Flemington hosts the running of the Group 1 Victoria Derby today. It is rated as the best day of racing on Melbourne’s annual racing calendar.
There is a swag of top line horses competing in stakes races all day. Punters get a last minute chance to have a look at some of the runners vying for a place in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup in the Lexus Stakes.
The weather looks to have finally turned for the better with a sunny day forecast. The track is perfect, rating as a Good 4 and the rail is at the true position.
QUADDIES Races: 6-7-8-9
SKINNY PLAY: 2,4,5,7,10,14 / 1,3,5,10,12 / 1,2,4,5,7,8,11 / 5,6,8,11
WIDE PLAY: 1,2,4,5,6,7,10,12,14,15 / 1,2,3,5,7,10,12,13 / 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,11,15,16 / 18.104.22.168.8.10,11
BEST BET: R7 No1 Sacred Elixir.
NEXT BEST BET: R8 No4 He’s Our Rockii.
BEST ROUGHIE: R6 No5 Heaven’s Above.
COMIN’ THROUGH is a lightly raced son of Fastnet Rock, who impressed first-up when running a strong second over 1400m at Randwick on October 8. Hails from the yard of Chris Waller and drops 3kg to 56kg.
BEZEL has won three times and finished second once at four starts. He looks to be well suited here but is against smart times and will have the services of Godolphin’s No1 jockey James McDonald.
MORTON’S FORK had no luck at his first Melbourne start when he was unable to get a clear passage down the straight and finished eighth at $3.70 over 1400m at Caulfield on October 15. Stable-mate to Bezel and rates highly.
ACATOUR will be suited here over the longer trip after starting a $2.60 favourite when third over 1400m at Caulfield on October 15. Rises a kilo to 56kg but is one of the chances in a tough affair.
SELECTIONS: No10 COMIN’ THROUGH, No5 Bezel, No3 Morton’s Fork, No7 Acatour.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 Morton’s Fork.
R2 12.20pm MUMM WAKEFUL STAKES 2000m
SEBRING DREAM has been running home powerfully and had no luck when pouncing late to run fifth to Eleonora in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15. Slightly better draw (10) and Sydney’s leading hoop James McDonald rides.
PRETTY PUNK gave a good performance against her male counterparts to run a strong third to Captain Duffy in the Geelong Classic (2200m) at Geelong on October 19. Faces a quick back-up but is race tough and ready to fire.
TIAMO GRACE was forced to balance up before she could charge home to snatch second place in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15. If she can repeat that run here she is going to be hard to beat.
WHYOUASK has been racing against the emerging staying fillies at her past two starts. Latest her run peaked at the 100m when battling on okay to run seventh in the Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15. Each-way.
SELECTIONS: No4 SEBRING DREAM, No2 Pretty Punk, No6 Tiamo Grace. No10 Whyouask.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 Whyouask.
R3 1pm SENSIS STAKES 1100m
VIDDORA is a talented Adelaide-trained mare back against her own sex. She was $7 and fought hard when running seventh to Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) first-up on October 15. Expect her to be steaming home here.
WILD RAIN was the $3.60 favourite when she finished fifth to Our Boy Malachi in the Group 2 Caulfield Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 15. She is back against her own sex here and expect another bold showing.
SHEIDEL has been racing in tip top form. She likes to race on the pace and with Hong Kong’s top jockey Joao Moreira riding she can notch two straight here after winning the Group 3 Northland Plume Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 8.
RULE THE RIVER is a Sydney mare who will be improved on her first-up third in the Group 3 Nivison (1200m) at Randwick on October 15. She gets Cox Plate winning jockey Hugh Bowman as her new partner and respect.
SELECTIONS: No13 VIDDORA, No1 Wild Rain, No2 Sheidel, No16 Rule The River.
VALUE RUNNER: No16 Rule The River.
R4 1.40pm LEXUS STAKES 2500m
OCEANOGRAPHER can emulate the success of the other Internationals in the country Cups by winning here. He gave a great sight at his Australian debut to charge into third place behind another International visitor Qewy in the Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 19.
REAL LOVE gave a formidable performance to run a sound fifth to Jameka in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 15. She rises sharply in weight up to 58.5kg with stable jockey Brad Rawiller back at the helm.
TOM MELBOURNE is a talented but at times wayward stayer. He can over-race but he has claims in this race after his good second in the Group 3 Coongy Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15. Singapore-based jockey Glen Boss is the new rider.
DE LITTLE ENGINE won’t be at $61 here like he was when he snuck into the Caulfield Cup as first emergency to run home late when finishing ninth to Jameka on October 15. Hong Kong jockey Chad Schofield rides here.
SELECTIONS: No8 OCEANOGRAPHER, No2 Real Love, No5 Tom Melbourne, No7 De Little Engine.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 De Little Engine.
R5 2.25pm COOLMORE STUD STAKES 1200m
STAR TURN is a cracking colt but he will need to be on his mettle in an outstanding sprint here. He eased from $1.95 to $2.10 before knocking his rivals for six in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 8. Makes strong appeal.
ASTERN won the Group 1 Golden Rose and ran a close second to Russian Revolution in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes at Randwick on October 1. He has won five of his seven starts and Godolphin’s Nos 1 rider James McDonald rides.
EXTREME CHOICE bounced back to beat the older brigade of sprinters in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 30. He won the Group 1 Blue Diamond last season and rates highly in a crackjack ensemble.
RUSSIAN REVOLUTION is a highly talented three-year-old. He lowered the colours of Astern in the Group 2 Roman Consul at Randwick at his last start on October 1. Has an unblemished record of four wins from four starts.
SELECTIONS: No5 STAR TURN, No3 Astern, No2 Extreme Choice, No6 Russian Revolution.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 Extreme Choice.
R6 3.05pm MYER CLASSIC 1600m
HEAVENS ABOVE (BEST ROUGHIE) is a highly-rated mare who ran a great seventh in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m at her last start on October 1). Tye Angland keeps the ride on this mare, who won the Group 2 Sheraco Stakes three starts ago, and would expect her to be charging home here.
FIRST SEAL was racing second-up when she snatched the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 15 in the last few strides. She was one of the nation’s best three-year-olds last season and she is back to her best and has Blake Shinn to ride again.
DANISH TWIST is overdue to have a change of luck. She was a mile back when storming home to run fifth in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield on October 15. With her rider Damien Oliver suspended, ace Hong Kong jockey Joao Moreira gets the job to steer.
DON’T DOUBT MAMMA is a highly talented four-year-old mare who has been racing in full flight with brilliant wins in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) here and the Group 3 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley at her past two starts. With Dwayne Dunn to guide she makes strong claims here.
SELECTIONS: No5 HEAVENS ABOVE, No2 First Seal, No4 Danish Twist, No7 Don’t Doubt Mamma.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 Don’t Doubt Mamma.
R7 3.50pm AAMI VICTORIA DERBY 2500m
SACRED ELIXIR (BEST BET) is a New Zealand colt who has been explosive in Australia, bolting in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes in Queensland as a two-year-old before coming to Melbourne where he won the Caulfield Guineas Prelude and the Group 2 Vase (2040m) at his last start at Moonee Valley on October 22. Hong Kong jockey Zac Purton replaces Melbourne hoop Damian Lane, who has done an outstanding job to navigate for trainer Tony Pike. From barrier (1) he is going to be cruising in the box seat and punters have already lunged into him, backing him into a $2.80 favourite.
SELECTIONS: No1 SACRED ELIXIR, No12 Highlad, No5 Morvada, No3 Swear.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 Swear.
R8 4.35pm CANTALA STAKES 1600m
HE’S OUR ROCKII (NEXT BEST BET) has been flying out this campaign and is up to the test here after his brilliant first Group 1 win in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 15. He has the services of the dynamic Dwayne Dunn, who has been electric at this carnival and the gate (11) won’t be a big hurdle. Chasing his sixth straight win here, this former New Zealand star gets his best shot at a million-dollar purse.
SELECTIONS: No4 HE’S OUR ROCKII, No5 Le Romain, No1 Palentino, No11 Mackintosh.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 Mackintosh.
R9 5.20pm TAB.COM.AU STAKES 1200m
KEEN ARRAY has been super impressive at winning at his past two starts this spring. He has won both of his starts as a $3.80 and $3 favourite and with Hong Kong jockey Joao Moreira has one of the world’s best jockeys to aid his pursuit of a hat-trick.
OCEAN EMBERS was flying winning the Group 3 Cockram Stakes against her own sex before she was pitted against the boys when running fourth in the Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 8. Freshened for this and respect.
SOUTHERN LEGEND comes down from Sydney and he drops from 58.5kg to 54.5kg on his last-start fifth in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 1. Regular hoop Tim Clark comes down to ride.
COUNTERATTACK has the blinkers back on after he failed to run out the 1600m when running 10th to He’s Our Rockii in the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on October 15. He was backed from $7 into $5.50 that day. Hugh Bowman is the new rider.
SELECTIONS: No5 KEEN ARRAY, No8 Ocean Embers, No11 Southern Legend, No6 Counterattack.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 Ocean Embers.