Melbourne form analyst Tim Kennedy is here to give you his weekly metro racing preview.
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All prices correct at time of writing.
Race 9 – 2040m Cox Plate
Once again the weather is throwing up many question marks leading into Manikato/Cox Plate weekend. 10-20mm of rain expected on Friday could bring the track into the soft range for both Friday night and Saturday.
We have a classy field of both locals and internationals assembled for the big race. A wide barrier for the early favourite Russian Camelot, a snubbing of Buckhurst from the field and some minor lameness issues for a couple of internationals has really thrown the cat amongst the pigeons in the lead up to the feature! Here are my thoughts and top 4 selections.
- Russian Camelot – Many have jumped off after drawing the car park and we are now seeing around $5 for this highly spruiked horse. I think that is a great price to just hope he gets a good run in transit. There doesn’t look to be a lot of speed in the race and I could even see Olly going forward and taking luck out of the equation. The soft track will certainly help him and also disadvantage some of the other fancied runners.
- Armory – A huge query on this selection with some minor lameness found earlier this week, he will be vetted race morning. He has the elite European form, running behind Magical and Ghaiyetth. Drawn perfectly in a middle barrier, should get every possible hope. He can handle some moisture in the track but he is at his best when on top of the ground.
- Mugatoo – Many would question if this horse is up to this level. But going through this field, I don’t believe this is an elite Cox Plate field. This horse can handle all conditions and is as honest as the day is long. He takes a while to hit top speed but most Cox Plate fields will take off from the 800m, so he will have plenty of time to hit and maintain that top speed. We are seeing $30/$8 and I think that is overs and worth an EW play.
- Probabeel – This mare is flying, coming off back to back wins. Ran some super figures when winning the Epsom. A couple of slight queries, how she goes at this trip and wet it gets. She can handle soft but anything worse than that and I would be pushing down the ranks. Should get a perfect run from the gate and will just need a split at the right time on the corner to figure.
Other races on the day I am keen to play in:
Race 1 – 955m Strathmore
Ancestry is a speed machine. Last start at Cranbourne he burnt them off early, railed like a greyhound and kicked away for an easy win. I am expecting something similar here. Leaders are often suited at the valley which plays even more into his hands. Has won on soft and heavy tracks, appears bomb proof. Not getting much of a price but maybe one for the multis.
Selection: Ancestry $1.60
Race 3 – 1200m Red Anchor Stakes
I have been with Portland Sky his last 2 starts, whilst running well I just can’t have him this short in this race. Concerned about where he gets to from barrier 1. I think Belle Nipotina can run a race here on speed. She has been running super. Won first up, then went to a G1 Moir, third up was really good again just beaten by a couple of handy ones in Swats that and Muntaseera. Would be happy to have a play on her in this field.
Selection: Bella Nipotina $4.60
Race 4 – 1600m Lexus Fillies Classic
The run of Ecumenical in the thousand guineas just screamed ‘back me next start’, she was so wide but kept finding the line. Has won twice on soft tracks previously. I am expecting her to peak here. She is drawn wide but by this stage the rail might be off and they could be coming wide which will suit her perfectly. Queen of Rocks one to throw in the multiples at huge odds.
Selection: Ecumenical $2.60
Race 5 – 1600m Powerflo Solutions Stakes
I am taking on the favourite Sovereign Award here. Had the perfect run last start and only just held on. This time Paradee meets her better at the weights and is third up peaking in fitness. Greysful Glamour won’t go a yard on a wet track, so put a line through her if the rain comes. I am Eloquent a nice play at big odds if the track does get into the heavy range.
Selection: Paradee $4 – Saver I Am Eloquent $17 (if heavy track)
Race 6 – 2040m Drummond Golf Vase
Young Werther was very unlucky not to win last start, held up for much of the straight. This horse is only in his third start but he looks to have amazing staying potential, he is currently favourite for the derby. Olly on and is drawn to get a perfect run, the only query is if he can handle the wet track. If he can, he will be winning. I have him as my best of the day. Cherry Tortoni was very disappointing in Sydney, not sure he loved that way of going. Could see him improving here.
Selection: Young Werther $2.60
Race 7 – 1600m Schweppes Crystal Mile
This is a very even race on paper. A lot of solid G2 level horses here. I am very keen to see Olmedo going around for Chris Waller and J-Mac. The international has been trialling very well up in Sydney and Waller seems very bullish about his chances on Saturday. If he could bring his best form from overseas, I think he could be a bit above these locals. At the price happy to find out. Homesman flies first up. Chief Ironside won the race last year, would need a dry track or we can put a pen through him. Kings Will Dream is as honest as the day is long.
Selection: Olmedo $6 (SCRATCHED)
Race 8 – 2500m Moonee Valley Gold Cup
I have been trying to catch Shared Ambition for a long time now, to no avail. So today is the day I jump off, which usually means he will bolt in! At double figures I like the chances of Polly Grey. By this time there have already been 15 races run and presumably a lot of rain. She is a swimmer and loves the track playing this way. She is very consistent, rarely runs outside the top 5, but when she gets wet conditions she really rises to another level when many opponents flounder. Looks a great each way bet in an even race.
Selection: Polly Grey $10
1 Homesman, 2 Kings Will Dream, 4 Olmedo, 6 Age of Chivalry, 5 Dr Drill.
2 Hushwriter, 4 Shared Ambition, 5 Trap for Fools, 7 Sound, 12 Polly Grey.
2 Humidor, 5 Mugatoo, 11 Russian Camelot, 12 Armory, 13 Probabeel.
1 Minhaaj, 3 Maha, 4 Highly Discreet, 8 La Mexicana.