FLEMINGTON: DERBY DAY - 30th October 2021
Track: GOOD (4) - Weather: SHOWERS - Rail: TRUE

Betting Portfolio ($100):
Mainly fine weather with a few showers and some rain Friday and again on Saturday so we should see the track maybe just dip into the soft range, but not enough to seriously affect the chances of most horses. Rail goes back to TRUE and every horse should have its chance, but always a plus to be on-speed and well-drawn on Derby Day. Down the straight there shouldnít be much difference and they have been able to win down the outside rail on this day the last few years.

This is always the best racing day of the year and is normally a pretty good betting day with big fields, lots of value, and lots of horses who have been racing against each other the last few months so you can line them up and have a confident bet. There are some smaller fields earlier in the day for straight out win bets, and some very open races later in the day with heaps of solid double figure chances. Doubling up to $100 in the Betting Portfolio with plenty to bet on today, as always gamble responsibly and within your means.

The VRC Derby is always one of the best races to bet on for the year. There are strong traditional form lines through the lead up runs in the Caulfield Classic (aka Norman Robinson) and MV Vase and often it is just a matter of watching these races and picking the best run in the race Ė all of these horses have been running against each other all spring and you can line them up with confidence. Over the last twenty years 6 winners have come through the Caulfield Classic, 10 through the MV Vase, and 2 through the Geelong Classic. Seven Derby winners have been last start winners, and 10 have been last start placegetters, and often it is the placegetters from the lead-up runs that step up and improve into this race Ė but based on that you can just about right away draw a line though anything that hasnít placed in its lead up run.

The other question is whether we look for a genuine stayer in a tough staying contest, or a classy type who actually doesnít stay but the turn of foot to win over this distance at 3YO. A lot of that depends on the speed, and we have a capacity field this year, with the 11-GUNDEC, 17-ZOUMON (emerg) likely to lead from 6-CHARACTER siting handy, 8-COMMANDER HARRY (pushing forward), 10-CERBERUS (wide), 13-EL ROCKO (wide) and the 2-TUTUKAKA (wide) and 7-JUNGLE MAGNATE sitting behind them. Suspect that they try and go for home early again on the 8-COMMANDER HARRY and that may put the pressure on from a long way out here and turn it into a genuine staying contest.

Comments on each Derby runner:

1-FORGOT YOU has been a sensation this spring, and it is worth going back and watching his three extraordinary MV wins. Each time he has been going backwards on the turn, sometimes even horses have gone past him and put lengths on him Ė and he has come again and shown an amazing will to win. You just donít see that happen normally. He looked no hope on the turn here last week against a kick-away roughie who had pinched a break, yet somehow managed to run him down. Great run in the Caulfield Guineas and has the strongest form of any horse in this field. Guess the query is all of his wins have been at MV (would have loved to have seen him go around in the Cox Plate), and he does have that flat spot Ė and if he strikes that in the middle of a field of tiring stayers it is going to be an issue. Drawn middle and would love to see him sitting outside runners in the run so he can get into clear going early and make a long straight run at them Ė and if that happens he almost certainly wins. Jockey has had a break-out spring and would be great to see him win on of the Cup Week majors. Strong chance.

2-TUTUKAKA is a bit more seasoned than many of his rivals here, having had an 1800M win mid-year and that is a big plus. He went to the lead here two starts back and over-raced and stuck on OK against these, and then we were really impressed with the win in the Geelong Classic. That field wasnít the strongest and normally we take on the Geelong form, but really liked that win, there was a ferocious tempo set out in front, it was a very genuine staying contest and he had the race covered a long way out. Maybe didnít quite draw away from the (6) as expected, but still a very solid run. He can sit handy here and rates a genuine chance.

3-ALEGRON comes through the Sydney Spring Champion and usually the Sydney horses have a lot more spruik on them, he has slipped into this field with little or no fanfare. Fitter for the three runs in up there, worked home well in most of them and was quite strong late the last 50M last start. Looks like the distance will suit and jockey Prebble having an amazing spring. The timing of the lead-up runs is the only worry, comes into this off a 4 week break, especially if it is a tough staying contest. Suspect he is going to be backed and is over the odds at the moment at $10 and is some winning hope, but probably prefer place.

4-GUNSTOCK has been showing a lot of class stepping up towards this race. Sensationally backed here two starts back to $2.10 (who on earth has the money to be jumping on a horse at those odds in a big field of 3YOs over 1800M?) and classy winner of the traditional lead-up Caulfield Classic beating many of these. He has the class turn of foot in this field, and will be suited in a slowly run race. Thought he would be the one to beat in this Ė but the barrier is a major setback in our opinion. Wanted him to settle mid-field with cover and burst into the race at the right time, going to be very tricky from barrier (19), especially if this ends up a solid staying contest and not quite as seasoned as some of these at start #5. Drawn a barrier he is probably clear top pick, not quite so sure now. Strong chance.

5-AKIHIRO is a Sydney visitor who plugged away well last week at MV in extremely trying conditions and coming off mediocre Sydney form. Probably drops back from an inside barrier here, and thought the winner, and some of the horses just behind him were much better runs in the MV Vase and prefer to be on those. Passing.

6-CHARACTER has been very consistent all spring and has just been below the top level, finding one better each start. Had a nice long, slow build up to this and nice and conditioned for a tough staying contest. Fought on well here two starts back against many of these and then hit the lead about 200M out at Geelong and he actually fought back well against the (2) who looked like he was going to go straight past him. Drawn middle, but will go forward and race on-speed here and make his own luck. Guess the argument against him is that he keeps finding one better, but really rolling on-speed he is going to get the run of the race and looks a must have for your quinellas and trifectas and think he is well over the odds at $35 and a good rough chance in this, especially the place.

7-JUNGLE MAGNATE has been progressing nicely this spring and was tough on-speed over in Adelaide in what is usually a good form race. Run in the MV Vase was excellent, in fact it was probably the run of the race and that is the horse you want to follow. He was back a clear last there, they went for home early, he made the longest, widest run of the race and was still sticking on towards the line. Fantastic barrier here and he can race more handy today and get the run of the race. His dad won this race in 2015 and he looks like he will be a genuine stayer. Strong winning chance as the best run out of the traditional lead-up race.

8-COMMANDER HARRY almost caused a boil-over last week when jockey Meech in a clever move went for home early and all but pinched the race. Been racing well in weaker races and this is his first preparation and hard to win a Derby like that. Is a place-getter in a traditional lead-up race, but you just get the impression that it was the jockey that almost won the race last start, not the horse. Drawn wide and likely to go forward and decent chance they might go for home early again today, but think he is well-covered in this. Risking.

9-HITOTSU is pushing back against history here trying to win this race straight out of the Caulfield Guineas, something no horse has done in the last 30 years (not sure how many have even tried?). Impressive win first-up, and ran on well in the Guineas against the rail. Has a nice barrier and a class factor, and stable know what they are doing Ė but trying to win a VRC Derby at third run in and stepping up from 1600M to 2500M seems near impossible. Well-supported in the market, but just canít have him in a race which has such strong traditional form lines.

10-CERBERUS is a tough, grinding type coming into this race at only start number four, and still in first preparation which is very difficult to do. Races handy and gives himself every chance, and suited in a very messy race last start over in Adelaide. Outside barrier here is a real issue as likely to go forward and he can probably stick on OK for a place at odds.

11-GUNDEC is the likely leader in this race from an inside barrier. Had a solid preparation and good on-speed win here two starts back, but there was a huge on-speed advantage that day and the form from that race has not held up. Very disappointing at Caulfield last start and others look better.

12-CYDE is coming off mediocre Sydney form, well drawn, but still likely to drop back. Looks like he will stay the distance but likely to find some of these too smart today.

13-EL ROCKO is a maiden, but has been racing well and stuck on well two starts back at Sale. Cut the corner in the MV Vase, which was the worse ground and stuck on OK, but well covered by a few others going around here. Drawn wide and likely to go forward and be caught wide in this. Unlikely to win, but form isnít too bad and will race handy, so at $150 would be definitely throwing him in wide exotics if you are looking for a value collect.

14-RAGING BULL has been going along OK in Sydney, but well behind the leading contenders and is another drawn wide here. Would need everything to go right to be a factor in this.

15-CHEERFUL MOMENT is one we have a bit of time for and quite like his form this time in. Well-conditioned WA visitor who ran on well against leader pattern of the day 1st up at Flemington to just miss in a 4 way go and worked home one-paced at Caulfield but was still somehow right in the finish once again. Didnít make the grade last start in the MV Vase, but that was a messy race on a messy track and possible he just didnít like the ground. He races like a real stayer and wouldnít be surprised to see him around the placings here.

16-TEEWATERS has had the strongest staying preparation of this field, with 3 x 2000M runs this time in. Strong confident win at Ballarat when the jockey went for home early and he won going away from them, and was hard ridden before the turn at Caulfield when they went for home, but stayed well to the line. Would think the winner there has him covered in this though. Traditional lead-up place getter, strong staying type, well drawn, he is another who may be around the finish at odds and a rough place chance.

17-ZOUMON (emerg) is first emergency and coming into this at only start four off a very heavy track maiden win. Unlikely to be a factor here, but does like to go forward so will add to the speed if he gets into the race.

18-SEBASTIAN THE FOX (emerg) stuck on well last start, but was well beaten to finish a distance 4th behind these. Likely to drop well back from inside barrier if he gets a run, looks like he will stay but not likely to be in the finish here.

19-KING OF PHARAOHS (emerg) is unlikely to get a run as third emergency. Worked home well in the Geelong Classic when he dropped too far back off the strong speed. Looks a solid staying type and one to back next start, just not in this.

20-SPIRIT OF GAYLARD (emerg) has some ability and wasnít beaten too far in the MV Vase when he was in the market, but this looks to be coming up too quickly at only third run in this preparation. His MV Vase run was actually pretty good, held up for runs at the back of the field, wide and making a long run at them and not far behind the (7) off a similar run. Really like the way he stuck on last start, main issue is he is unlikely to get into the field. Definitely follow-up if he appears in an 1800M race something this week at Flemington.

This looks a great betting race and think we will get a pretty solid tempo this year and this is going to turn into a true staying contest. Think you need to trust the form and the 1-FORGOT YOU simply has the best form leading in this, yes he can hit flat spots, but given a clear run think he is the one to beat here. We are going to give the Geelong Classic form a good chance this year, something we pretty much never do, but we really liked the win of the 2-TUTUKAKA off a solid staying tempo and think he will be sitting better than mid-field and running into the race at the right time today. Watch out for the 7-JUNGLE MAGNATE whose run at MV was great and will get a perfect on-speed run here as third pick. We did go into the form review thinking we were going to be tipping the 4-GUNSTOCK but the likely speed and bad barrier has put us off. Best rough chance is the 6-CHARACTER who will probably stick on pretty well on-speed and put the 16-TEEWATERS into your exotics. Chance for some nice box quinellas and wide trifectas here around the main picks in a big field with plenty of value.

Suggested bets:

Been racing extremely well against the 3YO males and drops back to fillies only company here. She goes forward and makes her own luck, and she has been sticking on very well in her races and may be too good for them here. Looks to get a clear lead again and may be hard to run down. Back straight out at around $4.

Proven straight track performer who is super genuine and honest and most likely aimed for this race which he has won for the last two years. Fought the finish right out here last start and likely to sit right on the speed today behind the favourite the 7-OXLEY ROAD and there isnít that much else in the way of speed in this race. Likely that these two will draw away to fight the race out, and despite carrying 5kgs more than his rival, he is tough enough to pull away from them here over the 1200M. Back straight out at around $4.

QUINELA: Race 5: 2,5,11,12,13 boxed x $5 = 50%
Probably still a little under-rated, but really you canít do much wrong when you draw well and sit on-speed which she keeps doing and putting herself into the race at the right time. Beat most of these last start, she has been kept to under a mile in most of the Melbourne runs, but note that she has multiple 2000M wins back in Tasmania. Always love to back fit, on-speed, in-form mares in these feature mares races. Back her each-way at around $11 which looks well over the odds and box up a quinella with her main Tassie rival the 2-MYSTIC JOURNEY who looks ready to win, but not a huge fan of her drawn inside horses, the 11-HARMONY ROSE who we suspect is going to run a race at odds today leading, the improving 13-FLYING MASCOT and throw in a strong finishing Sydney sider the 12-KIKU as a different form line.

Big field down the straight and this feature 3YO sprint is normally a really tough slog won by the strongest finishing horse. Have to say this year there actually doesnít seem to be that much speed with the 4-IN THE CONGO leading and the 9-EXTREME WARRIOR and 7-KALLOS sitting just off and think that means those with the sit are going to be pretty hard to beat and suspect wider will be better down the straight. This one has drawn (15), will sit close to the speed, and really liked the win here last start when he was actually going away from them on the line and he may be one on the improve who can do something in this at around $11.

QUINELLA: Race 9: 11#1,6,9,14,16 x $5 = 100%
Flying sprinting mare who looks to have gone up a notch this time in and she has always shown she has a fair bit of talent. She flew the gates from a wide barrier at Geelong last start and went to the lead and nothing got near her and she was going away from them on the line. Drawn outside barrier here and good chance if the outside is faster she will head to the outside rail and just go for it and may be hard to run down again. Back each way at around $12 and anchor in a quinella with the 1-SEPTEMBER RUN who finally gets back to her preferred Flemington straight, the 6-MARBOOSHA who was good down the straight this time last year, the on-speed 9-BALLISITC LOVER, the 14-BLESS HER who looks ready to win, and roughie 16-NEVER TALK who needs some give in the ground and was great finishing on late last start at Caulfield.

Nothing like starting Derby Day off with a long-shot winner. This one is a maiden, but two runs this time in have been full of promise and both times he loomed up like he was the winner, only to just finish on the run. Fitter for those two runs back, was entered for the MV Vase last week on a Derby path, but assumed they SCR as that was coming up too quickly and have aimed for this race instead. This isnít the strongest edition of the Carbine Club Stakes, well drawn, and think he may have a nice turn of foot when let loose today and will do something at around $35 to kick Cup Week off in style.

QUINELLA: Race 6: 1,2,6,7,16 boxed x $10 = 100%
This one was last coming up to the turn in the MV Vase, and made the longest and widest run in the race from the furthest back and wasnít beaten very far at all, it was some run. Well drawn today and can settle on speed and suspect he is going to be in the finish here at around $20. Back each way and box up a pretty confident value quinella with the main winning chances 1-FORGOT YOU, 2-TUTUKAKA and other on-speed roughie the 6-CHARACTER and the staying 16-TEEWATERS. Keen to have a crack at this quinella at odds, and have taken it again in the Wonder Bet as a trifecta.

QUINELLA: Race 8: 1,3,6,14,15 boxed x $5 = 50%
Back in the good olí days when this was the Emirates Stakes on the last day of the carnival this is exactly the sort of horse you wanted to get on, a strong finishing lightly weighted roughie. Still no reason why we canít do the same today, he has been racing in sensational form all spring, drawn wide to sit back and run on late and really made substantial ground late last start. 1600M is the query, but you are getting $27 about a horse that has run first or second in 6 of his last 7 starts. Suspect he is going to give this Group 1 a decent shake today. Back each way and take a quinella with the very consistent miler 3-SUPERSTORM as the top pick, the improving 14-MR BRIGHTSIDE, expect the 1-ZOUTORI to improve here back on a firmer track at odds ($34 seems well overs), and the strong finishing Sydney miler the 6-ARAMAYO.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 9: 5-MINHAAJ at around $5
Talented sprinter who did win last start in Sydney but has a history of mixing her form and probably want to see her again before backing with any confidence. Drawn inside down the straight, suspect wider will be better and the race will suit some of the strong finishers and donít think she should currently be favourite in this big field. Risking.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into the prize pool for a Sydney novelty race.
TRIFECTA: Race 6: 1,2 / 1,2,6,7,16 / 1,2,3,4,6,7,13,16 x $5 = 10 %
We think there is a nice trifecta to be found in the VRC Derby, where the 1-FORGOT YOU, 2-TUTUKAKA look the main winning chances, and the 6-CHARACTER, 7-JUNGLE MAGNATE, 16-TEEWATERS look good value place chances. Take them to fight out the finish and go wide for third with long-shot outsiders like the 13-EL ROCKO to try and snare a decent collect.

Races 6,7,8,9: 1,2 / 3,6,7,9,10 / 1,3,6,14,15 / 1,6,9,11,16 x $20 = 8%
Looks a wide open quaddie today and think you need to go wide, wider and widest. So be brave in the first leg the Derby and just narrow it down to the main winning chances the 1-FORGOT YOU, 2-TUTUKAKA and go wide in the other three legs and make sure you throw in some roughies like Race 7: 3-INGRATIATING, 10-EXTREME FIGHT, Race 8: 1-ZOUTORI, 15-KING MAGNUS, and Race 9: 11-RAINBIEL, 16-NEVER TALK,

The Tips: