Australia is the only country in the world to have a public holiday for a horse race. We are known for loving a flutter.
The return of my weekly specials comes this Saturday, 29 June, at Caulfield.
It’s now the off-season, which means that the top-line horses are in the paddock, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get out to the races and enjoy a punt.
We’ve got a nine-race card in store, and the rail is in the true position. Let’s get into it!
The first on the program is a Super Vobis two-year-old handicap over 1200 metres. We’ve got some pretty smart horses going around here, but it’s hard to ignore the form of SizzleFly. She’s a great betting proposition at the $2.20 quote. Her debut win in Adelaide was absolutely outstanding, winning by eight lengths, before resuming with a powerful finish to win at Mornington last start. She should stay out of trouble from barrier 12, and the 1200 metres suits. She’ll be very hard to beat.
The two Godolphin runners seem to be the dangers – if there is any. Avon River was far from disgraced against the likes of Accession last preparation but comes here without a public trial resuming. The debut run from Deference looks a lot better now after a brilliant showing by Rumble Doll at Sandown on Wednesday. He should improve off that run, and he’ll take luck out of it racing on the speed.
Recommended bet: Big play on No. 3 SizzleFly. Looks a good way to make a bank early.
We’ve got a Benchmark 78 over the mile here in the second in what looks to be a pretty open race. I’ve settled with the two Hayes runners on top. Five Kingdom, the race favourite, looked promising last preparation, winning three from seven and running only a length behind horses like Declares War. He’s done his best work late in his two runs this preparation, and one has to think he’ll be ready to peak third up.
Royal Thunder looks over the odds in this race. His last two runs have been super. He finished second to Silent Roar two starts back before racing wide for the entirety of the race and still finishing only a length off Ballet Master last start, who’s shorter in the market here. He’ll get a good run on the speed from barrier seven and could prove hard to beat.
Tavistock Dancer is the unknown entity in the race, having only the two starts. He won both of those and looked very promising before going out for a 27-week spell. The query is the fact that we haven’t seen him trial in the lead up to this first-up run, but he draws well and gets in well at the weights. Wouldn’t surprise.
Recommended bet: Looks a good race to be playing exotics. No. 2, No. 8, No. 9, No. 13 and No. 6 boxed trifecta.
The third on the program is a Super Vobis three-year-old handicap over 1400 metres. There doesn’t look to be many chances in this, and I’m pretty keen on the Danny O’Brien trained Fabric. She’s been brilliant this preparation, winning two from four and being incredibly unlucky not to win three or four. She just never got a run in those two races which Fidelia won, and if she was in this field, she’d be an odds-on favourite. Barrier ten suits her as she can stay out of trouble, and she’ll be very hard to hold out late.
Smart Ellisim might have opened up overs at the $21 quote. He had good form lines behind Social Spin and Outback Barbie last preparation, and I thought his run was much improved last start at Sandown. He’ll appreciate the rise to the 1400 metres and could prove to be the blowout. It’s hard to ignore the last couple of runs from Morrissy, but at $2.60 he doesn’t look to be a betting proposition.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 5 Fabric.
We’ve got a handicap race for the three-year-old fillies here in the fourth. Sweet Jazz is the one I want to be on here. She’s only had the three starts to date – her debut at Stony Creek was impressive, winning by two lengths, and she just got a bit lost after hitting the front down the Flemington straight in her second start. She came back from a five-month break at Sandown a fortnight ago and was really impressive, finishing strongly into second. She should strip fitter for that run and there looks to be a frenetic pace on up front, which sets the race up perfectly for her.
Outside of her it’s a raffle. Both Tell Me and News Girl come back in grade from group company and draw well from the inside. They should be prominent for a long way up on the speed.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 11 Sweet Jazz.
A benchmark 84 handicap awaits us here in the fifth on the card. I’m not overly keen to invest in this one as it’s a very open race and I struggled to split the three or four prominent in the market.
If the Godolphin-trained Torpenhow is at his best, he shapes as a very big chance. His last two runs of last preparation were good for a race like this, winning by a length at Canterbury after missing the kick and then going down by a length to the talented Tonsor. He’s had a few trials leading into this so he should be pretty fit resuming.
Highland Beat and Bel Sonic are the other two dangers. Highland Beat beat Bel Sonic home by about a neck a couple of months ago and was a commanding winner at Geelong last start. If he can reproduce that form, he’ll beat Bel Sonic home and be hard to hold out.
Recommended bet: I’m going to leave this one alone.
A three-year-old handicap over 2000 metres awaits us here. I’m looking outside of the two fancied runners and having a nibble at one that has opened up at double figures. That is Peace Brother. His form on paper doesn’t look fantastic, but he’s had legitimate excuses in his last two starts. The run at Swan Hill in a Benchmark 64 is one we can forget as he never got a run at them and never got to fully extend at Sandown last start either, finishing only two lengths off Tysonic and Dogmatic who are the favourites here. He’ll need luck from the wide gate, but he’s opened up at $17 and that’s overs.
Dogmatic is the clear danger. He had excuses last start in that Sandown handicap race and also the start before that, when he and Tysonic had similar runs – he was far too good for him. He’ll get a good run on the speed and be hard to hold out.
Recommended bet: Each way play on No. 5 Peace Brother.
A handicap race over 1800 metres is the next race to dissect. Obviously the scratching of odds-on favourite Dr Drill changes the dynamic of the race and leaves the Matt Cumani-trained One More Try as a clear top pick. She came of age as a four-year-old last preparation, winning three from three, with wins over the talented Miss Siska and Seductive Miss. She resumed with an even effort behind Spanner Head before improving sharply when stepping out to 1800 metres. She was beaten two lengths by Dr Drill but put three lengths on the rest of the field, most whom are her main dangers here. She loves the give in the ground and is now undefeated third up. She’ll get a good run from barrier four and be very hard to beat.
Carzoff looks like it has opened up overs and is the only danger I can see. The Newcastle Cup winner was extremely unlucky resuming over 1400 metres and should strip fitter and relish the rise in trip to the 1800 metres today. Wouldn’t shock at double figures.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 7 One More Try
A Fillies and Mares Benchmark 90 awaits us in the penultimate event of the program. It’s a really open race here, and I’ve gone for some value in the form of Nariko. She hasn’t had the best of luck this preparation and she’s still finished within a length of Milwaukee, which seems a good form line for this. She went to the line untested in a Mares Benchmark 90 two starts back and beat all bar Highland Beat home who is going around favourite earlier in the day. She seems to grow another leg on soft ground, and she draws well from barrier six. She’ll run well.
Miss Norway does seem to be one of the big dangers. She was impressive last preparation, winning three from six, and if she hadn’t hung out so much resuming at Flemington, she would have won. Barrier ten is tricky, but Theo Nugent should be able to find a spot somewhere.
Eurack came home steadily resuming and should be fitter for that effort. She’s got plenty of natural ability and it wouldn’t surprise to see her run well.
Recommended bet: Each-way play on No. 6 Nariko.
The last on the program is a Benchmark 84 Handicap over 1400 metres. It’s a pretty tough race to decipher, but I’ve landed on the favourite in Elite Drake. He’s got brilliant form lines for this type of a race, finishing two lengths off Widgee Turf and Kazio in the Gold Mile only three starts back. He won tough at Bendigo last start and there won’t be too much pressure put on him up front. He’ll be hard to run down.
Miss Mandito could be the blowout. She battled on well two starts back at Sandown before clocking really good sectionals again at Sandown last start. She’ll need the breaks from barrier two, but I think she’s overs at the $23 quote.
Into Rio has good form lines behind Prince Ziggy and Mosh Music, but he’s looking for further against this company.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 6 Elite Drake.
Best bet: Race 3, No. 5: Fabric.
Second-best bet: Race 4, No. 11: Sweet Jazz
Best value: Race 6, No. 5: Peace Brother.