The Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) is the feature of today’s nine-race card and it is sure to be hotly contested with a start in the Cox Plate (2040m) available to the winner.
A strong line-up of gallopers will contest the metric mile race for the right to challenge champion mare Winx in next month’s Cox Plate.
The false rail is again at two metres but unlike a fortnight ago the track is rated as a Good 4 (Soft 6).
The curator has irrigated the track so not to have it too hard and the expected showers should be welcomed.
It will be cold with a maximum of 13C forecast after a minimum of 4C. It has been an extremely cold week in Victoria.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 1,6 – 2 – 4,5 – 1,9
Wide Play: 1,3,6,13 – 1,2,3 – 4,5,8,10 – 1,2,5,9
BEST BET: R7 – 2. BRAVE SMASH
Next Best Bet: R8 – 5. HE’S OUR ROKKII
Best Roughie: R6 – 13. SHE’S SO HIGH
No3 SAMOVARE is a stakes-winning mare chasing her first Melbourne win. She showed she was on tune when caught three deep she kept fighting all the way to the post to run second to Swampland over 1400m at Flemington on August 12. This looks her race to break the ice.
No9 SPANISH REEF pulled two wins together at Flemington and Sandown before finishing a fighting second to Eureka Street over 2000m at Flemington on August 8. She is fit and will be fresh with a 35-day gap between runs and back to 1600m. Gets a nice run from four.
No7 SEA THE SPARKLE has been in good form and ran a close second in a busy finish to Hell Or Highwater over 1600m at Caulfield on August 19. She was the favourite that day and will again be highly fancied here. She does rise 2kg to 56kg but Craig Williams sticks to her.
No4 SPECIAL DIVA has been racing in superb fashion with two straight wins at Sandown. Latest she defied an ease in betting to win over 1400m against her own sex on August 23. She gets senior rider Mark Zahra to guide here and at the top of her game.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 SPECIAL DIVA
SCRATCHED No3 MUTAMAYEL looks to be a cracking colt with a perfect strike rate of two wins from two starts. He gets Damien Oliver to steer for the highly in-form Team Hayes and he impressively won over 1500m at Sandown last start on August 23. Heaps of upside and looks a good chance here.
No8 SUNQUEST defied his outside odds to run a great third over 1200m here on August 26. Regan Bayliss is staying on top and he drops a kilo to 54kg here. He is still a maiden but he has shown a heap of improvement at his two starts this campaign. Each-way chance.
No6 ABERRO showed he was cherry ripe for this race with a fighting win over 1300m in a maiden at Sandown on August 23. He drops 2kg to 54kg and gets the crack jockey Craig Williams replacing the suspended Ben Melham. He’s done everything right and would respect.
No2 ESHTIRAAK returns to Victoria after a campaign in Sydney. Latest he ran fourth in the Group 3 Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on August 19. Did not have much luck first-up in Sydney and with Damien Oliver to ride here, he must rate with good prospects.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 ESHTIRAAK
No9 EBEDIYIN came in for good support first-up when finishing seventh over 1600m at Flemington on July 22. He is a Northern Hemisphere import who did have some excuses at his first start and he gets top jockey Damian Lane to ride here. This is an open race with many chances and he is one of them.
No3 ANAHEIM has been racing in the Classics in Melbourne Sydney and Adelaide. He returns here as a 4yo after finishing fifth in the SA Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 13. With apprentice Zac Spain’s 2kg claim he carries a more comfortable 58kg and has shown form fresh in the past.
SCRATCHED No8 RADICAL has been racing well and was a good effort when finishing fifth over 1600m here on August 26. Top jockey Mark Zahra replaces the suspended Ben Melham, but the downside is his wide alley in 16. He has won at this track and would expect him to be flashing home wide.
No16 BRAHMOS looks to have a heap of upside but is sweating on a start as a 2nd emergency. He has won and been placed second at his two starts at Sandown over 1300m and 1400m in July and August and he gets the top hoop in Craig Williams to steer weighted on the limit on 54.5kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No16 BRAHMOS
No4 FOUNDRY ran a strong second over 1600m to Rhythm To Spare in an open handicap at Caulfield on August 19. That was an excellent effort and he should relish the extra ground here. He gets Damien Oliver replacing the suspended Ben Melham today and he has been placed here. He is from the Melbourne Cup yard of Robert Hickmott.
No7 HARLOW GOLD was pelting home late at her first run back from a spell to finish fourth over 1500m here on August 26. With the start under her belt and stepping up in distance she looms as one of the chances. Stable jockey Regan Bayliss stays with the Group 1 placed mare.
No5 HANS HOLBEIN is a stablemate to Foundry and looms as a good chance here on his exposed form. Latest he gave a good effort to run fifth over 2040m here first-up on August 26. He goes up a kilo to 56.5kg but last season’s best apprentice Beau Mertens keeps the ride. Bears thought.
No3 FOUNDATION is an Irish bred stayer who ran a great third at the odds of $41 last start over 2040m here on August 26. He finished well along the rail but faces a wide alley here in 15. Team Hayes is on fire and if he shows the way he could be hard to pass again. Jake Duffy is the new rider.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 FOUNDATION
No7 HOUTZEN is a Queensland mare who has been in blistering form to notch four wins at five starts. She showed she was on key for this with a brilliant trial over 1000m on the Gold Coast on August 21. Melbourne’s premier jockey Craig Williams rides heart her Moonee Valley debut. Top chance.
No1 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION was a star 3yo last season and will be making his return here as a 4yo. He has been well-tried on the trial circuit with two placings over 1000m and 1045m in Sydney before being brought down to Melbourne. The lugging bit comes off and he runs in a normal bit for the first time.
No3 SUPIDO has been a top class sprinter and he resumed in style with a brilliant win in the Group 3 John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 15. The stallion loves the short-course and has an untarnished record of one start for one win at this track. Luke Nolen again rides here.
No5 HEATHERLY was racing easy in front but did compound a shade to run a solid first-up second to Missrock in the Carlyon Stakes (1000m) here on August 26. She strikes Missrock again here, but will have benefitted from the run under her belt. She also was hyped up in the mounting yard last time.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 SUPIDO
No1 SHOALS is resuming from a 154-day spell. She has an untarnished record of three starts for three wins, the latest being in the Group 2 Percy Sykes (1200m) at Randwick on April 8. She gets Mark Zahra to guide her and she exhibited fitness at a recent jump out at Flemington. Good showing.
No8 SANADAAT scored a cosy win over 1200m at Sandown first up on August 6. That was an easy effort and stands her in good stead for this big assignment today. Jockey Jake Duffy keeps the ride and she plummets down 5.5kg to 55kg under the set-weights and penalty conditions here.
No13 SHE’S SO HIGH (BEST ROUGHIE) faces a similar field and showed she was up to the mark with a solid fourth to Crown Witness in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 19. Top jockey Damien Oliver replaces Michael Dee here and this is only her third career start so she has a heap of upside in her.
SCRATCHED No3 LIMESTONE had an excellent 2-year-old season before a slight injury. Finished 2.2L fourth to Roomooz first up this prep. She'll be fitter for that run and should slot in despite wide barrier.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 SHE’S SO HIGH
No2 BRAVE SMASH (BEST BET) ran a cracking second to Group 1 winner Vegas Magic in the Regal Roller (1200m) at Caulfield on August 19. Vegas Magic stamped the form to brilliantly win the Group 1 Memsie Stakes last Saturday. This Japanese import only has 55.5kg and will be ridden by top jockey Damian Lane for premier trainer Darren Weir.
No1 KEEN ARRAY liked his run in the Carlyon Stakes, but is up in weight on 59kg.
No8 OAK DOOR has an unblemished record of one start for one win on this track.
No3 SANTA ANA LANE was third to Vegas Magic and Brave Smash in the Roller. Must rate.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 KEEN ARRAY
No5 HE’S OUR ROKKII (NEXT BEST BET) had plenty to like about his first-up run when chased hard to run fourth to Hartnell, Charmed Harmony and Black Heart Bart in the Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19. He drops significantly in class here and with Dwayne Dunn to again ride takes favour. He should get plenty of favours too from a rail draw.
No8 ARTICUS did enough fresh and his second-up record is full of merit.
No4 STAR EXHIBIT Drops significantly in class here on his first-up ninth in the Lawrence.
No10 LIZZIE L’AMOUR is a classy New Zealand mare here for the Caulfield Cup. Watch closely.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 ARTICUS
No9 ETYMOLOGY is one of the Godolphin horses under new trainer James Cummings. Has plenty to like about his first-up third in the Spring Preview (1400m) at Rosehill on August 12. Cummings has booked ace jockey Craig Williams to steer here and this gelding has an excellent second-up record.
No2 BOOM TIME was on fire last autumn and showed he was ready to blossom in the spring with a bold third to Here To There over 1500m here on August 26. He gets a change of rider with apprentice Ethan Brown’s 3kg claim dropping his impost to a more comfortable 57.5kg. Strong show.
No1 BIG DUKE is an Irish import who enjoyed a top autumn winning at Group 2 level and finishing third in the Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 22. Showed he was on key for a big spring with a strong fifth to Rhythm To Spare over 1600m at Caulfield on August 19. He is a big chance now.
No4 RAW IMPULSE gives Darren Weir a strong hand with Big Duke and I’m Feeling Lucky also running in the final event. He was resuming from 317-day spell when running eighth over 1500m here on August 26. He will take a stack of benefit from the outing and would keep safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 BOOM TIME