The inaugural running of the All-Star Mile headlines proceedings, with the $5million event coming up as Race 8 on the card.
The track at Flemington is a Good 4 with the rail out 7m. You can find our preview of every race on the card below!
Best Bet: Race 7 Widgee Turf E/W
Best Value: Race 9 Prepare To Win
Clarice Cliffs comes up the short-priced favourite after running 2nd to Oregon's Day in Group 3 company last start. She looked to have the race at her mercy but was outgunned late, so they've dropped back in distance to the 1200m today. As progressive as she is, I think there's a couple of others at longer odds that are worth having something on. Just Hifalutin is a terrific each way chance at $6.00/$1.91. She's had five starts at Flemington and has never finished outside the top two, including three starts at this distance. Her overall record at 1200m is eight starts for five wins and two 2nds. She didn't get any luck at Caulfield last start but getting back to her pet track should see her really competitive in this. Lady Of Flanders put two wins together at the start of last preparation and she resumes from a spell here. I think she's a decent roughie at $17 and I'll be having something small on her. Quilista is a speed machine and has a good first up record. She holds a 4L win at this track and distance to her name so a good run from her wouldn't shock, while Swift Sis atoned for a luckless first up run with a surprise victory last time out. It wouldn't surprise me if she could go well again today.
I'm going a bit against the grain here and having something each way on Write Your Name. He was luckless first up when 4th behind Mr Quickie in what will turn out to be a pretty good form race, in my opinion. He should have won his final start last preparation, too. Hopefully with an easier run in transit today he can hit the line hard. Jumbo Ozaki has caught the attention of plenty of people with two impressive wins to begin his career. He followed up a 7L win at Pakenham on debut with another solid display at Bendigo last time out. Drops 5kg in the weights today and draws well in barrier 3. He's obviously going to be competitive. East Indiaman ran well first up and backed it up with a solid win at Pakenham last start. He should go forward from barrier 11 and give a good sight. Watch the market on Outrageous, who returns as a gelding today. Stable is in form.
Good little race for the 2YO's. Talented obviously looks hard to beat here after running 2nd to Microphone in the Talindert Stakes last start. Microphone then went to Sydney and won easily, making him a leading Golden Slipper chance. A repeat performance from Talented here would see her very hard to beat. I think the value is Flit for Godolphin. This horse was absolutely backed off the map at Bendigo last start and was murdered by Damien Thornton. It actually did a good job to run 3rd in the end. Instead of sending it around in another maiden they bring her straight to town, which is noteworthy. I think she's pretty clearly got ability and the stable is in white-hot form. Varda is the other Godolphin filly in the race with Craig Williams aboard. Similar to Flit, she was sent to Bendigo for an easy kill on debut and she did it in good style. Straight to town now with the leading jockey booked. Should be competitive. Charleise was sound on debut running 3rd in the Talindert behind Microphone and Talented so she should measure up here. Judgement looks the blowout chance. Didn't get a lot of luck first up and was beaten less than a length.
Really tricky race. Causeway Girl is essentially undefeated first up. She bolted in on debut and then won her second race when fresh from a seven-week break. She went on to run 2nd in the Red Roses Stakes at Group 3 level last Spring and returns for the first time since then today. Damien Oliver rides for Clinton McDonald, which is always a positive sign. The slight concern is barrier 1 down the straight but I think she'll be competitive here. Beauty gets the tongue tie applied for the first time today. That might give some sort of explanation for her poor performance when well-backed first up. I think she's much better than what she showed last start but she's failed in both starts down the straight now. Giving her one more chance today at the better odds. Assertive Play is the interesting runner. She should have won the Atlantic Jewel Stakes first up last preparation but never got clear running. Her form tapered off towards the end of her last campaign but she returns on the back of a god trial today. My main concern is the fact Phillip Stokes isn't exactly setting the world on fire recently, especially at metropolitan level. The chances don't end there.
Complete guessing game but there's a few worth highlighting. Starrybeel is a Kiwi having his first Australian start. On face value he's been disappointing in his past two starts in New Zealand but they've both been over the mile and both have been on soft ground. His record tells us he goes signficantly better on firm ground, with three wins from four starts. Drawn poorly here but he could be competitive at $12. Wetakemanhattan has steadily built up this preparation and produced a good win over 1700m last start. Prior to that she ran 2nd to Surprise Baby, who subsequently won the Adelaide Cup. Up to 2000m for the first time today, should be hard to beat. Dark Pearl is a big price for Waller and D Oliver. He's done very little in his first two Australian starts but he was caught wide without cover last start and gets up to 2000m third up today. He should be much better suited with a good draw and a rise in trip. $34 looks a big price. Bering Sea comes off a 2000m win at Wangaratta and broke his maiden easily at Stony Creek prior to that. Trainer Rob Hickmott is an oustanding trainer of stayers so I'd suggest the horse could make the step up to this grade today. Mieszko had no luck last start and was nosed out by Latin Beat prior to that. Steph Thornton goes on board today so she will roll straight to the front and with just 51kg, could take plenty of catching. Three small bets for me: Starrybeel $12, Dark Pearl $34 and Bering Sea $8.00.
Absolute nightmare of a race. There's actually too many chances to go through and I'm not particularly interested in betting. Lord Gododdin makes his Australian debut for Waller with Bowman in the saddle. All his best form has come over 2000m+ but he might find a race that suits him fresh. Big field, likely to be a good tempo, and a big straight to work with. Wouldn't shock me to see him win this. Main Stage draws horribly but looks to have come back in good order this prep. Hussy's Glow and Gasworx come out of a strong race behind Simply Invincible. They can both be competitive.
Another super competitive race but I think there's plenty to like about the way Widgee Turf profiles for the race. He comes into this third up from a spell and from three previous third up runs, he's won two and finished 2nd in the other. He's had six starts at this track and distance and has placed in five of them. From barrier 5 he can sit a touch closer than what he has been and Billy Egan comes to Flemington for one ride today and this is it. Plein Ciel makes his stable debut for Anthony Freedman today. He resumes with the blinkers on for the first time and Mark Zahra is booked to ride so there's plenty there to suggest he'll be ready to win fresh. Streets Of Avalon will go forward and just has to reproduce his recent performances to go close once again. Octabello a blow out chance in a very open race.
Three I'm mainly interested in to close out the card here. Mastering drops back to 1200m today after failing over 1400m last start. He's had eight weeks off since that last run and trialled well leaidng into this. If he could produce the same form he showed in his first three starts this preparation, he'd probably win this. I think the clear value in the race is Prepare To Win at $31. She's got a terrific first up record with a win and two 2nds from three starts. First up last prep she won a BM64 very easily at Geelong. She's failed in two previous attempts at this track but I think coming here fresh gives her the best chance of turning that around. Definitely include in numbers and have something on. Spirit Of Aquada was dominant first up. His second up record isn't as good as his first up record but the form out of the race is good and he can go well again.
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