The Mounting Yard stays at fabulous Flemington this week with a bumper nine-race program in store for the punters.
We had a winning day last week thanks to Sikorsky, and hopefully we can repeat the dose here.
The feature of the program is the Straight Six, down the straight at listed level, where Milwaukee opens up as the slight favourite at $5.
The rail is out five metres for the entire circuit, but the rating of the track is the big query. It’s been a Soft 7 currently but could easily get into the heavy range with the amount of rain predicted for the rest of the week.
Let’s find some winners!
Three-year-olds and up, Benchmark 84, handicap, 2500 metres
A wide-open race kicks off the program at headquarters. It’s not a race I’m keen to bet into, but Good Idea does seem the slight overs. The bookmakers mustn’t have been watching the Adelaide Cup, when he was tough to the line and two lengths away from King of Leogrance, who wasn’t far away from winning the Andrew Ramsden here last week. His last run at this track behind Haky and Sin to Win was good, and he maps perfectly here from the rails draw (1) to sit just behind the leaders.
Monmouth is one at huge odds that can run a race. The query is obviously the rise in grade, as his last run was in a Cranbourne Benchmark 64, but he is as honest as they come and maps beautifully here to sit on the speed.
Shepard and Starcaster ran against each other two-back, with Starcaster winning by 2.25 lengths. Shepard seems to have come on since that run, though, and the rain-affected track definitely suits him more than Starcaster.
Yonkers brings down the Sydney form. It’s hard to match up here, and he is a query over the trip, but he maps well and should get every conceivable chance to run it out.
Recommended bet: I’m going to leave this one alone. No. 13 Monmouth is the overs if you are desperate.
Two-year-olds plate, set weights, 1400 metres
This is an intriguing race with some progressive juveniles taking part. I’m keen to have a play on two of them, and one of those is favourite KhoeKhoe. He has gone from strength to strength in each of his last two starts and there isn’t any reason he can’t improve again here. He put 1.25 lengths on Coup De Tonnerre (who has won since) when breaking his maiden and also put nearly five lengths on Ironedge in that race, who subsequently ran a neck away from Flying Award. He went to the Showdown last start and pulled off his best impression of Super Seth to get up and win by a neck over River Night, and they put 3.5 lengths on the rest of the field. The rise to 1400 metres suits, Flemington should suit, and he will be very hard to hold out if he maintains his form.
I want to save on Rock The Ring. The form coming out of his debut run at Geelong behind National Choice and Daisy Cakes is very good, and he was impressive when taking an eternity to wind up over 1112 metres to break his maiden at Sale. The rise in distance suits, he should push forward in a race without too much speed in it, and he is the main danger to the favourite.
Indictment has good form lines surrounding him, but his last start effort in Adelaide was pretty poor, while Immortal Love seems way under the odds and a good proposition for those Lay punters.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 1 KhoeKhoe at $2.70 with a saver on No. 2 Rock The Ring at $5.
Three-year-olds, Benchmark 78, fillies, handicap, 1400 metres
One of the better races on the program arrives here, but it’s wide open and a bit of a nightmare from a punting perspective. I’m going to have a double play, though, and I’m sticking with La Chevalee. She’s very good this filly. Her run two back was very good when completely luckless against Florent and Affair to Remember, who have both franked the form well since. She’d probably have won that race with even luck. She went to Sandown last start and was terrific when winning after ducking and weaving through the pack to beat Florent by 0.75 lengths, and the margin should have been longer. She should be able to cross from the gate (9) and the more rain the better for this filly.
I want to have something on Miss Leila. Her run two back when finishing 1.75 lengths off Shahzade was pretty good considering that horse has won again, and she was unlucky not to win last start after travelling four wide and without cover. She drops three kilograms from that run, finally draws a good gate (6) and is overs at the double-figure quote.
There is a host of other chances. including Wild Vixen, who maps well and was impressive last start, and Tubby Two Tracks, who ran on well last start.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 8 La Chevalee at $4.60 and an each-way bet on No. 13 Miss Leila at $12.
Benchmark 78, handicap, 1100 metres
Not a race with a lot of quality bar one horse: favourite Alfa Oro. He is low-flying, this gelding, and might have group potential. He resumed off an 88-week break at Pakenham when running two lengths behind Phoenix Global before staying at Pakenham and beating So Skilled in the easiest of fashions by 2.25 lengths, easing down for the last 100 metres. He then went to the synthetic track at Pakenham and broke the track record over 1200 metres when beating Paperboy by two lengths, and again he eased down and never pushed out fully. He rises in grade here, but a repeat of his last start run just wins this. He draws out (14), which is ideal down the straight, and he should have no opposition for the lead. He should be winning.
Sagarra is the only slight danger, but he probably needs a bottomless track. He was tough two back when travelling wide and still finished off strongly behind Too Good Too Hard before going to Sandown on a Heavy 10 last start and winning over Our Gladiator. He will sit on the speed and be hard to run down.
The rest of the race is basically a lotto to fill the placings. Spirit of Aquada could pay nicely for the place if he can find his best form. He was only 1.25 lengths off Halvorsen at this track and distance last preparation.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 12 Alfa Oro at $2.20.
Three-year-olds, handicap, 2000 metres
An intriguing race awaits the punters here with a few of these stepping up in trip. I’m keen to be on the Eurell-trained Hezafox. His last two runs read well for this and the price discrepancy between him and a few others is ludicrous. Two back he hit the line really well to run three lengths off Super Girl (third in the Andrew Ramsden last week) and finish alongside Sailors Falls, who has won at Swan Hill since. He then went to Sandown on a Heavy 8 and won well over Torradin on a day it was hard to make ground, especially out wide. Drawing inside (1) isn’t ideal, but with a bit of luck in the straight he can be winning.
Torradin was good behind some smart types two back at Caulfield before finishing only half a length off Hezafox last start at Sandown. You can make a case to say that he either wins or finishes closer if he got a run at them sooner and therefore has to be given a big chance here.
Game Keeper is going for four in a row, and his last start win in the Adelaide Guineas has to be respected. He goes up five kilograms from that run, which is a query, and I’m not sure he is dropping in grade too much.
Translator was a good winner last start and is going for three in a row here. He maps well and has to be respected.
Recommended bet: No. 4 Hezafox each-way at $10.
Listed level, handicap, 1200 metres
The feature of the program awaits punters here in what is a pretty good race. I’m happy to have an each-way crack at Miss Iano. Last preparation she was only two lengths off Tofane and 0.75 lengths off Pippie down the straight, which reads well for a race like this. She generally takes a while to get going, and her last two runs have been good leading into what is seemingly a target race. She ran out of room two back over 1000 metres down the straight before going to the Wangoom and having a chequered passage in the straight to run a length off Order of Command. The wet track suits, as does the expected strong tempo. She will be flashing home late.
Milwaukee is the main danger. He looked the winner two back at this track over 1000 metres before peaking on his run before again looking like the winner last start over 1000 metres when hanging in badly late, which probably cost him the race. For that reason drawing out wide (12) is ideal. He can be winning.
Malibu Style was good last start behind Milwaukee and probably goes past him in another couple of strides. The race sets up well for him and I wouldn’t be discounting the old boy.
La Tigeresa is the blowout chance. Her form from last preparation reads okay for this and she jumped out really well behind Open Minded leading into this.
Recommended bet: No. 10 Miss Iano each-way at $8.50.
Benchmark 84, handicap, 1800 metres
I’m pretty keen to play in this race and there are three main dangers, but I’m prepared to leave one out of my betting plan. Duke of Plumpton is a very progressive type, and the former Kiwi, now in the Patty Payne yard, should get the conditions to suit on Saturday. He came out to Australia on the back of some disappointing efforts, but that wasn’t the case in his first Australian start, when he absolutely gapped a pretty handy field at Echuca. Orienzel has won at Pakenham subsequently after that race and then ran fourth behind Debt ‘n’ Deficit at Flemington last week. Duke of Plumpton put three lengths on her, which shows how good he went that day. He went to Sandown on a heavy track last start and just couldn’t peg back Shot of Irish on a day where it was hard to make ground. Shot of Irish has won since that, which again franks his form. He gets to this race third up and should only need even luck from the low draw (2) to be winning.
I want to save on Arctic Shock. He was very good on resumption when making plenty of ground behind Beautiful Flyer. His last run at Caulfield, on a Heavy 8, was fantastic after travelling three wide and without cover for the entirety. He draws better today (7) and maps to get the run of the race.
Aussie Nugget is the only other chance. His last two runs have been fantastic. He beat Grinzinger Star with relative ease two back at Bendigo before flashing home to run 1.25 lengths off Shot of Irish on a heavy track at Caulfield. He should be rock-hard fit and showed he can handle the wet ground last start.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 15 Duke of Plumpton at $3.90 with a saver on No. 9 Arctic Shock at $10.
Handicap, 1600 metres
I thought it was pretty easy to narrow down the chances in this and I’m keen to bet into this race. I want to be on Shot of Irish. He is the best weighted runner all day and draws perfectly (3). He was fantastic two back when beating Duke of Plumpton with ease by 2.75 lengths, who I am backing in the previous race. He stepped up to 1800 metres last time out at Caulfield and won with relative ease again, winning by 1.25 lengths over Aussie Nugget. He drops four kilograms on his last run and maps to get the run of the race behind the leaders, and the damp conditions suit perfectly.
I will be saving on So Si Bon. He’s the only other winning chance, and the discrepancies in weight are what swayed me towards having a bigger bet on Shot of Irish. This bloke has won his last two and in impressive fashion. He won with ease over Street Sheik two back before staying at Caulfield on a Heavy 8 and winning by three lengths over Mahamedeis, who was unlucky not to win here last week. He draws perfectly (6) and will probably be on the back of the favourite, which should give him no excuses.
It’s a lotto outside of them two, with Blaze Forth and Pacodali the best of the rest.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No. 13 Shot of Irish at $3.40 with a saver on No. 2 So Si Bon at $5.50.
Three-year-olds, handicap, 1100 metres
A wide-open race to end proceedings and I’m going to have a double play on two at a double-figure quote. Alburq was good last time he was down the straight when beating Can’t be Done before going out for a ten-week break. He was good on resumption at Sandown and was probably unlucky not to beat Final Man after travelling three wide and without cover before staying there at Sandown on a heavy track and running two lengths off Final Man. He draws okay (8) and is going to put in a big race today third up.
I want to have something on Sovereign Legend, who comes out of the same race. He was a brilliant winner on debut at the Valley when coming from last before being ridden closer to the speed two back and running 1.5 lengths off Final Man. He also stayed at Sandown, was ridden colder and really hit the line nicely to run finish Alburq. There will be a good speed on here, and if they ride him quietly, he is a big chance.
The Astrologist is another who beat Can’t Be Done last preparation before going out for a break. He resumed in very good order when savaging the line behind Hi Stranger. He should strip fitter and is a good chance.
Hi Stranger beat Astrologist last start and the price discrepancy seems to be a bit ridiculous. He is the best of the rest.
Recommended bet: Each-way plays on No. 5 Alburq at $10 and No. 13 Sovereign Legend at $17.
Best bet: Race 4, No. 12 Alfa Oro.
Next-best bet: Race 2, No. 1 KhoeKhoe.
Best value: Race 5, No. 4 Hezafox.