It’s a blockbuster Down Under this Saturday with stakes racing in four Australian states.
South Australia hosts the highlight for the third week running and this time it is the highly-competitive Furphy Goodwood that takes centre stage. I do not have a selection, but I encourage racing fans to catch a glimpse of this race if at all possible.
I am ignoring the card at Morphettville and instead I have focused my attention on Flemington. The home of the Melbourne Cup is an amazing place and it’s one of the fairest racetracks in the world. If you are good enough, there should be no excuses.
FLANDERSRAIN is the first selection. Her recent form figures do not set the world alight, but she has been running well in good company. She is back against three-year-old fillies here and I’m expecting her to go well at a good price. Her most recent fifth at this track was a solid run. Betcha Flying won that race and went on to contest Group 1 level on her next start. There is nothing of that calibre here and I reckon Flandersrain is currently a fair each-way price at 8/1.
The card at Flemington is ultra-competitive, but this means that there is significant value to be found. SIKORSKY in race 4 is currently 16/5, but I expected him to be shorter. He is arriving here on the back of a lovely run at Caulfield, where he flew home from the back to finish second over 1400 metres. The step up to 1600 metres is a big plus as some of his best form is over this trip and even further. Don’t worry if he gets back in the field as Flemington’s long straight can suit those who arrive late. Damian Oliver is in the saddle and certainly knows where the winning post is at this track. Sikorsky faces formidable opposition from Orlean’s Rock and Duke Of Plumpton. The latter has the assistance of the red-hot Billy Egan in the saddle, but I still believe Sikorsky will take all the beating.
The Andrew Ramsden is a “win and you’re in” race for the Melbourne Cup. With that race being dominated by European stayers recently, this is a huge incentive for locally-trained runners to grab a spot in the lineup. KING OF LEOGRANCE is going to be the hot favourite here and deservedly so. I like him to win this race and is a genuine contender for the Cup in November. He is a European-bred son of Camelot and races for the Danny O’Brien stable. The same stable that saddled the winner of the South Australian Derby last weekend and guess what? It was another European-bred son of Camelot called Russian Camelot. O’Brien won the Melbourne Cup last year with Vow And Declare, so he has an embarrassment of riches in the staying division.
Rupture is the frontrunner here, but I have looked elsewhere for value. STARCASTER had no hope on its last start at Sandown after being held up in horrible conditions. No runners made ground from the back that day, so it was heartening to see Starcaster try his best in running into seventh late on. His previous run was good, so I expect him to go close here. Dadoozdart is a former resident of Noel Meade’s Tu Va stables and can run well at a good price also, but I’ve slight preference for Starcaster.
Trainer Nick Harnett reckons FINAL MAN is the best horse he’s ever had and he is the selection in the last. He is to be ridden by in-form apprentice Tom Stockdale, who takes a bit of weight off. This prominent racer has been in great form this campaign and is going for his fifth win in six starts. I expect him to do so at the expense of Beehunter and the unexposed Eluding.
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* All odds correct at time of posting and are subject to change.