Racing returns to Caulfield with the running of the three-year-old features of the Quezette Stakes and Vain Stakes.
Pin up boy Black Heart Bart returns in the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes and he strikes a stellar cast of runners at his first start back in Victoria.
Goodwood Handicap victor Vegas Magic is another star on the comeback trail in the Regal Roller Stakes.
A top card of nine races – filled to the brim with good horses returning for the big races later in the spring.
The rail is at the three-metre position and the track is rated as a Good 4. Hopefully the forecast of showers does not ruin the party.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 4,7 – 3,6 – 1 – 6,15
Wide Play: 2,4,5,7 – 2,3,4,6 – 1,3,6 – 1,6,12,15,16
BEST BET: R7 – 3. BLACK HEART BART
Next Best Bet: R8 – 1. VEGA MAGIC
Best Roughie: R8 – 3. BURNING PASSION
No6 NOT ONLY FLORINA is a European import making her debut for Team Hayes. She has an imposing record at home and was given a solid test in a jump out at Flemington on August 4. Top jockey Regan Bayliss rides at her Australian debut. She has a good record fresh and watch betting.
No1 HELL OR HIGHWATER is a stablemate to Not Only Florina and she scored a fighting win over Dulverton over 1700m in this class at Flemington on August 5. Apprentice Chris Caserta gets the ride and his 3kg claim helps with her impost dropping her weight to 59kg. That is a half-kilo more than she carried to win.
No2 DULVERTON should again make her presence felt after fighting all of the way before going down narrowly to Hell Or Highwater over 1700m at Flemington on August 5. Brandon Stockdale again rides and his 3kg claim drops her weight to 56.5kg – the same weight she carried last time.
No9 JEANNEAU has joined the astute stable of Robert Smerdon. She is stretched to the metric mile here for the first time and she gets top Victorian jockey Dwayne Dunn to steer her at her Caulfield debut and she is ideally drawn in gate five to be prominent. Would pay to keep safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 JEANNEAU
No6 WRITTEN ERA has won at five of her 12 starts and looms with great prospects here on her brilliant first-up win over 1200m at Sandown on August 8. She gets top jockey Damian Lane to ride again and she drops 3kg to 54kg for her rise to Saturday class here. Has an excellent second-up record too.
No2 LYUBA has a great strike winning at five of her 12 starts. She is on the comeback trail here for leading trainer Darren Weir and with the in-form Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim will carry no weight on 54kg. Unbeaten first-up with a record of two wins from her two starts. Strong appeal.
No5 OREGON’S DAY ran a great fifth in Group 1 company over 1600m last start at Randwick on April 9. She resumes here and has a solid first-up record of two seconds at three starts. Top jockey Damien Oliver is booked to ride and expect her to be surging home late. Classy mare.
No1 RISQUE with Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim she will carry 58.5kg. She was spelled following her 14th in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Randwick on April 9. She has an excellent fresh record of a win and a second at three starts and can cross from gate eight. Respect here.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 RISQUE
No15 LAND OF PLENTY His form at Flemington behind Hey Doc who returned victorious at Group 3 level last Saturday stands him in good stead here. He has a fair first-up record of two starts for a third and was at the end of his campaign when finishing in the 11th in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas last March.
No16 QUILISTA has the bar plates being removed and the ear muffs coming off. Has not raced since finishing second over 1200m at Ascot on April 29. She is now trained by Darren Weir after being prepared in Perth by Justin Warwick. Has finished inside the money at eight of her nine starts and would watch.
No2 THEANSWERMYFRIEND found the winner too clever but ran well to run second in the Group 3 Carbine Club Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on April 1. Looked good at his recent jump out here on August 8 and expect him to be flashing home at the finish here fresh. Has a good case.
No9 TANGO ROCK with Ethan Brown’s 3kg claim will drop to 55.5kg here. He ran a close second over 1100m here on July 29and from barrier three he should get another cosy run here. He won two at Ballarat before coming to the city and he will be right in the firing line again.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 TANGO ROCK
No4 RHYTHM TO SPARE with Brandon Stockdale’s 3kg claim will carry 55.5kg. He scored a brilliant win over 1600m at Flemington last start on August 5 when carrying 56.5kg. Drops a kilo with Stockdale’s claim and is racing in peak form and has a good gate in two to be prominent here.
No1 BIG DUKE is a former Tasmanian galloper resuming here. He is back in distance after running third as the $3.70 favourite in the Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 22. He does have a sound first-up record of a win and a third at three starts and with the in-form Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim carries 59.5kg.
No3 AMOVATIO found Rhythm To Spare too strong last start when finishing second over 1600m at Flemington on August 5. He gets top jockey Damien Oliver replacing 1.5kg apprentice Ben Thompson and he carries a big weight on 60.5kg again. Proven most honest and respect here.
No8 JACQUINOT BAY has the blinkers going back on this veteran following his third over 1800m at Randwick on July 22. Top jockey Regan Bayliss gets the task to break a long drought from the winner’s list, but he is worth putting into the exotics with the chance of a wet track due to showers.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 BIG DUKE
No1 CATCHY suffered her first defeat when running 16th to She Will Reign in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 18. She is unbeaten here at home and won at Group 1 level in the Blue Diamond Stakes. Gives Team Hayes a very strong hand in this Group fillies only race.
No2 TULIP is a very classy filly who ran fifth to Invader in the Group 1 Sydney Sires (1400m) at Randwick on April 1. She is the stablemate to Catchy and she showed she was on key with good second over 1000m in a trial at Cranbourne on August 8. Mark Zahra is the new rider and she has strong claims.
No8 CROWN WITNESS has been imposing to win at her two starts so far. Latest she beat Madeenaty first-up down the straight 1000m at Flemington on August 5. That was a smart effort but she is going to need to be on top of her game with a wide gate in 11 to contend with. Looms as a danger.
No6 SEANNIE is a former Perth filly making her debut for her new trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young after being prepared by leading juvenile trainer Simon Miller to win at two of her four starts. Has a big finish and can use that first-up here with top jockey Dwayne Dunn to steer at her Victorian debut.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 CROWN WITNESS
No4 JUKEBOX is a West Australian bred 3yo who has yet to blotch his pad at two starts. Looked imposing at a recent jump out when showing a good turn of foot at Caulfield on August 8. He gets the ace rider Craig Williams to ride fresh and from barrier six is going to be strong here.
No5 KOBAYASHI was in sparkling form last autumn when notching successive wins at this track. Latest he won the Redoute’s Choice Stakes (1200m) here on April 29. Apprentice Ben Thompson keeps the ride in this Group 3 event, despite being unable to use his 1.5kg claim. Won a Flemington jump out and ready.
No7 LONE EAGLE opened his winning account at his third start over 1200m here on July 1. He was the $3.70 favourite that day and gets ace jockey Damien Oliver to ride at his toughest assignment to date. He has drawn perfectly in gate five to get a soft run in transit and is worth watching.
No2 VERANILLO will be having his first start for new Godolphin trainer James Cummings. Cummings has put the blinkers back on this colt for the launch of his spring campaign. He boasts a flawless record of two wins at two starts when racing fresh and has top hoop Dwayne Dunn to ride.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 VERANILLO
No3 BLACK HEART BART (BEST BET) is the leading charge for trainer Darren Weir who has six of the 14 runners in this Group 2 event. The multiple Group 1 winner loves this track and distance with a record of five wins and a second at six starts. He resumes here and has his regular partner Brad Rawiller to ride first-up from a short 84-day break after trekking to Queensland. Hard to beat.
No6 HUMIDOR won the Group 1 Australian Cup and is a potential star for Darren Weir.
No4 TOSEN STARDOM gives Darren Weir a stranglehold on this race. Most impressive at three Australian starts.
No7 STAR EXHIBIT is the reigning Perth Cup winner and was Group 1 placed at Doomben. Worth a look.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 STAR EXHIBIT
No1 VEGA MAGIC (NEXT BEST BET) kicked off his new career with Team Hayes on the highest note possible to win the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville last May. He dashed away to a strong win that day and while he does rise 4kg to 60.5kg here he can carry the weight to victory. He gets top jockey Damien Oliver to steer in a campaign aimed at the $10m Everest in Sydney.
No11 BRAVE SMASH is a Japanese import having his first start for top trainer Darren Weir. Take note.
No6 LORD DA VINCI is on target for a big effort with a blazing trial win. Keep safe here.
No3 BURNING PASSION (BEST ROUGHIE) is a Sydney sprinter brought down here to race. Racing very well.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 BURNING PASSION
No15 PORTMAN the tongue-tie goes back on following his sixth over 1400m at Flemington on August 5. He had won brilliantly at his prior start over the same trip and he gets top jockey Craig Williams replacing 1.5kg apprentice Ben Thompson for this assault. May pay to stick to here.
No6 DIVINE MR ARTIE gets into this race with a nice weight with apprentice Chris Caserta’s 3kg claim dropping his handicap to 56kg. He ran a strong second for Caserta over 1400m at Flemington on August 5 and from barrier five her should get a cosy run in transit. Has plenty to like.
No12 TIAMO GRACE has yet to miss a place at five starts. Latest she won the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 29. She is class but the draw is a big setback in gate 20. Still she has the in-form Damian Lane to offset the wide alley. Would expect her to be flying home.
No16 TAHANEE is an imported mare making her Australian debut for record-breaking trainer Darren Weir. She looked sharp at a recent jump out at her home track at Ballarat and she has proven to be a classy mare on her day. Her five wins have been over 1400m and 1600m. Watch betting.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 TIAMO GRACE