The Spring is officially in the air with the group one Makybe Stakes meeting at Flemington on Saturday.
Mystic Journey and Scales of Justice face each other in what is a mouth-watering prospect, as well as the two group two events in the Danehill Stakes and the Bobbie Lewis Quality. The rail is in the true position and we should get a Good 4. There’s no excuses for any horse today!
The first on the program is a Handicap race over 2500 meters. It should be called the Lloyd Williams Cup. In an open race I’m prepared to have a play at Douglas Macarthur. He came home steadily in his Australian debut at this track, before hitting the line really nicely last start after looking gone with 600 meters too go. He looks as though he’s getting fitter with each run and he draws to get a perfect run.
King Of Leogrance is the danger. After watching his last two runs I’m questioning whether they were as good as most people thought. Getting out too 2500 meters should help. Can’t back him at $3 though.
There’s a big watch on the import in Caliburn. The New Zealanders don’t usually import gallopers so they must think something of him. Only ran three lengths off Danceteria last preparation.
Recommended bet: Each way play on No.3 Douglas Macarthur.
The listed Cap D’antibes Stakes down the Flemington straight is the next race to assess. I’ll be backing two here and one of them is the favourite in Absolute Flirt. She should have won resuming at the Valley when she just never got out and I thought her run in the Quezette was fantastic. She ran a length behind Exhilarates after travelling three wide without cover.
Exhilarates ran the third quickest final 400 meters of the day in that race, and won at group two level last weekend. That form is good enough for this.
SizzleFly is worth saving on. She was outstanding in her first two career starts and was very unlucky not to have won against King Of Hastings at the end of last preparation. She got caught wide resuming and only knocked up late. Phillip Stokes has trialled her since that and this could be a target race.
St Edwards Crown is next best. She’s won down the straight before and sprinted very quickly resuming behind Exhilarates. The step back in trip is the query.
Recommended Bet: Win bet on No.2 Absolute Flirt with a saver on No.9 SizzleFly.
The Listed Exford Plate comes here in the third over 1400 meters. I’m backing two again here. Scottish Dancer seems overs at the $7 quote. He trialled well in the lead up to his debut run where he absolutely bolted in. He did a lot wrong in the run but the turn of foot he possessed in that race was terrific. He’ll improve off that debut run and if he can replicate that performance, he’ll go very close here off a strong tempo.
I’ll be backing Vegas Knight as well. He’s another who is overs at the $23 quote. He broke his maiden two starts back at Pakenham by six lengths and he should have won last start in a Benchmark 70 at Flemington. He ran the second fastest last 200 meters of the day in that race, and he’s another who will appreciate the strong tempo out in front.
Roccabascerena has been impressive in his two Adelaide starts, winning by six and three lengths respectively. There’s a query on him stepping up from 1100 meters to 1400 meters but it’s hard to knock winning form.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on both No.10 Scottish Dancer and No.7 Vegas Knight.
The Sofitel Handicap over 1400 meters at Listed level is the next on the program. It seems to be a race in three here but I’m siding with Chess Star. He beat Wild Planet and Thrillster as a three-year-old, before beating Roheryn in Sydney last preparation. A replica of those performances would see him winning here. He resumed at Caulfield running a length behind Dawn Dawn when he never really got any running room. He draws perfectly from barrier three here and the rise to 1400 meters suits.
It’s hard to knock Tarwin. The lightly raced four-year-old has three wins from only four starts including wins over Seberate and Wham. He’ll get back and be flashing home late. Rox The Castle is an incredibly honest type. He’ll have to cross from the wide gate but his win over Jumbo Ozaki last start is good enough to win this.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.12 Chess Star.
The Group two Danehill Stakes for the three-year old’s awaits us here. I’m going to back two of them here. One of them is Dalasan. It’s hard to look past him here. He arguably should be undefeated with his only loss coming to La Tene at group three level when he got bumped in the straight. He resumed beating Scales of Justice in Adelaide who has won a group one since and he draws well from barrier six. That form is definitely good enough to be winning this.
I’ll be saving on Sebrekate. I’m not sure why he’s $9. He resumed well beating home the likes of Dubious at Caulfield, before being unlucky at Caulfield last start behind Super Seth. In a race without much speed he’ll cross over early and should be in it for a long way. I’m putting a big watch on Yourdeel. He’s a two-time group one winner in New Zealand and the only horse he lost to was Probabeel who has went close in group one races here.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.5 Dalasan with a saver on No.8 Sebrekate.
Another group two to assess here and this time it’s the Let’s Elope Stakes over 1400 meters. I’m again looking for some value in the form of Music Bay. She won the Queen of the South Stakes at group two level in Adelaide last preparation which is a strong form line. She resumed running a length behind My Pendant last start, but she would have undoubtedly finished closer if she didn’t have such a tough run. She should be fitter for that run and she’ll sit on the speed in a race without any. She’s overs at the $13 quote.
Fundamentalists comes back from group one level and is another who will race on the speed, while the two favourites in My Pendant and Fidelia can’t be dismissed.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.3 Music Bay.
The big one arrives here, with the Group one Makybe Diva Stakes under Weight for age conditions over the mile. It’s hard to go past Australia’s best horse in Mystic Journey. She’s built a record of eleven from fourteen including the Australian Guineas and the All-Star Mile. She resumed doing it easy in the P.B Lawrence over Hartnell and she should improve off that run. $2.25 seems very generous.
I’m putting Kings Will Dream in second place. He resumed brilliantly in the Winx Stakes and he will press forward in a race devoid of speed. Qafila and Night’s Watch will be running on strongly.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.13 Mystic Journey.
The Bobbie Lewis Quality is the next on the program, at Group two level over 1200 meters (down the straight). I’m going to stick with Usain Bowler. He only ran five lengths off the likes of Sunlight and Brave Smash last preparation which is good enough for what has to be said is a pretty weak Group two. He beat Age of Chivalry two starts back who has won twice in City grade since. He gets in well at the weights and he goes well down the Flemington straight. He’ll be flashing home.
Resin seems overs. She was brilliant when resuming last preparation behind Winter Bride and she was unlucky not to win over Avantage in the Birthday Card Stakes. She gets in well at the weights as well and will be running on strongly. The other Godolphin runner in Demerara can’t be dismissed.
Recommended bet: Each way play on No.14 Usain Bowler.
We’ve got a Handicap race over 1700 meters here to finish off the day. My best on the program comes here in the form of Captain Cook. His biggest contender in Vow and Declare has been scratched as of Thursday night, and I just can’t see him losing now. He clocked really good late sectionals resuming off a seven-month break, and he ran into Super Titus last start who I think is a very smart type.
This is the easiest field he’s faced in Australia and he maps to get a good run from barrier eight. He’ll be mighty hard to beat. Outside of him there isn’t much. Sully was good resuming and the connections have always had a high opinion of him, while Hang Man came home steadily last start.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.6 Captain Cook.
Best Bet: Race 9, No.6 Captain Cook.
Second best: Race 2, No.2 Absolute Flirt.
Best value: Race 3, No.7 Vegas Knight.