The Mounting Yard will cover both states this Saturday, but we will have a look at the Caulfield meeting first, where we have a nine-race program in store for the punters.
We have some very progressive three-year-olds facing off against each other across the meeting, which makes it an intriguing and slightly tricky meeting to analyse. The rail is out nine metres for the entire circuit which will generally favour the on-pace runners, so watch out for any bias early on in the day.
Let’s find some winners.
Race 1: Two-year-olds, handicap, 1100 metres
We kick off the program with a race for the babies over 1100 metres. It’s not a race I’m overly keen to invest in with a heap of different form lines coming into it, but I had Bella Nipotina on top. She has been up a long time for a two-year-old which is the query I have, but her form coming into this is superb, beating home the talented Larimer Street three-back before suffering a tough run and doing a fantastic job to run second behind a smart one at Bendigo last start.
She draws out (11) but could just be to classy for these. Ideas Man beat Bella Nipotina when they were both debuting before being outclassed in the Blue Diamond. He goes up 5kg from his last run but drops back in grade a long way and has to be considered.
Geist was really good two-back in a high rating Blue Diamond Prelude, before running midfield at Group level last start down the straight. She draws the favours and a bold showing wouldn’t surprise.
Watch the market with the first starters and respect any betting moves.
Recommended bet: Shouldering arms in the first.
Race 2: Handicap, 2406 metres
It’s a really open race this one and the bookmakers don’t really know what to do with it being $5.50 the field. It’s hard to see Skelm not running at least a place here and he represents each-way value at his current quote.
Discounting his run two-back when he pulled up lame, he has been racing really well without winning. He got close to Salsamor three-back when flashing home to run a neck away, before putting in a superb effort in the Mornington Cup when he came from legitimately last to run a length off the winner in Aktau.
Nothing really came from back in the field in that race which makes the run more impressive, and there looks to be a fair bit of speed in the race. He will bard to hold out.
Inverloch still beat Skelm home in that Mornington Cup when running second and he is as honest as the day is long. He will probably lead in this race, but there does look to be a bit of pace on up front which is a concern. Good Idea was a good winner at the Valley two-back and then went on to run second in the Adelaide Cup behind King of Leogrance. He maps beautifully and a bold showing is expected.
Recommended bet: #9 Skelm E/W at$5.50.
Race 3: Benchmark 78 handicap, 1400 metres
The pattern of the day is big fields and even races, and that’s no exception here. It’s a very open race and I ended up landing on Paperboy. His form lines leading into this race are hard to ignore and he gets the services of in-form jockey Jye McNiel today. He ran a length off Riddle Me That who franked the form at Bendigo last weekend three-back before not having much luck behind the talented duo of Rainbow Thief and Skiddaw at Sandown.
He then went to Pakenham in a strong benchmark 78 handicap and won by nearly two lengths over Heirborn. He draws out (11) but as long as he can get some cover, he will be hard to beat. Buffalo River has plenty of ability and is a major contender. He came over from England after just three starts and made an instant impact in Australia, winning three in a row, which included wins over Ballet Master and Mr Exclusive.
He doesn’t draw any favours (13), but could be too classy for them. Villa Sarchi and Turn The Tide will both get back from their wide gates, but can be charging home late.
Recommended bet: #14 Paperboy E/W at$6.50.
Race 4: Three-year-olds, fillies, handicap, 1400 metres
We’ve got a cracking race for the Fillies here. This is another wide-open race and I don’t mind a couple at an each-way price. Modear has been terrific this preparation and has to be a good chance here. She was a good winner on Soft ground at Flemington four-back and has been good without winning since.
Her run two-back at Sandown at benchmark 70 grade was brilliant when she just never seen daylight in the straight. She would have won that race if she got any room, and she went up in grade to a listed-level race at Flemington when she ran on strongly to run a length off Sangria and Absolute Flirt.
The Patrick Payne yard is on fire at the moment and she could give them another winner, coming from near the rear off a hot speed. I’m convinced Sophia’s Choice is a good horse and hopefully we get to see her best here. She won two in a row last preparation, before running a length off Banquo at Listed level at Flemington.
She has had excuses in each run this preparation, gets to this race third-up, draws well (3) and should have no excuses. Outside of those two, Hint of Mint was improved last start and showed glimpses of getting back to how she was going last preparation, while Beauty Bolt won well on resumption and looks like a very progressive type.
Recommended bet: E/W plays on both #9 Modear at$7 and #6 Sophia’s Choice at$11.
Race 5: Super Vobis, three-year-olds, handicap, 1100 metres
Another very open race awaits the punters and I’m backing two at each-way odds again. Defiant Dancer is well over the odds here. He ran two lengths off Alabama Express in the Gothic Stakes last preparation which reads well for this race, before getting pipped on the line by Heart of Puissance at the Valley who just jumped out the ground late.
He resumed at Sandown and was a certainty beaten when losing by a nose. He just never got out until the last 100 metres in a true bad luck story. He strips fitter for that second-up and will appreciate what is assured to be a fast pace on up front. Alburq is the other I want to have something on. He ran two lengths off Rubisaki last preparation which is a good form line, before winning at Flemington, down the straight. He then ran a length off Rubisaki again, before being outclassed by the likes of Super Seth and Dalasan.
He is another who will appreciate a strong tempo and will be running on strongly. Excess Funds was a good winner here last start in a similar field, but the wide gate (13) is concerning, and the same goes for Absolute Flirt who ran on strongly first-up at Flemington.
Recommended bet: E/W plays on both #4 Alburq at$21 and #13 Defiant Dancer at$11.
Race 6: Handicap, 1000 metres
It’s an intriguing race this one and I’m prepared to take on the favourite in Diamond Effort after drawing out (11). Vainstream has been very good this preparation without winning, but does strike a winnable race here. The form line surrounding him has been good all preparation, starting three-back when running Sansom and Clarice Cliffs to within a length, to then running a length off them and a very solid fifth at Group 1 level behind Pippie and Zoutori.
He was good in the Hareeba without a lot of luck and he draws all the favours here (6). Dean Yendall should sit him just off the speed so he has the first crack at them in the straight. Just doesn’t want it too soft. William Thomas is a major contender. He was brilliant on Ballarat Cup day at the end of last preparation and he never got a look at them in the Hareeba.
They should go along at a good clip here which will allow him as chance. The same can be said for Tahitian Dancer who goes well first-up, as well as the old boy Rock Magic who can’t be discounted.
Recommended bet: #13 Vainstream E/W at$12.
Race 7: Super Vobis, three-year-olds, handicap, 1600 metres
Another really good race awaits us here. Russian Camelot has the potential to be a star and I’m prepared to be in his corner here. He debuted in a good Maiden when he won with ease by nearly two lengths over Westbrook Park and Themoonlitegambler before stepping up to 1800 metres at Listed level and running second, a length off Pancho.
His run resuming was an absolute blinder after missing the kick by three lengths. He made a heap of ground in the last 600 metres to run two lengths off Spend and Riddle Me That, which seems to be the best form line coming into this race. He will need a good steer from Oliver but with any luck he should be winning. Vegas Knight is one for multiples. He resumed well at the Valley, before putting in a flat one second-up. He never had any luck last start and should take a more forward spot today.
Torradin has the now very good form line of beating Zousonic two-back in maiden grade, before winning with ease again last start. This is harder but he can feature. The Lifeline can give some cheek out in front peaking third-up.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #8 Russian Camelot at$2.50.
Race 8: Benchmark 90, 3-year-olds and up, handicap, 1600 metres
The penultimate event has a clear favourite in Benitoite and for good reason. She won four out of six runs last preparation and is creating a good record for herself at this stage of her career. She ran on well on resumption at this track over 1200 metres at Caulfield, before being unlucky not to finish closer when running a length behind Sylvia’s Mother and Fidelia two-back.
She went up to Sydney as a lightweight chance in the Coolmore and ran on solidly for fourth on a heavy track. Obviously, that form line reads well for this and if the track stays wet, it’ll suit her down to the ground. Seberate is a good chance at odds. I was on him last start when he had excuses pulling up lame, and his form line before that is good enough to be competitive in this.
He maps to get the run of the race in a race without much speed involved and therefore is a chance. Charossa and Exasperate are the best of the rest.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #7 Benitoite at$3.50.
Race 9: Benchmark 90, handicap, 2000 metres
Good luck for anyone who is still alive in the quaddie going into the last. I’m convinced Declares War is above average and he represents good value today. He beat Igniter and Not a Single Cent over this distance last preparation and he’s been building well into this type of a race this preparation.
He worked home strongly on resumption at Flemington over 1400 metres behind Jumbo Ozaki, before flashing home for third last start over a mile at Mornington on a track that wouldn’t have suited him. He draws out (16), but as long as he can get some cover in the run, he should be ready to peak getting out to 2000 metres. Star Missile was really good last preparation, and he had excuses in his first two runs this preparation.
He was much better in the All-Star mile last start and he only needs to get 2000 metres to be a major contender. Savacool and Quaffany can mix their form but at their best can definitely feature in a race like this.
Recommended bet: #12 Declares War E/W at$12.
Race 7 #8 Russian Camelot.
Race 8 #7 Benitoite.
Race 6 #13 Vainstream.