FLEMINGTON: DERBY DAYĖ 31st October 2020
Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: FINE - Rail: TRUE
Betting Portfolio ($100):
Fine weather is forecast for most of Cup Week, which is ironic, considering how often Cup Week has been hit by bad weather recently and the year we get a week of fine weather - the public cannot attend. There isnít much rain forecast for the week so expect them to water the tracks fairly heavily which may affect the earlier races. Rail goes back to TRUE and Flemington has been racing pretty evenly for a while, but always pay extra attention to those on speed and drawn good barriers on Derby Day. Suspect the inside will be the best going down the straight races.

Always a great betting day and we seem to have tipped a massive day out for the blue with yellow lightning strike colours. Noticeable the lack of Sydney horses in these fields this year due to travel restrictions. Even though we have a few short priced favourites on the program there are plenty of good value selections in the tips as well and we will double up to $100 and mix up the bets for those playing along at home, including some straight out win bets. We appreciate everyone has different financial circumstances in these troubled times, so stay home, stay safe and bet responsibly.

The VRC Derby is one of our favourite betting races of the year, mainly because all the horses are coming through traditional form lines and it is pretty easy to line them up. Yet so often you still get decent odds about the winner, so itís a good race for a confident win bet. The question mark is often if we are going to get a true staying test or not as to which horse we barrack for. The speed this year looks to be the 4-LETíS KARAKA DEEL as the clear leader, and really there isnít much else here that goes forward at all, the 13-WISAKA and 12-BORN TO SUCCEED can go forward, maybe the 5-YOUNG WERTHER sitting more handy today and the 10-TOUR OF DUTY going on-speed from a wide barrier.

Going through the field, we have been waiting for the 1-CHERRY TORTONI to get to this race since he stamped himself as a horse to watch with two impressive Flemington wins as a 2YO. Hit the line very well here 1st up, beaten by a classy on-pacer 2nd up when again finishing on well and then we have to try and work out how much of an issue is that Sydney hiccup run. It could have been changing direction of running, or the firm track, or the bump he got just as he was about to wind up, but he was very disappointing. Wasnít at all surprised though to see him bounce back last week, and worth noting he was the only runner to come looping around them and win on a dynamite leaderís track. Drawn out, but will settle back anyway, and needs to make a long clear run at them. Definitely looks the one to beat here and the class stayer, slight query may be a firm track and how much of a start he is going to give them, but reckon they will water it pretty heavily at the start of a long week so not too fussed about that being an issue. The 2-ALBARADO has been coming along very nicely as well and seems to have the class turn of foot to win a race like this. Ran into the race very quickly out wide at Flemington and looked the winner but was drifting around a bit and seemed to finish on the run, and then really tough win at Caulfield when he also looped the field early and ended up back towards the rails and fought out the finish the length of the straight in a very busy finish. He seems to have a bit of brilliance about him, though he also does do a few things wrong. Like that he is drawn well and best chance would be if he can settle more forward than some of his main rivals here and pinch a break on them early in the straight with a quick sprint and also looks a strong winning chance. The 3-JOHNNY GET ANGRY looks a solid staying type, he is still a maiden, but put in some good distance runs here as a 2YO when it was obvious he was still working it all out. He finished on very nicely from last in the Flemington 1800M race two starts back against many of these, and then he couldnít keep up when they sprinted before the home turn at MV and was going backwards, but outstayed them all to the line to finish a long distance third. Back to Flemington and up in distance really suits, he looks a solid staying type, and actually his lead up runs arenít too different to those of WARNING who won this race last year. Note blinkers first time and he may settle more forward here from a good barrier. Think he is well over the odds here and by far the best rough chance in this field. 4-LETíS KARAKA DEEL had no luck at Flemington two starts back when got trapped behind a huge wall of horses and was going nowhere, and then tough on-speed when a bit wayward last start at Caulfield. Fought out the finish pretty well last start and big plus of being the on-pacer here so he will be ahead of a lot of the main rivals, but prefer place and suspect will find one better today. The 5-YOUNG WERTHER is the mystery element here, scratched from MV last week because of the wet track, and stable is attempting the impossible of winning a Derby with a horse only having its third start. Well supported at Flemington and had no room and no luck when was full of running. Drawn well and likely to settle handy, looks to be learning and improving and stable know how to train these young horses, but up in distance, having missed a run, still doing a few things wrong and against more seasoned horses happy to take him on today. Be interesting to see what the market does with him, suspect he will be well backed and start favourite Ė but really you would be getting the same odds if he won last start so donít think the odds represent any value.

The 6-HIT THE SHOT has been nice building towards this race and looks a solid dour staying type. He just couldnít get out into clear running in time two starts back when he looked to have a lot to give and stayed strongly, and again last start at Caulfield he was staying the best out of those in the finish and probably hit the lead shortly after the post. Up in distance, out to the 2500M and back to Flemington looks ideal and he looks the best chance of the solid staying types, but question is will he get the tempo to suit? The 7-CETSHWAYO has only had three starts (versus the stable mates two) so it would be a decent feat if the stable could win with either of these runners. Came from last here two starts back in a messy race with a bunched finish, and the last three races that day were all won by horses coming from last on a windy day (which is unusual to say the least). Not beaten that far at Caulfield, but meeting a whole stack of them who finished in front of him there and hard to see him beating them all here. The 8-REDWOOD SHADOW is another runner with only the three starts, and looked to have promise winning at Ballarat, before making a long hard run out wide at Caulfield and fighting out the packed finish. Another with a stack of improvement to come, who will be suited at Flemington but again may just find one more seasoned here, but strong place chance. The 9-WERTHEIMER failed to measure up in Sydney last start, but did run on well here the start before that in that messy race with a super bunched finish, but still prefer others. The 10-TOUR OF DUTY is another maiden, but at least he is in his second preparation and had a few more starts than some of the others here. Started at long odds last two starts, but has run better than market expectations and he hit the lead early in the straight at Caulfield and fought out the finish well before just fading late. Drawn out, but would suspect they go forward here as there isnít much speed and that means he is a good value place chance. The 11-TOKEN SPIRIT ran on well in the Geelong Classic and also the start before at Flemington, at least he has a 2000M maiden win, but hard to see him being a factor here. The 12-BORN TO SUCCEED is coming of a Wodonga maiden win, which definitely isnít a traditional form line. The 13-WISAKA is one that can probably go forward here from a good barrier, has been thereabouts in a few maidens but not good enough here. The 14-KENZAN is another maiden and unlikely to be good enough.

This really is a pretty disappointing VRC Derby field, normally we have a highly spruiked Sydney stayer coming through the Spring Champion Stakes and someone trying to push for the Geelong Classic winner (who never wins), but we donít have either this year. Worth noting that we didnít have a Sydney or Adelaide runner in the Caulfield Classic or the MV Vase either which is most unusual, not sure if covid travel restrictions are having an effect there. Also quite unusual that 7 runners here have had 4 starts or less and most of these are in their first preparation. Anyway, the form lines to follow are the Caulfield Classic and MV Vase normally, we did have a very bunched finish in the Caulfield race this year. Always a toss-up between the classy types and the solid stayers in this race, but there doesnít look to be that much speed this year and we think there are only two winning chances in the 1-CHERRY TORTONI and 2-ALBARADO who are both more seasoned than their rivals here, have more wins on the board, and both have excellent turns of foot. Putting the 1-CHERRY TORTONI on top as a pretty confident top pick, this is a horse that has won four times, and has a far better record than most of these. Slightly concerned about how far back he is going to drop, and would prefer some give in the ground, but the win last start at MV against the pattern was outstanding and he beat KHOEKHOE who had beaten most of these home the start previous. The 2-ALBARADO the main danger who has a seriously good turn of foot, riding tactics will be interesting here as if he is ridden handy he could probably pinch this race early in the straight. Not quite sure what to do with the stayer the 6-HIT THE SHOT who is the only other danger, but we do want to put the best roughie 3-JOHNNY GET ANGRY in the selections as think he is way over the odds. Place chances to 4-LETíS KARAKA DEEL and 10-TOUR OF DUTY and we are keen to bet here and can probably grab a decent trifecta with the two main chances to win and going wide for the placings.

QUINELLA: Race 4: 10-SCHABAU, 5-SOUND x $3 = 500%
Last chance to get into the Melbourne Cup, and this one has been racing very consistently this preparation and really doesnít have that much in the way of opposition here. Jockey admitted error ride last start when thought he should have presented into the race earlier, he gave them too big a start and had plenty left coming to the line but couldnít run them down. Expect to see a much more positive ride there today rolling forward and there doesnít look to be much speed here at all, so likely to box seat and hit the lead early in the straight and keep rolling. Back straight out at around $4 and save on a quinella with the consistent 5-SOUND who has also been racing well and got held up badly coming around the turn in the MV Cup and stable think he is going pretty well.

Always pretty confident to have a bet in the VRC Derby and the top pick the 1-CHERRY TORTONI just has more racing, more wins and more form than his rivals here, some of whom are very inexperienced. Impressive win against the pattern last start, should be suited by the likely moderate tempo and as long as he doesnít drop too far back here he looks the one to beat at around $4.20 which we think is pretty good odds considering his career form is so much better than most of these. The main danger is the 2-ALBARADO who has a class turn of foot and can sit handy and maybe pinch this at around $7. Back both straight out, and suspect they will fight out the finish so have a quinella on them as well.

Sprinting mare with great career stats and she chased hard to the line last start behind the (4) and think she can turn the tables today back to a firm track. Drawn the inside, but we are assuming that will be the better ground and most of the speed in this is drawn towards the middle of the track, so expecting her to burst through late along the inside here at around $4.50 to get us home in the last race.

QUINELLA: Race 2: 6-SALTO ANGEL#1,3,7,9 x $6 = 150%
Improving staying mare who has been showing some promise and should have won last start at Caulfield when she couldnít get off the rails early in the straight, but once she did she hit the line very well. One of several in the blue with yellow lightning bolt colours we have tipped today, but she is the one we are most keen on. Still a maiden, but think they can go forward here from an outside barrier as there isnít much speed up front in this and she looks well over the odds at around $13. Back each way and save on a quinella with the favourite the 1-PERSONAL who has better form, but probably needs to go forward, the 3-SUCCEED INDEED who had no luck here two starts back and then had to loop the field wide and early last start, the 7-PENSATO who was impressive winning here two starts back and might be hard to run down on-speed and is the roughie to watch out for, and the promising Adelaide visitor the 9-VICTORIA QUAY.

One we are totally guilty of backing too often, but can just see the race panning out perfectly for her today. Excellent Flemington stats and she often features in races at this level here. Hit a wall of horses when winding up here two starts back, and then they dawdled on speed at Caulfield last start, and she just couldnít wind up in time off the slow tempo. Back to a firm track and back to Flemington is a big plus, and there looks to be decent speed in this to allow her to run on. The favourite the flying 3YO filly the 12-ODEUM sitting on-speed with no weight is definitely the one to beat here, but think her odds are starting to get on the shorter side, so backing this one each way at around $14 instead and hopefully we get to see her flying finish burst today.

QUINELLA: Race 7: 1,4,6,13,14 boxed x $5 = 50%
Wide open feature mile and we have ended up with two blue with yellow lightning bolt horses in the top three. The 13-BUFFALO RIVER looks the one to beat here, fitter for the two runs in and he only just got run down last start and it is not easy at all to lead and win these feature miles. Dry track is no issue based on last run and even though we have two leaders here in the 10-STREETS OF AVALON and 12-AGE OF CHIVALRY they are both suspect at the 1600M so think they might not go that fast up front and this field has plenty of backmarkers. Wide open race though so back each way at around $8 and letís just take a wide box quinella with the 14-CHIEF IRONSIDE who can sit on speed here from an inside barrier and is a good roughie, the consistent 4-WILD PLANET and the 1-FIFTY STARS and 6-BEST OF DAYS finishing on late.

QUINELLA: Race 6: 2,5,7,13,14 boxed x $5 = 50%
Yet another in those colours! This is always a very even race down the straight for the 3YO sprinters, but really like the way he loomed here two starts back when he looked like he was going to run over the top of them but seemed to finish on the run. Caused upset in the three horse field last start ($12 on offer, really!), and this race is often won by strong finishers off a fast tempo and think he looks great value at around $15. Back each way and save on a quinella with the flying straight tracker the 14-SEPTEMBER RUN who is the one to beat, the 13-MUNTASEERA who was good late last start, fitter for two runs in and may be the roughie to watch out for, the in-form Sydney visitor the 2-WILD RULER and if the 7-ANDERS regains his best form might be hard to beat leading without much pressure on the inside rail.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 6: 1-FARNAN at around $5
Been a very, very long spring for fans of the Golden Slipper winner who was beaten first up in a much discussed ride when short priced favourite had hasnít raced since. Think it is pretty hard to win this race fresh as it is such a tough, competitive 3YO sprinting feature, first time down the straight, drawn middle with no rail to guide and although likely to lead clearly down the middle of the track he will also be left very exposed. Happy to risk in a race which is often won by the strong finishers.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into enough to buy an apartment overlooking Flemington for Cup Week.
TRIFECTA: Race 7: 1,2 / 1,2,3,4/ 1,2,3,4,6,8,10 x $5 = 16.67%
We landed the trifecta here in this race last year, so letís try again for the VRC Derby trifecta where we think the 1-CHERRY TORTONI and 2-ALBARADO are likely to fight out the finish. The best roughie is the 3-JOHNNY GET ANGRY and the 4-LETíS KARAKA DEEL will probably be around the placings on-speed, so we just need something at odds to get into third like the 8-REDWOOD SHADOW or 10-TOUR OF DUTY (those colours againÖ). Could it really be as easy as 1,2,3,4?

The Tips: