This Saturday, we again head to Caulfield, for the annual Easter meeting.
The feature of the card does come in the eighth race in the form of the Easter Cup at group three level over 2000 meters. We’ve got a nine-race card in store for us here, with two races at Group 3 level. The rail is in the true position for the entire circuit, and the bureau predicts it to be thirty degrees and sunny, so get down to the track and start punting.
We kick off the day with a benchmark 90 handicap for the mares. It’s a pretty open race here, but I’m prepared to stick with Josephine Sea. She was brilliant resuming, beating Definia by two lengths after coming from last.
She ran two lengths behind Big Reel last start at Sandown when the pattern of the race wasn’t made to suit, and she should be ready to start peaking on her preparation third up. She shouldn’t be too far away in a small field, and she’ll be finishing strongly down the outside.
All Over Bosanova is the obvious danger. She bounced back with an easy win at Canberra, after finishing last in the Triscay, and her third behind Easy Eddie last start now looks like a brilliant form line, especially for a Mares race. She’ll go the front, and be hard to run down.
Rewarding Laughter went well last preparation, and she should be fitter for her sixth at Morphettville resuming.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #6 Josephine Sea.
The second on the program is a benchmark 78 handicap over 2000 metres. As is the case with most of these middle distance and staying races, there isn’t a clear standout, but I landed on Grinzinger Star here.
He looked very promising last preparation, when he ran third in the Geelong Classic, before running six lengths off them in the Victorian Derby. He resumed with a second against Rosso Antico over a mile at Sandown, but his effort last start is what separates him from the others here.
He beat the ultra-talented Mr Quickie in a driving finish at this track, and we know factually, that he can run out a strong 2000 metres. He should get a nice run from barrier five, and he’ll have plenty to give late.
Hokkaido Miss could surprise at odds. I thought her first Australian run, after coming over from France was quite good, running three lengths off Silent Roar. She never impacted the race last start, but she gets back on a good track, and the rise to 2000 metres will definitely help her here.
Latin Beat is an inconsistent type, but at his best he can definitely feature here. He was unlucky not to finish closer to Future Score last start, who is a very progressive stayer, and he should get a nice run on the speed from barrier seven.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #12 Grinzinger Star, with a saver on #13 Hokkaido Miss.
The third race on the program is a benchmark 64 handicap over the mile. Prometheus looks hard to beat here. He finished half a length off Dealmaker, and two lengths off Paret and Mapmaker, which are pretty good form lines for this type of a race.
He resumed in brilliant fashion, beating Mr Reckless and Remember the Name by three lengths at Flemington. He’s trialled well in the lead up to this run back in Canberra, draws well, and has won two from five-second up. He ticks plenty of boxes.
Handsome Return looks like the only legitimate danger. He won two from three last preparation, all but in weaker South Australian races. He was terrible resuming, but avenged that loss with nearly a three-length win at Morphettville last start. He’ll get a good run from barrier five, and be in it for a long way with the added fitness.
Kazio might be slightly overs. He beat Silent Roar two starts back, who is a subsequent winner, and done well to finish within two lengths of them after a tough run last start. The wide barrier is the major concern.
Recommended bet: Sizeable win bet on #9 Prometheus.
One of the better races on the card comes here, with a three-year-old fillies handicap over the mile. I’m a big fan of Music Bay, but I think she’s well under the odds at the current offering of $3. I’m prepared to spec two runners here at double-figure odds, and one of them is Zargos.
She had a really good preparation last time, without winning much, finishing five lengths off Wild Planet, and two lengths off Persuader at Listed level. She resumed and was incredibly unlucky behind Mystery Love, who won the Bendigo Guineas in her next run, and she was very powerful last start, beating a few of the chances in this race with ease at Sandown. The wide barrier is the big query, but if she can get some cover in the run, she’ll be finishing strongly.
Kevikki is the other one I think is over the odds. She was given no chances at the Valley two starts back when she was held up at a crucial time and she was unlucky not to have won last start, after having to do too much work early from a wide barrier. She draws well from barrier eight today, and she will seemingly get a cosy run in front. She can prove hard to run down.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on #5 Zargos and #6 Kevikki. Playing exotics around #5, #6, #2, #1 and #10.
The fifth on the program is a Super Vobis three-year-old handicap over 1200 metres. I’m prepared to take the $10 on offer for Cristal Eyes here. She’s been really impressive this preparation, beating Hawkestone at Pakenham, before beating Mossbelle at the Valley.
She went up in grade, and bled during the run, which is obviously an excuse, but also a big question mark coming into this race. She’s drawn to get a good run, Damien Oliver stays on, and if she’s recovered from the bleed, she’ll be right in this.
High Ratio is a good chance. He narrowly lost to More than Exceed two starts back, before beating Golden Halo at Sandown last start. He can easily turn the tides on More than Exceed here now that he’s fitter, and he shapes as a good chance in a weak race.
Morrisy isn’t out of it. He battled on at Ballarat last start to finish two lengths behind Columbus Circle, who is a subsequent winner, and he only needs a bit of luck getting across from the wide barrier.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #3 Cristal Eyes.
We’ve got another three-year-old handicap, this time for the fillies over 1100 metres. It’s a very open race this one, with some smart types going around. I want to be on the backmarkers here, and that’s why I’ve landed on Fidelia.
She obviously had brilliant form lines last preparation, running three lengths off Multaja who has found it’s groove again, and then finishing a length off Sunlight, who has gone on to have one of the better three-year-old seasons we’ve seen. She resumed at this track and distance, where she hit the line hard, and she should be fitter for that run. With even luck, she’ll be finishing strongly.
Thine is the Power is the other one I’ll be backing. She was unlucky in consecutive start at the Valley, before flashing home down the straight at Flemington last start, to narrowly miss against Causeway Girl who finished two lengths off Classique Legend at the Championships last start.
Golden Halo is another who has Sunlight form lines, and she draws to do no work. Shouldn’t be dismissed.
Recommended bet: Prepared to back both #6 Thine is the Power and #15 Fidelia. Playing exotics around #6, #15, #9, #14 and #16.
One of the features on the program comes here in the seventh, with the Victoria Handicap at Group 3level over 1400 metres. In a field of nine, there’s seven with legitimate claims.
I’d put Manolo Blahniq on top. He’s been as consistent as they come in his last seven or so runs, winning one from five, including three seconds. He was unlucky not to finish closer to Naantali last start after getting held up at a crucial time, and in a small field, he’s likely to turn the tables on her here.
Naantali is the obvious danger. She’s been extremely consistent as well, winning two from five, with two seconds. She beat Manolo Blahniq last start, all but having a better and uninterrupted run, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her do it again here.
Zebulon is the best of the rest. He’s come home nicely in all his starts this preparation, and Aaron Purcell has said they’ll ride him a bit closer today. Don’t dismiss.
Recommended bet: Will be staying out of this one. Impossible to have any confidence.
The feature of the program comes here in the eighth, with the Easter Cup over 2000 metres at the Group 3 level. I was really keen on Plein Ciel last week and I am again here. He rattled home in the Golden Mile at Bendigo, where he ran out of running room two starts back, and he narrowly went down to the equal favourite in Mahamedeis last week at this track.
He draws to do no work here, and should get a nice spot in midfield due to the lack of speed in the race. The rise to 2000 metres suits here.
I’ll be saving on Octabello, as he has opened at a silly price. He never threatened resuming in the March Stakes behind Widgee Turf but he was much improved last start in the Golden Mile, where he was probably ridden upside down when going to the front. He battled on to finish under three lengths off them, and he did win the Cranbourne Cup over this trip in the spring. He’ll get a nice run in midfield, and be finishing off strongly.
Odeon is the best of the rest. He finished two lengths off them in the Golden Mile at Bendigo, before finishing half a length off our Libretto last start. He looks likely to get an easy lead, and he could prove hard to run down.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #8 Plein Ciel, with a saver on #10 Octabello.
The lucky last on the program has arrived, with a Handicap race over 1200 metres. I’ve landed with Superhard on top here. He was incredibly impressive resuming at Flemington where he had the best splits of the meeting, and he chased Desert Lashes around the Valley last start, which is a track that clearly doesn’t suit him.
There should be a pretty solid tempo on up front, and that’ll give him every chance to storm over the top of them late. Dollar for Dollar might be over the odds. He’s giving the field a fair bit of weight here, but he does have the class edge on most of these. He got pipped on the line by Jungle Cat last preparation at Group 1 level, before being competitive in group races. He draws well to get a nice run on the speed, and he’ll be hard to run down.
Spirit of Aquada lost narrowly to both Villa Sarchi and Bandipur in his last two starts. Any improvement off that would see him go close here.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #5 Superhard.
Race 3 #9 Prometheus.
Race 4 #5 Zargos.
Race 6 #15 Fidelia.