The Mounting Yard stays in Melbourne this week and also stays at Caulfield for the Easter Saturday meeting, where the punters get to have a crack at a nine-race program.
The features on the program are the two Group 3 races in the Easter Cup and the Victoria Handicap. The track is currently rated as a soft six, and I expect it to stay at that level with some rain around on Friday and Saturday.
The rail is back in the true position, which should see more even racing, but Caulfield always seems to suit those up on the speed. Let’s get into it!
Two-year-old, handicap, 1200 metres
We, like usual, kick off the program with a race for the juveniles. This isn’t a race I’m overly keen to invest in. Unanimous was a fantastic winner on debut at Sandown when winning by two lengths before rising in grade to listed level, where he was pretty unlucky late when he looked like he was about to storm home. That form reads well for this, but he’s going to need some luck from the wide draw (12).
Six Shillings trialled up okay before being an impressive winner on debut at Warrnambool. He rises in grade here but draws perfectly (2) to lead and dictate the race out in front.
D’arbanville was good last start at Sandown when winning by two lengths. She has that Maha form which reads well for a race like this.
Universal Lady also has that form line and is open for sharp improvement. Watch the market for any big moves surrounding the debutants, especially the ones out of top stables.
Recommended bet: I’m prepared to keep my powder dry early.
(AAP Image/George Salpigtidis)
Three-year-old and up, benchmark 90, fillies and mares, handicap, 1100 metres
Tricky little race here, but I think there’s some value around two runners. Beautiful Flyer has been very good this time in and I couldn’t believe the odds she opened up at. She resumed in Adelaide and ran home strongly behind Runson in the Matrice at listed level before going to Bendigo and winning in a tough display after travelling three-wide and without cover up on the speed. She draws perfectly today (1) to get on the leaders back, and she should only need some luck around the bend to be right in it.
I’m prepared to have something on Miss Norway as well. If you are prepared to forgive last start, she would be a lot shorter here. Her run two back when running a length off Diamond Effort is a brilliant form line considering that horse has won twice since then, and she draws perfectly (3) to get the run of the race either on or just off the speed.
Mystery Love is the X factor in the race. She won her first three starts, which included a Bendigo Guineas win. She has plenty of ability but there’s queries around how she will return first-up after a long layoff.
Music Bay and Anjana are the best of the rest.
Recommended bet: each-way plays on No. 4 Beautiful Flyer at $9.50 and No. 8 Miss Norway at $15.
Super Vobis, three-year-old, handicap, 1400 metres
An absolutely cracking race awaits the punters with some very progressive types going around. I’m pretty confident I’ve got the winner out of the two I’m backing here. The larger bet will be on the marginal favourite in Zousonic. Her last two runs have been very impressive. She beat Whittington Stone by three lengths to break her maiden two back before being a certainty beaten in the Bendigo Guineas last start behind Riddle Me That. That’s obviously a good form line. She draws well today (4) to hopefully sit a bit closer in the run, with any luck straightening she will be hard to hold out.
I want to have something on Leale. She was unlucky at the Valley three back before putting in a very brave showing to get pipped on the line against Melodeon two back. She never had luck last start when never seeing daylight at Mornington, and even though she rises in grade, she draws perfectly (2) and should prove hard to run down.
Debt’n’deficit and Heyington Station will both need luck from their respective barriers (one and ten) but are very capable on their day.
Recommended bet: win bet on No. 5 Zousonic at $3.60 with something small on No. 9 Leale at $26.
Benchmark 78, handicap, 1100 metres
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more open race than this one anywhere in Australia. I’ve gone for one at double figures, and that is Morrissy. His run three back at Flemington against Bumper Blast is a pretty good form line, as is his last run in the Magic Millions Sprint at the Gold Coast, when he flashed home to run third behind Madam Rouge. He pulled up with heat stress that day as well as thumps, which made the run even more impressive. He generally runs at his best when fresh and she is coming off a 13-week break today. He should sit midfield off an extremely hot speed, which will suit him down to the ground.
Too Good Too Hard is one of the big dangers. She ran two lengths off Tofane and Pippie last preparation, which reads very well for this, and her run resuming at Mornington was full of merit. Well found in the market.
Leiter was impressive in consecutive runs at the Valley before finding one too good on the day last start at this track. She strikes a similar race and should be competitive.
Recommended bet: No. 2 Morrissy each way at $10.
Race 5: Galilee Series Final
Listed race, three-year-old, set weights, 2400 metres
Another wide-open affair awaits punters. If you disregard Coin Collectors run three back, when he knuckled at the start and didn’t finish, he has done nothing wrong. He flashed home to win four back at Pakenham before hitting the line well behind Think We’re Due at the Valley over 2040 metres. His run at Bendigo over 2200 metres behind Skiddaw, which most of his competitors were in, was a fantastic trial for this, and he probably would have won the race if wasn’t held up at the top of the straight. He motored home to run half a length off the winner, and I think the O’Brien team have him primed for this. He draws well (8) and should prove strongest late.
Relucent is the main threat. He’s hit the line well in each of his last three runs and his last run was when finishing fourth and four lengths off Quick Thinker and Zebrowski. That ended up being the quinella in the Derby, which reads well.
Outside of those two, Viscosity ran on well last start, while Hey Mighty should get its own way out in front.
Recommended bet: win bet on No. 3 Coin Collector at $4.80.
(AAP Image/Race Images South)
Three-year-old and up, handicap, 1200 metres
I don’t think this race is as open as the bookmakers think it is, and there are two who have come up well over the odds. Bella Martini is Group 1 placed, and that reads well for this race. She ran three lengths off Santa Ana Lane and Sunlight at Flemington last preparation before having no luck in the Jim Beam Stakes before going out for a spell. Her first-up record isn’t great, but if she can replicate her last first-up run against Manicure, it’s good enough to win this. She draws perfectly (5) to get the run of the race and should be hard to beat.
I’m having something small on Snitzkraft. He ran two lengths off Halvorsen and Bold Star three back, which is a good form line, before having mucus post-race at this track. He went to Mornington in the Hareeba and had no luck at all around the bend. He draws wide (16) but can cross early and dictate out in front.
Outside of those two, Reykjavik is a Group 3 winner who has a good enough first-up record. He draws to get a good run (4), while William Thomas was another hard luck story in the Hareeba at Mornington who could bounce back to winning ways.
Recommended bet: each-way plays on No. 8 Bella Martini at $9 and No. 3 Snitzkraft at $35.
Race 7: Easter Cup
Group 3, handicap, 2000 metres
The feature of the program is an incredibly open race. Skelm doesn’t win out of turn, but he seems to be well overs at the current quote. Disregarding his run two back, when he pulled up with mucus, he has been fantastic this time in. He flashed home three back against Salsamor at Flemington, who subsequently won twice, before going to the Mornington Cup and again charging home from last to run a length behind Aktau and Inverloch. He faces a few of those he ran behind today, but he draws to do no work (5) and there should be a fair bit of speed in the race, which will suit him down to the ground.
Salsamor is gunning for five in a row here after winning the Wangaratta Cup and then a pretty good benchmark 90 here last weekend. He draws all the favours (4) again here and maps to get the run of the race.
Secret Blaze will have to back from the wide draw (12) but has enough ability to win this, while Inverloch is ever consistent and will put in another bold showing on the speed.
Recommended bet: No. 14 Skelm each way at $15.
Race 8: Victoria Handicap
Group 3, handicap, 1400 metres
The other feature of the program arrives here over the mile. It seems to be a race in three here, but Wild Planet looks like the one to beat again. He ran home well on resumption in the Rubiton behind Anaheed before going to the Futurity, where he only ran three lengths off Super Seth and Melody Belle. That’s obviously a fantastic form line for this, and he was terrific when winning last start over Princess Jenni in the March Stakes. He’s fourth up here so should be ready to peak. He just needs even luck from the inside draw (2).
Seabrook doesn’t win out of turn but finds a winnable race here. She ran on very well for fourth and only finished a length off Kolding in the Queensland Guineas, which reads well for a race like this. She resumed off a long break in the Hareeba at Mornington and absolutely flew home late to finish half a length off Diamond Effort. She has a great second-up record and should be flying home late.
Spanish Whisper is the best of the rest. She resumed well with an unlucky fifth behind Sylvia’s Mother before doing nothing in the Coolmore. She gets back onto a firmer surface here and can bounce back hard at a double figure quote.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 5 Wild Planet at $3.40.
Handicap, 1600 metres
It can’t get much harder than this to finish the day! In a wide-open race I landed on Super Titus. In his first Australian preparation he was pretty good when beating Captain Cook at the Valley when third up after travelling wide and without cover in the run. He then went up in grade, which culminated in a Group 1 11th in the Underwood Stakes. He resumed well in the Echuca Cup when making ground out wide behind Hanger and Easy Beast. He draws out (11) but has the tactical speed to be wherever Luke Nolen wants him, and he has a terrific second-up record, which he gets a chance to improve today.
Outside of him, So You Win has a good winning percentage. He draws to do no work (1), and if he can replicate his performance he put in in the Foundation Cup, he should be hard to hold out.
Sikandarabad is always thereabouts, while Kaonic puts in the good performance here and there.
Recommended bet: No. 8 Super Titus each way at $5.50.
Best bet: Race 8 No. 5 Wild Planet.
Next-best bet: Race 5 No. 3 Coin Collector.
Best value: Race 6 No. 8 Bella Martini.