Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for Caulfield on Saturday, February 8th.
The Group 1 CF Orr Stakes is the first Group 1 of the year and it headlines the nine-race card, supported by the Blue Diamond Preludes for the two-year-olds.
Check out our preview, tips and analysis for the meeting below!
Best Bet; Race 2 - (2) How Womantic
Best Value: Race 8 - (4) Fierce Impact
Good little race to kick things off with. (5) Street Sheikh comes off two victories leading into this, including a last-start win in the Great Western Cup. You wouldn't think that's a very good form line for a Saturday open handicap but the horse he beat came out and won last night at Moonee Valley, and the Sheikh has plenty of ability himself. The ever so slight concern is the drop back from 1950m to 1800m, but he drops heavily in weight and draws softly so we might even see him a touch further forward in the run. (6) Ryan's Fender was below par last start but I think he had a legitimate excuse with the soft track. He's never placed from four goes on soft ground, but he's won five of his eight starts on good ground, so expect him to bounce back to form here. Then we get to the two Lloyd Williams horses, making their debuts for Danny O'Brien. (2) Venice Beach is first up for70 weeks, but he's proven in the past he's got the ability to race well after a long spell. He's never missed a drum first up, and nor has his stablemate (4) King Of Leogrance, who arguably should be undefeated first up. He's only had 18 weeks off and his run first up last prep was huge after sitting wide without cover throughout. Both are legitimate winning chances.
This is the biggest test of (2) How Womantic's career, but she hasn't done anything so far to make me want to jump off today. She's been ultra impressive in her three career starts. Last start she didn't handle the Moonee Valley track at all and after looking in trouble on the turn, she reeled off the fastest final 200m of the entire meeting, which showed just how good she is. Happy to stick with her today even though is is by far and away the best opposition she's faced. (1) Acting resumes from a break here and trainer Trent Busuttin pretty well declared her on radio during the week. She's an $8.50 chance and should be very competitive. She has three wins from five career starts, including victory in the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude last September. (6) Southbank ran 2nd to Acting in the Prelude before being nosed out in the Thousand Guineas. She obviously has the class and was dynamic winning over this trip first up last prep. (9) Frondeur is two from two and resumed with a domiant victory at Pakenham where she recorded the fastest final 200m, 400m, 600m and 800m of the meeting. The stable is absolutely flying so it'd be no surprise to see her continue her unbeaten run here. How Womantic on top and Frondeur the value, but it's a great race.
Found it very hard to separate the top two in the market here. In the end I landed on (4) Fresh, who should have won the Blue Diamond Preview for the fillies last start. She was caught wide without cover throughout the entire race, and still found the line strongly to be beaten less than half a length. Prior to that she beat Personal on debut by 3L, and Personal then came out and won her next start. She won't be sitting wide from barrier 1 today, so expect to see her box seat, and if she can get an early split in the straight, she'll take some pegging back. (2) Muntaseera has a huge spruik on her coming into this. She ran 2nd on debut at Flemington but demolished a small field in Sydney at her second start. Her recent jumpout at Flemington was excellent, where she basically matched motors with Loving Gaby, so that should be enough to see her be very competitive in this. The slight concern with her is she does have a tendency to take a few strides to get going, so if she's slow from the gates, she might get caught back in a bit of traffic. The other glaring concern is the complete lack of form the two races she's competed in has produced. Aryaaf beat her on debut but failed to win last weekend, while the four runners she beat home in Sydney last start have shown absolutely nothing whatsoever in their subsequent runs. The winning margin was flattering but she didn't beat much. For that reason, I have to be with Fresh.
It looks to be another match race in the colts and geldings edition of the Blue Diamond Prelude. (7) Rulership cost plenty and he was ultra-impressive on debut in Sydney when clocking a red hot time while winning by 2.3L eased up. You'd think he would go straight to the front from barrier 5, and if he can get a cheap sectional mid-race, he's going to be extremely hard to run down at Caulfield. (1) Hanseatic obviously terrifies me. He couldn't have been more impressive when he resumed last start here at Caulfield. He sat back and wide, but rounded the field up in a matter of strides. He's only going to improve with that run under the belt. Barrier 2 looks his biggest query as he tends to race off the speed, which could be a problem around a tigh track like Caulfield. If Rulership skips away at the turn and Hanseatic is in traffic, it could be game over. (14) Hard Landing won on debut and won a trial leading into this very nicely. He should come across from the wide gate and looks a bit of value at big odds. (6) Tagaloa has always been spruiked as a very good horse, while the same can be said about Ken Keys' (15) Winsum with Craig Williams on board.
It's a big call but I'm taking on (1) Microphone, who is my lay of the day. He's the $3.20 favourite but I think he's done and will be in the breeding barn before too long. Of course there are a few things in his favour today, such as the heavy drop in grade from WFA G1 to 3YO G2; he's back against his own age group, up to a more suitable distance of 1400m and he's second up from a spell. But I've been less than impressed with what he's dished up since winning his G1 as a two-year-old. Plenty of good juveniles fail to make the step up as a three-year-old, and I reckon he's one of them. Again, big call, but that's my opinion so I'll be betting around him. The two I'm most interested in are (3) Banquo and (6) Adelaide Ace. Banquo was beaten as favourite first up over 1100m down the Flemington straight, but that was behind a very handy winner who lines up in WFA G1 company later in the card, so it could be a pretty handy formline. Banquo is much better suited second up at 1400m, the distance both career wins have come at. Damien Oliver stays aboard and jumps off another last-start winner in the race, so expect him to run well. Adelaide Ace resumed with an easy kill at Werribee, where he sat three-wide the trip without cover and still powered away from the rest of the field to win easily. Granted, that was a BM64 on a Sunday at Werribee, but we know he's got ability given his form from last prep, and Lindsey Smith's stable is flying. Drawn soft, has a great record at this distance, and should be up to his ears in this race. (8) Savvy Lad is a fascinating runner, having his first start in Australia after showing a lot of promise in New Zealand. No surprise to see him run well, while stablemate (2) The Holy One can go to the front and control the race.
Competitive race. I really hope they take (8) Sartorial Splendour straight to the front, because if they do, he could take some running down. He's a pure speed horse and when he's let run out the front, he's hard to get past. First up last prep he was run down in the final stride by Garner, who reeled off some terrific sectionals to do so, and Splendour's only real failure for the prep came in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, where he was just outclassed by the likes of Exceedence and Bivouac. I'm expecting him to firm in the market and he should run a good race. (10) Anaheed was the winner of the G3 Blue Sapphire Stakes at this track last preparation and went on to run 3rd in the G1 Manikato Stakes behind Loving Gaby and Vital Silver. That kind of form would definitely see her hard to beat here. (1) Admiral's Joker is a bit of value at double figures. 1100m might be a touch short of his best but he's never finished out of the top two first up from a spell and he won three of his four starts last campaign, with the other being a 2nd beaten a nose.
Really think there's only about three chances in this and the market seems to have it about right. (10) Miss Siska has been well backed early. She tackles the mile first up today and her first up record is terrific, with four top-two finishes from five starts. She ran 2nd in Group 2 company over 1400m first up last prep, before adding another two runner-up medals over longer trips at the end of her campaign. She trialled very stylishly leading into this but my main query is the mile. She's only placed once from six attempts at this distance, and if she has to sit outside the leader, she might just be found wanting late. (2) Odeon probably has to jump to the lead and kick up inside her. He was a Listed winner over 1700m here two starts ago when Craig Williams rode him, and importantly Willo is back in the saddle today. He's another with a bit of a poor record at the distance but he really gets his chance to add another win today. (5) Guizot is undefeated at the track and distance and has placed in six of his eight starts at Caulfield. Drawn well and should be competitive but would probably appreciate a bit more juice in the track.
The Group 1 CF Orr Stakes. I'm with the favourite (3) Scales Of Justice on top here and the market has it right with him rated around a $3.00 chance. His first up win in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley was terrific, and the step up to 1400m should really suit him today as this is his pet distance. The slight query with him is the fact he can sometimes run a bit flat second up; he was defeated in Adelaide second up last prep after a dominant first up win, but he was beaten by Dalasan that day so there was some depth to the form, and he also sat wide without cover throughout. If he can reproduce his first up effort, he's quite clearly the horse to beat. The clear value in the race is (4) Fierce Impact, who was defeated a nose first up last prep by Kolding, before going on to win back-to-back Group 1s in Melbourne. He's got a good fresh record, a good record at the distance, gets Craig Williams on board and he went to a new level last prep. The double figures available for him is over the odds. (10) Begood Toya Mother is much better suited second up at 1400m at Caulfield rather than the 1200m at The Valley he struggled with first up. He could control the race on this occasion and that will give him his chance to bounce back. (9) Night's Watch will go back from the wide gate but he can run a bold race first up. (11) Ringerdingding has returned in good order, while it will be interesting to see how the three-year-old (12) Alabama Express measures up.
(8) News Girl has hardly put a foot wrong in recent runs, so with a soft draw and Damian Lane taking over, she looks a good chance of making it a winning hattrick. She's currently an $8 chance, I'd expect that to shorten and she looks a good each way bet at the price. (9) Sylvia's Mother has won five of her nine career starts and when she came to Melbourne last prep, she won easily over this distance at Flemington before running 3rd to Pippie at this track and distance. She has to be included. (5) My Pendant might still be better suited at 1400m next start however she's never finished out of the top two from five starts at this distance so I'd be surprised if she wasn't somewhere around the money today. (2) Benitoite is probably looking for further but she certainly knows how to win, with five victories from eight career starts. She goes in at big odds.
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