The main racing action is in Sydney on Saturday but there is plenty of depth to the Caulfield card, with big fields the order of the day.
The first of nine kicks off at 12:20pm (AEST) on what is likely to be a good 4 surface. Rain is expected on raceday (3-10mm) but it shouldn’t be enough to lead to any significant downgrade.
The rail will be out 9m, which may favour those on-speed but it’s worth monitoring the first couple of races for any discernible pattern.
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Tough speed map to construct given many of these are on debut. It might be Heart Conquered who takes up the running from out wide ahead of Rarer Than Rubies.
Very tricky 2YO race to open proceedings. Really liked the debut of Virtual Insanity (2) down the straight at Flemington but he’s drawn to get back in the last few here from the wide alley, which could make things tough. He failed to make an impact in Sydney last start but that was a hot race run in pretty slick time.
Zoustar colt Star Fall (7) has trialled well for his debut and has drawn favourably in barrier 4.
Sizzleme (10) had no luck at all at Bendigo last start after getting back in the field from barrier 1. Unfortunately for connections, the filly has come up with the inside marble again. She looks to have ability.
Heart Conquered (1) could prove hard to run down if Moloney can find the front from the outside alley. He was good breaking his maiden status in Adelaide last start.
Verdict: Virtual Insanity (2) on top but happy to watch them go around here.
Amorentia looks the leader from barrier two. Kapaulenko will probably push forward from out wide to look for a spot in the first three. SImply Invincible maps to follow the leader, while Cosmic Lights should enjoy a nice one-off trail just off the speed,
Cosmic Lights (6) looks a good hope here from the nice draw. The Clarken gelding resumes from a 145-day break but has trialled well (taken back, went to the line under a tight hold) and boasts three 1st-up victories from 5 attempts. He hasn’t won for a while but this is just his second start for Clarken, who is striking at a very impressive 28% in 2018.
Simply Invincible (8) finished a long way back last start but the tactics certainly didn’t help (stable advised stewards they wanted him ridden quiet from barrier 3). He drifted to the rear and raced keenly in an on-pace dominated affair. His previous form was very good and he can certainly bounce back with a more positive steer.
Amortentia (7) looks the leader in this coming off a strong all-the-way win at Sandown Hillside last start. She takes on the males but this doesn’t look much harder and she stays at her pet distance (7:4-1-0). If Allen can dictate the tempo she’ll prove hard to get past.
Kapaulenko (5) is racing in consistent form and is in the minor mix.
Verdict: Cosmic Lights (6) to make a winning return. Simply Invincible (8) on top following the scratching of Cosmic Lights (6).
Princess Mia may have the early toe to cross to the lead from out wide. Fern maps to follow the frontrunner, with Truly Discreet also handy. Joie de Dream could roll forward from barrier 11 if she steps cleanly.
Keen on Palazzo Vecchio (1) coming back from Group races where she’s been highly competitive and highly unlucky. She was outstanding over 1400m here on resumption and backed that up with a close-up 3rd in the G2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) where she was held-up at a vital stage. Last start was a total forgive job from barrier 1 at the Valley – she’s much better drawn here in barrier 4. With even luck (she’s due for some), she should be winning.
The danger might be Sheezdashing (11) who has also been luckless this preparation. The Ellerton/Zahra filly was held-up for most of the straight at Flemington two-back before losing her spot at a crucial stage at Mornington last start. She’ll get back from barrier 9 but hopefully Thornton (replacing Thompson) can keep her out of trouble, even if it means covering some extra territory. The talent is there.
Confident the winner comes from the above two but Truly Discreet (3) has solid place claims coming off a couple of solid efforts at $ 101 and $ 51. She maps nicely for promising young hoop Fred Kersley.
Savacool (2) looks unders at $ 3.90 but it’s hard to disregard a horse who boasts 5 top-two finishes from 5 starts. Just think she maps a bit awkwardly.
Verdict: Palazzo Vecchio (1) for the win. Saver on Sheezdashing (11) at $ 8. BEST BET
Granddukeoftuscany likes to bowl along in his races. If he doesn’t lead, it might be Magic Consol who takes it up from the inside alley. Rock Forthe Ladies maps to follow the leaders from barrier 2. Noumea may press on from out wide.
Deep race with many chances but I’ve settled on Tiamo Grace (9) from the Weir camp. She was poor last campaign but her two efforts this preparation have been most encouraging, finishing 2nd (albeit a distant 2nd) 1st-up over 1400m before working home nicely in the G2 Sunline Stakes (1600m). This trip looks ideal 3rd-up and she’s drawn to enjoy an economical run in transit, away from the fence.
Magic Consol (1) might be over the odds at $ 13. The veteran galloper maps to land in the first three without too much effort and he should be very close to peak fitness after four runs back. He was just outgunned in a similar race here last start, despite covering extra ground in the run.
My Paisann (15) hit the line well without threat at Bendigo last Saturday after a nice 1st-up effort over 1200m. The jump from 1400m to 1700m is a little query but he loves this circuit and he’ll go around with just 51kg on his back.
Top of the Range (12) was heavily-backed in an 1800m race here two weeks ago but he found all sorts of trouble in the straight and was well-beaten. It was far from Melham’s best ride and the gelding’s regular jockey Patrick Moloney hops back aboard today (has ridden the horse in all 3 of his wins). The in-form Heptagon (10) is another with claims.
Verdict: Backing both Tiamo Grace (9) and Magic Consol (1).
Han Xin should lead here from barrier 3. Alpha can race handy, while Won Won Too may grab the spot behind the leader. There is a bit of early pace out wide through Creedence, All Hard Wood and possibly Heir to the Throne.
Han Xin (2) rolled to the front here over 2000m last start before skipping clear to stroll home by almost 5L. He takes on very similar opposition and he again maps to find the top without burning too much petrol. The rise to 2400m is a little query but with four runs under his belt this preparation (plus two trials), he couldn’t be much fitter for this.
Outside of the favourite it’s an absolute raffle but Wolf Tone (3) might be the runner most suited by the distance rise. He had every possible chance in a weaker race last start but he just couldn’t grind the leader down. He’s a real one-paced operator who has drawn poorly in barrier 1 (no gate speed) but his 7th in the G1 Vic Derby (2500m), beaten 3.75L behind Ace High, reads well for a race like this.
Verdict: Han Xin (2) for the win.
Prima and Doogans Rise look the two most likely to dispute the early lead. Grey Lion can race handy from barrier 6. Magnapal’s jockey may follow Doogans Rise across from the outside alley. Velox shouldn’t be too far away.
A fairly uninspiring race to kick-off the quaddie with most of the usual suspects doing battle over 2000m. Golden Mane (4) finds it hard to win but he’s nearly always competitive in these races and he maps to enjoy a nice run in this. He had excuses in a messy race last start but his overall record over this route is very consistent (8:1-2-4).
Grey Lion (3) returns as a gelding and he has run some very nice races in stronger grade than this. Winning 1st-up over 2000m would be an impressive effort but he’s drawn to land in a nice trailing position and his last run over this trip was a 3rd behind the smart Folkswood in the Cranbourne Cup.
Berisha (2) is genuine and Mott is a good booking. He finished just outside of the placings in the Easter Cup here last start but his effort was sound and this is no harder.
Spectroscope (1) showed a stack of promise when he first arrived in Australia but he went off the boil a bit last preparation. His two runs this campaign have been okay for a race like this though, finishing 4th to Lanciato 1st-up before working home evenly in the G3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m). The longer journey should suit.
Verdict: Golden Mane (4) on top but don’t like this race at all.
Should be a strong tempo in this with Easy Beast burning to the front from barrier 7. Naantali and Villa Sarchi can race handy, while William Thomas will be looking for a forward position from barrier 10. The likes of Regimen, Mr Money Bags and Iconoclasm may be caught out a little wide in the early stages.
Naantali (17) looks a decent hope in a very competitive race. She was an impressive maiden winner back in September last year and then took it right up to the smart Our Crown Mistress in a strong affair here over 1400m. She hasn’t raced since but her recent trial over 800m at Cranbourne suggests she’s come back in good order.
Bravo Tango (3) charged home from the rear to win impressively on debut before repeating the dose on a heavy track at Geelong. He then finished an unlucky 2nd in Listed grade at Flemington prior to going for a break. His run in the Inglis Dash (1100m) two-back was a cracker, finishing on the heels of Nature Strip, before failing in the G3 Manfred over this route. He pulled up with shin soreness there so it’s worth putting a line through that performance. Look for him late.
Villa Sarchi (13) did plenty wrong last start – missed the kick and raced erratically at stages – but still won with a bit in hand after being absolutely truckloaded in betting. The stable know they have a smart one and he should figure here at double-figure odds. Provided he steps cleanly, which he has done in 3 of his 4 starts, he should enjoy a nice run from barrier 6.
Another horse who was backed off the map last start and performed accordingly is William Thomas (6) from the astute John Price camp. This is harder and he has a tricky alley to overcome but he’s a very exciting prospect and 1200m won’t worry him at all.
Doubt the chances end there…
Verdict: Naantali (17) on top in a very good/open race.
Bit of a tricky speed map here but you’d expect Dan Zephyr to push forward from out wide. Milwaukee will probably look for cover from barrier 3 but won’t be too far away. Mr Individual and Handsome Thief will be booting through to look for the leader’s back (leaning to the former to fill that position).
Happy to play around the favourite here and go with Saint Valorem (8) at $ 23 and I Boogi (15) at $ 13. The former can mix it up form-wise but he’s smart on his day and his recent trial behind quality gallopers Super Cash and Mr Sneaky was encouraging. The last time he raced at this track/distance he had no luck at all. I Boogi (15) is another enigmatic character and he’s drawn poorly in this, but he was terrific winning 1st-up over this distance last preparation – taking his fresh record to 5:2-2-0.
Handsome Thief (2) is the obvious given the way he won over this route last start, bolting in by 2.75L in a slick 1:09.42. A repeat of that effort would see him winning again but there’s every chance he’ll end up three or four-back on the fence here from barrier 1 (drew 10 last start). If the breaks come for him he’ll obviously prove hard to hold out but rival jockeys will be doing their best to keep Ethan Brown pocketed on the paint.
Milwaukee (1) was no match for Handsome Thief last start but he’s drawn well and has the advantage of tactical speed.
Verdict: Handsome Thief (2) is the obvious class runner but he’s drawn awkwardly in barrier 1. Happy to play small on roughies Saint Valorem (8) and I Boogi (15) at $ 23 and $ 13 respectively.
Main speed is out wide here with Sullivan Bay, Working From Home and Typhoon Jolie rolling across. It might be WFH who ends up in front. Mamzelle Tess and Sasayuri may look to follow the pacesetters across in the hope of slotting in ahead of Deja Blue and Moonlover.
Tough race to close out the meeting. Working From Home (15) has the gate speed to cross the field from barrier 13 and there’s no reason why she can’t show further improvement 3rd-up. She gave a great sight in a pretty deep race down the straight 1st-up before running her rivals ragged at the Valley last start. She strips fitter and drops 4.5kg in weight.
Cool Passion (1) is 1st-up with 60kg but she’s a classy mare who was impressive winning a G3 here in smart time last preparation. Two-back she split Global Glamour and Shillelagh in the G2 Tristarc (1400m), which is obviously a handy reference for this (the latter won the G1 Cantala Stakes at her next outing).
Moonlover (9) maps favourably from barrier 5 and boasts encouraging 1st-up statistics (4:2-1-0). She’s coming off a recent trial win at Cranbourne and although her Caulfield record reads poorly (3:0-0-0), she has had excuses (wide draws each time and stuck behind a wall of runners at her most recent run here).
A Sterling Dash (18) is a roughie worth consideration for quaddie purposes. She’s 2 from 3 when 2nd-up and her fresh run at Sandown was sound enough.
Verdict: Working From Home (15) makes some each-way appeal at $ 9.50.
* Quaddie numbers will be added on Saturday morning.