Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for Newmarket Handicap Day at Flemington on Saturday, March 10th.
We have a nine-race card on a Good 4 track with the rail out 4m. I suspect the track will be fairly firm and therefore on-pacers might be preferred over backmarkers.
We have betting tips and comments for every race on the card below.
Best Bet: Race 2 #5 Kings Will Dream
Best Value: Race 5 #5 Counterplay
Good betting race to kick off the card here, with two horses I’ll be backing. (8) Concealer draws barrier 1 which isn’t ideal, but she’s a talented mare that went close in a similar sort of race first up last prep. She’s only had the nine career starts, with her only win coming over this track and distance. She’s more progressive than a lot of these so $5 appeals. We backed (2) Demonstrate when he won at Moonee Valley last start, and he can go on with it here despite lumping 60kg. His run two starts back behind Ken’s Dream down the straight was very good, and that’s a formline worth following, as Ken’s Dream lines up in a Group 1 later on in the card. Drawn well in barrier seven, Williams retains the ride, and I’m more than happy to take the $7 on offer. Should sit off the pace and hit the line hard.
TIP: (8) Concealer / (2) Demonstrate EW
(5) Kings Will Dream looks just about unbeatable here. That’s not to say there aren’t other winning chances in the race, but King’s Will Dream would need to perform well below par if they were to win. He’s won three from three this prep, all convincingly, including a win over 1600m at this track last time out. Goes up marginally in grade but carries the same weight as last start, draws softly, and Mark Zahra keeps the ride. Looks very hard to beat and $2.10 looks a decent price. (1) Harrison will likely find 1800m first up well short of his pet distance, but this stable has sent three runners out in the last two weeks, resulting in two winners and a nose 2nd. He last raced over 4000m at Ascot in the UK back in June last year, but as I’ve been saying in recent weeks, the stable wouldn’t be sending these horses out to race in the Autumn if they weren’t fit to win. I probably won’t be losing on him at $12. (3) Sin To Win was sound first up and will appreciate the rise in distance here, as will (6) Wheal Leisure.
TIP: (5) Kings Will Dream
Very nice race. (6) Portman goes on top after a good run first up over 1200m behind Ken’s Dream. He put in a similar effort first up last preparation before winning second up over this track and distance. Damien Oliver keeps the ride and although he’s drawn awkwardly in barrier 11, he’s the one to beat at $3.80. The hardest to beat looks to be (12) Notio who continues to run well without winning. Back to 1400m here with a soft draw should once again see him right in the finish. He comes out of a good race behind Kings Will Dream. I think there’s value in (8) Tiamo Grace at $21. I backed this mare last prep and she was fairly unlucky on a couple of occasions, so I’m not put off by what her form looks like on paper. Her only start at this track was a win over 2000m in Group 2 company, so with the soft draw, I think she can run a cheeky race fresh here, despite it being short of her best distance. (10) Sunday Pray next best.
TIP: (6) Portman / (8) Tiamo Grace EW
Competitive race. (2) Sanctimonious won well first up at the Valley and then went to Sydney where he came from well back in the field to just miss by a nose. That was Saturday grade in Sydney and I think he’s well placed returning to Melbourne here. Draws sticky in barrier 10 but Williams is on board and he should get his chance at Flemington. $5.50 seems fair. The value could be (5) Seberate with D Oliver on board. I think this horse is crying out for 1400m. He won an easy race at Pakenham two starts ago and was good behind Written By over 1100m in the Blue Diamond Prelude last start. That’s obviously turned out to be very good form, and the step up in trip brings him right into this at $7.50. (3) Outrageous is a horse I really like. He went close in a Saturday race in Sydney first up and followed that up with a win at Newcastle, where he beat (6) Tin Hat. Tin Hat then came to Melbourne and won. Outrageous will have to come from well back in the field given he’s drawn in 14, whereas Tin Hat should get the run of the race in barrier 4, which makes him a major chance here. Tough race, not overly confident!
TIP: (2) Sanctimonious / (5) Seberate EW
Another hugely competitive race. (2) Seannie goes on top after two enormous runs to kick off her career in Melbourne. She always showed plenty of promise early in her career in WA, and she looks to have found her best form since relocating. Her first up win at the Valley had to be seen to be believed, and her run last start in the Typhoon Tracy behind Tulip was just as impressive. The big Flemington track looks like it will really suit her, as will the step up to 1400m. Taking $6.50. I’m also following my money on (4) Counterplay, who loomed up to win at the 300m last start but peaked on her run to finish 4th. On the turn she looked like she’d go straight past them, but perhaps the 1400m second up from a spell (without a trial leading in) just found her out. Stays at 1400m and with that run under her belt she should be much better suited. At $17 I have to back her again here. (3) Summer Sham will go to the front and give them all something to catch. There’s nothing to knock about her form at present, with three wins from three starts. (7) Palazzo Vecchio was unlucky not to beat Summer Sham last start, after being held up badly in the straight. The Price/Oliver combination is flying at the moment so she has to be included. (8) Shokora gets blinkers first time, while (12) Platinum Angel has been parked wide without cover in both starts this prep – she was well backed to win last start and Weir will have her spot on for this.
TIP: (2) Seannie / (4) Counterplay EW
The Group 1 Newmarket Handicap. I think there’s two clear standouts for mine, but there’s also a few chances at big odds. (1) Redkirk Warrior absolutely terrifies me in this race, because he’s an outstanding horse down the Flemington straight and brings the best form to the race with his last-start victory over Redzel. The step up to 1200m will suit him even more than the 1000m did first up, but I still have to take him on here. He carries 57.5kg, and given he’s one of just two horses that carry more than 52.5kg, I have to take him on. The two I’ll be backing are (11) Merchant Navy and (4) Rich Charm. Merchant Navy was good first up over 1100m at Caulfield. He clearly went into that race with plenty of improvement left in him, and they’ve aimed him at this race all along, because if he wins he will become even more valuable than he already is. He’s undefeated over this distance and undefeated at the track too. Gets in with 52kg and could blow these away. Rich Charm is the horse I’ve been following for this race ever since the Spring, when he put together two outstanding wins, the latest of which was over this track and distance. His win that day was simply incredible and stamped him as a legitimate Group 1 horse, and his run first up in the same race as Merchant Navy was terrific. He had no luck on that occasion, and for him to run so well first up indicated that he is flying this prep. He’ll go very close and $7.50 is a nice price. (9) Ken’s Dream is a legitimate chance at big odds. His two wins this preparation have both come down the Flemington straight. He beat (10) Lucky Liberty last start, who is also a chance at big odds here third up from a spell. He’s undefeated from two previous third up runs. (13) So Si Bon is a horse who has teased a lot during his career, but he’s shown the ability to sprint well fresh, and he finally resumes here for a new stable – the same stable that won this race with Redkirk Warrior first up last prep. (14) Booker is flying and must be included.
TIP: (11) Merchant Navy / (4) Rich Charm EW
Really don’t like this race because there’s three mares I really like going against each other. I’ve backed (1) Shillelagh in both starts this prep – both at Group 1 level, and she drops to a Group 3 mares race here so it’s a huge drop in class. She carries top weight but she’s drawn softly in barrier 4 and gets up to 1600m at Flemington, which is where she won the Group 1 Cantala Stakes back in the Spring. (3) Samovare was sound first up behind Silent Sedition. She was easily beaten but it was a good run nonetheless. She’s undefeated second up and is undefeated at this distance. Draws barrier 1 and looks very hard to beat. (5) Spanish Reef was huge first up when winning easily despite travelling three-wide without cover all race. She looks to have gone to a new level this preparation and her record at the track and the distance is very good. She looks to be the likely leader in the race and if she gets it soft she could be very hard to run down. (7) Ma Jones was very good first up and isn’t hopeless, while (2) Montoya’s Secret is on track to win a race soon.
TIP: (5) Spanish Reef
The Group 1 Australian Cup. (4) Gailo Chop comes up favourite after two dominant wins to open his campaign. I’ve backed him on both occasions but I’ll be taking him on today. Both of those wins have come at Caulfield where he’s been able to dictate the race, but it will be a different story here at Flemington, especially with one of the Williams horses bound to be sent forward to pester him. His only win at this track came in the Mackinnon Stakes a couple of years ago, which was a very weak edition. I’ll be backing the Williams horses here. (2) Almandin goes on top after a great first up run when just nosed out by his stablemate (10) Homesman. He’ll love getting to Flemington here and he gets the blinkers on for the first time here so that could be enough to win this. Homesman beat him first up and probably brings some of the best 2000m form to the race. He ran 3rd in an American Group 1 over the distance and also won an Irish Group 3 before coming to Australia. Given he’s had just eight starts, he could be the horse with the biggest improvement in him. The two queries I have is that Ben Melham jumps off him to ride (9) The Taj Mahal, and I feel he’ll also be sacrificed by the stable to make sure Gailo Chop doesn’t get things his own way out front. The Taj Mahal has a poor record at the distance (just one placing from seven starts) but that was in an American Group 1 race. There’s no doubt the stable have deliberately targeted this race first up, and Ben Melham taking the ride no doubt means they think he’s a live chance.
TIP: (2) Almandin / (9) The Taj Mahal EW
Very competitive race to end the card. Going to keep betting fairly simple here and stick to an each way play on (7) She’s So High for the Price/Oliver combination. She defeated Aljawzaa on debut and then was competitive around the likes of Crown Witness, Catchy, Shoals and Booker. Those kinds of form references are obviously elite, and it appears as though they’re sticking to a sprinting campaign with her after testing her over further last prep. Oliver jumps off another horse in this race to ride her and she should get a good sit behind a hot speed. Taking $5.50/$2.10. (1) Prezado was poor last start but his first up effort behind Nature Strip down the straight was very good. If he repeated that kind of performance he’d be a winning chance here. (3) Regimen was luckless first up at the Valley behind Tulip but finished the race off well. The concern here is barrier 1 down the straight – that might not be the best ground at this stage of the day and she might also have traffic to negotiate. (10) Written Choice is the horse Oliver jumps off – he went down at $1.30 first up but had a possible excuse after jumping and hitting the barrier as the race begun. He had a good debut preparation with form behind Superhard, so at double figure odds he’s one to include in the quaddie.
TIP: (7) She’s So High EW
1, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14
1, 3, 5
2, 4, 9, 10
1, 3, 6, 7, 10
$100 = 23.8%
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