Another Wednesday, another twilight meeting at Sandown.
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The Melbourne, autumn carnival officially kicks off this Saturday, with the first group one of the season, the C.F Orr stakes being run at Caulfield.
Of course the group one is the feature, with the likes of Kementari, best of days and Moss ‘n’ Dale resuming, as well as Land of Plenty, Whispering Brook and Brave smash continuing their campaigns. There’s an eight race card, with seven group races on the card, including both Blue Diamond preludes, and the Rubiton and Autumn Stakes.
The weather prediction is good, tipping a top of 23 degrees with a bit of sun around, so head out to the track and start punting!
We have a Handicap race over 1800 meters here with some promising types either resuming or progressing in their campaign.
One of the more open races you’ll see, with practically every runner having winning claims, though I’m going for a bit of value in COOL CHAP in the first. He’s returned really well this preparation, and has been incredibly unlucky.
He ran really well first up over 1400 meters at Flemington, where he was restricted for room nearly the whole way down the straight. Last start at Caulfield, he was restricted for room again until about the 200 hundred meter mark, and by then it was too late to win.
He maps well from barrier five today to sit midfield with cover, and he should be about to peak on his preparation being third up today. Should appreciate the 1800 meters. Can win. LAURE ME IN looks the big danger.
He was really impressive three starts back at this track over the mile behind Silentz, he never got out and no doubt should have won. He then backed that up with a fast finishing second at Flemington and then a win at Flemington last start.
The wide barrier shouldn’t matter considering he will get back in the run, and he’ll be the one running on down the straight. GUIZOT is next best. I can see him turning the tides on Silentz here today. He only missed by a length at this track last time in, and had the best 400 and 200 meter split of the meeting.
It could have been argued that if that race went another 100 meters, he would of won, and that’s what he gets here today, good chance.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #7 Cool Chap.
The first group race on the card arrives here in the second, the group three, Kevin Hayes Stakes over 1200 meters for the three year old fillies. Pretty sure we’ve got another star of the turf here in the form of CRACK THE CODE, and she’s my best on the program.
Her form was impressive as a two year old, beating Yulong Mercury and only finishing five lengths off Marcel from Madrid, and she’s come back better than anyone could have expected as a three year old. Her win resuming at the Valley in front of Freeze over was extraordinary, and her win here at this track last start was also a very good one.
She travelled three wide the trip, and still managed to will herself over the line. From barrier four she should get a good run, midfield, and be running all over them. EMBRACE ME is probably next best. Since the blinkers come back on three starts back she’s been in very good form, winning two out of her last three.
Those wins at the Valley were pretty good, though her last start third at this track behind Crack the Code was probably the best in her career. She only ran a length off her having restricted room in the straight, and if Lane can get her in the right spot, she can produce a big run late. TROPEZINA is the only other worry.
She’s won three from three this preparation, although this is a big rise in class, so I’d prefer to watch her go around.
Recommended bet: Large win bet on #3 Crack the Code.
Another group thee race here, the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes over 1200 meters for the mares. Not the biggest of fields but there is some very talented horses going around in it. I’m going to go with TELEPLAY here.
She’s a very progressive mare out of the Mick Price yard, and he’s been singing her praises for a while now. She done really well last preparation, winning two from three, including a win at listed level at Flemington, storming home down the outside.
She resumes today and is two from two first up which is a positive sign that she’ll be ready to go, and from barrier one she draws to do no work in the run. With any luck she’ll be hard to hold out.
I AM A STAR is the obvious danger. She’s obviously the class horse in the race, being a former group one winner, and her form last preparation was outstanding, winning three group races in a row. She resumes today in what looks like a winnable race for her, the only slight query is her average first up record, though that was against better fields than this.
She draws well in barrier four to sit on the speed, and if she’s ready to go she’ll be hard to beat. BELLARIA is the best roughie.
She went well last preparation, beating Miss Gardenia at this track over 1400 meters, and she resumed well, only finishing a length behind the talented Miss Norway. Best of the rest.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #4 Teleplay, with a saver on #1 I am a star.
Now we get to the first group two on the program, which is the time honoured, Rubiton stakes over 1100 meters. I’m very keen on VOODOO LAD here, against the heavy favourite.
You couldn’t have asked much more than him last preparation, winning and constantly placing in group races, before the big win in the group one Winterbottom Stakes in Western Australia. He’s got a brilliant first up record, winning four from six, with two seconds chucked in there as well, and he also absolutely loves Caulfield, winning four from eight, along with three seconds. From barrier five he will go back in the field, off what will be a frantic tempo with the likes of Jungle Edge, Tavisan and Nature strip.
Hopefully they burn themselves out early, and the big boy can run all over them. NATURE STRIP is the main danger. As previously said though, there’s not a chance the riders on Jungle Edge and Tavisan are going to give him an easy lead in front, and I’m still not sure that he is genuine when the pressure gets put on.
Not a chance I could take him in the red. ILLUSTRIOUS LAD is the best of the rest. Massive step up in class for him, but like Voodoo Lad, he will sit back and will be running on if the leaders tire late.
Recommended bet: Large win bet on #1 Voodoo Lad.
The first Blue Diamond Prelude comes here in the fifth on the card, this one for the Colts and Geldings over 1100 meters. There’s plenty of chances here, but I’m going to go with some value again, in the form of HAWKER HURRICANE.
I was at Ballarat when he won the Magic Millions clockwise on debut, and it was a brilliant win. He raced really greenly down that long Ballarat straight, but he had enough talent to get across the line, and he did it pretty soft in the end. The horse he beat in that race, Alburq, only ran two lengths behind the favourite here In I am Immortal, so with the benefit of racing experience, he’s way overs at the current double figure odds.
The short priced favourite in I AM IMMORTAL is the big danger. He trialled really well at Pakenham, before winning the Blue Diamond preview on debut in front of Microphone and Alburq when he led all the way. He should be better for that run, and from barrier one he will launch to the front and take a lot of catching.
BRAZEN BRANDO is next best. He only finished two lengths off I am Immortal in the Preview, and had the best last 600 meter split of the meeting in that race. Should be better for that run, outside chance.
Recommended bet: Not sure I could take the shorts on the favourite, #1 Hawker Hurricane looks the best value.
The better of the Blue Diamond Preludes is here, with the filly’s time to shine, also over 1100 metres. There’s a few special two year olds running in this one, but none are more special than BROOKYLN HUSTLE.
Only superstars of the turf, can win the way she did at The Valley on debut, and she did it against some very smart types themselves in Yes Yes Yes and Oh So Rewarding. She’s born tremendously well and even though she has drawn wide, she was going to go back in the field anyways.
Barring a bad ride from Melham which doesn’t usually happen, she’ll be winning. CATCH ME is the obvious danger. She’s already won two group three races in her career (The Gimcrack and the Preview) so you can’t fault the form.
Her run in the Preview was outstanding. She was caught three wide the whole way, and still had enough left in the tank to draw clear close to the line over the very talented Jedastar. She draws well to sit just off the speed, and she’ll be hard to hold out. LANKAN STAR is the best value runner.
She was unlucky on Cup day to not win, and then came to the Valley and had a soft win against Hulk who runs in the Boys prelude earlier. From barrier four she’ll sit on the speed and give a sight.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #6 Brooklyn Hustle.
The group two, Autumn Stakes, for the three year olds is the next on the card. Probably the best race of the day this, with some of Australia’s best three year olds resuming. I’m going to go with HAWKSHOT here.
There doesn’t look to be much pace in this race, and that’ll suit him as he will probably be made to sit on the pace in what could be a sit and sprint type of race, which of course doesn’t do the back markers any favours.
His form this preparation has been fantastic. He has been relatively unlucky though, at Sandown he went off balance when he looked the winner, and last start he couldn’t get a run at them from about the 500 meter mark, basically to the winning post.
He ran a length behind Halvorsen in that race, and would have arguably finished closer with any luck, who went on to run second behind Tin Hat in the Manfred last weekend.
He maps well today and should go very close at the double figure quote. SOCIAL SPIN is the main danger. Like Hawkshot, he does have the fitness edge on a lot of these other horses, and his form this preparation has been outstanding.
He’s won two on the trot, including a win against Long Leaf and Starouz. From barrier five he maps really well to get a nice sit just off the leading bunch, and be rocketing home late. DECLARES WAR and RINGERDINGDING can both run good races, I left them out due to the speed up front, but if something drastic happens and there is some speed put on, they will be the two coming hard at them late.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #7 Hawkshot.
We get to the feature on the card, which is of course, the group one C.F Orr stakes over 1400 metres. Some of the best sprinters and middle distance horses in Australia are resuming here, though I’m looking outside of them and hoping the overs gods look after us with MANUEL. He’s big odds here, and I’m not quite sure why.
Last preparation she beat Fifty Stars at this track over the same distance, who a lot are picking to win this race. He then lost to Fifty Stars on a heavy track at Flemington. After he got a confidence boosting win in the Kilmore Cup, he came to the Valley in the Australia stakes, and only finished three lengths off them after having the toughest run of any horse in that race.
You have to respect the jockey and trainer combination, and he maps to get the gun run in the race just off the speed from barrier three. Way overs in this market. LAND OF PLENTY is also one of the main chances. One of the class horses in this race, and as long as the stable change doesn’t affect him, he’ll run well.
He won the Toorak handicap last preparation in front of Hartnell and Siege of Quebec, and then finished just under two lengths away from Best of days in the Kennedy Mile. He came home solidly in the Australia stakes last start, and he generally improves second up, winning three from five. Will appreciate the rise to 1400 meters and as long as Lane can get cover, he’ll be running on very strongly.
BEST OF DAYS is next best. We finally got to see what he was made of last preparation, after winning the Coongy and then the Kennedy Mile. He goes okay first up and he draws to do no work in the run from barrier four. He will need the breaks in the run, but if gets the luck he can run a big race fresh.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #11 Manuel, with a saver on #7 Land of Plenty.
The last on the program comes here, in the form of the Group Three TS Carlyon Cup over the mile, with some of Australia’s more promising stayers resuming. Pretty keen on NIGHT’S WATCH here, to hopefully close out the meeting on a good note.
He got chucked in the deep end last preparation, running near last in the Caulfield Cup, and running three lengths off Benbatl in the Caulfield Stakes. Before that, he was running brilliantly, winning the Naturalism over Rising Red, and only running half a length behind Magic Consol over this trip at the Valley. He runs tremendous first up, winning two from three and even though barrier two isn’t ideal, in this small field he should be able to get out, and be good enough to run over them late.
CALL ME HANDSOME is over the odds in this. He hasn’t been necessarily flying this preparation, though he still only ran three lengths off Whispering Brook two starts back who is one of the favourites in the C.F Orr. He’ll appreciate the step up to 1600 meters, and he generally goes well third up, having two seconds from three starts.
Should have the speed to cross over and sit on the speed, and will give a big sight in the straight. AVILIUS is next best. He won the Bart Cummings last preparation, and ran midfield in the Cox Plate. Whether he has the zip over the mile against some of these is the big query.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #6 Night’s Watch.
BEST BET: Race 2 #3 Crack The Code.
SECOND BEST: Race 6 #6 Brooklyn Hustle.
BEST VALUE: Race 8 #11 Manuel.