A good and entertaining meeting with the heats of the Summer Sprinters and Stayers series in play and the 12th heat of the 55sec Challenge being fought out as the final looms now with autumn next month.
The Darren Weir-trained Knight Commander has been in sensational form and is on the hunt for a third straight win after brilliant wins at Moonee Valley and Geelong at his past two starts.
Weir has gone for the 2kg claim of the in-form apprentice Ethan Brown to reduce his four-year-old’s impost from 60.5kg to a more comfortable 58.5kg.
Knight Commander has won at his past two starts carrying 58kg, with Damian Lane on top, and 59.5kg, with John Allen steering. He has collected an outstanding record of three wins from five starts after having won over 1100m in a maiden at his debut at Kyneton on November 8.
The false rail will remain at five metres tonight, after it was shifted out from two metres last week.
The track is tipped to race as a Good 4 and the weather is forecast to be cool with a high on 23C after an overnight low on 11C.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 5 – 5 – 1,2 – 4
Wide Play: 5,7,9 – 2,5,11,13 – 1,2,8 – 4,11,14
BEST BET: R8 – 4. KNIGHT COMMANDER
Next Best Bet: R6 – 5. MUTARAKEM
Best Roughie: R6 – 13. BUBBA’S CALL
No6 ASHRAMA returning from a three-week break and will have winkers on for the first time. Made a solid debut to finish third over 1000m here on January 26. Stephen Baster replaces Luke Nolen and will be fancied.
No3 POWER OF ATTORNEY is by leading juvenile sire Not A Single Doubt and hails from an astute stable. Top jockey Damien Oliver will ride the colt at his debut. Oliver has a good record on youngsters this season.
No7 DHARMA drops a kilo to 56kg and was a fair debut when running fourth over 1000m here on January 26. Chased the length of the straight and will lack nothing with new rider Luke Currie taking the reins.
No2 CANZONET is a colt by leading stallion Exceed And Excel making his debut for Godolphin. He has been tried out on the trial track running a second and a third over 797m and 735m respectively at Warwick Farm and Randwick last month.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 DHARMA
No5 LIMESTONE was a star two-year-old last season and looks well suited in this small field against older horses at her first start in 14 weeks. She gets leading apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim to reduce her weight to 56kg and is drawn in six.
No7 SACRED SHAM returns to the city with a smart win over 1100m at Geelong on January 28. Slammed dunked his opposition by 3.75 lengths that day as a $1.55 favourite and drops 5kg to 55.5kg here.
No1 ANGRY GEE has been excelling landing in the money at past three starts. Last start climaxed with a clever win over 955m here on February 2. Had to dig deep to keep his nose in front and goes up 2kg to 56.5kg with Stephanie Thornton’s claim.
No6 SEPTAMORE is resuming from a 28-week spell. Has shown good ability fresh and last start pulled up lame when running seventh over 1200m at Pakenham on July 30. Ben Allen rides from gate four.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 SEPTAMORE
No7 INVICTUM DOMINA was heavily backed into a $3.40 favourite first-up when finishing second over 1200m against her own sex at Pakenham on January 25. She had no luck in running that occasion and carries only 54kg with the claim.
No5 SAVAJU drove home late from the clouds to snatch a narrow win over 1200m against her own sex here on February 2. She was heavily backed from $8.50 into $6. She goes up 1.5kg but Damien Oliver keeps the ride on 56.5kg
No1 BRUGAL REWARD flew home late down the outside to claim third over 1200m against her own sex here on February 2. With apprentice Ethan Brown’s 2kg claim will again carry 58kg, but meets Savaju 1.5kg better.
No8 FLORIDA KEYS has the benefit of a nice trial when finishing fourth over 800m at Cranbourne on February 5. She gets the 1.5kg claim of leading apprentice Ben Thompson to reduce her weight to a mere 54.5kg first-up.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 BRUGAL REWARD
No2 CLIPPER resumed from a 25-week spell and strikes a small field of only five runners. The four-year-old mare has the outstanding stats of two starts for two wins fresh and she gets top Melbourne rider Damien Oliver to steer.
No3 HOLY SEAL has won at three of her past five starts and been in the placings at other two starts. She was a brilliant winner over 1100m at Caulfield on January 27 and with Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim will carry only 54.5kg
No4 SISTER KITTY MAC showed speed to burn to lead all of the way over 955m against her own sex here on January 26. She only goes up a half-kilo to 55.5kg and from barrier two should gain another soft run in transit.
No5 BROOK MAGIC is a Sydney-trained filly down in Melbourne for an assault after her brilliant win over 1000m at Warwick Farm on January 26. She cruised to a 1.8 length win that day as a $2.05 favourite and a strong chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 SISTER KITTY MAC
No5 SUMMER SHAM was super-impressive when overcame a wide run to storm home for a strong but narrow win over 1100m maiden at Ballarat on January 24. She was well liked at $3.10 and should take natural improvement.
No7 MISS OKLAHOMA showed rapid improvement at her second start when she raced away to a 3 length win over 1200m 3F maiden at Moe on February 2. She was easy in the betting at $6.50 that day and from gate four poses a threat.
No9 SOUL STAR claimed her maiden win at her third start over 1009m in a maiden at Yarra Valley on January 9. Last start she ran a encouraging fourth over 1100m against 3F at Caulfield on January 27. Has appeal here.
No4 KARDASHING has been as honest as the day with five placings at her past five starts. She ran a good second over 1500m against 3F here on December 23. Was given a soft trial over 800m at Cranbourne on February 5.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 KARDASHING
No5 MUTARAKEM (NEXT BEST BET) won two on end at Sandown over 1800m in December and January. Last start he ran a strong sixth to Bedford over 2000m at Caulfield on February 3. He drops significantly in class and goes up to 59kg. He gets winning rider Damien Oliver back after Michael Walker rode him at his past two unplaced starts. The five-year-old has a nice alley in gate four.
No2 ANCIENT HISTORY has finished third at his past two starts over 1600m and 2040m here. Respect.
No11 MIDAS MAN is on a high roll with three wins from past three starts including 2040m here last start.
No13 BUBBA’S CALL (BEST ROUGHIE) had his bubble burst when finishing second over 1717m at Sale, after claiming a country hat-trick.
VALUE RUNNER: No13 BUBBA’S CALL
No1 MASTER OF ARTS did not have much good fortune last start when losing ground and made up ground to finish a close sixth over 2000m at Caulfield on January 27. Brad Rawiller again rides on 60kg and a good chance.
No2 VASSAL is a British import who won over 2400m in a listed race at Randwick on December 16. Last start ran a close fourth in the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm on January 26. Top Melbourne rider Damien Oliver rides.
No5 SAYED has plenty of speed to lead and should take the commanding role here. Last start led before finishing fourth over 2400m at Caulfield on February 3. Carried 59kg and drops to 56.5kg with new rider Michael Dee on top.
No8 PARTHESIA is the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) winner at Flemington on January 1. The four-year-old mare again has no weight on her back on 54kg and loses nothing with Dean Yendall as her new pillion for trainer Darren Weir.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 PARTHESIA
No4 KNIGHT COMMANDER (BEST BET) is a son of Group 1 winner Master Of Design who is flying high with three wins from five starts. The four-year-old chases a hat-tick tonight following a tenacious win over 1200m here on January 26 when he was plunged from $2.50 into a white hot $2.05 favourite. Apprentice Ethan Brown is used tonight with his 2kg claim reducing his impost to 58.5kg. Can continue his rampage.
No6 BORD DE GAIN gets a critical gear change with the blinkers going on for the first time. Has been genuine.
No11 ABYSSINIAN wins at Cranbourne and Pakenham have been uplifting. She has a clean slate.
No14 TROJAN STORM gets Luke Currie back on top and out for revenge against Knight Commander after running third.
VALUE RUNNER: No14 TROJAN STORM