Stewart Brown is back with his preview of the meeting below.
Racing in Victoria is at Flemington on Saturday where the track is currently rated a Soft 5. Given the weather in the lead up I would expect it to stay around that mark or possibly a bit better given how well Flemington drains.
The rail is out 9 metres after being out 6 metres at the last meeting. Generally, this means that horses will be able to run on down the middle of the track and runners will possibly edge away from the fence as the day goes on.
Best Bet: Race 4 - (3) Chouxting The Mob
Best Value Bet: Race 2 - (3) Angelic Spirit
The opening race on the card is for the 2yos over 1400m and it looks quite an open contest given the many different form lines and a number of these going to the distance for the first time. I have settled on the Patrick Payne trained (13) Rubisaki who comes off a last start win at Seymour where she settled in the back half of the field, cruised up to the leaders early in the straight and raced away for a most impressive win. Her times on the day were very good and it was the win of a horse with more to come. The step up to 1400m looks suitable and she can possibly settle closer here from a low draw. The main danger looks to be (2) St Edward’s Crown who has raced consistently this preparation and was a last start Flemington winner. He has looked as though 1400m will suit and leading rider Mark Zahra goes on. The chances don’t end there in an open race.
The mares line up here over 1400m and like many of these types of races it looks a competitive affair. I’m happy to have (3) Angelic Spirit on top who looks the likely leader here. She was first up last start over this course and distance and just tired late after setting a strong speed in front. She should come on from that run and she runs her best races when she is able to get control in front which looks likely here. She has run well at her past two second up runs and drops significantly in weight from her last start effort. The current favourite in the event is (2) Flying Krupt who ran 4th in a blanket finish in a similar race to this last start. On that occasion she was cluttered up behind the leader and didn’t look entirely comfortable. She can possibly settle outside the leader here and Craig Williams jumps aboard. She looks the main danger.
First straight race of the day here and it looks an interesting affair with a few Sydney visitors thrown into the mix. I have opted to stick with the local form and straight track specialist (2) Milwaukee from the Mike Moroney stable. He is a three-time winner down the straight already in his career and comes off a last start 2nd behind in the in-form Order Of Command at this track. He should be able to settle on or just off the speed here and it’s hard to see him not being in the finish. The small query is that all his form is at 1200m and he will have to replicate that over the 1100m here. (10) Smart Coupe looks one of the main dangers and should be ready to win after two runs back. First up she didn’t have the best of runs down the straight before getting held up and having to change course last start. She should be at her peak now and she always performs well down the straight. If the track improves into the good range then that greatly enhances her prospects.
The staying event on the card here and many of the runners come out of a similar race two weeks ago at Flemington. I am happy to stick with that as the form reference for this race and put (3) Chouxting The Mob on top who was the winner of that race and is in brilliant form having won 4 of his past 5 starts. He regains the services of Damien Oliver here and I see no reason why he can’t win again. (6) Last Week started favourite in that race and looks the main danger here. He was definitely the unlucky runner getting held up behind a tiring leader early in the straight. He finished off nicely once he got into the clear, but the bird had flown by that stage. I still feel given the dominance of the win by Chouxting The Mob; it made no difference to the overall result of the race. The other horse in the market is (1) Pacodali who is on the 7 day backup after running 2nd at Sandown last Saturday. I am happy to take him on over this distance and feel he is much better suited at distances around the 2000m.
We head down the straight again here and it looks a race with at least a couple of promising types engaged. I am happy to go with the Tasmanian visitor (12) Street Tough from the Scott Brunton stable. He has been relatively lightly raced so far as he has had a few issues, but his best form has shown he is well up to a race of this nature. He has had one run back for an easy win at Launceston about a month ago and has been kept fresh for this which he likes. He should get the sting out of the track which is his preferred surface and he has already had experience down the straight running a close 3rd behind Brave Song and Order Of Command, form which would easily be good enough to win this. He can race on speed here for jockey Jason Maskiell and its hard to see him not being in the finish. The main danger looks to be (3) Laure Me In who has rarely run a bad race over his career so far. He is first up here and has performed well under those conditions previously. His best form is over slightly longer distances but his recent jump out at Flemington was brilliant to the eye and in fast time showing he is going well and ready to go first up.
Looks to be very little speed on paper here which could make it a tricky affair over the mile. Happy to put the Lindsay Park trained (4) Five Kingdom on top who comes into this off a very nice first up run at this track two weeks ago where he made good ground in the straight from well back. On that occasion he was racing in between horses and didn’t look entirely comfortable in restricted room. He is drawn out here and given the lack of speed on paper I would expect the horse to push forward and be on the speed. He drops significantly in weight from his last start and this looks a nice race for him. The main dangers look to be the runners out of the Swan Hill Cup where (1) Tan Tat Trusting was the winner after sitting wide with no cover. Should the track stay in the soft range then that will significantly enhance his chances.
The feature event of the day is the Listed Creswick Stakes for the 3yos over 1200m and this looks a battle between the first two home in the 1000m lead up at Flemington two weeks ago and Bam’s On Fire, who was a dominant winner in fillies’ grade at Caulfield three weeks ago. I am happy to stick with (4) Bam’s On Fire given how dominant she was that day and the fact that not many horses were winning out wide where she came. She also ran great times for the day. The small query is that she is yet to run down the straight which can be the undoing of some horses whilst her two main dangers in (1) Gytrash and (2) Halvorsen both have run well down it. I would favour Halvorsen turning the tables on Gytrash given the rise to 1200m and last start was Halvorsen first run for 5-6 weeks. But there isn't much between them.
The 3yos line up here over the mile and many of these come through a similar race to this two weeks ago which was taken out by the outsider Heavenly Emperor. The favourite for that race was (2) Sure Knee from the Chris Waller stable and her performance can be excused as she simply got too far back and pulled up lame post-race. I am happy to give her another chance here as she has a significant jockey change with Craig Williams replacing Craig Newitt. I wouldn’t expect Williams to get her as far back this time and her form before that was excellent around some classy fillies such as Princess Jenni and Fidelia. (4) Heavenly Emperor has to be a great hope again given the nature of his win whilst (8) Jenkins from the Mick Price stable comes out of a race at Sandown where he was in the wrong part of the track on a day where it was hard to make ground. Damien Oliver goes on here and the form out of that race has been excellent since.
Open race to end the day here and many of these come out of a similar race to this two weeks ago at Flemington behind (6) Blazejowski. I see no reason why he can’t win again here given he is likely to receive a nice run just off the speed and he looks a significantly better horse this preparation having won 3 from 3. He rises 3kg from that win, but the likely soft conditions will be to his liking again. (7) Villermont looks one of the main dangers and finished midfield behind Blazejowski last start. On that occasion he was travelling well before being held up as the winner was making his run. Once he finally got to the outside, he finished off adequately, but the bird had already flown. Given more luck in transit here he can be in the finish.
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