With Tim still in the paddock for the weekend, we've called in the services of one of Tasmania's finest, horse racing expert Tristan Heffernan, to give us a preview of Saturday racing from Flemington. Here's Tristan's preview of every race and horse racing betting tips for Saturday, January 19th 2019.
Even field of youngsters to take part here with no horse having raced more than twice. Viking Warrior is an incredibly well bred galloper, being a half-brother to the stallion Magnus by Fastnet Rock. Looked above average when he scored an impressive win a Geelong maiden on Boxing Day, beating Maozi who came out and won at his subsequent start. Short in the market but does look the winner to start the day off. Maozi was strong in winning last time but hard to see him turn the tables on Viking Warrior, while Game Keeper ran on well behind Maozi and can be improved with that run under his belt. Keep an eye on the betting with debutant Skiddaw, who jumped out ok against Microphone, is trained on the track and has Oliver in the saddle.
Happy to go with Pleasuring here at the better value. Finally showed a return to form last start at Moonee Valley and will appreciate the big drop in weight to get in on the minimum here. Arguably the class runner of this race and now Williams hops on. Lean her way over the favourite Lycurgus, who has obvious claims after a solid 2nd last start behind Etymology. Oliver may control the race in front on him in which case he will take plenty of running down. Looking wider, Pedro Ximenez is going ok and may be better suited in the small field.
Open race. The money has been steadily rolling in for Abyssinian here and for good reason. She made up a stack of ground last time at Sandown to finish 3rd behind Tin Hat and is looking for the slightly longer trip here. Might not have to get quite so far back from a better draw and her best looks good enough here with luck in running at reasonable odds. Rox The Castle is the obvious favourite but might not get the run he needs in front to run the 1400m right out at his first try. The query runner is English Gambler, who has his first up run for Weir and hasn’t missed a top two finish in six starts. Hard to line up his New Zealand form but any positive betting moves should be strongly respected.
Liked the effort of Royal Performance last time when she found the line strongly behind Mahis Angel. Stepping up to the 2000m looks ideal and she should take up a forward position for Linda Meech. Think that position in running could be crucial here with the scratching of Catching Beams. Genuine respect for Oceanex who is also ideally suited out to this trip and has won well at her past couple but might have to drift right back from her wide gate. Next best Make Me Shiver who is racing well.
Tricky race. Du Well has returned in very solid form as a 3yo with three good efforts over the 1000m and looks ready for the 1100m here. Looks suited drawn out sitting just off the speed which might be the spot to be down the straight. Thorondor is the obvious class runner with form down the straight including a 2nd in the Danehill Stakes. Gate 1 might be a query but has Williams on to negotiate. Ollivander has a bit of quality so respect any market support for him first up at odds.
Mastering stands out as the clear top pick here. Promising gelding who is racing well and should put himself in the race again over the 1400m from his wide draw. Fell in last time at odds-on which is a little concern but with that 1400m run under his belt he may be set to improve again off that and if he does he should prove too strong. Very open race outside of him but the best at odds might be Bad Wolf, who is racing well and now drops down to the minimum weight.
Champagne Cuddles is a quality mare who looks well placed here fresh. Has won three times first up in the past and trialled well enough to suggest she will be ready to go over 1000m. Baker stable is in hot form and she only has to be somewhere near her best to be winning this. Thermal Current is a straight track specialist so appeals as an obvious danger given he won over this trip over the Melbourne Cup carnival. Glenall is a smart galloper who is good fresh but inside barrier might not be ideal.
The short priced favourites keep coming and Laure Me In looks especially well placed. Flashed home last time when 2nd at this track and is ready for 1800m now off three mile runs. While this is slightly harder he won’t have to get back as far off his better draw and only has to continue his natural progression to be mighty hard to beat. Another horse on the up is Five Kingdom and he gave a good display in front over this course last time so he appeals as the logical danger. Next best Kilmacurragh.
A big field to finish the day but there is another talented lightly-raced horse on the way through here in Langhro. The form has stood up from his first up 2nd behind Star Fall so this looks a nice progression second up. Despite the big field there isn’t a great deal of obvious pace in the race so expect Langhro to be near the lead and prove hard to run down. If you need one at value to get you out on the last then take a look at Castelo. Very big win two starts ago at Moonee Valley and wasn’t bad in strong grade last time. Drawn out may suit by this time of the day and he can run a race at odds.
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