The Mounting Yard heads back to Caulfield this Saturday for a big day of racing, with the first race kicking off at 11:45 am and the last on the program scheduled for 4:45 pm.
The two features on the program probably are the two/three-year-old Handicaps where some progressive types try and use this as a stepping stone on to bigger and better things. The track is in the Soft range at the moment and I expect it to get into the Good 4 range, with a possible downgrade on race day due to some wild weather being expected.
The rail is also out six metres for the entire circuit which will probably favour those on the speed. Let’s get into them.
Race 1: Super VOBIS, two-year-olds, Handicap, 1200 metres
We have an absolutely cracking maiden to kick off proceedings here in the first. I’m going to have a double play here. Show Some Decorum has come up over the odds in early markets. He didn’t beat too much on debut at Sale, but he did it impressively when winning by 2.5 lengths and drawing away late.
He then went to Sandown last week on a Heavy 9 and battled on really well to finish half a length away after looking completely gone with 300 metres to go. He rises in distance up to the 1200 metres which I think will suit today, and gets back on a Good track which is another positive. He draws well (3) and should be able to dictate the race from out in front.
I want to have something small on Joey’s Gift at huge odds here as well. She was fantastic on debut at Ballina when coming from last to win by a length and win with complete ease. The horse who ran third in that race has since broke its maiden at Grafton, and this filly was transferred to the Busuttin and Young camp straight after that debut which is another positive.
She has come up over the odds and does have ability. The favourite in National Choice is the main danger after a dominant debut win at Geelong over a handy field, but I think he has been well found, while Out of Isolation is the best of the debutants.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on both #3 Show Some Decorum at $8.50 and #10 Joey’s Gift at $51.
Race 2: Benchmark 78, Handicap, 1400 metres
The bookmakers have this as the most open race on the program, with it being $6 the field, and I think there is a couple who can run a race at odds. I’ll only be investing a small amount but I think Heavenly Emperor should be a bit shorter than what he currently is. He won two from four last preparation and has a strong record resuming (4: 0-2-1).
He draws to get a lovely run either leading or just off the speed and at $11, he should be running in the top three. Simply Optimistic is the other I’m keen to be on. He should have finished closer on resumption at Bendigo when flashing home to run a length off the winner (Barthelona ran second and has since franked the form), before having excuses last start at this track when running three lengths off Jumbo Ozaki.
He draws wide (15) but if he can get some cover in the run, he will be hard to hold out third-up. Sikorsky is the main danger outside of those two, but the wide gate (18) turned me off him. He was fantastic against the pattern at this track last start and should be another ready to fire third-up.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on #6 Heavenly Emperor at $11 and #9 Simply Optimistic at $9.
Race 3: Super VOBIS, three-year-olds, Handicap, 1600 metres
It’s yet another very open race here with it being $5 the field and it doesn’t get any easier for the punters. In a tricky race, I think Excelida can run well. This filly was only fair resuming at this track, which has become normal as she just never fires fresh before going to Sandown and winning impressively over the likes of Stravain and Sophia’s Choice.
She then went to South Australia in what was a hot race and finished off really nicely to run two lengths behind Wild Vixen, who I think is a very handy type. She reaches this race fourth-up, probably dropping in grade slightly, and she draws perfectly (4) to get a lovely run behind the leaders. She will appreciate getting out to the mile and should be hard to hold out.
Sandsation is the main danger, also at a big quote. She was okay two-back at this track on a Heavy 8, which I don’t think suited her, before going to Geelong and running on well behind Let’s Get Tramped. She is another who will appreciate the mile and she draws perfectly (3) to get the run of the race. Heyington Station draws a tricky gate (8), but he worked home well at Flemington last start, while The Lifeline can’t be underestimated out in front.
Recommended bet: #2 Excelida E/W at $8.
Race 4: Four-year-olds and up, Benchmark 84, mares, Handicap, 1600 metres
An intriguing race awaits the punters here in what the bookmakers have as another open race. I didn’t like the gate Arctic Shock drew (9), but I’m still prepared to be in her corner and hope that Jessica Eaton can get her some cover in the run.
Her form from last preparation when running three lengths off Nudge and Affair to Remember reads well for this, and she has been good in her two runs this preparation. She narrowly missed against Beautiful Flyer on resumption at Bendigo over 1300 metres, before having to cart up the field to the two tearaway leaders at this track over 1400 metres last start when she ended up running two lengths off Jumbo Ozaki.
That run should have topped her off for this and she should be ready to fire third-up. Cryptic Jewel looks like the main danger. Barring her Sydney run two-back, her recent form reads well here. She was only a length off Bam’s on Fire two-back who was Group 1 placed last week, before getting gunned down late by Naivasha at Flemington last start.
She is another who draws a tricky gate (8), but she has the class on her side. There are a few other chances at odds which include Secrets She has and Part-Time Lover, who were both unlucky in the Naivasha race at Flemington last start.
Recommended bet: #4 Arctic Shock E/W at $7.
Race 5: Three-year-olds, fillies, Handicap, 1200 metres
I’ve finally found one I have a bit of confidence in here in the fifth, and that is the favourite in It’s Kind of Magic. I think we are getting a fair price for the Stanley trained runner. She was fantastic in her first preparation when breaking her maiden at Ballarat by 3.5 lengths, before going to Flemington and running a half a length off Betcha Flying and finishing alongside Xilong, which reads well for this race.
I thought her best performance was at the Valley, all but down in grade when she travelled three-wide and without cover for the whole of the 1200 metres and still put her rivals to the sword late. She resumes today, draws perfectly (1) to either lead or camp on the leaders back, and the appointment of Damien Oliver is a big positive.
I thought the main danger was Talented. She was huge first-up when beating Affair to Remember at Sandown before running four lengths off Bobby Rocks in a poor display. She bounced back hard last start at Bendigo when running a length off Lunakorn and I think that form line has to be respected in this race.
Felicia is the best of the rest. She clearly has ability, being a dominant winner in Adelaide before going out for a spell, and she resumed well at this track a few weeks back when running half a length off Lankan Star. Maps well today.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #6 It’s Kind of Magic at $3.40.
Race 6: Handicap, 1600 metres
The later we get into the program, the more confident I’m getting. I like two runners here, but the main bet will be on the marginal favourite in Hang Man. I’ve been a big fan of this Moroney Gelding for a while now, when backing him in the Bendigo Cup last preparation when he just faded late over 2400 metres.
He has been good, yet again, this time in. He worked home solidly on a wet track which he doesn’t like on resumption behind Bam’s on Fire and Seabrook, who have both franked the form since, before going to Flemington and running two lengths off Rupture, but putting another length on the rest of the field in second.
He arrives here third-up, draws a good gate (4) and should be hard to beat. I want to have something small on Kiwia. He doesn’t have a great first-up record, but he has either been unlucky or not far off the placings in all of those runs fresh. He went really well last preparation, which culminated in going back-to-back in the Ballarat Cup over Double You Tee.
The claim from Mitch Aitken helps here and he draws perfectly (6) to get a nice run just off the leaders. Mask of Time was good two-back in the Doncaster Prelude when running a neck away from Cascadian. If he brings that effort to this race, he will be right in it.
A special mention goes out to Southern Rock, who is the unknown quantity in the race.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #8 Hang Man at$3.90, with something small on #1 Kiwia at $26.
Race 7: Benchmark 84, Handicap, 1800 metres
A typical off-season race is the next one to assess and I’m keen to play around two runners. I have a relatively high level of confidence here and one of the two I am backing is Nudge Bar.
The Gelagotis galloper is ultra-consistent and he ticks a lot of boxes today. He beat Sentimentalist three-back at Mornington over the mile, who is one of his main rivals here, and he was excellent last start when winning over 2080 metres at Cranbourne over Mr Monaco and Converging. He drops in weight from most of his previous runs with the claim from Stockdale, and he draws perfectly (6) to settle on the leaders back, which is clearly the place to be at this track.
I’m backing Grinzinger Star as well. I thought he was okay on resumption on a Heavy track which didn’t suit behind Buffalo River, before going to Bendigo when running a length off Aussie Nugget who he faces again here. The difference between those two gallopers is that Grinzinger Star draws a nice gate (8), while Aussie Nugget draws the car park (14), as well as there being a two kg weight swing today. He should be ready to peak third-up.
Shot of Irish and New Arrangement are the best of the rest and must go into all exotics.
Recommended bet: Each way plays on both #9 Nudge Bar at$8 and #10 Grinzinger Star at $8.
Race 8: Handicap, 1100 metres
As is the order of the day, it’s an incredibly wide-open event here in the penultimate race. I’m not too keen to jump in, but I’ll have something small on Terbium in the hope that he can find his best.
He was excellent a few preparations ago when beating the likes of Zousain and Yulong January, but he hasn’t really come up in his last couple of preparations. I thought he showed good signs first-up this time in though at Bendigo when he flashed home to run half a length off Coruscate (who he faces again here), and Barthelona, who has won since that race.
I’m prepared to forgive him for his run last start on a wet track as he just does not fire at all on a track with any moisture in it. He draws okay here (9) to hopefully get a nice spot in midfield and he should have the last crack at them.
Tavisan and William Thomas are probably the best of the rest and have had good duels in the past. They’re coming out of different form lines, but they meet again here and should be in the finish late.
If you are taking exotics I would chuck in Eduardo, who was poor first-up, but was excellent last preparation when running a length off Nature Strip and Sunlight. He draws better today (5) and the claim from Grace helps.
Recommended bet: #11 Terbium E/W at $15.
Race 9: Three-year-olds, Handicap, 1000 metres
The ‘lucky last’ arrives here on what is a tricky program. I’m happy to be with the last favourite in Absolute Flirt. She has run a lot of placings and found some bad luck so far in her career, but this filly has superior form lines compared to her competition.
She was incredibly unlucky last preparation not to win at listed level behind Wayupinthesky, before running four lengths off the likes of Loving Gaby and California Zimbol. She resumed and was fantastic at Flemington when narrowly going down to Sangria and beating home Garner with ease over 1100 metres, before coming to this track last start when she just got too far back on a leader-biased surface.
There should be good speed in this race which will suit this filly and with even luck she should be winning. Hi Stranger is probably the only slight danger. Looking back on his form from last preparation, he probably flew under the radar when running a length off Rubisaki, and two lengths off Nonconformist.
He has won first-up in the past which is a positive and the expected strong tempo will suit him as well. Young Liam ran slick time two-back to break his maiden before winning again, while The General has been impressive of late.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #3 Absolute Flirt at $3.60.
Race 5 #6 It’s Kind of Magic
Race 6 #8 Hang Man
Race 8 #10 Grinzinger Star and Race 1 #10 Joey’s Gift.