One of the most popular race days on the calendar, we are looking forward to a big day of racing on Saturday for Victoria Derby Day. Trent Crebbin has plucked out his best bets from Flemington as well as a couple of plays from other metro meetings around the country in our Saturday horse racing preview and betting tips.
I conceded (1) Personal is the horse to beat here, but the odds on offer for (8) Miravalle are too good to ignore. We’ve seen numerous times this Spring that the Sydney form has to be respected, and this filly is going to be right in the finish at a double figure quote. Last start in the group one Spring Champion she settled 2nd last in run and was flushed out early and very wide by a horse shifting out in front of her. She still ran on nicely for 6th behind the dominant Oaks favourite Montefilia, beating home a leading VRC Derby chance in Cherry Tortoni. Unlike Personal, she’s already had the run at 2000m and will definitely get the distance. She’ll get back again from a wide barrier, but Willo will present her at the right time and ideally try to follow Olly on the favourite. I think she’ll go very close here and shorten drastically for the Oaks on Thursday.
Getting back to Flemington looks to be the key for (9) Octane. He was an impressive winner over 1000m three starts ago, and his run last start in the group 2 Schillaci Stakes was outstanding at WFA level, beating home subsequent group one winner Hey Doc. He plummets in the weights down to 54kg, the low flying Jamie Kah keeps the ride and he draws beautifully out in barrier 7. If there’s one slight knock it would be that most of his form is over 1000/1100m, but I don’t think it’ll be a strongly run race and with the weight his turn of foot should get him home. The danger at odds is (2) Tactical Advantage, who wasn’t suited last start at Randwick when racing in restricted room. His one go down the straight was a comprehensive victory and he’s a big price at $23.>
With the abundance of rain predicted in Sydney, (3) Wu Gok is going to be hard to beat. His last couple of runs have been a bit below his best over 2400m and 2600m on good tracks, but the drop back to 2000m on a heavy track looks ideal. He’s 8 from 13 on heavy tracks, and his 2000m record reads 8: 2-2-1. His first two runs this prep, also on good tracks, were very solid, only beaten 2L and 2.5L in stronger races, and if he brings that form, he’s going to be very hard to run down.
Open race for the feature of the day, but if (2) Danon Roman brings his best, he’ll be hard to beat. He had his first start for the Hickmott camp at Murray Bridge and was posted wide on speed from barrier 15, finishing 6th. This is an easier race on paper, and second up last prep (with the Freedman stable), he won a decent race at Flemington coming from back in the field despite the leaders otherwise dominating the race. He draws much better in barrier 5 here, should have taken plenty of improvement from his first up run, Todd Pannell sticks dropping to 56kg and he should strike a good track with no rain predicted on the day. The danger looks to be (4) Andrea Mantegna coming off a Horsham Cup win. He’s racing very well and will be somewhere in the finish if Danon Roman isn’t at his best.
Cairns cult hero (1) The Harrovian came to town last start and showed a tremendous will to win, getting up on the line. He has to carry 59kg on a heavy deck, but that won’t be a problem whatsoever. His one run on a heavy track was first up last prep, where he carried a whopping 65.5kg and bolted in by 2.8L. Strangely he’s never won from 3 attempts at the 1600m, but some of his best wins have been at 2000+ so the step up in distance will be ideal here, and he draws nicely in barrier 6. Compared to most of this field, he actually knows how to win races and that’s often underestimated - winners win and The Harrovian should be doing just that again.
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