The Melbourne Autumn Carnival is beginning to heat up with today’s running of the W J Adams Stakes and the Manfred Stakes for three-year-olds at Caulfield.
The Adams has assembled a competitive field with Snitty Kitty attempting to make it back to back wins, when resuming in the feature race. The four-year-old mare strikes only six in opposition and should prove hard to beat fresh.
The Manfred Stakes sees the return of the highly talented three-year-old Cliff’s Edge over 1200m.
The Darren Weir colt is suited under the wet-weight conditions and would expect a bold showing first-up from a 12 weeks spell in a small field. He ran a cracking sixth against older horses in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at his final start last campaign on November 11. Prezado has the fitness edge with a dash down the straight 1000m under his belt.
The false rail will be shifted to the nine-metre position and the track should play fair rated as a Good 4.
Cool weather will prevail with a top of 24C forecast. It is a welcome relief after scorching temperatures over past weekends.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 3 – 2,9 – 1,6 – 4,14
Wide Play: 1,3,5 – 1,2,9 – 1,5,6,10 – 5,10,13,14
BEST BET: R3 – 2. TWITCHY FRANK
Next Best Bet: R4 – 5. LAST WEEK
Best Roughie: R9 – 10. CHIPPENHAM
No1 MESSERSCHMITT made a glorious return to racing with a fighting win over 1100m in a maiden at Ballarat on January 24. That was first-up from a 14 weeks spell and he drops a kilo to 57kg here and has a good gate in barrier two. The in-form jockey James Winks retains the ride.
No4 ARISTOCRATIC MISS has been placed third at her two starts at Flemington and Morphettville. Last start she ran home fairly to finish third over 1000m at Morphettville on January 20. She gets top Adelaide rider Jamie Kah coming across to ride her here and can make amends for her defeat as a $1.55 favourite.
No5 KINKY BOOM gave nothing else a chance when accelerating to an 8.5 length win in a 1000m trial at Morphettville on January 29. The filly is an able stablemate to Aristocratic Miss and gets top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams to ride at her debut. She is by leading Queensland sire Spirit Of Boom.
No6 MELVEEN is from the astute stable of trainer Henry Dwyer and he elected to scratch her from another race last week to race here. She is a daughter of leading stallion Starspangledbanner, but she has no exposed form. Former top apprentice Beau Mertens takes the reins.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 MELVEEN
No1 ENCRYPTION faces a small field that is likely to decline with Chicago Typewriter and Sunset Watch also entered for Morphettville today. The son of Lonhro resumes from a spell after finishing a good second over 1000m in a Group 3 at Flemington on November at his last start on November 11.
No3 LOGAN RIVER gets a critical gear change with the blinkers going on for the first time. Last start ran a good sixth over 1000m at Randwick on December 16. Resumes here from a seven-week break and gets Adelaide’s top rider Jamie Kah to guide from gate two. Makes strong appeal.
No6 ENNIS HILL will sport blinkers for the first time here. Showed potential at debut when backed at $4.40 and finished a strong fourth over 1100m here on December 16. Stephen Baster replaces Craig Williams on the daughter of champion stallion Fastnet Rock. Keep most safe here.
No5 SUNSET WATCH is also declared for in a 1050m handicap in Adelaide. Would suggest to keep a close eye on her as top jockey Dwayne Dunn will ride for Team Hawkes. They are a formidable combination, but she has no trial form so suggest the market is the best guide.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 ENNIS HILL
No2 TWITCHY FRANK (BEST BET) has kicked off her career on a flying note with three wins and a second at her four starts so far. She was plunged into $3.90 when easily winning over 1400m against three-year-old fillies' at Flemington on January 13. Apprentice Ethan Brown rode that time and he sticks here with his 2kg claim reducing her weight down to 58kg – which is the same weight she carried last start – and she has drawn gate two.
No3 PARIS ROCK is another talented filly who has been in sparkling form with unbeaten starts at Geelong and Ballarat.
No4 EARTH ANGEL will sport ear muffs, noseroll and winkers for the first time. Ran third in a soft trial over 850m at Tatura on January 16. Respect.
No1 MEMORY BANK has won three times and been placed third at her five starts. Returns here from a raid at Randwick.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 MEMORY BANK
No5 LAST WEEK (NEXT BEST BET) has been in outstanding form, collecting two wins and two seconds from his past four starts. The Northern Hemisphere import was a great winner over 2500m at Flemington last start on January 20. He was a soft favourite out to $3 that time and he carried 54kg to a 1.25 length win. Top trainer Darren Weir has elected to keep apprentice Ben Allen on board despite being unable to use a claim and he is again on the limit on 54kg. There are only seven other runners in this test of stamina.
No4 AL HARAM gets a lugging bit coming off and a Norton bit going on. Ran a solid third at Flemington on January 20.
No1 SAYED gets a Norton bit on for the first time and can rise on last week’s close eighth here.
No6 BINT EL BEDU has retained a most consistent effort at each start and looms as one of the better chances.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 BINT EL BEDU
No1 HANDSOME THIEF has won four times and been placed three times at eight starts. Last start he ran a great third over 1100m here when backed into a $2.90 favourite on January 7. Craig Williams replaces Damian Lane and he goes up 3kg to 60kg for the lower grade here. Very good chance.
No12 EURACK comes to Caulfield boasting an impeccable record of three starts for three wins. Latest was plunged into a $1.90 favourite when clawing to a narrow win over 1000m at Sandown on August 23. She resumes from a 23-weeks spell and would expect to go very well with Ben Melham in the saddle.
No6 MISS WONDERLAND had a fantastic start to her campaign with a narrow win over 1000m against her own sex on a bog track at Sandown on December 2. She then ran a solid eighth in a Group 3 at Flemington over 1400m on January 1. She will wear ear muffs in the race for the first time today.
No14 IF NOT NOW WHEN was having her third start back from a spell when she ran a strong third over 1100m here on January 7. She has been placed at three of her five starts at this track but is looking for a breakthrough win here. Former top apprentice Beau Mertens will ride on 54kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No14 IF NOT NOW WHEN
No3 SNITTY KITTY has won six times and been placed three times at 11 starts. The four-year-old daughter of Snitzel has an outstanding record fresh of two wins at three starts and she returns here off a Group 2 win over 1000m on October 21. She was backed into a $3.40 favourite that day and will be strong here.
No5 NASDEX has posted two wins and a placing at past three starts. Last start he fought hard along the rail to score a clever half-length win over 1100m here on January 7. He carried 56.5kg that day with the 3kg claim of the apprentice. Today he gets ace rider Craig Williams to ride on the limit on 54kg.
No1 CRYSTAL DREAMER has been racing in superb fashion and will claim a hat-trick if successful here. Had plenty left in the tank when a half-length winner over 1100m here last start on December 16. Previous win was over 1000m at Sandown. She loves this track and gets top rider Damian Lane.
No2 THERMAL CURRENT was held up slightly before finishing powerfully to run a close fifth over 1000m in a Listed race at Flemington on January 20. He is a proven sprinter at the top level and he is capable of causing an upset from barrier one and on 57kg in a small field here.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 CRYSTAL DREAMER
No2 WILLI WILLI Has won at four of nine starts and comes here from a smart win over 1800m at Flemington on January 20. He carried 55.5kg that day and goes up to 58kg today but he has a great draw in gate two. Ace jockey Craig Williams has decided to stay on board too.
No9 BEDFORD looms as the major danger a brilliant 6 length win over 2000m here on January 17. He was well supported into $4.80 that day and carried 58kg to victory. He gets a big drop of 4kg to the limit on 54kg here and Melbourne’s leading rider Damian Lane is the new jockey.
No3 PORTION CONTROL ran a good third over 2000m here two starts ago on January 7 before running a solid fourth over 1800m at Flemington on January 20. Mark Zahra retains the ride and he has a good record at this track of two wins and a third at eight starts. Has some each-way claims.
No1 O’LONERA continues to thrive and has claimed two good wins from past three starts. Gets some weight relief with the 3kg apprentice Stephanie Thornton reducing his impost down to a more comfortable 58kg. That is a half-kilo less than he carried last start to win here over 2000m.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 O’LONERA
No6 PREZADO showed good speed at return to the track with a strong second to the hot shot Nature Strip over 1000m at Flemington on January 20. She had won over 1000m at the same track at her final start last campaign in November. The run will have brought her on and is a good chance.
No1 CLIFF’S EDGE is a talented three-year-old who appears well suited under the set-weight conditions today. He will come to hand quickly and whatever he does first-up today he will improve on. Ran a great sixth in the Group 1 Emirates (2000m) at his last start on November 11.
No5 MURAAQEB is resuming from a 12-week spell after running a powerful second in the Listed Hilton (1400m) at Flemington on November 11. He has a good first-up record of two starts for a win and he gets Mark Zahra back on top. Zahra was on board at his last win at Moonee Valley.
No10 BRAVO TANGO is an emerging colt with a record of two wins and two placings at his four starts. Last start he ran a strong third to Nature Strip over 1000m at Flemington on January 20. That was his first start from a long spell and he goes very well second-up. Group 1 winning jockey Ben Melham rides.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 MURAAQUEB
No14 CALL ME HANDSOME is a former Hong Kong galloper who earned a crack at the city with his smart win over 1200m at sale on January 21. He was heavily backed into a $1.80 favourite and carried 58.5kg. He gets a big weight relief dropping down to the limit on 54kg today.
No5 MALAISE has been in sparkling form with successive city wins. Chased hard and edged clear to a well deserved win over 1400m at Flemington on January 20. He carried 56kg that time and jumps top 59kg today, but Damian Lane keeps the ride. His prior win was at Randwick over 1400m.
No13 TROGIR is an Adelaide raider who made a successful raid here two starts ago over 1200m on December 16. Last start he ran a close second to The Avenger over 1400m here on January 7. Senior rider Regan Bayliss replaces a 3kg apprentice and he again has no weight on the limit on 54kg.
No10 CHIPPENHAM (BEST ROUGHIE) has been in striking form and with the 3kg claim of apprentice Stephanie Thornton will carry no weight on 52.5kg. Showed plenty of grit for a clever win over 1440m here on January 17 and drops 1.5kg on the weight carried that day.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 CHIPPENHAM