Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: SHOWERS - Rail: OUT 6M
Betting Portfolio ($100):
We have a few showers around heading into the weekend, but it has barely rained in Melbourne for months and it just simply doesn’t seem to make any difference. We had decent rain Tuesday night heading into the Wednesday Blue Sapphire meeting and we still got a track upgrade to a GOOD(3)! Fine sunny day Friday means this track is probably going to end up quite firm again. The rail goes OUT 6M and although the racing pattern has been even all week, the inside of the track has also been worn. With that ground now gone suspect there is a good chance the racing pattern today will favour on pacers, and that has been the pattern quite a few times recently.

In the Caulfield Cup you will struggle to find runners that don’t have a (Country of Origin) in brackets after their name. This is almost turning into the Olympics, but without the thrill of having runners from Saint Kitts and Nevis.. We have always run by the motto of “if they haven’t run here don’t back them”, because really there is not much point betting on unknowns. And that has worked pretty well except last year’s Melbourne Cup and the odd race here and there. We have four European runners having their 1st start in Australia and two Japanese horses and really the internationals featured in just about everything here last weekend. Most of these however are being aimed towards the Melbourne Cup and this is just a warm up run. But its just not a matter of whether you want to back them or not, we need to try and work out the speed map as well, which is just getting more and more difficult. The more internationals in the field, the less we bet, because the less certain we can be about being confident about our investment. Is it really so good for racing? And do punters get a say in anything?

Really the European internationals running 1st time in Australia in the Caulfield Cup and especially 1st time in Australia, haven’t featured that strongly so find it hard to get enthused about pushing for any of them – even with the strength in numbers. Especially concerned about those drawn inside barriers and dropping back in what is often a very messy race where making a run at the right time makes all the difference. The Japanese horses, on the other hand, have an excellent record of figuring in the finish, they really seem to appreciate the firm track and the tough run race. So would definitely suggest throwing them in your Quads and exotic bets.

Traditionally the Caulfield Stakes and the Turnbull are the best form lines for this race for the local brigade. From the Caulfield Stakes, the 2-THE CLIFFSOFMOHER was an eye catcher running on, but we have big concerns about its racing pattern dropping well back from barrier 3 here and other runners from that race have much bigger weight drops. The 17-NIGHT’S WATCH fought on well and gets a much better weight drop of 7kgs, but is a drop back horse drawn an outside barrier and first try at the 2400M. The 13-HOMESMAN draws well and will lead again, which could be an advantage, kicked last week in the straight and also stopped very quickly, but suspect he is going to run a lot better this week (depending on stable tactics). From the Turnbull Stakes, there was plenty of merit in all of those in the first four, the 14-KINGS WILL DREAM who has done nothing wrong this time in (except not win a race), the 18-YOUNGSTAR who was hard ridden early in the straight but made WINX work for the win, and the 11-VENTURA STORM who looks like he is running into form and loomed up nicely, just meets the other two runners 3kgs worse off from that race.

The speed in this race doesn’t look that genuine, but it is hard to gauge what the international runners will do and watch out for riding tactics on the Lloyd Williams runners, one of whom invariably dashes out to a big lead. We have the 7-THE TAJ MAHAL going forward and wide from an outside barrier, and the 13-HOMESMAN leading on the rails, but can’t imagine the stable are going to have their runners take each other on too much. Behind these the 10-VENGEUR MASQUE AND 11-VENTURA STORM should get pretty good runs, as should the 14-KINGS WILL DREAM, with the 4-JON SNOW caught out wide. Baring something taking off early that means we should have a fairly moderately run race and it is going to be crucial to be up and ready to make your run on the home turn.

We are going to put one of the 4YOs on top though in the 6-ACE HIGH. He is a Spring Champion Stakes and VRC Derby winner, and ATC Derby runner up as a 3YO and is probably a bit under rated. Normally the 4YOs who win this race are further down in the weights, but he has winning form this preparation which is really important and most importantly drawn a nice barrier and will settle in the first half of the field and should be running into the race at the right time on the home turn. The main danger is the super consistent 14-KINGS WILL DREAM, who will get a similar run, and has been right in the finish every start this time in. Would have preferred he had won a race this preparation, as punters can sometimes get carried away with “good Caulfield Cup trials”, but really he has been bobbing in photo finishes and been right in the thick of things. We are going to push for a massive roughie for third, the 10-VENGEUR MASQUE, who ran a really good race in this race in 2016 and since then has won a Geelong Cup and a Queen Elizabeth. He normally takes a few runs in each time to find his best and he loomed up nicely in the Bart Cummings just before running out of steam. Drawn a perfect barrier and will sit on speed and get a perfect run, just probably prefers a bit more give in the ground, but think he is a genuine rough chance here at a super massive $100. He doesn’t deserve to be outsider of the field (that title belongs to you 12-MIGHTY BOSS). Respect for the 18-YOUNGSTAR who was really good in the Turnbull as was the other roughie to watch here the 11-VENTURA STORM. From a punting point of view, you can often get away with taking a wide quinella in these races and if you can find some good value roughies the dividend always pays well.

This looks a pretty good punting card for the rest of the program and sometimes the rest of the races on Caulfield Cup Day can be a little dull. We have two super unlucky and super spruiked short priced favourites going around, Race 2: 4-RANIER and Race 5: 6-VERRY ELLEEGANT coming off unlucky last start runs. Thing is, they are both going to start shorter than if they WON their previous starts. Both are going to be extremely hard to beat, but also think both of those races have plenty of genuine chances and they represent really poor value. Punting strategy for the day is to back the top pick and have some box quinellas on the selections and think we should be able to land a value quinella today. We are doubling up to $100 and having bets in most races for those wanting to play along on Caulfield Cup Day with a few roughies and a mix of multiples to enjoy.

BEST WIN: Race 10: 8-MR SNEAKY $15 WIN
QUINELLA: Race 10: 8-MR SNEAKY, 7-TOM MELBOURNE x $2.50 = 250%
QUINELLA: Race 10: 8-MR SNEAKY, 9-SIRCCONI x $2.50 = 250%
Waiting till the last race of the day for the Best Bet. Pretty even field here, but this one is well and truly due to put another win on the board. Fitter for the 3 runs in, up in distance each start and worked home well last start here in a Group 1. Looked winner here in a Group 1 last spring too. Back marker, who wants a fast pace on, and despite the small field there looks to be a genuine tempo in this. Should run over the top of them if the speed is genuine and the racing pattern allows them to run on. Back straight out at around $5, and take the obvious quinella with you-know-who, 7-TOM MELBOURNE, and the 9-SIRCCONI who was unlucky here last start.

QUINELLA: Race 3: 8-MISS LEONIDAS#2,4,6 x $6 = 200%
Really speedy mare who looks really well placed here. Drawn barrier 1 and should zoom to the lead in this and if the track is favouring those on speed will be hard to run down. Last start here was really strong when led and fought on well, despite drifting off the rails. Drop back to 1000M probably suits. A lot will depend what the pesky 5-SUPER TOO does who also goes forward, but has been badly erratic in form recently. Back each way at around $9, and think those odds look good and will shorten so maybe get on now, and think you can have a confident quinella with the main dangers the 2-QUILISTA, the 4-SPENDING TO WIN, and the improving 6-EDUARDO

QUINELLA: Race 7: 4-LIFE LESS ORDINARY, 1-TALLY, 7-BEST OF DAYS boxed x $6 = 200%
Fair few scratchings in this race is going to make the betting market a bit messy. Tactics are going to be crucial here in a small field with the 3-TRAP FOR FOOLS as the only leader. We are a big fan of the 4-LIFE LESS ORDINARY, who normally takes a few runs in to find form, but is always a very strong finisher once he gets up in distance. Placed 6 from 8 at 2000M. Ran on really well 1st up, then just one paced a little second up, but should be ready to go today. Just a slightly tricky ride in a small field with not much speed and we will need to track pattern to allow them to run on OK. The value runner in this race is the 1-TALLY, who was pretty good against WINX running on late and can go forward if required. Back each way at around $7 and box up a quinella with the short priced favourite the 7-BEST OF DAYS.

Very competitive feature mares race, and this one was excellent here last week with weight when came past the whole field down the outside and only just got beaten. Always like backing them up within a week at the same track. Fitter for the 2 runs in and should have further improvement to come from that run and has an excellent Caulfield record. 1400M is as far as she wants, but she has won her only try at this track and distance, beating SHOALS and CATCHY here last year. Drawn out, and think she is best ridden forward and the two leaders the (7) and (8) are drawn just inside her, so hopefully the jockey will be positive and just follow them across and box seat here. Each way at a good value $13 and expect may even drift out further come race time.

QUINELLA: Race 2: 6-RINGERDINGDING#5,7,8,11 x $4 = 100%
QUINELLA: Race 2: 5,6,7,8,11 boxed x $5 = 50%
We have a short priced favourite in this, the 4-RANIER who was hopelessly unlucky and definitely should have won last start – but that doesn’t mean he is going to win this start to make amends and think he is extremely poor value. May win, but prefer to look for value in this race, and there are plenty of new form lines into this. We prefer to back the 6-RINGERDINGDING who was an eye catcher running on late on a leaders track at MV two starts back and then a work man like win last start. There are a stack of value runners in this race, particularly the 7-SECRET BLAZE who was an eye catcher in Adelaide last start and is proven at this level, and the 11-BRICKTOP who should get a pretty good on speed run at odds. Anchor a quinella with the top pick, and take a box quinella as well in a race where there seems to be a lot of good value long shot chances.

We have already backed the stable mate in the same colours, Race 9: 6-BOOKER, but in a race with not much depth think this one has a genuine rough chance. Fitter for the 3 runs in from a break and has excellent Caulfield stats. Actually been racing in higher grade than most of these and last start was held up for runs for a fair while before finishing off well along the inside late. Another drawn wide, who we want to go forward, but looks over the odds at $23 in a race where many are not up to this level.

TRIFECTA: Race 5: 2,6 / 2,4,6,8 / 2,3,4,6,8,13,16,17 x $6 = 16.66%
We have two class horses in this who are going to be hard to beat, the 2-GREYSFUL GLAMOUR who was an impressive on pace staying win last start, and the 6-VERRY ELLEEGANT who was well backed and super unlucky last start, but is also going to start super short here as a result. We actually quite like a roughie here, the 4-SIZZLEME, fitter for the 3 runs in and last start at Flemington she just got cluttered up inside runners half way down the straight, but finished off really strongly once got into the clear. Blinkers on, inside barrier and will go forward and might make a race of this at around $21. We have tipped the 8-YULONG METEOR last few starts, but she has been scratched and kept for this race and we will have to have a saver on her in case she comes out and stings us. Think we can try a trifecta here then, with the two favourites to win, and the two value chances the (4) and (8) to run 2nd and then just load up third and hope for a result. Dividend blows nicely out should one of the favourites not figure in the finish.

We have already discussed this runner in the Caulfield Cup preview. Proven stayer, fitter for 3 runs in, and looks like he is about to run into form. Hoping they will go forward and take a nice sit from a good barrier behind the speed and pretty certain is going to run a lot better than the rank outsider $100 odds suggest.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 5: 5-SOOTHING at around $4.40
We definitely think the unlucky runners from last start, the Race 2: 4-RANIER, and Race 5: 6-VERRY ELLEEGANT are under the odds, especially considering both have drawn inside barriers and could possibly be held up for runs again, but not brave enough to declare them Lays Of The Day. Instead lets go to Race 5, where the 5-SOOTHING was only just fair last start but is probably going to start a well backed favourite here, especially if the Sydney money comes. Does drop in weight into this and probably not much depth in the way of opposition here, but thought the run of the stable mate the 1-JORDA was much better last start, and will start double the odds today so prefer to back that one instead. Prefer to risk.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a whole lot more.
QUINELLA: Race 8: 5,6,10,11,14,18 x $5 = 33.33%
Always worth having a go at a long shot quinella in the feature Cups. Last year the quinella paid $500 and often you get dividends over $100. The 6-ACE HIGH, 14-KINGS WILL DREAM and 18-YOUNGSTAR are the hardest to beat and well in the market, and the 10-VENGEUR MASQUE and 11-VENTURA STORM are the value roughies and we just need to throw in a random international in there somewhere, lets go the 5-SOUND CHECK.

The Tips: