Flemington and Randwick previews and tips

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    Winx ridden by Hugh Bowman. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

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    Spring racing is heating up, and this Saturday we get one of the few days where there is Group 1 racing in dual states.

    Both races – the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington and George Main Stakes at Randwick – are WFA races over 1600 metres, and Australia’s two best horses will start odds on in each race.

    The Makybe Diva Stakes is the main feature on the day, with over half the field coming from the Memsie Stakes, which is the obvious lead-up race given the natural step up in distance from 1400 metres to a mile.

    Hartnell is the favourite, but connections opted to bypass the Memsie after his first-up Lawrence Stakes win and is now a month between runs. He’s only done that once before in Australia, when running sixth in the 2015 Turnbull Stakes, coming from last to be beaten by less than a length and a half.

    Hartnell is an outstanding horse, but his 1600 metre record in this country does contain a few misses. He’s had only a win and a second from five goes, but Flemington is a nice track for him and the memories of his Turnbull Stakes domination last year still linger.

    Black Heart Bart ran second in the Memsie after being third behind Hartnell in the Lawrence and is peaking now. The question is whether he’s lost a length or is just facing tougher opposition than he did in 2016, when he was beautifully placed to win a number of Group 1s.

    Of the others from the Memsie, Hey Doc and Le Romain were on the disappointing side in fourth and fifth respectively, albeit perhaps harshly judged. They get a chance to show their wares back at Flemington, where each has recorded their career best Group 1 winning performance.

    Humidor has put together a couple of nice performances from the tail in the Lawrence and Memsie and must be ready to finish closer than five lengths away. Flemington will help him. Jon Snow ran better than expected – only three lengths behind Vega Magic after racing on the speed behind him in the Memsie. Further is better for him, but you couldn’t concede him a winning chance.

    Gailo Chop won the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes in his only run at Flemington but has had only four runs since. Winning the Penny Edition in Adelaide isn’t the standard lead up for a Makybe Diva Stakes, but confidence is a funny thing in horses, and he might be the bolter.

    Tavago was my top selection in the Dato last week but was scratched. He tackles a much harder race first-up here, and his soundness is always going to be a question.

    Inference is unbeaten second-up. Two of them were in lowly grades, but one was the Randwick Guineas over a mile and off a similar run first-up to what he put in at Warwick Stakes behind Winx when she missed the start. He’s certainly one to keep an eye on.

    There’s not an abundance of out-and-out speed in the race, but Jon Snow probably takes them along, with Hartnell parked behind him and Hey Doc pushing across from wide to slot in the one-one. Gailo Chop from barrier one will probably go forward too, and Le Romain might be thereabouts.

    Selections: 1. Hartnell, 2. Black Heart Bart, 3. Jon Snow, 4. Le Romain

    (Image: AAP)

    The supporting races at Flemington have plenty of quality running through them too, with three solid Group 2s – the Bobbie Lewis for the sprinters, the Danehill Stakes for the three-year-olds and Let’s Elope Stakes for the mares.

    The Bobbie Lewis has Redkirk Warrior on the Everest trail, and his supporters will be looking for a repeat of his first-up win up the straight last prep, when he took out the Newmarket. The confidence about his talent from the Hayes camp is hard to resist.

    Voodoo Lad is a very good sprinter coming off a stylish win first-up. So Si Bon looks the perfect Rupert Clarke Stakes horse and is capable of winning here too. Scales of Justice is a Group 1 horse from Perth looking to make a name in the eastern states.

    Selection: 1. Redkirk Warrior, 2. So Si Bon, 3. Voodoo Lad, 4. Scales of Justice

    The Danehill Stakes also sees a good field and always produces a good race.

    Catchy was a boom two-year-old filly but felt the penalties in her return in the Quezette. She’s most advantaged by this weight scale. Jukebox is undefeated for Ciaron Maher and looks the ultimate professional but has to transfer his Caulfield form to the Flemington straight now.

    Esperance is a talented Godolphin colt that looks the goods but faces his acid test now. Booker always runs well and looks to have come on. Overshare looks over the odds given he has that Menari form from two starts back and a subsequent win as well. Azazel is underrated too and was pleasing behind Overshare at Moonee Valley.

    Selections: 1. Catchy, 2. Overshare, 3. Jukebox, 4. Esperance

    The George Main Stakes sees Winx shooting for 20 wins in a row, and the question is not whether she’s below her best (she’s flying), but whether there any tactics that can unseat her.

    All eyes will be on Red Excitement to see if Josh Parr tries to extend him to a big lead as he did in the Chelmsford when almost pinching the race from the great mare. Ecuador usually takes up the running in his races, so will also be going forward, and we know he usually hangs on okay.

    Foxplay was excellent behind Winx first-up in the Warwick Stakes and is now a month between runs up to 1600 metres but has had a trial in between to keep her up to the mark. She’ll be ready to win once she steps away from her star stablemate.

    Chris Waller also has Mackintosh, who has been disappointing since heading to Perth last summer, and McCreery, who isn’t really a weight-for-age horse.

    Happy Clapper is the nominal second-elect and has been a marvel the longer his career has gone on. He’ll run well again after resuming with a win in the Tramway. Heavens Above was okay behind Happy Clapper in that race but is a much better second-up horse. She’s a place chance if looking for something to have a bet on.

    Selections: 1. Winx, 2. Foxplay, 3. Happy Clapper, 4. Heavens Above

    (Image: AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Despite not being a Group 1, it’s easy to make the case that The Shorts is the race of the day.

    Redzel is arguably the hottest sprinter in the country at the moment, with six wins and two seconds from his last nine starts, including a victory at Group 1 level. He was confirmed as an Everest slot runner this week and carries favouritism into this race after his first-up win in the Concorde.

    Redzel’s main dangers are all first-up.

    Chautauqua is a superstar but hasn’t won first-up in his last two campaigns and, frankly, has been a bit on the ordinary side in those runs. Still, his talent is unquestioned, and he will have relished a nice long break through most of autumn and winter.

    English is a devastating fresh horse, with her only first-up miss coming in this race last year. She can be a bit of a flake, though, and hard to trust, but she has as good a finish as any horse in the country outside of Chautauqua and Winx.

    Takedown has disappointed since running in Hong Kong in December, similar to Chautauqua before him. He did only strike unfavourable wet tracks in the autumn but can only be taken on trust at this point.

    Fell Swoop is always there in these type of races. He has five Group 1 placings to his name without ever winning one and also has a further five Group 1s in which he’s finished between fourth and sixth. His best might be a year behind him.

    Ball of Muscle doesn’t have the quality of the others in this field, but he’s tough and honest. His main feature is that he leads or dies trying, which means Hugh Bowman on Redzel has a decision to make given that Redzel has never won a race that he hasn’t led all the way.

    The Shorts shapes as an intriguing race, especially in light of the upcoming Everest, as each runner in this has something working against it.

    Selections: 1. English, 2. Redzel, 3. Chautauqua, 4. Fell Swoop

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2017 @ 7:50am
      kv joef said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Chautauqua has just lost his crown to english sprinter Harry Angel in the latest release of the World rankings HAngel (125) to Chau (123) … i’d like to bet against that opinion …

      Quality overview Cam. I don’t know why (or maybe i do :-)), i’ve never been sold on Redkirk Warrior but if he is going to be competitive in the Everest he would need to gap them … i don’t know what Scales of Justice is doing in this race? probably have top expect another piece of Weir magic. thought the Voodoo was great FU – he’s a terrific horse.

      • Columnist

        September 15th 2017 @ 8:24am
        Cameron Rose said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        He certainly had things in his favour winning the Newmarket and with a very low weight. I know Hayes is always bullish, but even for him it’s something else with Redkirk Warrior. I’ll back So Si Bon at the odds differential, but am actually hoping he loses because I’ll be loading up in the Rupert Clarke. Agree, Voodoo Lad is a fantastic horse, and will be extremely hard to beat.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 8:42am
      Razzar said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Could be around a soft 5 or so after the rain that’s expected, at Flemington Saturday.

      The Makybe Diva Stakes, looks a race of moderate speed, and a horse that has a bit on his opposition.

      Hartnell: looks to be right at home at headquarters. Should sit in first four up front, with a likely moderate tempo. He can just start to ractchet up the tempo at the 350. Hard to see him losing this, as once he’s freewheeling with big strides he’s very hard to get past. $1.80 rating

      Black heart Bart is definitely honest, but looks an almighty task and tougher company meets him this campaign. $11 rating

      Le Romain, Fitness on his side, but the mile sees him out. $9 rating

      Humidor, still looking for longer, may finish hard late. $11 rating

      Hey Doc: I hope this fellow just despises Caufield after his cantankerous mid race manners last start. Maybe his third up run at Flemington will put this handy galloper in a better place, and show us he has a nice turn-of-foot. $9 rating

      Race 9 1700 m, good tempo here, and looks very open.

      Amelie’s Star is ticking nicely, just might be looking for further now, for mine goes in all exotics. $7 rating

      Mihany will run along, but likely to find a few better getting closer to the wire. Has good fitness though $14 rating

      Red Alto looks to get softish run from back, also has good fitness, may launch late. $8.50 rating

      Tiamo Grace. Should land 5 to 6 pairs back, has liking for track. She has been unlucky at times when settling on fence, when jogging. A one out sit and finding clear air can help her win. As an emergency in this, needs even more luck. $7 rating.

      Nice work again Cam. Good luck punters.

      • Columnist

        September 15th 2017 @ 10:24am
        Cameron Rose said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        I keep thinking $1.80 might just be a gift on Hartnell, and it probably will prove to be after the race if he brings what we know he can. The fact that he races forward means that if he runs to his best he really can’t be passed.

        Race 9 – I backed Cool Chap first up, and will stick with. Agree that Amelie’s Star is a bit of unders, and Tiamo Grace goes in if she gets a run.

    • Columnist

      September 15th 2017 @ 8:46am
      Justin Cinque said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      The way I see it with So So Bon is that they expect 52kgs in the Rupert Clarke and he will get that if he doesn’t win tomorrow, you would think. 1400m with that weight gives him a massive chance. But with his racing style, is the Caulfield 1400m going to suit?

      Tomorrow he’s so well treated. 1200m isn’t as ideal as 1400m but his straight track record is actually very good considering the races he has been trained for in other preps, and the ability to wins up at Flenington is a big plus. So I’m with him tomorrow and will stick fat while he continues to deliver closing sections like he has done this prep.

      The only concern with So Si Bon is his winning record and the fact that he only really flies when ridden cold, thereby contributing to his poor strike rate.

      • Columnist

        September 15th 2017 @ 10:27am
        Cameron Rose said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        Generally speaking over the years, you want a good but non-winning run in the Bobbie Lewis, as you’ve touched on there. There have been a couple of “circle the field” RC winners in the past (Bon Hoffa and Orange County come to mind), and some from just worse than midfield, but a lot of on-pace winners as you’d expect.

        He’s just flying, so I agree, I’m actually going to back him this week on the theory that I’d rather be on a run too early than a run too late.

        • Columnist

          September 15th 2017 @ 10:53am
          Justin Cinque said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

          Absolutely agree about getting on a run too early than late so I’m on tomorrow with some confidence and will stick with him if he runs well. I was on at Caulfield last time too.

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2017 @ 11:29am
      kv joef said | September 15th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

      i’m keeping Japonisme in my exotic mix and maybe a smaller interest. His trials have been good and IMHO he is one of those horses that handled the wet as a younger horse but as he aged changed his mind particularly on a Soft7 and worse.

      Take those wet runs from his form over the last 12 months and it reads … unlucky 5th in the William Reid, a down the track ridden against his pattern in the Darley where he was parked when out of contention and before that was most excellent 3rd in a genuine G1 Manikato. He also runs v.v.v.v.well at Flemington and Ben Melham will suit him and with 2kg above the limit …

      So hopeful that Razzar’s indication about the track holds and doesn’t get any worse.

      • Columnist

        September 15th 2017 @ 2:24pm
        Cameron Rose said | September 15th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

        I take the point KV, but I must say I personally never read anything into those MV Group 1 sprints. They’re always bunched finishes with horses everywhere, half of which are unlucky. Hellbent ran second in one of those, and he hasn’t won for a year. Rebel Dane won the other at 60-1.

      • September 15th 2017 @ 5:37pm
        Razzar said | September 15th 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

        17 mills in the eastern burbs of melb to 5pm. Could expect another 10 to 12 by race 1 tommorow. May get to a soft six now. Don’t want to sound negative, but doubt if BH Bart will run….Only qualifier is the East burbs receives more rain than out West.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 2:52pm
      Roger said | September 15th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

      Cracking day of racing it is.

      Have been on Royal Symphony all 3 runs and been bullish about it every time, but for the first time I have a slight concern and am struggling to back with confidence. Muraahib finished off strongly first up, and that Blue Diamond run was full of merit. Starting to have a few questions about the Anchor Bid/Evil Cry form around RS as well. WIll probably stick with but I think its easily its biggest test yet.

      Snitzson looks great e/w value in a tough race. Ran a huge race in the Aus Guineas at Flemington behind Hey Doc and think from a good barrier could get split at the right time.

      Voodoo Lad e/w looks a safe play.

      Thought Catchy needed that first up run, and was very keen for next run but for some reason $4 just feels a little short? Maybe its the first go down the straight, or the unbeaten Jukebox and mixture of Sydney and NZ form in the race; but I just don’t think Catchy is value in this line up. No bet race for me.

      Hartnell surely too good. Sure Weir would want to see Humidor flying late though. Huge watch on Ventura Storm, got a feeling wont start many race 40-1 after its next few.

      Have sacked half the field in the last, so will be staying away from that one!

      Hope Chaq blows to $5-6+ in Sydney and I can have a play e/w just because its fun to watch ha.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 4:13pm
      Powerboy said | September 15th 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

      For what it’s worth, I got in early and got $21.00 on Inference in the Makybe Diva.
      Check out his stats…3 from 3 second up, great trainer jockey combo and way better each way value than Hartnell.
      John Snow in the multis……

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