Leaders : 7-BANK ROBBER, 8-ROYAL DISCRETION, 12-CONQUERING
Handy : 1-MENTALITY, 4-MR BARITONE, 6-SNIPER'S BULLET, 15-MIMI LEBROCK, 20-MARCHING
Back : 2-NICONERO, 3-ORANGE COUNTY, 5-SEA BATTLE, 9-VALEDICTUM, 10-ALL SILENT, 11-CARGO CULT, 13-DEALER PRINCIPAL, 14-MALCOLM, 16-SERIOUS SPEED, 17-PINNACLES, 18-PILLAR OF HERCULES, 19-MAJESTICAL
5-SEA BATTLE is absolutely flying this time in. Handles all conditions so the wet won’t be a problem. Been right in the finish at every start this time in. Big plus with this guy is that he is versatile – can race handy, drop back, handles all conditions. Drawn wide here again, and does get penalised for last win – so goes up in weight, whereas all others from that race drop in weight. Guessing they have to drop him back again here from wide barrier – has drawn 17-14-15 last 3 starts. But meeting every challenge and strong winning chance.
6-SNIPER'S BULLET is fitter for the two runs in, both of which have been full of merit. Flew home first-up at Caulfield, and then ridden aggressively to lead last Saturday at Flemington from wide barrier when stuck on OK and probably unlucky not to win. Like the way he kicked on them about the 200 metre mark. Wet track form looks OK. Drawn wide, think they probably race handy as is normal racing pattern, so might get caught a little wide. Definitely want them to take a sit though and not push to the lead like they did last start. Last two runs have been excellent, think he has more improvement to come than most of his rivals from those races and looks a genuine winning chance. Go well.
9-VALEDICTUM is another old stager who had a long track record in this race. Fourth in this race last year, with form that is very, very similar to this year. Third in this race in 2006, when his form was worse and winner of this race in 2005. We have been following him – and losing our money – but he has been going along pretty well. Seems OK in the wet. Don’t understand why they have to keep dropping him so far back, he can race handy if required. This race is often won by swoopers, he has finished off the Rupert Clarke and Toorak pretty well, so think he has to go in. Rough chance.
10-ALL SILENT won here last Saturday when got absolute dream run along inside – drop-back horse drawn barrier two was always going to be query, but fantastic ride got him home. Really not much between all those from that race. Strong finish in Epsom before that, and like that he has had the extra run whereas the others from that race have had a 6 week break into this. In form, drops back and runs on, which is what you want in this race, and speed should be on. Genuine chance.
12-CONQUERING is a vastly under rated horse – his form the last couple of months has been outstanding. Probably a case of the wetter the better for him. Would love to get on him in this – have to say it’s hard for leaders to win this race, there are a few that will take him on in front, he has drawn barrier one so probably going to get a lot of pressure up front, and best ground on Stakes Day is normally the middle of the track. Going to put him in as a chance cause he is one of our favourites, but does seem to have a lot against him today. If one or more of the on pacers don’t run then we will get more confident. Last run was really good, so have to put him in as a chance. Just watch and see whether it’s favouring swoopers or on-pacers to determine how strong his chance is.
19-MAJESTICAL (emergency) is absolutely flying at the moment, great win in Cranbourne Cup, and loomed and looked the winner at Moonee Valley the start before that. Has had the four weeks off since that run. No weight, in form and we like that he has a totally different form line than all of those – he could be better than all of them! Will drop back and run on – if he gets into the field throw him in as a nice rough chance.
3-ORANGE COUNTY is going to appreciate the rain if it comes, and is definitely better on tracks with some give in them. For him to win, he would need everything to go right, might get the rain which is a good start, but outsider barrier is a big problem – didn’t show anything when drew wide in Toorak, and think place at very best today.
4-MR BARITONE is coming along pretty nicely, should be at peak now with four runs in and has been thereabouts most starts. Not far off these last Saturday and drops in weight. Did draw wide that day, so much better draw today. Became a Group 1 winner in QLD over the winter at long odds, so suddenly he has to carry considerable weight in his races. Wet tracks are a big plus for him. Ran 14th in this race last year – he was racing up close to the speed and they did run along. Over the 1600 metres and from a nice barrier expect to see him racing a lot handier. Most people still struggle to believe his Group 1 win, and whether this is a bit above him, but on a wet track he would be a place chance as is going along OK.
7-BANK ROBBER has had six weeks off since the Epsom. Lightly raced and imposing winning strike rate. Led and run down in Epsom, so wet track no problem here if it rains. Well drawn to go forward, but there does seem to be a fair bit of speed in this race. Generally this is not a race for leaders, it’s always a hard, tough run 1600 metres and it’s normally won by a swooper, especially as the track is normally wearing. Just keep an eye on how much rain we get, how the track is racing. Place chance – although elevate if racing pattern and conditions are in his favour.
16-SERIOUS SPEED got scratched from the Myer Classic last week. Was it to keep her for this race, or there was a problem? You would think there was a problem else they would’ve had a crack at both races and that is a concern. Drop back horse, no weight, loves the speed on and will be suited if swoopers are winning. Rough chance – if she finds her best form she can be in the finish here.
1-MENTALITY has had six weeks off going into this race. Wet track in the Epsom probably not to liking, so definite query if this track ends up wet today as well. Normally races on speed, drawn wide and there is probably a fair bit of speed in this race already. Never keen to get on top weights in this race and happy to leave out.
2-NICONERO is an old timer who just about always puts in some sort of run in these races. Gets weight drop into this, but meeting a lot who did beat him home last start. Probably runs on, but passing on him this year.
8-ROYAL DISCRETION pulled up lame here last Saturday after a fair effort – how long does it take to become un-lame? Lots of hot baths? Massage ? Foot rub? Narrow winner against these start before at Caulfield when jockey took some initiative from outside barrier and went forward. Will go forward again here from OK barrier – has drawn wide last two starts, so expect him to race much more prominent today. Bit worried about pulling up lame last week too and backing up so quickly. Leaving out.
11-CARGO CULT hasn’t had the best of luck over recent months. Injury plagued galloper who is held together with rubber bands and sticky tape. Did nothing last run, but race probably favoured on pacers a bit. Can’t seriously consider him, but if you are going for the $100,000 First Four think he is your rank outsider to put in.
13-DEALER PRINCIPAL has had 6 weeks off since last Sydney run. More a staying type who is freshened back to the 1600 metres here today. Wet would probably be an issue for this one. Not sure about form through last two races in Sydney. Speed on here would suit, but think he might get too far back from inside barrier and need an awful lot of luck to get a run through the field. Happy to risk.
14-MALCOLM hasn’t shown any form this time in. Well drawn and did win a race over the Flemington carnival in 2006, but doesn’t seem to be at best on wet ground and not going well enough into this. No.
15-MIMI LEBROCK is going along extremely well and worth a shot at this race (can’t believe they didn’t do the same with FORESNICS who would’ve been a genuine chance). She is drawn well, will race on pace and sit behind the speed, so will put herself into the race at the right time. Had the race won a long way out at Caulfield, and put through fence at Flemington start before that. Should be OK if it rains. Just still a niggling little question at a strong 1600 metres – especially if they do run along here. She was posted a little wide last week, but just felt she was stopping going towards the lines and think a strong mile in this sort of company probably finds her out. Happy to risk her today.
17-PINNACLES (emergency) is going along just OK. Actually placed in Doncaster on a wet track – coming from last – which is a pretty fair effort. Drawn very wide and will have to drop well back – then again ran well in Doncaster under identical conditions! Passing.
18-PILLAR OF HERCULES (emergency) has been thereabouts in lead-up runs. Just felt he has had every chance last two starts in Toorak and Waterford Crystal and has to meet those who has beaten him home. Another who will have to drop back and concede a start. He normally races handy but can’t see them going forward and wide in this field. Passing.
20-MARCHING (emergency) should be at peak now with four runs in, but really hasn’t shown any form. Last start isn’t as bad as it looks – was just about to run into the race on home turn and got badly blocked for runs. Definite query if there is any rain at all. Can race handy from nice barrier if he gets a start – which is unlikely. Still not convinced about form but he was unlucky last start so watch out for him in something weaker shortly. No
Always a great race to bet on. It's always a tough run mile and its very hard for on-pacers to win this race. Track normally favours swoopers on this day, and especially in this race – record is well known of long short horses down in the weights winning this race. Looks like the rain has finally come, so in an even field a lot will come down to how this track races. Make sure you watch the earlier races and see if the leaders are kicking on OK, if the track has cut up and they are coming out wide in the straight (likely), and if the track is favouring horses that can run on.
The 1400 metre race from Derby Day is normally a pretty strong guide to this race – hence they change it’s name every year to try and catch you out. Lining up the weights from the time honoured "AAMI Travel Insurance Stakes”, 6-SNIPER'S BULLET meets the 10-ALL SILENT 1.5 kgs better off and it had to work to get to the lead while 10-ALL SILENT got a dream run along the rails – hence 6-SNIPER'S BULLET is our top pick.
Pace here does look quite strong - 7-BANK ROBBER, 8-ROYAL DISCRETION, 12-CONQUERING can all go to the lead, and poor 12-CONQUERING is the one that is going to get all the pressure and probably the worse ground from his inside barrier. 1-MENTALITY, 4-MR BARITONE, 6-SNIPER'S BULLET, 15-MIMI LEBROCK sitting handy behind them. Just watch though if there are scratchings because of the wet weather – that make take some of the speed out of the race.
Pretty damn keen on 6-SNIPER'S BULLET here at each-way odds. Fitter for the two runs in, both of which have been excellent. Last start was sitting out wide and was ridden aggressively to lead – showed a nice kick at the 200 metres and only just run down by one getting a dream run. Should be improvement still to come from that run, but you do want them to sit just off the speed here rather than going forward. Despite not being well weighted from last run and having an outside barrier, 5-SEA BATTLE is the main danger. Ridden cold and with the swoopers winning he should be right in the finish. With the rain coming we are happy to consider 12-CONQUERING now, although his chances really depend on racing pattern coming into this race. Rough chances to 9-VALEDICTUM and especially 19-MAJESTICAL if he gets into the field. Happy punting.
One to risk: 15-MIMI LEBROCK
Roughie: 9-VALEDICTUM, 19-MAJESTICAL (emergency)
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