Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for racing at Caulfield on Saturday, February 2nd.
We’ve got nine races on a Good 4 track with the rail out 9m the entire circuit, with the Chairmans Stakes, WJ Adams Stakes and Manfred Stakes headlining the card.
Check out our betting tips for every race on the card below!
Best Bet: Race 8 Poised To Strike
Best Value Bet: Race 9 Rib Eye / Critical Thinking
Interesting little race to kick things off. There’s two main chances that I’m keen to be with. Tony Nicconi returns from a 15-week spell; his first start since running 3rd to Written By in the Blue Sapphire Stakes. With that brings obvious queries about how he will return, but that formline is solid enough to follow and barrier 1 gives him his chance today. His two career wins have come at the track, including one at the 1100m distance he races at today. The most interesting runner is El Sicario at $15. It catches my eye that Dwayne Dunn jumps off both Arrochar (a last-start winner) and Redcore (a $9 chance) to ride him first up. He’s shown a fair bit of ability throughout his career but he was poor last preparation. He does have a reasonable first up record and Dunn being booked to ride suggests to me he may be right to run a good race fresh. Sam’s Image won his only start at this track and distance and beat Nature Strip in the process. My concern with him is his poor third up record. Mystyko is flying and with some queries on other runners, can certainly measure up once again. He hasn’t finished out of the top two in four starts this prep and looks ready for a rise in grade.
There’s been a very good go in early betting for Pissaro here, who comes into this with some good recent form having followed up a win at Cranbourne with a 2nd placing over this distance at Sandown last time out. The best form for 2400m races is often 2400m races and he pulled away by 7L from the third horse in that race last start which is generally a good indicator. He carries only 51kg after the claim for Harry Grace so in a small field he’s going to be hard to beat. With that said, I think Second Bullet is just a classier animal. He won two starts ago at Flemington over 2000m and the horse he beat then came out and won next start. He didn’t really get a clear crack at them so could possibly be forgiven for running 5th. There’s a slight query with him stepping up to 2400m off a run where he wasn’t fully tested, but he’s run 2nd at both attempts at the distance and looks well placed today. Might have a nickel on Murphy’s Delight who steps up to 2400m third up. His record at the distance and third up reads seven starts for two wins and four placings, so it’s possible he could improve sharply today.
Two I’m mainly interested in here. Naantali looks to have found the right race today. She did a good job to run 2nd at Flemington last start and despite rising 2kg in the weight today, looks well-placed to breakthrough for another win. Drawn well and Damian Lane keeps the ride. The tongue tie also goes on for the first time. Magnesium Rose was beaten 2L by the likes of Tin Hat and Bravo Tango last start in what could turn out to be a relatively strong form race. Her run prior to that was a forgive run so it might pay to just give her one more opportunity today.
Another small field. Jamie Edwards has Prince Ziggy absolutely flying, with eight consecutive top three finishes, five of which have been wins. He drops 100m in distance today but I don’t see that being a real problem and with the 3kg claim for Chelsea McFarlane he carries just 52.5kg. Looks very hard to beat if he continues in the same form today. Music Of The Night could be a value chance at $9. She’s had two wins and two placings from six starts this preparation. She won two starts ago at the Valley and then bumped into the smart Teodora last start. Drawn awkwardly but gets in with 51kg and I can see her running a big race. Lamborghini was flying prior to a disappointing effort last start. If he can bounce back he’ll be right in this.
We see two real eye-catchers from the trials/jumpouts here in the form of Loving Gaby and Lanigera. Loving Gaby trialled superbly at Pakenham on January 15, coursing wide before cruising to the line under a hold with a nice margin. The stable scratched her from the Valley last night and instead choose to kick off her racing career here. She should get a soft run from the gate and it’s no surprise to see her met with plenty of early support. Lanigera has produced two very nice jumpouts recently, the latest of which was on January 25. He jumped straight to the front, put a clear margin on his rivals and cruised to the line by 4L without being asked for any effort. That was the quickest jumpout of the morning so he’s obviously returned in terrific order for his second preparation. Happy to back both here but also cautious given it’s a field mostly made up of debutantes.
Another small field as is the theme of the day. I’ve somewhat landed on Antah by default here because nothing else really catches the eye. This gelding has won his first two Victorian starts for Jason Warren, bolting in first up before holding on narrowly last start. He’s probably better off with a bigger field and a stronger tempo but again, he’s a horse in form against plenty that aren’t. Notio should get a good run from the barrier and will be thereabouts, while Leodoro showed a bit of promise last start and could be edging closer to a win.
Nice enough little field for the WJ Adams Stakes and we see the return of Written By, who is undefeated from three starts first up, four starts at Caulfield and two starts at the distance. That should make him very hard to beat, along with the fact he’s a genuine Group 1 horse taking on a field of second-tier horses, albeit some handy sprinters in that lot. Ashlor surprised me with his win last start – I thought his trip to Ascot for the Winterbottom would have taken a bit out of him but he bounced back and produced a good win. Bons Away is always thereabouts but has just been struggling to get his head in front. He returns today and should be thereabouts. Belwazi can run an honest race as per usual and I just think Encryption might need a slightly longer trip and possibly be better in one or two starts’ time.
Poised To Strike backed up a very nice jumpout with a super-impressive win first up at Flemington down the straight. He cruised up to them under a stranglehold at the 200m and had plenty left in the tank at the finish, so I’m keen to be with him again here. It’s notable that Williams chooses to ride him instead of Tin Hat, who he’s steered to two victories from as many starts this preparation. The Godolphin gelding has also returned in great form and looks ready to step up in grade from the midweeks now. Expect him to roll forward from barrier 10. No reason he can’t run well again. Fundamentalist has had good support in early markets. My query is her being first up over 1200m against a decent little field here. She’s obviously performed very well in Group 1 company at the back end of last preparation but that was over the mile, so the 1200m could prove a touch short. Ranier next best but also possibly looking for 1400m/1600m.
Two I’m keen on at each way odds to close out the day here. Critical Thinking steps up to BM84 grade here but he’s undefeated from three starts at this track and distance and draws well again in barrier 2 for Michael Walker. It’s an even sort of race and he obviously loves it here so I’m expecting him to run well again at $8. The other is Rib Eye for Clinton McDonald and Damien Oliver, who have been very good combo to follow in recent weeks. They had a winner on Friday night at the Valley and this horse was unlucky first up when only beaten abut 2L at Flemington. He never got clear the entire straight and had plenty to offer. His record at Caulfield is poor but I think the stable is flying and the horse has a bit of talent. Expecting him to also go well at $8. Mr Money Bags is obviously hard to beat in this grade, while Heptagon gets the blinkers off for the first time, draws the pole and is third up after a solid 2nd placing last start.
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