The Mounting Yard is jumping up to Randwick this weekend for the first day of the Championships.
We’re set for another great day of spring racing at Caulfield with it being Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes day.
The Group 1 is accompanied by two Group 3s including the time-honoured Foundation Cup. The rail is out three metres for the entire circuit and I think at worst we will have a Soft 6 or 7 track rating. There are nine races on the program and we’re about to dissect each one of them in detail.
Let’s get into it.
We kick off the day with a wide-open Benchmark 78 Handicap over 1800 metres. The bookmakers don’t have a clue here and neither do the punters currently.
I put Aristocratic Miss on top though. She was pretty good last preparation winning over Sweet Mischief at Sandown before going down by two lengths to Tavirun at this track. Junipal ran third in that race and beat home most of these last start.
Her run resuming behind two talented ones in Rox The Castle and Jumbo Ozaki was terrific and she will appreciate the step out to 1800 metres. It looks the one to beat.
I jotted down that But It’s True would be winning races soon after last start and he gets a similar race here. He beat them well at Sandown before being incredibly unlucky in the race that most of these come out of last start. He can sprint off a slow speed and that’s what he will have to do here.
Heir to the Throne is in good form. He ran three lengths off Charossa and Dabiyr two starts back who have been impressive since and stuck on well last start after a tough run. Draws ideally in barrier one and is a winning chance.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #3 Aristocratic Miss.
We’ve got a three-year-old Handicap over the mile here in the second. It’s hard not to have Long Jack on top. The Baker and Forsman yard thought enough of this Colt to bring him over here after just missing at listed level in New Zealand and he showed why with a brilliant win at Ballarat.
He travelled three wide without cover there and still gapped them to win by two lengths. He had the fastest last 600 and 200 metres sectional of the day in that race and he looks to have plenty of upside. He shouldn’t have trouble crossing from the wide gate and the 1600 metres isn’t an issue.
Reckoning seems over the odds. He won well at Benalla on debut while doing a lot wrong in the straight and the second horse in that race has been a subsequent winner. He draws the rails here and should get a perfect run behind the leaders. Skiddaw and Huntly Castle are both searching for further but can’t be dismissed as they’ve hit better form in recent starts.
Recommended Bet: Win bet on #3 Long Jack and it’s worth saving on #5 Reckoning at big odds.
Another three-year-old Plate race awaits punters, this time over 1000 metres. I’m pretty keen on Garner here. He was beaten by a smart type in That Girl on debut, before being unlucky not to win in his second start after travelling wide without cover and losing by half a length.
He couldn’t have been any more impressive resuming when travelling three wide without cover and still gapping them by two lengths. The query is out on how far he will get back but I’m prepared to take the double figures to find out. Watch out for him in the spring.
I Am Immortal is a big danger. He is just a speed demon who beat horses such as Microphone and Shotmaker as a two-year-old. He’ll cross early from barrier six and if he can replicate his two-year-old form he is right in it.
Lucifer’s Reward is overs. He was brilliant resuming when winning by two lengths and he maps to get the run of the race.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #5 Garner.
A Mares Benchmark 90 Handicap is the next race to assess. Haut Brion Her looks very hard to beat. She won three in a row up in Sydney and a bunch of horses she beat have gone on to win since then – some in very good company. She came down to the Valley last start and was nutted on the line by the very talented Tofane.
This race looks easier than that was and it doesn’t look to have much speed in it so she should be able to cross easily from the wide gate.
Zoubo could be a chance. She ran a length off Qafila at Caulfield last preparation though the knock is that she can be inconsistent. She resumed well behind Lady Loft at Sandown and she should be better stepping out to 1400 metres.
Shokora is racing well. She beat Rat with Goldtooth a few starts back before being unlucky not to finish closer to My Pendant a few weeks ago at this track. That’s good enough form for this.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #3 Haut Brion Her.
The Group 3 How Now Stakes is the next on the program over 1200 metres. Pippie should easily account for her competitors again here. She was brilliant resuming up in Queensland and she’s won in a canter against Diamond Effort at Caulfield and then against Spanish Whisper at group level last start.
Spanish Whisper franked that form by winning last Saturday and there doesn’t look to be much pace in this race. If they let him get an easy lead he will destroy them.
Tofane is a promising horse. She was unlucky not to have won more in her first preparation and she was terrific resuming at the Valley beating Haut Brion Her who is a $2.50 favourite in the previous race. She’s a clear second pick.
The punters wanted to launch into Victory Kingdom last start when she missed the start by about five lengths. She draws well in barrier six again here and you could be forgiven for giving her another chance at $21.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #4 Pippie. Playing the quinella around her and #11 Tofane.
The Foundation Cup is the next on the program over 2000 metres at Group 3 level. Sikandarabad shapes as one of the better bets on the program.
Just last preparation he ran Avilius to within a length in the Carlyon Cup before going on to win the Mornington Cup Prelude. He resumed running two lengths off superstar Mystic Journey in the P.B. Lawrence and he flashed home last start in a leader dominated race. He draws well in barrier six and he will relish the step up to 2000 metres.
Etymology has flown under the radar with consecutive good runs this preparation. He was pretty good resuming in the Spring Preview and he was unlucky not to have finished closer to Super Titus last start. Awkwardly drawn but he’s a chance if he can get the right run. The other Sydney siders in Wolfe and Supernova shouldn’t be dismissed.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #5 Sikandarabad.
The feature on the program comes here in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Group 1 level. I’m very keen on Amphitrite. You only have to look at last preparation to see how much quality she has when beating Verry Elleegant, before running two lengths off Mystic Journey in consecutive runs in the Australian Guineas and then the All-Star Mile.
She resumed well in the Cockram Stakes behind Pippie and Spanish Whisper who have franked that form. They’ll set this race up for a backmarker early and I think she’s great value at the $8 quote.
Begood Toya Mother is a big danger. She won four in a row before being beaten two lengths in the Memsie Stakes under Weight for Age conditions. This is a much easier race today and she drops seven kilograms since her last run. She will be hard to run down.
Madison County is a very smart horse and could be flashing home late off a hot speed.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #12 Amphitrite.
We’ve got a listed race for the fillies over 1400 metres here. In an extremely open race, I landed on Foxy Lady. This filly has hit her straps in recent runs. She beat Au Pair to break her maiden at Sale who has placed in high rating races since and she trotted in at Seymour last start to win by a length eased down on the line.
She steps up in grade here but she has plenty of upside so I’m prepared to have a speculative bet on her.
Kooweerup was excellent last preparation winning at Group three-level and her run resuming had plenty of merit behind Sassy Salitage. She gets out to a more suitable trip here and she’ll appreciate the longer Caulfield Straight.
Art Collection broke her maiden well at Wodonga and could be the type to go on with it now.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on #9 Foxy Lady.
The last on the program is a Handicap race over 1100 metres. I think Badajoz is over the odds here and I’m prepared to back him at the $16 quote. He beat Malahat who is a smart type last preparation and then ran a long neck off Intuition and Tactical Advantage in the Hawkesbury Rush.
He was unlucky not to have finished closer to Plague Stone in the Lighting Handicap who is $3.80 here. He has a great fresh record, draws ideally in barrier three and will be in this for a long way. Terbium was outstanding in his first preparation, winning three from four including a win at Group 3 level.
He resumed poorly at the Valley but he should be given another chance. Plague Stone went well in Sydney and does shape as a big danger. Just can’t have him at the $3.80.
Recommended bet: Each way play on #3 Badajoz.
Best bet: Race 6 #5 Sikandarabad.
Second-best bet: Race 7 #12 Amphitrite.
Best value: Race 8 #9 Foxy Lady.