Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: OVERCAST - Rail: TRUE
Betting Portfolio ($100):
We have a bumper day of racing on Derby Day to kick off Cup Week with some full sized and competitive fields to challenge the punter. But we know all these horses, they are well into their spring campaigns, and well exposed so we should be able to sit down and sort them out.

The weather is looking a bit miserable with clouds and showers and mild temperatures. It shouldn’t really be enough to affect the track, but it should just take the edge off. There is a bit of wind around on Saturday too and normally that might mean you want some cover. We have just come off a Caulfield Cup, Manikato Stakes and Cox Plate meeting all of which strongly favoured leaders, but with a bit of rain and wind around that should even things out for racing on Saturday and Flemington tends to race pretty fairly most of the time these days.

The VRC Derby is normally a race we like to have a confident bet in, as they have all been racing against each other and are normally easy to line up. The 1-THINKIN’ BIG is definitely the horse to beat, was forced to work early two starts back at Randwick and then perfect ride and easy lead on leaders track in the Caulfield Classic, but that was one of the more dominant lead up wins we have had in recent years. 2-ARAMAYO really had no chance the way the track was playing in the MV Vase, as a drop back horse on a leaders track. Can’t work out why punters sent him around at $2.90 when he had next to no chance based on the well established racing pattern. Did run on well though and looks one that will be suited out to the big track Flemington 2500M. The 7-SAVOIE has been racing really consistently and went for home pretty early at MV last week and was only just run down, does have to deal with crossing to the lead form an outside barrier here though. The 10-CHAPADA looks to be one on the improve, and should be better at Flemington, but this is maybe just coming up a bit too early in his career. The 12-FAROOQ was actually really good in the Geelong Classic, and normally we don’t rate that form, but he led, worked early, was challenged early and fought it out the whole length of the straight, it was a seriously good run. The 14-SAVVY OAK has been racing consistently and looks to be building to something this spring, and Flemington and the 2500M should suit.

The speed looks quite genuine in this year’s Derby and it should be a solid staying contest. We have the 7-SAVOIE having to cross from an outside barrier, the 12-FAROOQ pushing forward, and the 13-LOUIE THE LEGEND on speed, which probably means the favourite 1-THINKIN’ BIG sits just behind them, with 11-SIKORSKY. It should be a true staying contest though and want to back horses we know should be strong at the end of 2500M.

The entire field this year comes out of the three traditional lead up races, the Caulfield Classic, MV Vase and the Geelong Classic, so it should be relatively easy to line all these up by picking the best run out of each race. We think the 2-ARAMAYO is a stand out top pick here (and we very rarely tip Cummings/Godolphin horses as they tend to start under value at lot of the time). Strong staying type with winning form this time in, placed last 3 starts, Spring Champion form and great run when had no hope against racing pattern at MV last week. Will be suited by the strong speed in this and a true staying test and probably doesn’t need to settle too far back from a middle barrier. Current odds around $6.50, but think he will be strongly backed and start a lot shorter come race time. The 1-THINKIN’ BIG the obvious danger, doubt they will lead today and will opt for a sit, just a matter of whether the (2) outstays him to the line. Respect for the Geelong Classic horse 12-FAROOQ who was super tough last time and gets inside draw to go straight to the lead here. 14-SAVVY OAK the best roughie slogging away up in distance. Pretty keen to have a solid win bet here on the top pick and maybe play with the some trifectas anchoring the main chances to win and going wide with roughies to plod on into placings.

In the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes we have a smallish field, but in general this race is normally a high pressure race that favours horses that run on strongly. The pace doesn’t look strong at all, with the extremely talented 1-WRITTEN BY and 10-SUNLIGHT going forward with not much pressure. A lot is going to come down to how they are racing down the straight, but just have slight concerns with both of these horses leading down the straight, especially if there is a bit of wind around, and prefer to be on something running on late, even with the likely lack of speed. There isn’t much speed though, so you need to try and find something that is going to camp just off the speed and not get too far back. Putting the 2-ZOUSAIN on top who looks most likely to lob in the right spot and has strong Sydney form lines, from the 3-ENCRYPTION who was sensational late down the straight last time, and then chased hard at Caulfield in a leader dominated race, and wouldn’t even write off the roughie 5-LONG LEAF who looks more like a straight 1200M Flemington strong finishing horse.

In the Group 1 Empire Rose (used to be Myer) Classic we have a super even capacity field with plenty of chances. All of the 3YOs are lining up to get into the field these days, after they have won the race the last two years. But it is also worth noting that both of those three year old winners led or raced on speed, and think that is the way 3YOs can use their weight advantage best in this race. The speed looks genuine this year, but not over fast with the 1-I AM A STAR, 9-SHUMOOKH and 11-BELLA MARTINI going forward. We like the 5-ALOISIA who is fitter for the two runs in and both have been really good finishing on late with good sectionals, and she would have been set and primed for this race. Maybe just wants to settle a bit more forward from her barrier. The 1-I AM A STAR just keeps on winning, sure she continues to get soft leads, but she has now won her last 3 starts at Group level, has won 4 from 8 at the track and 5 from 10 at the distance and is going to go around at $13, so you have to have something on her. The flying 15-AMPHITRITE the obvious danger and current favourite, she has come from last her last few wins and has a sensational finishing burst, question is whether she can do it against the older mares. Other chances to the super consistent 2-INVINCIBELLA and the best roughie is actually one of the other 3YOs, the 16-FUNDAMENTALIST who we hope they push forward from an outside barrier and make advantage of the low weight. Planning to back the top two picks straight out and save on a quinella on the main chances.

In the Group 1 mile race (whatever you want to call it this year), we have over half the field down on the minimum weight and that is going to make it tough for those up at the top of the weights. The speed in this race looks really, really fast, there are a stack of horses who can lead, the 6-DREAMFORCE (caught wide), the 11-CLIFF’S EDGE, the 13-SIRCONNI, the 14-PERAST, with the 10-SEIGE OF QUEBEC and 18-ICONOCLASM (emerg) sitting handy. We are going to go a bit left of centre here, and actually push for the roughie of the field, the 9-LIFE LESS ORDINARY as top pick. He is a talented big track performer with a strong finish who is better off here at Flemington. He is definitely better over further than 1600M, but think the likely fast tempo here is going to set the race up for him. Three runs in have all been good and he actually should have finished a lot closer last start when badly held up for runs on a track that was favouring leaders. Interesting move to put him into this race, he will appreciate the light weight 52kgs and will be the first time in his last 6 starts he has carried less than 58kgs. Looks a great value roughie at around $41 and probably longer on the day Main danger is the flying 4-LAND OF PLENTY who had the Toorak Handicap won a long way out and looks like the improving 18-ICONOCLASM (emerg) is going to get into the field now and he should be able to sit just behind the speed from an outside barrier and usually keeps his form once he finds it. Other chances to the 8-NOIRE and 16-PEACEFUL STATE in what looks a great betting race.

There is always plenty to bet on every Derby Day so we will double the suggested bets up to $100 and mix the bets up a bit so you get a try at each of them. Much like a Betting Buffet, that hopefully turns into all you can eat extravaganza.

TRIFECTA: Race 7: 1,2 / 1,2,7,12,14 / 1,2,7,11,12,14,16 x $10 = 25%
The best bet of the day actually comes up in the VRC Derby. It looks like we will have a solid staying contest this year with a fair bit of speed and really this one had no chance the way the track was playing last week at Moonee Valley. Came out wide and ran on well under the circumstances and form before that was very solid. Looks the one to best at around $6.50 and expect it to be well backed. We will back it straight out and then take a wide trifecta with the two main chances 2-ARAMAYO, 1-THINKIN’ BIG to win, from the value place getters in 12-FAROOQ and 14-SAVVY OAK and just hope something else at odds lobs into the finish to blow out the trifecta dividend.

BEST WIN: Race 6: 5-ALOISIA $7.50 WIN
BEST WIN: Race 6: 1-I AM A STAR $7.50 WIN
QUINELLA: Race 6: 1,2,5,15,16 boxed x $5 = 50%
Keen to back two runners in the Empire Rose Stakes/Myer Classic. The 5-ALOISIA has been running on really well last two starts, looks ready to win and has the class to win a race like this. The 1-I AM A STAR does keep getting easy leads, but she just keeps winning too. Back them straight out at around $9 and $13 and take a box quinella in a very open field, with the other dangers like the favourite 3YO the flying finishing 15-AMPHIRTITE, the consistent 2-INVINCIBELLA, and the value roughie the 16-FUNDAMENTALIST.

QUINELLA: 16-ZARGOS#3,6,11,15 x $4 = 100%
For some reason we can never nail the Carbine Club Stakes, and we have had confident selections a few times, but lets try this again! The 3-GOOD’N’FAST is fitter for the 3 runs in and was good late in the Caulfield Guineas, more importantly he is a strong finisher who seems to like it here at Flemington. Back each way at around $11 and there is another horse we are interested in here the 16-ZARGOS who has only had the two starts but was coming home very well late last start and seems to be on the improve. She is the only filly in the field and she might just find one better amongst more seasoned rivals so anchor a quinella with her with the 3-GOOD’N’FAST, the 6-WILD PLANET, the 11-SACCHARO, and also the 15-ZOUTORI who is another improver and should have placed last start when hampered by a riderless horse.

We have a boom short priced favourite in this race the 2-VERRY ELLEEGANT (yes, that’s double R, double L, double E, and is a total pain to type correctly). She does look to have most of this field covered, but the class horse in the field is the top weight and think she is worth a little bet each way. She is fitter for the 3 runs in, which have all been good and had issues to explain the flop run 2 starts back. Was really good late last week at MV running on against the leaders pattern and despite giving weight to most of this field she should have most of them covered. Prefer to back her each way at around $7 than back the short priced favourite.

We are playing favourites as we are a bit of a fan of this horse, and have had some good wins on her before. She is a pretty good sprinter on her day and often wins at good odds. Fitter for the two runs in, she made good ground in a very unsuitable MV 1000M race 1st up and then was even 2nd up at Caulfield. She has won 5 from 9 at the 1200M and should have won a race here on Derby Day last year down the straight, when she came late and only just missed. Interestingly, she wasn’t entered for that race again this year (Race 9, Group 3, mares) and instead has been entered in this Group 2 race which is worth more prize money. Think she is a nice each way bet at around $16 and would go close to winning if she got back to her best form. Take a saver box quinella on the other sprinting mares, the flying 8-WINTER BRIDE and the talented, but hard to catch 4-MISS ROCK.

Solid staying type who last two runs have been good here at Flemington and in the Geelong Cup where was wearing down his stable mate and winner. Seems to thrive on hard racing and will just jump and go forward and make his own luck in this staying race. Stable mate the 8-RUNAWAY is already in the Melbourne Cup field, so he needs to win this to join him and think there is a good chance he will at around $12.

The Coolmore always seems to be a very tricky race and often seems to favour those running on late. This one has shown a bit of ability, and was good late behind two on pacers in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude. Looks like the stable has decided not to go onto the Guineas and instead aim him towards this race and he does look like a strong Flemington 1200M sort of horse. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him run a race today at value odds of around $31.

We have gone really out of the Ordinary in the Nameless 1600M feature mile, but actually think we have spotted one here at odds. Prefers big tracks like Flemington, fitter for the 3 runs in , does prefer it further than 1600M but there looks to be a fast speed today so should get the race set up to suit. Unlucky last start when held up for runs on a leaders track and should have finished closer. Interesting placement coming into this on 52 kgs after often having to carry 58kgs to 60 kgs in his races and think he is a very genuine race chance today at around $41. Hoping to get better odds on the day too and want to have a bit of a bet on this one at odds.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 1:5 RANIER at around $4.80
The much talked about and extremely unlucky horse here two starts back, who got his deserved win last start at Caulfield. Thing is he didn’t win that easily, and the 6-WILD PLANET, 8-YULONG JANUARY and 15-ZOUTORI all gave him a run for his money and the (15) was actually pretty unlucky when hampered by a riderless horse. Also meets the (6) 2.5kgs worse off for a narrow win. Drop back horse drawn barrier 1 too and jockey would need to be positive early here else risk getting held up again. There isn’t much under $5 to lay today, so we might as well get this out of the way early, and if the miracle runs comes so be it, but otherwise happy to risk him today.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a whole lot more.
RUNNING DOUBLE Race 7: 1,2,12 / 4,8,9,16,18 x $5 = 33.33%
Really one of the three selections should win the VRC Derby, being the best run out of each of the three lead up races. There are always plenty of good value runners in the feature miles, and we have already found the 9-LIFE LESS ORDINARY, which is our main chance for a big collect. Take a wide running double into the second leg with the favourite the 4-LAND OF PLENTY, value runners the 18-ICONOCLASM (emerg) and 8-NOIRE and the 16-PEACEFUL STATE.

The Tips: