Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: CLOUDY - Rail: OUT 9M

Betting Portfolio ($100):
Finally we get a good weather day after a wet, windy and cold Cup Week that has been hard going at times. Track is a GOOD(4) and likely to get firmer so be wary of those who will want some give in the ground. It was quite noticeable on Oaks Day that those on-speed were sticking on well (when it was predicted the racing pattern would be otherwise), and nearer the inside actually seemed better going down the straight. You would think the track would wear coming to the end of the week, but rail has gone out again and donít be surprised if the racing pattern continues to favour those on-speed on a firm track.

This is the very first Champions Day, and the Mackinnon Stakes is sadly no more. But we have a great day of racing lined up and the fields for the three features the Sprint, the Mile and the Stakes are top notch from a quality horse point of view. We will do the form preview for the Champion Stakes which is effectively the feature race, but really any of these three could take top billing on the program. We will double up to $100 again with plenty of good races to bet on last day of the Cup Carnival.

This will be the end of the Turf Deli Spring Campaign 2022 with a pop-up edition for Zipping Classic Day in a few weeks time. Thanks to everyone who reads the form previews and supports us on social media and we hope you have had a collect somewhere along the way.

Champion Stakes Preview

We bid farewell to the Mackinnon Stakes (1936-2021) which has been one of punterís favourite races over the years. However, instead we do get one of the best races of the season with many of the Cox Plate horses going around again. The 2-ZAAKI seems the obvious leader here, but wouldnít be surprised if one of the 3YOs 10-ELLIPTICAL or 11-MR MAESTRO goes forward here with the light weight and tries to control the speed and the other on-speed horse is the 8-HINGED who looks to get a very good run here on the speed.

Runner by runner comments

1-IíM THUNDERSTRUCK has stepped up time and time again this time in, despite being a query past 1600M he has proven he can mix it with the best of them this distance at WFA. Always drops back so he does need some luck and the right tempo, but sensational effort to win here four starts back and strongly fought out the finish last two starts against the (7). Cox Plate effort was top notch where he really shouldnít have got that close to the winner based on how much ground he gave him on the turn. Flemington suits, long straight to finish off and suspect he can run over his main rival today. One to beat.

2-ZAAKI just doesnít seem to be in his sizzling form this time in, he has got perfect runs in most of his races, and looked ready to unleash, but has struggled to get to the lead and been run down late. Hasnít been beaten very far at all, but just we are used to him being more dominant. He can get to the lead here and best races are when he controls the speed, so a lot may depend on whether if one of the 3YOs take him on. Really his form isnít that bad, but suspect punters have taken a set against him this time in so he is probably value based on his best form.

3-MOíUNGA has had a competitive spring, but best form is definitely on dry tracks and placed 3/4 starts here at Flemington. Been well held by a few of these last two starts and hard to see him improving enough to beat them home, but dry track and Flemington will assist. Not really proven at the 2000M is the main issue, did run a distance third in this race last year off a similar Cox Plate run. Prefer place.

4-MAXIMAL put in a good on-speed run in the Turnbull on a dry track and hasnít shown much in wet track runs either side. Guess he is back to Flemington 2000M, dry track and should sit just off the speed here, but he has had such a stop start preparation itís hard to get enthused about his chances.

5-HEZASHOCKA is a drop back grind home type who was pretty unlucky not to win last start in Sydney. That was a handicap though and he comes into this at WFA and doesnít really have the turn of foot to be a factor in this.

6-BANKERíS CHOICE has been a frustrating horse to follow as he does have some ability but tends to drop too far back in his races and run on too late. Some promising runs early this preparation and swooped home out wide in the MV Crystal Mile, but that was the racing pattern and do wonder if he just handled the heavy track better than the rest of the field. First time out to 2000M and not sure form is strong enough to be competitive in this.

7-ANAMOE is the current champion WFA star of Australia, and he makes his own luck often getting into the right spot in the race like he did in the Cox Plate. Plenty of unlucky runs behind him there, including GOLD TRIP the Melbourne Cup winner and the 1-IíM THUNDERSTRUCK so would have been interesting to have that race run at Flemington and see if we got a different result. He doesnít win by big margins, but simply keeps winning and keeps answering the challenge so that is all you can ask really. Note that he has never ran at Flemington before! Likely to box seat again here and looks hard to beat, really just a matter if the (1) can get his nose in front over the roomier Flemington. Extremely hard to beat.

8-HINGED is a very interesting runner and interesting that stable has gone to this race instead of the Matriarch Stakes over 2000M for the females, but guess there is plenty of good value prize money on offer here even for the place getters. Ran on very well last week from an outside barrier when she had to drop back in the run and her normal pattern is to race on-speed and she should be able to box-seat on the speed here from a good barrier. She is probably going to run a race here, not beaten far in an Epsom two starts back, 2000M first time but she is going to get a good run and a good value roughie in this.

9-MUSTANG VALLEY is a NZ visitor with an excellent wet track record over there but dry track record looks a bit suspect. Market will tell the story and doesnít seem to be much interest at the moment.

10-ELLIPTICAL has had a really good 3YO season and was poking through late in the Caulfield Guineas, and only just grabbed in the last few strides in the Spring Champion stakes in Sydney which has been an extremely strong form race with the Derby quinella and Oaks winner both coming through that race. Interesting that they bypassed the Derby and went to this race instead and likely to go forward here and may even lead with jockey Williams on board and the light weight. Canít knock form and suspect he is going to get specked in the betting here as does seem to have the form on the board.

11-MR MAESTRO is one we have been following all season and despite tipping him last week in the Derby and finishing fourth still thought it was an excellent effort. He was basically beaten by the outside barrier last week, he just settles so well in the run and was trotting behind them before he made his run, he just ran out of puff or didnít run out the 2500M but it was still a pretty solid run. Big question is how much he has left after a long campaign and a Derby run backing up within a week, but can see him getting a pretty good run here again just camping in the speed and think a repeat of some of his previous Flemington wins would put him in the finish here. Good rough chance.

Looks a really good tactical race between the two heavy weights the 1-IíM THUNDERSTRUCK vs 7-ANAMOE, but also suspect one of the on-speed horses is going to get into the finish here with a moderate tempo up front. Happy to go with the 1-IíM THUNDERSTRUCK on top to turn the tables on 7-ANAMOE back to Flemington, and roughie 3YO 11-MR MAESTRO, but donít be surprised if the 10-ELLIPTICAL or 8-HINGED gets into the finish here. Great race to watch.

Suggested bets

Staying mare in career best form and pretty confident she would have been in the finish of the Melbourne Cup the way the race was run. She was lame the day before and didnít have time to recover, so assuming that issue is fixed by now and if she is without issue she should just about win this. Strong finisher, Flemington suits, the market will probably tell the story here, if she shortens and is well backed then ďtheyĒ know there are no issues, if she drifts then maybe she is still under an injury cloud. Happy to stick with her straight out at around $6.

FIRST FOUR: 1,7 / 1,7 / 8,10,11 / Field x $5 = 10.41%
FIRST FOUR: 1,7 / 8,10,11 / 1,7 / Field x $5 = 10.41%
Really exciting to see the return clash of 1-IíM THUNDERSTRUCK vs 7-ANAMOE and there has only been a long neck and a long head between these two last two meetings, and you could argue that the (1) is better suited at Flemington with the long straight run home. Cox Plate run was outstanding where the (7) got a box-seat run and huge effort from this one to get so close on the line. Good chance he can turn the tables today and not sure he should be double the odds of his main rival based on the last two runs. Back straight out at around $4, and letís play with some First Fours where we suspect the 3YO 11-MR MAESTRO is going to go forward and run a race at odds as a value runner.

This one has had a great spring and tried really hard every start, but itís pretty clear his best form is on dry tracks and over 1600M so pretty surprised at the $7 on offer in this - especially seeing this race is now WFA and not a handicap so he looks extremely well suited here. Doesnít look to be much speed at all and he should be able to lead and control the tempo and we have seen how hard he is to run down when he does that. Fought off all challengers over 1800M at Sandown, was fighting out the finish till the last 100M at Caulfield and not beaten far on a track that was too wet for him in the Cox Plate. Really looks outstanding value at $7, especially if there is an on-pace pattern and main bet of the day.

QUINELLA: Race 2: 17-LOOK SHARPISH#12,13,19 x $6 = 200%
Consistent staying type who looks ready to do something now with the three runs this time in, and dry track form is excellent. Ran up behind them last 50M at MV with nowhere to go and should have been right in the finish there. Currently an emergency, but a stack of scratchings so pretty certain to get a start and he can race more handy here in a race where there looks to be no speed and most of the main chances are going to drop well back in the run. Back each way at around $10 and anchor in a quinella with the 19-WUDDZZ who was excellent late at first Australian run, the 12-FLASH FEELING strong finisher who was scratched from Thurs for this race and the 13-SHULTZY as the well-drawn on-pacer as value.

QUINELLA: Race 1: 4,11,12,14 boxed x $3 = 50%
Full punting confession that we have tipped this one his last few starts and are going yet again, but he just hasnít been able to find the right race and has been scratched quite a few times from wet tracks. Finally gets a dry track today and his run at Sandown two starts back was excellent where he led till the last 50M along the inside which was the worse going. First race of the day, can jump and lead here from the inside barrier and if there is an on-pace pattern he is going to be very hard to run down at $26. Save on a quinella with the 11-ELUDING who will also sit handy, the in-form 14-FRENCH EMPEROR and the 4-ADELAIDE ACE who will also appreciate getting back onto a firm track.

QUINELLA: Race 3: 3-ANGRY SKIES, 5-EL PADRINO, 16-SWEETENED boxed x $3 = 100%
One of the toughest races of the day in a very open 3YO 1400M race, but this one has been racing well, fought out the finished three starts back at MV, got caught wide on a leaders track the start after and plugged away on a heavy track last start. Much better suited lobbing on-speed from a good barrier here over the Flemington 1400M and this looks a suitable race at around $25. Save on a box quinella with the consistent but badly drawn 3-ANGRY SKIES and the promising strong finisher the 16-SWEETENED who still does a bit wrong but might run over the top of them here.

Not seriously taking on the 1-NATURE STRIP in the feature sprint who is just about impossible to beat down the straight, but we think this one is the value runner in this race. She has always had a stack of ability, but hasnít always found the right races, she has often been hindered by wet tracks, or on-speed biases as she does like to drop back and run on. Impressive winner down the straight here last Saturday and golden rule of Cup Week is to always back up on horses that have run well that are going around again Ė they have very little time to lose their form. She beat one that is going pretty well here last week so think she is over the odds at $50 in this, but probably more the place than the win and good value runner for trifectas and first fours with the favourite.

Normally in these feature mares races the class mares win, but we are not sure how well some of these are going. This one is over from Adelaide and has been racing very well over there, she is still very lightly raced and put in some great runs in the late 3YO filly staying races over there. She was dropping well back and running on last preparation, this time in she has learnt to race on-speed and that is going to be a big plus here. Despite up in class, she can stay the 2000M and we can knock many of her opposition on firm tracks so worth a little dabble at $50.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 7: 9-MY OBERON at around $4.50
Import who was impressive first Australian start winner last start at MV, but that was on a HEAVY(8) track and not sure if the rest of the field really handled it. Form may be flattered as a result and coming into a pretty strong Group 1 1600M on a dry track would want better odds to get on him today and prefer to risk.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a deposit for a new Flemington racecourse apartment.
TRIFECTA: Race 5: 4,7 / 4,7,8,12 / 2,3,4,5,7,8,11,12 x $5 = 13.88%
Aside from our roughie 12-THE MAP the 4-ATISHU was extremely unlucky here last week and the 7-FOXY FRIDA has been looking for the 2000M so they look the main winning chances and donít be surprised if some of the longer odds horses get into the finish here for a value trifecta.

Races 6,7,8,9: 1,13 / 3,4,5 / 1,7,11 / 6,8,9,18,20 x $20 = 22.22%
Probably not much value in this weeks Quaddie and good chance the likes of 1-NATURE STRIP / 4-ALLIGATOR BLOOD / 1-IíM THUNDERSTRUCK, 7-ANAMOE wins so that doesnít leave much room for a value collect. You can probably go one out on the 1-NATURE STRIP, but lets throw the roughie 13-ARGENTIA in as a blow out in the first leg and add the 11-MR MAESTRO in the feature race, but suspect it will be a pretty skinny quaddie probably.

The Tips: