How long will it take for Australian racing jurisdictions to bite the bullet and open their tracks on Good Friday?
This Wednesday, we head to Mornington. We have an eight-race card, with the feature of the program coming in the last, a BM70 handicap over 1200 metres.
It’s always a hard day of betting at Mornington due to the strange dimensions, but that won’t stop us from having a throw at the stumps. Let’s get into it.
The first on the card is a maiden at set weights over 2030 metres. Pretty open race here, but I think the market currently has got it right.
All of the top five in the market have genuine claims, however, I’m going to side with On Our Honour here. This filly has been racing well since coming back from a spell, she just missed last start when she was outsprinted to the line, and the start before that finished midfield first up over the mile.
She draws to get a really good run from barrier three and she should get a really nice sit just behind the leaders without much pace in the race.
She will appreciate being on top of the ground again and, even if the rain does come, I can’t see it getting any worse than a good rating after the last few weeks. Don’t Look Now is the big danger in the race. His recent form is pretty impressive for this race, running half a length behind Miss United States and last start he had to cart the field up to the runaway leader and was only beaten just over a length.
He will lead in this race and with Meech on board he will be hard to run down. River Mist and Rue de Rennes are next best. They both draw well today and are very strong finishers, don’t exclude.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.11 – On Our Honour
We have another maiden at set weights in the second, but this time they’ll be going helter-skelter over 1000 metres. There’s a standout top pick here and that is Master Rock.
We all remember Robbie Laing saying this colt was the next big thing and, even though he hasn’t achieved that, he’s still a very talented horse.
He only ran a length and half way from Robe De Fete and Bleu Roche last preparation which is an excellent form line for this race. The wide barrier is a concern, although I think he has the class to overcome that.
Quenton ran well on debut, getting pipped on the line after a head-bobbing finish. She was headed a few times and kept on fighting back which showed a lot of heart, which most of this field don’t have.
The widest barrier is also a concern but she should have the speed to overcome that. Down Under Dancer is next best and probably overs in the market. She was caught wide at Pakenham first up and then ran really well at Sale before being spelled. The distance is a query, although this is the easiest field she’s ran against in her career, so she might have class over them.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.5 – Master Rock
Yet another maiden here in the third race, this time though it’s only for the fillies and mares, again over 1200 metres.
Pretty open race here like most of these maidens, but I think Greetie is overs at the current each way quote. This filly ran in some very good maidens in her first two starts, running behind Thine is the Power and Chevalier D’eon, and then ran a length second at Stawell when first up and an odds on pop.
From barrier seven she should be able to sit on the speed and get the first crack at them in the straight. No Shame is the big danger. She’s another filly who wasn’t disgraced in some very good maiden’s last preparation, running behind the eventual Guineas winner Amphitrite, Fighting Harada and Zoutori.
She ran a length second at Yarra Valley when first up last start, and from barrier eight she shouldn’t be far away in the run which gives her a good chance. Jungle Rose is next best. She’s been racing a lot better this time in than she did last preparation. From barrier one, Mott should try and get her to be midfield or better and be running on late. Outside hope.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.7 – Greetie
Finally, the maidens are over! We have a benchmark 64 Handicap over 1500 metres here in the fourth on the program. I’m very keen on Esposito Gold in this one. She’s been running in the city lately and now she comes back to a race at country level.
Running behind the likes of Penny to Sell, Supre and, to a lesser extent, Oceanex are brilliant form lines for a race like this. She seems to like the tight tracks such as the Valley and she gets that here with the small and tight straight.
From Barrier five, Eaton should sit her on the speed and it’ll take a lot to run her down. Burlington Miss might be a touch of overs in this one.
There looks to be pretty strong speed up front which could set it up for a backmarker, and she is the best backmarker in this field. She only ran two lengths behind Grand Wish at Sandown last preparation, and she had a confidence-boosting win at Mornington last start. She’ll be running on.
Tour Down Under is next best, he’s been running consistently again this preparation, but I’m not sure he can beat off Esposito Gold if they get similar runs.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.3 – Esposito Gold
We have a 1000 metre sprint here at a benchmark 64 level, in what is probably the best race of the day with some very smart types who will go onto better things this campaign.
It’s a pretty hard race to match up but the favourite, High Ratio has to be on top. This race is a step down in class for this gelding, after running only two lengths away from Long Leaf and Native Soldier in the group two Vain Stakes last preparation.
The Price camp clearly think a lot of this horse, after putting him in races such as the blue diamond prelude last preparation, after beating Fundamentalist in a maiden.
The wide barrier is somewhat of a concern but, with Ollie on board, he should be able to find cover and be running over them. Bold Type is one of the main dangers. He’s been racing really well this preparation after breaking his maiden at Cranbourne.
He was beaten by a very smart one in Villa Sarchi two starts back, before being unlucky last start around the bend at Cranbourne. He will sit back in the field and, with any luck, he’s the one that could challenge the favourite.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.1 – High Ratio
The sixth on the program is another benchmark 64 for the fillies and mares over 1000 metres.
Pretty open race here and I’m siding with Dental at the each-way price. This mare looks like she has a lot to offer but she just hasn’t found it yet. The distance is a query as she hasn’t raced over 1000 metres yet but her form last preparation behind Platinum Angel and Extreme Bliss was too good to ignore.
She should be about to peak on this preparation being third up today, and she should get the gun run in the race just behind the leaders from barrier one.
Algadon Miss is one of the dangers. She wasn’t really touched in her first race start where Pippie won it by five lengths, and then led all the way at Cranbourne in her second start in a race. She draws pretty well from barrier six and Mertens should take her straight to the front and give them something to chase.
Ultra Smart is next best. Her form lines behind Miss Norway and As It Lies are brilliant for a race like this, but she really disappointed at Cranbourne last start. Will need to see how she goes after that before having any confidence again.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.4 – Dental
Very interesting race here in the seventh, another benchmark 64 handicap, this time over basically the Cox Plate distance in 2030 metres. One of my best of the day comes here, in the form of Bianco Nuovo. This Mike Moroney trained gelding has been racing really well lately, either placing or winning four of his last five.
His form lines are also brilliant for this race, he finished less than half a length off Declares War three starts ago who has since gone onto win another two in a row, including a win over the talented Five Kingdom. From barrier five he should either lead or sit very handy and be incredibly hard to run down.
Here Comes Lenni looks the main danger. He’s been racing well without winning, having five placings from his six runs this preparation. Barrier ten isn’t ideal, but if Meech can get cover and switch him off, he’ll be running on very strongly.
Eight Times A Lady is the outside hope. She was racing really well before disappointing at Sale last time out. Barrier thirteen is a big challenge to overcome, but if anyone can overcome it, it’s Damien Oliver.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.4 – Bianco Nuovo
The highest graded race of the day comes here in the ‘lucky last’ on the program, a benchmark 70 over 1200 metres. We’ve had to wait all day but my best of the day comes here in the form of the short-priced favourite in Clarice Cliffs.
She’s a very smart mare this one. She’s won two from three in only three race starts, and her only loss was against Declarationofheart who went onto finish fourth behind the likes of Brutal and Leonardo Da Hinchi last preparation, which is a very good form line for this race.
She came back from a spell last time in at Geelong, where she won by a length. She will be better for that run and from barrier five she should get a perfect sit on them, and kick clear around the bend.
If there is a danger, it is Immaculate Secret. She had won two in a row, one at Moonee Valley this preparation before disappointing at Caulfield last start where she was outclassed. She comes back to a race at country level and from barrier six she should be able to make her own luck on the speed.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.10 – Clarice Cliffs