In-depth previews and betting tips for all races from Caulfield this Saturday.
Star Western Australian sprinter Black Heart Bart will attempt to claim his first win in the East in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap at racing’s return to Caulfield.
The five-year-old was nailed in the last stride by The Quarterback in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap down the straight six at Flemington a fortnight ago.
The rail will be out at 6m for the entire circuit with the track rated as a Good 3. The weather forecast is a 20 percent chance of a shower and overcast.
R 6: 1, 2, 7, 9
R 7: 1, 3, 4, 6, 11
R 8: 1, 3, 4
R 9: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9
R 6: 1, 9
R 7: 1
R 8: 1
R 9: 2, 6, 9
R1: Robert Taranto Handicap - 1100m
Wazamba must combat a wide alley (13) but the daughter of leading two-year-old sire Exceed And Excel had excellent claims on her debut at Moonee Valley on March 14. Wazamba was plunged from $3.50 into $2.70 and came within a breath of landing the bets before being nailed by Gretna on the line in the 1000m scamper. Patrick Moloney replaces the suspended Craig Williams.
Gretna spoiled a plunge on Wazamba at Moonee Valley at their last clash on March 14. The Chris Waller-trained youngster was a big drifter from $4.80 to $9 on that occasion but bookmakers have her safe this time around at $6 in an open market behind Wazamba. She is in good hands with the in-form Melbourne hoop Mark Zahra taking the reins for the first time.
Pluto is a $300,000 yearling graduate from the Easter Sydney sale. She has impressed at her two barrier trials. She makes her debut coming off an excellent 800m hit-out and she hails from Melbourne’s premier two-year-old stable of Mick Price.
SELECTIONS: No11 Najmaat, No10 Wazamba, No2 Gretna, No4 Pluto.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Pluto.
R2: Bill Collins Handicap - 2400m
Loving Home is in the experienced hands of senior jockey Steven Arnold. The gelding kept on grinding away at the leaders when running a close third to Tucano over 2040m on a soft 7 at Moonee Valley on March 18. He will relish the extra distance here and rates highly at $4 in an open market.
High Church could be the omen bet on this Easter weekend. Now out to establish herself in the senior ranks, Katelyn Mallyon was one of Victoria’s best apprentice riders. Pay to forgive his last start fifth in the Casey Cup (1600m) at Cranbourne on March 3. The son of High Chaparral hails from a big punting stable.
Deliberate has won two of his past three starts. He hit the lead on straightening but was overwhelmed by Killarney Kid in the Edenhope Cup (2000m) at his last start on March 12. Top jockey Mark Zahra replaces Dean Holland and at $11 the gelding appears good each-way value.
SELECTIONS: No1 Adirondack, No3 Loving Home, No2 High Church, No6 Deliberate.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 Deliberate.
R3: Bert Bryant Handicap - 2000m
Pindan Pearl ($5) is one of two runners for trainer Andrew Noblet, who also saddles No Excuses Bec ($31). Noblet is a noted trainer of the fairer sex. He has inherited Pindan Pearl from the Moody camp and will be looking to kick her off on a winning note. With a close last start third over 20240m at Moonee Valley on March 14, the five-year-old is now solid for this trip.
Testability is ridden by Glen Boss for leading trainer John Sadler here in this fillies and mares only distance race. The four-year-old Testa Rossa mare has been performing well against her own sex for a win and a second at her past two starts over 1600m at Sandown. She is stepping up to 2000m for the first time but was narrowly beaten by a smart type in Clemency on the post at her last start on March 2.
Dubrovnik hails from the powerhouse Godolphin stable and comes into this race with a soft win at Sale over 1717m last month. She gets a big relief in weight, dropping 4kg on her last start for her rise in class. The four-year-old mare pulled hard at her first attempt over a distance (2040m) two starts ago at Moonee Valley but should be more grounded now.
SELECTIONS: No3 Tears Of Joy, No6 Pindan Pearl, No10 Testability, No9 Dubrovnik.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 Dubrovnik
R4: Jack Elliott Handicap - 1100m
Jalan Jalan did not trial for her comeback so there is no exposed recent form. Her spring form was top class when finishing second to Petits Filous in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) here on August 15. She has yet to finish outside the place-getters on her four starts and has a first up record of one start for one win. She returns from a knee operation.
Cana had won two of her three starts in NSW before being brought down to Melbourne for the autumn carnival. She ran third in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at her first Melbourne start, before finishing fourth in the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) here on February 27. She does box seat and has been freshened for this race.
Our Vidia was tuned up for her rise in class with an impressive first up win over 1100m at Bendigo on March 1. The daughter of Denman gets a 1.5kg break down to 54.5kg for her rise in class, with Nicholas Hall the new rider.
SELECTIONS: No1 Petits Filous, No3 Jalan Jalan, No6 Cana, No5 Our Vidia.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 Our Vidia.
R5: Geoff Murphy Handicap - 1100m
Tawteen makes plenty of appeal, with the four-year-old racing against her own sex. The daughter of Stratum was not suited down the straight at Flemington last start and is much better here around a bend. She has had two starts over 1100m for a win and a third and with apprentice Regan Bayliss’ 1.5kg claim will carry 55.5kg. She wears blinkers for the first time.
Sabatini will carry 56.5kg, which is 2.5kg above the limit. The four-year-old has a top first up strike-rate of three starts for two wins and a second. Bookmakers are showing a healthy respect in having her tight as the $3.20 favourite.
Niminypiminy is a tongue twister but she does have good form first up with a win and a second from three starts when she is fresh. She hails from the astute stables of Russell Cameron and is on the limit on 54kg. Would take on trust at $16 each-way.
SELECTIONS: No2 Miss Promiscuity, No4 Tawteen, No3 Sabatini, No9 Niminypiminy.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 Niminypiminy.
R6: Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap - 1800m
Ungrateful Ellen has the good second up record of a win and a third at three starts. The four-year-old mare was working home strongly enough to snatch fifth place over 1400m at Sandown first up on March 2. She carries the same weight 58.5kg and has the services of top hoop Mark Zahra.
Master Zephyr was outgunned at his last start over 1400m at Flemington on March 12. The four-year-old’s previous form in the lower grades over a distance was tops, winning twice over 2500m at The Valley last spring. He will relish the extra 400m and warrants thought.
Abbasso was no match for Irish-bred stayer Tom Melbourne, who outclassed his rivals over 1800m on last start at Flemington on March 5. Abbasso was cutting away at the gap inside the final 50m to run seventh. He drops significantly in class.
SELECTIONS: No1 Gingerboy, No9 Ungrateful Ellen, No2 Master Zephyr, No10 Abbasso.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 Master Zephyr
R7: mypunter.com Victoria Handicap - 1400m
Tried and Tired finally broke a string of minor placings, wrapping up Flemington’s Super Saturday card with a good win over 1400m on March 12. He was the $4.20 favourite that day as one of only four horses at $6.50 under double figure odds here.
Charmed Harmony was outgunned in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap down the straight-six when finishing sixth to The Quarterback at Flemington a fortnight ago and is much better suited here in a lower grade over 1400m. He won five of his past seven starts last campaign over the longer sprints.
Zebrinz stormed home to snatch fourth place to Red Bomber in the Group 3 Rewards Stakes (1400m) at his last start at Flemington on March 5. He meets Red Bomber on similar weight terms here but this is his third run back from a spell and should now be at his peak.
SELECTIONS: No1 Black Heart Bart, No3 Charmed Harmony, No6 Tried And Tired, No13 Zebrinz.
VALUE RUNNER: No15 Lucky Lago.
R8: Easter Cup - 2000m
Lidari was taken for a tilt in Adelaide where the stallion gave a brave effort under his big impost on 61kg to go down on the wire to Royal Rumble (54kg) in the Colin Hayes Stakes (1600m) on March 14. He gets a lesser weight on 58.5kg here and looks a danger.
Extra Zero chased hard on the inside of a big bunch to finish a close sixth to Preferment in the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington a fortnight ago. That run was at weight-for-age where the nine-year-old carried 59kg. He gets a kilo relief here on 58kg and Mark Zahra sticks to him, despite a tricky draw in 12.
Puccini is the stable-mate to Lidari and one of three runners from the stables of Darren Weir. The other is the $26 outsider Manndawi. The five-year-old New Zealand stallion drops in class from his last start in Sydney where he ran 10th to It’s Somewhat in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) on March 12. His form has been somewhat mixed but he has won over this distance.
SELECTIONS: No1 Awesome Rock, No3 Lidari, No4 Extra Zero, No6 Puccini.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Extra Zero
R9: Noel Rundle Handicap - 2000m
Last Typhoon is going to strip much fitter with a second up win over 2000m at Donald under his belt. The three-year-old appeals as a strong staying type and is capable of giving his stable-mate Chabaud some cheek in front. He is having his first start for Smerdon after coming out of the stables of Peter Moody who has sensationally quit training.
Cool Chap has not missed a placing on his three starts this campaign. He was outgunned by Our Rokkii, who was dropping in class after a crack at the Group 2 WA Guineas last spring, over 1600m at Sandown on March 2. He kept working to the post last start at his first run over the mile this prep.
Artesian hails from the Godolphin stables of John O’Shea and has not missed a beta at her three starts this prep. She won over 1600m second up at Kilmoe before stepping up to city class when chasing the winner Giddyup hard over the same distance at Moonee Valley on March 14. The daughter of Hard Spun is primed for her step up to 2000m here.
SELECTIONS: No2 Chabaud, No6 Last Typhoon, No7 Cool Chap, No9 Artesian.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 Last Typhoon