9 November 2017 (Group 1 Oaks Day racing at Flemington)






Racing at FLEMINGTON with fine weather forecast once again (the track could really do with some natural rain), but not to be, hence currently looking at a GOOD (3) surface once again.

RAIL: +3M (ENTIRE CIRCUIT). We head to FLEMNGTON for Oaks Day, the third of four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Rail comes out +3M, after being in the TRUE position, on both Derby and Cup days. Given what we’ve seen, and saw 12 months ago, expecting no disadvantage to be closer to the pace/fence (pace dependant), especially early in the day, similar to how it played Tuesday. The, they may start getting away from the fence as the day progresses, however I warn that is what many thought on this day 12 months ago and Lasqueti Spirit at 100/1 took full advantage of that! As always, be sure to keep a close eye on early races for best guide.


Race 1: We start with a benchmark 70 for the fillies and mares over 1700m and a big field, and a very competitive and tricky start to the day. Pace/tactics and how track is playing will be key, and as mentioned above as much as we all want an even playing field, need to run with the assumption that those closer to the fence will be advantaged. We should know early if that’s definitely the case or not. Primary play here with SWORN EVIDENCE at $4.20+ with BET365. Has done nothing wrong and recent form is perfect for a race like this. With even luck in running and track simply playing fairly enough (won’t be right up there on the speed) should be right in the finish and hopefully hard to beat. Also, want something on HISTORY REPEATS at a juicy $19+ (BET365). You’ll recall was one of 4 eye catchers at breakfast with the best and the only one not to place at MV nearly two weeks back (2 x 1st, 1 x 2nd) but did have excuses. In saying that will need some luck here from the sticky gate, with an option to lead but there does look to be decent pace in the race. Will leave the task in the hands of Kerryn McEvoy but at the price happy to take the punt. And finally something on LILYMORN at $26+ (SPORTSBET) who brings good form here, is drawn well and should get the rail on pace which should give her every chance. Main dangers SO SPLENDID (barrier the concern), LINGUIST, I’M A PRINCESS, BEERZATBEERNZ ($34+) and ANOTHER BULLSEYE. Tough start, runs deep.

SUGGEST: SWORN EVIDENCE (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $4.20+, HISTORY REPEATS (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $19+, LILYMORN (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $26+, FIRST FOUR (2, 8, 10, 14, 15 / 16 / F / 9, 11), (F / 16, 9, 11 / 2, 8, 10, 14, 15 / 16, 9, 11) (CONFIDENCE 30%)



Race 2: Next is a benchmark 90, for the 4 and 5 year olds over 1800m and there doesn’t look to be a great deal of speed on paper. ODEON would have been a moral here, but assuming won’t be here given he ran Tuesday. The key here is MR GARCIA as it’s hard to know how good and how he is for first run in Australia. Here with the very strong Wohler stable, but is he here for a reason? i.e. for a soft kill in a race like this, or simply made the trip as they are here anyway to see how he goes. Monitor betting. Just don’t know enough, so prefer to play two at close to double the odds instead and not have all our eggs in the one basket with such an unknown quantity. Can’t split HOGMANAY (last chance) at $8.50+ (BET365), I dare say looking for the longer trip, and should be close to the rail and ideally not far behind the leader(s) all going well. Then, want something on VON TUNZELMAN here at $7.50+ with CROWNBET. Bring good NZ form here which always seems to stack up and may be even better on top of the ground which, he’ll definitely get here. Main dangers MR GARCIA and EBEDIYIN.

SUGGEST: HOGMANAY (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $8.50+, VON TUNZELMAN (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $7.50+, FIRST FOUR (3, 9 / 2, 5 / F / 2, 5) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 3: Next is a benchmark 90 over 1400m, more commonly known as the event for the greys. Good, open, competitive field here with plenty of chances.  URBAN RULLER does looks very well suited, however is short enough and interestingly has never been placed from 3 second up runs (despite 3 wins and 4 placings from 4 first up runs), hence a legitimate query regarding second up syndrome. Is definitely one for multies and even a one out early quaddie leg but going to play two instead of one at more than double the price (and beyond) instead. On top is **CHALK** at a tidy $9.50+ (SPORTSBET) who brings excellent form from north of the border to a race like this. Form around Firsthand, Redouble is very good for this and importantly should be in a position to take a positive role from barrier 8, even lead. At the price, happy to make a BEST VALUE bet of the day. Then, want a play on BORD DE GAIN at a juicy $15+ (UBET) who has done very little wrong in short career to date, has had excuses at only two unplaced runs and looks like he’ll appreciate the step up to 1400m. Main dangers URBAN RULER (may be simply too good and drawn to get gun run from Shinn from barrier 2), TIME TO TORQUE (brilliant last time, only concern is get back style on this track?), VALAC (good overseas form and Hayes good at picking right time to bring to town) and SILVERO who has always shown plenty of ability but drop from 1700m to 1400m is of obvious concern. Good race.

SUGGEST: **CHALK** (EACH WAY) @ $9.50+, BORD DE GAIN (EACH WAY) @ $15+, FIRST FOUR (3, 5, 6, 12 / F / 3, 5, 6, 12 / 10, 11), (3, 5, 6, 12 / 10, 11 / F / 10, 11) (CONFIDENCE 35%)


Race 4: Next is the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final, also known as a benchmark 80 over the mile (1600m). Pace looks very strong here, which will make things very interesting, especially if there is an on pace bias as I’m predicting, especially early. Many will be on NIGHT’S WATCH and rightly so, with Darren Weir very much the king of the country, and you could argue both the provincial and some would say metropolitan sense. However, for mind rock bottom odds and will need some luck from the rear. Another for multies and a one out early quaddie leg, but rather play several others at big/massive prices instead in a very open affair for mine, should the favourite not salute. Slight lean SAVAJU at a generous $11+ (LUXBET) after not being far behind the hot fave here and meets NIGHT’S WATCH a 3.5kg better at the weights for a 1.25L defeat and nearly three times the price? Then, want to play STRAIGHT JACKET at $19+ with BET365 and SPORTSBET who returned well after a long break and not noted for first up form, does go better second up so can improve and be right in the mix here. Then, two longshots at massive prices both coming out of the same race at Seymour. FRANKLY HARVEY at $71+ (SPORTSBET) sat wide the trip in a half decent race (for an even like this) and was still too good, and *HERO MASTER* at the same $71+ price (SPORTSBET) who wasn’t great, but importantly drops down to 54kg after lumping big weights past three. Most importantly, four starts back (when carrying 52kg) was third (only beaten 1.25L) to two I rate highly in Wheal Leisure and Lord Fandango (who happens to be my prediction for the 2018 Melbourne Cup….would have been in 2017 had he run, there’s a long term prediction for the future;-)). At the price, happy to make a BEST LONGSHOT bet of the day. Main danger most definitely NIGHT’S WATCH ahead of EMOJI and ANOTHER COLDIE.

SUGGEST: SAVAJU (WIN / EACH WAY – PRIMARY) @ $11+, STRAIGHT JACKET (WIN / EACH WAY) @ $19+, FRANKLY HARVEY (EACH WAY) @ $71+, *HERO MASTER* (EACH WAY) @ $71+, FIRST FOUR (2, 3, 17 / 4, 12 / F / 11, 14), (F / 2, 3, 17 / 4, 12 / 11, 14), (2 / 3, 4, 12, 17 / 3, 4, 12, 17 / 11, 14) (CONFIDENCE 30%)


Race 5: Now for the first of the features, Group 3 event over 1400m. Small field, but tough race, as illustrated by the fact that every runner is at single figure odds and the only one not, WELL SPRUNG is out of form, but more than capable of pulling out a run and best is good enough. I’m going to go against my usual weights and measures calculations and sticking with the ‘best horse’ rule in ULMANN at $5.50+ with most operators. The key being natural fitness and improvement after two runs. Was a very good win last time against the pattern of the day. Weir definitely seemed to think stablemate Burning Front was the better chance due to fitness levels, hence surely good improvement here, which is needed. Then, a somewhat speculative play on the clear longshot of the field mentioned above in WELL SPRUNG at $28+ with SPORTSBET. Main danger ECHO EFFECT (weighted to win), then throw a blanket over the rest, all can win. Note, no third dividend.

SUGGEST: ULMANN (EACH WAY) @ $5+, WELL SPRUNG (EACH WAY) @ $28+, FIRST FOUR (roving 1, 7, 9 / F), (9 / 2, 4, 5, 10 / 2, 4, 5, 10 / 1, 7) (CONFIDENCE 35%) 


Race 6: First leg of the quaddie is the Listed Absolut Stakes down the straight over the short course 1000m. Well this simply comes down to a few things. 1) Is THE QUARTERBACK anywhere closely resembling his best? If so, the ‘best horse’ in the race will beat them at a very juicy $14+ (CROWNBET, UNIBET). 2) Has BALL OF MUSCLE forgotten how to win? Has obviously been racing in better races than this, however hasn’t won for 2 and a half years and some horses do forget how to get the job done, regardless of the level. Is a very short $2.35 with most, hence it a question worth asking. 3) Will the outside rail be superior to the inside, as seemed to be the case in the second half of the card Tuesday? BALL OF MUSCLE is actually weighted brilliantly, on level weights with runners 30 handicap rating points lower, some of which fancied in the market. I’m reluctantly going to play away (it’s that sort of day / that time of year where the unexpected happens more than usual) and as a result not keen to delving into something so short with a big investment required. Will definitely have a one-out quaddie leg and is a great anchor leg for your multies. Instead, I’m leaning in the camp of CRYSTAL DREAMER at $10+ (BET365), Snitty Kitty ran them off their feet and those back in the field looked like Class 1 outback stayers on as day you couldn’t make ground. One of them was Ocean Embers who finished dead last in that race (slightly behind CRYSTAL DREAMER) before winning very well down the straight Tuesday. Drawn to have easy passage to the outside which I assume is where you need to be. Then, a WIN only play on THE QUARTERBACK who is/was the ‘best horse’ in the race but has obviously had several issues in recent times. Monitor market, barrier 4 a query but simply too good odds at $13+ (most operators) to not play. Then, want a longshot play at a silly price right at the bottom of the weights, in the form of stablemate DANCE WITH FONTEIN at $51+ (SPORTSBET, LUXBET). Returned well and drops significantly in weight here. Always had time and although not necessarily at this level or against this type of field, if the main players are off their game, could shock at a huge price. Main danger BALL OF MUSCLE (extremely hard to beat) and BADAJOZ. Doesn’t end there, but happy to end it there with those outlined above.   

SUGGEST: CRYSTAL DREAMER (EACH WAY) @ $10+, THE QUARTERBACK (WIN) @ $13+, DANCE WITH FONTEIN (EACH WAY) @ $51+, FIRST FOUR (2, 3 / 1, 5 / F / 11), (2 / F / 1, 3 / 5, 11), (F / 1, 2, 3 / 1, 2, 3 / 5, 11) (CONFIDENCE 30%)


Race 7: Next is the Listed Seppelt Wines Stakes for the three year olds over 1800m. Sticking to a bit of a trend and that’s to play a few at big odds, as opposed to all eggs in one basket with a shorter priced runner…the strategy could pay big dividends or I walk away with my tail between my legs, only time will tell. Very similar here, we were on SAMBRO last Saturday where we were so close to knocking off the hot pot fave in the opener at $18 but just missed. Not so interested here (if he runs at a very short $3.80 with most). Similarly SKY BOY and IRISH VEGA (now scratched) who will both need luck from barriers 14 and 15 respectively. As a result, leading with **SWEET VICTORY** here at a respectable $6.50+ with most operators. Done very little wrong in short career, brained them with authority last time and like when the capable but lesser stables just miss on a big day and then return the year after, as is the case with the Newnham stable. Primary play and happy to make a BEST VALUE bet of the day. Ahead of two at big odds I want something on in PLATO at $26+ (most operators) and PRINCE OF ARRAN at $51+ with BET365. PLATO, the very expensive $1.5M Pierro colt had been somewhat disappointing (given the price tag), but showed something when up in distance last time and can hopefully further improve over the even longer 1800m here. While PRINCE OF ARRAN has actually done nothing wrong in two starts to date, showing adaptability in lesser grade to firstly make good ground from the rear, before holding on for debut win last start right on the pace. Would need to improve further at this level, but no reason the gelding can’t and at 50/1+ happy to take the punt. Main dangers all those mentioned above in SAMBRO, SKY BOY, as well as ALL TOO HUIYING ($26+), BLACK SAIL, WOULDA THOUGHT SO and PAGEANTRY. Extremely deep race. Wide quaddie leg.

SUGGEST: **SWEET VICTORY** (EACH WAY - PRIMARY) @ $6.50+, PLATO (EACH WAY - SECONDARY) @ $26+, PRINCE OF ARRAN (EACH WAY - SECONDARY) @ $51+, FIRST FOUR (2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 14 / 12, 13, 15 / 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 14 / 12, 13, 15) (CONFIDENCE 35%) 


Race 8: Penultimate event is feature of the day, the Group 1 Crown Kennedy Oaks, for the three year old fillies over 2500m. Just sounds a bit very weird, doesn’t it? As much as I love taking on the hot pot faves, as much as PINOT has been very good to us in recent times, as impressive as LUVALUVA was Saturday, as much as I’ll say besides the obvious, it’s a very even and competitive race which runs deep, the simply answer to the question here is “surely” ALOISIA will be too good for them here to justify the short quote ($1.55+ with most operators) and will be winning her 2nd Group 1 after beating subsequent Group 1 Myer Classic winner Shoals in the Thousand Guineas, as well as comprehensively beating one of the favourites in the Group 1 Emirates on Saturday Cliff’s Edge on Cox Plate day. Best of all even if the track becomes a mad leaders’ track (which surely can’t happen two years in a row, remember Lasqueti Spirit at 100/1?) she is adaptable enough to do what she did last start (on a leader’s track and sit right behind the leader (PINOT) or close to. On these big days, always a chance of getting a better price, will be interesting if the bookies let the punters on or not. Actually think she is backable at $1.55 (obviously on a Win only basis), but let’s hope for better on the day. Anything less than $1.50 is just too short in a Group 1 with depth, despite her perceived superiority over the rest. Main dangers PINOT, LUVALUVA and RELIABLE DAME who was awesome from the rear at Geelong against the boys.      

SUGGEST: ALOISIA (WIN) @ $1.55+, FIRST FOUR (boxed 1, 2, 4, 8), (2, 4, 8 / 1 / 2, 4, 8 / F) (CONFIDENCE 85%) 


Race 9: And we finish with the Group 3 Kennedy Plate, also for the three year old fillies down the straight over 1100m. Again, making the assumption that the outside rail is the place to be. Another very open race to finish off with and was actually weighing up whether to play I AM EXCITED standalone at $6.50+ (like the freshen up, back to much more suitable trip and gun hoop Shinn jumps on), however again playing a few at bigger prices instead. I’ve said it a couple of times already, but hoping the strategy for most of the day pays off with 1-2 long priced winners. As a result, looking to play SPLIT LIP on top at $16+ with SPORTSBET. Has not been far away against strong competition past few behind the likes of Houtzen (beaten 2.95L on a leader’s track), and Invincible Star (beaten 5.95L, but that sprinter is low flying and smashing most). Returns to 1100m where she just missed three back (importantly down the straight) and assuming the outside is the place to be they have a habit of flashing late down the outside late in the day, this time of year. Hopefully it’s her! Then, want to play both SHUDABEEN at $34+ (BET365) and *FLEETING FEELING* at the same $34+ price with BET365 also. Injured last start in hot Group 2 roman Consul, won by Viridine (only beaten 3.4L) and Martin is an underrated trainer in my opinion and respect when he heads down. Needs a PB run and needs to be over last start issue, however at 33/1+ happy to take the punt to find out. While *FLEETING FEELING* has had 1 run for 1 win for the white hot combination of McEvoy/Currie and that combination when coupled with a 1/1 strike rate and first up from a break since, is a must play when 33/1+ is on offer. Even better, you can tie some form out of the seemingly moderate race at Cranbourne, through As It Lies who she beat, that filly then ran 3rd to Crown Mistress, who subsequently beat Catchy. Long bow, but all taken into consideration worth a play for sure. At the price, happy to finish with a BEST LONGSHOT bet of the day. Main dangers I AM EXCITED (as mentioned above), DEBONAIRLY (who trialled sensationally recently), SMART COUPE (Ellerton/Zahra flying this week, barrier 3 the query?) and DEMERARA who hasn’t done much wrong but little value.

SUGGEST: SPLIT LIP (EACH WAY) @ $16+, SHUDABEEN (EACH WAY) @ $34+, *FLEETING FEELING* (EACH WAY) @ $34+, FIRST FOUR (1, 5, 6, 7 / F / 1, 5, 6, 7 / 3, 9, 15), (1, 5, 6, 7 / 3, 9, 15 / F / 3, 9, 15) (CONFIDENCE 30%) 



Average odds $23.38+ per suggested runner!

** BEST VALUE **: CHALK @ $9.50+, SWEET VICTORY @ $6.50+