Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Flemington on Saturday, May 23rd.
Back at HQ for Melbourne racing Saturday where the track is currently in the heavy range, but with minimal rain expected on Friday and Saturday and Flemington’s exceptional draining, expect a soft 7 rating. The rail is out 5 metres, and I expect the track to play fairly after the slightly inferior lanes from last week are out of the equation.
Check out Trent Crebbin's race-by-race preview below!
Best Bet: Race 6 - (7) Milwaukee
Best Value Bet: Race 9 - (15) Lombardo
We kick things off with an even staying contest over 2500m. I’m keen on the topweight (1) Sin To Win. His last two runs have been excellent, the last being in the Warnambool Cup behind Too Close The Sun, running the quickest sectionals of that race off a slow tempo to finish 3rd. The start before that he also ran the quickest sectionals behind impressive winner Haky, beating home Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare. There looks to be enough pace drawn out wide, and if Sin To Win can reproduce the finishing efforts of his last two runs I think he’ll go close. (6) Starcaster was very good two runs back, beating home (7) Shepard, who has gone on to win impressively since. Of the two I’d have Shepard in front, as his latest win was on a heavy track, beating Arty Lucas, who won for us at Ballarat by 4.8L. Happy enough to be against (4) Yonkers who is down from Sydney and racing well. He should handle a heavy track but he’s unknown at the distance and I’m not sure how strong that Sydney form is.
Tricky little 2yo race over 1400m. The favourite is (1) Khoekhoe who comes out of the Caulfield Showdown race, where he savaged the line late to get up. Up to 1400m looks good for him, as does Flemington, it’s just a question of whether you want to take the short price. Outside of the favourite, it’s very even. (5) Immortal Love was good winning on a soft track on debut, sitting handy and going on to score by 2 lengths, running the fastest last 1000m of the meeting. That suggests that he’ll handle the step up in distance, and this Snitzel gelding has ticked the wet track box. (2) Rock The Ring has claims, running well on debut behind an impressive winner, then getting his maiden out the way at Geelong. (6) Nicolino Vito ran 3rd on debut, the race before Rock The Ring ran on debut and actually ran better late sectionals than that horse. Happy to be against (4) Indictment, who should appreciate getting back to Flemington but doesn’t appear to love wet ground.
Very tough race. There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of speed in the race, which could set up well for (4) Wild Vixen. I think she’s come back very well, winning her last start in listed company in Adelaide. She won 3rd up last preparation, beating Librate, who won here last week and has form around a few of these. Wild Vixen has won on a soft 6, so should handle the conditions, and will be up on speed giving herself every chance. (5) Debt’n’deficit was a good winner here last week but did have the perfect run. (1) Barbie’s Fox was excellent first up on a heavy track and her 3yo form certainly measures up here. She will get a long way back and has to carry more weight, so I’d need to see swoopers running well early to get entertained. (8) La Chevalee loves the wet, winning at Sandown last start. Her form ties in easily with these and if Poy can get her into a handy spot she’ll go close.
Down the straight for the first time today, this time over 1100m. One of the shortest favourites of the day here is (12) Alfa Oro who is coming off two effortless wins at Pakenham, where he started odds on in both. I’m a big fan of the horse- he puts himself on speed, runs fast times, and handles soft ground. This lightly raced gelding ran 2nd to group 2 winner Leonardo Da Hinchi on soft ground and ran 2nd first up this preparation on heavy ground with 60kg. He draws wide, which is generally a positive down the straight, and he looks hard to beat. The value in the race looks to be (8) Ruban Bleu, who has a good 2nd up record, likes soft ground and has a dominant win down the straight on a heavy 8. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him firm in the market. Outside of those two, (14) Pinyin likes wet ground but Ruban Bleu has had her measure in past races and (11) Montenegro Man brings a good SP profile in strong races and has placed in his last two first up runs. If there’s market support for him expect him to run well.
Probably the toughest race of the day. There’s not much between (5) Tooradin, (4) Hezafox, and (2) Kusari coming out of a 2100m race at Sandown. Tooradin was the unlucky runner in that race and does meet the winner Hezafox 2kg better after jumping from 1600m. With the 2100m race under his belt, he’s probably the hardest to beat. (1) Game Keeper is flying. An interesting breeding complexion, by sprinter Fastnet Rock out of NZ staying mare My Tusker. He’s got the big weight to carry but does get Olly and draws well. (11) November Dreaming was a touch disappointing last start, but finally gets out to 2000m which I think will suit. Her SP profile is difficult to ignore, and I’m giving her one more chance. If she doesn’t run well here, she needs a long break or a big barn.
The ‘straight six’ contest has attracted a good field. We were on (7) Milwaukee last week, and he looks home for all money before getting nabbed on the line. Listening to trainer Mike Moroney was interesting, as he noted that the horse has a tendency to lay in when hitting the front. Senior rider Jye McNeil takes over, and he’ll be prepared for that. A very wet track might not suit him, but he has won here on a soft 7 and on the quick back up, up to 1200m is perfect and I expect him to go very close flying down the outside rail. An interesting horse is (5) Great Again, first up for Lindsey Smith. This WA gelding failed at his only Victorian run but his form and SP profile in the west are very good, and he loves soft ground. I was happy enough to back him in the Wangoom Handicap at Warnambool, and this race is no harder. Happy to take on (6) Haunted, who does get Damien Oliver, but I think he races better earlier in the campaign after a poor run last start. He does race well here but at the price I think he’s a bit short 4th up. (2) Malibu Style always has claims in these races, but I think Milwaukee’s run last week was better. (10) Miss Iano is racing very well without winning but keeps giving herself too much to do late. Keen on Milwaukee.
We’ve got two equal favourites here in the form of (10) Aussie Nugget, and (15) Duke of Plumpton, who is currently the first emergency. With the wet track I’d expect something to come out so I’m doing this preview with him in the race. Both were beaten last start by Shot Of Irish, who goes around in the next race. Spoiler- I’m not tipping him. Of the two I’d have Aussie Nugget on top provided the track isn’t still in the heavy range, which I don’t think it will be by race time. I think they’ll look to be more positive from the good gate and he’ll be strong late. There are two international horses here that add some intrigue to the race, (1) Masaff and (6) Southern Rock. I thought Masaff was excellent in his Australian debut in Sydney, coming from near last over 1500m and being very strong through the line. His Irish runs read very well, with form around the likes of Downdraft and Twilight Payment, both who had Cups aspirations when coming to Australia. I think there’s enough tempo with (12) Ulusaba rolling along to allow Masaff to extend and he’ll be my each way play in the race.
Easily the most interesting race on the program because of (5) Django Freeman. This German import was considered a leading hope in the Spring Cups, and potentially in a Cox Plate before sustaining an injury. If he was fit and near his best, he’d be a genuine $1.50 chance. The longest price he’s started was $4.90 in the group 1 German Derby, where he ran 2nd. It’s tough to bet in the race with such a big unknown, but I’m taking the risk that he’s just there for a look around after a year off. His 800m jumpout was completely inconclusive too, trailing the field by 10 lengths and just having a track gallop. The enigmatic (2) So Si Bon is absolutely flying and could’ve won by 5L last start if not held up. He likes wet ground, Stockdale takes 2kg off again and he looks the hardest to beat. I loved the first up run of (1) Pacodali, running the best sectionals behind Buffalo River and Achernar Star. It might be one run too soon for him, but I think he’s come back very well, has a great 2nd up record and should settle much handier from barrier 2. (4) Reykjavik is a big hope and was well backed in the Wangoom. 3rd up here at 1600, his best form puts him right in this race, but he’s drawn awkwardly and doesn’t want it too wet. Happy enough to be against (13) Shot Of Irish who has had all the favours in his last two wins and is now a shorter price in a much harder race.
Back down the straight for the last race of the day, and it’s a cracking contest with some very progressive horses. Two of those are the two emergencies, (15) Lombardo and (16) Master Montaro. Lombardo looked a star in the making on debut, before being backed into $1.30 last start and only managing 3rd on a wet track. He was 10 weeks between runs there, and I think he’s worth another chance drawn well on what will hopefully be a drying track. Master Montaro also looked like a star on debut, missing the start and rattling home to win by 3.5L at Pakenham in very fast sectionals. He does look to be a fairly big striding galloper, so if he gets a run, I’m not sure barrier 1 will suit him, even on the straight course. (11) The Astrologist was outstanding first up on a heavy track, running the fastest last 800, 600 and 400m of the entire day. His form behind Rubisaki last preparation would go close to winning this, and I think he’ll race a lot handier than he did last start over 1000m. (1) Hilo is the equal favourite down from Sydney. He’s a handy horse and racing well but has to carry 60.5kg and drops back to 1100m. He’s definitely got claims. (8) Alburq is racing very well and (7) Can’t Be Done can win first up. Assuming Lombardo makes the field, I’ll be backing him each way along with The Astrologist.
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