The $150,000 Bendigo Golden Mile has attracted half the field that chased home Sovereign Nation in the Listed March Stakes at Flemington three weeks ago and bookies are predicting a different result. In a thrilling blanket finish in which most of the field finished in a bunch, Sovereign Nation got up in the last stride from Theanswermyfriend and stablemate Seaburge, who showed a return to form. But right on their hammer were the late finishers, Wyndspelle and Kiwia – and the unlucky Nozami who had no room in the final 200m. The imported galloper Mask Of Time was pulled out of the turmoil after being unable to gain clear galloping room over the final 200m. With Sovereign Nation meeting all those runners on 2kg worse terms on Saturday, the stage is set for another exciting finish in the Bendigo Golden Mile.
Brilliant sunshine will greet the ‘gold-diggers’ looking for winners at the Bendigo Golden Mile meeting and the track will play as a Good4. The rail will be in the True position for the entire circuit.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 2,4 – 6,9 – 2,5 – 6,10
Wide Play: 2,3,4,6,13 – 1,5,6,13,18 – 1,2,5,13 – 5,6,10,12,13
BEST BET: R2 – 2. SUPERHARD
Next Best Bet: R6 – 4. SCHISM
Best Roughie: R4 – 2. ROCK ‘N’ GOLD
No2 HARRISON Placed in Group company in the UK where he won 2816m Chelmsford synthetic three runs before coming to Australia. Improved by two runs here and rates strongly on last start 5-length second Kings Will Dream 2400m Mornington Cup Soft5 two weeks ago. Will go forward again and will take running down.
No5 BRIMHAM ROCKS Won four times in UK up to 2787m York Oct. 13 before eye-catching 0.75-length second Velox – with subsequent Caulfield Group 3 winner Shoreham third – in 2000m BM90 Mornington Soft5 two weeks ago. Fitter for the run and the extra distance is definitely in his favour. Gets in very light with Fred Kersley’s 2kg claim.
No1 GALLIC CHIEFTAIN Right at his peak now following four good hit-outs in this campaign. Carried 61kg to easily beat Floral Fever 2100m Stony Creek Cup Good3 Mar. 11 then only plugged home when 8-length fourth Kings Will Dream 2400m Mornington Cup two weeks back. Meets Harrison on same weight terms for a 3-length margin. Has class on his side.
No3 SIN TO WIN Improved by three runs this time in. Solid effort when 3.5-length third Kings Will Dream 1800m Flemington BM90 56.5kg Mar. 10 then took off at 600m and overrun last 200m when 5.6-length fourth Willi Willi 2000m Albury Gold Cup Good3 54kg Mar. 23. Won successive races 2050m Mornington and 2400m Caulfield BM84 in previous campaign and looks a likely improver.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 SIN TO WIN
No2 SUPERHARD (BEST BET) Won first two starts 1000m Pakenham synthetic Aug. 22 and Sandown 1000m 3yr BM70 from Written Choice, Wait For No One 56.5kg Sept. 6 then pushed into the rail at 200m and lost all hope when 3.5-length ninth Bandipur 1100m Caulfield 3Yr Plate 56kg Sept. 23. Has heaps of potential and looks nicely placed for his resumption here.
No1 HOLY BLADE Produced two wins and two placings three runs this campaign and has to be respected again despite rising 3.5kg on last start. Finished powerfully for 2-length second Demerara – Freeze Over third – 1000m Moonee Valley 3Yr BM78 57.5kg Feb. 23 then finished over the top of Charlie Garcon 1000m open BM70 Sandown Mar. 14. Meets Freeze Over 3kg worse for head margin but in top form and rates highly again.
No5 WATCHDOG Impressive first-up winner over Pretty Bella, Evil Cry Pakenham 1200m 3Yr Maiden 58kg Mar. 15. Runner-up at two runs prior to his spell including 3.25-length second Royal Symphony Pakenham synthetic 2Yr Maiden last May. Kept fresh for this and will be running on.
SCRATCHED - No3 VILLA SARCHI Came from last with a barnstorming finish to swamp Charlie Garcon, Fast Stryke 1000m Sandown first-up BM64 58.5kg Good3 Mar. 21. Had a Kyneton 1200m 3Yr Maiden win and thirds at Warrnambool and Ballarat two previous runs. Still has room for improvement and bound to make his presence felt here.
SCRATCHED - VALUE RUNNER: No3 VILLA SARCHI
No2 DIVINE MR TYCOON Huge effort on debut when he shared the lead and fought on strongly to finish photo second Yulong Monoceros – with subsequent winner Chess Star third - 1000m Moonee Valley 2YO 58kg Good4 Mar. 16. Bound to be improved with that experience and has pace to offset wide draw.
SCRATCHED - No18 RIVER STAR Unraced Sebring filly from the former quality sprinter Kulgrinda who won nine of her 24 starts including the Group 3 Irwin Stakes in Adelaide. This is a very fast family and she is perfectly drawn to take up a prominent position early. Respect.
No11 THRILLSTER Solid debut when she chased hard for 1.25-length second Chess Star 1200m Moonee Valley Listed St Albans Stakes 55kg Good3 Mar. 23. Better for the hit-out but has to overcome outside gate here. Keep safe.
No1 MORE BRICKS Has drawn the extreme outside barrier. Shared the lead from barrier 2 when a neck winner over Yulong February on debut Warrnambool 2Yr Maiden 58kg Good4 last Sunday. On the quick back-up and bound to be improved.
SCRATCHED - VALUE RUNNER: No18 RIVER STAR
SCRATCHED - No7 PROPERTY Smart three-year-old who raced in Group company most of his career, winning the Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield and Kindergarten Stakes at Randwick last season. Game first-up effort when 3.45-length fourth Snitty Kitty, Super Too, Faatinah 1000m Caulfield Sprint Oc. 21 then battling 6.3-length sixth Prezado, Bandipur, William Thomas Flemington straight 1000m Nov. 7. Put away after those two runs and a strong first-up showing is on the cards here.
SCRATCHED - No6 SPRIGHTLY LASS Quality mare with four wins and two seconds from only six starts. Easily accounted for Matty and Roman Fizz 955m Moonee Valley 55.5kg Mar. 2 then rolled out in final stages and lost on protest to Dothraki 1100m Listed McCarten Stakes Rosehill Mar. 17. Drawn perfectly and looks the testing material.
No2 ROCK ‘N’ GOLD (BEST ROUGHIE) Ran a cracking race when 2.45-length ninth to Russian Revolution Group 1 Oakleigh Plate Caulfield Feb. 24 then ‘forget run’ when right off the track throughout 7.55-length seventh Whispering Brook 1200m Moonee Valley Listed Abel Stakes 59kg Mar. 16. Powered home to beat Husson Eagle previous start 1000m Flemington Listed Kensington Stakes 54kg Jan. 20 when fresh. Has finally drawn a decent barrier and looks a knockout chance at odds with 2kg claim.
No3 LYUBA Resuming here and has two wins and a second from three first-up attempts. Chased hard when 2.25-length second Fuhryk 1100m Listed Alinghi Stakes Caulfield 56kg good3 Oct. 21 then arrived in time to pip Savanah Amour Group 3 Begonia Belle Stakes straight 1100m Flemington Nov 4. Quality mare who has drawn perfectly in barrier 1 and will take tossing.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 ROCK ‘N’ GOLD
No11 GALAXY RAIDER Caught the eye at his first run for new stable when held up until final 100m before rattling home for 3.8-length fifth Milwaukee Flemington straight 1200m first-up for 28-weeks Mar. 17. Is arguably the most unlucky horse in Australia but the sparkling first-up run suggests his new trainer might get the best out of him.
No1 AMADEUS Has a win over Willi Willi , Burning Front 1400m Pakenham Soft6 Dec. 9 and three seconds at Kyneton and Moonee Valley (twice) from last five outings and is bound to be near the money again. Chased home the subsequent Group 3 winner Widgee Turf in consecutive 1500m Moonee Valley runs Dec. 23 and Jan. 26 before game 4.25-length fourth Glenrowan Prince 1300m Wangaratta 60kg Mar. 4. Strong showing expected.
No3 BLUE TYCOON Won three-on-end Cranbourne BM64 Jan. 19 and Morphettville 1250m BM75 Feb. 10 and BM82 Feb. 24 then solid 3.5-length third Milwaukee Flemington straight 1200m 60kg Mar. 17. Model of consistency who will race prominently and commands respect with 1kg drop.
SCRATCHED - No19 MAXIMUS Highly-promising galloper with three wins and four placings from only seven starts. Deep throughout but kept getting to the line when 1-length third Brahmos 1200m Pakenham BM70 58kg Mar. 8 then finished too strongly for Haski in photo-finish 1200m Moonee Valley BM70 58kg Mar. 23. Meets Haski fractionally worse for narrow margin but is a horse on the improve.
SCRATCHED - VALUE RUNNER: No19 MAXIMUS
No4 SCHISM (NEXT BEST BET) Strong first-up effort when she raced outside the leader and kept fighting for 1.55-length sixth Stellar Collision 1200m Hareeba Stakes Mornington Soft5 54.5kg two weeks back. Won three straight in town over this trip last campaign, including Leilani Series Final Flemington July 8. Fitter for the hit-out and will relish the distance here. Hard to beat.
No2 FRENCH EMOTION Raced in Group mares’ races before resuming with game 4-length second subsequent Sydney winner Quilista Flemington straight 1200m 57kg Mar. 17. Last win was over this distance at Caulfield 12 months ago. Better suited going around a bend here and will be working home hard.
No6 TAHANEE Widely-travelled galloper who won three in South America and placed once in six starts in Dubai before winning once in six starts in Australia. Showed a good kick to beat Invincibella 1700m Flemington 54kg Nov. 11 then pulled up lame when 4.75-length sixth Savapinski Group 2 Matriarch Stakes 2000m there Nov. 11. Has a win and a second from four first-up tries and will be doing her best work late.
SCRATCHED - No14 AMORTENTIA Has won four of last six outings and rates highly again. Caught up in traffic before motoring home for 1.2-length fifth Sabotage first-up 1200m Moonee Valley summer Sprint final 55kg Mar. 2 then led and kicked away at 200m to beat La Fleurette, Hectopascal 1400m Sandown Fillies and Mares BM78 56kg Mar. 21. Up in class here but is racing too well to discard. Definitely one of the main chances.
VALUE RUNNER: N04 SCHISM
No6 KIWIA Tough-as-teak campaigner who caught the eye first-up for 18 weeks when a closing 0.8-length sixth Sovereign Nation 1400m Flemington Listed March Stakes 57.5kg Good3 Mar. 17. Had six wins and four placings from previous 12 starts and won second-up over this trip last campaign. Comes to hand quickly and looks the one to beat. Meets Sovereign Nation 2kg better and the rest from Marsh Stakes on same terms.
No9 NOZOMI Resumed with a grinding photo-finish win over Violate, Cool Chap 1400m Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Flemington 54kg Mar. 3 then had no luck racing tight in straight when 1.65-length eighth Sovereign Nation 1400m March Stakes Flemington Mar. 17. Will race handy and sure to give a good account of himself over the extra distance of this.
No5 SEABURGE Runner-up in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and Emirates Stakes 2016 and finally bounced back to form with a fast-finishing photo third Sovereign Nation, Theanswermyfriend 1400m March Stakes Flemington three weeks ago. Fitter for three runs this campaign and looks to be on the way up.
No13 MASK OF TIME Made Australian debut when eye-catching fourth Tosen Stardom, Sovereign Nation, Petrology Group 1 Toorak Handicap 1600m Caulfield Oct. 14 then pocketed and not tested first-up 3.75-length 11th Sovereign Nation 1400m Flemington Mar. 17. Raced in Group and Listed company in France and better suited over this distance. One to watch.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 NOZOMI
No2 SIRCCONI Last season’s G2 VRC Sires’ Produce winner who hasn’t started since courageous photo-finish third Kentucky Breeze, Muraaqeb 1400m Listed Hilton Stakes Flemington Nov. 11. Beat Wyndspelle and So Si Bon 1400m Caulfield 54kg two runs earlier Sept. 23. Has the benefit of two recent barrier trials to fit him for his return to racing here. Rates highly.
No5 HOLBIEN Has won three of four starts this campaign and will give them something to chase again. Led but went too fast early when 1.9-length fourth Scarecrow 1400m Flemington 55kg Mar. 3 then left alone in front and trounced Forsure, Indernile by 3.75-length over the same trip 55.5kg two weeks later. Should be further improved and rates highly.
No1 OVERSHARE Broke clear final 100m in beating Wild Heart, Streets Of Avalon 1200m Group 3 Zeditave Stakes Caulfield 57kg Feb. 24 then over-raced early but fought on tenaciously for 0.4-length blanket fifth Sovereign Nation 1400m Listed March Stakes Flemington Mar. 17. Carrying an extra 5kg here but drops back to own age group and will prove hard to beat.
No13 TAVISTOCK ABBEY Getting ready for the Queensland Derby in Brisbane but it would not surprise to see him finishing over the top of them late here. Beat Main Stage 1800m Derby Trial Flemington Sept. 27 then had a very hard run when 8.45-length sixth Cliff’s Edge 2000m G3 Caulfield Classic Oct. 21. Set aside with better races in mind and this could be a very fruitful campaign. Follow.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 SIRCCONI
No10 LAND OF PLENTY At first start for Darren Weir stable, was slowly away and never in the hunt 5.35-length fifth Whispering Brook Listed Abel Stakes 1200m Moonee Valley Mar. 16. Previous form included game third to Group 1 winners Redkirk Warrior and Scales of Justice 1200m Bobby Lewis Handicap Flemington Sept. 16. Chased home Hey Doc In Group 3 CS Hayes and Group 2 Stutt Stakes and beat Theanswermyfriend to win his maiden 1400m Geelong. Has heaps of ability and might be ready to show it second-up.
No6 LEODORO Hasn’t been further back than fourth in six runs this campaign and should make his presence felt here. Finished too well for Stellar Collision 1205m Sale 54kg Good3 Feb. 4 then flashed home for 0.8-length fourth Stellar Collision 1200m Hareeba Stakes Mornington Soft5 two weeks back. One of the main chances.
No5 KING’S COMMAND Has been in sparkling form since resuming in December and is chasing a hat-trick of wins here. Fought on strongly to beat Salsamor and Smart As You Think 1400m Sandown 59.5kg Firm2 Feb.14 then led and bolted away to beat Tiamo Grace by 5.25-length 1400m Flemington BM84 58.5kg Good3 Mar. 10. Will cross to lead from wide barrier and will take some running down.
No13 RICH LUCK Trapped out wide on track first-up but worked home well for 2.4-length sixth Brahmos 1200m Mornington BM78 Soft5 two weeks back. Won three of previous five outings Warrnambool BM78 1400m and Geelong 1440m BM78 and 1200m BM78. Has an excellent second-up record and will be working home at the finish of this.
VALUE RUNNER: No13 RICH LUCK