were at good odds though and I’m hoping for some better luck this time. Not too sure this is any easier, but there is, and should be, massive interest in this race given many Cup and Cox Plate hopefuls go around in it tomorrow.

The race does seem devoid of speed and it seems as though INCENTIVISE will take up the running from his inside barrier (stable has said so), with only TOFANE and perhaps MOUNT POPA to keep him company. Perhaps IMAGING could be the suprise packet and try to lead? Given it’s wretched luck in running and poor barrier draws of late I’d be keen if I owned it especially given it’s poor draw again. In reality though this could be a difficult race for the backmarkers unless something does decide to pour the pressure on from at least the 800m mark.

Analysis;

  1. SIR DRAGONET– Class horse who won the Cox Plate on a bog last year but his first up run in the Autumn was poor on a dry track and the distance does look a too short for him first up. He did run an encouraging trial recently though.

2. FIFTY STARS– Drawn terribly and his Autumn stats are way better than this Spring ones. I thought he was terribly disappointing last Autumn anyway and even at his best I’m not sure he could beat these.

3. KEIAI NAUTIQUE– Ex Japanese horse now trained by Matthew Smith in Sydney. It just so happens he is a full brother to Fierce Impact who won this race last year in the same stable so the planet really do align here. His Japanese form is probably superior to his brother and he ran boldly at his debut run here in Sydney behind Mo’unga, flying home at the end. All his wins are at this trip and he has finished within 5L of Gran Allegria and Almond Eye in Japan at a mile. The ride wasn’t great that day either and he should have finished a length or so closer perhaps to two horses that are right at the top of the tree over there. Normcore finished over the top of him late too and she has run fourth in a HK Mile and actually won the HK Cup at Sha Tin this year. Replay here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osNVgXn00DI. His biggest issue is his get back racing style but having said that he is far and away the best value bet in this race.

4. IMAGING- He was unlucky in Sydney last start behind Mo’unga when I was keen on him. My thoughts are he is a better fresh horse though and he is probably a few lengths shy of these. Not sure where he gets to from the barrier but it isn’t likely to help his chances here.

5. MOUNT POPA– This race looks unsuitable for him too and I’d be waiting to see him over more distance under handicap conditions. Definitely a cups horse and it will be interesting to see if he can exceed expectations in this.

6. INCENTIVISE– He is the big boom horse and rightly so winning his last four races by an aggregate margin of 38 lengths which is an average winning margin of 9.5 lengths. That is not a normal occurrence which immediately makes you think this just can’t be an ordinary horse. Obviously this is a big test for him and he is hard to assess in relation to his opposition here. Zaaki is the latest WFA star in this country and he beat the Metrop winner Mirage Dancer by 11.65L in Brisbane at level weights. Two weeks later Incentivise beat the same horse by 12L when in receipt of 4kg. There isn’t much doubt Zaaki would be a hot favourite in this, His recent trial looked awesome when hard held and his owner has stated he will lead this field and win. Nothing like some heady stable confidence but it’s never easy to lead all the way over 1600m at Flemington off a break in this race. We could witness something pretty special though and it’s a matter of what odds you want to take to find out. I think perhaps $4.50 is his right price but you probably won’t get that now.

7. EXPLOSIVE JACK– Quality four year old who nearly completed a clean sweep of the Derbies last Autumn, and he did get the better of Lion’s Roar (Mo’unga form) in the ATC Derby. He also won very easily on debut at this trip. The consensus will be that he needs this run and his trial recently might back that up. He did run on quite well in it though and is completely forgotten about in this race odds wise especially given his winning strike rate. Not hopeless but could that long campaign and immense travel last preparation undermine his Spring campaign? He is an interesting watch in this.

8. JOHNNY GET ANGRY– VRC Derby winner last Spring who did little first up and this looks a bridge too far as his odds suggest.

9. AEGON- He ran very well in the Memsie first up but I personally expected that given the fresh stats he had coming in. I think he is a bit short of this class but could be wrong, and a wet track might have been his ideal scenario, His only win here was impressive but he beat North Pacific and Prime Star into the placings and those two are probably not Group 1 horses (Prime Star especially). He already has his fans for this race but I’m happy to risk him. The stable make a habit of proving people like me wrong though.

10. MO’UNGA– One of my favourite horses and he has an undeniable chance here. He probably should have won his only start here and then he was a certainty beaten second up in Sydney last Autumn. This is probably his best distance and he looks the type of horse that normally wins this, and appears to have improved physiologically as a four year old (they often do) The barrier is no help to him though and I’m just querying that Winx Stakes form a little. Perhaps the Memsie stakes form is superior? His odds look about right and overall he is a bit hard to knock.

11. COLETTE– It was a nice run from her in the Memsie but her wet track form is so superior it’s hard to really think she can win this. Her best is probably good enough though and the stable/jockey combination is flying in Melbourne at present.

12. TOFANE– Class mare who had little luck last start in the Memsie Stakes which was wholely attributed to a misjudged ride by Craig Williams. You can bet he will want to make up for that here and probably will have a plan in place. She has the ability to sit close to the lead and is most probably going to be the first to test the credentials of Incentivise. Realistically given her three time group 1 winner status she should be able to outsprint him but i guess the question mark for her is can she run out a strong mile? Breeding says yes and her only Dam won at a mile (her only win) and her half brother No Compromise has won at 2400m in Sydney. Her first up record is poor (0/6) so we can expect her to improve into this and the barrier is probably perfect for her given she is 0/7 barriers 1-3. She looks a great chance but there isn’t much of a market edge there at the moment. Breeding, barrier stats and second up stats are very much in her favour. Those are the factors I generally look to,

13. INSPIRATIONAL GIRL- Class WA mare who probably lost no admirers last start especially if they have seen a replay. She seemed to be just warming up late and Flemington at a mile should really prove an asset. At a mile she is 3/3 and she is 3/3 second up. When you have a winning strike rate like her that is what you expect to read though and does she need this run to find her peak? That’s hard to say but the stable seemed a bit cautious of her chances/fitness before the first up run. The interesting thing with her is she is a get back type horse but finds herself in a race devoid of speed from a reasonable barrier, so she could sit closer. That was roughly the scenario last week with Stablemate Superstorm who won the ehan. The more speed in the race the better for her. At $7.50 she looks the second best value in the race to me.

Summing up;

This again is a really interesting race in view of future Spring prospects and the eventual winner. I’m so conflicted I’m not even going to attempt a First Four here as I feel there are five serious winning chances. Keiai Nautique, Incentivise, Mo’unga, Tofane and Inspirational Girl. It’s a hard call, and I rate them all equally, but by far the best value for me is the Japanese horse KEIAI NAUTIQUE (this is his specialist distance) so I’m suggesting an Each Way investment on him where you should be able to double your money if he runs a place

Feehan Stakes 2021

I don’t think I have ever previewed this race and have only done so upon request this time around after picking Humidor to win it last year at $20 or thereabouts. It’s no picnic to come up with the winner this time around that’s for sure but I think I’m right in saying this edition holds a little more interest than it has in recent times. A look through some recent winners- Humidor, Homesman, Magic Consol, Bonneval, Awesome Rock, The Cleaner (twice), and Fiorente suggests that we should possibly look for a horse that can win beyond a mile, although prior winners like Happy Trails and Whobegotyou (twice) could suggest a high class mile winning. I’m not sure we have one of those in this field though.

The speed should be provided by Streets Of Avalon and Shot Of Irish mainly, although Sierra Sue is apparently going forward this week and the unbeaten NZer Elephant should be just behind the pace from his good barrier. It’s Moonee Valley and none of the aforementioned go like scalded cats so perhaps we could say this race offers a slight advantage to the on pace brigade this year? I think how fast the speed is depend on how hard Shot Of Irish and Sierra Sue go. Streets Of Avalon probably doesn’t want to hightail up front given his dubious record at a mile.

Analysis;

BEST OF DAYS– No real knock on him as what you see is what you get really. This is his best trip and there is nothing really to suggest he can’t be competitive really. And he can take a spot up near the pace somewhere. At WFA I’m prepared to risk him as he is 0/8 if my stats are right. He did place in this race in 2019 though and was second in an Australian Cup at this level.

STREETS OF AVALON– I have a gut feeling this horse thrives at M/Valley given his last three runs at the track. One of them was a 4+ length defeat in the All Star Mile last Autumn but he was 3-4 wide the whole race and the run was massive in reality given it was also very wet (not his best surface). He was beaten less than a length behind Humidor in this race last year beaten twice as far in the Memsie. That of course was a back up run and aside from that he is 3/6 off a 7 day break. He pulled up lame last week when beaten 2.8L so I feel he won’t mind a wet track, and this race is probably 3-4 lengths easier class wise. The query is his 0/8 at a mile but h has run so well here at his last two 1600m runs it’s hard to ignore his chances. It might be a case of whatever beats him wins. There are plenty of contenders so perhaps a placing is even more likely.

THE CHOSEN ONE– Classy NZ horse who hasn’t really been a genuine WFA performer. He was beaten 2.5L in this race in 2019 resuming from the same barrier with the same jockey aboard. Interestingly Damien Lane is aboard given he rode Elephant to victory last start. The crucial thing for me is the stable intent to reinstall Blinkers. They went on before he blitzed them in the Herbert Power in 2019 and before the Caulfield Cup last year. Then they left them on in the Melbourne Cup and those two runs were massive. He resumed with them on first up last Autumn in NZ and then his form dipped when taken off thereafter. There is no doubt the horse is very good fresh given his win here last Spring with 61.5kg giving weight to the likes of Toffee Tongue and Django Freeman who went on to perform very well in the Turnbull Stakes last Spring behind Verry Eleegant. I think the only negative is the likelihood of a lot of rain. He can get through Heavy ground when fit but his form on Slow tracks is ordinary. I thought he also might have been double figures but the Bookies are obviously wary. His 2000m+ form fits the profile of recent winners.

SUPERSTORM– Like Best Of Days he is another that’s hard to knock and this is well within his capabilities. His strike rate is the big question mark for me and it aligns with his racing pattern, tending to get a long way back in his races. Well drawn though and maybe It has been 9 runs since he has drawn in the first half of the field (quite remarkable) and that was his last win from barrier 2. The planets may well align for him in this if he can race further forward from there.

SOUND– I think we can safely discount him as a serious chance first up at this level and this distance.

CHAPADA– Ditto for him as the stablemate.

NON CONFORMIST– Another 2000m+ type winner who looks suited to winning this race given recent history. His first up run was definitely good enough, he has a good record at the distance, is 1/1 here, and he handles the wet. He is also 3-2/6 with this type of break between runs. The negative for me is the barrier which necessitates him getting well back in the race, and he might not get a speed to suit. He is also yet to win from three starts second up. Hard to say he can’t win though given his decisive victory here as a three year old.

SHOT OF IRISH– He is a lot shorter in the market than I expected so maybe the Bookies know something I don’t. I would have thought he was a bit outclassed at this level but the positives are his wet track record 8/21 (5-1/8 Heavy) on wet tracks, which is significant, and he quite likes it here. The more rain, the better his chances it seems, and he has won beyond a mile. Any on pace bias will also assist his chances, but I can’t have him in my top chances at this stage.

DAWN PATROL– There is no doubt that his overseas form is good enough given his second to Melbourne Cup runner up Tiger Moth as a three year old in the UK. He hasn’t raced below 1800m but has two siblings that have won at a mile. He also ran well first up last campaign beating home the dual QE winner True Self (not a WFA horse at the top level though) at 2000m when narrowly beaten. He is hard to assess though the trainer has stated he might be ‘underdone’ for this race. He might also be a dry tracker so his best chances might hinge on the weather. 2000m + credentials look good historically.

PORT GUILLAUME– Similar to the above horse there is no doubt his form is good enough through a horse that he beat called Gold Trip who is high up in Melbourne Cup markets this year after running fourth in the Arc De Triomphe in France. Unlike Dawn Patrol it seems he is a wet tracker winning 3/4 on that surface. And more interestingly he is 3/3 on left handed tracks, so the last start failure can possibly be ignored. His recent trial was good and it’s just a matter of whether he can overcome not having raced for a year. He has had some leg issues which seem to be okay right now. His barrier is a bit awkward and he is likely to get back and run on. Apparently has enormous ability so it’s hard to say he can’t win and $20 is probably overs. 2000m+ horse which fits this race profile.

ELEPHANT– Unbeaten NZ horse who is very professional and likely to make the most of his inside barrier. His time last start was equal to the WFA horses in the PB Lawrence on the same day so he may well be up to winning in this class, remembering though he does rise 3kg. The race shape probably favours him and if he is good enough he will probably win. This is his acid test though no doubt and Damien Lane seems to have opted for The Chosen One instead. His opinion last start basically suggested he was still a bit ‘raw’. A very wet track would also be a query. Siblings are 0-2/9 on wet ground but his mother was 5/13 on wet tracks in her career.

REALM OF FLOWERS– One of the early favourites for the Melbourne Cup which means she is a high class mare. Craig Williams rides and she has no issues with wet tracks. The consensus is this race will be too short for her and that might be the case given her get back racing pattern. Her 0-1/5 record in the Spring is also a little negative but it just might be the case that she has fully matured now and is going to peak this Spring. Her win before a spell was dynamic and I like the fact she has drawn wide, given all her wins have been from outside barrier 3. The memory goes back to her Sydney Cup defeat when stuck on the rails and the enormous run prior when she was trapped very wide the whole race. That suggests she prefers a bit of galloping room. She is a live chance I feel, and her price is probably overs, but does the race shape and track suit? Her staying credentials look good for his race.

SIERRA SUE– She comes into this race under a bit of a cloud given she was scratched last week due to a stone bruise. That could be a blessing though given her last start win was off a similar break and she has had a long campaign. John Allen is 2/2 aboard and wasn’t even going to ride her last week. Perhaps her best form is at 1400m but she has won at 1700m and the mile at M/Valley (first run here) should pose her no problems. I find the stable hard to follow and the setback is concerning, but she does look one of the leading chances getting a great run on the pace. She has the best fitness levels in the race by far so no surprise she is well fancied to win. No real issue for her unless the track becomes very Heavy.

Summing up:

This is very tough but I find it really difficult to ignore the three positive factors that THE CHOSEN ONE has. Blinkers on, Damien Lane aboard (could have ridden Elephant) and his very good first up ability. The intent is there from the stable and he just needs a bit of speed on to launch into the race on the turn. Not really his best surface stats wise but his Caulfield Cup second to Verry Elleegant last Spring was on a Slow 6 when the Blinkers went on. STREETS OF AVALON thrives on the backup and he loves it here. The last 100m is a concern form him but his place chances look very positive. Hard also to ignore the fact SUPERSTORM draws a barrier for the first time in 9 starts. Ideally, he too would have preferred it slightly drier but he did run a good race in The Golden Eagle on a similarly rated track. Today will tell if ELEPHANT is a star. I’m sure he will run well and it’s not that big a stretch for an up and comer like him to win a race like this espeically when some others might be looking for longer distances. The two imports DAWN PATROL and PORT GUILLAUME bear watching with the latter boasting very positive stats for this. Having watched some videos this morning he can also get himself on pace particularly over 2000m+. SIERRA SUE has an undeniable chance and NON CONFORMIST could surprise with the wet track a probable bonus. REALM OF FLOWERS could also shock if the pace is hot. BEST OF DAYS can win and SHOT OF IRISH isn’t hopeless either. My first 4 below;

  1. THE CHOSEN ONE
  2. Streets Of Avalon
  3. Superstorm
  4. Elephant.