The temperatures are going to be low and chilly so there is little chance of the track drying out from a Soft 6.
Showers are forecast for Sunday at this stage so hopefully there is no rain on Saturday. The weather forecast is for overcast conditions with a maximum on 15C after a minimum of 7C.
The highlight is the return for the spring of the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin in the fifth race and the two three-year-old sprints where punters will get a look at the future classic contenders in the coming months.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 1,3 – 9,10- - 4,5 – 8,10,12
Wide Play: 1,3,6,7,9 – 2,9,10,11 – 1,4,5 – 2,3,8,10,12
BEST BET: R6 – 1. AZAZEL
Next Best Bet: R8 – 4. DUKE OF BRUNSWICK
Best Roughie: R9 – 1. MIGHTY LIKE
SCRATCHED No6 YOGI has been illuminating and can give trainer Darren Weir a strong hand in this race. Latest scored a tenacious win over 2500m at Flemington on August 5. That was his third win from his past four starts and he drops 4.5kg to 54kg here. Gets top jockey Damian Lane to ride and rates highly
SCRATCHED No2 MASTER ZEPHYR looms as the main danger to his stablemate Yogi on his win over 2530m at Flemington on August 12. Apprentice Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim drops his weight to 56.5kg, which is 3kg more than he carried to win last time. Hardy campaigner with strong claims again.
No4 CHARLEVOIX is rock hard and looms with good prospects here. Latest ran a strong fifth over 2400m at Caulfield on July 29. He found more trouble than Ned Kelly that day and would dismiss the placing. Go on his previous form and with ace jockey Craig Williams to guide he makes good appeal.
No8 CRISMONTANE is a rock solid stayer who appears primed for this following his strong second over 2400m at Sandown on August 16. The Sydney-trained son of High Chaparral’s three career wins have been over the metric mile, but he looks now ready to show up over a longer distance.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 CRISMONTANE
No4 MERRIEST has a good first-up record and she looks tuned for this race with a clever win over 1000m in a trial at Cranbourne on August 8. She also had a jump out and has been exemplary at this track with two starts for a win and a third. With Daniel Moor to ride she looks hard to beat.
No2 HEAR THE CHANT has the services of top apprentice Ben Thompson to ride. His 12.5kg claim reduces her weight to a comfortable 58kg here. She had no luck at her last start in the Group 1 Sangster Classic (1200m) at Morphettville in May. Gets a soft run from gate five.
No10 FRAGONARD gets her chance here on her last start good second over 1400m against 3yo fillies at Caulfield on May 13. The Godolphin-trained mare is having her first start for new trainer James Cummings and she is unbeaten first-up with two wins at her two starts. Strong chance.
No11 LOVANI has been winning in dominant fashion and deserves her spot here. Latest she scored a strong half-length win over 1600m at Flemington on July 22. She gets the in-form jockey Luke Currie to ride and she drops 1.5kg to 54kg here on the limit. Her form is too good to dismiss.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 LOVANI
No1 TULIP was scratched from last Saturday and will resume here. She is a classy filly who looked smart at her trial when running second to Formality over 1000m at Cranbourne on August 8. She gets top jockey Craig Williams to ride, but strikes a strong field of fillies. If it rains she will improve further.
No3 LIMESTONE was one of the top two-year-olds of last season resuming here. She has not raced since finishing second to Catchy in the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 11. Gets top jockey Damian Lane to ride and expect her to be fighting out the finish.
No4 ROOMOOZ was a brilliant winner at her debut at Morphettville last January. She ran a solid eighth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) last autumn and showed she was on key for a big effort with a strong run in a Flemington jump out on August 4.
No5 GARRARD won her maiden two starts ago in good fashion at Bendigo. Latest she ran a strong second in a Group 3 1200m race at Flemington on March 18. She has a good record fresh of a win and a second at two starts and with top jockey Mark Zahra on board rates highly.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 GARRARD
No12 SIN TO WIN faces stiff opposition in a tricky race but does make a solid case here on his strong Australian debut third over 1400m at Flemington on August 5. Top jockey Dwayne Dunn keeps the ride and Team Hayes has exploded out of the barriers for the new season. Good chance here.
No19 REBELLIOUS LORD has won twice and been placed twice at his four starts. He gets his chance here after his close second over 1600m at Flemington on August 5. He was the $3.60 favourite that day and he should be highly fancied again. Drops 2.5kg to 54kg on last start here and would respect.
SCRATCHED No4 JAMINZAH is searching for a hat-trick after landing brilliant wins at Flemington. Latest he scored well over 1700m at Flemington on August 12. Stephen Baster keeps the ride and he will again be fancied despite his weight ride of 6kg to 60kg. Looks to be a good chance despite weight rise.
No5 DATA POINT did have some excuses last start and would give another chance here. He was held up before finishing eighth over 1400m at Caulfield on July 15. Drops a half-kilo to 59kg on his last start and with good jockey Luke Nolen to ride will be a threat.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 JAMINZAH
No6 PACODALI is an Irish-bred stayer who is flying high with two wins on the trot. Latest kicked home hard to score a smart win over 2000m at Flemington on July 22. Returns from a 35-day break but is from the camp of champion trainer Darren Weir and with Damian Lane to ride would respect here.
No10 BLING DYNASTY has been a model of consistency and loves this track with a record of two starts for two wins. He ran a fair sixth over 2000m at Flemington last start on August 12. Gets ace jockey Craig Williams to ride and drops 4.5kg to the limit on 54kg. Makes a good case here.
No1 ALMANDIN is the reigning Melbourne Cup winner resuming for his Cup defence. The German-bred stayer is chasing a fourth straight win but has his share of weight on 61kg. He gets Ben Melham to ride at his return and would suggest to watch the betting closely for the best guide.
No8 RULING DYNASTY loves this track with two starts for two wins. He drops to 54kg after carrying 58.5kg to finish sixth over 2000m at Flemington on August 12. Top jockey Craig Williams has been booked to ride, but this is a strong race and rate with each-way claims as best.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 RULING DYNASTY
No1 AZAZEL (BEST BET) resumed with a stylish win over 1000m down the straight at Flemington on August 5. Luke Currie keeps the ride and he drops 2.5kg to 57.5kg here against his male counterparts over the 1200m dash. Won at his sole start over 1000m at this track and looks to be a strong chance with the Tony McEvoy yard firing on all cylinders.
No3 BANDIPUR has the polish of new trainer James Cummings as Godolphin’s new honcho.
No6 LONE EAGLE dashed home for a strong win at Caulfield last start. Will be charging home again.
No11 FRANKEL MY DEAR is a son of champion Frankel and bound to be improved on his debut effort.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 FRANKEL MY DEAR
No10 HEATHERLY pay to draw a line through her unplaced run in the Group 1 Galaxy when she struck a quagmire at Randwick on March 18. She loves this track with three wins and three placings at six starts. Has Damian Lane to ride and has two wins and a second at four starts first-up.
No9 SPEEDEOR is running red hot with three straight wins from past four starts. Latest he scored a 1½ length win over1100m in the Magic Millions Classic at Ballarat on November 19. He hails from the top stable of Darren Weir and would expect him to be right in the finish here from gate seven.
No7 O’MALLEY loves this track with two wins and a third placing at four starts here. Not raced since finishing sixth over 1000m at Flemington on June 10. He goes well fresh and would expect him to be powering home. He has talented jockey Craig Newitt to steer from gate 11.
No11 MISSROCK resumed here after her smashing second to Vega Magic in the Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville in May. Vega Magic resumed with a stylish win at Caulfield last Saturday so that augurs well for a top showing here. The Robbie Laing stable is on fire and would keep very safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 O’MALLEY
No4 DUKE OF BRUNSWICK (NEXT BEST BET) gets a drop in class here on his smart third in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) to Ability at Sandown on August 6. He gets his chance here with apprentice Chris Caserta’s 3kg claim dropping his weight to 53.5kg. He loves this track with a record of two starts for a win and a second and would expect a bold showing.
No1 ARTICUS has been gelded and would expect a bold showing fresh for trainer Darren Weir.
No5 RAW IMPULSE has no public trials but has a great record fresh and would keep safe.
No13 HERE TO THERE has drawn perfectly in gate five and racing in top form. Has claims.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 ARTICUS
No10 OBERLAND was the subject of a betting plunge at his first start for the Darren Weir stable when finishing 11th over 1100m at Caulfield July 29. Has been freshened up again for this race and gets top jockey Damian Lane to ride. Drops from 59kg to 54.5kg here and pay to watch betting.
No12 HAY BALE kept coming down out wide when finishing a close third over 1200m at Flemington on August 5. The four-year-old was backed into a $2.70 favourite that day. He has drawn wide in 12, but with senior rider Jye McNeil replacing a 3kg apprentice rates with good claims.
No8 OAK DOOR comes back here after running 10th in the Group 2 QLD Guineas (1600m) at Doomben on June 10. Has a fair first-up record and with apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim his weight drops to 55.5kg. He is a Group 2 winner over 1400m at Caulfield last season and would respect.
No1 MIGHTY LIKE (BEST ROUGHIE) with Chris Caserta’s 3kg claim he gets in with a comfortable weight on 58.5kg. He ran a solid fifth down the straight 1200m at Flemington last start on July 22. He does like this distance and has a sound record at this track. From barrier six he should gain a cosy run in transit.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 MIGHTY LIKE