Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Day at Flemington on Saturday, February 17th.
We have a nine-race card on a Good 4 track with the rail in the True position. The card is of course headlined by the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Race 8).
We have betting tips and comments for every race on the card below. If you haven’t already, take a listen to Episode 22 of the Before You Bet Podcast and see which races at Flemington and Randwick Tim is keenest to bet into! Alternatively, you can find out Randwick Racing Tips here.
Best Bet: Race 5 #13 Handsome Thief
Best Value: Race 7 #12 Éclair Sunshine EW
Two-year-old race to start the day. There will be plenty keen to be with the Tony McEvoy debutante (10) Pierro Belle, who lit up the trials on the same day as her stablemate Kinky Boom, the current Blue Diamond favourite. Although the winning margin in her trial wasn’t as great as Kinky Boom’s, the time was better. The only query is whether she handles the Flemington straight, but she’s drawn well in 7 and should go very close at $3.20. (7) Khulaasa brings two key factors to the race: race day experience and a good run down the Flemington straight. With those under her belt, she should be hard to beat, but barrier 1 is some cause for concern. (9) Nuclear Blitz is sure to have had some experience in jumpouts as she’s trained at the track and there’s already a bit of money to suggest we should be wary of her on debut. (2) Sanglier brings the right formlines and (1) Praire Fire gets blinkers applied after a promising debut. Competitive race but if Pierro Belle backs up the trial she’ll be the one to beat.
TIP: (10) Pierro Belle
Very uninspiring race but (3) Imperator Augustus goes on top. He comes off a decent win at Kyneton, where he may have just been given an easy kill, but he still had to earn it and did so under 60kg. He drops down to 53.5kg with the claim for Ben Thompson here, who jumps off (2) Khutulun to take the ride on the Weir horse. The blinkers also go back on for his return to city racing, and Weir always has his horses peaking for these races at Flemington. $3.20 is about right in a messy sort of race. Khutulun doesn’t seem to go as well at Flemington, though she did run well three starts ago behind Sharing. (5) Cry If I Want To steps up in class significantly but won impressively last start and was a winner third up last preparation, so with the good draw must be respected. (9) Midas Man just keeps on winning and I wouldn’t put it past him to give this a good shake too.
TIP: (3) Imperator Augustus
(6) Sharing is a mare in form and was a dominant winner over this track and distance before another good performance last time out at Caulfield. The concern today must be barrier 1, which will see her buried away on the rail back in the field. The big track gives her a chance but she’ll still need a good deal of luck at a crucial stage. I like the odds of (4) Spanish Reef who resumes from a spell here. She’s a horse I’ve had time for ever since her first start. She was stretched out to 2000m last preparation and the 1400m is likely short of her best, but she may be capable of going on to better races than this, and as such, $8.50 appeals. (7) Bellaria also comes up $8.50 and looks a decent chance. She’s another mare in form, and although she steps up significantly in grade today, we’ve seen Weir get horses to peak and improve lengths when they get to Flemington Saturday grade. She draws well, gets in light and has a good record at the distance.
TIP: (4) Spanish Reef EW / (7) Bellaria EW
Good race and there’s a few in the race that I like but I’ll just be backing the one horse. (5) So Poysed has gone to a new level in recent starts and comes off a dominant win at Moonee Valley when bolting in by over 3L. Still only fourth up into the preparation, well weighted and gets Craig Williams aboard. No reason he can’t go on with it here, and with the boom on the Weir horse, we’re getting a good price at $6. Looks a great each way bet. I backed (8) Downhearted last start when run down on the line and beaten a pimple over 1800m. Back to 1600m suits and gets in once again with a light weight of 52kg. Looks to get an easy lead and will be there for a long way. (10) Notio probably should have gone very close to winning last start but was horribly ridden by Dwayne Dunn. Can sit closer from barrier 2 today and third up at the mile looks ideal. Reeled off some of the best closing sectionals of the day last time and $9.50 looks over the odds. (7) Kings Will Dream is the short-priced favourite and the one they all have to beat. Has won three from five, including two dominant wins from two starts this prep. Has to step up to Saturday grade here but as I’ve said in earlier race previews, Weir gets horses to improve lengths when they come to town, especially at Flemington. Maps awkwardly?
TIP: (5) So Poysed EW
Very keen on (13) Handsome Thief here, who looks ready to win third up from a spell. His two runs so far this preparation have been very good, and he put the writing on the wall behind the very talented Eurack last start. Drops from 60kg to 54kg here, is undefeated from two previous third up runs, and is a clear top pick for mine at $3.40. (7) Atlantic City looks the value in the race at $8.50. Last two runs have been very good and the form out of those races has stood up. Went very close over track and distance last start, but much better suited today down in weight and with a wider barrier draw. (3) Ken’s Dream draws well wide on the track and comes out of a strong race. Prior to that he bolted in over 1100m at this track, so there’s no reason he can’t bounce back here and be very competitive.
TIP: (13) Handsome Thief / (7) Atlantic City EW
Keen to take on (1) Aloisia today but she’s at a better price now of $3.70, rather than the $2.50 she was when markets opened. Her trial was very sluggish and she’s first up over 1400m here after running over 2500m in the Oaks back in November. She’s a Group 1 winner and could still prove too good, but the trial didn’t suggest to me that she’s bouncing out of her skin. (3) Banish may be an exception to my golden rule of not backing Godolphin horses in Melbourne. Slowly but steadily in recent weeks we’ve seen the Blue Jackets come to fruition in Melbourne, with Malaise and Hartnell just a couple that showed they may be coming good. I like the fact she’s first up here and her record is too good to ignore. She was a Group 2 winner last preparation and brings form strong enough to be competitive fresh here. Barrier 1 is a plus. I can entertain her at $9. I’m also giving another chance to (4) Twitchy Frank who was just too bad to be true last week, and the race really didn’t pan out in her favour. She should boot up to lead without too much fuss here and that could make her tough to catch at $9.50. (7) Paris Rock was the winner of the race that Twitchy Frank failed in, keeping her unbeaten record intact. This is another big step up but she showed she’s capable. (8) Shokora must be included, while (2) Bring Me Roses resumes with blinkers on.
TIP: (3) Banish EW / (4) Twitchy Frank EW
This is a race! (1) Cliff’s Edge was huge when winning first up from a spell over 1200m, which clearly isn’t his target this prep and he clearly wasn’t fully tuned up for it. The step up to 1400m is only going to suit him better and from the wide barrier he should just cruise across to lead. If that happens, he’ll be very hard to run down as per usual. The query is whether the dynamic first up win took a bit of freshness out of him, meaning he might be a bit plain for today’s race, but I’m willing to take that risk at $6. The stablemate (13) Peaceful State was monstrous when winning first up over 1300m at Sandown. Again, that was a race well short of his best but his ability to reel in the leaders from so far back in the field was seriously impressive. He’s going to be back in the field from barrier 3 and will likely need luck, but he’ll appreciate the big Flemington track and can definitely win this. The value could be (12) Éclair Sunshine who comes across from Adelaide and gets Craig Williams on board. His first up run in Adelaide was good, and second up last preparation he ran 2nd to Royal Symphony. He shouldn’t be underestimated at $19. (2) Embellish is a NZ Group 1 winner, (6) Sully trialled well and looks a big player fresh, and (17) Paret can outrun his big quote if he gets a run. Competitive race!
TIP: (1) Cliff’s Edge / (12) Éclair Sunshine EW
Surely (1) Redzel is just better than these? His victories last preparation in The Everest and the Darley Classic were over fields far superior to this, and I just struggle to see what beats him here. He draws ideally, is undefeated down the Flemington straight, has a terrific first up record and has trialled brilliantly. $1.80 is backable but we might get a bit better on the day. (2) Terravista is getting on in age but his best chance of winning another Group 1 is first up down the Flemington straight. He’s had three starts over this track and distance and has never finished outside the top two. His first up record stands at 10 starts for six wins and three placings. He should be very forward for this and is a realistic chance of testing Redzel fresh. (3) Hey Doc won somewhat of a B-grade Group 1 but will have been purely trained as a sprinter this preparation, and his first up record also suggests he’ll run a good race here. (4) Redkirk Warrior gets blinkers on for the first time and was a dominant winner down the Flemington straight in Group 2 company first up last preparation. Slight query over him at 1000m as he’s better suited to 1200m, but I wouldn’t underestimate him. (10) Formality is the lone three-year-old in the field, and while three-year-olds don’t have a great record in the race, I could see her being competitive first up with a light weight here in a fairly shallow field.
TIP: (1) Redzel
Fairly ugly race to finish off with and I’m only interested in two here. (16) Manolo Blahniq gets my tick of approval after proving me wrong with a dominant win last start. He looks a different horse as a gelding, and I’m willing to put his poor record at the track aside and back him in here. He’ll need to come from back in the field due to the wide barrier, but I don’t think there’s much depth to this field. He looks the progressive horse and on the minimum weight he should prove hard to beat again at $3.60. (11) Zebrinz looks the value in the race. He’s getting on and is very exposed but he resumed with a good first up run two starts ago before a fair run in a strong race last start. The key with those is he never does anything in his first two runs back from a spell, but peaks third up. He’s had six starts when third up for three wins, and he gets the blinkers back on today to make sure he’s at his sharpest. That indicates to me that they’ve targeted this race and at $14 he looks a reasonable chance.
TIP: (16) Manolo Blahniq / (11) Zebrinz EW
1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10
1, 2, 3, 6, 12, 13
2, 3, 11, 15, 16
$100 = 47.61%
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