Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: WINDY - Rail: OUT 8M

Betting Portfolio ($100):
Warm weather heading into the weekend and we should end up on a firm track again with a bit of wind around, so even though the track should be worn by the end of the week just keep an eye out if the racing pattern favours those on-speed like last week. Down the straight the outside will be the best and probably wider the better like it was on Oaks Day.

We finally managed to find some winners on Oaks Day, and even get some money back from the Suggested Bets. Champion (Stakes) Day is always a pretty good punting day with a good mix of races and we are pretty keen to have a bet this week. Probably not a huge amount of value around but plenty of confident each way bets here so lets double up to $100 again and try and hit some collects on the last day.

Reminder that at the moment for Spring Campaign 2023 we wonít be posting tips till Saturday morning (earlier if time allows). Feature race preview at the bottom of this post.

QUINELLA: Race 4: 4-LUNCIES#8,9,11 x $6 = 200%
Solid stayer when right and run in the Bendigo Cup was excellent, was only third up there, up from 1900M to 2400M, carrying top weight and 5kgs more than the rest of the field and he ran into the race well and fought out the finish. Stack of improvement to come off that run and he looks ready to win here. Ran 2nd in this race last year behind SOULCOMBE. Have confident each way bet at around $8 and anchor in the quinella with the value runner the 8-KUKERACHA who should settle on-speed and stick on well, the 11-SO DAZZLING who ran on well up sharply in distance in the MV Cup and the improving favourite the 9-MURAMASA who looks to be one on the way up.

She looks absolutely primed for this race and this isnít a particularly strong field for this race with quite a few lacking form or queries at the 2000M. Set for this race, fitter for the three runs in and Coongy run was excellent when made a run wide on the turn and fought out the finish and the inside was the far better going that day. She likes firm ground and runs the distance, and she ran 2nd in this race last year. Can jump and settle handy here behind the leader the 6-DENY KNOWLEDGE and will probably be the one that has to come out and run her down. Think his market is totally wrong, remembering she won a St George (Peter Young) over autumn beating a Melbourne Cup winner. She should be favourite, so actually suggesting grabbing the $8 now. Main bet of the day.

BEST EACH WAY: Race 8: 9-DUAIS $7.50 EW
She just seems to be racing better than ever this spring, flashed home in the Underwood and was finishing so fast she was ahead just after the line, no chance at the back of the field in the Caulfield Stakes behind a tear away leader, and then who knows in the Cox Plate when she seems to have plenty to give. Flemington, 2000M and dry track are all big pluses and she was ridden a bit more forward last start because of on-speed pattern. Ridden cold and back of the field here she can run these down in the straight and give jockey Oliver a feature race farewell. Each way at around $7.

QUINELA: Race 9: 7-BEWS#10,11,12,14 x $4 = 100%
This one has been unlucky in all recent straight track starts, was bursting through three starts back and even protested and probably should have won, and then was leading on rails two starts back when winner came down the outside. Last start win was pretty good, when dropped back and burst through the pack with a serious winning burst. Racing really well and seems to enjoy the straight so back each way at around $8, and anchor in a value quinella with the seriously good improver 10-REY MAGNERIO, the value runner the 11-RIVER NOIRE who may get a soft lead out in the better going, the under-rated 12-PRARIE FLOWER and the other on-speed horse the 14-GIVE GIGGLES

QUINELLA: Race 3: 6,9,12,16 boxed x $6 = 100%
Just a little play quinella in this race where the short priced favourite the 6-SCHWARZ looks very hard to beat but this 3YO race can through up some funny results and often those on the improve can step up off maiden wins. So box up the 12-ALSONSO, 16-MODOWN and the 9-MISS ARIA might do something out to 1400M here on a big track.

Very honest and genuine 1400M-1600M horse when in form and he looks ready to do something now with the two runs in which have both been competitive. Note that he drops sharply in weight from last start and good chance he will go forward here and either lead or sit handy, he has run some great races up on the speed so you would think they roll the dice today. Genuine rough chance at around $18.

Former class sprinter who hasnít shown his best form for a while, and he did win a Group 1 Goodwood Hcp back in 2022, hence he has to carry weight against these. This isnít the strongest field going, there isnít huge amount of speed or pressure and like the way he worked home last start at MV out wide on a leaders track. Fitter for the two runs in and may be ready to do something here at around $16.

It is not impossible that the short-priced favourite the 8-IMPERATRIZ gets beaten here, bearing in mind that NATURE STRIP was beaten at $1.80 in this race last year, and there is decent quality opposition today. Racing down the straight is a totally different proposition, and whilst the favourite looks extremely hard to beat, she does need to prove herself down the straight. We are going to have a little something each way on the mighty 10-ASFOORA, she is racing better than ever this time in, she did kick and sprint and look the winner in the Moir before 8-IMPERATRIZ ran her down, but maybe we get a different story at Flemington. There doesnít seem to be a lot of speed here for a feature sprint so good chance this one can lead, or sit handy of a slow tempo and sprint and pinch this race at around $13.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 4: 2-DUKE DE SESSA at around $4.
One of the many imports come locals going around in these staying races and he has been racing in the top level races, but also not sure his form is good enough to be going around as second favourite in this. May step up down in class, but just on exposed form so far looks poor value.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a deposit for Flemington apartment
FIRST FOUR: Race 5: 4,5 / 4,5 / 6,8,9,12,13 / 3,6,8,9,10,12,13 x $5 = 8.33%
Pretty confident that the 4-STEINEM, 5-THALASSOPHILE fight out the race here as they have the best lead in form and proven over 2000M, and then itís a very even bunch behind them so good chance of decent First Four dividend.

Races 7,8,9,10: 7,8,10 / 1,6,7 / 1,9 / 7,8,9,10,11,12,14 x $20 = 15.6%
If we want to get a collect today we will have to try and get the short priced favourite beaten in the feature sprint, which actually isnít impossible so put in 7-IN SECRET, 10-ASFOORA as genuine dangers. Not much between the first few in the feature mile, but donít underestimate the 7-PRIDE OF JENNI backing in Cup week off a good win. Happy to go narrow on just the 9-DUAIS, 1-ZAAKI in the third leg and load up the last leg where there is the best chance of a result.

Feature Race Preview:

Small field for the Champion Stakes slash Mackinnon, but there is actually some depth here and think most of these have some chance. It is worth noting that those finishing back in the field in the Cox Plate have an extraordinary record in this race (both as the Champion Stakes and the Mackinnon). We are not talking winners, or even placegetters, but the horses that ran 4th to 8th in the Cox Plate have won this race 12 times since 2000 (23 runnings) which is a very impressive form line.

With a field on the smaller side this race could be a little more tactical and a good turn of foot may be important. Speed here is set by the 4-WEST WIND BLOWS who should lead, but you have to hope the international jockey gets the memo, and the 1-ZAAKI sitting outside him and donít think the favourite would want something to cross him here in a small field and tactical race. The 11-PROWESS sits handy behind them and gets the run of the race, from the 3-YOUNG WERTHER and 5-ZEYREK and they can probably ride the 9-DUAIS at the back of the field today with no on-speed pattern to try and overcome. Be interesting to see how fast they go, if the 1-ZAAKI crosses and controls the speed he will be hard to beat.

Runner by Runner comments:

1-ZAAKI goes around a bit under-rated these days, as he did in this race last year which he won (and note that was coming off a 4th in the Cox Plate), leading and kicking on the rails. Competitive on-speed in the Cox Plate when not beaten far in a bunched finish and note that he had missed a run in the lead-up preparation as a late scratching. Unbeaten this track and distance and has won this race the last two years, so winning it for a third year in the row would put him in pretty elite company. Probably gets a bit more pressure in the lead here, but highly likely to be in the finish again and a good winning chance.

2-HUETOR is one we havenít seen in Melbourne this spring, and a pretty talented WFA 2000M horse on his day. Fitter for the two runs in, and has battled it out with the (1) quite a few times usually up in Brisbane. Worked home well late at the end of the race last start. Good 2000M form, probably does prefer some give in the ground and guess the query is we havenít seen much of him down in Melbourne so would like to see him produce his best. Will start long odds, but would be competitive on best form.

3-YOUNG WERTHER has been an extremely frustrating horse to follow since his break out 3YO spring season, and we made the rule of only ever backing him at Flemington as he does seem to keep his best form for here and on a dry track. Did string together two wins in a row earlier this campaign. Coming off a 5 week freshen is a strange preparation for this race, and he has been up a while so concern would be if he would have the improvement to be a factor here. Probably jumps on speed and get a good run and he is not normally far away, but hard to see him being competitive against these.

4-WEST WIND BLOWS is racing in peak form with a tough run here in the Turnbull when he made a very early move wide and stuck on well in the straight and then fought out the Caulfield Cup finish and the form there held up on Tuesday. Tough rolling on-speed type who should take up the lead here. Speed on in the Caulfield Cup suited this one, even though he didnít take up the running and ended up back in the field. Concern would be a smaller field and a more tactical race here and a few punters have not been happy with the rides of the international jockey this week. Would probably want to roll along on the speed in clear running, if the jockey lets something cross him again and he gets stuck inside runners in a tempo controlled race he may have a few issues. Chance, not sure we want to take the $3 and suspect a lot of punters feel that way as really on form he should be maybe even a bit shorter.

5-ZEYREK just got the lunge in last start to win in Sydney and had been safely held by a few going around here in starts before that. Dry track suits and can settle just off the speed here. Not really much in the way of market support for a last start Group 3 winner, so punters obviously think he will struggle against these. Probably not too far away though.

6-PINSTRIPED is a pretty strong miler who was set a task going up to 2000M in the Cox Plate at the top level. He did run on well in his only other start past 1600M and the Cox Plate wasnít run to suit backmarkers so maybe can forgive him that run. He was widest and at the back of the field there but dropped out. Would want a slow tempo he could sprint off to be a factor in this and up against some very strong 2000M horses hard to see him matching it with them.

7-BUCKAROO is an international coming into this off one local Sydney run and interesting that he wasnít in the market there, but seems to be some support for him today. Didnít really see that much in that run to justify any confidence about him improving today, though he is well drawn and the step up in distance will help. Prefer to see still.

8-MONTEFILIA can be a bit of a frustrating horse to follow, she keeps threatening to be a factor in the main races, but needs at lot to go right to be able to run over the top of them. Impressive burst to win the Hill Stakes and then ran off feet in the Caulfield Cup so no finishing burst left. Worth noting she was beaten $1.80 fav in a VRC Oaks in 2020, so actually now wondering if she is just better the Sydney way of going? She has run some OK races down here, but never really hit her best form. Insider barrier an issue for a drop back horse and just canít work her out to be honest.

9-DUAIS was a great rough chance in the Cox Plate, and if only that run had opened up, or jockey Oliver was able to get outside horses in the straight as she did seem to have a lot left to give. Flew home at a great rate at the end of the Underwood, so much so she was ahead shortly after the line, and had no chance in the Caulfield Stakes trying to come from the tail against a tear away leader. She seems to be racing in career best form, dry track suits and the storyline is set up here for Damian Oliver to ride his last Group 1 with one of his last rides of Cup Week. Will need to get outside runners though, but she is racing well enough to win this and she is due for a change of luck. Top pick.

10-ATISHU won the Matriarch on this day last year with a strong staying performance and interesting that they have gone up a level again instead of contesting that race this year. Really good run here last week when had to try and chase down the tear away leader off a furious tempo and was making really solid ground to the line. Question is going to be how much that run took out of her as it did look like a bit of a gutbuster, but form has already held up on Thursday with FOXY FRIDA winning out of that race. Well in the market here and always need to respect those who have ran well backing up again during Cup Week. Chance.

11-PROWESS might have a bit more improvement than many of these coming off a MV Crystal Mile win, though always a bit suss about form coming out of that race. Excellent win strike rate and should lob right on the speed here and the market seems to have a lot of respect for her. Chance.


These is a bit of depth to this field and actually probably wouldnít rule any of these out, especially in a slowly run tactical race which is what we suspect this will be. We have been following the 9-DUAIS all spring and the hip pocket would have loved to see her get out in the Cox Plate, but really she is a genuine chance here for an awesome Oliver farewell story. She can be ridden further back here in a smaller field and come around them and run into the race and think she is going great this time in. Have to respect the 1-ZAAKI going for a three-peat and you will know his chances if he can cross and control the speed here and the fresh horse on the scene is the 11-PROWESS who probably get the run of the race. Just going around the favourite the 4-WEST WIND BLOWS just on the basis not sure how this race is going to be run.

The Tips:

Race 8: 9-DUAIS, 1-ZAAKI, 11-PROWESS