Pace even at best. Cismonate and Lasqueti Spirit will get out and lead with Aloft. Aloft looks the lesser of the team William’s chances and hence could be used right up setting a solid gallop which would makes things very interesting as the other leaders don’t like giving it up.
Behind these the answer is a pineapple. Single Gaze will be prominent with possibly Lord Fandango and Sir Charles Road. Almandin looks to get cover mid field. The Japanese galloper Pre Stwick gets back, possibly tagging Who Shot Thebarman which could take him a long way.
The Key Runners:
1. Almandin – D.Oliver (57kg) (Barrier 9): $4.20: Returned a winner in the G1 Tancred over 2400m last start courtesy of an excellent ride by K.McEvoy. Gets Oliver here which isn’t a negative. Nor is the step up to 3200m having won a Melbourne Cup over the distance. His effort in last year’s Cup was below par, only battling away into 12th as favourite. Subseqent form this preparation has been quality. Running a narrow second to stablemate Homesman in the Mornington Cup prelude before being held-up when bolting on the Australian Cup. The one they have to beat and goes on top.
2. Who Shot Thebarman – B.Shinn (55kg) (Barrier 10): $16: Excellent record at the specialist distance 8:1-2-1. Comes off a solid third in the Tancred and has a similar profile going into this race as he did last year when second to Polarisation by only 0.2L. Drops 4kg on the Tancred run and meets Almandin 4kg better at the weights for the 1.4L defeat. Commands respect here, would be great to see the old-timer bow out on a high.
4. Ventura Storm – G.Boss (53.5kg) (Barrier 8): $11: Comes off a solid performance in the G2 Chairman’s over 2600m last weekend. Running a narrow second to Sir Charles Road, clearing out by 3.3L on the rest. Been seriously mixing his form this prep. Disappointing in both the Ranvet (in the market) and the Tancred after running a bottler in the G1 Australian Cup. With trust issues and a huge question mark over him getting 3200m he’s taking up too much of the market at $11 for mine.
6. Pre Stwick – J.Moreira (53kg) (Barrier 11): $12: Raced as Prestwick in Japan. Been seriously competitive with some top line stayers in his most recent outings. Ran Albert to 4.5L over 3600m in the G2 Nippon Sho two back, then finished 3.5L astern of Fame Game in the G3 Diamond Stakes over 3400m. Albert was hard in the market for last year’s Melbourne Cup market before deciding not to come and Fame Game started a hot favourite for that event in 2015 on that terrible track. He’ll appreciate the good ground and a possible solid tempo courtesy of Aloft. In the numbers.
6. Five To Midnight – M.Dee (52.5kg) (Barrier 9): $31: Well over the odds and simple to line-up through the fellow Kiwi’s. He’s cometed in the last two additions of the 3200m Auckland Cup, running a commendable fifth in 2017 before being denied a nose this year in second, beating Sir Charles Road easily. They both started around the $9 mark in that event and had similar SP’s when they met in the City of Auckland Cup over 2400m. They quinella’d that event with 0.3L between them. Have a feeling this horse could be superior over 3200m and the price differential between the Kiwi’s is absurd.
10. Aloft – K.McEvoy (51kg) (Barrier 13): $8: Holds the key to the race shape. Has won the listed Queen’s Vase in Ascot in 2015 over this distance at his only try so can run a solid 3200m race. Won the Listed Roy Higgins over 2600m last time out beating subsequent Adelaide Cup winner Fanatic. That race was run at a ridiculously slow tempo and is a grade below this. Booking of McEvoy is a big tick but could be left a sitting shot for the stablemate…
13. Sir Charles Road – A.Adkins (50kg) (Barrier 4): $7: Under the odds here for mine. Not taking away his quality win in the Chairman’s but 3200m is a different ball game and he was beaten soundly by his countryman over this journey last time. Does get a 2.5kg swing on Five To Midnight but that’s not enough to warrant the price difference. Could be a superior 2000-2600m horse.
1. Almandin ($4.20)
2. Who Shot Thebarman ($16)
3. Pre Stwick ($12)
4. Five To Midnight ($31)
By betting around the Chairman’s form and Aloft there’s some good value to be had playing all 4 selections in the big field.
- 60% of the race bank on Alamndin: Hoping he’ll drift and we can secure $4.50+ on the day.
- 15% of the race bank on Who Shot Thebarman: Taking the $16 on offer.
- 15% of the race bank on Pre Stwick: Going half at the $12 and half the top tote.
- 10% of the race bank on Five To Midnight: Taking the $31.