It's Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield on Saturday on what is one of the biggest and best race days of the year. The card is headlined by three Group 1 races - the Futurity Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and the Blue Diamond - and supported by three Group 2's, two Group 3's and one Listed race!
The forecast for Melbourne is fine and we'll be playing on a Good 3 track with the rail in the True position for the entire circuit.
BOBAN: Ran a cracker first up in the Orr Stakes. Got back and came very wide due to his poor barrier. Barrier 2 means he'll be smothered up here and will be steaming home. Big chance.
REBEL DANE: Had his chance in the Orr when finishing 5th. Blinkers on for the first time here which is always an ominous gear change. They would need to improve him out of sight to win though.
TURN ME LOOSE: Comes up favourite. Ran well first up in the Orr when he led until the last 100m when his run peaked. Much better suited 2nd up here where he's never finished outside the top 2. Will lead and be hard to catch.
HUCKLEBUCK: Ran enormous last start in the Orr from barrier 18. Will be ready to peak here 3rd up from a lengthy spell. Draws perfectly in barrier 4 and rates very highly.
TRUST IN A GUST: Was wide all the way in the Orr. Gets the blinkers on first time here which is an interesting move. Needs to improve to win and drawn wide again.
STRATUM STAR: Decent effort first up in the Orr. Better here 2nd up and has a great record at the track and distance. Drawn to get the run of the race from barrier 5 and I think he goes close.
ENTIRELY PLATINUM: Needed to perform better first up to rate a chance here against this field. Will be up on speed and Hawkes stable if flying at the moment. Not for me though.
SCISSOR KICK: Most interesting runner in the race. Comes into this first up off a lengthy spell and has performed very well first up in the past. Very tough race to line up in first up but interesting to see how he matches up at this level.
THE UNITED STATES: Will find them too slick first up over the 1400m but look for him to be finishing off well.
SUAVITO: Gave her a big push first up and she didn't let us down, winning the Orr first up off a long spell. No reason she can't win again here! Well drawn, same weights, terrific record at the track and distance (6:4-1-1). Huge chance again.
POLITENESS: Not much luck first up over 1100m which was definitely short of her best. Sharp step up to 1400m here is interesting but suits her much better. Worse off at the weights against Turn Me Loose from last prep.
Really happy to stick with Suavito each way here after her blistering win first up in the Orr. She will strip in better condition 2nd up here and gets the run of the race from barrier 3 so I don't see any reason why she can't win again. Turn Me Loose is another one that will be much better off coming into this 2nd up. He just peaked in the last 100m in the Orr and his 2nd up record suggests he will be tough to run down. Hucklebuck is a huge chance. Comes here ready to peak 3rd up from a lengthy spell. He raced wide and kept hitting the line in the Orr. From barrier 4 I expect him to give this a huge shake. Boban will need luck from barrier 2 but he is capable of charging home. Stratum Star the one I'm expecting sharp improvement from and with a good run he could go close.
2nd TURN ME LOOSE
4th STRATUM STAR
EXTREME CHOICE: Has been dominant in his two starts to date. If he drew a good gate he would almost start $2.20 in my opinion, but the wide gate causes issues because there is the concern that he won't run a strong 1200m. He needs a lot of luck from out there.
VALLIANO: Underrated runner. Only runner in the race that has a win at 1200m and it was in good time too. Stable knows how to target this race and the combination with D Lane is lethal right now. Huge overs.
FLYING ARTIE: Big, big spruik on this horse and he proved he was good enough when covering plenty of ground last start but still hit the line to win impressively. Will run 1200m no doubt and wide barrier not that much of an issue as he will likely go back.
STAR TURN: Good run first up but Flying Artie was better on the day. Would need to improve a few lengths to win this but he should be competitive.
POWER TRIP: Hasn't been good enough at his last two runs to suggest he will be a winning chance in this.
HIGHLAND BEAT: Absolutely spanked last start by Extreme Choice and would need to improve to even run a place. Not sure he should be 150/1 though.
HELL OF AN EFFORT: Forget last start where clearly he had an issue. His two wins were good before that were good. Blinkers on and barrier 1 is nice. If he is back to his best he could run a place but take on trust.
HEY DOC: Blinkers on first time and draws well in barrier 4 but I'd be surprised to see him in the money here.
CHINA DREAM: Decent run last start behind stablemate Flying Artie. He was 3 wide without cover the entire race and still finished off well. Barrier 14 poses the same problem but if he gets a better run he could run a place.
SAMARA DANCER: She has been very impressive so far and showed a great turn of foot to win the prelude last start. Needs to run the 1200m but from barrier 5 she gets absolutely every chance.
CONCEALER: Huge run in the prelude after bombing the start. The 1200m will suit her down to the ground. If he steps away cleanly and can settle midfield, lookout! Huge chance.
SWEET SHERRY: No luck last start when she had to race wide all the way. Barrier 16 means she faces a similar problem and she won't turn the tables on the other fillies.
KINETIC DESIGN: No luck last start when she went to the line untested. Barrier 19 doesn't do her any favours. Pass.
ZAMZAM: Slightly disappointing last start but draws well here and gets the blinkers on for the first time. Her first up run suggested she was very good so she may represent a bit of value.
MISS NYMERIA: Charged home last start and will relish the step up to 1200m. From the good gate she can position a bit closer and is a knockout hope at odds.
ARETI: Good win on debut but the form out of the race is weak and she will likely be wide with Williams aboard from barrier 15.
Extreme Choice won't be leading according to Mick Price, but there is still plenty of pace in the race with the likes of Hell Of An Effort and Star Turn likely to show the way. However, only 3 horses in the last 15 years have won from double-digit barriers. 24 of the last 33 winners have been last start winners, while 7 of the other 9 ran in the prelude before the Diamond.
I am really warming to South Australian filly Samara Dancer who has a bit of the Miracles Of Life about her. She's undefeated and hasn't put a foot wrong yet. She draws beautifully and has an electric turn of foot which might just get her home. Concealer is the other filly in contention. She missed the start and rattled home in the prelude, but she draws very well here and if she steps cleanly she has a big chance.
Mick Price's pair of Extreme Choice and Flying Artie draw wide. Extreme Choice will be looking for cover today, but there's concerns over his ability to run 1200m. Flying Artie might be the one to follow - he will definitely run the 1200m and his win last start was ultra impressive.
A couple at longer odds worth including are Valliano, Zam Zam, Miss Nymeria and Hell Of An Effort, who could give a sight out the front with blinkers on.
Leaving Extreme Choice out could prove very stupid but I am taking the risk of leaving him out.
1st SAMARA DANCER
3rd FLYING ARTIE
FLAMBERGE: Never missed a place first up and has only missed a place once over this track and distance but he has to carry top weight and starts from barrier 17! Tough task.
DOTHRAKI: Won well on debut for the Snowden's first up last prep and competed well at Group 2 level after that. The big problem is obviously the widest barrier in the field. Trialed well leading into this but faces a big task.
FAST 'N' ROCKING: Stepped up into Group 1 level last prep and ran some good races behind Chautauqua and Buffering. He normally needs a couple of runs to come good and the 1100m could be a bit sharp. Draws well, though.
SMOKIN' JOEY: Had problems at his only run last prep and resumes here after a spell. Probably just one level below being a Group 1 horse and will likely need the run.
ECLAIR CHOICE: Knuckled at the start first up when he finished midfield but was beaten a long way. Prepared to forgive him for that and look back to the form of last prep.If he repeats that he might go close here, but needs luck.
BOUNDING: She absolutely bolted in first up last prep at this course and distance and if she repeats that effort here she wins. Won a trial by 5 lengths leading into this and she rates as a massive chance.
FELL SWOOP: 8 wins from 10 starts and continued to improve every race last prep. He hasn't proved himself at this level just yet so it will be interesting to see how he measures up. Well drawn and gets his chance.
GREGERS: Flies fresh but it's been a long time between drinks and her form last prep wasn't good enough to suggest she's a realistic winning chance. Has the ability but prefer others.
KURO: No idea what's happened to this horse but he's a shadow of his former self. On his day he is very talented and the stable have targeted this race for a long time. Hard to back him though.
THE QUARTERBACK: Good effort first up with 60kgs and he drops down to 52.5kg here so he won't know himself. Has a good 2nd up record and the wide gate won't be an issue as he tends to get back anyway. Will need speed on but has the ability.
ATMOSPHERICAL: Worked home ok first up but hard to see her challenging a field of this quality.
GRIANTE: Decent horse on her day and looks to have been set for this with two decent trials. Hasn't won in a long time but she has the ability to give this a shake at huge odds with the low weight.
PITTSBURGH FLYER: Finished last prep off strong with a good win at Flemington on a heavy track.The outside rail was the place to be that day, however. Has a bit to do to prove herself at this level.
VEZALAY: Flies fresh and is undefeated at this distance. Gets the blinkers back on here but barrier 20 really hurts her chances. She may come across to sit in the leading division.
HEATHERLY: Absolutely flying and has won her past three straight. Couldn't have been more dominant last start and was aided by a good ride and the low weight. Barrier 2 with only 50kg gives her absolutely every chance of running them into the ground.
KEEN ARRAY: Huge chance. Kept improving with every run last prep and proved he was the real deal when finishing 2nd behind Japonisme in the Coolmoore. Japonisme proved he is a Group 1 horse in the Lightning last weekend, and with 50kg Keen Array should prove tough to beat from barrier 4.
RELDAS: Racing well but might need a bit further than 1100m and looks a bit out of his depth too.
Plenty of runners engaged but I think the top three in the market clearly stand out ahead of the rest. Pretty happy to be on KEEN ARRAY here who brings Group 1 form to the race which has since proved pretty strong through Japonisme's effort in the Lightning Stakes last week. With only 50kg and a good run from barrier 4 he looks a good chance. BOUNDING was extremely impressive at this track and distance first up last prep. She's won a trial dominantly leading into this and I expect her to either win or go very close. HEATHERLY is flying but she's taking another big step up here and she won't get a cruisy lead. She has no weight on her back and couldn't be going any better, but I'm happy to risk her here.
Others at longer odds that I expect to run well include Eclair Choice, The Quarterback and Fast 'N' Rocking. It's a fairly even bunch behind the first few.
1st KEEN ARRAY
3rd FAST 'N' ROCKING
Race 1: ASSIGN
Race 2: PURITAN
Race 3: MOSSIN' AROUND
Race 4: MAHUTA
Race 5: OUR IVANHOWE E/W
Race 9: AZKADELLIA
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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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