The weather is overcast, the track is good (4) and the rail is out four metres for the entire circuit.
QUADDIES Races: 6-7-8-9
SKINNY PLAY: 2 / 2,3,4 / 12,13 / 6
WIDE PLAY: 2 / 2,3,4,6,7 / 7,10,11,12,13,14 / 1,5,6
R1 11.55pm MURRAY COX HANDICAP 1400m
LOCH OIR was sent out a dominant favourite on debut and lived right up to that tag by winning impressively. Won by a margin and looked to do it within himself. Expecting him to step up into this deeper race and will be hard to stop again.
ROCK'N'ROLLROCK ran on strongly to win going away from his rivals at Geelong last time. Nice draw for him to be held back off what looks a genuine tempo and he should be powering at them late. Big track 1400m looks ideal.
SO SI BON is also going to be well-suited out to 1400m on the bigger track after being well-held at Caulfield over 1200m last week. Debut here was very promising and this might be the race where we see him go on with that promise. Casta will find this much tougher than his debut but he was a solid winner and has to be respected.
RED VELVET SWING looked sharp in a jump out here prior to resuming on the Pakenham Synthetic where she was an alarming drifter in betting and the fluctuation was spot on as she finished fourth. She can improve sharply on the turf and this isn’t a strong race.
STATELY BOY debuted on the Pakenham Synthetic and tried very hard when a close up second to Savvy Belle. Should take good improvement off that and should prove tough to beat.
SELECTIONS: No3 LOCH OIR, No4 Rock’N’Rollrock, No5 So Si Bon, No11 Red Velvet Swing
VALUE RUNNER: No9 Stately Boy
R2 12.30pm HENRY BOLTE HANDICAP 1800m
KENJORWOOD Going well and the step up to 1800m is ideal for him. Gun apprentice gets back on having won on him three starts back. Can be an important claim if he goes out and makes it a strong test.
PIN YOUR HOPES won't have any trouble here. Races well off strong tempos and recent form has been terrific. Snapped a drought two back and went right on with it last time.
ZEBRINZ has the talent and he doesn't have to get as far back in the small field today. Can surely put himself into the race and no shock to see him right in the thick of the action.
ONPICALO attempted to lead all the way in the race mentioned above and he was very brave in sitting on speed and just feeling the pinch late when running third. Not sure he’ll cross Kenjorwood here, and he meets that horse 1.5kg worse off, but he is hard fit, in-form and should get a cosy trip near the tempo.
SELECTIONS: No1 KENJORWOOD, No5 Pin Your Hopes, No4 Zebrinz, No2 Onpicalo
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Zebrinz
R3 1.05pm K A MORRISON HANDICAP 2000m
NAME THE DAY can camp on that pair and should be very hard to beat on the back of a big run last time when only just edged out by Pin Your Hopes. Goes up in trip now which shouldn't pose a problem and gets an in-form Craig Williams in the saddle. Plenty to like.
FIREHOUSE ROCK is hard to catch but he was good without luck last time and this is an ideal race for him. Best trip and finds a race without a great deal of depth. Will get few better chances to break back into the winners’ circle.
STRAIGHT JACKET has to be respected with the pace potentially in his favour. Can control things from the front and form has been consistently at a level that makes him competitive in this company.
THE TERRICKS sat wide no cover in running sixth in that First Course race before coming here where he looked to be the winner at the top of the straight but he failed to go on with it when sixth to Killarney Kid. He was actually pretty solid late on and was strong through the line. Hard to trust, but this isn’t a strong race.
SELECTIONS: No4 NAME THE DAY, No2 Firehouse Rock, No1 Straight Jacket, No8 The Terricks
VALUE RUNNER: No1 Straight Jacket
R4 1.43pm WILSON MEDIC ONE RISING STARS FINAL 1800m
DANIELA ROSA won't want to be too far away and she comes in off the best last start performance having beaten a smart one here over the mile last time. Good performance and one that went on with prior promise. No problems up to 1800m on the back of that and she is the one to beat again.
YULONG BABY finds an ideal race. Missed by the narrowest of margins last time when powering home late. Query is how far back she gets but she has a big close on her and is going to be hard to hold out.
MA JONES was plain in Adelaide but a smart stable pushes on and her best form this preparation reads well for this. Slight step up in trip might be what she is looking for now.
KHUTULUN ran in the First Course race mentioned earlier where she got back in the run and couldn’t really let down strong enough with the big weight when running third, beaten three lengths. The 3kg claim for Beau Mertens is a big tick and though she is a bit of a money muncher, this is the sort of race she could be competitive in.
SELECTIONS: No3 DANIELA ROSA, No1 Yulong Baby, No4 Ma Jones, No2 Khutulun
VALUE RUNNER: No2 Khutulun
R5 2.20pm TAB/ATA TRAINERS’ TRUST HANDICAP 1400m
KINSHACHI draws widest and is likely to roll forward. Might work out ideally. Can just roll into a spot outside a gentle tempo and outsprint them home. Strong performance last time, just beaten by one in better ground, and that followed up a very promising first-up win at Mornington. Form is pointing towards her measuring up to better races than this.
DEAL WITH IT was strong late in the piece to score at Sandown in a solid-looking race. That form should hold up but we have to query how far back she gets in a low pressure race here.
JUST STELLAR and Four Sisters ran very well behind Deal With It and have to be respected off the same form line. Just Stellar might be able to hold a more positive position from the inside draw and at each way odds is one to consider.
FOUR SISTERS ran over 1300m at Sandown a couple of weeks back and worked home strongly but couldn’t quite get the job done when a narrow second to Deal With It. She looks to have good upside and she will be strong late.
SYRAHBEEL comes back home after being very impressive in her last two wins, on the Pakenham and Geelong synthetics respectively. Form on the turf was pretty solid prior and she is in ripping form.
SELECTIONS: No2 KINSHACHI, No1 Deal With It, No8 Just Stellar, No 7 Four Sisters
VALUE RUNNER: No5 Syrahbeel
R6 3.00pm BRUCE GADSDEN HANDICAP 1200m
Strong tempo can allow VOODOO LAD to settle better than he did two weeks ago. Raced keenly and just peaked on his run after letting down strongly. Was a strong form race and he looks very well placed here on the back of that. If he can come on for the run as expected and improve his level he should be beating these.
RICH JACK comes through the same race where he was solid. Looks an ask to turn the tables on Voodoo Lad but he's fairly handy and has to be respected.
MIGHTY LIKE tends to run a big race fresh and if he brings his A-game off a spell he's competitive.
MAGNUS REIGN ran sixth in that Sprint Final and I thought his effort was more than commendable. He has been a bit of a tease this time in, so it’s getting close to D-Day but he has the Weir polish.
NICOSCENE comes here after failing first up at the Valley behind Voodoo Lad, who ran a beauty recently at Flemington. Given a break since that run, and if he finds his best form, he’d take some beating here.
SELECTIONS: No2 VOODOO LAD, No8 Rich Jack, No1 Mighty Like, No7 Magnus Reign
VALUE RUNNER: No6 Nicoscene
R7 3.40pm BITALLI HANDICAP 2500m
KAPOUR can camp on that pair. Backs up quickly now, which looks a positive sign from the yard. Comes through a couple of strong races where he has run really well at 2000m. Looking for this trip last week and now gets his chance to produce his best, which is good enough to mark him down as the one they have to beat.
BOLD SNIPER settled better last time and similar manners today will see him right in the finish. Good ability when he doesn't get undone by over-racing.
ARALDO JUNIOR was plain last time but he is better than that and might be better rolling along at a more genuine tempo. Was a month between runs last time so could be fitter and that may bring about more positive tactics.
BLACK TOMAHAWK found some form in Adelaide last time and no shock to see him measure up back across the border with Williams going on.
BACKBONE comes back to Victoria after running on the Parks track last time out where he was an alarming drifter in betting and that fluctuation was spot on when finishing down the track. He is a dry tracker, so if he gets conditions to suit here, he can improve sharply.
SELECTIONS: No3 KAPOUR, No2 Bold Sniper, No4 Araldo Junior, No6 Black Tomahawk
VALUE RUNNER: No7 Backbone
R8 4.20pm FLEMINGTON EVENT STAFF HANDICAP 1600m
AWARD OF MERIT can camp on that leading group. Thinking that the slowly run race brought him undone last time. Beaten for speed when they quickened but was staying on again at the line. Expecting a genuine tempo today and that can bring him back to the form that saw him a very impressive winner in Adelaide two back.
JERILDERIE LETTER appeals coming up against older horses now. Strong effort in the Silver Bowl Final here last time and appears well-handicapped on the back of that. Big chance for him to break through on the mainland.
VOLCANIC ASH was too far back at the Valley last time, against the pattern of the day. Oliver and a good draw today should see him given a much better opportunity.
AURUM SPIRIT has been given a month let-up since racing here, where he sat back in the run in a race which wasn’t really suited for backmarkers. Should be a more genuine tempo here which will really suit him. Costly to follow for me, but I’ll give him another chance.
SELECTIONS: No13 AWARD OF MERIT, No12 Jerilderie Letter, No11 Volcanic Ash, No14 Aurum Spirit
VALUE RUNNER: No13 Award Of Merit
R9 4.55pm VRC RECOGNITION HANDICAP 1100m
ABILITY comes off a short break. Trialled well since last seen and comes off a couple of runs where he had no luck at all. Good talent and one that should prove right up to winning at this level. Strong tempo gives him the chance to balance up and run over the top of them.
BADAJOZ comes off a heavy track win up in Sydney. Has to be some query but is proven on better going and form in Melbourne last campaign measures up well.
RUNSON has to bring his good synthetic form to the turf but he is a talent and running the sort of ratings that give him a big chance in this class.
TYRANNIZE was a flop first up from a break but he is a good deal better than that and has been given time since. No surprise to see him bounce back to form.
SELECTIONS: No6 ABILITY, No1 Badajoz, No5 Runson, No10 Tyrannize
VALUE RUNNER: No10 Tyrannize