The rail will be in the True position the entire circuit which is where it was the last time we raced here on September 29. On that day, it paid to be up near the speed but funnily enough the rail appeared to be a little off too. At this stage the track appears to be in the Good (4) range.
The early speed is likely to come in the form of Dollar For Dollar (13), Black Heart Bart (9) and Hartnell (7) among others while I Am A Star (15), Siege Of Quebec (8), Muraaqeb (1) and Lite’n In My Veins (12) all posses early toe and will be coming out and looking for a spot close to the action.
1. Hartnell – J.McDonald (59kg) (Barrier 7): $6.50*: The old champ proved he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level with his thrilling Epsom Handicap win last start. Lumping 57kgs, Hartnell was midfield and came with a powerful run down the centre of the track to knock off D’argento, who he was conceding 3.5kgs to. Gets J Mac aboard who is absolutely flying at present. Loves the distance, is drawn nice and should be in the firing line from the outset. The only negative? He has to carry 59kgs.
4. Shillelagh – M.Walker (53.5kg) (Barrier 10): $5.50*: Flew home when fourth to Hartnell in the Epsom. Gets further weight relief off that galloper here (5.5kgs) and comes into this second-up. She is a winner three times at this stage of her preparation and has won at Caulfield previously. Maps to get back but look for her to flashing home late.
5. Land Of Plenty – D.Lane (53kg) (Barrier 19): $6.50*: Is one of the horses to beat. Put in a mammoth performance in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes behind Jungle Cat, sitting three-wide near the tail of the field but still having the audacity to hit the front briefly midway down the straight. Jungle Cat got the bob in on the line but this five-year-old lost no admirers. Drops a further kilo to 53kgs and while the barrier means he is likely to get back, he is a progressive horse on the way up.
10. Noire – M.Dee (52kg) (Barrier 2): $10*: Could be the sleeper in the race. Is drawn to get a good run and will be in the first half of the field turning for home. Possesses a big finishing sprint as she showed when winning The Shannon Stakes beating Kingsguard and Youngstar. First-up pushed Invincibella all the way in the Sheraco to be beaten narrowly, with that horse winning the Group Two Blazer Stakes at Flemington last week. With a light weight and a good barrier, she must be respected.
8. I Am A Star – D.Dunn (52.5kg) (Barrier 15): $21*: This mare is flying since her return and is a mile specialist. Sat outside Bella Martini to win the G2 Let’s Elope at Flemington before being heavily support in the Stocks Stakes at the Valley and doing the job for punters. Dunn has the option of pushing forward from the gate as she does have early speed. If she can get into a nice spot she isn’t without a chance of an upset.
Land Of Plenty ($6.50*)
Such a wide betting race with plenty of value to be found outside the favourites, however, Land Of Plenty is our top pick. We are banking on there being enough speed to allow the Darren Weir runner ample time to get into the race.
While Land Of Plenty carries the majority of our bank, we cannot go past Noire at the eachway odds for a saver.