The headline event on the Caulfield Australia Day card are the two Blue Diamond preview event in races four and five and the John Dillon Stakes at listed level in the last.
It’s predicted to be 27 degrees and sunny on Saturday, and besides, what’s more Australian than having a few beers and having a punt? So make sure to head down to Caulfield for some great racing action!
We have an 1100-metre sprint for the fillies to kick off the program here and I think the market pretty much tells the story. Crack the Code looks to be a very smart horse based on her three race starts to date. She’s won two out of three in convincing fashion and she had excuses when finishing five lengths off them in South Australia. News Girl will set a pretty good pace out in front, which sets the race up perfectly for the Australian silks to prevail in the first on Australia day.
Thine Is The Power is the danger. She has won two of her last four, including a win against the talented Kinky Boom and Dancer’s Kin. She was taken to Flemington in listed company and was beaten by group winner Smart Melody in listed company. From barrier eight she will look to cross and sit just off the leaders and have the first crack at them down the straight.
Notation and Bold Arial have both been in good form, but it’s hard to see anything beating the favourite.
Recommended bet: Pretty sizeable win bet on No.1 Crack the Code.
Some smart three-year-olds are going around in the second in an 1100-metre sprint for the fillies and mares. It’s a very open field considering there are only six runners, but I’m leaning towards Tiara Star in a tricky race. This Will Clarken-trained mare has been in excellent form in South Australia, winning by nearly five lengths last start in a BM70 and the start before that beating them easily as well.
From barrier five Kah should be able to get a nice run into the race or even dictate the pace if she really needs to. Hopefully she will sit just off the leaders and have the first crack at them in the straight.
Bellaria is way overs in the market here as the rank outsider. There are queries on her coming back to 1200 metres and being first up. She is the class horse in the race, though. Her form last preparation was exceptional for this race, beating the likes of Miss Gardenia and Arties Dreamwinner and then only finishing six lengths off them in a group two behind I Am A Star. The small field should suit her here and she will be running on very strongly.
Recommended bet: I’m not overly keen to invest here, but if pushed, maybe an each-way bet on No.1 Bellaria.
One of the better races on the program is here in the third, a BM78 for both genders. It’s a very open race, and if you can find the winner, you are going to get value, and that’s why I’m going with Jesta Dreama. This boy out of the Wendy Kelly Yard has been unlucky not to win a few more races this campaign. He ran into the talented Smart Coupe at Kyneton a couple of months back, then ran only half a length away from Mr Money Bags when he was posted three wide for the whole race.
I’m going to forgive the Flemington run due to the inside in the straight races that day being absolutely poison. He draws wide again today, but if there’s not much pace on, jockey Michael Poy should be able to sit a bit more forward and get him nice and relaxed for a big run down the straight.
The favourite Groundbreak is the obvious danger. His form last preparation was brilliant for a race like this, finishing only three lengths behind Mount Kilcoy and Paret in consecutive races. He came back to Melbourne last start and dominated them for a very soft win. He faces a step up in class here, but he’s proven he can go well at this level. From barrier five he should be charging home late when it matters with a bit of luck.
Portman is next best. He doesn’t win out of turn this gelding, but he’s looked the winner in his previous two starts before fading on his run. He’s got a freshen up since then and could surprise.
Recommended bet: Each-way bet on No.10 Jesta Dreama.
The first of the Blue Diamond previews have arrived, and like usual it was hard to choose between those who have had race-day experience and those who haven’t. I’m pretty keen on the Moroney trained Colt in Alburq here, though. His first two races to date have been full of merit, getting beaten by a length in the Magic Millions clockwise at Ballarat after leading them all the way apart from the last 50 meters. He then ran into a very smart one in Yes Yes Yes at the Valley a month ago. He’s had a month off since then and based on the trials not many of these horses like to lead, so I see him crossing over early and being extremely hard to run down late at the each way price.
I Am Immortal looks the best of the UN-raced horses. He won his trial at Pakenham with ease and is bred extremely well out of I Am Invincible and Meliora. The Anthony Freedman and Ben Melham combination has a brilliant strike rate and there’s already been good support for it in the market. He’s a big chance after drawing a barrier six.
Microphone is next best. He came home really well to win by a Neck on his debut run. However, he draws a horror gate and will need to come from well back in the field again, which isn’t as easy to do at Caulfield.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.2 Alburq.
We get to the feature of the day here, the second of the Blue Diamond previews, for the fillies at group three level. I’m very confident on the chances of Anaheed winning this. She destroyed them at Randwick in the Victory Vein Plate in her debut run, and her trial win at Pakenham, where she wasn’t even urged along, showed that she has come back in good order after a four month lay-off.
She’s bred unbelievably well, and from barrier two she should kick up and sit handy like she did on debut, and I can’t really see anything challenging her if she repeats that. The Ben Melham and Peter and Paul Snowden combination on two-year-olds is very impressive.
Jedastar is probably a touch of overs and should be one of the favourites for Lloyd Kennewell and the crew. Leading all the way at Flemington down the straight is always a very big effort, especially for a two-year-old Filly. She already looks like a very professional horse in the way she goes about it; the only concern is the wide barrier. If she gets across early she could be hard to run down.
Catch Me for the Peter and Paul Snowden and Kerrin McEvoy combination looks a very smart horse. She destroyed them in the group three Gimcrack Stakes about five months ago, she had a lay-off after that and she won her trial well at Pakenham which is a confidence-booster. The wide barrier is the biggest concern for her, she likes to sit about midfield so it’s going to need a good ride from the genius in Kerrin McEvoy.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.4 Anaheed.
The sixth on the program is a BM78 for the three year olds over 1400 metres. The market tells the story here, really, with the short-priced favourite being Social Spin. This gelding out of the Darren Weir yard has been running very well as of late, and his form lines are too good to ignore in this type of race.
He hit the front to early at Flemington a couple of starts back and got lost down the straight. I think Weiry learnt a lot from that run as he settled him back in the field in his last run, where he dominated talented horses in Long Leaf and Beacon. The small field suits him pretty well here and so does the wide barrier. He will get back in the field and have too much finishing power for the leaders to hold him off.
Nomothaj commands respect in this type of race. She came home nicely last start over 1000 metres and should be better for that run. The rise in distance up to 1400 metres will suit her here and she draws to do no work. The David Hayes and Fred Kersley combination has been going well lately and from barrier six she should settle midfield and be coming home well down the straight. She’s overs in this market.
FOldifox is next best. Her run at the Valley two starts back was huge to finish third after being posted four and five deep the trip. She won well at Geelong to break her maiden and a good showing wouldn’t surprise.
Recommended bet: I’m not sure if Social Spin should be that short. No.2 Nomothaj looks the best value on an each-way basis.
One of the most intriguing races on the card here in the seventh on the program, a handicap over 2000 metres. The market has got this one right and it seems to be a two-horse race. I’m going to stick with Al Galayel, though. He’s just a very good horse out of the Ciaron Maher yard. He’s last two wins have been as impressive as you’ll see and he just seems destined for bigger and better things either this autumn or later this year in the spring. From barrier five he should get a really nice sit just off the leaders and the race will be gone for the others by the 200-metre mark.
Lamborghini is the only one that can give it a challenge, but the difficulty is that it’s going to have to go past it from back in the field. He showed a lot of fight to win two starts back at Flemington, beating Top Of The Range, and he then backed that up with a barnstorming win from last at his last start. If they don’t go hard in front early, it’s hard to see him going past the favourite.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.4 Al Galayel.
Another middle-distance race here in the eight on the card, a handicap over the 1700 metres. I’m steering clear of the favourite in this one as I think he is way too short. Therefore I’m going with Emperor’s Way. This is a big step back in class for this gelding, who had been racing against the likes of Avilius and I Am Serious last preparation. He came back at Kensington a few weeks ago and ran home solidly over 1500 metres behind Gresham and Sir Plush.
He should be better for that run, and Team Snowden haven’t brought him down here for nothing. From barrier two he should sit just off the speed and have a lot to give down the Caulfield straight.
Cool Chap is the other one stepping back in class. He was running behind the likes of Night’s Watch and Moss ‘n’ Dale last preparation. He resumed at Flemington, where he didn’t have much luck but closed off very strongly in the late stages. He will need luck today, but the rise in trip will suit him, and if the luck does come from the inside, he should have plenty to give as he maps to do no work at all in the run.
Recommended bet: Each-way bet on No.2 Emperor’s Way.
The lucky last on the program is strangely one of the features, which is the John Dillon Stakes at listed level over the 1400 metres. It feels like most punters will be able to narrow this field down to three or four chances, and I’m going with Mr Money Bags. His form has been terrific for a race like this, beating Kazio and the talented Haunted two starts back. He got posted three or four deep last start at Flemington and then got blocked off for a run when he had more to give, which was a big effort.
I can certainly see him turning the tides on the favourite from that previous run. The widest barrier is the big concern and he will have to go back in the field, though the pace will be very strong in this race with the likes of Arbeitsam going to the lead. If they go helter-skelter out in front, it could set it up for the swoopers and he’s definitely the best of that bunch. Each-way odds currently represents decent value here.
Theanswermyfriend is the big danger. There’s one word to describe this gelding, and that’s ‘tough’. He beat the likes of Widgee Turf and Moss ‘n’ Dale last preparation, and if he brings that today, he will be very hard to beat. From barrier eight he will have the speed to cross and either lead or sit just off them, and it will take a very good horse to run him down.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.12 Mr Money Bags with a saver on No.2 Theanswermyfriend.