It is the last day of the Melbourne Cup week with the Group 1 Emirates Stakes the principle race on a bumper nine-event card at Flemington.
Competition is going to be red hot again with big fields and competitive racing assured on a track rated at a Good 4 and the rail at the true position. The weather forecast is for a maximum of 16C and overcast.
AZAZEL is by leading sire Snitzel and was a huge tip before he thrashed his rivals by 1 ¾ lengths over 1000m at Moonee Valley at his debut on October 22. Here again carries 57kg and should benefit from having the race start.
WAIT FOR NO ONE has given the Hayes camp a flying start to the new season of two-year-old racing and on his debut win looks strong here. He burst home to post a narrow win over 1000m at Caulfield on October 8. But he has a wide alley here (11).
TARIMA fought hard all of the way but was unable to reel in Strela as a $3 favourite at her debut over 900m at Bendigo on October 15. She gets another chance here with Hong Kong jockey Chad Schofield taking the reins for the first time.
LONE EAGLE showed natural speed at his sole public trial to run second of six over 800m on a Heavy 8 at Cranbourne on October 17. Top jockey Damien Oliver travelled to Cranbourne to ride and he sticks with him here.
SELECTIONS: No1 AZAZEL, No2 Wait For No One, No13 Tarima, No10 Lone Eagle.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 Lone Eagle.
R2 12.50pm STARLIGHT CHILDREN'S FOUNDATION PLATE 2000m
CHARLEVOIX had no hope first-up on a track that lends itself to being close to the pace at Caulfield on October 12 when finishing 12th to Murt The Flirt. He drops a kilo to 54kg here and Luke Nolen is staying on board. He won the Galilee Series last winter.
CURRAGH should welcome getting to the bigger Flemington track. He has been racing well since arriving in Victoria from New Zealand this spring and the extra distance will suit here. Damien Oliver is the new rider.
KILMACURRAGH is an imposing galloper with a record of two wins and a second at four starts. He resumed with a smart win over 1400m at Pakenham on October 27. He drops 3kg to 54kg and makes strong appeal.
MASTER ZEPHYR is going to be better suited here in this class. Punters had a crack backing him from $15 into $9 before finishing eighth in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on October 22. Brad Rawiller steers here.
SELECTIONS: No12 CHARLEVOIX, No13 Curragh, No14 Kilmacurragh, No4 Master Zephyr.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Master Zephyr.
R3 1.30pm QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES 2600m
FRANCIS OF ASSISI claimed a brilliant three-length win in the Bendigo Cup (2400m) on October 24. Trainer Charlie Appleby may have missed the big prize but he has been sweeping-up the other feature races with his stayers. Hard to beat.
TOM MELBOURNE backs-up here from a great run last Saturday when he ran a fighting second to Oceanographer in the Group 2 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington. He is rock hard fit now and should not mind the quick back-up.
VENGEUR MASQUE is an Irish bred import who keeps improving with each start in Australia. He ran a solid eighth in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) at his last start on October 15. That run stands him in good stead for this.
SECOND BULLET gave a good effort to run second to Francis Of Assisi in the Bendigo Cup (2400m) on October 24. He gets a good weight swing on his major rival, rising only a half kilo to 55.5kg and has Damian Lane riding again.
SELECTIONS: No1 FRANCIS OF ASSISI, No3 Tom Melbourne, No7 Vengeur Masque, No6 Second Bullet.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 Second Bullet.
R4 2.10pm HILTON STAKES 1400m
NICCOLANCE was steady in betting as a $3 favourite when he pulled away to a clever 1 ¾ length win over 1400m at Randwick on October 8. That was his second win on the trot and he gets top Sydney hoop Blake Shinn to steer here.
VERSTAPPEN is a lightly raced Stratum colt who shows a heap of potential. He blazed away to a 2 ¼ length win over 1300m at Cranbourne on October 9. He gets a big weight relief plummeting to 54kg from 60kg last start.
CEYLON is a New Zealand filly who has made a good impression at her two Victorian starts. Latest she strode to a two-length win over 1400m against her own age and sex at Cranbourne on October 7. Stephen Baster stays on top.
CRAFTED may have bewitched a few punters when at the odds of $19 he challenged Archives, finishing a close second in the Group 3 Red Anchor (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 22. Can make a case here.
SELECTIONS: No4 NICCOLANCE, No9 Verstappen, No18 Ceylon, No8 Crafted.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 Crafted.
R5 2.50pm | ANTLER LUGGAGE HANDICAP 1600m
LAST BULLET is an Adelaide visitor who posted a smart half-length win over 1400m second-up at Morphettville on October 22 to earn a trip across. Top jockey Katelyn Mallyon takes the ride and he drops 3.5kg to the limit on 54kg here and has drawn the rail.
LUCKY PADDY has drawn a shade wide (10) but gets a big weight drop of 3.5kg to 54kg here on his last-start close third over 1500m at Moonee Valley on October 21. Damian Lane replaces Mark Zahra and would expect another bold showing.
FLOW METER is another Adelaide galloper who gets a slight weight decrease of a kilo down to 56.5kg on his fourth in the Gawler Cup (1500m) on October 23. He gets Hong Kong jockey Chad Schofield as his new partner and has a superior alley in (5).
OBSERVATIONAL has been freshened since he ran fifth in the Group 3 JRA Cup (240m) at Moonee Valley on September 30. Damien Oliver keeps the ride but he again must lump a big weight on 59.5kg. He is sure to be in the mix as he's most consistent.
SELECTIONS: No11 LAST BULLET, No8 Lucky Paddy, No4 Flow Meter, No1 Observational.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 Flow Meter.
R6 3.30pm 7NEWS MATRIARCH STAKES 2000m
LADY LE FAY was the victim of a tactical blunder when Hugh Bowman elected to stay on the rail, which was the worst part of the track before finishing sixth in the Group 3 Tesio Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
HAPPY HANNAH was steady in the betting at $55.50 before running a good third over 1600m at Randwick on October 22. She gets Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy to ride and drops 4kg to 55kg.
SORT AFTER is on the quick back-up after posting an imposing three-length win over 1700m at Flemington on Tuesday. She goes up a kilo to 55kg and must jump from a wide alley in (14), but won very well last time out.
MANAGERESS was runner-up in this race 12 months ago. She is primed for another top showing with a smart second in the Sale Cup (1600m) at her last start on October 23. Caulfield Cup winning jockey Nicholas Hall is to ride.
SELECTIONS: No10 LADY LE FAY, No16 Happy Hannah, No15 Sort After, No9 Manageress.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 Manageress.
R7 4.15pm EMIRATES STAKES 2000m
THE UNITED STATES can give Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams more Group 1 success here. He is on the quick back-up from a brilliant effort when fourth in last Saturday’s Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m). Melbourne Cup winning hoop Kerrin McvEvoy rides.
HAURAKI (BEST ROUGHIE) is better suited here on a bigger track than when finishing eighth to Winx in the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22. He was a brilliant winner of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at his prior start at Randwick.
SCOTTISH is a Northern Hemisphere visitor who ran a cracking second to Jameka in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15. He is suited here at weight-for-age and the stable is toasting a high tea trip to Australia. He makes strong appeal.
VADAMOS is a French visitor who set a cracking pace in front to lead by four lengths before being reeled back in and finishing fourth to champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate (2040m). That was a sensational trial for this race.
SELECTIONS: No3 THE UNITED STATES, No2 Hauraki, No7 Scottish, No5 Vadamos.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 Hauraki.
R8 5pm DARLEY CLASSIC 1200m
LANKAN RUPEE (NEXT BEST BET) was the world’s best sprinter before injury sidelined him. The handsome sprinter with a perfect love-heart on his forehead was baulked and had to regain his momentum when finishing powerfully to run third to Our Boy Malachi in the Caulfield Sprint here first-up off a very long spell. He is suited under the weight conditions here on 58.5kg and has regular jockey Craig Newitt to ride him again.
SELECTIONS: No1 LANKAN RUPEE, No6 Our Boy Malachi, No5 Fell Swoop, No3 The Quarterback.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 Lankan Rupee.
R9 5.45pm EMIRATES AIRLINE HANDICAP 1400m
DEMONSTRATE (BEST BET) is racing in career best form. He notched a hat-trick when he pulled away to beat Sovereign Nation over 1600m here on Tuesday. The son of New Approach drops 3.5kg to 54kg and has Godolphin’s No 1 rider James McDonald to ride again. He was a $1.90 favourite last time and bookmakers may take a bit more of a risk with him backing up so quickly.
SELECTIONS: No8 DEMONSTRATE, No5 Santa Ana Lane, No10 Lucky Liberty, No6 Lord Aspen.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 Lucky Liberty.