A slightly quieter Saturday of horse racing this weekend, so we'll head south to Caulfield for the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes.
With the Sydney Autumn Carnival now all wrapped up the attention turns back to Melbourne this Saturday where a field of 14 is set to line up over 1100m in the Bel Esprit Stakes.
The Caulfield track is currently rated a Soft 5 according to RISA but that should improve in the lead up to race day with little rain predicted. There is a shower predicted for Saturday so I'd expect to start the day on a Good 4 with the possibility of a downgrade but nothing too severe. The rail is out 12 meters.
Let's go through the runners:
UNDER THE LOUVRE: Group 1 quality horse on his day but he can be a nightmare to punters with his racing style. Comes into this first up and his record fresh is quite good, while he's only ever missed a place once at Caulfield. He will be at the back of the field and coming home very hard, but with 60kg first up over 1100m he looks a touch vulnerable.
THAT'S A GOOD IDEA: Speedball of a horse who is also first up here. Flies over the 1100m and has won first up twice before. Set for this with 3 trials and horses from the Snowden stable are always worth following when they bring them to Melbourne. With the rail out he could give a big sight in front but he'll need a firm track.
HELLOVA STREET: Tasmanian horse having his first start in Melbourne. Has a very good record and some handy form behind him and has placed at all three starts over 1100m. The wide gate makes it very tough for him but he should roll forward from out there. Looks up against it.
PITTSBURGH FLYER: Huge run first up in the Oakleigh Plate to finish 4th behind Flamberge, beaten a length. Failed to back that up in The Galaxy in Sydney but this is easier and she has the inside barrier to get all the favours here. If she reproduces her Oakleigh Plate run she can win.
IT IS WRITTEN: Mixes his form and hasn't won in a long time. His record over 1100m is a big concern as well. Will get a great run from barrier 3 but I struggle to see him winning this.
UNANIMOUSLY: Hasn't won for a long time and looks up against it in this field. His first up run over 955m at Moonee Valley was okay, has since trialed very well but he always tends to trial well so I wouldn't read too much into that.
HUSSON EAGLE: Won the magic Millions Sprint at the Gold Coast in January and probably should have won last start at Oakbank. Looks to be going well and he's got a good record over 1100m. Will need luck from the awkward barrier but he looks a reasonable chance.
MIRAGE: Ran okay first up without catching the eye. I'd expect improvement here but the 1200m might still be a touch short of his best distance. Should be up in the leading division and is in okay at the weights. One to include in first fours at 25/1.
SHEIDEL: Has cost punters at both Victorian starts by missing the start. Her runs have still been very good and with Damien Oliver on board today she rates very highly. Well in at the weights and she's not finished outside the top 2 when she's third up. Looks a strong chance.
GIRL GUIDE: First start for new trainer Ciaron Maher. At her best she'd be right in this but she hasn't been at her best for some time now. The wide draw makes her task very tricky but the change of stable might make a big difference. Keep an eye on the market for this girl.
OUR NKWAZI: Has one placing from 8 starts first up so I doubt he'll be featuring in the finish here. Look for him to improve sharply next start.
BEAU RADA: This horse is flying, finishing in the top 2 at four of his last five starts. There is a slight query over the 1100m as his best runs have come over the shorter sprints but he's going very well and should be competitive again.
BULLPIT: Can never catch this horse. He has a great record over 1100m and draws to get a great run from barrier 4. Once again they'll look to get him to the outside of horses and if he brings his best he will be thereabouts.
JAVA: Interesting runner. Resumes here after having hock surgery so he might not be at his best but he did resume last prep with a 3rd behind Fell Swoop and Charlie Boy which is very good form. I'd want to see how he returns from his surgery but keep an eye on the market.
Under The Louvre is the best horse in the race but he could be vulnerable here first up with 60kg over the short trip, especially if the rail favours on pace runners.
I'll be giving Sheidel one more chance. Not only does she drop down to the minimum weight but she also gets the booking of a senior jockey, and a pretty good one at that in Damien Oliver. That's a big eye catcher and if she manages to start cleanly she rates very well here.
If Pittsburgh Flyer can reproduce her Oakleigh Plate run she will be very competitive, while both Beau Rada and Husson Eagle are going well and should run big races.
That's A Good Idea has a big weight to carry first up but he is a pure speed horse and the rail being out 12m could favour him, and Mirage and Girl Guide are both worth including in exotics at 25/1 apiece.
2nd PITTSBURGH FLYER
3rd UNDER THE LOUVRE
4th BEAU RADA
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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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