Melbourne's first day in lockdown isn't a bad one to spend on the couch, because there is a stack of quality racing right around the country on Saturday afternoon!
The G1 Lightning Stakes headlines racing at Flemington, Randwick plays host to the G2 Apollo Stakes, and a couple of WA's best three-year-olds are set to clash in the Challenge Stakes at Ascot!
Tim Geers has picked out his best bets from around the country below!
Keen to be with (1) Stay Inside who won dominantly here on debut over 1000m. The step up to 1100m will be no problem, and James McDonald jumps off a Chris Waller runner to take the ride on this horse for Richard and Michael Freedman. Should be able to sit handy from barrier 7 and if he can reproduce what he did on debut, he should be winning again.
Godolphin mare (6) Tailleur is the odds-on favourite here and rightly so. She bolted in by 3L last start and now holds a record of five wins and two 2nd placings from seven career starts. She handles both firm and soft ground, so if the rain comes it won’t bother her, and at this stage of her last campaign, she waltzed in by a big margin. She’s the one to beat.
If looking for one at value, include (5) Tricky Gal at $21, who is undefeated from three starts when first up from a spell.
(7) Masked Crusader was touted as a Group 1 horse but the bubble burst last preparation as he failed to win any of his three starts. He had excuses in one or two of those, but I think we’ll see luck taken out of the equation today as I expect them to ride him much more positive out of the gates. He was at his best when being allowed to dictate from the front, and he did so in his recent trial which was very good. I think we’ll see him back at his best here.
We see a couple of very smart three-year-olds clash in the Challenge Stakes here, and they may well be on their way to Melbourne not long after today. (6) Western Empire only comes into this off a lowly Bunbury maiden, but his efforts in the WA Guineas and the Fairetha Stakes late last year were particularly eye-catching. If he’s going to be heading to Melbourne for something like the Australian Guineas, he’d want to be winning this.
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