After being sequentially brought out to +3m, +6m and +9m, the rail returns to the True for the first time since the 12th of September. The track was a good 4 and played extremely fair on that occasion. With no rain forecast prior to race day, we’re expecting much the same here.
Imports Happy Moment and Dal Harrild (blinkers on) could lead them around with the likes of Sasko and hot favourite Furrion up on speed. The other in the betting; Sir Charles Road (4) and Sir Isaac Newton (2) will look to be prominent with Lord Fandango (11) and Dandy Gent (14) looking to cross into positions. The rest look to settle worse than mid-field with Rezilient and Berisha bringing in the rear.
The Key Runners:
1. *SCRATCHED* Patrick Erin (Barrier 13) (C. Brown 58kg): $6.50
On face value, he is a last-start Group 1 winner down in grade to a Group 3 and still at each-way odds. However, one could be forgiven for thinking it was a listed event given the credentials of his opposition. Accordingly, the form out of the race hasn’t stood up. Not sure about the 4 weeks between runs giving him an ideal platform, nor the barrier providing him with a good run. Prepared to take him on.
2. Dal Harraild (Barrier 10) (K. McEvoy 57.5kg): $8.50
Ex-UK galloper with some short SP’s in some serious races overseas. Started in the market in the Dubai Gold Cup where he just didn’t travel a yard (forgive) then narrowly failed as an odds-on chance in the York Silver Cup. He was caught flat-footed when the pace went on in the Herbert Power but got going again when it was all over to finish 8th. That was disappointing, but the blinkers could sharpen him up here. Could improve lengths, one for the exotics.
3. Lord Fandango (Barrier 11) (D. Lane 57kg): $7.50
Tough to line-up. Had a breakthrough preparation this time last year culminating in a narrow 4th in the Caulfield Cup. Yet to reach those heights since. A forgivable performance first-up in the Benalla Cup laying in the whole straight, then slightly disappointing when finishing 6th in the Herbert Power. With the blinkers off he’s likely to be ridden to attack the line late. Exotics player.
4. Sir Charles Road (Barrier 4) (D. Dunn 57kg): $9
Had much better form in the Autumn leading up to a Sydney Cup 3rd. This time in he was a close 4th in the Naturalism first-up, then finished last in the Coongy Cup over 2000m. The Naturalism form has not been stellar and he lacks a 2400m lead-up. The addition of blinkers could improve him, but looking to others at this stage.
5. Sir Isaac Newton (Barrier 2) (M. Zhara 56.5kg): $9.50
Used as a pacemaker in some strong races last Spring. Worked to the line well after being held-up behind Furrion over 1700m first-up, then finished 3rd (huge space behind second) in the G3 JRA Cup over 2040m in his latest. Step up to 2400m should suit with a positive jockey change. Fringe exotics chance.
6. Furrion (Barrier 9) (J. McNeil 55.5kg): $2.25
Continued on his winning ways this prep, notching up 3 wins in the trot before going down narrowly in the Cranbourne Cup last start. He did have excuses there being bumped multiple times in the straight, but the winner did go past him. The form out of his last two runs has been good; Best of Days and Runaway both winning their next starts and Octabello and Sully acquitting themselves ok up in grade. He looks to get the perfect run here behind Dal Harraild. Only negative is the lack of a 2400m lead-up, but with 4 runs under his belt this preparation for Weir if he gets 2400m, he will here. Goes on top but no spoils.
9. Berisha (Barrier 15) (L. Currie 54kg): $41
Looks big odds here. Won the Yarra Valley Cup fourth-up last preparation and last time he was at 2400m+ he ran Gallic Chieftain to 0.2L, Gallic Chieftain since won the Warrnambool Cup and crossed the line with Lord Fandango in the Herbert Power. Will get back here and look to run on, rockets into contention if they’re coming down the outside.
Can’t suggest a large outlay on Furrion at the short odds. Trying to extract some value out of the import Dal Harraild improving with the shades on.