Track: GOOD(4) - Weather: FINE - Rail: OUT 6M

Betting Portfolio ($50):

No rain heading into the weekend and mild weather so this track should stay firm and unlikely to be any racing pattern. Likely chance of the track firming up as day goes on. Absolute bumper day of racing with capacity fields in the Underwood and the Naturalism and lots of improving youngsters in the Guineas Preludes, just missing the Rupert Clarke to complete the old Show Day set. Be interesting to see what all the fillies do after this week, we might see a few fillies heading towards the Caulfield Guineas with the Thousand Guineas now at the end of spring. Always a very appealing betting program and looks to be plenty of value today.

Reminder that at the moment for Spring Campaign 2023 we won’t be posting tips till Saturday morning (earlier if time allows). Feature race preview at the bottom of this post.

Struggling to split these two so the plan is to back both of them to win at around $11 and $8. Both are strong finishing 3YOs who look like they will go on this spring and this is a pretty even field with not much between these. The 5-SCHEELITE ran on very strongly from well back here last start behind the 2-VEIGHT and pulled a lot of ground off him. Did trial in blinkers but stable have decided not to put them on today ( comment is incorrect, not wearing blinkers). Extra distance should suit. The 6-SCENTIFY was extraordinary winning first-up at MV when came from last on a day when all the leaders won, and then dropped back last start behind the 3-STEPARTY and think they just sprinted on him there and couldn’t pull in the ground but worked home well again. Basically going against the top two in the market with two who ran on well behind them and are likely to improve today up in distance.

QUINELLA: Race 5: 9-OZ EMPRESS#1,2,11 x $3 = 100%
This one gave a great kick when leading first-up at MV and then was only fair start after but happy to give her another chance. The 1400M is the query, but looks the clear leader here and suspect may be hard to run down with a soft lead. Back each way at around $7 and anchor in a quinella with the strong finishing 1-TREASUREWAY who looks the value runner in this race, the improving 2-DE SONIC BOOM and the 11-SUBRISING as a roughie running on strongly late.

Loving the odds on this one in the Underwood at around $18. Just keeps stepping up every time he is asked and ultra-consistent jumping on-speed on dry tracks around the 1800M-2000M mark. Fitter for the first-up run when he fought out the finish strongly, and will get a great on-speed sit here from a good barrier in a race with a big field of backmarkers. Will also certainly present sometime in the straight just a matter if something with a bit more class runs him down, but sure to get a good run for your money.

Honest strong finishing mare who poked through nicely late first-up here last start and will be fitter for that run. Better drawn out like she is today so she can get clear running down the outside. Note bar plates first time which is a negative (but also means she will drift in the betting even further). Probably needs them to run along a bit here as suspect she is probably better over 1400M, but should be thereabouts with improvement at around $18.

Speculating on an import here which we rarely do, but this one should be fitter for the two runs this time in and showed a lot of improvement last start at MV when not beaten far. Always prefer to get on a 2000M last run horse in this race, just with a fitness edge over those stepping up in distance. Likely to jump and go forward here in a race with little speed and might stick on well at around $20.

BEST ROUGH: Race 10: 14-GEMMA’S SON $2.50 EW
QUINELLA: Race 10: 4-MIDWEST, 14-GEMMA’S SON, 11-ROSE QUARTZ boxed x $3 = 100%
WA horse who ran really well first start over here at MV when chased really hard to the line. Drawn out but they will go fast here and might be coming home late down the middle of the track which might be the spot to be at the end of the day. Back each way at around $18, and box up a value quinella with the 4-MIDWEST who jumps incredibly fast and is always hard to run down on firm tracks and the talented 11-ROSE QUARTZ who might be primed to do something first-up.

LAY OF THE DAY: Race 3: 1-RED CARD at around $1.65
Taking on the shortest favourite of the day, for no particular reason other than we think it is shocking value. Speedy jump and run type, who won well 1st up, and won two listed races in QLD over winter, but compare that to the 9-SERADESS whose last four starts have all been at Group 1,2,3 level and has won a Group 2 and Group 3 before and will start three times the odds. There isn’t much depth to the field after that, but suspect they will be coming home late at the end of the 1200M and just think he is far too short for his form.

TURF DELI WONDER BET: Here we try and turn $5 into a whole lot more to pay for a brand spanking new Grand Pavilion.
EARLY QUAD Races 3,4,5,6: 3,4,6,9 / 11 / 1,2,3,9,11 / 1,6,10 x $5 = 8.33%
Let’s try and wrangle a bold and daring Early Quad taking on the short priced favourite the Race 3: 1-RED CARD in the first leg. Anchor the improving and extremely well weighted 11-YELLOW SAM in the second leg, go wide in the third leg and hope for a value winner like the 1-TREASUREWAY or 11-SUBRISING, and the in-form 10-AMENABLE is the one to beat in the last leg but he knows how to find trouble. So dividend blows out if he has bad luck again. We are trying to win a decent collect here, not get 8% of $50 so need to be bold.

Races 7,8,9,10: 2,3,5,6,10 / 3,10,17 / 5,9,10,13,14 / 4,11,14 x $20 = 8.9%
Looks a wide, wide open quaddie. Lots of winning chances in the Guineas Prelude so prefer to go wide there and hope we can nail the Naturalism which is probably even more open. Go wide in the Underwood and hope for a result and just come home on the three selections in the last which are a good mix of value.

Feature Race Preview:

We have a big feature race field for the Underwood Stakes, without a real standout WFA horse and probably a good chance of an upset result this year. Not sure they go that fast here in a big field of stayers, but the 13-LINDERMANN looks the likely leader, with the 2-ALLIGATOR BLOOD sitting off him (and he is best when allowed to lead alone), and the 9-RIGHT YOU ARE sitting in behind these. Others sitting handy likely to be the 5-TUVALU (positive ride?) and the 6-SMOKIN’ ROMANS. With a lot of drop back stayers looking for luck in the run, being in the right position here could be crucial.

Runner by Runner comments:

1-VOW AND DECLARE is pretty straight forward, he is a dry track Flemington horse who takes a few runs to find best each time in. Last win was actually here at Caulfield in the –cough- Sandown Classic –cough-, but wait till he gets over more ground.

2-ALLIGATOR BLOOD is best when he can dictate the speed in small fields on dry tracks off a couple of runs in and run last week at Flemington was pretty good, he did let down in the straight and give a kick, but the favourite there was just too good. Jockey Oliver stays on board, maybe slight criticism he didn’t run them along a bit earlier last week and went a bit slow in front. Suited at WFA against most of these who aren’t WFA horses. Not totally convinced about him past 1600M, he did win this race last year (controlled speed in a field of six), and ran even races in the Cox Plate, but suspect he will be vulnerable today for one finishing strongly over the top late. Chance.

3-MO’UNGA is turning into a bit of an enigma and a bit hard to catch. Firm track and running on late over a mile is his go to, but has run some good races now over 2000M including a 2nd in the Mackinnon last year. Ran 2nd in this race last year, but that was off better form and his two runs this time in have been ordinary (note both on slow tracks). Drawn wide here and likely to drop well back in a big field and that is likely to be an issue.

4-NONCONFORMIST should have a much better strike rate but doesn’t get into the right race very often with Cups firmly in his sights. Caulfield record is outstanding at 9 placings from 16 starts and dry track is a big plus. Even run 1st up in the Memsie when worked to the line well. Drawn well here today and no reason why he can’t take up a position, would love to see a more positive ride. Would actually keep him safe at long odds as he could run well here on his best form.

5-TUVALU is coming along very nicely indeed in two runs this spring and looks likely to pick up a feature race sometime soon. Cruised up under a hold off a fast speed last start at MV and fought the finish out most of the length of the straight, maybe just faded on fitness at the end of the race. Note that other 1800M win was a field of three as a $1.10 favourite, so probably still needs to prove himself past a mile. Drawn wide but would love to see a positive ride here and if they do settle handle looks very hard to beat as looks ready to win one of these. Strong chance.

6-SMOKIN’ ROMANS maintains an excellent win strike rate and can mix it against these not really WFA horses at WFA. Won a Naturalism and a Turnbull last spring and even race first up when stuck on OK when headed. Drawn out but likely to settle handy and think he is worth putting in wide exotics here as a roughie for a big dividend.

7-ALENQUER is an import who did little at two Australian runs over the Autumn. Gelded since then and these do tend to improve with time spent Down Under, but would need to show some form first.

8-WITHOUT A FIGHT ran in the 2022 Melbourne Cup, but then stuck around and won both races over the QLD winter and looks a solid staying type. Well in the betting market today, so stable obviously has expectations here and a quality stayer could easily run over the top of these late. Likely to drop back though in a big field around Caulfield, so not sure he is one we could back with confidence but have to respect what the market is saying. Chance.

9-RIGHT YOU ARE is as honest as they come, and seems to have a sweet, sweet spot in the 1800M – 2000M range. Won 10/23 is very impressive and dry track suits. Excellent run on-speed 1st up and fought out the finish the length of the straight and should have plenty of improvement to come. Fair bit to like about him here, drawn well, will settle on-speed and give himself every chance, and really like that he is proven 1800M when a few of these are queries past a mile. Really strong chance and think he is a great rough chance at around $20 here.

10-SOULCOMBE was all the Cups rage after winning the Queen Elizabeth impressively last year, but then didn’t really live up to the hype during the Autumn and was well over the odds here last start based on his best form. Last run was sensational, burst through the pack and had plenty to give and only likely to get better over more ground. Drawn middle and guess just wouldn’t want him to drift too far back in a big field here, they probably won’t span across the track like they did last start and let him through. Have to respect last start and suspect we want a strong finishing stayer coming over the top of them in this race so he looks the likely candidate. Strong chance.

11-DUKE DE SESSA put in a huge run in the Doncaster at first Australian run, but wasn’t much interest in him here 1st up in the Memsie and he ran accordingly. Drawn out and likely to drop well back and happy to let him run till he gets back to form.

12-BANK MAUR is a strong finishing flashy miler who mixed his form during his 3YO season. Worked home well here 1st up, but concerned about him from barrier 1 in a big field, he has a scrambling action and tends to need room in running to wind up into a finish. Passing.

13-LINDERMANN is fitter for the two runs in and creates plenty of interest here. Made them run along last start in Sydney and was really only headed in the last 100M and probably plenty of improvement to come off that. Drawn well, looks the leader here, would definite elevate if the track firms up and tends towards those on-speed. Guess class is just the issue and not sure how much he has beaten in some of his runs, but he is capable of winning this given the right run.

14-ATTRITION was a smart 3YO who keeps looming into the finish, but not quite getting there. Both runs in have been excellent and probably should have won the Feehan last start when just took a little time to get into clear running on the turn and finished on strongly to just miss. Bit worried about the wide barrier today, wouldn’t want him dropping too far back in the run and he is best stalking and looping around them with a strong finishing burst. Another who is not proven past 1600M, but given a soft tempo and sitting off them he would be hard to beat – but will he get that today?

15-DUAIS is fitter for the two runs in which have both been promising working well to the line. Had big wraps on her last spring when didn’t really step up, but form over QLD winter was good and does seem to be building up this spring. Drawn well, but likely to settle back again today. She ticks the box of being one looking for further and should be ready to do something now with two runs in so maybe some rough chance here.

16-LUNAR FLARE is a stayer looking for further and probably at Flemington. Likely to drop well back here.

17-ALASKAN GOD ran on well in the Feehan when the strong tempo suited and should be ready to win now with the three runs this time in. Not quite sure what level he gets to though so probably just want to see again today.

Summary: Really tricky race to line up, but think we will get an even tempo and suspect those proven past 1600M will run over the top of the milers in this late. Actually going to put the 9-RIGHT YOU ARE on top here, fit, in-form, proven past 1600M and lobbing on-speed think he is going to be right in the finish here at value odds of $20. The 10-SOULCOMBE has to be respected coming off a quality win here last start, and just feel like the 5-TUVALU is going to be ready to win today and would love to see a positive ride to have him settle handy in the run. Wary of the 13-LINDERMANN if on-pacers are sticking on OK and a bit uncertain about 2-ALLIGATOR BLOOD in this sort of race, big field and not leading cleanly. Maybe throw in some roughies like the 4-NONCOMFORMIST and the 15-DUAIS for the quaddie leg and suspect a lot is going to come down to luck in running here.

The Tips: