The Blue Sapphire Stakes midweek meeting takes center stage on Wednesday, as we lead in to Caulfield Cup weekend. The card features the G3 Coongy Cup, G3 Blue Sapphire Stakes, G3 Ladies Day Vase and Listed Caulfield Village Stakes.
The track is currently rated a Good 4 but there is rain predicted so monitor track conditions. The rail is out 10m.
Check out our race-by-race preview and betting tips for Wednesday's card below!
Best Bet: Race 7 - (4) Condo's Express E/W
Best Value: Race 3 - (8) Sin To Win E/W
A BM84 for the stayers over 2400m the card. (2) Shared Ambition made a good impression on his Australian debut, winning over 1800m here at Caulfield. That race has already stood up form-wise with two subsequent winners. Even though he steps up sharply from 1800m to 2400m today, he should be better suited up in trip given his two wins in the UK came over 2100m and 2200m. The only concern for him is the small field and the rail out 10m, which could potentially make it hard to make ground. But he looks a smart horse capable of winning better races so he goes on top. (5) Egyptian Gold looks the leader and should be suited with the rail out. She's flying with three wins from her past four starts. The one she lost, they took a sit and it worked against them horribly. She's a one-pacer with no turn of foot, so she really needs to lead and be allowed to run them into the ground. Expect those sort of tactics and I think she will give a great sight. (3) Gayitri failed last start but did start firm in the market around $3.50. That was a Group 3 and he drops back to a BM84 so he can be very competitive. Hard to be confident with the Lloyd Williams runners at the moment, the stable is mixing its form.
I'm going to stick with (1) Double You Tee here. I backed him last start when he made it three wins from four starts this prep, and the only one he lost he was beaten 0.1L. He's absolutely flying and the last 200m of his victory last start was the second-fastest of the entire meeting. He did that carrying 61kg so the weight should be no issue, even though he steps up in grade. He'll handle any track conditions and $5.50 looks a very reasonable price. (11) Tysonic is ready to win. I thought she was ridden poorly last start when they put the blinkers on her. They remain on and third up from a spell she should be peaking. Happy to take $6.50. (7) Bianco Nuovo will land on speed and should be advantaged with the rail out. He won first up and ran 3rd last start so should be competitive. (4) Lucabelle could be the blowout at $21, he had no luck with the big weight at Moonee Valley last start. Going to take on the favourite (12) Tavistock Dancer who will likely be out the back. Will be backing Double You Tee ($5.50), Tysonic ($6.50) and something tiny on Lucabelle at $21.
I can really only find one bet in this race and that's (8) Sin To Win each way at $18. He was narrowly defeated by Hang Man in the Benalla Cup first up. Hang Man then came out and ran 5th in the G2 Herbet Power Stakes last weekend. Sin To Win has finished in the money at three of his five starts here at Caulfield, he's finished in the top two at three of his four starts over this distance, and he's never missed a place when second up from a spell. I really think there's queries with just about all of the horses in this race, so he seems a decent bet to at least run a drum with $4.60 available for the place. Any rain would really help him too, as he's won three of his four starts on soft ground. (1) Yulong Prince looks short enough to me. He did run some good late sectionals in the G1 Underwood Stakes last start, and he drops heavily in grade here, but he was still well beaten and has yet to win since leaving South Africa last year. (6) Wolfe drops back to 2000m after running 3rd in the Bart Cummings over 2500m last start. He gets blinkers on again and will lead but I don't exactly like the set up. (7) Spanish Steps wasn't bad first up and didn't get the clearest of runs. He could improve second up at big odds but the stable isn't exactly flying. (13) Oceanex should have won the Pinker Pinker Plate on Friday night. There's been a jockey change as Michael Dee gave her none at Cranbourne, so Jamie Kah picks up the ride. She'll get a sweet run from barrier 1 and should be very competitive. Each way on Sin To Win, more the place than the win.
Even race with very few standouts. I'm going to go for a bit of value here in the form of (4) Dresden Green and (13) Walking Flying. Dresden Green resumed in Sydney six weeks ago where he carried 62kg, was caught wide without cover midway through the race and was beaten 3L by Standout. Standout has since come out and won the Heritage Stakes, followed by a 2nd placing in the Roman Consul Stakes last weekend. So that form is very hot. He drops in weight here, Tim Clark goes on and he contests a much easier race with no stars in it. Typically this sort of Sydney form holds up well in Melbourne. With this stable and jockey, he should go straight to the front and if he's not cooked, he should give a great sight at each way odds. Walking Flying has returned in good order this prep. First up she flashed home from the back of the field to run 4th and in doing so, recorded the fastest final 200m of the entire meeting, albeit it was at Wangaratta. She followed that with a maiden victory at Benalla, which doesn't sound much, but she ran the third fastest final 200m of the meeting and although her winning margin wasn't big, she and the 2nd horse pulled away from the 3rd horse by 4.5L. The horse she beat was a UK horse having his first start in Australia for Chris Waller, so there may be a bit more depth to that form than what it initially appears. If she can settle closer from barrier 4 today, she should hit the line hard and be in with a chance.
Another race I'm pretty keen to bet in. (1) Bravo Tango has always had ability. He ran close enough to last first up at Caulfield but he bounced back with victory at Benalla last start. He comes into this third up, in winning form and up to his best distance. Any rain would probably be a bonus for him. The only concern is the fact he's had two starts at Caulfield and has only beaten three runners home. (3) Bad Wolf looks the value to me at $12. He's first up and he's won two of his four first up starts to date, including one at Flemington over this distance last prep. He's got three wins from six starts at the distance overall and one of those has been in this grade, so his form is arguaby up there with the best in the race. He won a trial at Cranbourne leading into this and if the rain falls it won't worry him at all. Drawn softly in barrier 1 and if he ran to his best, he'd go very close at good odds. I think the big query runner in the race is (8) Maracaibo. She's first up since being well beaten in the G1 Schweppes Oaks back in May. She's had a good spell, resumes with the tongue tie on and this stable are ticking along very well at present so I'd be keeping her very safe at $11.
Three I'm most interested in here in the Caulfield Village Stakes. (4) Zoustyle goes on top. He was well beaten first up in a very hot race behind the likes of Redzel and Pierata, but he bounced back with a brave effort in defeat last start over this track and distance. He was only run down right on the line by Renewal. Third up today, he should be cherry ripe. Expect him to jump to the front and be there for a very long way - hopefully all the way to the line. (2) Order Of Command looks an appealing price at $8.50. He was disappointing first up but he's got a terrific second up record with three wins and a 2nd from four starts. He won by 2L over this track and distance second up last prep. He's got an awkward draw to contend with but there should be enough speed in the race to bring him into it. I'm not sacking him yet and I'll be taking the $8.50. I wouldn't rule out (5) Reykjavik. 1200m is probably short of his best but Lindsey Smith's stable is airborne and this horse did win comprehensively first up last prep in WA.
What a great little race this is. I'm with (4) Condo's Express on top here at $6.00. The ball has seemingly dropped for him in his two most recent starts, and since those victories his balls have literally dropped as he's been gelded. He won with ease last start in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley. Hawker Hurricane finished 3rd in that race, beaten 4.25L and that horse then came out and ran 2nd at Flemington last start in a race which many of these other horses were also in. Condo's Express has been back to the trials since that gelding operation and he moved extremely well. He cruised to the line without being touched - the horse that won that trial was Bad Wolf and I think he'll run well in Race 5. If he does, it's a big plus for Condo's Express, who was coasting alongside him in the trial. Drawn to get a beautiful run here and he should get every chance. (1) Dubious was poor first up but the form out of that race is obviously exceptional with Bivouac since going on to win the Golden Rose. He bounced back with a good effort when running 2nd behind Dalasan last start. He should be competitive. (9) Excess Funds isn't hopeless at double figure odds. Bumped into Bivouac in that same race as Dubious two starts back and then had no luck at all last start. (10) Exhilarates is flying. She won two on the bounce before being a touch outclassed by Loving Gaby last start. Her win here first up was dominant and she should get enough speed in the race to really bring her into it from off the speed. With clear running, she's going to be very hard to hold out. (11) Anaheed drops out of some very strong Sydney races behind the likes of Exceedence, Bivouac, Funstar, Probabeel and Libertini. (14) Brooklyn Hustle resumed with a huge run first up at Flemington on a track that was leader biased all day. She jumped poorly, settled near the back of the field but rattled off the fastest final 200m of the entire meeting to finish 5th, beaten 1.2L. She's drawn well but she needs to jump better if she's going to be any chance. If she does jump and can settle closer, look out.
A big field and a few chances to close out the day. (4) Rondinella goes on top, but she probably needs the rain to stay away and the track to remain in the good range is she's to win. She doesn't go great on wet ground and the key to her return to form second up was the firmer ground. I backed her along with Princess Jenni in that race and with a bit more luck she probbaly finishes even closer to Jenni. If Princess Jenni was in this race, she'd be favourite. Third up today, drawn well in barrier 6 and should take some beating. She'll get first run on the other favourite (6) Fidelia, who will be back in the field from barrier 13. She's knocking on the door for another win but she needs everything to go her way. She's just been too far back in recent starts and that's the concern again here. They've gone for a jockey change, but if she's last in the run with the rail out 10m at Caulfield, she's going to find it tough to run them down. She did run the best splits of the entire meeting in defeat last start and she is undefeated at the mile, but she's had three starts at Caulfield before and all have been the same: get back, run on late. (9) Snogging could be value at $17. She ran 3rd to a potential Group 1 horse in Harbour Views first up here at Caulfield. She should be better suited second up, up to the mile and down 4kg in the weights. Her run second up last prep was enormous. (8) One More Try has never finished out of the top two from four starts when second up and if the rain came it would suit her. (15) Nordic Symphony returned with a good win over an unsuitable distance first up at Geelong. She's definitely worth including in numbers at $23. They'd be my five quaddie numbers.
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