Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: OVERCAST - Rail: OUT 3M

Betting Portfolio ($50):
Warm and sunny weather heading into the weekend, though it does look like showers coming through late Saturday arvo, but probably too late to have an impact on the track. Question is going to be how firm does the track get come Saturday arvo and the running of the Caulfield Cup, and also how much do they water the track given the number of international runners going around and a favourite who prefers give in the ground? For that reason would be holding off betting in the Caulfield Cup till the track conditions are known, because a firming GOOD(3) track is going to probably produce a very different result.

Last week they stayed off the rails early on, but quite a few of the winners in the second half of the program led and won along the inside. Actually expecting a similar racing pattern this week, they will water the track and it might take a little while to dry out, but once it does on a windy drying day it will probably tend towards on-pacers later in the day (although they might need some cover). Much talk about the small fields today, really no value at all in the second half of the program, lots of short priced favourites so punting plan is a few win bets with value quinellas away from the market.

Reminder that at the moment for Spring Campaign 2023 we won’t be posting tips till Saturday morning (earlier if time allows). Feature race preview at the bottom of this post and this will be posted Friday night allowing extra time for comments and form study.

Really trusty sprinter who just struggles at the end of 1200M and prefers a firm track. Excellent Caulfield record. Small field, dry track, 1000M here looks ideal and he can camp on the speed and will be ahead of his main drop back rivals in this, and will kick clear on them and they may struggle to run him down today. Confident straight out bet at around $4.

This one has been right in the finish last two starts and looks ready to win with the two runs in from a spell. Looking over the awful Caulfield record as they were mainly in feature sprint races, ran home really well first up and then fought out the finish when wide all the way last start. Proven at this level and distance and likely to get cover and a good sit on the speed here. Back straight out at around $7 and have a confident stand out quinella with her main rival with leader the 5-WROTE TO ARATAKI who will lead unchallenged and the value runner is the 3-REVOLUTIONARY MISS running on late and out to a more suitable distance.

QUINELLA: Race 5: 3,9,10,14 boxed x $3 = 50%
This one has a really flashy strong finishing burst, and was outstanding win first-up at MV when had difficulty getting into the clear, but rocketed home once out over the top of them. Not too fussed about outside barrier as she is a drop back horse anyway and there seems to be a fair bit of speed in this race. Extra distance should suit, and she just looks to have more potential than most of these. Back each way at around $6 and there is nice box quinella here in one of the more open fields of the day with the outsider the 9-ROSE OF SHALAA who was held up and only got going late at Flemington, the 10-APACHE SONG who won under a hold last start and looks to be one the way up, and the 14-MOESHA who was badly held up for runs last start and only got going late.

QUINELLA: Race 10: 1,4,5,8 boxed x $3 = 50%
Been waiting for this one to strike the right race and this looks like it today. She has been racing well and just not in the right race, chased hard first up at MV on a leaders’ track, was wide down the straight at Flemington and winner came along the inside, and then just got out late and just missed at MV. Needs a fast tempo to sprint off and she has a really nice finishing burst, and out to the 1100M is a big plus here. Note she was SCR from a BM78 race here on Wednesday to be kept for the Listed race here which is a very positive sign. Back each way at around $10 and box quinella with the leader the 1-AITCH TWO OH who looks value, the consistent in-form 5-VIVIANE who gets more pressure up front today, and the classy Sydney sprinter 8-WILLINGA BEAST whose best form has been on wet tracks. Confident each way bet and the main bet of the day.

Just a bit of a throw at the stumps here as don’t like the two favourites in this race as they are well exposed and look poor value, so suspect something lightly raced on the improve can win at odds, such as the 4-MAGIC MOGUL or the 9-COLLEANO (coming off the strong maiden at Geelong). Small field, will sit off them, strong finishing burst and last start maiden win was excellent and might cause the upset here at $21.

PLACE: Race 5: 14-MOESHA
We actually really like how this one is going and he has form behind the two favourites here, chasing hard behind the 4-GOLD BULLION and dropping far too far back from an outside barrier and working home well behind the 2-RIFF ROCKET. Actually think he is a chance of an upset here at $20 as he is racing really well, but have to be realistic that one of the more favoured ones has his measure so more of a value place chance. We were hoping that we would get a field of 8 for the third place dividend, but there is a scratching. Strong place chance at odds so let’s kick off a place multi with him to run first two (fingers crossed). Looking at around $200 for a $4 outlay.

The markets today are very focussed on the short priced favourites, and the 8-FACILE looks the one to beat here with really strong 2YO form at the top level and racing on-speed. Not sure there is that much between the rest of them though, and the 4-PRINZERRO (on-speed, back in distance) and the 3-TREASUREWAY (better than form looks, ran on well last start) both look great value for a box quinella at around $30.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 1: 1-THE INSTRUCTOR at around $4.50
Controlled the race on-speed to win at Sandown last start when a distance query and does look the clear leader here today. However, expect that for the first race of the day, with a bit of wind around they will want cover and leading on the rails may not be the place to be and might be run over late by something from behind, Happy to look for value in this race instead.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into enough to pay for a shiny new Grand Pavilion.
CAULFIELD CUP TRIFECTA: Race 9: 1,8 / 1,4,8,10 / 1,4,8,9,10,12,17,19 x $5 = 13.88%
Hoping that the main two chances the 1-GOLD TRIP and the 8-SOULCOMBE fight out the race, the Sydney horses the 4-MONTEFILIA and 10-HOO YA MAL are around the money and then just load up the third place with a whole heap of ridiculous longshots – almost certainly something improves at long odds here up in distance with a few runs in like the 12-EMISSARY or 17-SPIRIT RIDGE and runs top four in the finish.

Races 7,8,9,10: 5,7 / 1,3,7,10 / 1,4,8,10 / 1,4,5 x $20 = 20.8%
Looks a pretty skinny quaddie with small fields and horses well in the market. Pretty confident either the 5-WROTE TO ARATAKI or the 7-WALTZ ON BY wins the first leg, and one of the main chances wins the Caulfield Cup, so we can go wide in the other legs, and fair chance the favourite in the second or last leg gets beaten.

Feature Race Preview:

We have a pretty strong field this year for the Caulfield Cup, and we have come off three good years with no international runners which meant we had exposed form for the field and could have a confident bet. Our stance on international runners is well-known, we like to bet on horses we can line up and have a confident bet on, the more international runners the more unknowns and the less interest. Although racing dot come have finally linked up the international video replays to the form! Should still be a very interesting race to watch regardless.

Been a very chaotic week in Caulfield Cup betting with the 1-GOLD TRIP featuring in a will he or won’t he soap opera which ran into overtime, and we thought for sure they wouldn’t run and got totally stung backing FIRST IMMORTAL pre-acceptances (oops!). Not sure the drama is over with either, with two runners under vet checks (2-WITHOUT A FIGHT, 7-NONCONFORMIST) and the prospect of a firming GOOD(3) track and there is going to be a bit of a stand-off here as to how much they water the track. Wouldn’t rule out late scratchings if the track gets too firm. So advice would be to hold off betting till the last hour before the race, there are still quite a few balls in the air here and suspect some drama still to come.

There seems to be a very genuine tempo in the Caulfield Cup this year, with the 17-SPIRIT RIDGE leading from the 13-GOLDMAN crossing from the outside barrier and be interesting to see if the international jockey tries to hold the fence on the 6-WEST WIND BLOWS or settles in behind the speed. The 10-HOO YA MAL is likely to get a very good on-speed run just behind these, from the 11-RIGHT YOU ARE and there is the chance for one of the more favoured runners that are well drawn to settle more handy today. Speed should be genuine though and allow them to run on coming off the turn.

Runner by Runner comments:

1-GOLD TRIP was probably one of the most under-rated Melbourne Cup winners ever before last start Turnbull win which made everyone suddenly pay attention. He ran in all three majors last year, was leading in this race last year before just being grabbed right on the line, got no room in the Cox Plate finish when full of running, and got a suitable wet track for the Melbourne Cup. Both runs back this time in have been outstanding, and really the last win was breath-taking. Question is can he reproduce that on a dry track, especially if we get to a GOOD(3)? Gave all of these weight last start and beat them and won the Melbourne Cup as top weight so not too fussed about the weight. Speed on and swooping down the middle of the track suits and really most years a win like that in the Turnbull would see you a short priced favourite in the Caulfield Cup, so the $6 this year is great value. Hard to beat.

2-WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE) is another import come local who has turned into a promising stayer with good wins over the Qld winter. Only one run lead-in run and note that he was well in the market that day so stable obviously had an opinion that he was ready to go. Underwood Stakes run was excellent, when well back in the field and had to come across runners to get to the outside and run on well late. Well drawn and strong finisher down the middle of the track and looks like he has a bit of upside to him. Maybe would have just preferred one more run in, but looks a classy stayer and definite winning chance.

3-BREAKUP (JPN) is the first Japanese runner we have had in this race for a while, and compared to the European internationals their record is astounding so they have to be respected, with several wins and placings from limited runners in the last ten years. Of the previous Japanese winners MER DE GLACE (2019) had good winning form coming into the race, but ADMIRE RATKI (2014) didn’t, so the lead-up form may not be that big an issue. Normally these horses want dry tracks and fast run races which will be the case this year, and they win coming down the middle of the track. Follow the market here, basically he probably wins easily or does nothing. Hard to back with any confidence, but no surprise if he wins.

4-MONTEFILIA feels like she has been around forever and has never really gone on to feature at the top level. Impressive win in Sydney last start when absolutely launched late to beat the (10) who looked home, but does met that one 3kgs worse off today. She has ran fourth in this race the last two years, wet track didn’t suit last year and gets a firm track this year. She is going pretty well this time in, plenty to like about her last win and coming into this race in winning form is a big plus. Good barrier too, but does tend to drop back in the run. She is in the betting market, but really hasn’t been talked about much as a winning chance and probably drifts in betting come race time. Not a horse we normally follow, but quite like how she is going this year and think she gets a pretty good run into the race so planning to keep here safe. Winning chance.

5-FRANCESCO GUARDI ran some great staying races last spring and has been building through the traditional lead-up races into this. Really hasn’t done enough to say he is going to be a major player here, prefer horses either in winning form or right in the finish of their lead-up runs and he has been just doing enough back in the field. Drawn wide, will drop back and probably does improve today, but happy to let run.

6-WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE) is an international who has come out early, which is a great because we can line him up and check how well he is going. On-pacer, who got caught out wide in the Turnbull and he had to make a long run to get up to the speed, and fought on extremely well in the straight. Drops 2.5kgs from that run and Turnbull form is normally the right form for this race. Drawn in and likely leader here, will probably want to retain lead though as there are one or two who can cross him and think that could be an issue, not sure he has a great turn of foot to take gaps. Note international jockey on board. Has the right form so has to be respected, will need the right run though.

7-NONCONFORMIST is a bit of an enigma and doesn’t often run in winnable races as he has had his eyes solely focussed on Cups campaigns for some time now. So only placed twice in last ten starts, but he has not often ran in a race where he was suited. Perfect Caulfield Cup preparation with the three runs in, and ran on OK under WFA scale in the Caulfield Stakes. Dry track is a big plus for this one. Finished 2nd in this race in 2021 coming off good winning form, and not suited on a wet track here last year. Caulfield stats are actually pretty good, placed 9 from 18 starts. Outside barrier here a big dent in his chances and likely to have to drop well back and doesn’t seem to be going well enough to be a factor in this stronger field this year.

8-SOULCOMBE was all the rage for the Cups with his impressive win in the Queen Elizabeth last spring and then was only even during the Autumn and punters dropped off him. First-up win here was ultra-impressive where he really only had to try for 50M and had he field covered and having winning form this time in is really important for these feature Group 1s. Right in the finish last two starts, hit the line well here two starts back off a long wide run, and poked through along inside in the Turnbull and does meet the (1) 3kgs better off from that race. Lots of ticks here, winning form this time in, competitive in all runs, weight drop out of a Turnbull placing which is usually the right form for this race, so he is one of the major chances here. Well drawn and firm track should be no issue either and increase in distance is also a plus. Maybe only query is suspect that he is probably more of a Flemington horse, but very strong winning chance here.

9-DUKE DE SESSA is an import come local who has been extremely sparingly raced with only the three Australian starts. Had support in the Doncaster and ran on well there, given a spell, and just the two runs back in the Memsie and Turnbull which were both even. Winner did go straight past him in the Turnbull and hard to see him beating home the place getters from that race, and hasn’t really been in the finish this time in. He will drop back here from an outside barrier, run on late down the middle in clear running again, and probably improve and won’t be far away. Place chance.

10-HOO YA MAL attempted to win the Melbourne Cup first-up for a local stable last year and seems to be nicely building this spring with the three runs in and looked the winner last start in Sydney until the (4) launched late (and note he meets that one 3kgs better off today). Well drawn and very big plus is that he races handy so he can box-seat here and present at the right time in the straight, and probably even looks the winner around 200M out – just a matter if something comes from behind and runs over the top of him. Question is the strength of the form, but one who looks to be improving and looks extremely well in here with a good run. Winning chance.

11-RIGHT YOU ARE is an honest on-pace handicapper who can’t really compete with these at WFA (last two runs) and needs some weight pull under a handicap scale, which he gets here. Sat on-speed and stuck on well two starts back against many of these, but was only even last start. Looks primed to do something with the three runs this time in, and can jump and sit handy. Qualified for this with a Mornington Cup win and that was his first try over 2400M, he has lots of good solid form around 2000M. Question mark is if he can be competitive at 2400M at this level, which does seem a major query.

12-EMISSARY looked a very progressive stayer last spring with a Geelong Cup win and Melbourne Cup placing. Even enough Autumn campaign, but he has done little in three runs this time in, although he was making good ground along the inside here two starts back. Really disappointing last start and jockey Kah did jump off and say she was concerned about the horse and he didn’t pull up well, so surprised to see him going around in this. Drawn well, and does have the turn of foot on this best form to be a factor in this, but he isn’t going well enough at the moment. Up in distance should suit, and although hard to see him winning maybe if you are taking a super rough First Four throw in him for the dividend.

13-GOLDMAN is an import come local who was all the rage for the spring features after a very impressive autumn campaign, but has done absolutely diddly squat in three runs this spring. Led on the home turn here two starts back before fading and really hard to make any excuses for his form this time in. Main interest is that he is the likely leader here, has to go forward from an outside barrier and should put some early speed into the race.

14-OKITA SOUSHI (IRE) is Irish, not Japanese, though he probably comes with a very exotic accent. From an experienced stable and looks a really tough staying type probably better suited to the Melbourne Cup and not sure he has the turn of foot for the Caulfield Cup. Drawn middle and may be one who goes forward in clear running (and maybe set the speed for the stable mate the (18)). Does seem to have a few others who can lead though and generally this isn’t the type of international that wins Caulfield Cups.

15-FAME is very lightly raced taking a big step up in class here and you almost have to double-check how he was qualified for this race (ID check please, 2nd in the Qld Derby). Was a late blooming 3YO over staying distances over winter and fair effort to come from near last in the Qld Derby. Very light campaign with only the two runs in over 1800M, and would have to double-check if he has missed a run somewhere as it does seem a very unlikely plan for a Caulfield Cup preparation. Will drop well back and give these too big a start. No

16-BOIS D’ARGENT is a consistent Sydney stayer who has been thereabouts his last few runs and is another who is hard 2400M fit with multiple distance runs. Didn’t get clear running in the straight last start, but likely to drop back from an inside barrier here and not sure he has the acceleration to take the gaps in a pressure race. No

17-SPIRIT RIDGE is super consistent and honest on-pacer and full disclosure we have backed him at long odds last two starts and he has only just missed both times. Has placed last five starts now over 2400M and well-drawn to go forward here and dictate the speed in this race, which is what he has done last two starts and he has been extremely hard to run down. How awesome would it be to see jockey Yendall win a Caulfield Cup! Expect to see him leading here, and if the track is favouring those on-speed he is actually a rough chance of a boil-over in this, whilst the rest of the field run into dead-ends going for runs behind him. Good roughie for quinellas and trifectas regardless.

18-VALIANT KING (GB) is an overseas raider in a stable who knows how to win Australian features. Very lightly raced and gets into this with a very light weight of 50kgs and these are the types who have been running well in the Australian staying features last few years, so he is well in the betting market. Does tend to drop back in the run, his run two starts back was excellent weaving through the field and really stretching his head out to the line. Just listen out for riding tactics here, to see if they decide to go forward or not. Would be concerned about him dropping back from barrier 1 inside a big field for an international horse would be an issue, would prefer him leading or sitting in clear running outside runners. Wary.

19-UNITED NATIONS (emerg) was a surprise acceptance and will need a scratching to get into the field. Hard fit stayer here with 3 x 2400M runs this time in, and he has been thereabouts in all of his recent starts. Been competitive, but at a much lower level and the Herbert Power generally isn’t the form line for this race. Likes to drop well back from the outside barrier and be giving some good ones a head start here. No


The track condition is the major unknown here, a GOOD(3) would be an issue for some of these, so planning to bet as close as to the race as possible. Normally you want winning form coming into a feature Group 1, or at least right in the finish of a race, and often it’s the Turnbull that is the best form line. Considering that both VERY ELLEGANT (2020) and INCENTIVISE (2021) both won the Turnbull and then won the Caulfield Cup, it’s pretty hard to go past the 1-GOLD TRIP here, especially considering the ease of his last start win. If this track had some give in it, he would probably be half the odds, so the $6 on offer really looks great value coming off an impressive lead up win. But we just get the feeling his main rival 8-SOULCOMBE with the weight pull and suited running on off a fast speed is going to step up today on a dry track and putting him in as top pick. Actually not much between the third pick either, sticking with the winning form of the 4-MONTEFILIA from the 10-HOO YA MAL who with a good run who won’t be far off the finish either. Best roughie is the 17-SPIRIT RIDGE running along in the lead and hopefully he can get a clear lead and not be challenged. You would think the top two chances have the class to hold off the internationals here (seeing they are effectively internationals regardless), and really there are not many place chances with a lot of these yet to show their best form this spring. Punting plan is to mainly look at a wide trifecta with the top two chances to win, and something at odds to suddenly improve into third.

The Tips: