Phanton call: the greatest Melbourne Cup horses
Tips to guide the punter who is looking for a mild flutter at Saturday’s races.
Race 1, No. 3
Brave effort in the Caulfield Guineas when he tracked wide. The Savabeel gelding was second-up going from 1100 metres to 1600 metres so no surprise to see him fade late behind the star Sydney colt Press Statement. Had a 21-day break to recover, this looks an ideal assignment.
SUGGESTED BET Bassett to win.
Flemington Race 2, No. 1
Strolled home last Saturday at the Valley when she was able to dictate terms from the rails draw on a track playing to on pacers. Will make the most of an ideal draw again and either lead or box seat. On trial at 2000 metres but has a class edge on her rivals.
SUGGESTED BET My Poppette to win.
Flemington Race 3, No.10
Ridden for luck resuming at Caulfield and had none, getting little galloping room down the straight. The former WA galloper has excellent secondup and 1400 metres records and draws to get a cosy run off the pace. This should be run at a solid tempo thanks to Charmed Harmony and Gracious Prospect, look for him to be swooping home.
SUGGESTED BET Mr Utopia each-way.
Flemington Race 7, No. 7
Impossible not to be impressed by his Vase run at the Valley when he came from last for third clocking 23.81 seconds for his last 400 metres and 12.08 seconds for the final 200 metres, better than any runner in the Cox Plate over the same distance. This looks a thin Derby, Tarzino is out of a Zabeel mare so has the bloodlines to go with his racing style to suggest he will cope with 2500 metres.
SUGGESTED BET Tarzino to win
Flemington Race 9, No.8
Two straight starts for a Newmarket third and last start third to sprinter-of-themoment Chautauqua when exposed early before being crowded for galloping room late. Doesn’t win out of turn, but has twice won second-up and had a 27-day break since his Gilgai third. Will get cover from his barrier five draw and be powering home late.
SUGGESTED BET Knoydart each-way.
The staying classic for three-yearolds enjoys mixed reviews the days. The tradionalists are happy to stay with the early season stamina test while the progressives believe a 2000 metres spring group 1 and an autumn Derby, as in Sydney, makes more sense.
Some editions are thin on the ground for class as seems the case this year.
Certainly none of the 16 runners were remotely considered Cox Plate standard as is often the case. Champion jockeysDamien Oliver (Big Picture) and Hugh Bowman (Shards) have shared the past five Derbys.
Oliver, themost successful jockey in the race winning five times, themost recent last year on Preferment and Fiveandahalfstar (2012). Bowman has won three of the past five editions on Polanski (2013), Sangster (2011) and Lion Tamer (2010).
Sobering for supporters of Tarzino is that it is eight years since a Derby favourite won – Efficient at $2.35 in 2006. In fact, the favourite has not been placed for the past six years.
In the past decade there have been five double figure odds winners including Rebel Raider at $101 in 2008.
THE AGE RACING EXPERTS’ QUADDIE
MACKINNON STAKES Deep race with a host of chances. Respect for Cox Plate back-up runners Happy Trails (No.2) – last year’s winner, Pornichet (No.4) and Gailo Chop (No.7) as backmarkers had no hope the way the track raced. Stratum Star (No.13) is ultra reliable but has to contend with a wide draw. Chance also for Flamingo Star (No. 12), who is on the improve. My numbers: 2, 4, 7, 12, 13
Tarzino (No.7) is the obvious anchor leg. HisVase effort to come from last to run thirdwas the run of the day considering on-pacers had such an advantage. Trainer Mick Price has endured a frustrating run in the Derby but Tarzino could end his drought. This is a thin Derby for class with the highest-rated runner Lizard Island (No.1) a distance query.
My number: 7
The weight-for-age conditions mean Royal Descent (No.1) is a must include as a multiple group 1 winner. She is lengths better than her rivals on ratings. Abidewithme (No.9) has been racing well without luck in group 1 handicaps, Azkadellia (No.14) is up in class but was super at Moonee Valley while Stay With Me (No.15) is all class but has the extreme draw.
My numbers: 1, 9, 14, 15
Looking to the closers Under The Louvre (No.5), Delectation (No.6) and Knoydart (No.8) to fight out the finish. The trio are all proven down the straight. It will be a matter of who has the best run in the race.
My numbers: 5,6,8
For a $20 outlay you would receive 33.33 per cent of a $1 dividend.
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