The deck coped magnificently with the 30+mm of rain on Cup Day, eventually drying back into the soft 6 range after being a heavy 8 at one stage. There is another 1-5mm forecast of Wednesday in gloomy conditions, but providing the bureau are somewhere near the mark this time the track should stay in the soft range. This late in the day we can see horses making their runs outside the centre of the track gaining some advantage.
Greysful Glamour (barrier 1) and Sizzleme (14) look a distinct leading pair, setting a moderate clip only. Maracaibo and Qafila will look to sit behind them. Aristia will also look to kick-up from her inside draw. Zapurler will sit midfield from an inside draw, whilst coming across: Collectable and Verry Elleegant look to get nice midfield runs from their wider gates. There’ll be a busy tail with most other runners looking to take a sit and peel out to the better ground.
1. Amphitrite (Barrier 5) (C. Williams 55.5kg): $3.50F
Had won 4 from 4 this preparation until a luckless run saw her finish 11th in the G1 Empire Rose last-start over 1600m. Craig Williams re-unites with the daughter of Sebring after piloting her to victory in the G1 Thousand Guineas over 1600m two back ($13 SP). A positive jockey change given Williams is 4 from 4 on her. Having not been tried over further than 1600m, the 2500m is a genuine query and from an inside barrier she’ll need luck. Can’t have the $3.50, over-played as an unlucky runner last-start, but certainly has the credentials.
2. Aristia (Barrier 4) (D. Lane 55.5kg): $4.80
Backs up off a win in the G2 Wakeful over 2000m last-start. She received the perfect run in that traditional lead-up and looks to land in a nice spot again here regardless of where the best ground is. She was narrowly defeated by Verry Elleegant the start prior over 2000m in the Ethereal, fighting back gallantly when challenged. The two 2000m runs will provide her with a nice fitness base stepping up to the 2500m. By Lonhro, the soft ground shan’t pose an issue. Price around the mark, should go close.
3. Qafila (Barrier 10) (J. Crowley 55.5kg): $8
Could be a touch forgotten here at $8. Was held-up behind the leaders in the Wakeful last-start, just as the winner Aristia made her move. Got going nicely once she got out to be beaten less than 1 length, worth noting she was backed heavily late too. She’ll be having her 7th run for this preparation so the fitness is certainly there. Only plugged away to the line in shorter distances without being disgraced, implying the 2500m will be right up her alley. Another on that should handle the soft on breeding. Looks the value.
4. Verry Elleegant (Barrier 13) (J. Allen 55.5kg): $5
After an unlucky debut in Australia, running a 2.5L third behind Amphitrite (who had the fitness edge) in the Edward Manifold she then came out and put them away with ease in the Ethereal over 2000m. Particularly liked her last 50m there and it could be a similar race-shape here. She then understandably started a short-priced favourite in the Wakeful (late drift to $2.40) only to be restrained back to last, fight the rider the entire trip and finish in 5th still running the fastest last 600m and 400m sectionals. Doubt those tactics will be employed in her grand final here. The nose roll goes on to help her settle. Provided she does so, 2500m on soft going looks the perfect set-up for her being by Zed. Goes on top.
5. Greysful Glamour (Barrier 1) (T. Clark 55.5kg): $17
Rocketed into contention after a dominant win in the 1800m Oaks Trial at Flemington two starts ago. That race provided last year’s winner Pinot. Was since disappointing when starting hard in the market in the Ethereal. Given a nice run up on speed only to flounder late into 7th. That’s a serious concern stepping up to the 2500m here. That concern is only somewhat offset by the control she’ll get up front. Looking to others.
6. Sizzleme (Barrier 14) (L. Currie 55.5kg): $21
Another galloper coming through the Ethereal/Wakeful path. Ran very credible races from on-pace positions in both of those events and maps to get every chance to do so again here. The blinkers come off in hopes to run the 2500m after weakening late last-start. Negative jockey change Melham to Currie. Could entertain for the 3rd or 4th positions in an exotic.
7. Dark Confidant (Barrier 15) (R. Bayliss 55.5kg): $41
Worked home with some merit in both the Manifold and Ethereal Stakes. Particularly in the Manifold when significantly checked with 400m to go, balancing up then running on for 8th out wide. Was 7.5L astern of Verry Elleegant in the Ethereal and will give plenty of the more fancied runners a start again. Would need to improve significantly to be a winning chance but if they overdo it up front she profiles as one that will be pluggin home at odds.
8. Miss Moana (Barrier 9) (M. Zhara 55.5kg): $26
Broke her maiden last-start at Newcastle over 2340m as a $2 favourite (drifting from $1.65). Her and the second-place getter Arlington Magic put a further 11.12L on third. This class of this field is astronomically better. Distance and breeding (Uncle Mo out of a Galileo mare) are her only redeeming qualities. Not for us.
9. Maracaibo (Barrier 8) (S. Baster 55.5kg): $41
Travelled up to Canberra to break her maiden over 2000m before backing it up with another win at Benalla last-start over 2046m. They were moderate fields at best. However, we can get a line through Derby placegetter Chapada who beat her by almost 6 lengths 3 starts back. That gives her some outside chance to place here.
10. Scamper (Barrier 12) (K. McEvoy 55.5kg): $41
Broke through for a maiden win at Yarra Valley over 1950m last start when hitting the line strongly from back in the field. Genuine queries over the form, distance and map for her. At least the map query is quelled by the booked of K. McEvoy.
11. Zarpurler (Barrier 3) (H. Bowman 55.5kg): $13
Of the many last-start maiden winners in this field she was certainly the most impressive. Over-racing early, she charged away from them as soon as a split along the rails opened up. Going on to win by 3.5L at Echuca over 2124m. Tongue tie being applied to stop her over-racing. Bowman for Weir makes for nice reading, but we believe the gap between her an Qafila should be wider.
12. Collectable (Barrier 11) (J. McDonald 55.5kg): $19
Yet to break her maiden she out performed her $61 SP when running 4th to Verry Elleegant in the Ethereal, beaten 3.25L. That margin only narrowed past the post, suggesting 2500m will suit. Form prior not awful, beaten by horses such as Thousand Wishes (4th in Manifold). Another one who’ll look to take a sit, J McDonald should be able to angle out to the better ground. Goes in exotics.
13. Exclusively Ours (Barrier 6) (B. Thompson 55.5kg): $251
Well out-classed in both the Oaks Trial behind Greysful Glamour before running a big race at $301 in the UCI Stakes against the boys. Worked home into 5th there after doing plenty wrong in the back of the field. Only 4.65L off the subsequent Derby winner there. Has not backed that up, since easily beaten by Scamper at Yarra Valley and running last in the Wakeful. Convinced the UCI Stakes run is anomalous, but that would have her shorter here.
14. Miner’s Miss (Barrier 2) (M. Payne 55.5kg): $67
Disposed of a weak field at Avoca last start, winning her maiden by 4.5L over 1860m and was only 0.1L off Zapurler the start prior at Ballarat over 2200m when closing hard. Price differential between this runner and Zarpurler is monstrous here considering their similar profile. Connections can’t mean quintuple the price. Some place hope at huge odds.
15. Lesedi (Barrier 7) (N. Callow 55.5kg): $251
A maiden of 6 starts who’s amassed $6K in prize money. Narrowly beaten at Kilmore last-start after chasing hard from a 3 deep position and thrashed by over 10 lengths at Cranbourne the start prior. Unwanted in the betting last start $2.80 out to $4.40 and will likely be unwanted again here unless there are some spec’ing her to beat the ambulance (brave).
1) Verry Elleegant ($5)
2) Qafila ($8)
3) Aristia ($4.80)
4) Amphirtite ($3.50F)