Race 1 -TBV Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes
Soviet Secret was plunged at her debut last spring when narrowly missing out on the big prize. This time, trainer Sam Pritchard-Gordon has set her specifically for this Group 3 fillies’ feature and her ability should make her equal to the task here.
Concealer won the Group 3 Emirates Airline Stakes down the straight five here on her debut last November. Based on this, it may pay to forgive her last start, when running ninth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, and bank on her previous form. She ran second to Samara Dancer in the filly division of the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 13 first up and is lightly raced having started three times.
Zamzam ran the best of the fillies in the Blue Diamond Stakes to finish third behind the Simon Price-trained pair of Extreme Choice and Flying Artie in Victoria’s premier juvenile Group 1 in February. She won on her debut over 1000m at Moonee Valley in January and hails from the leading stables of co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
Selenia was a good winner here last Saturday in the Listed Festival Of Racing down the straight 1000m. The daughter of top stallion Not A Single Doubt settled second and pulled away for a strong win. She therefore indicated the step up to 1200m down the straight will not be an issue.
SELECTIONS: No5 Soviet Secret, No1 Concealer, No3 Zamzam, No2 Selenia
VALUE RUNNER: No4 So Serene.
Race 2 - MSS Security Sires Produce
Revolving Door kicked to the front at the 300m and fought on strongly for a clever win over 1300m at his second ever start at Sandown on February 24. The run indicated the rise of 100m would pose no problem.
Jackson was last on the rail before unwinding a big run to grab third to the highly touted Weatherly down the straight over 1100m here on February 20. He won the Merson Cooper Stakes at Sandown last spring and has finished sixth at his only other start. He has Melbourne’s hottest jockey, Damien Oliver, on board.
Detective hails from the father and son team of trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, who have brought the Snitzel colt down from Sydney for this Group 2. He has been the bridesmaid at each of his three starts and is looking for a win here.
SELECTIONS: No5 Seaburge, No4 Revolving Door, No2 Jackson, No3
Detective. VALUE RUNNER: No3 Detective
Race 3 - Goodwood Racecourse Trophy
Super Cash trainer Andrew Noblet has tinkered with the gear for her race by adding blinkers. Noblet is hopeful the blinkers will offset her dropping back to 1000m from her last start at Moonee Valley on February 26. Super Cash was held up and jockey Luke Currie had to angle for a run when a fast finishing third to Almighty Girl in the Group 3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes (1200m). She is on the minimum 54kg.
Bassett, the Savabeel gelding, heads into this race off a brave third to Santa Ana Lane and Trophy rival Brockhoff first up in the Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 27. Bookmakers have him as their second elect at $4.80 just behind Brockhoff at $4.20. His run in the Zeditave was full of merit after running second before hitting the lead and being forced to dig deep to try to stave off his challengers.
Stellar Collision has yet to be trumped on three starts. He is another budding young talent out of the deep well of the stables of premier trainer Darren Weir. The Star Witness colt is coming off a 1000m win at Moonee Valley fresh on February 26. He must overcome a wide alley (13) but is in the experienced hands of stable jockey Brad Rawiller.
SELECTIONS: No2 Brockhoff, No9 Super Cash, No1 Bassett, No4 Stellar
Collision. VALUE RUNNER: No4 Stellar Collision.
Race 4 - Incognitus Blamey Stakes
Trust In A Gust has had to contend with wide barriers of late and he again jumps a wide alley in 11. He peaked on his run at about the 100m mark when running sixth in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) in February. Damian Lane replaces Brad Rawiller on the gelding, who must carry top weight on 59kg.
He Or She ran a cracking second over 1400m at Caulfield first up on February 6 before looking slightly disappointing when running 10th to Australian Cup favourite Bow Creek in the Peter Young Stakes (1800m). Trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig had high aspirations of the gelding running in the Australian Cup and they might get their consolation here.
The United States won the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) in a track record time last year to earn a start in the Melbourne Cup where he finished 14th. He was an eye-catching effort when dashing home to snatch fifth in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) first up on February 27 and he will relish the extra 200m here.
SELECTIONS: No2 Stratum Star, No1 Trust In A Gust, No10 He Or She, No5 The United States.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 He Or She
Race 5 - TAB Kewney Stakes
Badawiya bolted in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes before running in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) last spring. From seven starts she has won three times and been placed on three occasions. The Al Maher filly hails from the top stables of Mick Price and is ideally drawn in two to figure strongly first up.
Jacqui’s Joy notched a hat-trick at Kilmore and Caulfield before she was given a freshen up. Connections gave her a warm up trial over 990m at Cranbourne where she motored away from the opposition to post a comfortable 1 ¾ length win on February 22. She has a bad barrier (15) to contest, but on her recent form warrants respect.
Catch A Fire hails from the leading yard of trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig. The Sebring three-year-old has been on fire notching two wins in a row over 1200m and 1400m at Moonee Valley and Caulfield. Her latest was in the Group 3 Angus Armanasco Stakes and she romped in by more than two lengths. She should get the favours again from gate four.
SELECTIONS: No2 Don’t Doubt Mamma, No3 Badawiya, No8 Jacqui’s Joy, No4 Catch A Fire.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 Indarra
Race 6 - Lexus Newmarket Handicap
Japonisme has outstanding form down the straight having won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) and having finished third to Chautauqua in last month’s Lightning Stakes (1000m). He gives champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller a strong hand in the $1.25 million feature while leading Melbourne rider Craig Williams is the pilot. Waller also saddles Delectation and Counterattack.
Delectation won the Group 1 Darley Classic down this same course in the spring and will be far better suited here than he was over the 1000m dash when finishing fifth behind Chautauqua in the Lightning Stakes. The four-year-old (56kg) meets Chautauqua again and has drawn alongside his arch rival in 10.
Black Heart Bart is a newcomer for the stables of leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir. Weir won the Group 1 Australian Guineas with Palentino last week and the Melbourne Cup in the spring. The son of Blackfriars has been a star in his home state of Western Australia and Weir is happy with his galloper’s work in the lead up to his Melbourne debut. A winner of 10 of his 25 starts, Blackheart Bart is value at $17.
SELECTIONS: No1 Chautauqua, No6 Japonisme, No2 Delectation, No4 Black Heart Bart.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Black Heart Bart
Race 7 - Australian Cup
Preferment, last year’s Victoria Derby winner, makes a strong appeal with Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman to ride. Bowman and trainer Chris Waller went on a Group 1 rampage last spring, with Preferment contributing to their onslaught with his win in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) here. He was working home strongly to run fourth in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) in Sydney first-up last month and will relish the rise in distance.
Our Ivanhoe is a German galloper who ran a cracking third in last spring’s Caulfield Cup (2400m) before finishing a luckless 10th in the Melbourne Cup. He was held-up at a critical stage first-up when fifth to Bow Creek in the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield. With any luck he should have tested the winner.
Almoonqith will be ridden by Michael Walker, who was out over the summer when recovering from an operation. The six-year-old stallion brilliantly won the Geelong Cup (2400m) to qualify into the Melbourne Cup (3200m) where he ran 18th. He then bounced back to win the Sandown Cup (3200m) last spring. Co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig managed to quinella the Australian Cup last year and are strongly represented again this year as they also saddle Extra Zero, who was runner up in this race last year, and Rising Romance.
SELECTIONS: No6 Bow Creek, No2 Preferment, No5 Our Ivanhoe, No7 Almoonqith.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 Almoonqith
Race 8 - Scheppervescence Trophy
Noble Protector was flying against her own sex this time 12 months ago when winning the Group 2 Sunline and Group 3 Matron Stakes. Astute trainer Robert Smerdon has given the six-year-old mare a solid preparation into this race with three gate trials and she will have top Melbourne hoop Craig Williams on board. Smerdon has her perched to claim consecutive wins and punters have jumped on backing her into a $3.40 favourite.
Felicienne won successive races at Moonee Valley (1509m) and Flemington (1700m) in December. She has been running on strongly at her past two starts over the shorter distances and should relish the step back up to a mile. The four-year-old daughter of Al Maher has a good strike rate of four wins and five placings at 14 starts and she hails from the top stable of trainer Darren Weir.
Anaphora has been as consistent as clockwork against her own sex, winning over 1600m at Caulfield two starts ago in early January. The four-year-old was freshened before she finished strongly to nail fifth place to Azkadellia in the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m). She has won twice from two starts over 1600m and would expect her to be charging home.
SELECTIONS: No2 Miss Rose De Lago, No1 Noble Protector, No11
Felicienne, No 10 Anaphora. VALUE RUNNER: No5 Vital Importance
Race 9 - My Kitchen Rules Stakes
Tried And Tired will have Mark Zahra on board and the Melbourne jockey is in hot form after winning last Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Guineas on Palentino. Tried And Tired has rock solid form over 1400m, with seconds in the Chester Manifold and John Dillon Stakes before he was dropped back to 1100m in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes on February 13. He pulled up with the Thumps and co-trainers Troy and Leon Corstens have him fresh for this race.
Yesterday’s Songs is ridden by Damien Oliver for trainer Mike Moroney. Oliver has stuck to the horse despite his slightly disappointing last start when peaking at the 100m to finish fourth to We’ve Got down the straight six here in February. Yesterday’s Songs has drawn perfectly in gate two and he gets the break of a 4.5kg drop to the limit on 54kg this time round.
Smokin’ Joey drops significantly in class from when he was run off his feet when 14th to Flamberge in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m). He was a Group 1 winner who will appreciate the step back up to 1400m and in this class is worth giving another chance, despite being burdened by top weight on 60kg with his closest rival Tried And Tired on 55.5kg.
SELECTIONS: No6 Jessy Belle, No2 Tried And Tired, No8 Yesterday’s Songs, No1 Smokin’ Joey.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 Yesterday’s Songs