There is high-class racing again in Australia on Saturday and it’s back to Morphettville in South Australia for its second consecutive Saturday of Group 1 action. The South Australian Derby is the highlight of a competitive nine-race card.
There is the usual quality at Caulfield in Melbourne, while Randwick in Sydney and Doomben in Brisbane are also playing hosts to stakes racing. Kementari is the star attraction of the day and he runs in a Group 3 over 1200 metres (race 8) at Doomben. He is a former Group 1 winner and was also placed on several occasions at the highest level.
However, he is on the comeback trail after fertility problems brought a premature end to his stud career and is best watched until he proves he retains his old zest for the game. I will stick with Morphetville and Caulfield instead.
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The locally trained Dalasan is going to be a warm favourite here in the South Australian Derby after impressing in winning his prep for this over 2035 metres. The Derby is run over 2500 metres and I am not convinced Dalasan looked like a horse crying out for this extra distance that day. Instead I am going to look elsewhere for the winner.
One horse with no stamina concerns is WARNING and I like him to win here. He won the Victoria Derby at Flemington last Spring in a real gutsy staying display and I expect Damian Thornton to make this a real stamina test from barrier 3.
This horse had a few disappointing runs up in Sydney earlier in the Autumn, but trainer Anthony Freedman is confident racing right-handed up there was not in his favour. He is quite bullish about his gelding’s chances here back on a left-handed track and forecast rain in the Adelaide area would also be a positive.
For those small stake each-way punters, I recommend keeping an eye on Rising Archie and Rock Steady.
I might seem off my hinges as they are 40/1 and 90/1 respectively, but I expect them to outrun those odds.
I’m keeping it simple for race 1 at Caulfield in this 2-year-old race. NATIONAL CHOICE is the selection for the Mick Price/Michael Kent team.
He was very impressive on his only start to date when bolting up over this trip at Geelong.
The risk is that he is running against similarly unexposed horses here, but I expect him to be a class above this field and can win before going on to bigger and better things.
I am going to focus on Independent Road and EXCELMAN here with slight preference for the latter. They finished second and third respectively behind Betcha Flying on their last start at Flemington.
Betcha Flying contested Group 1 level on her next start, so it’s safe to say that the form is solid.
Excelman is having only his sixth career start and I expect the first time application of blinkers here to edge him past Independent Road.
So Si Bon will be favourite here, but I am going to oppose him with the second favourite in HANG MAN.
He ideally wants further than the 1600 metres here, however the forecast soft ground and the application of blinkers should negate these worries.
He was second to a smart horse on his most recent run at Flemington and a repeat of that run should see him take all the beating for jockey Michael Dee.
07:30 Morphettville: Warning – 3/1
02:45 Caulfield: National Choice – SP
03:55 Caulfield: Excelman – 3/1
05:55 Caulfield: Hang Man – 5/2