Racing returns to Caulfield with the running of the Naturalism Stakes now called the MRC Foundation Cup (2000m), where the winner avoids the ballot for next month’s prestigious Caulfield Cup (2400m).
A stellar field of stayers has been assembled for the opportunity to gain automatic entry into the Caulfield Cup and the race should be keenly contested.
The false rail has been moved out another three metres to nine metres on the last time they raced here on September 2.
The track is perfect rated as a Good 3 with a warm day forecast of 26C. The day will be overcast but fine.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 3 – 3,6 – 6,7 – 6,13
Wide Play: 3,6 – 2,3,6,9,10 – 5,6,7 – 6,7,9,13
BEST BET: R6 – 3. BRAVE SMASH
Next Best Bet: R9 – 13. JAMAICAN RAIN
Best Roughie: R4 – 12. COUNTERPLAY
No5 BLONDIE looks imposing on her win and then strong second to Shoals in the Atlantic Jewel (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday week. She gets accomplished rider Damien Oliver to steer here against her own age and sex and with a rails draw resonates well.
No9 LEATHER’N’LACE has displayed plenty of speed to claim two straight wins. Latest was a $1.75 favourite and fought off challengers to win well over 1300m at Bendigo on September 13. Jockey Damian Lane and trainer Darren Weir have been lethal of late. Can command again.
No6 SANADAAT was the $3 favourite at resumption when ran a good fourth to the class filly Shoals in the Atlantic Jewel (1200m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. Her edges will be sharper here and she gets the in-form Luke Nolen as her new pillion. Steely type with good chances.
No2 PURE SCOT She had no luck out of the gates and lost considerable ground but was doing her best work at the end to run ninth in the Atlantic Jewel (1200m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. That was first-up and she rendezvous with a few Atlantic Jewel opponents here. Keep safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 PURE SCOT
No1 ESHTIRAAK beat home opponent Sunquest when running second over 1509m at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. Was firm in betting at $5 and chased hard that day. Damien Oliver sticks with him and he again has an inside draw in three. Would underline here as a top chance.
No4 WATCHMESPIN she has been in sparkling form winning two straight at Seymour and here. Latest she beat Judy In Disguise over 1400m here on September 2. She is raised against the males here but she is down 2kg to the limit on 54kg and has the in-form James Winks to partner.
No6 SUNQUEST has finished third at his past two starts at Moonee Valley. Latest he did peak when finishing third over 1509m at the Valley a fortnight ago. He gets the assistance of top jockey Dwayne Dunn to guide from a luxury draw in two. Can again figure in the money.
No2 CLIFF’S EDGE had something of a torrid run when caught deep and had to work hard to finish eighth to boom youngster Royal Symphony over 1400m at Flemington last Saturday. He is on the quick back up but is from the astute yard of top trainer Darren Weir. Has plenty to warm to.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 CLIFF’S EDGE
No11 SIN TO WIN was at the top of the betting when he had his colours lowered by Spunlago over 1600m at Moonee Valley on August 26. Will be out to extract revenge and will appreciate the extra distance her. That was only his second Australian start for the former Kiwi galloper.
SCRATCHED No5 SPUNLAGO gave an outstanding performance to beat the hot pot Sin To Win over 1509m at Moonee Valley on August 26. They face off again here but this fellow rises 2.5kg to 59kg in their rematch. Will again contest the finish and expect another tigerish effort from gate three.
SCRATCHED No7 ELECTRIC FUSION is a veteran galloper who is fit as a fiddle following his fifth over 2040m at Moonee Valley on September 9. Stephen Baster again rides and he has time to find a good posy from gate 20. He is worth pondering with his return to this track.
No19 SKULDUGGERY was scratched from Cranbourne on Wednesday to run here. He ran a great second over 1720m at Geelong last start on September 3. He has an excellent record at this track and is down on the limit on 54kg with the in-form Nikita Beriman to ride.
VALUE RUNNER: No19 SKULDUGGERY
No4 I DID IT AGAIN is out to protect a clean plate with an assertive win over 1200m at Caulfield last July. Scored a soft trial win over 800m at Cranbourne on September 3. Stable jockey Nikita Beriman rode in the hit-out and he cruised to the line 2½ lengths ahead of Weapon in 48.4secs. Top chance.
No6 SUPERHARD has been in super form and comes into the race with two wins at two starts. Latest he drove home to narrowly win over 1000m at Sandown on September 6. Has drawn perfectly on the rail for his rise to Saturday class here and would expect another strong performance.
No1 BANDIPUR stormed home to post a convincing win at Morphettville before came to Moonee Valley where he ran a tenacious second to Overshare over 1200m at Moonee Valley on August 26. Damian Lane replaces the suspended Craig Williams here. Has plenty to like.
No12 COUNTERPLAY (BEST ROUGHIE) is an Adelaide-trained youngster making his Melbourne debut. Hails from the leading stable of Phillip Stokes and is bound to be improved on his second to Miss Belissa over 1100m at Morphettville on September 9. That run should top him off nicely for this assignment.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 COUNTERPLAY
No2 SO SI BON last week was right up on their heels when finishing eighth in the Group 2 Bobby Lewis (1200m) at Flemington. Was ridden as cold as ice at his prior two starts when he rocketed home producing sensational sectionals. Damian Lane replaces the suspended Craig Williams.
No6 REVOLVING DOOR was engaged in a busy finish when running third over 1200m at Moonee Valley on September 9. Has ben solid at this track with three placings at seven starts and from barrier six should get a nice run. Michael Walker replaces Luke Currie. Looks to have good claims.
No3 DUKE OF BRUNSWICK will relish his return to this track after finishing a solid ninth over 1500m at Moonee Valley on August 26. He was the top elect that day and will again be highly held in the market. Accomplished jockey Damien Oliver replaces a 3kg apprentice.
No1 HE OR SHE was a noticeable drifter before finishing sixth in the Penny Edition (1400m) at Morphettville on September 2. That was first-up and the winner Gailo Chop has since franked the form with his placing at the elite level last week. Mitchell Aitken’s 3kg claim drops his weight to 58kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 HE OR SHE
No3 BRAVE SMASH (BEST BET) has an important gear change with a tongue-tie going on for the first time. He ran second to boom sprinter Vega Magic first-up before posting a brilliant win over 1200m at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. His rider Damian Lane is in red hot form and the Japanese import has drawn ideally in gate six to produce another trump performance here.
No1 KEEN ARRAY has been consistent and looks one of the chances.
No6 EL DIVINO was the bridesmaid to Brave Smash last time and will fight hard again.
No5 MALIBU STYLE loves this track and will be fresh off a 21-day break since his fresh sixth here.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 MALIBU STYLE
No3 BIG DUKE was the favourite for the Sydney Cup last autumn and he hit the line strongly when running fifth to Stampede over 1600m at Moonee Valley on September 9. The Irish import worked hard that day and will relish the step up to 2000m. Irish rider John Allen rides on 58.5kg
No9 AMELIE’S STAR struck heavy traffic and was held up before finishing ninth over 1700m at Flemington last Saturday. She had plenty of excuses and looks a solid back up to stable-mate Big Duke for trainer Darren Weir here. She drops 2.5kg to 56kg and red hot rider Damian Lane rides again.
No10 ABBEY MARIE she ran out of her skin to chase home New Zealand Oaks winner Bonneval in the Dato Nam (1600m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. That was at weight-for-age and she carried 57kg. She drops to 55.5kg under the handicap conditions. A win here gets her a start in the Caulfield Cup.
No6 STAMPEDE was an impressive first-up winner over 1600m at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. The five-year-old stallion drops a kilo to 58kg and top apprentice beau Mertens rides again. He is a winner of six of his 10 starts and has notched three straight wins into this race. Strong impact.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 BIG DUKE
No7 MISSROCK is back against her own sex after finishing well enough to run fourth to Russian Revolution in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 9. She was a brilliant winner of the Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at her prior start at the same track last month.
No6 RAVI is a Sydney mare who kicked off her spring campaign with a clever win in the Group 3 Sheraco (1200m) at Rosehill on September 9. She gets top Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn to guide here at her return to Caulfield. She has drawn perfectly in five and is a top chance.
No5 FUHRYK ran 13th in the Group 1 Tiara (1300m) at her final start at Doomben on June 24. She had won at her previous Doomben start. She goes well fresh with a record of three wins and a second at five starts. And loves this track with a record of two wins and two placings at six starts.
No9 ELLICAZOOM did not handle the track conditions when she ran last as a $2.80 favourite over 1600m in a Group 3 at Moonee Valley at her last start on March 24. Trainer Neville Parnham’s son Steven flies across from Perth to ride and she goes well fresh.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 ELLICAZOOM
No13 JAMAICAN RAIN (NEXT BEST BET) has been dominating at her past two starts and looks set to continue the trend here against her own sex. She treated her rivals with contempt to win by 6¾ lengths over 1400m at Morphettville on September 2. Melbourne jockey Jamie Mott replaces leading Adelaide rider Jamie Kah. Has no weight on 54kg and has drawn perfectly in gate three to be prominent.
No11 PETITION ran well fresh and should be fitter for the outing.
SCRATCHED No6 FRAGONARD loves this track and will be further improved on her first-up sixth.
No8 SEBRING DREAM showed she was on key for a big effort fresh with a good trial placing.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 SEBRING DREAM