Racing is back at Flemington on a Saturday after the past three weeks were held at Caulfield. With fine weather forecast and the rail at the True position, it makes for an entertaining day of racing on the home turf of the Melbourne Cup. The track curator expects the horses to run on a Good four with a penetrometer reading at 4.92.
Merriest was super impressive at her debut when running away to a 2 ¼ length win against her own age and sex over 1100m at Caulfield on April 23. James Winks keeps the ride, she only rises half a kilo to 56.5kg and has drawn well in barrier three.
Giroux was backed from $5 into $4.80 before she broke through for her first win after seconds over 1100m at Ballarat on April 26. Her previous two placings were at Moonee Valley and the daughter of Golden Slipper winner Sepoy drops a kilo to 55kg.
Harlow Gold is by New Zealand’s new boom sire Tavistock. The filly was a $200,000 purchase at the NZ premier sale and she showed heaps of speed at a recent jump-out for co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
Survived returns to Flemington after running a ¾ length second to Killarney Kid over 2020m at Morphettville on April 23. Trainer Archie Alexander will use apprentice Dylan Dunn’s 2kg claim to reduce his impost to 56kg after lumping 60.5kg last start.
Zabisco has a new rider, with apprentice Harry Coffey taking the reins from Brad Rawiller. He rises 1.5kg to 58kg on his last start second to Turnitaround over 1700m at Flemington on ANZAC Day. He should relish the extra 100m.
Second Bullet returns to the track from a 91-day break. The five-year-old’s form has been top class over the distances with a last start second over 2400m at Caulfield on February 6. Ben Melham replaces Damien Oliver, who is riding in Adelaide.
Imperial Lass gets a significant drop in weight down 5.5kg with apprentice Michael Dee’s 1.5kg allowance. The four-year-old mare will strip fitter with a run under her belt after finishing a handy sixth over 1440m at Caulfield in late April.
SELECTIONS: No2 Survived, No3 Zabisco, No1 Second Bullet, No7 Imperial Lass. VALUE RUNNER: No7 Imperial Lass.
R3 1.05pm VRC Member Betty Cummings Handicap 1200m
Fleur Fatale looks set to continue leading trainer Darren Weir’s good form at Warrnambool this week. The three-year-old filly strikes her own age and sex here and is carrying 56kg which is 2kg above the limit. She won brilliantly first up and ran head-on into a budding start in Miss Vista here last start.
Reemah showed she could be on the comeback trail with an imposing trial win over 1000m in preparation for this start. In-form apprentice Dylan Dunn drops the Blue Diamond winner’s weight to 56kg and on her best form she rates highly.
Grey Street was tested against older mares and she passed with flying colours when fighting hard to go down third in a close finish to Bella Capri over 1000m at Caulfield in April. She is back against her own age and sex here. With apprentice Beau Mertens 3kg claim she carries just 54.5kg.
Rebound is by Australia’s champion sire, Redoute’s Choice, and she has yet to miss a cheque at three starts. She won two starts ago at Stawell and last start she limped 59kg as a $2.90 favourite to run a ½ length second over 1000m at sale on April 19. She is up in class but showing promise.
SELECTIONS: No3 Fleur Fatale, No1 Reemah, No2 Grey Street, No6 Rebound.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Dance With Fontein.
R4 1.45pm VRC Member Efi Condovrakis Handicap 2000m
My Bantry Bay worked hard and the Irish import gave an excellent effort when running second to another import in Raw Impulse over 1800m at Caulfield on April 23. The four-year-old hails from the top stables of trainer Robert Hickmott and millionaire owner Lloyd Williams.
Sir Prospector is another import and is a stable-mate to My Bantry Bay. The four-year-old has impressive form with consecutive wins over 2012m and 2414m at home in Ireland. He hails from a big betting yard and you should pay to watch.
Houdini The Great won over 2000m at Pakenham three starts ago. At his latest outing here he was checked but still fought on hard to finish fourth to Raw Impulse over 1800m at Caulfield on April 23. Apprentice Regan Bayliss’ 1.5kg claim reduces his weight to 55.5kg.
The Bandit won over 1800m three starts ago. Last start he lost a plate in running and fought on well when finishing sixth to the hotly-fancied Zahspeed over 1800m at Sandown on April 9. He will welcome the extra 200m and expect him to be charging home.
SELECTIONS: No3 My Bantry Bay, No6 Sir Prospector, No5 Houdini The Great, No7 The Bandit. VALUE RUNNER: No5 Houdini The Great.
R5 2.25pm TAB/ATA Celebrates Women Trainers Handicap 1000m
Supido has the impressive stats of seven starts for five wins and a second. The four-year-old stallion lumped 60kg to post an imposing 1 ¾ length win over 1200m at Flemington last start on April 25. He plummets to the limit on 54kg here and has the in-form James Winks to steer.
Bullpit lived up to his name when he kept punching away despite being headed when finishing fourth to Sheidel in the Bel Esprit Sprint (1200m) at Caulfield. The New Zealand-bred sprinter has a good record over this track and distance of four starts for a win and a second.
Hard Romp will strip fitter on his first up third to arch rivals here in Bullpit and Beau Rada over 1000m at Sandown 28 days ago. He has only had one start down the straight 1000m for a win. He hails from the top stable of Ciaron Maher and rates highly.
Admiral has won at his past six starts in Tasmania and is now to try his luck on the mainland. The four-year-old is running red hot but he does face a hot bunch of speedsters here. He is carrying top weight on 58.5kg
SELECTIONS: No7 Supido, No6 Bullpit, No3 Hard Romp, No1 Admiral. VALUE RUNNER: No5 Beau Rada.
R6 3.05pm National Jockeys Trust Handicap 1400m
Prestwick coasted to a 3 ¼ length win as a $3.60 favourite over 1415m first up at Sale on April 19. Apprentice Michael Dee replaces senior rider Craig Newitt, with Dee’s allowance dropping his handicap to a comfortable 57kg after carrying 59kg to win last start.
Shockaholic gave his best effort at his third start back from a spell when he fought hard to the line to hold third place in a thrilling three-way finish over 1400m here on ANZAC Day. He was at $41 on that occasion but the bookies have him safe at $9 here.
Un De Sceaux has been consistent and fought hard when he was locked in a tight finish, beating today’s rivals, Sir Sagamore and Shockaholic, over 1400m here on ANZAC Day. Trainer Todd Balfour has gone for the 1.5kg claim of apprentice Regan Bayliss to reduce his impost 58.5kg which is a kilo more than he carried last start.
Sir Sagamore should again be in the finish although he must again combat a bad barrier (16). He drew 10 when he charged home to narrowly miss the major end of the prize against Un De Sceaux over 1400m here when first up. He only rises a half kilo to 56kg.
SELECTIONS: No3 Prestwick, No7 Shockaholic, No1 Un De Sceaux, No10 Sir Sagamore. VALUE RUNNER: No5 Lazumba.
R7 3.45pm Singapore Turf Club Trophy 2800m
Swacadelic was coming off a 28-day break when he scored a smart win over 2530m here on ANZAC Day. The German stayer had been performing well in stronger opposition in the Adelaide Cup (3200m) and Mornington Cup (2400m). He is burdened by top weight on 60kg but is in peak form.
Lucky Lucky Lucky gave a good sight to run third to Berisha in the Mornington Cup (2400m) at his last start on April 2. Trainer Tony McEvoy gave the six-year-old a nice trial over a 2400m hurdle course at Warrnambool to sharpen him up for this.
High Church eased in betting from $4.60 to $6.50 before only grinding to the line when finishing fifth to Swacadelic over 2530m. The five-year-old Irish import hails from a big punting stable and it is suggested you keep an eye on the betting.
Paradanza’s past two wins were over 2040m and 2400m. The six-year-old mare again has a good draw (five) to be competitive in her rematch against Swacadelic after running fifth to him. With Craig Williams riding in Adelaide, Jake Bayliss takes the reins and that reduces her weight to 52kg.
SELECTIONS: No1 Swacadelic, No4 Lucky Lucky Lucky, No6 High Church, No9 Paradanza. VALUE RUNNER: No9 Paradanza.
R8 4.25pm Chairman's Club Handicap 1400m
Del Prado ran on well first up to finish seventh to Miss Promiscuity over 1400m in the Gold Sprint at Caulfield in mid-April. With the claim of in-form apprentice Dylan Dunn, he carries 57.5kg which is 3.5kg above the limit. Miss Promiscuity runs in today’s Group 1 Sangster Classic in Adelaide.
Duibio hit the line strong when running fourth to Supido over 1200m. Supido is vying for a shot at the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap in Race Five today. The Ciaron Maher-trained four-year-old will relish the extra 200m here.
Staviva was at long odds at $41 when he stormed home to run third to Supido over 1200m. That was his second start from a spell and he drops from 58kg to 55kg here. But there are no big odds this time.
The New Boy took the helm at the 200m and led his rivals a merry dance for a soft 1 ¼ length win at Caulfield on April 23. Apprentice Jordan Childs keeps the ride and he drops a kilo to 55kg with Childs’ 2kg claim.
SELECTIONS: No1 Del Prado, No11 Duibio, No9 Staviva, No6 The New Boy. VALUE RUNNER: No1 Del Prado.
R9 5.00pm Mother's Day Handicap 2000m
Gabella signalled she was close to her prime when charging home to claim second place over 2000m at Caulfield last Saturday. The six-year-old drops back to mares’ class here and, with Regan Bayliss’ 1.5kg claim, will carry 58.5kg which is only a half kilo more weight.
Choux Diva gave a strong effort to win over 2100m at Sandown against her own sex at her last start on April 27. She carried 54.5kg that day and will have a featherweight on 51kg here thanks to apprentice Beau Mertens’ 3kg claim.
Sure You Can has been specked in early betting from $11 into $9.50 despite her awkward draw in 13. She was having her second start over 2000m when she finished well to claim second place over 2014m at Morphettville on April 20. She drops 2kg to 56kg here and James Winks takes the reins.
Snow Secret ran fourth in New Zealand’s Group 1 Wellington Cup (3200m) three starts ago. She then won over 1600m at Ellerslie off a 72-day break before winding up her Kiwi campaign with a third over 2200m at the same track on April 23. Rates highly.
SELECTIONS: No2 Gabella, No11 Choux Diva, No6 Sure You Can, No4 Snow Secret. VALUE RUNNER: No11 Choux Diva.