The Mounting Yard heads back to Caulfield this week after a three-week hiatus.
The last day of the South Australian carnival is here, and what a program it is!
There are four group races on the program headlined by the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap over 1200 metres, where South Australia’s own Gytrash is the favourite.
The first race kicks off on the stroke of midday, and the last race is scheduled for 4:35pm. The rail is out eight and five metres, so watch for any track bias in the early races.
Let’s find some winners!
Benchmark 80, handicap, 2000 metres
I think the bookies have got the market right in the first and there isn’t much value around. Orleans Rock is a dual acceptor, but if he comes here, he will be hard to beat. His form lines are just superior compared to the rest of the field. He was strong to the line behind Beehunter and then Hidden Legend two and three back resepctively before striking a wet track and winning with ease over Main Stage. Drawing the rails (1) probably isn’t ideal for this bloke, but Damien Thornton is on fire and should get clear air.
War Tiger looks like the main danger. He beat Farooq by a length two back in what was a good performance before putting in a brilliant effort at Sandown when finishing alongside Declares War. He will go to the front under John Allen and give them something to catch.
Farooq is the only other winning chance. He was making ground on War Tiger two back, and he has won in between those runs at Penola. He maps to sit on the back of War Tiger and it wouldn’t take much for him to turn the tables.
Recommended bet: Leaving the first alone. Keep the powder dry!
Group 3, two-year-old, 1200 metres
A valuable group race for the two-year-olds arrives here second. Extra Time represents great value at a double-figure quote. He was good on resumption when chasing hard behind theresabearinthere before going to the Queen Adelaide last start, when he ran around like a drunken sailor in the straight and still made ground late to run four lengths off Forever Free. Rising up to the 1200 metres suits here and the blinkers go on for the first time, which looks like it will straighten him up.
Hard Rock Girl is the main danger. She battled on steadily two back to run two lengths off Ecumenical when they ran quick time before going to the Queen Adelaide and being unlucky not to at least finish closer to Forever Free. She draws perfectly (1) to get the run of the race and she will be hard to hold out.
Yes Baby Yes is the best of the rest. She loomed up like she was going to go straight past Diala at Sandown and her run just peaked at the 150-metre mark. With that run under her belt she should be fitter, and they will go quick in front, which will suit.
Recommended bet: No. 2 Extra Time each way at $11.
Benchmark 72, handicap, 1050 metres
It’s an intriguing race after studying the field. The favourite is a winning chance but is far too short. I landed on Star Hills. He never really come up last preparation but he has been much better this time and he is well over the odds. He battled hard on resumption to run two lengths off Sizzlefly and finish level alongside Lakhani Rose, which reads well for a race like this. He then went to a 78-grade race and battled on well to run fourth and two lengths off Mum’s My Hero. He draws well to get the drop on the leading bunch and he should be ready to peak third up.
Fortune Follows is the main danger. The lightly raced colt out of the Clarken yard beat La Croft on debut before running a length off Picargo. He went out for a break and resumed well when beating Aten by a neck. That form line reads well for this race. Expect to see him charging home late.
The Corstens camp have a good opinion of Free Thrills, and I’m prepared to forgive her last start in the wet. She was a good winner on resumption and commands respect, while Extreme Thrill is the best of the rest and can bob up fresh.
Recommended bet: No. 6 Star Hills each way at $19.
Benchmark 64, handicap, 1200 metres
One of the more open races on the program here, and there isn’t a tonne of value around. I’m going to put Calypso Reign on top. He and Lunar Light basically finished across the line together on resumption (for both), but I think this Gelding out of the Jolly yard is going a bit better than Lunar Light. I loved the way he hit the line two back in the Redelva behind Garner, and the race just didn’t set up well for him last start in the Euclase. He will need some luck from the rails, but he is flying and this is a drop in grade.
Lunar Light is his main danger. This filly finished a length away from Calypso Reign in the Redelva before running two lengths off Wild Vixen last start. She maps perfectly and should have no excuses dropping in grade. Exeter isn’t without a chance at double figures. He was excellent on resumption with the tempo against when running two lengths off Excess Funds, and he worked home okay at Sandown in another leader-dominated race last start. He will need luck from the gate (13), but if he gets it, he is right in the mix.
Eugene’s Pick is the best of the rest. She was good on resumption before being outclassed last start in the City of Adelaide handicap. She can bounce back and run a bold race.
Recommended bet: No. 13 Calypso Reign each way at $5.50.
Group 3, three-year-olds, fillies, set weights, 2500 metres
Another wide-open race arrives here. There are only five winning chances, but trying to pick the winner out of that bunch is proving to be difficult. I thought Bellx was over the odds and had him rated among the top few. The fact she is already proven at the trip is a big positive, as there is always a query around horses that haven’t run it out before. Two back she worked home well behind Royal Crown over 2400 metres before going to the St Leger when having to sustain essentially a 1000-metre sprint to run a length off Sacramento. She draws perfectly today (3) and will get a lovely run.
Realm of Flowers is a big chance but is perhaps a bit short. I loved the way she hit the line two back in the Schweppes Stakes after being tailed out last, and her run last start at Murray Bridge was good when getting up on the line. She is a progressive stayer and it doesn’t seem like the 2500 metres will be an issue.
Stick ‘Em Up has the form around Colette and Toffee Tongue, which does seem like the best form coming into the race. She was a good winner at Newcastle last start and can go on with it here.
The Mockingbird is the blowout chance. She was fantastic when breaking her maiden at Bendigo two back and ground away late last start at Sandown. She rises in grade but will love the 2500 metres.
Recommended bet: No. 4 Bellx each way at $9.50.
Listed race, fillies and mares, set weights, 2000 metres
Another wide-open race here with plenty of chances. Like the last race, I had about five horses on that $5 line and I think Lamu is the one that is over the odds. The French import came over here after a third at listed level over the mile and I have loved her first two Australian runs. She got a long way back at Sandown and went through her gears well to finish off nicely, a length off Viral and Zaidin. She went to Flemington last start and was relatively luckless after not getting the run when she needed to. When she got out she ran on strongly to finish half a length off Naivasha. She draws well today (6) and she will camp just off the speed which will be the place to be.
Girl Tuesday is a bit short but is the main danger. She was good in the spring without winning, and her last start run when a length off Amangiri was excellent. She arguably should have finished closer. She should appreciate Morphettville and will be motoring home late.
Oasis Girl is intriguing. I have my queries on whether she will run out the 2000 metres, but you have to respect her demolition job last start when winning by six lengths at Caulfield. She maps to get the run of the race.
Nerve Not Verve is the blowout chance. She was poor last start but on resumption was only a neck away from Naivasha. She will lead in a race devoid of any speed and her absolute best can measure up here.
Recommended bet: No. 7 Lamu each way at $9.
Group 3, three-year-olds and up, set weights, 1600 metres
Ripping race, this one. A few progressive types and old seasoned campaigners facing off. I think Harbour Views will get out to $3, and at that price he’s one of the better bets in the country. His form from last preparation was excellent. Johnny Allen was arrogant on him when travelling wide and without cover against O’tauto and Impi, and he still drew away late to win by half a length. He resumed last start on a heavy track, which probably didn’t suit, and got too far back on a track that was leaders biased to run third and three lengths off the talented Buffalo River. He draws perfectly (5) to get the run of the race, and it will take a mighty effort to beat him.
If there is a danger, it’s probably Waging War. His form from last preparation, running three lengths off Fierce Impact at Group 1 level, also has to be respected. He resumed off a long break in the city of Adelaide and did enough to suggest he can improve a fair bit here.
Seabrook is well weighted and has the natural speed to cross from her wide gate (11). She is developing into a non-winner, though, which is the query.
Dexter You Devil and Aristocratic Miss are the blowout chances from back in the field.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 9 Harbour Views at $2.80. Wouldn’t back it yet as it will drift.
Group 1, three-year-olds and up, set weights, 1200 metres
The feature of the program arrives, and what a cracking edition of the Goodwood it is. With the likes of Xilong, Jungle Edge, and Free of Debt engaged, there looks to be a solid pace, and that sets it up for the champion in Santa Ana Lane. I can’t believe the price – he’s at around $8 at some bookmakers. His form this time in has been far from the terrible picture some people would have you believe. He went pretty well on resumption in the Challenge, where the race didn’t set up for him at all, before running on well to run second in the TJ behind the best sprinter in the world currently in Nature Strip. He stepped up to 1400 metres in the all-aged last start and just peaked on his run late. He has had success in this race previously, I like the fact that he draws out (10) and he will be powering home late.
Gytrash is the main danger. He draws a tricky gate (11) and might have to do some work early, but his form this preparation has been fantastic. He beat Redzel, Loving Gaby and Nature Strip in the Lightning before running big races in both the Newmarket and William Reid. He came back to Adelaide when up against Sunlight in the Irwin and just destroyed that field by three lengths. He is the hardest to beat.
Zoutori and Lyre are big odds for horses that have run good races in Group 1, and if there is an on-speed bias – unknown at this stage – Xilong could be able to pinch it.
Recommended bet: No. 1 Santa Ana Lane each way at $7.50.
Group 3, three-year-olds and up, fillis and mares, 1200 metres
They haven’t made it particularly easy to ‘get out’ in the last, have they? Saying that, I’m having a double play here. Mystery Love is a very good horse, and I made her one of my best bets at Caulfield before she was scratched and taken here. She won her first three race starts, which included a win in the Bendigo Guineas, before going to the Valley and running three lengths off Tofane. She resumed with a nice win at Caulfield over 1100 metres before going to Sandown and never handling the heavy track. She draws well (8) and should be ready to peak third up.
Equal Love is the other I want to be with. She has had fair excuses in her last two runs. Two back she was caught three wide and without cover and ran two lengths off Bella Vella, who is now a Group 1 winner, before never getting a look at them in the straight last start. She draws nicely here (2) to sit on the speed and the five-kilo drop in weight is a big positive.
Too Good Too Hard was very good two back when beating Sam’s Image before going to Sandown and getting too far back in the run to finish three lengths off Atlantica on a heavy track. She draws out again (13), but the drier track should suit.
Recommended bet: Each-way plays on No. 4 Mystery Love at $7.50 and No. 8 Equal Love at $12.
Best bet: Race 7, No. 9 Harbour Views.
Next-best bet: Race 2, No. 2 Extra Time.
Best value: Race 6, No. 7 Lamu, and Race 4, No. 6 Star Hills.