Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for racing at Flemington on Saturday, August 11th, featuring the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap.
We have nine races on a Good track but there is rain predicted for Saturday so monitor the track conditions Typically, Flemington drains well so it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
We’ve got betting tips and comments for every race below.
Best Bet: Race 9 #6 Mantastic
Best Value: Race 8 #4 Husson Eagle
Looks as if the short-priced favourite (1) Sixties Groove will be scratched and will miss the Spring, which is a shame for the horse and a shame for us as I was keen to take him on here. These races at this time of year are always a headache with plenty of doubts over the fitness of the Williams horses. The race looks completely devoid of speed, so expect either (4) Kilimanjaro or (5) Crocodile Rock to go forward today. Both ran just fairly first up – Kilimanjaro over 2000m and Crocodile Rock over 2500m – and with those runs under their belt they sould be much imrpoved here. I think the 2500m run holds Crocodile Rock in better stead than Kilimanjaro who has to step up sharply from the 2000m. (7) Serenade The Stars saluted over this track and distance last start but it may have just been a case of him being the fittest in a race that was set up by a strong pace. He was having his fourth run this prep so won’t have so much of a fitness advantage this time around. That’s not to say he can’t win again. (6) Jaameh the big query runner.
Looks a race in three. It seems they got the market very wrong early because it’s basically done a complete flip with (6) Prezado now $2.30 after opening $6.50. That has resulted in (3) Invincible Al being $2.80 - $4.50 and (4) Bandipur being $2.40 - $3.70. Hard to see how Prezado opened such a big quote given his sole career win came over this track and distance, where he defeated Bandipur, and first up last prep he ran 2nd to Nature Strip, beaten 1.25L. Things didn’t pan out in his two starts following that but he’s back from a spell here and if he reproduces his straight track form from the past then he’ll probably win this. Invincible Al was a dominant winner at the track and distance last start and looks to be flying so no surprise to see him go very close once again. Bandipur comes down from Sydney following a win at Randwick last start. Barrier 1 down the straight some query.
Wide-open race here and not keen to invest a whole lot. (11) Sergeant goes on top after a comfortable victory at Echuca last start. The winning time was slow but he cruised hoe by 3L and draws a favourable barrier here with Damian Lane aboard. Third career start and up to 1400m looks a good set up and two horses have come out of that race at Echuca to win. The Lindsay Park team hold a strong hand in the form of (1) Muswellbrook and (2) Ruban Bleu. Muswellbrook ran in some good races as a juvenile and returns as a three-year-old now. First up at 1400m with 60kg from barrier 12 is enough to put me off. Ruban Bleu has a better set up with three runs under the belt, the latest of which was 1400m. Barrier 1 again today should see him get a cosy run but he isn’t showing the tactical speed to put himself in the race so far. The value could be Darren Weir’s (10) Reward For Silence. $19 about a last-start Weir winner looks big anywhere, and he tends to get these horses coming off country runs to measure up to city grade. I’m sure he will be ready to tackle 1400m at HQ and he looks a big price.
Another very open race but a couple of runners at a bit of value. (2) Lopartega is one of those at a good price around $16. She ran well first up from a spell, beaten 1.85L behind Special Diva in midweek grade. Her first up record is horrible and her past two first up efforts have been poor (both followed by spells) so to run 4th was an encouraging sign. She tends to improve out of sight second up with two wins and a 2nd from four starts. She’s drawn awkwardly in barrier 12 but if she does find significant improvement off that first up run, she can run a bold race at the double figure quote. (4) Harmattan won her first two starts and was Group 3 placed at Moonee Valley last preparation. She returns from a spell here over 1400m and has to be included. (6) Sharing was just fair first up but should improve off that run and has won over this track and distance previously. Barrier 1 probably not ideal for her. (7) Bellaria has returned in good form this campaign with two placings and a luckless 10th at the Valley two starts ago. The Flemington track should really suit her and Damian Lane sticks with her after being beaten a nose last start. Her $6 price looks about right and she looks ready to win one now. (12) Evil Lil mixes her form but ran 2nd at this track and distance two starts ago before being inconvenienced at a crucial time in the straight last start. Put a pen through that line. Barrier 5 sees her get a good run and she’s a knockout hope at $26. (9) Shenandoah also not hopeless.
Big field of 16 to line up here down the straight which can sometimes be a bit of a lottery but he we have a couple of smart types involved here in the form of (11) Gold Mag and (12) Illumicon. Gold Mag is undefeated from two starts, winning by a combined margin of 9.75L. The most recent start was in midweek metropolitan company so he looks well and truly up to winning this and is a deserved short-priced favourite. Illumicon also won in midweek metropolitan company first up when he was our best value bet of the day. He has always had a decent spruik on him by trainer Tony McEvoy and he showed what he can do at his first start as a gelding. I think he’s also well up to this grade but it’s just whether he bumps into a pretty smart one here. I’d be more than happy to ‘dutch bet’ both of these here even though we’ll be getting a skinny quote on either.
Another field of 16 going around here over the 2000m and this race is anyone’s guess. Absolute no bet race but I expect (5) The Statesman to improve today. He gets up to 2000m for the first time since arriving in Australia, after three runs over 1400m, 1700m and 1700m again. He put two wins together at the end of his UK career, which came over 2000m and 3200m, so the further he goes the better he will be. He also gets back onto Good ground for the first time since being here. All three Aus runs have been on wet ground but all four career wins have come on Good ground. Weir has two other runners in the race – (6) Azuro and (13) Haripour. Any of the three could win a race like this. (10) Orakei Overlord is another that should appreciate getting firmer ground. His last four starts have all been on wet ground but he’s had six starts on Good ground for three wins and two 2nd placings. Love the trainer but the barrier and jockey booking are concerning. Chances don’t end there. Wouldn’t dismiss (1) Bling Dynasty.
Fascinating feature race of the day with the Australian debut of Godolphin-owned (1) Home Of The Brave. This horse has won six of his 18 starts, all six of which were straight races in the UK, with five being at Stakes level. It’s a big ask for a European import to win first up in Australia, but he returns as a gelding, has jumped out sharply on two occasions in Sydney and has won four of his six first up races, with a 2nd placing too. Notably, Damian Lane jumps off last-start winner (10) Brave Song to ride Home Of The Brave. I’m typically happy to be against these types of horses but he profiles pretty nicely for this race. It’s a competitive affair though. (2) Voodoo Lad was well beaten by Voodoo Lad last start but that’s a pretty decent bit of form for a Group 3 race. He’s Group 1 placed down the Flemington straight so can’t be dismissed. (5) I Am A Star is another interesting runner, first up over 1200m. She’s a three-time winner at the track, including one at Group 1 level, but failed at her only attempt over this track and distance. It’s notable that Mark Zahra jumps off Voodoo Lad (a $3.80 chance) to ride I Am A Star (a $9.50 chance). (7) Poetic Dream also resumes from a spell. This German import has had one start in Australia, where he failed as favourite over 1400m. I think he’s well and truly short enough at $4.80 given his only career wins have come over 1400m and 1600m, but he’s in the right stable and the fact this is his second prep in Australia is a positive. (10) Brave Song is somewhat the new kid on the block and although his first up win was only by a narrow margin, I thought it was a good effort given the 1100m was likely short of his best and it was his first look at a Melbourne track. Lane jumps off but I still expect him to give this a big shake – he’s a horse I’ve got a lot of time for.
Competitive. (1) Moss ‘N’ Dale has a terrific record at this distance with six wins and two 2nd’s from 10 starts and he’s won his only start at the track and distance. He was huge in defeat last start when caught wide throughout the race but still managed to run 2nd. Had five weeks between runs with a trial to keep him ticking over and drops back to the 1400m now. Main concern for me is the wide barrier and the jockey booking, so I’ve leant to others. (2) Seaburge is first up with binkers on today so is worth keeping safe in exotics/quaddies. (4) Husson Eagle must go into numbers at $16 on the back of a Mildura Cup victory. He was third up on that occasion and can probably kick on with things here. Drawn beautifully and this Payne/Egan combination is one to follow anywhere and everywhere. (6) Theanswermyfriend is having his third start for Weir and should be ready to show something but I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily shown me enough in his first two starts back to be taking $5.50. (10) Night’s Watch is the Weir runner I think is most likely and I’ve got him on top. Undefeated first up and a very talented type on his day. Lane on, drawn well and down in the weights. (14) Bathelona the hardest to beat for Night’s Watch. He’s flying this prep and ran well last start without any luck at all. His record at this track and distance is outstanding and he gets a big jockey change on today. Should be on speed and will be very hard to run down. Night’s Watch on top from Barthelona with Husson Eagle the value.
Pretty keen on (6) Mantastic to round off the day here. He’s been solid all preparation without any good barriers or any luck but he overcame both of those to still post a relatively comfortable victory last start at Caulfield. This is the first time he’s got back to Flemington since his debut Australian run and I think he’ll be suited much better here than he has been at Caulfield. (5) Guizot beat Mantastic last time we saw him, which was his first win on Good ground in 13 starts. Has to give Mantastic 1.5kg today but he’s drawn well and seems to be racing in career best form so can’t be dismissed now that he’s checked the Good ground box. (8) Sikandarabad comes off a solid midweek victory at Sandown and tackles Saturday company for the first time. Drawn well and looks open to improvement still as he continues to get over more ground and further into his first Australian prep. Happy to take on (10) Al Galayel here who returns from Sydney and drops to 1700m after a 2000m run, though he does get Damian Lane on and blinkers applied for the first time.
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