Amazing day of racing ahead at Flemington. The Victoria Derby is the highlight, but stars abound throughout the program in what will be a tough day for punters.
Here’s my take on the meeting as we try and build a bank for Cup day.
Main lead-up for this was the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Gothic Stakes (1400m).
Vassilator stuck on for second to The Autumn Sun in the Guineas, but not sold on him at the mile.
Good N Fast went back from a wide gate and worked home, out wide, for fourth. Back to Flemington, where he’s won two, is a plus.
Ranier followed good run at Flemington with solid win in the Gothic. In the money six starts and should get all the favours from the rails draw.
Wild Planet was third to Rainer and copped some heavy buffeting in the latter stages. Had the tougher run and capable of turning the tables.
Zoutori also copped some interference in the Gothic, but may have been coming to the end of his run so 1600m a slight query.
Best: Wild Planet. Dangers: Rainier, Good N Fast.
Top three from the G3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m), Verry Elleegant, Aristia and Sizzle Me, clash and could meet again in the Oaks on Thursday.
Verry Elleegant, looked a little at sea around Caulfield. She still chased hard to beat Aristia and Sizzleme, both had good runs in transit.
Sizzleme was let rip early and after being in front at the top of the straight tired late, but did fight.
El Dorado Dreaming is on a seven day back-up after a super run behind Mystic Journey at the Valley. On a day that favoured on-speed she made ground, so should be right at home on the bigger track and capable of an upset.
Best: Verry Elleegant. Dangers: El Dorado Dreaming, Aristia.
Everest placegetter Osborne Bulls heads the market at his first go up the Flemington straight. Short odds not appealing, but he does look better than these.
Missrock has a poor record second-up. There was a lot to like about her fast finishing third to Ball of Muscle in the G2 Schillaci.
Bons Away has raced well in three starts this time in. Latest one batted when 3rd to Eduardo G2 1000m at Caulfield. Having a good prep’ and has to go in the chances.
Winter Bride has won her past four starts, last two at G3 level against her own sex. She takes on the boys here, but doing everything right.
Runson found form winning last couple against no world beaters. Big class rise.
Best: Osborne Bulls. Dangers: Bons Away, Winter Bride.
A Prince Of Arran ran on for third to Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan in the G2 Herbert Power (2400m) at Caulfield. That was first run since June so sure to be improved.
Waller’s Brimham Rocks was second in the same race. He took a while to wind-up and kept grinding to the line and gives the impression Flemington will suit.
Gallic Chieftain had a tough run behind Yucatan. He is hard to catch, winner this track and distance and a great value chance at big odds.
Mick Walker jumped off Jaameh to ride A Prince Of Arran. A six-year-old in great form and in this up to his ears. Solid second run behind Avilius in the Bart Cummings.
Yogi also ran well in the Bart Cummings and then was too far back in the Geelong Cup. Worked home without threatening. Would take a massive form reversal to win this, but not hopeless.
Best: Jaameh. Dangers: Brimham Rocks, Yogi/A Prince Of Arran.
Written By is Blue Diamond winner that has won two starts from a spell in impressive fashion. Top quality colt and had a look around Flemington with a jump-out win up last Friday. Meeting some smart Sydney horses so by far toughest test this prep’.
Waller trained Zousain also ran in the same jump-out and was given an easy time. Hasn’t started since second to The Autumn Sun in the G1 Golden Rose. Will be hitting the line.
Encryption scored a strong win this track and distance before last start when chased home Written By. He was slow away and did finish off well. Back to Flemington could help his chances.
Long Leaf and Lean Mean Machine also jumped-out in the same heat. Long Leaf looked the stronger, freshened and will appreciate the big tack.
Lean Mean Machine had an ease up after last run in the Golden Rose. Waller throws blinkers on him, which should sharpen.
The lone filly Sunlight had a total forget run in the G1 Moir. Slow away and never out of trouble. Small field, roomier track all in her favour.
Best: Sunlight. Dangers: Written By, Zousain.
Amphritite is deserved favourite after huge win in the 1000 Guineas against the fillies. Won two starts this track prior and gets in with a featherweight, against the older mares now, but carries just 50kgs.
I Am A Star in great form winning last three. Tackling tougher opposition here, but drawn to get the gun run.
Shumookh led all of the way to win the G2 Tristarc, but not sure she’ll get the same soft sectionals this time. Hard to beat if she does.
Invincibella chased home Shumookh and didn’t look comfortable around Caulfield and won here at previous start.
Aloisia was a grinding third, set for this and she should be primed now after two runs from a spell.
Shillelagh back against own sex after finishing fourth in G1 Epsom and Toorak Hcps. Toorak run was massive coming from second last for fourth. Will be suited on bigger track.
Bring Me Roses finished off well at the Valley last week. Up in grade, but another that will be hitting the line.
Oohood won G1 Flight Stakes two starts back. Then took ground off The Autumn Sun, when third in the Guineas. Quality filly, no weight and proven at elite level.
Bella Martini is huge odds, but had a tough run in the Tristarc and didn’t shirk at the end. One for exotics.
Best: Amphritrite. Dangers: Oohood, Shillelagh/Aloisia.
Tim Clarke stole the Norman Robinson (2000m) on Thinkin’ Big when he was allowed to dictate in front. He may not get the same favours this time and 2500m a query as it is with all runners, but does look the one to beat.
Savoie another on speed runner. He raced handy and was nabbed by Stars Of Carrum in the G2 Vase (2040m) last week.
Stars Of Carrum showed a good turn of foot and finished hard to win at the Valley. He meets many of the same opposition, including Aramayo and Mickey Blue Eyes, both better for first run in Melbourne.
Aramayo G1 placed and beat home Thinkin’ Big two starts back when second in Spring Champion Stakes.
Home Ground won Geelong Classic, good lead-up race and strong staying bloodlines.
Best: Aramayo. Dangers: Thinkin Big, Stars Of Carrum.
Several Toorak Hcp (1600m) runners, won by Land Of Plenty, clash again.
Hartnell did it tough with a wide run from the 700m in the Toorak. He was a brave second and meets Land Of Plenty 2.5kgs better.
Le Romain found them too nippy when fourth in the Everest. Might be better placed here at the mile, where he has won.
Land Of Plenty racing in great form. Backed-up super run in G1 Rupert Clarke with win in the Toorak. Went back to near last from a wide gate and drew away at the end. Better draw this time and weight rise should not trouble.
Import Mister Sea Wolf could be ready to fire. Beaten under two lengths when midfield in the Epsom. Trialled strongly and Waller trained.
Kerrin McEvoy is a bonus for another Waller trained runner, Noire. Luckless in the Toorak and didn’t handle Caulfield. Big improvement here would not surprise.
Cliff’s Edge drops 6.5kgs after G2 win at the Valley last week. Can’t fault form and should get a nice run just behind the speed.
Best Of Days steps up in grade after win in G2 Coongy (2000m). Back in trip, but expected high tempo will help his chances.
Best: Land Of Plenty. Dangers: Noire, Hartnell.
I am Excited is working through the grades and scored solid win in G2 Gilgai (1200m) this track. Looks one of the main chances again.
Snitty Kitty went out hard and tired behind Ball Of Muscle in the Schillaci (1100m). Winkers come off, third-up and straight course might be an advantage.
Hard to fault Resin’s form with wins at last two starts, latest G3. First go up the straight and meeting stronger opposition.
From Within has taken time to realise potential, but is flying at the moment. She has won her last five with authority. Up from Listed level, which shouldn’t trouble.
Best: From Within. Dangers: I Am Excited, Snitty Kitty.