DATE: Run at 4.55pm (EST) on Saturday, November 11.
RACE TYPE: weight-for-age
STATUS: Group 1 sprint no sex restrictions.
2016 WINNER: AWESOME ROCK
RACE RECORD: 1.58.73
THE PRIZE MONEY: Total stakes: $2 million
BEST BET: No.15 - CLIFF’S EDGE
NEXT BEST BET: No.7 - FOLKSWOOD
TOP ROUGHIE: No.14 - SAMOVARE
No1 HAPPY CLAPPER is an outstanding miler who has been placed behind the mighty mare Winx. He won the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney this spring and is far better suited here than when finishing sixth to Winx in the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 28. Red hot Sydney jockey Blake Shinn is the new rider here.
No2 IT’S SOMEWHAT is a Group 1 winner and been consistent at the elite level at his 10 starts. The Godolphin-trained galloper ran a good third to Lucky Hussler in the Group 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on October 28. That was his second start back from a spell and will be improved from the outing. The wider and more spaced track here should suit better and he gets new rider Craig Williams to steer from 11.
No3 GAILO CHOP racing in bold fashion scoring a fantastic win in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 14 before being outgunned when running fifth to superstar Winx in the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 28. He is far better suited to this course and distance and Darren Weir has awarded the ride to his stable rider and Irishman John Allen.
No4 TOSEN STARDOM is a stablemate to Gailo Chop and is a star performer in his own right. He is on the swift back up here after running eighth as a $4.80 favourite in last Saturday’s Group 1 Catala Stakes (1600m). He won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at his prior start and top jockey Damian Lane will persevere.
No5 SENSE OF OCCASION has been brought down from Newcastle in NSW for this race. Was not disgraced last Saturday when running ninth to Shillelagh in the Group 1 Catala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. He is on the quick back up and has yet to shine at two starts this spring. Not keen on exposed form.
No6 TOM MELBOURNE is a nemesis to punters but always does well in spite of his poor winning record as a favourite. He fought tooth and nail last Saturday to run a close second to Shillelagh in the Catala Stakes (1600m) here. He is a proven performer at the elite level and will race on the pace or lead here. His form on this track and at this distance is outstanding. Respect here.
No7 FOLKSWOOD could not have been any more impressive than when bolting in the Cranbourne Cup 2025) at his Australian debut on October 15. He was totally outclassed but fought bravely to finish third to the superstar Winx in the Cox Plate (2040m) at his subsequent start at Moonee Valley on October 28. Kerrin McEvoy has stuck to the gelding at all of his Australian starts. Respect here.
No8 SIR ISAAC NEWTON was a tearaway leader when raced away to lead by up to 14 lengths before compounding and running last of 17 to Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17. If he is ridden more patiently he could loom as a threat. There has been a major riding change with Luke Currie taking the reins for the first time here. Currie is riding very well and not prepared to drop just yet.
No9 HARLEM was heavily backed onto a $3.90 favourite last Saturday but disappointed his backers when running sixth to Cismontane in the Lexus (2500m) here. He gets a riding change with Regan Bayliss replacing Dwayne Dunn and is from the Caulfield Cup stable of Team Hayes. He has been placed at this track but has yet to win at three outings here. Exotic claims look best.
No10 GINGERNUTS is an exotically named New Zealand galloper who earned his fare with a close second in the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on October 22. He has won three Group 1s and been placed second at six starts at the elite level. He won last season’s Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) as a three-year-old. He is a star middle-distance galloper and is a chance.
No11 ODEON faces a rise in class and a very quick back up here. He did win impressively when running away to a 2 length win over 1800m in a Listed race on Melbourne Cup day. He is chasing a hat-trick here after a previous good win over 1700m at Caulfield. Red hot jockey Chris Symons is staying on top and the Ellerton and Zahra stables are running hot. The big query is the quick back up and the big rise in class to this elite level.
No12 SO SI BON won a trial over 1190m at Cranbourne before returning to the racetrack last Saturday where he ran 11th to Shillelagh in the Group 1 Catala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. He is on a fast back up and jumps 6.5kg under the weight-for-age scale here to 58.5kg. He has proven capable on his day ran third in the Group 1 Alister Clarek (1400m) last month at Caulfield. Faces a tough test under these conditions.
No13 THE TAJ MAHAL is from the champion stable of Aiden O’Brien who ran second with Johannes Vermeer to his son Joseph’s Rekindling in last Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. The O’Brien's are on a high and he may improve on his Australian debut 11th to Gailo Chop n the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 14. Melbourne Cup runner-up jockey Ben Melham gets the ride here. He is value at $34.
No14 SAMOVARE is a former Group 3 winning filly in Western Australia. She has performed well at the group level here, running second to Kiwia in the Group 3 Priceline Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 21. She has been leading of late, but that was not her style back at home and if ridden differently could emerge as an each-way chance. Dwayne Dunn replaces the suspended Damien Oliver.
No15 CLIFF’S EDGE is the sole three-year-old in the field and gets a nice weight compensation under the weight-for-age scale on 51kg. Top light-weight jockey Dean Yendall ride the son of Canford Cliffs for ace trainer Darren Weir. He drops 6kgs here on the weight he carried when running second to Aloisia in the Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on October 28. He has proven himself in the top bracket of Victorian three-year-olds this season.