This Saturday’s metro racing in Melbourne is at Caulfield, for the time honoured Blue Diamond Stakes day. As is generally the case with these two-year-old races, it’s a very open affair, evident by it being $5.50 the field, with the favourite being Loving Gaby out of the Ciaron Maher yard.
There’s two other group ones on the card, with brilliant fields in both the Futurity over 1400 meters under weight for age conditions, and the Oakleigh Plate for the sprinters over 1100 meters, where there’s a raging favourite in Nature Strip.
Every race is at least at listed level, and the bureau predicts it to be a lovely day, with it being twenty-seven degrees and sunny, so get down to the track and start punting.
The Mornington Cup prelude at listed level over 2000 meters is the first race on the program. Pretty open race here from my viewpoint, but I’m going to go with the McEvoy trained I’m a Princess in the first.
She’s been up for a while now this mare, and she just seems to be improving with racing. She won the group three Summoned Stakes at Sandown three months ago, before having a two month let up, and she came back well at Caulfield in the John Dillon Stakes.
She was caught four wide that day and still rattled off brilliant late sectionals to finish three lengths off the front few. She got too far back in the Carlyon Cup over the mile, and she finally gets out to 2000 meters which looks like the ideal trip for her.
She draws well from barrier six to sit midfield with cover, and she’ll be hard to hold out late.
Sikandarabad looks like the main danger. He’s come back really well after the spring, finishing two lengths off them in the John Dillon Stakes after being irritated and held up the whole way down the straight, and then finishing a length off the talented Avillius and beating home Night’s Watch last start.
He’ll get back from barrier ten, but the trip up to the 2000 meters suits, and he’ll be running on strongly late.
Khartoum is the best of the rest. He won well at Ballarat a few starts ago in BM 78 company, and then won well again at the Valley at the same level. They took him to Ascot in the Perth Cup and he was out of his depth, but he comes back to a winnable type of race here. Should sit on the speed and make his own luck.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.5 I’m a Princess.
What a race we have here in the second, which is the Caulfield Autumn Classic over 1800 meters for the three-year-olds. You should get paid handsomely here if you can find the winner, and I’m going with Lunar Flare for the Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig team.
She’s a very progressive Filly who’s going up against the Colts and Geldings today. She has been going through her grades nicely, on debut she got too far back over 1400 meters and stormed home to only finish about a neck away and then raced really keenly at Pakenham and faded to finish a length off them.
The blinkers went on at the Valley last start and she absolutely destroyed them, winning by six lengths eased up on the line. She draws well to sit on the speed from barrier three in a race without much speed in it, and if she can show that turn of foot again, she’ll be very hard to run down in the straight.
Aramayo shapes as the big threat for team Godolphin. He’s a very talented colt this one, showing that when he finished three lengths off them in the derby after running five wide for the entirety of the race.
He won the Spring Stakes over Cloak and Greysful Glamour last time he was second up, before being narrowly pipped by Maid of Heaven in the group one Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick. He resumed at this track in the Autumn Stakes where he was out sprinted, and ended up finishing six lengths off them. Maps well to sit midfield with cover, and he’ll be running on strongly.
Cossetot is the best of the others, also for team Godolphin. He had been running really well in Sydney before going to Tasmania to win the Derby over 2200 meters. He drops in distance here but he maps well from barrier one to sit on the pace. He’ll make his own luck.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.13 Lunar Flare.
The Mannerism Stakes is the next on the program, for the mares over 1400 meters.
I’m going or some value here in the form of the Ken Keys trained Spanish Reef. She ran in some good races last spring and was far from disgraced in any of them. Most of those races were over 2000 meters which I think is too far for her, and she gets back to a suitable distance here and ticks a lot of boxes.
She goes well second up, winning two from four, and she maps really well to sit on the speed and make her own luck from barrier four. Her first-up run was full of merit, travelling three or four wide the trip and still coming home late, and she should appreciate the rise to 1400 meters.
Mark Zahra is a positive and she’ll have every chance.
Savatiano looks like a big danger. This is another mare who ticks a lot of boxes. She was a certainty beaten last preparation in the group two Blazer Stakes at Flemington, and she came home really well over this trip in the Hong Kong Jockey Club stakes at Flemington behind Cool Passion, before going out for a spell.
She resumes here in what is a winnable race for her, and she absolutely flies first up, winning three from four. From barrier three she should get a nice sit on the leaders, and with any luck she’ll be hard to hold out.
I Am a Star is the best of the rest. She doesn’t have many favours in this race though. She draws the car park in barrier eleven, and she will have to spend some energy going towards the front considering a few of these like sitting on the pace.
She went really well last spring, winning the Stocks Stakes and the Ladies Day Vase at this track at group three level. She’ll need the breaks to go her way today though.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.2 Spanish Reef.
The Angus Armanasco Stakes is next up on the program, at group two level for the three-year-old fillies over 1400 meters. Very open race this one, with nearly every runner having legitimate claims, but I’m siding with Queen La Diva for the Hawkes team.
Her form this preparation has been fantastic, winning two from four, including two thirds. The two thirds were against My Pendant and Notation at Flemington, and then against The Inevitable in the Tasmanian Guineas last start, who went on to beat Age of Chivalry and O’tauto in the CS Hayes Stakes last start.
She draws perfectly from barrier one to sit off a hot pace, and she’ll be hard to beat.
Angelic Ruler is one of the two big dangers. The western Australian raider has been very impressive over there, winning three from four this preparation, including a win at listed level at Bunbury last start. That Western Australian form looks good enough for a race like this, and she draws perfectly to go back in the field off of a hot tempo, and be savaging the line late.
Princess Jenni is the other main threat. She’s only had the two career starts. She was pipped on the line on debut at Pakenham over 1200 meters, and then destroyed them by sixth lengths at Geelong to break her maiden. She draws perfectly to get a lovely run in behind the leaders, and she’ll have the first crack at them in the straight.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.6 Queen La Diva.
We have a small field in this year’s edition of the Zeditave Stakes, at group three level for the Colts and Geldings, being raced over 1200 meters. Even though there is no third dividend, I think Terbium represents really well each way value in this race.
There should be some speed in this race, with both Tin Hat and Yulong January being leaders, and that sets this race up perfectly for this Phillip Stokes trained Gelding. He carries a lot less weight than he did last start at Sandown today, and his first three career runs have been fantastic.
He’s undefeated from three, with his best run being his last one, when he went to a mid-week metro race and never looked like losing. Johnny Allen hops aboard today, and he will be very hard to hold out. Future star this boy.
Zousain is the main danger, but there’s no chance I could take him in the red. He’s got brilliant form lines for a race like this, being narrowly beaten by the superstar The Autumn Sun in the Golden Rose, and the just missing against Sunlight in the Coolmore.
He maps well from barrier two to sit behind the speed, but he has a habit of finding one better.
Tin Hat is the best of the rest. Since being gelded he’s come back in brilliant order, winning three from three, the last win being in the group three Manfred Stakes where he led all the way. From barrier seven he will look to cross over, and if Yulong January gives him an easy lead, he’ll be hard to run down.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.7 Terbium.
The first group one on the program comes here in the sixth, the Futurity Stakes over 1400 meters under weight for Age conditions.
In this good of a field, I don’t think I can take the $2.50 on offer for Alizee, so I’m looking beyond her and I’ve landed on the Western Australian raider in Material Man on an each way basis.
He’s been running against the best horses in Western Australia this preparation. He ran third to Galaxy Star in the group one Railway, and then ran second to one of the best horses in Australia in Arcadia Queen in the Kingston Town. Both of them would give this race a big scare, especially the latter.
He came to Caulfield in the CF Orr stakes and didn’t really have any room to fully extend in the straight. He only finished a length and a half off them in that race, and he maps perfectly to get a lovely run behind the leaders today. He’ll be hard to hold out at double figure odds.
Alizee is obviously a big danger. She’s won her last three, and all in pretty impressive fashion, especially her last run in the Expressway, when she just cruised past horses like Le Romain and Dothraki.
The barrier is somewhat of a concern, as she could get caught deep, but she’ll be hard to beat. Just can’t take the $2.50 when this is the best field she’s faced.
Best of Days is the best of the rest, also at double figure odds. He come of age last spring, winning the Coongy and then the Kennedy Mile in consecutive starts. He resumed well in the CF Oor where he was held up for the majority of the straight, and would have arguably went very close to winning it.
He draws well from barrier one and with even luck, he’ll be hard to hold out.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.6 Material Man, will be playing exotics around No.6, No.8, No.11, No.2, No.7 and No.9 as well.
The feature of the card is finally here, which is the Blue Diamond Stakes for the two-year-olds, over 1200 meters at set weights. I’ll be backing two horses in this, and one of them is another one for team Godolphin in the form of Athiri.
She was really impressive on debut this filly, winning by two lengths over Accession, who then went on to win two in a row, and finish second in the two million dollar Inglis Millennium last start.
She had a ten-week let up before coming to Caulfield for the Fillies prelude where she was trapped three wide with no cover for the entirety of the race, and still finished under a length off the winner in Lyre.
She draws wide but all she needs is some luck in the run and she’ll be very hard to beat.
Brooklyn Hustle is the other one my hard earned will be on. Her win at The Valley on debut was outstanding, coming from nearly last to storm all over the top of them to win by two lengths eased up on the line.
She ran well in the prelude after a ten-week let up. She got caught four wide and was pretty keen in the middle stages, yet still finished strongly to finish three lengths off them. She draws wide but the 1200 meters should suit her, and all she needs is some cover in the run, and she’ll be the one charging home late.
Hawker Hurricane is the best of the rest. His win in the Magic Millions clockwise was excellent, and then he came back in the prelude for the Colts and really hit the line strongly. He draws to do no work and the 1200 meters suits him. All he needs is even luck to be in the finish.
Recommended bet: Each way bets on both No.11 Athiri and No.13 Brooklyn Hustle. Playing exotics around them two and No.2, No.1 and No.4.
The last group one on the program is the Oakleigh Plate, over 1100 meters under handicap conditions. I’m not going anywhere near Nature Strip at the current quote. He’s breathing issues combined with his ability fold under pressure late leaves him as a lay for mine.
Now on to who can actually win the race. I’m pretty keen on Encryption at really good each way odds. He’s pretty underrated this colt, he won the group two Danehill Stakes over Tavisan last preparation, and ran only a length behind Written By in the Blue Sapphire.
He resumed well in the WJ Adams behind Bons Away and Written By, closing strongly to finish under a length off them. He should be better for that run, gets in really well at the weights and maps to get a beautiful run behind the leaders with cover. Hard to beat.
Charge is the other main danger. He’s another three-year-old who gets in well at the weights, and his from last preparation was really good for a race like this. He won the Red Anchor stakes ahead of the massively talented Ringerdingding, and he resumed well running under a length off Gem Song and Purple Sector.
Maps perfectly to do no work from barrier one, and with even luck he’ll be right in it at big odds.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.17 Encryption.
The lucky last on the card is the group two Peter Young Stakes over 1800 meters under weight for age conditions.
My best of the day comes here in the last in the form of Avillius. He’s simply just the best horse in this race, and by a fair way. He won the Kingston Town over 2000 meters last preparation, and then the Bart Cummings the start after.
He ran fourth in the Cox Plate which is obviously a really good form line for this race, and he resumed well a fortnight ago at this track, winning the Carlyon Cup with ease in the end against most of the horses he faces here.
As long as he gets even luck in the run, the $2.30 looks pretty good value. Hard to see him getting beaten.
Hiyaam looks to be the danger, if there is any, at big odds. She generally runs really well fresh, running second in the Edward Manifold behind Bring Me Roses, and then she ran third in the Ethereal behind Pinot.
She’s trialled really well in the lead up to this first hit out, and she maps perfectly in the run. Expect her to go well.
Night’s Watch is next best. He ran really well in races like the Dato Tan Chin Nam stakes over a mile last preparation. He resumed in the Carlyon cup, and he had no real excuses in the run, so it’s pretty hard to see him turning the tides on the favourite.
Recommended bet: Pretty big win bet on No.8 Avillius.
Best bet: Race 9 No.8 Avillius.
Second best bet: Race 2 No.13 Lunar Flare.
Best value: Race 6 No.6 Material Man.
Best roughie: Race 8 No.17 Encryption.