The three-year-olds take the star billing today with the running of the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (fillies) and the Caulfield Guineas on a mammoth 10 race card at Caulfield.
Today’s meeting is the starting point to the Caulfield festival with racing returning to The Heath on Wednesday and the time-honoured Caulfield Cup being run next Saturday.
Spring has arrived and there are plenty of good races packed with strong fields for punters to get their teeth into.
The rail will be at the True Position and the track is rated perfectly as a Good 3.
The weather will be overcast but fine with a maximum of just 17C.
QUADDIES (races 7,8,9,10)
Skinny Play: 9,11 – 6,7,16 – 6,8,9 – 2,4,9
Wide Play: 1,6,9,11 – 5,6,7,8,6 – 4,6,8,9,10 – 2,4,6,9,11
BEST BET: R6 – 1. SHOALS
Next Best Bet: R10 – 2. ROCK MAGIC
Best Roughie: R2 – 1. INVINCIBLE STAR
No12 QAFILA faces a tricky field as is full of debutantes. She is by leading sire Not A Single Doubt and from last season’s top juvenile yard of Team Hayes. She did win an 800m trial at Wodonga easily and gets ace jockey Damien Oliver to steer. Has a lot of positives.
No9 SACRED SWORD has no trial form to take note of but he is from a leading juvenile yard. He is a son of leading 2yo sire Exceed And Excel and stable jockey Luke Currie has the task to guide at his debut from barrier five. Respect.
No5 ENCRYPTION is a son of champion sire Lonhro and from the Godolphin stable of James Cummings. He has no trial form so it is a bit of a stab in the dark but he has drawn on the rail and is sure to be well practiced on the work track. Top rider Damian Lane guides.
No7 GRAND CHALLENGE he was scratched from last Saturday’s inaugural juvenile race at Flemington for 2017-18 season. Has had a trial when running a good second over 800m at Cranbourne on September 8. Had many weeks to improve and keep a close watch.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 GRAND CHALLENGE
No1 INVINCIBLE STAR (BEST ROUGHIE) won a Group 3 race at his debut and then dashed up to the Gold Coast where he ran in the Magic Millions 2yr Classic last January. Was trapped deep when running seventh over 1200m in a group 3 at The Valley on September 29. Can combat gate 18.
No3 JORDA underwent a vet test after her eighth over 1100m at Flemington in a Listed event on September 16. She was found to have a poor recovery rate and would dismiss the run. She won the Gimcrack Stakes at her debut three starts ago at Randwick last year.
No8 LUQYAA will be fresh for the 1200m dash having a four-week break between starts. Latest she ran a close third down the straight 1100m at Flemington on September 16. Damien Oliver sticks to her but the barrier in 19 does hurt her chances.
No2 SPLIT LIP is an Adelaide trained filly competing at stakes level here at her past two starts. Latest she ran a good fourth to the outstanding Queenslander Houtzen over 1200m at Group 3 level at Moonee Valley on September 29. Ace jockey Linda Meech sticks to her and respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 INVINCIBLE STAR
No1 LEGLESS VEUVE made a grand return from a long spell with a strong second over 1200m in the How Now at Caulfield on September 23. Mark Zahra replaces Luke Currie on the 4yo mare, who has performed at stakes level and has an excellent second-up record.
No2 MISS GUNPOWDER was spelled after she disappointed in the Group 1 Tatts Tiara (1350m) at Doomben on June 24. That was at the end of her tether and she has a fantastic record fresh of three wins and a second at five starts. With Dwayne Dunn to ride, expect a bold showing.
No3 DESERT LASHES is also entered for Morphettville so watch closely. She suffered her first defeat when running second over 1100m at Morphettville on September 30. She had won at her prior eight starts. Shane Cahill is also booked to ride her in Adelaide.
No8 PEDRENA has been racing in sensational fashion and deserves her crack here. Latest she carried 56kg to beat 3yr fillies over 1100m at Flemington on June 10. She goes very well fresh with a strike rate of two wins at three starts and Damien Oliver rides.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 PEDRENA
No8 GALLIC CHIEFTAIN was sweeping home strongly to claim fourth in the JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 29. That put the writing on the wall and he again has no weight on 53kg and with Dean Yendall to ride again. Like here.
No3 FOUNDRY is part of the powerhouse staying team of Robert Hickmott. He claimed a big scalp in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on September 30. He jumps 5.5kg to 56kg here on his Metro weight but Michael Dee retains the mount. Good chance.
No9 HARLOW GOLD kept coming at them in the straight but like a Roman legion at a steady pace when running eighth in the Naturalism (2000m) here on September 30. He again has no weight on 53kg and gets Perth jockey Chris Parnham to ride on 53kg.
No2 BOOM TIME is the stablemate to Harlow Gold and hit a purple patch last autumn to dominate over the longer journeys. He showed he was on course to repeat with a good third over 2040m in the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley on September 30. Watch here.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 HARLOW GOLD
No8 ATTENTION ran a good eighth in a cracking speed to Santa Ana Lane in the Group 1 Alister Clarke (1400m) here on October 1. Senior jockey Ben Melham replaces 1.5kg claimer Ben Thompson here. He only goes up 2kg to 54kg and like against this lot.
No10 OREGON’S DAY was one of the main fancies at $5.50 when finishing 15th in the Group 2 Let’s Elope (1400m) at Flemington on September 16. She was found to be suffering from a virus infection so would discount the run and start again here.
No2 RELIGIFY is a prodigious winner of 13 races. He is resuming here from a last-start win in a Listed race at Doomben back in late June. The Sydney-trained gelding has trialled but was given a soft hit out back on September 19. Top Melbourne rider Dwayne Dunn rides.
No5 DUKE OF BRUNSWICK has been a model of consistency and always looms as a chance because he races forward. He ran over 1400m here off a four-week break on September 23. Damien Oliver keeps the ride and he drops 2kg to 54kg. Chance in a deep race.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 DUKE OF BRUNSWICK
No1 SHOALS (BEST BET) has plenty to like and with the blinkers going on for the first time here is a bonus. She charged home late to run second to Booker in the Guineas Prelude (1400m) here a fortnight ago. She has a perfect draw in gate four and the extra 200m should suit her to the ground. She is a class Fastnet Rock filly and Mark Zahra is riding very well. She can get the job done here.
No2 ALIZEE won the Group 1 Flight Stakes and Group 2 Tea Rose in Sydney at her past two starts. Hot form.
No3 BOOKER was the champion of the Thousand Guineas Prelude. Has a good chance.
No6 LEATHER’N’LACE run peaked but kept fighting to the line last Saturday at Flemington.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 LEATHER’N’LACE
No11 BONNEVAL faces an interesting race here with the international Aiden O’Brien runners Taj Mahal and Johannes Vermeer making their Australian debuts. What we do know is this mare is firing on all cylinders with two Oaks wins and a Group 2 and Group 1 wins at her two starts this spring.
No9 ABBEY MARIE had plenty to like about her fifth in the Naturalism (2000m) here on September 30. That was her third start this spring and has a change of rider with Beau Mertens replacing Luke Nolen for her clash here. Expect her to be finishing strongly here.
No10 THE TAJ MAHAL is one of the newest arrivals for leading Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams. He is a stallion who has just arrived in Australia and he has raced six times at the elite level at home but for no placings. Damien Oliver is the new rider and would watch.
No1 HARTNELL was outgunned by the bonny mare Bonneval last start when runner up in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) here on October 1. He has been a true gentleman, but has been costly to favourite backers of late finishing second at his past two starts. Chance again.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 THE TAJ MAHAL
No6 ROYAL SYMPHONY has been one of the stars and was clocked as the equal fastest 400m sectional when finishing fourth to Perast in the Guineas Prelude (1400m) here a fortnight ago. Dwayne Dunn again rides and he again jumps from gate nine. That was his first defeat at five starts.
No5 SHOWTIME looks to be an emerging star on his brilliant win in the Group 2 Strutt Stakes (1600mO) at Moonee Valley on September 29. Top jockey Damien Oliver replaces Beau Mertens here and he will need to be at his best in this class field, but has plenty to like.
No16 CATCHY is an outstanding filly and the only filly running in this Group 1. She lost no admirers when finishing third to Booker in the Guineas Prelude (1400m) here a fortnight ago. Mark Zahra replaces stable jockey Regan Bayliss and anticipate she will be a force against the males.
No7 GOLD STANDARD comes to Melbourne with a good reputation with a win in the Group 2 Stan Fox two starts ago. He ran a good fourth to Trapeze Artist in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 23 and can go well at his Melbourne debut here.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 GOLD STANDARD
No6 I AM A STAR shone through for a brilliant win against her own sex in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes 1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 29. She strikes the elite level here against the males but has won at this level and been placed twice. She is at the top of her game.
No9 EGG TART won the SA and Queensland Oaks so she was a class filly last season. She ran second in the Group 2 Theo Marks (1300m) at her sole start this spring, at Rosehill, on September 9. With no weight on 53.5kg and Damien Oliver wasting hard to ride she must rate highly in this field.
No11 OMEI SWORD comes to Melbourne with a strong second in a Group 2 over 1400m at Rosehill on September 23. That was his third start back from a spell and Melbourne jockey Stephen Baster rides for Winx’s trainer Chris Waller here. Has appeal.
No8 COMIN’ THROUGH is a stablemate to Omei Sword and gives trainer Chris Waller a strong hand. Latest ran a good sixth to happy Clapper in the Group 1 Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on September 30. Gets Melbourne rider Michael Walker as his new pillion.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 COMIN’ THROUGH
No2 ROCK MAGIC (NEXT BEST BET) ran an absolute ripper when was never closer than three deep and charged home to momentarily look the winner before being swamped. Finished a good fourth to the outstanding filly She Will Reign in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 29. Loves this distance and he can break-through for his first Victorian win.
No9 SHEIDEL is a Group 1 winning mare who ran a great third in the Moir Stakes.
No11 SUPER CASH has an excellent record fresh and been supported in early markets.
No4 FIRST AMONG EQUALS is an ex-Perth sprinter, who impressed in the Group 1 Goodwood.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 SUPER CASH