1 January 2017 (Racing at Flemington - headquarters)






Racing at FLEMINGTON with the penetrometer reading unknown (not being specified of late by VRC), but going stick (9.5), currently looking at a GOOD (4) surface, however an upgrade to a GOOD (3) is definitely possible.

RAIL: TRUE (ENTIRE CIRCUIT). We return to headquarters (Flemington) after the rail was out +9M last time (two weeks back) and now returns to the TRUE position. Expecting a level playing field, pace dependant, but as usual, important to keep a close eye on the track and how it’s playing in the early races for best guide.


Race 1: We start the day with the two year old fillies and safe to say this event is/has already had a lot more air time than you would usually expect, given it sees the debut of Black Caviar’s first foul, OSCIETRA with Luke Nolen filling the saddle, just as he did in most of her mother’s 25 starts. As a result, you were getting big ‘unders’ @ $1.60+ in early markets (for a filly with no official trials), however now getting out to a reasonable price of $2.25+ (LUXBET) and as a result, happy to play. You would think the pressure on Hayes/Dabernig is immense and they wouldn’t be rushing her to the races for no reason. They would be looking to keep the unbeaten Black Caviar run intact and as a result, expect her to be winning. Unofficial jump outs have been good, two soft trial wins in good time. Maybe play through multies/one out early quaddie first leg, to minimise any risk associated with larger standalone investment.



Race 2: Next is an open handicap over 2000m. Good, even event, but looking to play around two who came out of the same event behind Kenjorwood last time, stepping up from a mile to the better suited 2000m here. The two in question are **LOOPHOLE** @ $13+ (SPORTSBET, CROWNBET, BET365) and KOURKAM @ $7.50+ with UBET and BET365. On that occasion KOURKAM finished must closer to the winner, however **LOOPHOLE** does get 3kg swing and much better suited at this trip. Given the odds, will make LOOPHOLE a BEST VALUE bet of the day at a juicy each way price, this is right trip. Main dangers MASTER ZEPHYR (just needs a touch of luck from the gate) and FLYING LIGHT who as name suggests is flying of late.

SUGGEST: **LOOPHOLE** (EACH WAY) @ $13+, KOURKAM (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $7.50+, FIRST FOUR (8, 10 / 5, 7, 8, 10 / F / 5, 7) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 3: Next is a benchmark 70 over the mile (1600m) and again looking at a couple coming out of the same formline, this time out of SANDOWN, the race won by DANE THUNDER. Top pick here is, you guessed it DANE THUNDER @ $8+ (LUXBET) that same runner who defied a strong leader’s bias to win impressively and don’t see any reason why the four year old gelding can’t do it again, despite the extra 2kg here. Then, want something on GERVAIS @ $23+ (CROWNBET, BET365), who was benefited by the on pace bias, however does get 2kg swing for 1.6L defeat and the price is simply overs and value as a result. Main dangers most definitely the two shortest in the market in CROCODILE ROCK and LUNAR SPIN.



Race 4: Next is another benchmark 70, this time for the fillies and mares over 1000m. Very disappointed by the scratching of BRAEMAR who I was keen on at a very juicy $18+ price. Oh well, we save for another day. Another even affair, however think best value lies with LITTLE INDIAN @ $7.50+ (UBET). Gets crucial 25kg swing in the weights v key rival MAGNA ROSSA for only a 0.3L deficit first up and should improve further second up with added fitness. Main dangers the obvious in the two faves SCANDIMANIA (who saluted for followers last time) and MAGNA ROSSA despite weight increase, is good enough to offset that with natural improvement.

SUGGEST: LITTLE INDIAN (EACH WAY) @ $7.50+, FIRST FOUR (roving 1, 3, 11 / F) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 5: Yet another benchmark 70, this time restricted to three and four year olds, over 1400m. Tricky race, especially given several key runners are drawn wide, hence some guesswork in trying to sort out speedmap and settling positions, given some in particular will need luck to find a spot, or risk having to push further forward/back should they fail in their pursuit of slotting in. Really like **MISS SYDNEY** here at what looks a sensational price of $15+ with LUXBET. Will need some luck from barrier 1, however at the price, happy to take the gamble. Has raced/been competitive in much better races than this when in Sydney and now with Weir, which is rarely a step back. Given the price, happy to make another BEST VALUE bet of the day at a juicy each way price. Also, want to a play on VICEROY @ $11+ with most operators. Similarly, has raced and been competitive/won better races than this and recent runs give me the impression he may be starting to recapture form from yesteryear when showed a lot of promise. Main dangers SECRET PROPHET (would be top pick,if not for the bad gate, will need luck), SNITZSON (also needs luck from the gate) and DEJA BLUE (tricky gate and a slight query the trip, but has the ability).

SUGGEST: **MISS SYDNEY** (EACH WAY) @ $15+, VICEROY (EACH WAY) @ $11+, FIRST FOUR (2, 7, 10 / 9, 13 / F / 9, 13) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 6: Now for the feature, the Group 3 Standish Handicap over 1200m and quite simply a disappointing edition of the race with only 10 runners and questionable quality. Can’t believe I’m doing this (when I first saw prices, thought there was little chance of taking $2.70+ thinking there would be a lot more depth in this race, but not to be), and in turn can’t go past DIVINE MR ARTIE @ $2.70+ with LUXBET and SPORTSBET. Suggest a primary WIN only play, ahead of *LONROCKSTAR* @ $26+ (BET365) the query the 1200m (0 wins from 12 attempts, but has run 7 placings) and is good enough at this level at a juicy price, given the odds happy to make a BEST LONGSHOT of the day. Finally, longer longshot play DOMESDAY WARRIOR at $61+ with SPORTSBET. On face value not good enough to win a Group 3 Standish, but this simply doesn’t have the usual class, nor depth and form up the straight last start gives this seven year old gelding a fluker’s chance. Throw a blanket over the rest. Very disappointing, but let’s at least try and make some money out of the race, regardless.

SUGGEST: DIVINE MR ARTIE (WIN - PRIMARY) @ $2.70+, *LONROCKSTAR* (EACH WAY) @ $26+, DOMESDAY WARRIOR (EACH WAY) @ $61+, FIRST FOUR (roving 6, 9, 11 / F), (F / 9 / F / 6, 11) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 7: Next is the secondary feature of the day, the Listed Bagot Handicap run over 2800m. Gotta be honest the features on today’s cards are simply disappointing with a distinct lack of genuine quality and/or depth, this event actual looks lean at the top which can make it easier to put a line through many, but can make it difficult to identify value. Slight lean to Adelaide invader TUNES here at a tidy $10+ across the board with most/all operators. Would normally say tested at this ‘listed’ level, but this isn’t a field to be overly scared about, and does get 4.5kg off top weight LORD VAN PERCY which is key. Also, going to give **CINNAMON CARTER** another chance at a big $31+ (most operators) price, despite being disappointing past couple. Jumps up to a more suitable distance and did win over the even longer 3000m three back. Actually gets in well at the weights given handicap rating, which sees him get 1.5kg less than TUNES for just one less rating point (82 v 83). Both drawn poorly but shouldn’t matter so much in a staying event like this. Given price happy to make the latter another BEST LONGSHOT bet of the day. Main dangers ANNUS MIRABILIS (only query the trip, but did miss jump at only start this distance), LORD VAN PERCY (the class, the 60kg the only issue) and SLY ROMANCE.

SUGGEST: TUNES (EACH WAY) @ $10+, **CINNAMON CARTER** (EACH WAY) @ $31+, FIRST FOUR (1, 5, 7 / 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 / F / 3, 4) (CONFIDENCE 30%)


Race 8: We finish with a benchmark 78 for the fillies and mares over 1600m and a half decent race to finish offer, with many legitimate winning chances. Slight lean SANAYA @ $9+ with SPORTSBET, CROWNBET and BET365, despite the tricky gate. Hopefully track is playing well and giving those off the fence their chance, and if so no issues sitting three wide with cover here. Note, Damien Oliver doesn’t ride simply due to not being able to make the 54kg weight, and as a result Craig Newitt jumps aboard, so no issues with Oliver ditching the ride for any specific reason. Was also nominated for easier race Sandown on Wednesday, hence the stable would have done their homework and would only be running if thinking she is a legitimate chance here. Also, want something on LA FLEURETTE @ $10+ with most operators. Great win last time against the pattern and can win again. Main dangers LA SPECIALE, LOVEITT, MY OBESSION and SIMPLY SOLUTION at a price. Good finish.  

SUGGEST: SANAYA (EACH WAY) @ $9+, LA FLEURETTE (EACH WAY) @ $10+, FIRST FOUR (2, 7, 9, 14 / 8, 11 / F / 8, 11) (CONFIDENCE 35%) 



Average odds $15.80+ per suggested runner