Group 1 racing returns to Flemington with the running of the prestigious Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
The Sydney-trained sprinter Redzel has been in blistering form and is the red-hot $1.80 favourite to add the 2018 edition to his amazing list of victories. Redzel is the people’s horse as he is owned by Triple Crown Syndications and today he will search for his seventh straight win down the 1000m straight.
The son of champion sire Snitzel rampaged through the spring last year winning the inaugural running of the $10 million The Everest (1200m), the Darley Classic (1200m), The Shorts (1100m) and the Corncorde (1000m). He won the Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and the Hall Mark (1200m) last autumn.
The cream of the State’s three-year-olds clash in the Vanity (1400m), fillies only, and the CS Hayes Stakes (1400m), for the colts and geldings.
The stars of the spring like Thousand Guineas winner Alosia meet the newcomers over 1400m in two star attractions on this nine-race card.
The False Rail will be at the True Position and the track is rated as a Good 3. The weather forecast is to be overcast with a maximum of 28C.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 1 – 1,16 – 1 – 15,16
Wide Play: 1,5,7 – 1,2,15,16 – 1.3.10 – 7,10,15,16
BEST BET: R4 – 7. KINGS WILL DREAM
Next Best Bet: R8 – 1. REDZEL
Best Roughie: R2 – 9. MIDAS MAN
No7 KHULAASA made an inspiring debut when was narrowly beaten by Crossing The Abbey over 1000m against her own sex down the straight 1000m here on January 1. Damien Oliver rides again and she drops a kilo to 54kg and will rail on the inside from gate one. Strong chance.
No5 CONCRETE will wear a tongue tie for the first time after his debut when he ran home strongly after being four deep to finish third in an 1100m maiden at Ballarat on January 24. The winner was a red hot favourite and he did a great job to steam home. Down 2kg to 56kg here.
No1 PRAIRIE FIRE was not wanted in the betting when easing out from $14 to $19 but defied the drift with a strong third over 1000m in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes at Caulfield on February 3. Mark Zahra again rides but he will have a critical gear change with blinkers going on for the first time.
No10 PIERRO BELLE showed plenty of raw ability to scoot away to a comfortable 2.5 length winner in a 1000m trial at Morphettville on January 29. She is from Adelaide’s premier juvenile yard and will wear a tongue tie and lugging bit at her debut. Experienced Melbourne rider Stephen Baster rides.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 CONCRETE
No3 IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS showed plenty of speed to a narrow win over 1850m at Kyneton on February 3. The son of Holy Roman Emperor lumped 60kg well and he will have the blinkers going back on today. He gets a nice weight drop of 6.5kg to 53.5kg with Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim.
No2 KHUTULUN has won twice and been placed twice from his past four starts. Last start he ran home hard to post a narrow win over 1800m at Caulfield last Saturday. He carried 52.5kg last week and will carry 55.5kg with the in-form Stephanie Thornton’s 3kg claim today. He is the danger.
No9 MIDAS MAN (BEST ROUGHIE) has been running them ragged in lower grades amassing three straight wins on country and city tracks. He successfully converted his country form to Moonee Valley with hard win over 2040m on February 2. He drops a kilo to 54kg and get ace rider Kerrin McEvoy as his new partner.
No4 MR CHURCHILL was a good winner at Geelong three starts ago and has continued to be competitive. Last start he fought hard to run fifth over 2000m to Bedford at Caulfield on February 3. He will carry the same weight on 55kg with Nikita Beriman keeping the mount.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 MIDAS MAN
No3 MAMZELLE TESS showed plenty of dash to score an impressive win over 1100m at Caulfield two starts ago. Last start she fought hard all of the way when finishing to Jester Halo over 1400m at Caulfield on January 27. She drops a kilo to 58kg today and regular rider Jye McNeil retains the mount.
No6 SHARING has been a model of consistency either winning or being placed at her past three starts. She followed a win over 1400m here with a strong second to Jester Halo over 1400m at Caulfield on January 27. She drops a half-kilo to 56kg and Ben Allen keeps the ride.
No4 SPANISH REEF was given a 17-week respite after she ran ninth in the Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 15. The in-form jockey Mark Zahra gets the ride in her comeback and she likes this track with two starts for a win and a second. The four-year-old also goes well when she is fresh.
No8 ALMA’S ROSSA returns to city racing following an effortless 3.5 length win over 1500m at Ballarat on January 30. She carried 58kg that day and she plummets to 54kg today. Jack Hill retains the rid on the four-year-old and she is well drawn in gate seven. She appeals as a lightweight chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 ALMA’S ROSSA
No7 KINGS WILL DREAM (BEST BET) is another successful Northern Hemisphere import for leading trainer Darren Weir. He has looked most impressive at claiming his two wins in Australia at Warrnambool and Ballarat. Last start he cruised to an easy 2 length winner over 1400m at Ballarat on January 24. He carried 60kg and he drops to a mere 55.5kg today with top rider Mark Zahra to guide.
No2 SIN TO WIN has won and been placed at three starts when racing fresh. Resumes from a 14-week spell.
No5 SO POYSED searching for a hat-trick following good wins at Sandown and Moonee Valley and gets a change of rider with the hot Craig Williams to guide.
No3 PLOT THE COURSE did not have the best of runs last Saturday at Caulfield and would give another chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 PLOT THE COURSE
No3 KEN’S DREAM is a high grade galloper and had no luck when finishing fourth in the Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 26. He worked home strongly out wide to run a great race under weight-for-age conditions. Drops back to a handicap here and carries 58kg with the 2kg claim.
No4 LUCKY LIBERTY will wear ear muffs pre-race for the first time to help settle. Last start he ran home well to finish a good third in the listed Christmas Stakes at Caulfield on Boxing Day. That was first-up from a 31-week spell and he possessed a great second-up record of three starts for two wins.
No6 LEODORO made a successful foray to the country notching a brilliant win over 1205m at sale on February 4. He carried 54kg that day and rises to 58kg today but keeps Beau Mertens in the saddle. He loves this distance with three wins and three placings at eight starts. Each-way appeal.
No13 HANDSOME THIEF was strongly backed into $3.20 last start when running second over 1100m at Caulfield on February 3. The Irish import has been popular with punters over recent starts and plummets 6kg to the limit on 54kg today and keeps the hot Craig Williams on board.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 LEODORO
No1 ALOISIA was the star filly of the spring carnival winning the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase. Cannot take much heed from her trial where she ran last of eight over 800m at Cranbourne on February 5. She will wear a tongue tie for the first time and commands respect.
No7 PARIS ROCK faces her baptism of fire here after scoring an impeccable record of three starts for three wins. She was an easy $3.60 favourite at her last win over 1400m here against her own age and sex over 1400m at Caulfield on February 3. Regular rider Damian Thornton keeps the ride from gate six.
No2 BRING ME ROSES will wear blinkers again. She claimed a Group 1 placing, when she ran second to Pinot in the VRC Oaks (2500m) at her last start here on November 9. She did win the Group 2 Edward Manifold in the spring and should be respected here first-up with Luke Currie riding.
No5 RIMRAAM claimed a Group 2 placing when she ran third in the Wakeful (2000m) here on November 4. She only won her maiden over 1755m at Geelong three starts before. Also was placed at Group 3 level and ran seventh in the VRC Oaks on November 7. Expected to go well fresh.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 RIMRAAM
No16 GRUNT is one of the new kids on the block challenging the established three-year-olds. He has a career record of three starts for two wins and a third with his wins at Morphettville and Werribee. He ran a sound third in a 1000m trial at Geelong on January 29 in the warm up to this clash.
No1 CLIFF’S EDGE showed plenty of true grit to score a nail-biting win in the Group 3 Manfred (1200m) at Caulfield first up at Caulfield on February 3. That was his first start from a 12-week spell and a great Group 1 sixth against older horses in the Emirates back in November. He is all class.
No13 PEACEFUL STATE is another new kid with a record of two wins and two placings at four starts. He was backed into a $3.30 favourite and got the chocolates in a tight tussle over 1300m at Sandown on February 7. He is down 4kg to 55kg today with new rider Ben Allen to guide from gate three.
No2 EMBELLISH is a Kiwi invader who can brag a record of three wins and two seconds at his six appearances. He is the Group 1 winner of the NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and ran second in the Karraka Classic (1600m) three weeks ago on January. Opie Bosson rides at his Australian debut.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 EMBELLISH
No1 REDZEL (NEXT BEST BET) is the star sprinter of this Group 1 with the Concorde, The Shorts, The Everest and the Darley Classic his spoils over an outstanding spring carnival for this son of Snitzel. Co-trainer Peter and Paul Snowden have warmed him up with two gate trials. He showed he was primed with an effortless win over 1000m at Rosehill on February 5. Regular partner Kerrin McEvoy is at the ready and he looks a star bet.
No8 MISSROCK was kept under a tight rein when finishing third in an 800m trial at Cranbourne in preparation for this.
No4 REDKIRK WARRIOR is back to his favourite racetrack and will have the addition of blinkers.
No10 FORMALITY has the winkers coming off and the blinkers going on for the first time. Unbeaten fresh.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 FORMALTY
No16 MANOLO BLAHNIQ smashed his rivals by 2.75 lengths with a flawless win over 1400m at Caulfield on February 3. The win was anticipated when he was plunged from $6 into $4.40 in the field of 11. He had to work hard sitting four and five deep but was too good and stays on the same weight on 54kg.
No15 RUNSON scored a brilliant win over 1400m at Caulfield last start on January 27. He returns here from a three-week break and drops from 61.5kg to the limit on 54kg and gets Beau Mertens to guide from gate 11. Each-way.
No11 ZEBRINZ With apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim will carry only 52.5kg. He is fresh after having a three-week break since finishing fifth over 1500m at Moonee Valley on January 26. Goes well at this track and distance.
No7 CHAMOIS ROAD was weaving between runners when a good fourth over 1400m in the Listed John Dillon at Caulfield on January 27. He had ran good placings at Group 3 and Listed level at his previous two starts and rates well here with Michael Dee to steer.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 ZEBRINZ