2017 Emirates Stakes Day: Tips and preview

Cameron Rose Columnist

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    The Flemington carnival is a week all racing fans look forward to, but it can also feel like a long one when in the midst of it.

    After this writer built up a half-time lead at the completion of Cup day, the bookies bounced back in the premiership quarter on Oaks Day, and pummelled me from pillar to post. The match is in the balance and Stakes Day will be the decider.

    Two big Group 1 races await, with quality fields assembled, and there are some handy support races where winners are just begging to be found.

    Emirates Stakes
    Formerly known as the Mackinnon, the Emirates Stakes is now a 2000m WFA race on the final day.

    The Cox Plate is always going to be the pristine form for this race, and this year we see three runners coming out of it.

    Folkswood was the pick of the runners behind Winx and Humidor that day, ultimately outclassed but sticking to his guns right to the line after racing on the pace. He may not have been right at home at Moonee Valley either, and is sure to find Flemington more to his liking. Barrier 15 is the concern.

    Gailo Chop was solid enough in fifth in the Cox Plate, a couple of lengths behind Folkswood after setting the pace. He won the Caulfield Stakes the start prior, and is lethal at 2000 metres when not taking on the absolute best. He’ll get his chance again.

    Happy Clapper finished sixth in the Cox Plate, but wasn’t disgraced despite only beating home the two 200-1 shots. He isn’t at his strongest at 2000 metres, about 2-3 lengths below his 1600-metre form, and if this race is truly run, he might be found out. Six runs in a campaign is a new mark for him too, and he was a tired horse when flopping in this event last year at his fifth run.

    Outside of the Cox Plate, last week’s Kennedy Mile is the other key lead-up.

    Tom Melbourne found one better (again!) in the Mile, but beat the rest of the field by three lengths plus. He really is flying, and 2000 metres is no problem for him. Expect him to be ridden conservatively from a wide draw, rather than push forward as he has done at times.

    Tosen Stardom, Sense of Occasion and So Si Bon were back in the ruck in the Kennedy Mile, all failing to make an impression from back in the field. Tosen Stardom looks the best chance of these, better suited at WFA and with a likely genuine tempo being set, he has the turn of foot to round them all up if on his game.

    Gingernuts and Cliff’s Edge provide some x-factor to the race, given the former has only raced in New Zealand this campaign, while the latter is a three-year-old.

    Cliff’s Edge is both fast and genuine, and will certainly make use of his light weight by leading. It would be a surprise to see any of the older horses truly take him on, and he has the talent to keep going if he gets his own way.

    Gingernuts hasn’t seen a good track since March, and but has won two Group 1s on wet ground since then, and it probably should have been three. Exactly how he lines up against the rest of these is hard to assess, especially on firm ground. Is $6 enough to find out?

    Not sure It’s Somewhat is going well enough to back just yet. Perhaps one more to see, assuming a Perth trip is on the cards. Samovare might be ridden quietly from an awkward draw due to the likely hot speed, and this might be one run too many for her.

    The Taj Mahal is probably one to throw in the quaddie at odds, just in case. Harlem has been disappointing since his superb win in the Naturalism Stakes. Odeon is in form and still on the up, but the class will surely test.

    Selections
    1. Cliff’s Edge
    2. Folkswood
    3. Tom Melbourne
    4. Tosen Stardom

    Darley Classic
    The Darley Classic used to be the sprint of the spring, but The Everest has come along to take that mantle.

    Five runners are making an appearance here after running in Sydney’s marquee event, four of them enjoying a month between runs.

    Redzel was a worthy winner of The Everest, and what a horse he’s become. He’s now won five races in a row, and six of his last eight. The two misses were by a combined long head. He won at his only go down the straight, he’ll lead, and is clearly the one to beat.

    Vega Magic was second in The Everest, and was the run of the race after getting in a sticky position thanks to an awkward draw. He didn’t show much resilience in the Manikato Stakes two weeks later, and is an unknown down the straight. Clearly he has the ability to win.

    Chautauqua ran his usual closing sectionals in The Everest, into fourth this time. We’ve marvelled at what he does, but he’s finding it harder to reel in the next generation of sprinters. Also of note, it’s been a year and a half since he won on a good track.

    Clearly Innocent and Redkirk Warrior ran eighth and 10th respectively in The Everest.

    Clearly Innocent is super honest, and is one that can pop up at odds with the right run. As for Redkirk Warrior, what is it that made him so devastating when winning the Newmarket and Bobbie Lewis – is he just a gun straight horse, or does he need to be first up? Let’s find out.

    In Her Time didn’t run in The Everest, but probably should have. She won the Sydney Stakes for the second-stringers on the same day, and followed it up with a good second in the Manikato. She’s flying, but barrier one won’t be her friend by race 35 in Cup week.

    Impending ran a blazing second behind In Her Time in the Sydney Stakes after beating her in the Stradbroke, and is the spruik horse of the race. You can easily see him settling back and stealing runs up against the rail. Is he ready to confirm his A-grade status?

    Malaguerra won this race last year, and was excellent in the Manikato, right on the flanks of In Her Time. He’s won the last four times he’s stepped out at Flemington, and has drawn in the right spot. On his day, he can figure.

    Spieth has become an enigma. Missrock is in a similar boat, but was very good down the straight in the Linlithgow on Derby Day. Rock Magic is tracking OK for the Winterbottom.

    Terravista runs nearer to last than first most of the time these days. Man From Uncle appears to have accepted for the wrong race. Super Cash can’t be the worst 40-1 chance, but first-up is really her main go, which she isn’t here.

    The speed doesn’t look particularly hot here, but they won’t be dawdling either. Everything points to another Redzel win, and if he doesn’t, whatever beats him will.

    Selections
    1. Redzel
    2. Impending
    3. Vega Magic
    4. In Her Time

    Looking elsewhere on the card, it looks like Gallic Chieftain’s time in the Queen Elizabeth. The class is at the top of the Matriarch, and one of Heavens Above or Prompt Response should be winning.

    Backing the horses dropping back from good runs Group 1 level is often the easiest thing to do at this time of year. With that in mind, Andaz will have a lot of money on him in the final race of the Flemington carnival. His Coolmore Stakes run is enough to win.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.