The 2000m Easter Cup and 1400m Victoria Handicap are the feature races on Saturday’s Caulfield card. Widely-travelled Homesman, now in the successful ownership of Lloyd Williams and his team, will be vying for a trip to Sydney for The Championships if victorious in the Easter Cup. After racing in the UK and America, Homesman created a big impression when he fought off the determined challenge of his Melbourne Cup-winning stablemate, Almandin, in the Mornington Cup Prelude at Caulfield at his first Australian start. He found himself in the worst part of the track when sixth to Harlem in the Group 1 Australian Cup at his last start so the run can be completely forgotten. He rises to top-weight of 59kg on Saturday but should have too much class for his rivals over the same course and distance as his first initial victory “Down Under”.
Theanswermyfriend has earned favouritism for the Group 3 Victoria Handicap on the strength of his narrow first-up defeat to Sovereign Nation in the March Stakes at Flemington two weeks back. The big-striding gelding looked ‘home’ when he opened up a clear lead at the 200m, only to be pipped on the post. Fitter for that run, Theanswermyfriend should have all the answers to keep his rivals at bay over the Caulfield 1400m trip.
The rail will be out 6-metres for the entire circuit. The Weather Bureau is predicting only a 5% chance of rain so the track is expected to hold up as a Good3 racing surface.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 1,11– 1,4 – 6,7 – 1,8
Wide Play: 2,3,8,11,12,13 – 1,4,5,8,9 – 4,6,7,8,9,13 – 1,6,8,11,16,18,19
BEST BET: R6 – 8. TOP OF THE RANGE
Next Best Bet: R3 – 6. SABOTAGE
Best Roughie: R8 – 7. CANNYESCENT
No10 CALIFORNIASURPRISE Smart winner on debut Muswellbrook 2YO Soft 5 54kg Nov. 5 then spelled after fading 10-length sixth Secret Lady 1100m Rosehill Golden Gift Good3 Nov. 25. Improved by two recent trials and nicely placed in this grade. By I Am Invincible out of Perth Magic Millions winner Camporella so she should go quick.
No3 SUNSET WATCH Not disgraced on debut when she vied for the lead before fading to 5.25-length fifth Ennis Hill 1000m Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes here Feb. 3 then showed benefit of race fitness to lead throughout for 2-length win over Power Of Attorney 1200m Ballarat 2-Yr Maiden Mar. 12. Should continue to improve and rates highly.
*SCRATCHED* No1 GYTRASH Adelaide form is first-class and should measure up here. Off the track to turn when debut second Double Denman 1100m Morphettvilel 53.5kg Feb. 17 then raced outside leader before drawing clear final 300m in beating Dancer’s Kin 1000m there 54kg Good4 Feb. 24. Up in weight but gets 2kg off for Chris Caserta. Needs to overcome wide draw.
No2 SANGLIER Spelled after solid 1.6-length third Long Leaf, Oohood 1000m Merson Cooper Stakes Sandown Nov. 18. Resumed with fading 6.15-length sixth Prairie Fire 1100m Flemington Talindert Stakes Feb. 17 then too good for Let Me Sleep On It 1000m Wyong 2Yr Maiden Mar. 3. Should be at peak now and has to be considered.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 CALIFORNIA SURPRISE
No6 SELENIA Has always raced in the best female company and looks nicely placed for a strong first-up showing. Not started since second-up fourth Modern Wonder 1200m Moonee Valley Fillies and Mares BM78 Nov. 3 but impressed when third Illustrious Lad recent Cranbourne Trial. Showed her class while fresh when she charged home for a close third Merriest, Snitty Kitty this course three runs earlier last April. That pair certainly have franked the form.
No3 CRYSTAL FOUNTAIN Won her first four starts – Werribee, Geelong, Moonee Valley and Geelong – but slightly disappointing three runs last campaign. Had excuses when second-up 1.25-length fifth Lyuba 1100m Group 3 Begonia Belle Stakes Flemington Nov. 4 then forced deep on turn when 3.25-length Ascot 1200m Jungle Mist Classic Nov. 25. Has had time to develop during a spell and should return in good form.
No2 HEAR THE CHANT Returned from a 24-week break to beat Fragonard, Essence Of Terror 1100m Flemington Fillies and Mares BM84 59.5kg Mar. 3 then courageous 5.5-length third Quilista, French Emotion Flemington straight 1200m Mares Plate 55kg Mar. 17. Has won over this course and distance and will make her presence felt again with the 2kg allowance for Fred Kersley.
No7 SCUZI Racing in a purple patch of form with wins at Hamilton 1100m, Ballarat 1100m and Moonee Valley 1000m last three starts. Held up making the bend before charging over the top of Starvasive, Divertente 1000m Moonee Valley Mares BM70 59.5kg Good4 Mar. 23 Should get a lovely trail from barrier 2 and will be pelting home again.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 SELENIA
No6 SABOTAGE (NEXT BEST BET) Former Kiwi whose three runs since crossing the Tasman have been bottlers. Chased determinedly when 0.75-length second Seannie 1200m BM70 Moonee Valley 60kg Feb. 9 then sprinted home too well for Sister Kitty Mac, Highland Beat Summer Sprint Final same trip 56kg Mar. 2. Should be right at his peak for this and extra distance will suit.
No10 CHIPPENHAM Had a win 1440m here Feb. 3 – defeating Jest For The Road, Hunamosa – Jan. 17 and three placings Tatura, Sandown, Caulfield before losing ground on the turn when 3.25-length eighth Call Me Handsome 1400m Ballarat 59.5kg BM78 Feb. 25. Freshened since and gets 3kg off his back for Talia Hope. Forward showing on the cards.
No14 CATESBY Has won at two starts this campaign but has to overcome outside gate here. Narrow winner over Knock Toff 1100m Hawkesbury Class1 59kg Good3 Feb. 13 then fought strongly to narrowly defeat Bright Future 1250m Canterbury BM76 56kg Mar. 2. In the money at five of seven outings and commands respect.
*SCRATCHED* No1 AMADEUS Has a win at Pakenham 1400m Soft6 57kg Dec. 12 four runs back and placings Kyneton,and Moonee Valley twice before handy 4.25-length fourth Glenrowan Prince 1300m Wangaratta 60kg Mar. 4. Chased home the talented Widgee Turf two previous starts and has the benefit of Steph Thornton’s 2kg claim here. In form.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 AMADEUS
No4 PLOVERSET Highly-promising type with a Flemington Listed win and three placings from only seven starts. Resumed with game 1.45-length third Demerara, Tarcoola Spirit Flemington straight 1100m Mar. 17. Raced in Group and Listed company previous starts and meets Tarcoola Spirit 2kg better for a head margin. Placed behind Crown Witness, Catchy and Shoals in earlier runs. Wide barrier is main concern but Fred Kersley’s 2kg claim helps.
No6 TARCOOLA SPIRIT Off the track and had no luck first-up when 5-length ninth Tulip 1200m Group 3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes Moonee Valley Feb. 23 then chased hard but no match for winner when 1.25-length second Demerara Flemington straight 1100m 55kg Mar. 17. Fitter for recent racing and gets Ben Melham back on here. Will be hitting the line hard.
No2 REGIMEN Three wins and two placings from seven starts suggest she has plenty of ability but must overcome the wide barrier here. Held up at a vital stage first-up when 2.85-length fifth Tulip 1200m Group 3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes 55kg Feb. 23 then beaten 3.25-lengths by She’s So High 1100m Flemington Moomba Plate 55.5kg good3 Mar. 10. Meets Tarcoola Spirit 2kg worse for 2-len from Typhoon Tracy Stakes. One of the chances.
No7 DOVES CRY Smart type with two wins and a second from only three runs but has to overcome wide draw here. Beaten 1.25-lengths by Twitchy Frank 1200m Moonee Valley 3-Yr Fillies BM64 59.5kg Dec. 15 then freshened to beat Diamond Spinner narrowly 1200m Ballarat Feb. 13. Improved by that hit-out but facing tougher company here.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 REGIMEN
No1 WOLFENDALE Produced three wins and two placings from seven starts to date and looks the one to beat. Won successive races Cranbourne BM64 57.5kg Heavy9 Jan. 12 before outgunning Double You Tee 2100m Hobart Guineas 57kg Good4 Jan. 28. Freshened since game 2.75-length second Civil Disobedience 2200m Hobart Tasmanian Derby 57kg Good4 Feb. 9. Proven at the trip.
No2 INDERNILE Has always shown ability and in top form with a first-up win at Ballarat 1200m Class1 58kg Jan. 16 and subsequent placings Ballarat 1200m Jan. 30 and last two runs at Flemington. Ran Scarecrow to a neck 1400m Flemington 3Yr Handicap 54kg Good3 Mar. 3 then chased doggedly when 4.5-length third Holbien, Forsure similar event 54.5kg Mar. 17. On trial at this trip and chances enhanced if held up for a final spurt. Hard to beat.
*SCRATCHED* No8 SILVERHAWK Holding form since impressive 2.5-length win over Mujaadil 1600m Maiden here 58kg Good4 Feb. 21. Battling third Leicester 1600m Sandown 3Yr BM70 57kg Mar. 14 then fought on gamely for 3.4-length sixth Spriing Choice 1600m Mornington Guineas 58kg Soft5 last Saturday. Better suited this course and might get less early pressure over this longer trip. Gets back to a firm track here.
No3 ALL HARD WOOD Showing good promise as a middle distance horse and is right in the mix here. Did a lot wrong but still prevailed over Heir To The Throne on debut 1400m Sale Maiden 57kg Good4 Jan. 21 then had no room when 1.4-length sixth Balcazar 1600m BM64 Bendigo 59kg Feb. 28 then tenacious neck second Shaq 1800m Sandown Hillside BM64 59kg Mar. 14. Keeps rising to every occasion.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 SILVERHAWK
No8 TOP OF THE RANGE (BEST BET) Desperately unlucky in muddling-run race when fast-finishing photo second Soho Ruby 1600m Grand Handicap Flemington 59.5kg Good3 Mar. 17. Easily accounted for Sohool, Dylanson 1600m here 56kg second-up previous start Feb. 21. Very promising type who drops 3.5kg on last run and looks the testing material.
No11 POW WOW Another who wasn’t suited by the slow tempo and got cluttered-up in the straight at Australian debut when 1.8-length fifth Soho Ruby 1600m Flemington 59kg Mar. 17. Won three-on-end Salisbury 2418m twice and Bath 2625m in previous UK campaign. Will be improved with the hit-out and extra distance is definitely in his favour. Meets Top Of The Range 0.5kg better here. Respect.
No13 ADDISON Winner over 1600m here in Mares grade on Boxing Day and subsequent form is solid. Was doing best work at the finish when 2-length third Exalted Lightning 2035m Morphettville Birthday Cup 55kg Feb. 17 then couldn’t get clear until final 200m when fast-finishing 0.85-length third No Commitment, Mr Optimistic 2000m Flemington Grand Handicap 55.5kg Mar. 17. Meets No Commitment 3kg better here and rates among the chances.
No12 SAVATAG Has won his four starts since coming from New Zealand and should measure up to the tougher company here. Wore down Tycoon Sofie 1400m Morphettville 54.5kg Feb. 24 then led and fought on too well for Battlecamp 1500m there 56.5kg Mar. 12. Cannot be left out of the chances.
VALUE RUNNER: N011 POW WOW
*SCRATCHED* No1 HOMESMAN Well-credentialed import who had a huge impact at his Australian debut in beating Almandin 2000m Mornington Cup Prelude over this track and distance Feb. 24 then came down worst part of the track when solid 2.25-length sixth Harlem 2000m G1 Australian Cup WFA 58.5kg Good3 Mar. 10. Goes up 2.5kg on last win but has class on his side and should measure up to the challenge.
No4 ODEON Promising type who darted through to hit the lead momentarily before running out of puff first-up when 2.1-length sixth Nozomi 1400m Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue 56.5kg Good3 Flemington Mar. 3 then headed at 150m but kept finding when 2-length fourth Humidor 1600m G2 Blamey Stakes Flemington Mar. 17. Fitter now and should be ready to hit peak form.
No8 LIFE LESS ORDINARY Failed twice since charging home for 2-length second Odeon 1800m Melbourne Cup Day Plate 54.5kg Nov. 7. Only plodded first-up when 4.8-length last of nine 1500m G2 Ajax Stakes Rosehill 53kg Good4 Mar. 17. Meets Odeon 2kg better for their Flemington meeting. Won over 1800m this track last April and extra distance will suit. Keep safe.
No5 STEPS Irish import making his Australian debut. Beat Melbourne Cup runner-up Johannes Vermeer three runs back Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes 2414m at Leopardstown Aug. 10. Likes dry ground and will get conditions to suit here. One to watch.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 STEPS
No6 THEANSWERMYFRIEND Excellent first-up run when he dashed clear on straightening but pipped on the post by Sovereign Nation 1400m Listed March Stakes Flemington 56kg Good3 Mar. 17. Has four wins and seven placings from only 16 starts and will prove hard to beat again with the benefit of fitness. Has a win and two seconds from three second-up runs.
No7 CANNYESCENT (BEST ROUGHIE) Right at his peak following three runs from a spell and looks ready to fire. Put the writing on the wall when he worked to the line nicely for 4.85-length fourth Whispering Brook 1200m Moonee Valley Listed Abel Stakes 58kg Mar. 16. Ran Hey Doc to a nose Group 3 Aurie’s Star 1200m Flemington three runs before spelling and also won successive races 1400m Sandown and Flemington last June. Could be a knockout chance here.
No8 KEN’S DREAM In top form and has won two of his last four starts down the Flemington straight. Powered away from Lucky Liberty 1200m BM90 Flemington 58kg Feb. 17 then far from disgraced when 3.15-length ninth Redkirk Warrior G1 Newmarket Handicap there 52kg Mar. 10. Facing slightly easier company here but his five wins have been at distances 1200m or less. Chance if nursed until the last 100m for a final dash home.
No9 SO SI BON Bit off more than he could chew at his first start for new stable when 7.3-length 13th Redkirk Warrior G1 1200m Flemington Newmarket 52kg Mar. 10. Extremely versatile type who placed in Group races from 1100m to 2000m – and ran in two Derbies. Best guide for this is 2-length third Santa Ana Lane, Mr Sneaky Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes over this trip last October. Has trialled twice to ensure he has his mind on the job and would only need to produce his best to figure prominently here.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 CANNYESCENT
No1 MILWAUKEE Most impressive at first run for nine weeks when he took over at 300m and safely held Handsome Thief, Blue Tycoon 59.5kg Flemington straight 1200m Mar. 17. Previous form included wins at Sale and Bendigo and solid third to Dollar or Dollar, Land Of Plenty 1400m Flemington four runs earlier Nov. 7. Fitter for recent racing and should be further improved. Drops 1.5kg for winning last start and looks the one to beat.
No8 EL SICARIO Has won two of last four since resuming and has to rate among the main chances again. Overcame a bump at the start to overhaul the very smart subsequent winner Entrancing 1050m Morphettville 59kg Mar. 12. Led and kicked on strongly to beat Sovereign Duke second-up two runs earlier 1000m Sandown BM70 58.5kg Dec. 30. Danger.
*SCRATCHED* No18 DEMOLITION Resuming here and has two wins and a placing from four first-up tries. Won first-up from It’s A Shame Billy 1100m 59kg Aug. 9 before game third Hunting Hill Mornington 1200m Heavy8 Sept. 13 and luckless 1.75-length fourth Hokkaido 1200m Moe Soft6 BM78 Oct. 19. Forward showing expected on firm going.
*SCRATCHED* No19 GATLINBURG Produced four wins and four placings from 16 starts and all his wins have been on firm tracks. Didn’t have much room at first run for 22 weeks when 2.5-length sixth Holy Blade 1000m Sandown Hillside BM70 59.5kg Good3 Mar. 14. Drops in weight here and could easily bounce back to the form that saw him put together a winning hat-trick at Ipswich, Gold Coast and Doomben last campaign. Each-way chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No19 GATLINBURG