The field sizes have dropped off considerably with the end of the Melbourne Spring carnival at Flemington last week.
There was certainly a plethora of race meetings over the past several weeks so it is no surprise numbers are down here.
The track is rated as a Good 4.
The false rail is at four metres and the day should be overcast but fine.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 4 – 2,4 – 3 - 3
Wide Play: 2,4 – 2,3,4 – 1,2,3 – 2,3,7
BEST BET: R7 – 3. CLUB TROPICANA
Next Best Bet: R4 – 2. RIVER REWARD
Best Roughie: R3 – 3. RUN FOR RAFFIN
No2 SOLAS although strikes a small field it is fiercely competitive. Was involved in a hectic finish when running sixth, 1.7 lengths from the winner, over 1900m at Taralgon on November 4. Seasoned jockey Daniel Stackhouse is the new rider.
No1 THE ULTIMATUM will wear a blinker on the off-side for the first time. Was set a task when caught four deep before finishing eighth over 2025m at Cranbourne on October 15. Won over 2200m at Pakenham in September and is a good chance.
No3 BARACHINO is having his first start at this track from a smart win over 2415m at Mornington on November 5. That was his maiden win, but he is by staying sire Pentire so the distance suits. He is down 2.5kg to 56kg here.
No5 FIREFREE finished powerfully down the outside to snatch a close third over 2415m at Mornington last start on November 5. Still a maiden but has shown improvement at recent outings over the journey. Each-way.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 FIREFREE
No3 BOOKBUILD strikes a most small field and looms with strong claims here on his maiden win at Ararat three starts ago. Latest he was elevated in class when finishing eighth over 1200m at Moonee Valley on November 3. Better suited here.
No2 POET’S CORNER ended his maiden status with a good win over 1200m at Bairnsdale on October 8. He then ran a solid fifth over 1400m at Bendigo on November 1. He appears better suited here and is the short priced favourite at $2.
No1 COLUMBIA scored his second career win at nine starts over 1300m at Seymour on October 8. He then ran a steady fourth over 1400m at Echuca on October 27 as a $3.40 favourite. Senior rider Luke Nolen replaces a 3kg apprentice here.
No4 SNOW’S BRO fought hard to post a narrow win over 1203m in a maiden at Yarra Valley on October 28. That was only his fourth start and is from an astute stable. Expect to show further improvement now he has found the winning post.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 SNOW’S BRO
No5 WHISTLE BOWL hails from the astute stable of Robert Smerdon. Has trialled well with a win over 990m at Cranbourne on October 23. He tracked deep that day but went to the post well. Bookmakers are keeping him tight at $2.90.
No6 MAJOS was finishing full of flurry when running fifth over 1400m maiden at Sale on October 29. He was at $31 that day and is nowhere near those odds here at $6.50. The colt drops a kilo to 57kg and Daniel Stackhouse rides again.
No7 RIPPLEBROOK has been racing well with two seconds at his two starts. Latest he ran a close second in a 1100m maiden here on October 29. He is no value here at $2.30 with apprentice Brandon Stockdale to ride. Cannot use his claim.
No3 RUN FOR RAFFIN (BEST ROUGHIE) was outgunned first up when finishing 11th over 1200m at Seymour on November 2. He is back down to his right grade here and he has a solid second-up record of three places at four starts.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 RUN FOR RAFFIN
No2 RIVER REWARD (NEXT BEST BET) drops back down to the country after running a great second over 1523m maiden at Moonee Valley on November 3. Betting has this as a two-horse race with Persian Empire. This gelding has been knocking on the door and with the run over 1525m under his belt looks primed to score a breakthrough win here.
No10 PERSIAN EMPIRE went down narrowly as favourite last time out. Can make amends.
No8 BRANDO should settle handy on the speed and can go forward from there.
No4 STATELY BOY had a three-week gap between runs last start. Has been lurking about.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 STATELY BOY
No4 ROSEBERRY STREET could not get a clear shot at the leaders and when did break free flashed home for a close third over 1400m here on October 29. Top jockey Nikita Beriman again rides and carries the same weight on 55kg.
No2 WENNER chased home steadily when finished seventh over 1200m at Mornington on November 5. That was first-up from a spell and has a superior second-up record of one start for one win. Senior rider Luke Nolen rides today.
No5 CARUSELLE looks a good chance here on her home track. Latest he ran a solid third over 1600m here on October 29. She drops 3kg here to 54.5kg and Patrick Maloney again rides. She is fully fit now and gets a nice run from three.
No1 FIERCE COMMAND has won twice at this track and finished a close sixth over 1400m here on October 29. With apprentice Brandon Stockdale’s 3kg claim carries the same weight on 58.5kg but has a superior draw in six.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 FIERCE COMMAND
No5 DANCING HARE strikes a small field of six mares here. Latest ran a tradesman-like third over 1600m against her own sex at Bendigo on October 11. She kept on coming that day and carries the same weight on 55.5kg here.
No2 STORMY SHORE was a fighting winner over this trip three starts back. Latest she ran a solid fifth in stronger mares’ company over 2040m at Moonee Valley on November 3. She goes up to 58.5kg but drops sharply in class.
No6 ELEGANTLY WASTED was backed into a $4.60 favourite before finishing a good second over 1500m at Mornington on November 5. She only has 54kg and has drawn well in gate two. She has won twice here.
No4 CATALYST FIRE form at Hobart has been rock solid and not here for a picnic. Latest she ran a sound second over 1600m at Hobart on October 21. She has drawn perfectly in gate three and gets the experienced Nikita Beriman to ride.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 CATALYST FIRE
No3 CLUB TROPICANA (BEST BET) is from an in-form stable and she can go one better here on her last start second over 1100m at Bendigo on November 1. She went down in a head-bobber that day and she gets the highly in-form Chris Symons to ride here. She does rise 2.5kg to 58.5kg but she drops in class and goes well second-up.
No2 RED BELLE was unwanted in the betting but won well. This is only her third start.
No1 SCAPPARE ran a solid third at Mornington first-up. Has a superior second-up record.
No5 FOR A SONG is on a six-day back up but will roll forward and is a chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 RED BELLE
No3 RUTH’S BOY posted an impressive maiden win over 1200m maiden at Seymour two starts ago before finishing a strong second over 1200m at Cranbourne on November 10. She is on a quick back up but this is a mild field
No7 FROMPARIS WITHLOVE is having her third start back from a spell and is now ready. Latest she ran a workmanlike fifth over 1100m at Bendigo on November 1. She won over 1400m at Bendigo four starts ago.
No5 GAUTENG GAL has won and finished second three times from her past four starts. Latest she ran a closing second over 1212m at Kilmore on November 5. She carries the same weight on 58kg and has drawn well in gate seven.
No6 ANSINNA was out wide in a closing finish when ran fourth over 1200m at Cranbourne on October 10. That was from a three-week break and he was runner-up at his previous three starts. He has ran second to some handy types.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 GAUTENG GAL