The rail was at the three-metre position last time here on July 22 and there was a distinct bias to the forward racing horses.
This time the rail is out to six metres on a track rated perfect for racing on a Good 4 for the first Saturday meeting of the new racing season.
This is a whopping big card of 10 races with many of these horses having their first starts in preparation for the riches of the spring carnival.
QUADDIES (races 7,8,9,10)
Skinny Play: 4,13 – 2,11 – 6,12,13 – 3,10,12
Wide Play: 4,6,8,13 – 1,2,4,11,13 – 4,6,12,13,17 – 2,3,5,10,12
BEST BET: R9 – 6. RICH LUCK
Next Best Bet: R7 – 13. REBELIOUS LORD
Best Roughie: R3 – 8. MUSIC OF THE NIGHT
No4 INDIAN THUNDER can give champion trainer Darren Weir a great start to the new season after his record-breaking year last season. He won the Queen Adelaide Stakes at his second start in May and was turned out for a spell. Has blinkers on and Damian Lane to ride where seven of the nine runners are fresh.
No1 AZAZEL has the tongue-tie off and the winkers go on for his first start this season. He ran a great fourth in the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 11 and was then given a respite. Hails from a top juvenile yard and commands strong respect here.
No3 CAO CAO ran a fair 10th in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (12200m) at Caulfield on February 25. He was spelled after that and returns here off a 161-day break. He gets top jockey Mark Zahra to ride and he has a great record fresh. Should get a soft run from gate five.
No7 FRANKEL MY DEAR is a $500,000 purchase by champion galloper Frankel making his debut. He comes in well at the weights on 51kg with the 3kg claim of apprentice Brandon Stockdale. Unfortunately there are no public trials but would suggest he will be ready to make an impression.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 FRANKEL MY DEAR
No2 DULVERTON is chasing a hat-trick following two excellent wins. Latest she carried 54kg to thrash her female rivals over 1600m at Flemington on July 22. Apprentice Brandon Stockdale again rides and his 3kg claim drops her weight to 56.5kg. She does rise 2.5kg on her last win but she did win with authority and can repeat.
No6 ANOTHER BULLSEYE ended the 2016-17 season on a high with a fighting but narrow win over 1600m at Sandown on July 19. She strikes her own sex again here and with the 2kg claim of Taylor Marshall will only carry 52kg. That is a drop of 6.5kg and must respect here.
No7 WHYOUASK fought hard to post a narrow win at Sandown on July 5 before running a strong fifth over 1400m here on July 22. She drew the outside that day and has a far superior draw in two here and gets senior jockey Ben Melham to partner. She will have her friends.
No5 FLORIDA PEARL has finished inside the money at eight of her 10 starts. Latest she ran a strong second over 1500m at Geelong on July 15. She was well-fancied at $4.20 that time and that was first-up off a long spell. She will find this tougher but she will be far fitter for the outing.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 FLORIDA PEARL
No1 MADEENATY she won last season’s opening city two-year-old race and can kick off the new season again on a high here. She has speed to burn and was burning the turf at a recent jump-out at Flemington on July 28. She returns fresh from a 140-day break and carries 57kg with the claim.
No2 CHATEAU GRIFFO ran a cracking third in the Blue Diamond Preview (1100m) at her sole start at Caulfield on January 26. She had support that day and would expect the daughter of leading sire Sebring to be storming home over her rivals. She is ideally drawn in gate four to be prominent.
No3 CROWN WITNESS smashed her opposition at her debut and was backed from $8 into $6 so it was expected, over 1000m at Sandown on July 19. She gets leading apprentice Ben Thompson to ride again and will carry 53kg with his 1.5kg claim. That is 2.5kg less compensation for the rise in class.
No8 MUSIC OF THE NIGHT (BEST ROUGHIE) is by former champion two-year-old Pierro from the Redoute’s Choice mare Moonlight Magic. She was a $100,000 purchase at last year’s Sydney Easter Sale and she raced just off the pace down the straight here in a jump-out on July 28.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 MUSIC OF THE NIGHT
No5 ALOFT was able to win fresh over 1800m here two starts ago. He was then taken to Sydney where he ran second in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 1. He returns here but is from the current Melbourne Cup winning stable and would pay the utmost respect.
No11 GALAXY RAIDER gets his chance here after two solid seconds over 1400m and 1600m. He is now primed for the 2000m and on his last start flashing second over 1600m at Sandown on July 12 as a $1.90 favourite can make a case. He is down 1.5kg to 54kg but loses Craig Williams.
No4 SECOND BULLET struck a golden vein of form in the autumn and makes appeal here. Latest he ran a solid fourth to Extra Zero over 2000m here on May 20. He gets the premiership-chasing jockey Damian Lane to ride and he has shown his best form while racing fresh of late. Sound chance.
No3 EXTRA ZERO won over this trip four starts ago. He is a veteran stayer who is racing with plenty of fire in his belly and can be a force on his last start fourth over 2000m here on July 22. Top jockey Regan Bayliss is back to ride the 11-year-old and he loves this distance. Keep in mind.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 EXTRA ZERO
No9 HAY BALE recorded his second win at this track when he held to the line strong under attack to win buy a narrow margin over 1100m here on July 22. He stretched out and extra 100m down the Flemington straight here, and has 51kg with the 3kg claim of apprentice Chris Caserta.
No6 LORD VON COSTA showed he was on target for a big first-up effort with a smart win in a 1000m trial at Wangaratta on July 11. He has a solid record of a win and two seconds down the straight here and he has been placed at three of his five starts fresh. He resumes off a 42-day break and respect.
No2 INSPECTOR has Ethan Brown’s 3kg claim to drop his weight to a comfortable 55.5kg. He ran a solid fifth over 1600m at Sandown on May 27 last start. He is back to the straight 1200m here and he did win over 1400m here three starts ago. He is worth a look in this class.
SCRATCHED No1 BEATNIKS was fresh from a break when she ran a challenging third over 1200m at Caulfield first-up on July 15. With leading apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg allowance she drops to 57.5kg, which is 2.5kg less than he carried last start. She should be finishing strongly at the end.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 BEATNIKS
No7 YOGI is racing at full-throttle and was well out of his ground but raced home strongly to finish third over 2100m at Sandown on July 12. He was an outstanding winner at his previous two starts over the longer sprints at the same track before that. Top jockey John Allen rides for Darren Weir.
No16 BENALL looked to be a shade unlucky when finishing second over 2400m at Caulfield last start on July 29. He is on the quick back up here but would not discard because of that. He should again be a force with a strong condition and he gets ace jockey Craig Newitt to ride. Drops 3.5kg to 54kg.
No1 SURVIVED was specked at long odds in early betting and is worth a look on his last-start win over 2400m at Mt Gambier on May 12. He gets Jack Martin’s 3kg claim to reduce his impost to a more comfortable 59kg and can combat a wide alley in 15. Has some each-way claims.
SCRATCHED No4 GLOBAL GENTL is a German-bred stayer who posted a most clever win over 2100m at Sandown on July 12. He was at long odds that day at $51. Don't expect that price here and with Zac Spain’s 2kg claim he drops to 57kg for this assignment. Hails from a leading stable and respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 SURVIVED
No13 REBELLIOUS LORD (NEXT BEST BET) is a lightly-raced galloper with a heap of upside with a record of two wins and a third at three starts. Latest he ran a strong third over 1400m here on July 22. He was backed from $8 into $6 that time. Ben Thompson keeps the ride and he drops to 57kg here with the apprentice’s 1.5kg claim.
No12 JAMINZAH showed plenty of courage to finish strongly last start and rates here.
No4 ANDREA MANTEGNA is a European import who impressed at Geelong at his first Australian start.
No6 SPUNLAGO is going into this race at his peak and will run well.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 JAMINZAH
No2 AMOVATIO ran a cracking second in the final of the Winter Championship (1600m) here on July 8 and if he repeats that run makes strong appeal here. He has drawn perfectly in gate five and with Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim he will carry 58.5kg. Loves this track and distance.
No11 SHOW A STAR had to cut back to the rails and finished off strong to snatch second place over 1700m at Caulfield on July 15. Craig Newitt is the new rider here and gate seven he should get a cosy run in transit. The seven-year-old also loves this track and distance. Commands respect.
No4 RHYTHM TO SPARE did not have too much luck when caught wide but continued to flourish into fifth place to Amovatio in the Winter Championship (1600m) here on July 8. He gets senior jockey Patrick Maloney to ride at his rematch and again looms as an each-way chance.
No1 AMRALAH is an Irish bred galloper who has his share of weight on 61kg but he does get Damien Oliver to pilot. He won the Group 2 Herbert Power (2400m) at his last start at Caulfield on October 19. He hails from a very astute stable and would expect him to be working home strongly.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 AMRALAH
No6 RICH LUCK (BEST BET) has plenty to offer on his dominant win over 1200m at Geelong on July 16. He carried 59.5kg that day and won comfortably by 1¾ lengths to record his fifth win from seven starts. He is down a kilo to 58.5kg and gets Chris Symons to steer again in a tougher assignment but he is value in the early betting.
No13 REVOLVING DOOR has been in excellent form and is a big chance here.
No12 PORTMAN was a good winner here at this track last month. Makes appeal.
No5 REINCARNATE The tongue-tie comes off and will be fitter second-up.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 RICH LUCK
No3 SPANISH REEF she was impressive at the latter end of last season stringing together two straight city wins. She returns a four-year-old here and if she repeats her last start effort over 1600m here on July 8 she is going to be tough to beat. Brandon Stockdale’s claims drops her to a mere 54kg here.
No10 SEATTLE PARK found more trouble than Ned Kelly last start and was a great effort to run seventh over2000m at Caulfield on July 15. Hoping for better luck this time with Craig Newitt the new rider but gate 16 is a hindrance. Should hit the line strong here.
No4 WINDBERN showed plenty of grit to score a narrow but brave win over 2000m at Caulfield on July 15. She is racing well but she gets an extra 2kg up to 56kg here. Ace rider Dwayne Dunn negates the wide gate, and rate her with good prospects here.
No12 SUMMER GLEN has apprentice Jordan Grob’s 3kg claim to reduce her weight to a mere 51kg. She carried 57kg with Grob in the saddle to run a strong second over 1600m against her own sex at Sandown on July 19 last start. She is drawn three and would respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 WINDBERN