Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Caulfield on Saturday, September 26th.
The Group 1 Underwood Stakes headlines the program as we back up from Group 1 racing at the Valley on Friday night! The track is currently rated a good 4 but the heavy rain Friday night will ensure we start in the soft range, with some showers predicted in the morning. The rail is out 6 metres and may chop out a bit during the day.
Find Trent Crebbin's preview and betting tips for the day's action below!
(2) How Womantic got the job done for us last start by clinging on, and I think she’ll be winning again. As it turns out, that race she ran in has been a good form reference with Fabric, Parmie and La Tigeresa running the trifecta at their next start, and Cordilla back in 6th, which is a horse I’d rather not think about after having a 1400m trial on Wednesday. That day at The Valley the fence was the inferior ground and How Womantic was the only horse to lead and win all day. She was out on her feet a bit late first up over 1200m so she should be spot on for this 1100m assignment, and she bolted in at this T/D when 2nd up in her first prep. She can either lead (9) Kalkarni Royale or sit outside her, and with the one turn over the Caulfield 1100m it’s hard to see her getting beaten again. Kalkarni Royale is a danger first up bringing that Felicia form from last prep, but she got all the favours that day and Felicia has improved lengths since then. (6) Wayupinthesky boasts a very good 2nd up record, finishing 2nd to Rubisaki last prep but that was off a much better first up run. She took on a hot race behind Fiteuse and Masked Crusader but was disappointing. Pretty keen How Womantic gets the job done for us in the first.
There looks to be solid speed on paper, with plenty of it drawn wide at the tricky 1400m start. This race just looks to set up nicely for (6) Duke Of Plumpton who should get a lovely run midfield from barrier 5. He’s got a very good first up record with 3 wins from 5 starts, including a dominant victory at his Australian debut with 60kg. His next two runs were very good, starting $2 favourite and running 2nd against Shot Of Irish who got an easy lead, before running a narrow and perhaps unlucky 2nd at Flemington. Patrick Payne horses are generally quite forward first up so despite a quiet jump out he should be ready to go. Any give in the track would further enhance his chances and he looks a good chance. I’m a fan of (12) Grand De Flora who had a very good debut Australian campaign, winning 3 races from 5 starts. She can be a touch slow away so barrier one doesn’t look ideal, but she’s got talent and can produce some good late sectionals. (15) Rich Hips bounced back from a poor run to just miss (7) Sunday Pray last start at Sandown as a $3.90 chance. She’ll get a long way back but has been right around the mark in some handy mare’s races. Most of the others in this race look to be outclassed coming from midweek or synthetic form, and whilst there are a couple that would be a good chance if they got an easy lead, I can’t see that happening here. Duke Of Plumpton should be midfield one off the fence from barrier 5 and if he brings his best form, he’ll be right in the finish.
I think the form for this race comes out of the Sandown contest won by import (3) Le Baol. A listed winner in France, he was impressive first up at 1800m, sitting 2nd behind (17) Lord Bouzeron but comfortably accounting for his opposition to score by a fairly soft 2 lengths. It’s hard to see them turning the tables, especially if Le Baol has any improvement to come which you’d think is likely. Soft ground will be no issue for him either but should assist Lord Bouzeron too. The one out of the other major form reference that I think can run a big race is (20) Saracen Knight, who is currently the 2nd emergency. If he gets a run, I think he can run very well here, also 2nd up in Australia. He was taken back from a wide barrier first up over 1600m, but I thought his run was very good, finishing 2L away in 7th. His run to me was clearly better than that of (7) Skyman. Saracen Knight draws barrier one here so I think he’ll be closer in run and whilst he will need luck, he’s a big price. Going through his overseas form, he won easily on a heavy 10 as a 2yo over a mile, bolted in at Naas by nearly 4L, and started $8 in a group 3 behind a horse called Flag Of Honour, who has gone on to win a group one and run 2nd to Magical. Le Baol should be hard to beat here and maps nicely just off the speed, but if there is to be an upset, I think Saracen Knight could be the one.
Writing this on Friday afternoon, Alfa Oro and Brooklyn Hustle are all but confirmed to be coming out of this race, leaving us with a field of 6 with plenty of deductions from the prices I refer to. The starting point then has to be (1) Order Of Command who comes here first up with 62kg. He’s 3 from 6 when first up from a spell and has won 2 from 3 at the Caulfield 1200m, including a fresh win in the Autumn at this T/D by 2L. He then went on to carry 62kg to win a Wangoom at Warnambool which isn’t easy to do. He’s the class of the field and handles all conditions which might be the difference. The danger who could get all the favours here is (3) Runson. The key to this horse is a dry track because he can be quite hard to run down on a firm surface. He’s a hard horse to catch but if he’s on his game and gets a good track he’ll be hard to beat. The other winning chance looks to be (2) Brave Song who had a poor last preparation but is a good horse on his day. He’s another that needs dry ground to be effective but probably gives Runson too big a head start here. He has run a narrow 2nd to Trekking when fresh before so I am wary. I think one of Order Of Command or Runson wins. If we’re on a soft track I’m keen to be with Order Of Command so I’ll lean his way, but if it’s a good surface Runson will be hard to run down.
Ah (7) Windstorm. It looked his race last start at 1400m, drawn beautifully and Pike gave him every possible, but I thought his run was a touch disappointing. The pace was certainly strong, but if he was the horse I thought he was he’d have won that, and certainly would’ve gone straight past a horse like Morvada. As it turns out (4) Travimyfriend channelled his inner Winx and went straight past them both. With a 3.5kg weight swing and the 1400m run under his belt I’d expect Windstorm to turn the tables, but they’ll both have a hard time beating (5) Buffalo River who has been heavily supported since markets opened. This horse was down to run in the Rupert Clark but just missed out on a run, so he’ll be very forward for this first up assignment. He’s unbeaten in Melbourne including a first up win at this T/D on a heavy track, when doing plenty of early work from a wide gate with 60kg yet stamping himself as a potential top liner, never giving anything else a chance when winning by 2.5L in a very high rating performance. He then went to Sandown, started $1.90 and beat Achernar Star, Harbour Views and Sirrconi. He’s just a very good horse that can roll at a good tempo and be very hard to catch. Windstorm is the obvious danger but if he finds another fast tempo here his sprint might just be dulled again. (6) Morrissy next best but it really should be Buffalo River kicking off the bend and Windstorm running on for 2nd.
(4) Flying Award was huge first up in the McNeil, coming from near last to finish 2nd by a nose, running the fastest last 600m of the race. The step up to 1400m is a huge positive for his horse. Interestingly the market has been fairly hard against anything coming out of that race, and I hope they lay this horse here because he’s very good and still a leading guineas contender in my mind. He draws wide so will get back again, but I won’t be losing on him at the price, especially if he drifts. The other horse I want to back is (9) Savannah Cloud. I’ve always had a high opinion of this horse and have actually backed him at big odds for the guineas and the derby, so it was pleasing to see his win first up. He cruised up to them and put them away by 5.5L. He draws beautifully in barrier 4 and will appreciate the step up to 1400m here. (8) Aysar got the job done last start but only just held on and draws awkwardly in barrier 12 here. (10) Cambourne is undefeated from two starts and has looked impressive in both but is another that draws poorly in barrier 11. (1) Prague ran well in the Danehill first up. His Sydney form was very good, including a 2nd to King’s Legacy when beating home Mamaragan and Ole Kirk. He draws the outside barrier, which is never ideal at the Caulfield 1400m, and I don’t think he’s really quick enough to ping the lids and find the front. Very wary of Prague, but hoping they take on Flying Award to back him late, and something on Savannah Cloud.
Really good race for the fillies, and I think the winner of the Thousand Guineas will be coming from this race. I’ll start with the favourite (4) Instant Celebrity who comes over from South Australia. She’s unbeaten from three starts and has produced some barnstorming finishes to win, the most recent over 1100m. Her only run at 1400m was a win over The Brumby, who is probably a few lengths below the best colts in Melbourne. She draws barrier 8 here which isn’t too bad, but I do think she’ll be spotting a very good filly a big head start. That filly is (5) Night Raid. Very heavily backed in the Atlantic Jewel, she sat handy to the speed and had to wait a while for a gap but once she got through, she exploded late to get up. If she was able to build momentum earlier, I think she’d have won far more comfortably. She gets a very similar map here on pace from barrier 4, and I think she’ll be hard to beat. (8) Mozzie Monster comes here on the quick backup and I thought her run last start was full of merit when getting back off a slow tempo and running on strongly. Kah gets back aboard here and she can be closer from barrier 2, with a stronger tempo definitely in her favour. Outside of those, the Danehill brings some different form. I don’t think (6) Personal is as good as everyone says and will struggle from barrier one. The one out of that race that can improve lengths is (11) Annavisto who clearly didn’t handle the straight. She just never looked comfortable and was going around in circles. Her last 200m was only 0.1 seconds slower than Personal’s, but she does draw barrier 10 here and will probably get a fair way back. Regardless, she’s a big price and I think she’ll start somewhere closer to $30 on the day so you could do worse than having something on. Backing her and Night Raid, risking Instant Celebrity and terrified of Mozzie Monster on the backup.
Very intriguing edition of the Underwood Stakes. If (1) Gailo Chop jumps better than he did in the Makybe Diva, he should be leading this from (3) Trap For Fools. I think they’ll go a bit quicker than they did in that race. I think (9) Arcadia Queen can be handy to the speed from barrier 1 with (8) Harbour Views probably getting to the box seat ahead of (4) Levendi. They rode (5) So Si Bon negatively last start but he could roll forward. Odds on favourite (10) Russian Camelot will go back from barrier 9 with (6) Mr Quickie, with (2) Humidor and (7) The Chosen One back towards the inside.
It was hard not to be taken by (10) Russian Camelot’s first up run in the Makybe Diva, racing wide without cover for most of the race, coming again late to go down by a head to Fierce Impact who had the dream run. He’s suited up to 1800m here and if he’s going to be winning a Cox Plate, he’d want to be winning this too. He draws wide in barrier 9 and I can’t see a scenario where they push forward, so he’ll likely be worse than midfield and coming wide again. Wet ground will be no issue whatsoever, and if he gets a kinder run in transit, he’s going to be very hard to beat. I’m still a bit sick that (9) Arcadia Queen couldn’t get over the top of Pretty Brazen in the Let’s Elope. She just seemed to hit a small flat spot where the winner skipped away, but she really motored late to just miss. The step up to 1800m here is a huge positive, and I think she can box seat from barrier one. My only concern is a soft track, because she is much better on a firm deck. If we were going to be on a good 4, I’d be keen on her to pinch a break on Russian Camelot, I just wonder that the wheels might be spinning especially if the inside is chopping up. Outside of those two, it’s hard to see anything having the class to win. (2) Humidor got the dream run to win the Feehan but does go better at The Valley. (8) Harbour Views was solid in that race perhaps through the inferior ground, but I’m pretty happy to be against the Feehan as a lead up. (6) Mr Quickie can produce a big finish but is another dry tracker and will probably be behind Russian Camelot in the run, which will be very tough. I really can’t see anything other than Arcadia Queen having the class to trouble Russian Camelot, and with the query with her on a soft track, Russian Camelot should be delivering. Interesting to note he drifted first up, and if we do get close to $2.50, I’ll just have to be launching.
Good race to finish. The run of (8) Nonconformist first up was huge behind I Am Superman, running the fastest sectionals of the race over an unsuitable 1400m. He’s a very promising horse and is suited up to 1700m here. He should have no problem finding a spot midfield with cover from barrier 11 and I doubt he’ll be near last as he was first up in a field with plenty of stayers resuming as opposed to a 1400m open handicap. A soft track will be no issue and I think he can send us home a winner. (9) Junipal got the job done last start thanks to a very good John Allen ride from barrier one. He didn’t beat much but the win was fairly soft, and his run first up behind Showmanship and Travimyfriend was excellent. He’ll be back somewhere near Nonconformist in the run from barrier 14 and has obvious claims. (10) Shot Of Irish was hard in the market against Junipal with 2.5kg more but didn’t get out of the barriers properly. If he gets out cleanly and the track is very wet, he’ll be in it for a long way. I hope (6) Widgee Turf can show something here. His first up run was indifferent, and he had no hope 2nd up but he looks a bit in the wilderness. If (13) Realm Of The Flowers is here she can run well and fill a place for sure. Pretty confident the winner comes from Nonconformist or Junipal, and I’ve got a slight leaning to the former.
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