Dual Group 1 races headline a huge day of racing tips from Flemington this weekend which will bring an end to Group 1 racing in Melbourne for a while with attention shifting to Sydney.
The Australian Cup and the Newmarket Handicap are the highlights, with strong support in the form of three Group 2's, two Group 3's and two Listed races.
Flemington has had a bit of rain throughout the week and there's the possibility of a shower or two for Saturday, but with a fine day on Friday the track should be in decent condition. I wouldn't expect anything worse than a Soft 5 unless we get showers on Saturday, in which case there may be a downgrade.
We've got a tip for every race along with comprehensive runner-by-runner previews of the big ones. Let's get stuck in!
Race 1 - Tough race to start with. Interested in having a little each way bet on So Serene first up for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig. Finished 2 lengths off Extreme Choice on debut. Blinkers off and well drawn, could go well.
Race 2 - Happy to back Seaburge to turn the tables on Revolving Door. Step up to 1400m is ideal and should get a great run from barrier 1. Jackson looks the value in the race at $9 with Oliver on board.
Race 3 - Very tough race with five winning chances in the form of Bassett, Brockhoff, Stellar Collision, Super Cash and Gibbon. Brockhoff goes on top for me, Gibbon the value, but any of those could win.
Race 4 - Stratum Star ran huge in the Futurity Stakes as I predicted. That was WFA level so he actually drops in weight here and steps up to 1600m third up from a spell which sees him close to the best bet of the day. Main danger The United States with blinkers on first time.
Race 5 - Very impressed with the first up run by Don't Doubt Mama and she wasn't completely tuned up for that so should improve again here. Wide barrier the concern but she should be able to wind up down the long straight. Another tough race with several chances though.
Races 6 & 7 - See Below.
Race 8 - If Noble Protector returns at her best, which I have heard that she may be, then she would be winning this. Obviously hard to trust after last preparation but I'm prepared to give her another chance.
Race 9 - Don't rate the odds about Tried And Tired at all. Much prefer to stick with Jesse Belle, but I think the big improver could be Petrology who now returns as a gelding. Happy to back both of those at around the $6 - $6.50 mark.
CHAUTAUQUA: Simply a freakish win first up in the Lightning and the stable said if he was going to get beaten that was when it would be. Will love the step up to 1200m second up and his record here is outstanding. Has to carry all the weight but he has the ability to do it.
DELECTATION: Much better suited second up and up to 1200m here. Let's not forget he beat Chautauqua over 1200m here in the Darley in the Spring, and he gets a weight swing in his favour here. He is the big improver out of the Lightning and looks way over the odds at $12 to me.
TIGER TEES: Hasn't carried 54kg in a long time and will appreciate any rain that hits Flemington but his best days are well behind him.
BLACK HEART BART: Star West Aussie making his debut for Darren Weir which is always ominous. Not sure he's quite up to this level but he should go well with just 53.5kg.
CHARMED HARMONY: Another one that will enjoy being down in the weights for the first time in a while but he's better over 1400m and in easier grade than this.
JAPONISME: Looks to have really stepped up this prep. Was only nosed out by Chautauqua first up in the Lightning and gets a 2.5kg weight swing in his favour here which brings him right into it once again. The 1200m will probably suit Chautauqua better but this guy did win the Coolmoore over the 1200m straight last prep. A win wouldn't surprise me with his light weight.
CHURCHILL DANCER: Huge run behind Holler last start at the Valley and that form has certainly stacked up since! Loves the track and distance and will love having just 52kg on his back, sneaky place chance.
THE QUARTERBACK: Another one that loves the Flemington straight and put in an eye catching run in the Oakleigh Plate last start coming from a long way back. Place chance but looks out of his depth.
KEEN ARRAY: Put in an absolute shocker first up in the Oakleigh Plate which was very surprising. His run in the Coolmoore last Spring suggests he would be a genuine winning chance here off only 50kg if you look at what Japonisme has done since. Could be a value hope at $15.
COUNTERATTACK: Looks a progressive horse and a decent each way chance with 50kg on his back. He finished 3rd in the Coolmoore last prep behind Japonisme and Keen Array so the weight certainly brings him into calculations but he's taking on the big boys.
SECRET AGENDA: Really nice horse in the making and she ran into a good horse first up at the Valley. Not sure she is quite ready to take on the best sprinters in the country just yet though.
The handicap conditions of this race certainly make it very interesting. Chautauqua is easily the best horse in the race and the step up to 1200m suits him better than most, but with 58kg on his back he has to give weight to every other horse, and as proved in the Lightning, there may not be that much between him and his closest rivals.
Japonisme proved in the Lightning that he's taken the step up to the next level. He was only a nose behind Chautauqua on that occasion and is 2.5kg better off at the weights here so with only 52.5kg on his back he is a major player. He's won over 1200m here before when winning the Coolmoore last prep.
Delectation could be the forgotten horse and is the big improver out of the Lightning. Stepping up to 1200m is ideal and second up he is much better suited. He beat Chautauqua last prep and gets in better at the weights so he looks a terrific each way chance.
Interesting to see how those at the bottom of the weights go with Counterattack and Keen Array the most likely to challenge. Don't discount Black Heart Bart either.
1st DELECTATION E/W
4th KEEN ARRAY
HAPPY TRAILS: His trainer seems to think he's a top 3 chance in this and while the 2000m is his pet distance, he doesn't seem to be going as well as he has in the past and this is a decent race.
PREFERMENT: Big chance as he is already a Group 1 winner over 2000m here and could still improve. His first up run behind Winx was very good and his second up record suggests he will be ready to fire here. 2 wins from 3 starts at Flemington and the other was the Melbourne Cup where he got polaxed.
EXTRA ZERO: Ran 2nd in this race last year by a nose. Loves Flemington and showed signs of some form last start but I doubt he's going as well as last year and there are others that are a bit sharper.
OUR IVANHOWE: This is the one I am very keen on after we backed him first up and he had absolutely no luck. He should have finished with Bow Creek in that race but he got badly held up at a critical stage. The Freedmans have him flying and he looks ready to fire second up over 2000m here. Hopefully he can get the breaks from barrier 1. Any rain helps him!
BOW CREEK: Deserved favourite after his blistering win last start over 1800m where he finally delivered on his promise. Barrier 11 is awkward but he will get back anyway as he tends to miss the start. If the track remains firm he can definitely win.
ALMOONQITH: Targeted at the Sydney Cup and he's never placed over 2000m before interestingly. He has, however, won 3 from 5 second up from a spell so he could improve sharply here. I don't have him as a winning chance but he's not the worst.
AWESOME ROCK: Did plenty of work but still stuck on quite well to finish 4th behind Bow Creek last start. He could run a cheeky race if he gets the right run.
RISING ROMANCE: No luck behind Bow Creek last start when she got held up badly. Finished off very well and she draws to get the run of the race here. She's finished in the top 2 at three of her four starts when third up from a spell and I see her as a big chance here.
SUAVITO: Returned with a huge win in the Orr Stakes and then put in another solid performance to run 3rd in the Futurity. Big jump in distance from 1400m to 2000m but she should handle it and she loves Flemington. Hasn't performed as well 3rd up in the past though, but she does get a great run from barrier 5 and will have no excuses so should run well again.
FENWAY: Ran well to finish 2nd to Bow Creek last start but it's hard to see her turning the tables. She does map to get the box seat once again from barrier 4 though so she'll get every chance. Place at best for her.
Bow Creek is deserved favourite after his win last start but I'm going to stick with Our Ivanhowe who was desperately unlucky in that race and looks to be flying. Second up over 2000m is ideal and he will appreciate any rain whereas Bow Creek probably won't as he struggled on a Soft 5 last prep. Preferment has a Group 1 win over this course and distance already and could make it a second here.
Rising Romance has two Group 1 2nd's over this course and distance and she can give this race a big shake with a good run from barrier 6. Suavito and Fenway should be thereabouts.
Tipping if the track is Soft it may bring Bow Creek undone, but I could also be very wrong.
1st OUR IVANHOWE
3rd RISING ROMANCE
4th BOW CREEK
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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