Another big day of Group 1 racing across both venues. The rail at Randwick is +6m from the 1600m-Post and +4m for the remainder. With steady rain falling we should see a pattern emerge during the day, so keep a close eye on the early races. The rail at Flemington is +9 (+14m last meeting) with good conditions forecast. In terms of track pattern, races 2 and 3 are over 1400m which may appear to favour the on-pace runners, but hold your assessment until at least race 4 which carriers a full field and will be run at a genuine pace.
Race 5 Jacobs Mile 1600m
Brace For Impact: FIERCE IMPACT
This imported son of champion stallion Deep Impact was racing over staying distances in England before venturing to Australia. His trainer Matthew Smith has a knack of injecting more brilliance into these international horses and he looks to have found a nice, progressive one here to follow. After a 2 run first prep in Australia during the autumn which culminated in a super win at Randwick, he resumed at Rosehill over 1400m a fortnight ago to finish second. On that occasion he appeared to be looking for more ground, so the step up to 1600m back to Randwick, and in the same class looks ideal
Wet track specialist: ZOURKHAN
If the track gets really wet then I’m going to consider changing my bet to Zourkhan. He’s dropping back from 1800m and was dominant last time in the heavy. The Waller/McDonald combination looks a dangerous one with 10 wins together this season already, at a strike rate of 21.3%.
Race 7 G1 Spring Champion Stakes 2000m
Derby watch: THINKIN’ BIG
This strapping son of High Chaparral looked every inch a Victoria Derby prospect when winning the Gloaming Stakes last start. A typical Waterhouse/Bott trained galloper, he is a free-striding on pace runner that is very strong at the end of his races. His full brother Stampede has raced 3 times on a heavy track for a win and a couple of seconds.
Wet track specialist: TARKA
Was no match for Thinkin’ Big in the Gloaming Stakes, but he does get the blinkers on for the first time to sharpen him up. At his previous run he defeated a potential superstar The Autumn Sun (albeit, unlucky) and Dealmaker in the Stan Fox on a heavy surface.
Race 8 G3 Angst Stakes 1400m
Three-peat: DIXIE BLOSSOMS
The (other) great mare Dixie Blossoms is going for 3 Angst Stakes’ in a row and looks just about ready to win. She’s drawn to get a great run, can handle wet ground (she won a G2 last year on a heavy 10 by 6.5 lengths leading all the way) and is in a winnable race, with some of the better Sydney mares (such as Invincibella – look for her in race 9 at Flemington) now in Melbourne.
Wet track specialist: I AM SERIOUS
Another Waller/McDonald runner coming back in distance. This mare comes from a different form line (Avilius form!) having run third in the Kingston Town over 2000m last start. If the race turns into a slug-fest, she’s going to be very hard to hold out with only 54kg.
Race 4 Listed UCI Stakes 1800m
This regally bred son of Frankel and Rostova from the Tony McEvoy stable is ready to improve on his recent 8th and 9th placings. Up in trip and back to a bigger track is the key to this big striding colt who is on a Derby path. Last time out he was just getting warm when held up for running late in the Bill Stutt Stakes. The 8 day back up from that event should suit and looks ready to peak 4th up.
Cricket score odds: COSMIC CITY
Currently paying $81, I thought I’d throw in one at big odds to follow. This son of Reliable Man was a ready to run purchase (fun fact: so was SA Derby winner Laser Sharp) by the Busuttin stable who aim to have runners each year for the Victoria Derby. This gelding was ok on debut in 7th in what looks to me as a nice ‘hidden’ maiden (the form out of this race over the next 6 months could look better than it does now) and was then very strong when getting up to win his maiden in the last stride at Sale over 1600m, a track that is similarly shaped to Flemington. Has drawn 18 but his stablemate Main Stage drew 13 of 14 and came from last to win this race last year…
Race 6 Group 2 Gilgai Stakes 1200m
Force to reckon with: DREAMFORCE
Intuition tells me that this Sydney galloper will appreciate straight track racing at Flemington. He is a very genuine, high cruising speed horse that can sit on the pace – not a bad formula for straight racing. He is very attractive each way odds and is close to being my best of the day at Flemington.
Party pooper: I AM EXCITED
If there’s a horse that going to spoil the Dreamforce party, it’s probably going to be a late-closer down the outside. From barrier 11 of 11, I Am Excited fits that bill perfectly. Looks well placed here with Kerrin McEvoy and 54.5kg against the boys.
Race 7 G3 The Bart Cummings 2500m
Weight a minute: AVILIIUS:
The pin-up boy of the tip sheet this spring, Avilius is going for 4 in a row. A win here would guarantee him a spot in the Melbourne Cup, and hence the reason he was transferred down from Sydney when he seemingly had last weeks’ G1 Metropolitan at his mercy. He needs to carry a good horse’s weight of 58.5kg…
Team Williams: OUR VENICE BEACH
Wherever there’s a ballot exempt race for the Melbourne Cup, expect Team Williams to play a strong hand. They have 3 runners engaged here, and the pick of them might be Our Venice Beach. His recent runs suggest that he’s just now coming into fitness and looking for the 2500m on a big track. Stablemate MIDTERM was quite good without luck in the Metropolitan and is on the quick back-up.
Race 9 G2 Blazer Stakes 1400m
Melbourne: PLATINUM ANGEL
Great first up run when ridden a little too quietly. Darren Weir trained mare (who also prepares LEATHERANDLACE who looks a nice each way hope at $19). Has always promised to be competitive at this level. Fun Fact: her dam sire Iglesia holds the Flemington 1200m track record, set on January 1, 2001.
Miss Consistency. Unlucky in the G2 JHB Syndications Golden Pendant at her most recent outing. Similar to Platinum Angel, she’ll settle midfield, peel to the outside and launch with a strong run.
OWNER OF THE WEEK - DAVID COLLINS
Owner of the week: David Collins
JHBS owned horses: Dark Confidant
Resides in: Paynesville, East Gippsland , Victoria
Occupation: retired , area manager , Cadbury red tulip confectionery
First Horse: Invictum Domina, multiple winner, and still winning
Favourite Horses: I can go back a long way, all my family followed the horses and I picked up the bug from a very early age. I remember champions of the past like Tulloch, the WFA star Lord, the fantastic front runner Vo Rogue, Better Loosen Up, and champion jumper Crisp who I backed the only time he lost his jockey at a fence in the home straight at Flemington once, but his effort in the Grand National at Aintree was just fantastic to be just beaten on the line to Red Rum – I’ll never forget that race.
Horse To Follow? Dark Confidant, Invictum Domina and Youngstar - a coming champion
Favourite racetrack: Flemington
Best moment/day at the races: last years’ Melbourne Cup , backed the winner at very nice odds , got the trifecta as well , also drew the winner in the calcutta so won that as well, had a great day. The Melbourne Cup has always been a lucky race for me.
Sporting team(s): Richmond Football Club
Favourite Food: Steak
Favourite drink: a hot cup of tea
Other hobbies: I trained and raced greyhounds for some years with lots of success, played all sports: football and cricket, but my favourite is golf.
Best aspect of horse ownership: the excitement and thrill of watching a horse you are involved in winning, meeting other people with the same interests as you and making new friends, thanks JHB Syndications.