Super Saturday at Flemington is upon us with the running of the esteemed Australian Cup and the Newmarket Handicap to wrap up what has been an exciting summer-autumn carnival in Melbourne.
Champagne racing heads north to Sydney next weekend where gallopers will be in high competition over the next few weeks in the rise to the Golden Slipper carnival at Rosehill and The Championships at Royal Randwick.
Redkirk Warrior has been an amazing transformation from a middle-distance galloper in Hong Kong to a Flemington straight specialist over the shortest sprinting distances.
His win in the group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) to collar Redzel in the last strides was outstanding.
He will be out to defend his crown today in the Newmarket after brilliantly winning the group 1 last year on 52.5kg. He carries 57.5kg today.
The Australian Cup is a major drawcard with the best of Victoria's 2000m gallopers assembled in the historic race.
Gailo Chop has yet to put a hoof wrong this campaign and could take command and be hard to run down.
Saturday is tipped to be warm with a maximum of 33C, but will remain fine.
The False Rail will shifted to the four-metre position after they raced on the inside rail last Saturday. The track is rated as a Good 4 (Thursday).
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 1,4 – 2,11 – 2,3 – 1,2
Wide Play: 1,3,4,7 – 2,11,13,15 – 1,2,3,7 – 1,2,6
BEST BET: R8 – 4. GAILO CHOP
Next Best Bet: R7 – 3. SAMOVARE
Best Roughie: R6 – 9. KEN’S DREAM
No8 CONCEALER with Jamie Kah coming across the border from Adelaide to ride would respect. Has not raced since running fifth in a listed race over 1000m at Sandown on November 18. She ran a cracking second fresh here at a prior campaign but her career has been riddled by injury with long lay offs.
No3 NASDEX with leading jockey Damian Lane taking the reins from a 3kg apprentice would respect. Latest ran a solid fifth to the highly talented Ken’s Dream down the straight-six here on February 17. Has been kept fresh for this assignment and on 59kg in a small field rates highly.
No2 DEMONSTRATE dug deep to beat a competitive field over 955m at Moonee Valley on February 23. Ran a top second over 1100m here at prior start and with top jockey Craig Williams to ride on 60kg must keep very safe. This is his third start from a spell and usually goes very strong.
No6 THELBURG has a solid first-up record of a win and a second at four starts. He is resuming from 10-week spell after running fourth over 1400m at Sandown on December 30. He gets the red hot Mark Zahra to ride fresh and is worth a look having his first start for new trainer John Sadler.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 THELBURG
No5 KINGS WILL DREAM is a Northern Hemisphere import who has yet to blotch his pad at three Australian starts. He has been a short priced favourite each time and has landed the biscuits. He carried 55.5kg to win well for jockey Mark Zahra last start over 1600m here on February 17. Zahra keeps the ride and the horse is on the same weight and has drawn perfectly in gate two.
No3 SIN TO WIN is a Kiwi middle-distance galloper who worked home wide to finish a strong third to Kings Will Dream over 1600m here on February 17. He carried 57.5kg that day with Fred Kersley’s 2kg claim. Group 1 winning rider Regan Bayliss is booked to ride here and he carries 56.5kg
No6 WHEAL LEISURE drops in class on her last-start sixth of seven in the Group 3 Mannerism (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24. She was backed at long odds from $18 into $10 but the plunge misfired and would forgive the run. Her second-up record is strong with two starts for a win.
No7 WILLI WILLI was a strong winner over 1800m here two starts ago. Last start ran seventh over 2000m here on February 3. He did over-race in the early stages and left him flat at the finish. With top jockey Craig William staying on top and him dropping 3kg to 55kg makes appeal.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 WILLI WILLI
No6 PORTMAN will strip much fitter with the start under his belt following his good fourth down the 1200m straight here on February 17. Damien Oliver sticks to him and he goes up 3kg to 57.5kg but he does drop in class. He loves this distance and course and looks to be right in the money.
No11 SIMPLY INVINCIBLE has been a model of consistency this season with eight starts for two wins and three placings. Last start he glided to a 2.25 length win over 1400m at Wangaratta on March 3. He is on the quick back up, but he does get a big drop in the weights down 4.5kg to the limit on 54kg.
No3 KING’S COMMAND was well liked at $4.40 when scoring a big win over 1400m at Sandown on February 14. He drops a kilo to 58.5kg here but he does rise in class from BM 70 to 84. He has not finished further back than fourth at his past five starts and is too consistent to leave out.
No9 DOWNHEARTED has been super honest without winning of late. Last start he led and fought on well to finish third over 1600m here on February 17. The Mick Price stable is firing on all cylinders at the moment and the drops back of 200m will suit with the three-week break.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 DOWNHEARTED
No2 SANCTIMONIOUS faces an open two-year-old field and these races have been hard to forecast this summer-autumn. The Foxwedge colt was a beaten $2.70 favourite when running second over 1200m in a feature at Warwick Farm on February 10. Back in Melbourne and the 1400m looks to suit.
No3 OUTRAGEOUS will sport winkers for the first time. Comes to Melbourne from a strong maiden win over 1300m at Newcastle on February 13. The son of All Too Hard was a white hot $1.40 favourite and he is part of the astute Team Hawkes’ stable. Ace Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn is to steer.
No6 TIN HAT is a Godolphin-trained son of Helmet who opened his winning account in style in a 1200m maiden at Ballarat on February 25. That was only his second start and he lacks nothing with the switch in jockeys from Craig Williams to Damian Lane. From his win would suggest the 1400m will suit.
No14 NASAAYIM is only one of two fillies in this group race. She gets a 2kg pull on the males on 54.5kg and she had to overcome an awkward situation to win over 1200m at Caulfield on February 21. Thought it was a powerful effort to recover after being tightened for room and clear out at the finish.
VALUE RUNNER: No14 NASAAYIM
No7 PALAZZO VECCHIO looked slightly luckless first up when chasing home Summer Sham in the Angus Armanasco (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24. Damien Oliver replaces Beau Mertens and she is again suited under the setweight conditions against her own age and sex. Strong chance.
No3 SUMMER SHAM used her speed to create a buffer between her and her rival fillies with a sweeping win in the Angus Armanasco (1400m). The win stretched her unbeaten winning sequence to three and she strikes many of the same fillies again under similar conditions. Good showing.
No2 SEANNIE kicked off her campaign on a strong note with a big win over 1200m at Moonee Valley on February 9. She then edged up to the top grade when running a good third to Tulip in the Typhoon Tracy (1200m) at the same track on February 23. She is a Group 3 winner and worthy of noting here.
No8 SHOKORA has the blinkers going on for the first time and the winkers coming off. She was running off a five-week break when finishing a good third to Rimraan in the Group 3 Vanity (1200m) here on February 17. She gets a change of rider with Andrew Mallyon the new pilot and is drawn four.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 SEANNIE
No1 REDKIRK WARRIOR could not have been more impressive than when charging home from the back to end the winning streak of dominant sprinter Redzel in the Group 1 Lightning (1000m) here on February 17. He championed this race last year with 52.5kg and carries 57.5kg today. Big chance.
No2 BRAVE SMASH was a super imposing winner of the Group 1 Futurity (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24. This is his first crack down the straight 1200m at Flemington so unknown. He is a highly talented Japanese import and with Craig Williams again to ride rates highly.
No11 MERCHANT NAVY is a top class three-year-old who is yet to be beaten at this track and his two wins includes a Group 1 Coolmore Classic. He also boasted a spotless record at 1200m with three starts for three wins. He ran a nice third in the Rubiton (1100m) at Caulfield first on February 3.
No9 KEN’S DREAM (BEST ROUGHIE) gets his first crack at the elite level today. He has been inspiring at this track claiming two wins from his past two starts down the straight 1100m and 1200m of course in lower class. This is the acid test but he does drop 6kg to 52kg and gets top lightweight Dean Yendell to guide.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 KEN’S DREAM
No3 SAMOVARE (NEXT BEST BET) will sport ear muffs pre-race for the first time today. She showed she was on target for this race with a strong second to Silent Sedition in the Group 3 Mannerism (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24. She drops a kilo to 54kg under the conditions today and from barrier one should get a nice and soft run. She defends an unbeaten record second up of two starts for two wins.
No2 MONTOYA’S SECRET was having her second start back from a spell when she ran a strong third in the Group 3 Mannerism (1400m) at Caulfield on February 24.
No5 SPANISH REEF was a brilliant last-start winner at this track and rates with good prospects today.
No1 SHILLELAGH past two starts has been in the elite class and she finished not too far away. Will relish the drop in class.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 MONTOYA’S SECRET
No4 GAILO CHOP (BEST BET) has been unstoppable this campaign collecting two impressive wins at his two starts. Latest he donkey-licked them in the Group 2 Peter Young (1800m) at Caulfield on February 24. He is suited at weight-for-age again and with Mark Zahra riding in hot form will get the favours. He has the early speed to cross from 10 and looks set to claim a third Group 1 here.
No2 ALMANDIN is a dye-in-the-wool stayer and always runs up to his best. Gets the blinkers on for the first time in an interesting ploy.
No1 HARTNELL won the Group 1 Orr Stakes brilliantly first-up and ran a sound third in the Peter Young. Goes very well at his third start.
No11 SINGLE GAZE has ran two cracking seconds in the Orr and the Young stakes at his past two starts. Right in this.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 SINGLE GAZE
No8 VAINSTREAM is a son of Bel Esprit who was impressive at winning at both of his starts at Moe at his maiden campaign last spring. She underlined with a brilliant win in an 800m trial at Cranbourne on February 9 that he was primed for a first-up assault. This is his biggest test to date.
No7 SHE’S SO HIGH ran a good fourth in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at her final start last spring. She is unbeaten first-up at a single start over 1000m at Sandown. The daughter of top sire I Am Invincible looks to have plenty of improvement with a win and a placing at only five starts.
No5 FREEZE OVER made a perfect return to the racetrack with a brilliant win over 1000m at Moonee Valley on February 9. Returned to the same track a fortnight later to run a solid second over the same course carrying 57.5kg. He gets a nice weight drop of 3.5kg today and Damian Lane rides.
No6 TWILIGHT SONG is a lovely daughter of top sire Fastnet Rock who has yet to botch her copybook at her two starts. She has shown plenty of natural speed at her two starts and will be prominent from barrier seven. She led throughout last win over 1200m at Sandown on February 7. Down 4kg to 54kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 TWILIGHT SON