There is no city racing in Victoria this weekend with the spring festive swinging to Ballarat for the traditional Ballarat Cup meeting after a busy schedule in the city over the spring carnival.
Very competitive racing today, with horses converging from Adelaide and Sydney, to tackle a stellar day of ten races.
The track is rated as a Good 4 (Thursday) but with rain forecast it could pay to keep an eye out to see if there is any downgrade. The false rail will be at three metres from the 600m to the winning post and at the true position for the remainder of the course.
QUADDIES (races 7,8,9,10)
Skinny Play: 7,8 – 5,7 – 5,8 – 2,14
Wide Play: 7,8,12,14 – 1,5,7,10 – 5,8,11 – 2,5,13,14
BEST BET: R5 – 3. GAUDI
Next Best Bet: R10 – 14. TOY BOY
Best Roughie: R8 – 10. ONCIDIUM RULER
No4 ROYAL FASHION showed she was on key for a flying start with a smart win over 1000m in a trial at Benella on November 13. She is making her Australian debut here and the daughter of leading sire Snitzel appears poised to make an impact with Ragen Bayliss on top.
No9 LOVE DAYS has been freshened up with a four-week break and will sport blinkers for the first time today. Latest she ran a close seventh in a Listed race over 1200m at Geelong on October 25. This is a drop in class and must command respect against her own sex.
No2 BRUGAL REWARD was outgunned by Modern Wonder but fought well to the line with a sound second over 1200m against her own sex at Moonee Valley on November 3. She is nice and fresh for this encounter and keep in mind.
No5 SOHO RUBY was a clever winner at Sandown three starts ago. Latest she ran a solid seventh when the jockey lost an iron over 1600m at Flemington back in July. He does go okay fresh and she drops 4kg to 56kg on her last start.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 BRUGAL REWARD
No11 BEYOND THE DREAM is a chasing a hat-trick of wins today. She smashed her rivals by 2.75 lengths over 110m at Kyneton as a red hot $1.90 favourite on November 8. She wears concussion plates for the first time here and drops a half-kilo to 57.5kg.
No9 SACRED SHAM underlined he was primed for a big first-up showing with a smart win over 800m in a trial at Cranbourne on November 14. He cruised to the line by a length that day and gets top jockey Ben Melham to ride from barrier six.
No14 CREATIVITY she was searching for a hat-trick when finishing third over 1200m at Caulfield last start on April 8. She is resuming from a long spell here and has a great first-up record of a win and a third at three starts. She is one of the better chances.
No10 BANACHEK had to work hard to edge out over the last strides a winner over 1112m at Kilmore on November 5. Stable jockey John Allen rides for leading trainer Darren Weir and has a good case in spite of wide alley in gate 13.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 BANACHEK
No6 LYCURGUS deserves a win on recent placings. Latest was claimed on the line after striking the lead at the 280m in a 2400m handicap at Rosehill on November 11. Gets top Melbourne jockey Ben Melham to ride today at his Victorian debut.
No7 TIGER TIM won over 2000m here three starts ago. Latest was a strong fifth over 2000m at Flemington on November 11. Back to the country today and from barrier two and with Mark Zahra to ride
Should be a force for the placings.
No10 ETAH JAMES has been in splendid form notching three wins in the country at her past four starts. She bound into this race with a strong half length win over 2218m at Geelong on November 18. She is down 2.5kg to 54kg and has ace rider Linda Meech again.
No2 ORMITO is a five-year-old gelding who was doing his best work on the line when finishing fifth in the Ararat Cup (2000m) on November 12. Apprentice Ethan Brown’s 3kg claim reduces his impost down to a comfortable 58kg and makes a claim.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 TIGER TIM
No6 COUNTERCURRENT trumped her rivals easily for a comfortable 2.7 length win over 900m maiden at Queanbeyan on November 13. She has won in the clockwise direction and is a threat against other youngsters who have not. Top rider Michael Dee is booked for her Victorian debut.
No9 LA POMME DE PIN is an Adelaide raider who made an impression with her narrow second over 1000m at Morphettville on October 28. She was at juicy odds then of $12 but nowhere near that price today. She goes in the opposite direction for the first time.
No7 FARTHING WOOD faced a strong field when running seventh to Setsuna in a Group 3 over 1000m at Flemington on November 7. That was a debut down the straight at Flemington and she gets the rail here to guide. She can improve here on the first start.
No8 FIRST DIAMOND hails from the leading juvenile yard of trainer Tony McEvoy. She will sport blinkers and a lugging bit at her race debut. The filly has not trialled but she gets top Melbourne jockey Ben Melham to accompany and would watch betting.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 FIRST DIAMOND
No3 GAUDI (BEST BET) looked most imposing when running to the wire a comfortable 2.75 length winner over 1300m maiden at Cranbourne on November 10. Gets the high flying Chris Symons to partner from gate three and having only fourth start has a heap of upside. The stable of Ellerton-Zahra is on fire and is at nice odds at $6 today.
No9 PREPARE TO WIN has genuine early speed and has won twice from past six starts.
No1 TEZLAH won two straight at Moonee Valley and Moe before finishing a sound eighth at Flemington.
No7 FULTON STREET was caught deep and kept on pushing forward. The blinkers going on is a help.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 FULTON STREET
No3 ROYAL ACE makes a genuine case in a competitive field today. Latest ran a good third over 1523m at Moonee Valley on November 17. The four-year-old sustained a long run that day and is fit and ready for this trip. Ethan Brown’s 3kg claim drops his weight to a more comfortable 58kg.
No10 BONUS D’ORO resumed from a six-week break with a handy third over 1300m at Bendigo on November 13. Apprentice Ben Allen’s 1.5kg allowance reduces his weight to a more comfortable 57kg and he won two straight at Sandown back in August. Rates as a danger.
No12 WENNER won at Sale over 1419m three starts ago. Latest he ran a solid third over 1500m at Sale on November 15. Apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim reduces his weight to 56.5kg and should strip fitter with his third start today. Makes each-way appeal.
No1 RIB EYE has won at two of his past five starts. He has been freshened since a disappointing ninth over 1600m in the Country Cup at Moonee Valley on October 27. With the 3kg claim will drop his weight to 59.5kg in milder opposition.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 RIB EYE
No8 BROADWAY AND FIRST was having his second start back from a spell when running home a good third over 1300m at Ararat on November 13. He gets top jockey Dean Yendall to ride for trainer Darren Weir and looks ready to fire up here.
No12 OZI CHOICE gives trainer Darren Weir a strong hand with Broadway And First. He was backed from $11 into $7 before finishing a solid fifth to Dollar For Dollar over 1400m at Flemington on November 7. Stable jockey John Allen rides and on 57.5kg looks a chance.
No7 URBAN RULER has won twice at two of past four starts. Finished on the heels of the major placegetters when sixth over 1400m at Flemington on November 9. He was the $3.80 favourite that day and with 58.5kg and Stephen Baster to ride can make a case.
No14 MILWAUKEE posted a good win over 1200m at sale two starts ago. Latest he ran a strong third over 1400m at Flemington on November 7. He was placed second at his only start at this track and is one of the main chances here.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 OZI CHOICE
No7 MR GARCIA had a brilliant start to his Australian career with a strong win over 1800m at Flemington on November 9. He is now in the hands of top trainer Darren Weir and with ace apprentice Ben Allen to steer and carrying 54kg looks hard to beat in today’s Cup.
No6 SECOND BULLET sat back and finished with a flurry to claim third to Odeon in 1800m handicap at Flemington on November 7. The seven-year-old is again on the limit on 54kg and gets Melbourne Cup runner-up jockey Ben Melham to handle in today’s Cup. Should not be far away.
No5 GREY LION showed plenty of courage to run second in the group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 11. He eased out to $26 that time but won’t be close to those juicy odds here. Looms as a good chance on 55kg – a kilo above the limit.
No10 ONCIDIUM RULER (BEST ROUGHIE) was backed from $11 into $9 before posting a fighting win over 2000m at Flemington on November 11. That effort was off a three-week break and he was stepping up from 1700m at his previous start. He is ready for this.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 ONCIDIUM RULER
No5 MODERN WONDER has won at two of her past three starts. Latest she ran very well to score an easy 2.75 length win over 1200m at Moonee Valley against her own sex on November 3. She drops a kilo to 57kg here and Ben Thompson is again her pillion.
No7 DIVINE QUALITY has won twice and been placed twice at past five starts. Was working home out wide when finishing sixth to the talented Adelaide galloper Dollar For Dollar over 1400m at Flemington on November. Gets new rider Ryan Maloney and is down a grade in this race.
No8 MISS WONDERLAND will sport the new apparel of ear muffs for her resumption today. She was given two trials in preparation for her comeback. Latest she ran a solid second over 800m at Cranbourne on November 14. She won at Flemington three starts ago.
No11 DEBONAIRLY pay to forget her first-up start when finishing 13th in a Group 3 down the straight 1100m at Flemington on November 9. She pulled up lame that day and take into account she had won both of her lead up trials at Randwick. Pay to forgive.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 MODERN WONDER
No14 TOY BOY (NEXT BEST BET) had to dig very deep in an exciting climax to edge way to win over 1200m at Pakenham on October 20. He was the red hot $1.90 favourite that day and did a sterling job. He plummets 4.5kg to the limit on 54kg here and capable jockey Nikita Beriman keeps the ride. He has only missed a place once at his six starts. Drawn perfectly in gate five.
No2 CHAMOIS ROAD faces a short back up of seven days but his form at Morphettville is too good to dismiss.
No13 FALCOOL posted a smart first-up win at Hamilton and plummets a massive 7.5kg here.
No5 RUETTIGER finished strongly to claim third place over 1400m at Flemington last start. Has admirers.
VALUE RUNNER: No13 FALCOOL