Winx is the drawcard to this meeting as she chases down her 21st straight win en route to the $3.5 million Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in a fortnight. She will again be at prohibitive odds, but she is the idol of the Australian turf and thousands will turn out for a glimpse of her for the first time at Flemington in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Almandin continues his dour march towards his defense of his crown in the Melbourne Cup in the Bart Cummings (2500m). He has been in spectacular form carrying big weights to easy wins and deserves his place as the favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8-9)
Skinny Play: 3,4 – 1,9 – 1,2,7 – 1,4,8
Wide Play: 3,4,9,12 – 1,8,9 – 1,2,4,6,7 – 1,4,8,11
BEST BET: R5 – 2. WINX
Next Best Bet: R9 – 1. BURNING FRONT
Best Roughie: R8 – 2. FRENCH EMOTION
No3 GRAND CHALLENGE gives Team Hayes a mighty chance to repeat last year’s effort when winning the first two-year-old race of the new season. Juveniles racing down the straight for the first time is anybody’s guess but he is sure to be well-educated and from five can cross to the rail.
No11 SUNLIGHT she scored a brilliant win over 800m in a trial at Cranbourne on September 4. That was on a heavy 8, but may be of no consequence here. She strode to a two-length win that day and is from the leading stable of Tony McEvoy and will be ridden by Luke Currie, who is in-form.
No9 NOMOTHAJ is the stablemate to Grand Challenge and gives Team Hayes a strong hand. She ran a good second over 800m in a trial at Wodonga on September 12. She gets experienced hoop Steve Baster to ride and is a daughter of premier juvenile sire Snitzel so would keep her safe.
No1 AKKADIAN has been well-schooled with two trials, but both fell on rain-soaked tracks. Not sure how much you read into that being he has never raced. He has shown speed to over 800m at Cranbourne on September 18 and from barrier four gets a guide along the rail.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 AKKADIAN
No7 ESPERANCE was super impressive at winning at his first two starts over 1100m and 1200m at Echuca and Sandown. He ran a fair sixth behind the crack 3yrs Catchy and Jukebox in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) here on September 16. He drops in class here and has hot jockey Damian Lane.
No11 RELLSON smashed his opposition to post an audacious win in a 1400m maiden at Wangaratta on September 18. This is a big step up in class but he did stride way by 4.7 lengths and was accounted for at $1.50. Has drawn well in gate five and has the in-form Luke Currie to ride.
SCRATCHED No3 CHAUFFEUR gets a big drop in class on his sixth in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 23. He also gets ace Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn to ride and the Hawkes stable is in hot form. His first time to Flemington but would respect highly.
No10 HULME returns here from a three-week break following his solid fourth to the highly rated Royal Symphony over 1400m here first up on September 16. That was his first start back from a spell and did win very well at his only other start at Wodonga over 1200m. Keep safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 HULME
No9 MAIN STAGE ran a cracking second behind the derby favourite Travistock Abbey over 1800m here on September 27. That run stands him in great stead for this race in his march towards the Classic. Michael Walker again rides and expect him to be driving home hard.
No4 SUNQUEST will wear a tongue-tie for the first time. He ran a great second to Cliff’s Edge over 1600m at Caulfield on September 23. He gets top jockey Dwayne Dunn to ride and the extra trip here should not be an issue by his running style. Makes appeal.
SCRATCHED No16 CORAL COAST must rate as a chance in an even field. She comes here from a third in the Group 3 Gloaming (1800m) at Rosehill on September 23. That was a major jump in class for her on winning a maiden at Benella at her previous start. She is now more seasoned.
No1 CLIFF’S EDGE has been at the height of success a smart win over Sunquest over 1600m at Caulfield on September 23. John Allen keeps the ride and he has again drawn with an advantage in gate three. He has won at three of his six starts and there is still room to improve.
VALUE RUNNER: No16 CORAL COAST
No4 SPIETH pulled up with a respiratory infection so he performed very well to finish a two-length second to Redzel in the Concorde (1000m) at Randwick on September 2. Loves this track with a record of four starts for a win, two seconds and gets Corey Brown to steer. Top showing.
No6 SILENT SEDITION is a Group 1 winning mare resuming from a long spell. Last start ran a solid fourth in the Group 1 Coolmore (1600m) at Randwick in April. She has an excellent record fresh of a win, two seconds and a third at four starts. Katelyn Mallyon is back on top.
No7 BONS AWAY has been in blistering form notching four straight wins. Latest he was at $11 when claiming the Listed Testa Rossa (1200m) at Caulfield on September 23. This is his first time down the straight 1200m here, but he has a great record over the distance of five wins at seven starts.
No8 LAND OF PLENTY is on the quick back up and down in class on his last start eighth in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) at Caulfield last Sunday. That was only his second start back from a spell and he bumped and was trapped deep last Sunday so he had excuses. Keep in mind here.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 LAND OF PLENTY
No2 WINX (BEST BET) is Australia’s wonder mare chasing her 21st straight win. Her comeback to Melbourne is met with warm admiration and she is going along in her stride. This is her first time at Flemington en route to a third Cox Plate in a few more weeks. She is the showpiece of today’s nine-race card and should be enjoyed.
No1 HUMIDOR won the Group 1 Makybe Diva (1600m) in style but will be stretched against Winx.
No4 ASSIGN expect strong improvement second-up and rising to 2000m.
No6 SIR ISAAC NEWTON gets a big drop in weight and was working home well last time.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 SIR ISAAC NEWTON
No4 LEATHER ‘N’ LACE will be going all out to keep intact her unblemished record this campaign with three wins. Latest she beat Uptown Girl over 1400m at Caulfield on September 23. She mowed them down by over two-lengths last time and the step up in distance should suit.
No3 ANCHOR BID was the red hot $1.80 favourite when she ran sixth to Pinot over 1800m in the Oaks Trial here on September 27. She had plenty of excuses that day when caught five deep and had to work hard to the line. Her previous two wins were inspiring and forgive her.
No8 ANGELIC SPIRIT has won at two of her four starts. Latest she ran a good fourth to Cliff’s Edge over 1600m at Caulfield on September 23. She drops down to her own age and sex here and she gets to wear the blinkers for the first time. Suggest to keep her well in mind.
No1 PURE SCOT she will sport blinkers for the first time following her sixth to Leather n Lace over 1400m at Caulfield on September 23. Stable jockey Regan Bayliss replaces Corey Parish, but she again must cross from a wide alley in 11. Each-way chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 PURE SCOT
No1 ALMANDIN is an outstanding endurance athlete winning at his two starts with a leg in the air over 2040m and 2500m and carrying the big weights of 61kg at both victories. He is down to 60kg and Damien Oliver has already accepted the ride on him to chase successive wins in the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November.
SCRATCHED No9 CROCODILE ROCK is the stablemate to Almandin and ran a steely second to him in the JRA Cup (2500m) here on September 16. He will sport ear muffs for the first time in an effort to get him to settle better and he is again on the limit on 54kg. He is the main danger.
No3 HARLEM qualified for the Caulfield Cup by winning the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 23. The Northern Hemisphere import is having his maiden Australian campaign and should only get better as he becomes more seasoned. Has top rider Dwayne Dunn to steer.
No8 VENGEUR MASQUE is like the majority of Australia’s stayers these day – is an import from the Northern Hemisphere. He had a tough run but kept at his duty and worked home well to finish ninth in the Naturalism (2000m) at Caulfield on September 23. Suited at this distance.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 VENGEUR MASQUE
No2 FRENCH EMOTION (BEST ROUGHIE) was given a soft trial over 900m when running seventh at Rosehill on September 19. Trainer Chris Waller is resuming her here where she has a great record of a win and a second at three starts. Experienced heavy-weight Melbourne jockey Brad Rawiller rides.
No7 EURO ANGEL drops down in class on her sixth in the Group 2 Shannon (1500m) at Rosehill on September 23. She has performed well at Group level at her two starts this campaign and gets ace rider Dwayne Dunn to guide her from a good draw in seven.
No1 PROMPT RESPONSE was outgunned in the finish when running fourth to Savanna Amour in the Group 3 How Now (1200m) at Caulfield on September 23. That was first-up and she will have taken benefit from the experience and is suited at this distance.
No16 PETITION has finished inside the money at her two starts against her own sex this campaign. Latest she ran second to merriest over 1400m at Caulfield on September 23. The talented Luke Currie replaces Damian Lane, but the draw in 15 makes it more difficult.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 FRENCH EMOTION
No1 BURNING FRONT (NEXT BEST BET) having tipped Winx as the best bet decided to go for value here with this bloke. Got the feeling he can rebound back to his best and will be fitter on his first-up down the straight 1200m in the Group 3 Bobby Lewis here on September 16. He has raced at Group 1 level two starts ago in Queensland and is back down in class.
No8 NEW TIPPERARY gave a tradesman-like performance first-up at Randwick. Can improve.
No12 WYNDSPELLE needs an ounce of luck from the gate (16) but is capable.
No15 PAY UP BRO has been well backed at long double figure odds and worth a peep.
VALUE RUNNER: No15 PAY UP BRO