Friday night racing returns to the provincial course at Cranbourne for an eight-race card on what is a helter-skelter week packed full of racing on Melbourne Cup week.
There are meetings everywhere in Victoria with horses, jockeys and trainers spread thin with a plethora of fixtures. The track is rated a Good 3 and the false rail will be at three metres. The weather is forecast to be fine.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 4,6 – 5,11 – 2,8 – 3,4
Wide Play: 1,3,4,6 – 5,7,11 – 2,7,8 – 2,3,4,6
BEST BET: R6 – 11. PALAZZO VECCHIO
Next Best Bet: R7 – 8. JUST HIFALUTIN
Best Roughie: R4 – 1. SKULLDUGGERY
No6 VALERIA MESSALINA powered home to finish a strong second over 1200m maiden at Seymour at her debut on October 11. Jamie Mott stays on board and she has again not fared well at the gates in 10. The extra distance should prove a bonus.
No5 LADY MAHALA has been placed second three times at her seven starts. Latest she a close second in a F&M maiden over 1400m at Ballarat on October 26. She strikes a similar field here, but has again drawn wide in gate 11.
No11 ZOEY LASS has been ultra-consistent being placed at three of her four starts. Latest she ran a sound second over 1400m maiden at Hamilton on October 29. Apprentice Ben Allen rides for top trainer Darren Weir and respect.
No8 AIN’T NO DOUBT MA’AM is a well-bred filly from a top city stable. She was easy at $10 last start before finishing fourth in 1200m F&M maiden at Ballarat on October 26. She was caught deep and worked home well enough.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 AIN’T NO DOUBT MA’AM
No3 LAKESIDE OVAL Laid in when hitting the line well last start running a close fourth 1200m maiden at Moe on October 19. That was second-up and from a four-week break so expect will strip fitter here. The extra distance suits.
No9 SCUBA was firm in the betting at $5 at debut when finishing a steady fourth in a 1000m maiden at Mornington on October 22. He is bound to take benefit from the effort and does not strike any stars in this maiden field.
No2 GAUDI gets the in-form Chris Symons to ride to ride for co-trainers Ellerton and Zahra who trained a double on Melbourne Cup day. Made a strong debut second before finishing fourth over maiden 1100m at Echuca on October 27.
No13 VAIN TYCOON showed the natural speed to combat a wide alley in 14 at his debut when finishing a good fourth over 1200m maiden at Mornington on October 22. He is a product of Team Hayes and was backed into a $3.80 favourite.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 SCUBA
No3 JOSEPHINE SEA gets the bonus of having red hot jockey Chris Symons to ride here. She is down in class here on her last-start eighth in the Listed Crockett (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 28. Will wear a tongue-tie for the first time.
No2 SHAMAR pulled out a top effort to win by a half-length over 1450m against her own sex at Kilmore on October 24. Liam Riordan’s 1.5kg claim reduces her impost to a more comfortable 58.5kg. From barrier four she gets a soft run in transit.
No4 LIBERTY’S GIFT started her career on the best note possible when scoring a smart 1.75 length win over 975m maiden at Swan Hill on October 30. She was plunged from $3.30 into a hot $2.60 favourite that day. Expect top effort.
No5 DO IT FOR DOTTIE broke the ice at her third start against her own age and sex in a 1106m maiden at Benella on October 30. She is back 11 days later for a crack here and should get a cosy run from gate five. The stable is on fire.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 DO IT FOR DOTTIE
No3 CHERON WARRIOR had a ding-dong tussle with Golden Flag before posting a narrow win over 2837m at Kyneton on October 17. It was over 3 lengths back to the third placed stayer. Will carry 2kg more on 57kg with Lachlan King’s 2kg claim.
No4 ALMALITA is down in class here on his last-start fifth to Sherlock Holmes over 2500m at Moonee Valley on November 3. He is on the fast back up but his prior country form was tip-top and he should be respected here on 58.5kg.
No5 O’COUNEY has finished inside the money at three of his past four starts. Latest he ran a close second to Don’t Shoot over 2200m at sale on October 29. He again carries 58kg and Jye McNeil keeps the pilots seat.
No1 SKULDUGGERY (BEST ROUGHIE) is as tough as nails and gets his chance on a dry track here. Latest he ran a great fourth to International Qewy in the Bendigo Cup (2400m) on November 1. He is on a 10 day back-up here, but is rock hard.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 SKULDUGGERY
No4 DOMESTICATED gave a solid effort to run a good second in a 1000m trial at Tatura on October 17. Has a sound first-up record and gets top jockey Andrew Mallyon to ride for the in-form Team Hayes from a good draw in four.
No6 CARWELKIN showed plenty of grit to post a clever win over 1400m at Echuca on October 27. Jumps 2kg to 59kg here for the win but has not missed a place at three starts this campaign. She is too honest to dismiss.
No1 POPOVICH was given a four-week break following first-up ninth over 1400m at Bendigo on October 14. Gets the top rider Noel Callow to ride at his return and can improve sharply. Has a good second-up record of a win at two starts.
No3 LITTLE BITA SPUNK has been placed at all past five starts. Was well fancied before finishing a sound second over 1400m at Pakenham on October 20. With Brandon Stockdale’s 3kg claim he will drop to a comfortable 57kg here.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 POPOVICH
No11 PALAZZO VECCHIO (BEST BET) was well liked before scoring a break-through win at her second start over 1400m 3yo maiden at Sale on October 29. She is by top sire Fastnet Rock and from the leading yard of Mick Price. She drops a half-kilo to 55.5kg for the rise in class and makes strong appeal.
No10 PARALLEL WORLD ran a promising second fresh and she has an excellent second-up record.
No5 RENE made ground late to post an excellent win at Ballarat last start.
No7 MOSCOW RED has won and finished second at her three career starts. Respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 MOSCOW RED
No8 JUST HIFALUTIN (NEXT BEST BET) scored a brilliant win over 1200m at Geelong on October 25. That was on Geelong Cup day and struck a good field. She gets the luxury of dropping 1.5kg here to 55.5kg and gets a fair alley in gate eight. Melbourne Cup riding apprentice Ben Allen takes the reins and looks set to repeat the dose.
No2 DUSTY JACK should appreciate a return to the country after a strong campaign in the city.
No5 STAR FORTUNE has performed well and looms with each-way claims here.
No7 HEAVENLY DESCENT gets a big drop here on class after racing in a Group 3 at Moonee Valley.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 HEAVENLY DESCENT
No3 THE CONSIGLIERE has the power of a strong finish and expect to be right in the money. Latest finished powerfully to run second over 1100m at Kilmore on October 24. Was backed into a $3.40 favourite that day and gets his chance to make amends here.
No6 SWISS BEAUTY she has a good record of a win and three placings at seven starts. Latest she ran a fair fifth over 1200m against her own sex at Ballarat on October 24. She is drawn perfectly here in gate two and gets top apprentice Ben Allen.
No4 ANSINNA never gave up the hunt when running a strong second over 1000m at Moe on October 19. He is overdue for a win with three placings from his past three starts. Gets a new rider in Jamie Mott here.
No2 RUTH’S BOY spread out the field to post an easy win over 1200m in a maiden at Seymour on October 22. Bonus is Chris Symons stays on board here, but he does go up a half-kilo to 59kg in spite of racing in a higher grade.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 RUTH’S BOY