Caulfield hosts a high-class nine –race card today with the running of the Group 1 Underwood Stakes and Alister Clarke Stakes.
There are also the two heats of the Thousand and Caulfield guineas where the State’s best three-year-old fillies and male swill contest en route to their missions in the Thousand Guineas and Caulfield Guineas later next month. The false rail will be will be at the True position.
The track rating could be downgraded from a Good 4 (Thursday) with rain forecast and icy cold days over the long weekend.
Suggest punters take a look at the rating on the day as rain is forecast for Saturday and it will be cold and cloudy on Sunday.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 3,6 – 1,2 – 3,4 - 2,12
Wide Play: 1,3,6,10 -1,2,3,8 – 3,4,7,14 – 1,2,10,12
BEST BET: R6 – 3. ROYAL SYMPHONY
Next Best Bet: R8 – 3. SCALES OF JUSTICE
Best Roughie: R8 – 7. SOVEREIGN NATION
No5 STEEL FROST blazed away to a 3.5 length win over 1400m at Morphettville on September 16. That was his second straight win at Morphettville at his two starts back from a spell. Adelaide jockey Todd Pannell comes across to ride here and on 59.5kg in a high-weight race is a great chance.
No2 PORTION CONTROL with the 3kg claim of apprentice Ethan Brown gets in with a more comfortable weight on 58.5kg . He ran a cracking second over 1700m at Flemington at his last start on August 12. Not raced for seven weeks but is from Team Hayes and would respect.
No11 CASTELO had no luck when caught at least three deep before finishing a close fourth over 1600m at Caulfield on May 13. Resuming here from a 20-week spell and gets a gear change with a Nortomn bit going on. Has top jockey Regan Bayliss to ride and looks to have each-way claims.
No13 IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS returning to Melbourne after a trip to Sydney where he was second to King Darci over1400m at Randwick on August 5. Trainer Darren Weir is sure to have the polish added to this fellow and expect a bold showing fresh here.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 CASTELO
No5 QUILISTA smashed her rivals from the front at her Melbourne debut over 1100m here on August 19. She was then taken to Morphettville when she was rolled as a $1.90 favourite finishing third over 1100m at Morphettville on September 9. Top jockey Damian Laneis back on top here.
No1 SNITTY KITTY won the Listed Lightning (1050m) at Doomben at her final start in June. She gets top jockey mark Zahra to ride at her resumption and she does possess an excellent fresh record of two starts for a win. She has drawn perfectly in gate six and the 60kg is not too harsh a burden.
No7 MOTOWN LIL scored a plucky win over 1000m at Sandown two starts ago before finishing fifth over 1000m at Mornington on September 13. She is better suited back in this class against her own sex and gets the bonus of having ace jockey Dwayne Dunn to partner from gate 14.
No3 LYUBA gets top apprentice Ben Allen to ride and his 1.5kg allowance drops her weight to a comfortable 56.5kg here. Latest she was raised high in class when finishing 11th in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) here on September 3. Trainer Darren Weir has her freshened for this.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 LYUBA
No1 HARDHAM will be a tight first elect here in a small field at weight-for-age. He looks very hard to beat on his last start .75 length win over 1700m at Flemington on September 16. He only rises a half-kilo to 57.5kg and top jockey Luke Nolen retains the ride. Can land his first win at this track.
No3 PABLO’S EXPRESS scooted away to an impressive 3.5 length win over 1800m at Sandown on September 6. He has been a model of consistency and only rises 1.5kg to 56kg for his triumph. Craig Newitt rides him again and from gate four should get a sweet run in transit.
No5 TAIKOMOCHI has been in top form winning two straight in New South Wales before finishing fourth over 1900m at Canterbury on August 30. He hails from the top yard of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and gets experienced Victorian rider Stephen Baster to guide. Can make an impact.
No2 LYCURGUS gets Sydney’s best jockey Hugh Bowman to ride here. Latest he ran well to finish 10th after copping a heaving check early over 1800m here on September 23. He is on the quick back up, but has drawn ideally in gate one and should get a cosy run in transit from there.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 LYCURGUS
No1 GUARDINI faces a deep field but is one of the better chances. Latest he ran on well to claim second to Hell Or Highwater over 1700m here on September 2. He was at double figure odds that day and will start much shorter here with Ben Allen’s claim dropping his weight to 59kg.
No8 COOL CHAP has been such a reliable place-getter but seems to always find one or two better on the day. He again has claims on his last start close fourth to Hardham over 1700m at Flemington on September 16. Team Hayes has booked the hot Damian Lane to try to break his streak here.
No9 OUR CENTURY is a stablemate to Melbourne Cup winner Almandin. The stable is running hot and he ran a great second in the Group 2 Manion Cup (2400m) at his final start at Rosehill back on March 18. He has a good record at this track and his first-up, form is franked and would respect.
SCRATCHED No3 RHYTHM TO SPARE has been in great form and again rates as a good chance in a deep field. Posted two win on the trot in the city before finishing a strong third to Kiwi star Bonneval in the Group 2 Dato Nam (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 9. Running out of his skin
VALUE RUNNER: No3 RHYTHM TO SPARE
No1 CATCHY (NEXT BEST BET) is an outstanding filly and comes into the Prelude with a great scalp having beaten Jukebox in the Group 2 Danehill (1200m) at Flemington on September 16. She has won at five of her seven starts and is the Blue Diamond Stakes champion. She gets Regan Bayliss to ride and is favoured under the set-weight conditions in a small field of her own sex.
No2 SHOALS is an outstanding filly and goes into her clash against Catchy unbeaten at her four starts so far. She underlined she was on key for this clash with a strong win in the Atlantic Jewel (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 9. That was first-up from a spell and she will be fitter here.
No3 LIMESTONE was one of the best two-year-old of Victoria last season. She has pounded home well first-up and then suffered terrible luck when falling in the Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 16. Damian Lane has stuck to this tough filly and she rates highly in my book.
No6 BOOKER looks primed for this on her great third to Catchy in the group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 16. That was her second start back as a 3yo and Dwayne Dunn has picked her to ride again here. She has been placed at all four of her starts so far.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 LIMESTONE
No3 ROYAL SYMPHONY (BEST BET) goes into this race with an unblemished record of four starts for four wins. Caught the eye with a courageous win first up over 1400m at Flemington on September 16. He is well suited under the set-weight conditions here though from barrier 12 he will need an ounce of luck. Still he has ace jockey Dwayne Dunn to get him over that hurdle.
No6 KEMENTARI is a Sydney colt who has impressed at his three starts. This is his acid test.
No1 INVADER is a Group 1 2yo winner who will be vastly improved on his first-up run here.
SCRATCHED No9 ESPERANCE Faced his first acid test in the Danehill and did a good enough job.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 INVADER
No1 HARTNELL found Humidor far too good on the day when ran hard to the line finishing second in the Group 1 Makybe Diva (1600m) at Flemington on September 16. He is suited by the extra 200m here and at the weight-for-age conditions and can rebound into the top spot from barrier eight.
No8 BONNEVAL was mighty imposing at winning the group 2 Dao Nam (1600m) at Moonee Valley at her first Australian start on September 9. She is the reigning New Zealand horse of the Year and will have taken benefit from her last start. Sydney’s best hoop Hugh Bowman replaces Damian Lane.
No2 BLACK HEART BART is a five-times Group 1 winner who is racing in top form and is bound to again make his presence felt on his last start third in the Group 1 Makybe Diva (1600m) at Flemington on September 16. He loves this track and is one of the main chances again.
No3 GAILO CHOP was doing his best work at the finish when finishing on the heels of Humidor in the Makybe Diva (1600m) at Flemington on September 16. He is a stablemate to Black Heart Bart and gives trainer Darren Weir a strong hand in this Group 1 event.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 GAILO CHOP
No3 SCALES OF JUSTICE (NEXT BEST BET) was like a drunken sailor at his first attempt down the straight at Flemington when finishing second to Group 1 winner Redkirk Warrior over 1200m in the Bobby Lewis on September 16. The former West Australian tamped himself then and will appreciate having a rail to guide here. Brad Rawiller has stuck and looks very hard to beat here.
No4 TOSEN STARDOM is a Japanese import who ran a cracking third in the Memsie. Good chance.
No7 SOVEREIGN NATION (BEST ROUGHIE) was a faultless winner last start. This is his acid test at Group 1.
No14 MR SNEAKY deserves his crack at the elite level on what has been outstanding form of late.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 SOVERIENG NATION
No2 ABILITY has been winning with consummate ease and can claim another fence picket here after blazing home to post a fourth straight win in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Sandown on August 6. The barrier in 19 is his biggest drawback in a capacity field.
No12 BADAJOZ had to dig deep to score a narrow win over Denmagic over1100m at Rosehill on August 12. He returns here from a seven-week break for his second start at Caulfield. Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy is booked to ride and has no weight on 54kg.
No10 OCEAN EMBERS was spelled after her failure in the Group 2 Sapphire (1200m) at Randwick back in April. She is a high grade mare who has won twice at Group 3 level. Top Sydney jockey Blake Shinn will ride at her return and she has an excellent record when racing fresh.
No1 HELLBENT was held up tight and gave a good effort despite finishing sixth in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 9. Would discount the run and with Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim will carry 60kg here. He loves this distance and is worth thought.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 OCEAN EMBERS