FLEMINGTON: DERBY DAY - 29th October 2022
Track: HEAVY (8) - Weather: HORRIBLE - Rail: TRUE

Betting Portfolio ($100):
Plenty of steady rain heading into the weekend and over Thursday and Friday and looks like we are in for a pretty wet Cup Week. Only a few showers forecast Saturday, but with two days of decent solid rain leading in hard to imagine this track being much better than the worse side of SOFT and more likely to be HEAVY. We may even get heavy tracks for the entire week. Rail back to TRUE so we should get an even racing pattern, but keep an eye out over the week with plenty of rain and plenty of racing so the racing pattern will be important. Barriers are placed middle for the straight races so they are likely to come down the middle in those.

Great to see the ever confusing change of names continuing with the Dalgety staying race now called the Archer. Nine races of near capacity fields so this is basically a punting feast on the best racing day of the year, but letís hope the fields donít get torn apart by scratchings. Some big fields and lots of value around especially in the straight races, so letís double to $100. Pretty even races and there wasnít much between a few getting into the selections and the suggested bets, most of the bets are double figure odds so we really only need to find one to make it a profitable day.

Derby Preview

We have our standard Derby field with a few stand out classy types or improving stayers and a lot of also rans in the lead-up races who might struggle to be competitive. Prospect of a wet track though will make it a pretty tough slog for 3YOs over 2500M and may even many of these out. The Derby is one of the strongest form reference races going around, the winner invariably comes out of the first three home in the Caulfield Classic or MV Vase so normally you can just focus in on the best runs from those races (and yes, shame that VITRUOUS CIRCLE isnít going around as he probably would have won this based on his last run). Speed looks to be mainly the roughies such as 16-LEHNDORFF and 14-HIGHLAND BLAZE leading, from the 5-PERICLES, 17-ABERFELDIE BOY and the 1-SHARPíNíSMART should get a pretty good run here from a good barrier.

Runner by runner comments

1-SHARPíNíSMART is the classy Sydney stayer who just fought out the finish last start to win and the form through ELLIPTICAL there would stack up you would think. That looked a pretty strong Spring Champion last start and he has shown a real will to win in both his last two starts in tight finishes. Handles it wet no worries and has much better career stats than many of these. Well drawn and likely to go forward here and get the run of the race too. Really canít knock form and looks one of the hardest to beat.

2-BERKELEY SQUARE has always been a Flemington staying type and win here two starts back from last weaving through the bunched pack was sensational in a very strong form race. Highly competitive in a bunched finish in the Caulfield Guineas and always have to pay attention to the MV Vase winner. Thought he might be vulnerable there around a tight MV circuit, and he did give the leader some ground around the turn but really knuckled down and chased him down and proved he could handle it wet as well. Drawn well, hopefully they make good use of the barrier here and ride more forward. Wouldnít want him to drop too far back here in a field with a lot of one-pacers ploughing away on a wet track, but given the right ride you would think he just about wins.

4-MR MAESTRO has been absolutely dominant in his lead up races and seems a very versatile type who can just camp on the speed and show a class turn of foot to win. Dominant at Flemington three starts back on a very wet track and he was running away from them there, had the race won at the top of the straight two starts back, and last start despite getting into a pretty ordinary spot in the run as a short priced favourite he still managed to pull out what was needed to win. Just love the way he travels, he sits just off the speed under a hold ready to unleash. Wet track wonít be an issue, he seems pretty strong at the end of his races so distance should be OK, itís probably just the barrier that is the concern Ė drawn well and sitting on the speed you would think he just wins this. So we just have to trust the jockey here, big field of stayers but most wonít go forward so assuming he can find a spot and really his form leading into this is outstanding Ė think he if wore blue or was from Sydney he would be closer to $3. Clear top pick and the one to beat.

5-PERICLES has only had the three career starts and in first preparation, but definitely handles it wet and can race on speed here. Kicked clear on the turn last start at MV but was run down late, but was stepping up pretty sharply in distance from 1400M to 2000M. He will probably look a winning chance at the top of the straight here, suspect he gets outstayed though by some of his main rivals again. Does tick the box of being a MV Vase place getter though.

6-GRAND PIERRO was a really strong staying effort in the Geelong Classic, which is normally a pretty awful form reference for this race. He dropped a long way back there, but they set a decent tempo and he really had to work hard to chase down those in front of him and it was a really solid staying effort. Unknown on wet tracks and can see some synthetic track runs in his form which often suggests they were avoiding wet tracks. Another drawn wide and likely to drop well back, he stuck with some of these two starts back at Flemington, probably a pretty decent place chance at odds.

7-MANZOICE wasnít given much chance dropping back from an outside barrier last start in the Spring Champion and he worked home pretty well there. Strong finisher who has showed some potential before that and liking the good barrier draw in this. Unknown on heavy ground, but think he is probably the best rough chance in this race through what might be stronger form lines.

8-FOUJITA SAN really hasnít lived up to expectations this time in, was a competitive effort at MV two starts back, but does seem to have an issue with wet tracks. Even enough effort in an even Caulfield Guineas, but HITOTSU last year is the only horse in the last 30 years to win the Derby straight off a run in the Caulfield Guineas and he was coming off an excellent run. Hard to consider.

9-SKYPHIOS unleashed a sensational burst to win here over 1800M back in July but has been set a decent task this spring with just the two runs in, the Caulfield Guineas and the MV Vase. Back to Flemington probably suits and really if he repeated his last run here he would be competitive in this, but bit hard to know what is going on here, seems a pretty strange preparation for this race.

10-MURAMASA is an improving type, but itís pretty hard to win the Derby at start number 4 so this might be coming a little too quickly for him and still in his first preparation. Really showed a lot of fight last start when beaten by the (4), and good barrier is a plus here and should handle it wet. Think he probably finds one better, but he does tick the box of being a good run and place getter in the Caulfield Classic so place chance.

11-FEARLESS KNIGHT is a maiden coming off mediocre QLD form, but worked home OK last start at Caulfield. Should handle it wet. Hard to see him turning the tables on the three from that race that finished in front of him though. No

12-BERARDINO is still a maiden, but has been showing promising signs with strong chasing finish at Sandown, went to run into the race at Caulfield but stopped in the heavy going, snuck through on the inside without a clear run at Flemington and then stuck to worse going inside at MV. Suspect he is a query on heavy going, and he has been racing against most of these last few starts now and always found a few better so hard to see him winning this.

13-DISTRUSTFUL AWARD has been showing some promise and was a solid staying win from last at Mildura and worked home well at Caulfield to finish in the placings. Might be better on firmer ground? Another in first preparation. Drawn out and likely to drop well back and might not have the turn of foot to really figure here, but is hard and fit with the 2 x 2000M runs this time in so a rough place chance.

14-HIGHLAND BLAZE is the rank outsider of the field, but career stats are actually OK and you are getting $150 about a last start winner here. Still doing a bit wrong in his races, ran off the track on the bend last start but straightened up and won and raced a bit erratic start before that. Hard to see him figuring here, but he does stay at least and handles it wet.

15-KINGíS CROSSING is a maiden drawn wide who was right in the finish at Geelong but showed little in the way of form before that. Last run at Geelong was pretty impressive, went very wide and early before the turn, hit the lead and only really run down the last 50M. Might be on the rapid improve now he is out in distance. Hard to see him winning this, but rough place chance.

16-LEHNDORFF has had only 3 starts and first preparation, but another $100 shot coming off a last start win (was only a field of six). Drawn 1 and the likely leader here but unlikely to be a factor in this.

17-ABERFELDIE BOY is another with only 3 starts and first preparation. Not far off them at Geelong but did get a better run than those who finished in front of him and tougher again in this. No

Summary

Usually we can spot some value in this race and are keen to bet, but really think the top three chances stand out here this year and hard to see anything outside of the 1-SHARPíNíSMART, 2-BERKELEY SQUARE, 4-MR MAESTRO winning this and they look the only winning hopes to us. A lot of it is going to come down to luck in the run and who gets the best position, but actually want to stick with the 4-MR MAESTRO as top pick despite the bad barrier Ė really love the way he travels into his races. The 2-BERKELEY SQUARE hopefully ridden more forward from a good barrier the main danger and the tough 1-SHARPíNíSMART for third, but really just the obvious picks. Value runners are the 7-MANZOICE who is probably the best roughie, and the 6-GRAND PIERRO, 10-MURAMASA, 13-DISTRUSTFUL AWARD if you are looking to build a wide trifecta.

Suggested bets

BEST WIN: Race 7: 4-MR MAESTRO $10 WIN
The VRC Derby really seems to be down to the three main winning chances and despite the bad barrier draw keen to stick with this one Ė think if he gets a decent run he should just about win. He has won his last three on the trot, two of them were here and extremely impressive. He travelled on the speed under a hold and had the race won a long, long way out in his Flemington runs, and last start ended up in a bad position in the run but still managed to show his class to win. Just assuming in a staying race with many of these unlikely to go forward the jockey can get him positioned just outside runners and a few from the lead and if that happens he is going to be very hard to beat. Happy to back straight out at around $7.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 1: 8-WATADEEL $5 EW
QUINELLA: Race 1: 8-WATADEEL#6-ELKINGTON ROAD, 4-THE FORTUNE TELLER x $4 = 200%
Not much between the 8-WATADEEL and 6-ELKINGTON ROAD here and both have good wet track form, but tend to want to go for the fresher horse in this race as those who have been through the Guineas can often be past the end of their preparation. Go back and watch the win of this one 1st up at Geelong, he scooted through on the inside and won easily on a heavy track, and suspect he just finished on his run late 2nd up and out to the 1600m at Caulfield when he loomed like the winner. Fitter again with the two runs in, lightly raced and on the way up and should handle it wet. Back each way at around $10 and save on the quinella with the main dangers the 6-ELKINGTON ROAD, 4-THE FORTUNE TELLER.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 4: 5-WHAKAMANA $7 EW
Really solid staying type of mare who was finishing on strongly out wide here two starts back on a heavy track to just miss and then worked home well on the inside (worse going) at Caulfield. Like that she is drawn out to get to the middle of the track and plough home in the wet conditions and think she might outstay them here at around $16.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 5: 16-LORD VLADIVOSTOK $6 EW
QUINELLA: Race 5: 5-CROSSHAVEN, 16-LORD VLADIVOSTOK, 7-TURAATH boxed x $6 = 200%
This one has been racing extremely well in Adelaide, last start he cruised into the race on the home turn, six wide and under a hold and just failed to hold on for the length of the straight but fought the race out strongly. Should be right at peak now with the three runs in, excellent soft track form so heavy should be OK, at the bottom of the weights and should be able to camp right on a moderate speed here over the Flemington 1400M. Looks an excellent each way bet at around $9 and letís hope there are not too many scratchings so the odds hold up. Save with a box quinella with the 5-CROSSHAVEN who is hard to run down over the Flemington 1400M and the classy 7-TURAATH.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 8: 12-YEARNING $7 EW
Class mare who has been looking for the 1600M this time in. Fitter for the two runs in which have both been excellent, flew home here 1st up when took a while to get clear and again last start had to slide between runners and across the field to get into clear running. Suspect she probably wants the track in the soft range, but like that she is drawn out to power home down the middle of the track and she is really strong over the 1600M. Main bet of the day at around $15.

TRIFECTA: Race 2: 7,8 / 2,3,7,8,12 / 1,2,3,7,8,12,14 x $10 = 20.83%
Going to have a bit of a play with a trifecta in this race where wet track stayer 7-REALM OF FLOWERS looks really hard to beat and 8-SUREFIRE is the main winning danger, but we suspect the 2-GREAT HOUSE might do something at odds and set us up for a nice trifecta dividend as a good roughie. He has great wet track form, looks like something went wrong last start in the Caulfield Cup and form is probably better than it looks through top notch races, where he hasnít always been suited. So take a wide trifecta and hope something at odds gets in the placings and it should pay well.

BEST ROUGH: Race 6: 2-BEST OF BORDEAUX $2.50 EW
QUINELLA: Race 6: 2,3,6,15,17 boxed x $5 = 50%
Looks a wide open feature 3YO down the straight with plenty of long shot chances but we like the run the 2-BEST OF BORDEAUX is likely to get here, on-speed from a wide barrier and probably gets a cosy run on speed out wide in this. Suspect wider may be better later in the day, definitely handles it wet and was competitive in open class Group 1 race last week so looks a good value chance at around $20. The 6-BUENOS NOCHES looks hard to beat with strong finishing straight track form, the 3-SEJARDAN was sensational wining last week and looks suited down the straight, the 15-IN SECRET has the class and the 17-CíEST MAGIQUE hasnít had the best luck last few and will be flying home late so box up a wide quinella with some of these value runners as well and those drawn out wide.

BEST ROUGH: Race 9: 20-LIBIAMO $2.50 EW
We are going to jump on one at massive odds in the last, currently $70, in a wide open field. Really liked the run of this one last start when stormed home late out wide to just miss 4th and looks really well suited down the straight from an outside barrier as a strong finisher. Does tend to drop well back in the run, might need luck to get to the outside, but a big field down the straight should suit and worth a little investment in the last race, plus a box quinella in the Wonder Bet below.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 1: 12-PUNGO at around $3.30
Letís get any Lay Of The Day pain out of the way in the first race where we have a short priced favourite who is coming off a lead all the way 5 horse maiden win in Sydney. Obviously has a big spruik on it and stable has to be respected, but plenty at $10 we would much rather back in this and this is a substantial step up in class. Happy to risk.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into some fancy gumboots or a hover craft for a wet week at Flemington.
QUINELLA: Race 9: 2,7,9,15,20 x $5 = 50%
We have already pushed for $70 chance 20-LIBIAMO in this race, and the top pick the 9-A VERY FINE RED seems great odds at $20 for a last start winner who is a strong finisher and handles it wet and that sets us up for a nice wide box quinella in the last. Really comes down to what the classy favourite the 2-ASFOORA does, but just wonder if the inside barrier might be a disadvantage at the end of the day down the straight. Stacks of value also in the 7-WRITTEN BEAUTY with good straight track form and the wet tracker the 15-SNEAKY PAIGE.

SUGGESTED QUADDIE:
Races 6,7,8,9: 1,2,3,6,15,17 / 2,4 / 9,12,16 / 2,7,9,11,15,20 x $20 = 9.3%
Letís make it very clear, this quaddie is extremely tough so we will need to be a bit brave and a bit tactical and narrow it down to just the 4-MR MAESTRO, 2-BERKELEY SQUARE in the Derby. So load up the first and last legs and hope for a result, and lots of value in the third leg with just the 12-YEARNING, 16-SHEíS LICKETYSPLIT, 9-BELLE PLAISIR in a brave or foolish quaddie attempt.

The Tips:

Race 1: 8-WATADEEL, 6-ELKINGTON ROAD, 4-THE FORTUNE TELLER
Race 2: 7-REALM OF FLOWERS, 2-GREAT HOUSE, 8-SUREFIRE
Race 3: 8-TRIPLE MISSILE, 6-GRAVINA, 12-CURRAN
Race 4: 5-WHAKAMANA, 2-PAVITRA, 3-SO DAZZLING
Race 5: 16-LORD VLADIVOSTOK, 5-CROSSHAVEN, 7-TURAATH
Race 6: 6-BUENOS NOCHES, 2-BEST OF BORDEAUX, 3-SEJARDAN
Race 7: 4-MR MAESTRO, 2-BERKELEY SQUARE, 1-SHARPíNíSMART
Race 8: 12-YEARNING, 16-SHEíS LICKETYSPLIT, 9-BELLE PLAISIR
Race 9: 9-A VERY FINE RED, 20-LIBIAMO, 7-WRITTEN BEAUTY