The rail will be moved to the 10-metre position after racing at three metres here last Saturday. The Aurie’s Star handicap is the traditional kick-off race in the spring carnival and has attracted a star cast, including Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc. The nine-race card is an interesting fixture with many of the spring carnival hopes for the big races resuming today. The track is rated as a Good 4 but with showers forecast and low temperatures, it will pay to keep a watch on the track conditions.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 7,9 – 1,5 – 1,9 – 7,10
Wide Play: 3,7,9,11,19 – 1,2,3,5,6 – 1,2,4,9,13 – 1,7,10,11
BEST BET: R3 – 2. SOVEREIGN NATION
Next Best Bet: R5 – 2. SAMOVARE
Best Roughie: R2 – 7. WELCOME STRYKER
SCRATCHED No9 ALJAWZAA gets her chance to beat the colts and geldings here as the sole filly in the race. She ran a great third against the males over 1200m at Caulfield on July 15. She gets the same weight on 57kg and gets Regan Bayliss to ride from an inside gate in (3). Good appeal.
No1 PERUGGIA hails from the all-conquering stable of trainer Darren Weir and has the score on the board with wins at Donald and Sandown at his past two starts. Latest he carried 58kg to post a fighting win over 1300m at Sandown on July 26. With Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim will carry 58.5kg here.
No4 SKY PUNCH showed his debut second was rock solid with a smart win over 1400m at Geelong on July 16. He gets top jockey Dwayne Dunn as his new partner and he has a great draw in gate (3). He had to fight hard to win last time and strikes a strong field here, but would respect.
No2 CONFLUENCE was outsprinted when finishing fourth over 1400m at Caulfield on July 29. That was second up from a spell and he gets the in-form Luke Currie to steer him from barrier (1). He has been placed twice at his three starts and has room for improvement.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 PERUGGIA
No3 MASTER ZEPHYR meets his prime foe Killimanjaro 2.5kg better on their last encounter, carrying 53.5kg here with the aid of Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim. He ran a good second over 2000m here on July 22 with Allen in the saddle. Killimanjaro ran sixth in the same race. Has strong claims here.
No2 KILLIMANJARO is an Irish-bred import who looms as the main danger on his sixth to Pacodali over 2000m here on July 22. Leading apprentice Beau Mertens rides but he has no claim and he will carry his listed weight on 57kg for the reigning Melbourne Cup winning stable. One to watch here.
No4 SUPER HAZE won the Banjo Paterson (2600m) here on July 8 comfortably. Luke Currie keeps the ride and he drops a kilo to 54kg here. The Irish bred stayer is racing in fine form and drawn gate (2) he should get a nice passage throughout. Will have admirers here.
No7 WELCOME STRYKER (BEST ROUGHIE) has been specked at long odds in the early betting ($101 into $41) and could be a sign he is going to show with the blinkers going back on. Apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim drops his weight to a mere 52.5kg and looms as a good place chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 WELCOME STRYKER
No2 SOVEREIGN NATION (BEST BET) looks to have strong claims under the compressed weights here. He will carry 55.5kg and gets top jockey Regan Bayliss to ride. He ran a great third in the Winter Championship Final (1600m) here on July 8 as a $6 favourite from barrier (10). He has a superior draw in gate (4) here and he only goes up a half kilo in the handicap.
SCRATCHED No7 MY PAISANN can expect him to be storming home and rates with good prospects here.
No1 TALLY has a big weight on 61.5kg but is class and he looms as an each-way chance.
SCRATCHED No6 RICH LUCK has won at five of his seven starts and is a promising sort. Has appeal.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 TALLY
No3 RIYADH is racing in a rich vein of form and can notch his fourth straight win here. Latest he beat Electric Fusion over 1600m here on July 22 when at the lucrative odds of $13. Brian Higgins keeps the ride and he drops a kilo to 59kg on his last win. Expect him to be flying home.
No5 PORTION CONTROL kicked away to an imposing win over 1700m at Caulfield last start on July 15. He jumps up 4kg to 58kg here and that could be a steadier. The blinkers improved him last start and ridden in a quiet manner would expect him to be in a hurry at the end of this.
No9 COSMIC LIGHTS has been most honest and gets top jockey Regan Bayliss to ride on 55.5kg. He was a solid sixth over 1600m here last start on July 8 in the Winter Championship, when carrying 54kg and ridden by apprentice Beau Mertens. Makes each way appeal.
No11 JAMINZAH hails from the leading yard of Sydney trainer Chris Waller. He posted a brilliant win over 1600m here last Saturday and is on the quick back up here. Stephen Baster retains the ride and he drops 4.5kg to the limit on 54kg. Looms as a light-weight hope.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 RIYADH
No2 SAMOVARE (NEXT BEST BET) is a former West Australian Group 3 winner racing against her own sex here. She ran a cracking third at her Victorian debut against 3yr fillies at Flemington on June 10. She has been freshened up for this and gets top WA-born jockey Damien Oliver to ride. On 56.5kg under the compressed weights she makes strong appeal despite her wide alley in gate (9).
No6 SWAMPLAND carries only 54.5kg and is racing in a golden vein chasing a hat-trick here.
No3 NIMINYPIMINY gets her chance if the track is wet and is worth an each-way look.
No5 O’RACHAEL showed sharp improvement at her last start at Caulfield. Worth consideration.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 NIMINYPIMNY
No7 I BOOGI has won at three of his past four starts. Latest he carried 57kg to post a narrow win over 1200m at Sandown on July 12. He gets top jockey Damian Lane to replace apprentice Jordan Childs, but he does go up sharply in the handicaps carrying 59kg, which is 2kg more than last start. Respect.
SCRATCHED No19 TAHI has an impressive record of a win and a second at two starts. Latest he was a $4 favourite when running second over 1100m here on July 22. With apprentice Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim, his handicap drops to 56.5kg. He steps up in distance and goes back around the bend this time.
No9 KILMACURRAGH gave a good sight first up to run third over 1400m at Sandown on March 1. He was turned out again and races fresh here, but has an imposing record of two wins and two placings at six starts. He loves this distance and gets top jockey Dwayne Dunn to pilot here.
No13 WAYANKA hails from the leading stable of Chris Waller and gets top jockey Damien Oliver to ride. He ran a solid sixth over 1600m here last Saturday and is on the quick back up. He should get a cosy run from gate (8) and is worth looking at as an each way hope.
VALUE RUNNER: No13 WAYANKA
No5 FLIPPANT faces a crack field of Group 1 performers here. Latest he ran a grand third in the Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton on July 12. The runner-up Monstar franked that form and with top jockey ben Melham on board makes appeal. Good effort to run second in a 1000m trial at Rosehill on August 1.
No1 HEY DOC is the Australian Guineas winner on the comeback trail for the spring. He ran a cracking sixth in the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 20 at his last start. He does cop his share of weight on 59kg but has a great record fresh of two wins and a third at three starts.
No2 I AM A STAR is a high grade mare on the comeback trail after running third in the Group 1 U Bet Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on May 6. She gets ace jockey Dwayne Dunn to ride and she has an excellent first-up record of a win and a second at three starts. She also loves this track.
No4 WE’VE GOT THIS underlined he was primed for a forward showing first up with a clever win in a 1000m trial at Cranbourne on July 17. He has a great record of a win and two seconds at four starts when fresh and will have his admirers. He likes Flemington and is worth noting here.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 WE’VE GOT THIS
No1 CROCODILE ROCK is an Irish-bred import who won with something in hand over 2400m at Sandown on January 18. He is back for the spring with big races in mind and he has the outstanding record of five starts for three wins and a second. He should prove tough to beat first up.
No9 GALAXY RAIDER chased hard along the inside rail to finish third over 2000m here last Saturday. He is on the quick back up and was beaten by an imposing import in Aloft last week. That form stands him in good stead for this race but he does jump 3kg to 57kg here.
No2 BLING DYNASTY is at the top of his game and ran a good third over 1700m at Caulfield on July 15. Apprentice Jordan Childs replaces jockey Craig Williams and he does rise 4.5kg to 58.5kg. Childs has no claim so will carry his full weight. Expect him to be throttling home.
No13 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR had a tough assignment to finish fifth over 1600m here last Saturday. That run should stand him well for his rise in distance here and he gets the in-form Luke Currie to ride on 56kg. Last week, 3kg-claiming apprentice Jack Hill rode when carrying 57kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No13 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR
No7 ROCKET TOMMY is unbeaten at two starts down the straight here. He has a heap of toe and will be hard to apply pressure to with ace jockey Damien Oliver to pilot. He has an outstanding record of two wins from three starts when he is fresh and he looks hard to go past.
No10 RUNSON is unbeaten at his two starts fresh. He has not raced since finishing second over 955m at Moonee Valley on November 11. He has yet to win at two starts at this track but has a stack of speed and will be right up there. The last few metres could be the test for him.
SCRATCHED No14 SEATTLE BOOM was second up when finishing sixth over 1100m at Caulfield on July 29. He loves the short course with a record of three starts for two wins and a second, but he is unknown down the straight here. He gets top jockey Luke Currie to ride from barrier (8) and is worth thought.
No9 SUNDAY ESCAPE fought on well to run fifth in the Group 3 John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 15. He has been kept fresh for this with a 28-day break and he gets top jockey Dwayne Dunn to ride from barrier (11). He loves the short-course, but has won once at six starts down the straight.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 SUNDAY ESCAPE