No Group 1 races in Melbourne this weekend but we still have a very solid 9-race card from Flemignton which includes the Group 2 Blamey Stakes.
The rail comes out 3m this week so we may not have so much of a bias on the rail as we have in previous weeks. We have comments and betting tips for every race below.
Tricky race to start the day, as most straight races are these days. Not a race I am overly keen to bet into but there are two at longer odds that interest me more than the favoured runners. EUSTON ROAD had her first start for the new stable last start and absolutely bolted in to win by 3.5L after after settling last. She's got a fantastic record at the distance having only missed a place once from six starts, and has finished 1st and 2nd at her two starts over 1200m at Flemington. She steps up in grade here but if she reproduces what we saw last start she should measure up here and the fact she races well down the straight is a big plus. At $7.50 she looks a great each way bet. The other is LAKE COMO who resumes from a spell here. She's undefeated first up from two starts and although this is a step up in grade on what she's won at previously, her best would see her competitive in this at the $11 mark. CATCH A FIRE has blinkers on first time and is the Lindsay Park stable's best chance of the weekend in Melbourne according to Tom Dabernig.
Tip: Euston Road / Lake Como EW
Think BASTILLE is a very nice horse in the making and after studying his most recent times I think he'll definitely go close but THEANSWERMYFRIEND has the edge in my opinion. Essentially, Theanswermyfriend recorded a quicker final 400m than Bastille (albeit over slightly longer journey) in their respective races after working harder in the earlier part of the race. Despite running quicker time earlier he was able to maintain a fairly good speed through to the end of his race and still managed a quicker final 400m, so that puts him ahead of Bastille for me. He was only run down late by a handy horse that was backed off the map on the day and you only have to look back to his previous start to see that he bolted in against the same level of company that Bastille beat last start. Goes very well at 1400m whereas Bastille steps up to 1400m for the first time and at level weights I think Theanswermyfriend has a clear edge. VIOLATE only got going very late first up in Group 3 company over 1200m so he should be better suited second up and up to 1400m here. There has been some money for last-start Magic Millions winner FLYING JESS, though she typically needs her first run back from a break. Keep an eye on POP who is first up from a long spell but ran in Group 1 company last time we saw her.
Tip: Theanswermyfriend (best bet)
Avoiding LEOTIE here after Henry Dwyer's comments during the week. This filly is very talented but has had a bone chip removed since we last saw her and has had a few other setbacks which means she is going into this weekend "underdone" and basically will use the race as a trial. There's a few at decent prices here that appeal. HEAR THE CHANT was luckless first up when beaten a length in the Group 3 Typhoon Tracy behind Brugal Reward. She gets a 2.5kg weight swing here and won in Group 3 company last prep when second up from a spell over 1200m. The query is her failure at her only start down the Flemington straight but willing to give her another chance here at $8.50. SWORD OF LIGHT resumed with a big run when beaten a nose over course and distance in what might have been the worst part of the track. She's won second up before and should go close at $7. CONCEALER won down the Flemington straight on debut but hasn't won since. He's got the ability but we haven't seen him at his best for a while. First up from a spell here on the back of a trial win; definitely worth including him at $12. BRUGAL REWARD has won back-to-back races at Moonee Valley, the last of which was in Group 3 company. She needs to take that to the straight course but for a Weir runner looks over the odds at $13. Hardest race of the day!
Tip: Hear The Chant EW
This is a cracking race with some very hot formlines tied in. Think the Lindsay Park team hold a strong hand here with PLOVERSET and JUSTICE GLORY. Ploverset caused an upset on debut last start when overhauling stablemate Madeenaty. Importantly, that was down the straight which is a big tick and the step up to 1200m wont be an issue. Justice Glory also won last start at Sandown over 1200m and she defeated Undoubtable Miss who came out on Adelaide Cup day and won the Adelaide Magic Millions. Think she is over the odds at $21. GARRARD sat four-wide without cover when winning at Bendigo last start and previous to that had run 2nd to both Catchy and Houtzen. Form doesn't come any stronger than that and provided she handles the straight she should definitely measure up here. Expect her to be ridden a bit colder than what we've seen, and I think she's probably the one to beat here. ARCTIC ANGEL ran 3rd behind Catchy and Limestone before running 2nd in Sydney last start in Group 2 company. That was on a bog track so if that hasn't taken anything out of her then she will be competitive once again. Keep an eye on GLAM GURU who is one of the Adelaide visitors and didn't have much luck on debut.
Got this between Ploverset and Garrard with Justice Glory the value. There's $4.80 available for Garrard and $6 available for Ploverset so we can back both for a good result here. $21 for Justice Glory.
Tip: Garrard / Justice Glory EW
My gut tells me PALENTINO will win this but my head tells me TOSEN STARDOM. Palentino grows another leg over the mile at Flemington as evidenced last prep when he turned around a 5 length defeat at the hands of Black Heart Bart over 1400m at Caulfield to then beat him by a length over 1600m at Flemington. He's been crying out for this track and distance but the big factor today is the weight scale, where he has to give Tosen Stardom 4kg. TOSEN STARDOM has had two starts in Australia and both have been enormous. He was beaten a nose by Bart first up in the Futurity over 1400m at Caulfield and drops 4kg here. His record says he's never placed from four starts at this distance, but then again he did finish 3.25L behind Maurice over 1600m in Japan. If we're going off what we've got on paper then he is a moral to win this, but at $1.85 I'm hesitant. HE OR SHE was very good when winning first up over 1400m and he won this race last year so he will be competitive, while I'm interested to see both SIR ISAAC NEWTON and HARLEM return to the track from their spells. Pretty happy to sit this one out. Wouldn't be backing Tosen Stardom at any price under $2, and if Palentino gets out to $3 he is getting to a decent price.
Tip: Tosen Stardom
Really competitive race and a tough one to assess with the spread in the weights. HURSLEY should have bolted in last week over 1800m here but was held up until the 100m mark. Rand 2nd beaten 0.4L two starts ago over 2000m so the distance no problem, the query is obviously 61kg with barrier 13. He drops in grade though so if he manages to find cover he should still prove hard to beat. Not sure I'd be jumping in at the odds though. SNITZELWOOD is ready to show something at his third run back from a spell. He's won two of his three races when third up from a spell and he ran well enough in the Wangaratta Cup last start. Might need a bit softer ground and possibly even further than 2000m but he should start to be competitive now. WHEAL LEISURE is a promising young staying filly on the rise and with 53kg here she gets 8kg off Hursley. She won over 2000m at the Valley two starts ago before tackling the Tasmanian Oaks last start when finishing 3rd beaten 0.7L. She'll be a long way back from the gate but the 2000m at Flemington should really suit her. Hursley on top but would want at least $3.50. Wheal Leisure looks a nice bet at $7. Snitzelwood an eachway hope at $9.
Another very even race with a number of chances. VERSTAPPEN was desperately unlucky first up at the Valley and should have won. He showed plenty of promise in his first preparation and ran in some good races which indicates they've always had an opinion of him. Gets in well with the claim for Ben Allen and looks a good chance of winning this. One at value that I'll be having something on is STAVIVA. Has a great fresh record with three wins from five starts when first up from a spell and has placed over track and distance before. Has 59.5kg and is first up from 315 days off the track but he's a talented horse and did run 3rd behind Supido and Illustrious Lad last prep who are now both Group 1 class sprinters. BOOMWAA, BIG EFFORT and CHATEAU CHEVAL all chances.
Tip: Verstappen / Staviva EW
Two I like at odds here. ENTIRELY PLATINUM always runs a good race fresh and normally in better company than this. First up last prep ran 3rd in Group 2 company over this distance and has previously run 2nd beaten a nose by Boban in Group 1 company over 1400m. Granted both of those were at Caulfield and that's where his best 1400m form is, and his record at this track isn't inspiring, but he can still go well with a decent weight and a good draw here at double figure odds. HAZZABEEL is the other horse I like, coming into this second up from a spell. Last prep first up eh was beaten comfortably over 1200m before stepping up to 1600m and winning the Kilmore Cup. He was beaten 2 lengths at Cranbourne first up over 1200m and comes into this second up and up to 1400m. He's got a good enough record at the distance and he's won three from five when second up so at $9 he looks a nice bet. HELLOVA STREET from Tasmania should go well again.
Tip: Hazzabeel EW (best value) / Entirely Platinum EW
PORTMAN looks well suited to win again today. Was slow away last start which ultimately cost him the race so if he jumps cleaner today and can settle up nearer the speed he should be just about winning this. Up in weight but 57.5kg after the claim is definitely within his grasp. Barrier 6 so should get a clean run and his form has been outstanding. Very tough to beat again. STORMSABREWING could be a value chance at double figure odds. Gets in with just 51.5kg after the claim and is suited back up to 1600m.
Tip: Portman / Stormsabrewing EW
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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