The focus is mostly on Sydney for the time being with The Championships fast approaching but Caulfield hosts two Group 3 races on Saturday - The Easter Cup and the Victoria Handicap.
The track should present in great order with the rail out 6m. The rating is currently at a Good 3 and there is a drop of rain or two predicted but I wouldn't think it would be enough to greatly affect the track.
Let's take a look at the two Group 3 races on the card.
BLACK HEART BART: Huge run first up for Darren Weir in the Newmarket Handicap. I have seen plenty fire first up for Weir and then perform terribly afterwards but I know how good this horse is and despite carrying top weight I think he'll prove too good for this lot.
ECLAIR CHOICE: Was going terrific in the Spring but has failed to fire so far this prep and I struggle to see him turning it around here.
CHARMED HARMONY: Not much good first up and then battled last start in the Newmarket. At his best he'd be very competitive here but not sure he's going that well.
RED BOMBER: Strong win last start in Group 3 company. Has an imposing record and there could be more to come from him. Needs luck from barrier 12 but should be in the finish again.
SERTORIUS: Has the ability to run very well fresh and has done in better races than this but he was very ordinary last prep and can't make a case for him here.
TRIED AND TIRED: Racing consistently this prep and recorded a good win last start over this distance at Flemington. Hasn't finished outside the top 2 at this course and distance; will need luck going forward from barrier 10 but has a good chance again.
DESERT JEUNEY: Reports are he's going well but he generally needs a couple of runs and he's never placed over this distance before. Draws wide so he's up against it.
GUEST OF HONOUR: Import that struggled to adapt so far but there's been money for him ($51-$17) and the stable think he could run very well. Imports generally improve at their 2nd or 3rd prep in Aus so I'm respecting him.
CORONATION SHALLAN: Resumed with a good run to finish 3rd behind Tried And Tired at Flemington. Set to improve here and with 54kg and the good draw she could run a place again.
JIMANDO: Ran 4th behind Tried And Tired last start and comes into this ready to peak but he'd need to improve quite a bit to turn the tables.
YESTERDAY'S SONGS: Ran 2nd to Tried And Tired last start and is sure to be at peak fitness for this. Might be able to turn the tables but he draws wide and rates as a place chance.
PETROLOGY: I've completely given up on this horse and won't be backing him again until he wins. Sure to be fitter 2nd up but he's not going well enough.
ZEBRINZ: Big chance in this at double figure odds. Ran 4th to Red Bomber last start but was only beaten half a length and his 3rd run back is generally his best so with the good draw he can feature in the finish.
ARALDO JUNIOR: Resumes from a spell and will be looking for much further than this so he should find them too slick for him.
LUCKY LAGO: Resumes from a spell and did win first up last prep. At her best she could feature in the finish but she's hard to catch and I'm prepared to risk her.
Despite Black Heart Bart having all the weight to carry here his run in the Newmarket was huge and that form has stacked up with The Quarterback running a huge race in the William Reid. He has a great record over 1400m and this horse has plenty on the rest of this field and I think the price we are getting about him is pretty decent at $3.40.
Tried And Tired, Coronation Shallan and Yesterday's Songs all come out of the same race last start and will be thereabouts, while Zebrinz looks a bit of value at double figure odds. Red Bomber won on debut for Lindsay Park last start and can run well again, and Guest Of Honour might be ready to show something.
1st BLACK HEART BART
3rd RED BOMBER
4th GUEST OF HONOUR
LEEBAZ: Ran 3rd over this course and distance behind Stratum Star and Awesome Rock last year, and finished 1.2L behind Red Bomber over 1400m last start. Step up to 2000m looks good, will need luck going forward but rates highly.
EXTRA ZERO: Ran a cracker two starts ago over this course and distance and then again in the Australian Cup last start, but never seems to win and I can't take $5 for him to win this.
GUARDINI: Decent effort at his first Australian start over 1600m. Steps up to 2000m which should see him more competitive but I reckon he may just need one more run or even one more prep to show his best.
PUCCINI: Very inconsistent with his form lately but has the ability to win this. Up to 2000m but maps to get a very comfortable run and that could be enough to see him in the finish.
OBSERVATIONAL: Gets the blinkers on first time and steps up to 2000m. Comes out of a strong form race but he's not showing any signs of improving and I can't back him.
MANNDAWI: Gets blinkers on for the first time but he's going terribly and even though he steps back up to 2000m it's hard to make a case for him.
GOOD VALUE: Not going anywhere near well enough to be in the finish here.
DOUMARAN: I think he can be competitive in this even though he comes into it first up over 2000m. Ran a good race first up over 2000m last prep and he's probably looking for even longer but he can go well.
TRANSFER ALLOWANCE: Recorded a really good win two starts ago at Sandown but he's gone terribly since. Never placed from 5 attempts over this distance. Pass.
RATHER HEROIC: Racing in great form but steps up from fillies and mares restricted grade into Group 3 company against the males so she looks up against it.
Pretty poor race for a Group 3 really. Going to go with Leebaz purely on default because he's the only one I can actually make a reasonable case for. Puccini mixes his form and makes it very hard to back confidently but if he brings his best he can win. Extra Zero has been running consistently as always but I struggle to back him at these odds to win. Doumaran is one at double figure odds I can make a case for and could be the value in the race.
3rd EXTRA ZERO
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