It’s a great sign when you look forward to the weekend fields being released on a Wednesday. Sure, they are not yet “silk department”, but form from hereon must be scoured.
Meetings over the next few weeks have 2 distinct components – the looking for a winner “right now” and the “black bookers” for the future and the features. Hopefully we can spot some of each, especially at Caulfield on Saturday.
This is J.J.Liston Stakes Day. We’ve annually lamented the name change away from an important icon of Melbourne’s sporting history (check our Archives) and, whilst the argument remains, there are more positives to pursue here by looking at what is a card full of interest and speculation.
Here’s an early overview:- the weather has been fluky but very windy so the track should be OK.
MR1- (1600m). good opener. Text ‘n Hurley (8) impressive last start at this track. Shares top rating with Moody’s (7). Love For Ransom (2) will certainly be heavily supported. Saturday Affair (3) brings hardened SA form from a strong stable.
MR2- (1600m). Bit keen on Araldo (5). Chasse (1) the watch.
MR3- (2000m). have a cuppa.
MR4- (Vain, 1100m, G3, 3yoCG). Safeguard (1) is 2 from 2. Il Cavallo (5) has a quirky name and the Moody boom. Ripper race. Fast’n’Rocking (2) is the best credentialled maiden young’un going around. Excited to see the latest offspring from the extraordinary Circles Of Gold (Duran, No8) debut, not at Swan Hill as is the progeny’s custom! Some famous colours on view here – Elvis, the Diva…
MR5- (Quezette, 1100m, G3, 3yoF). Metastasio (3), beautifully named and very talented, is testing my resolve. Moody has a brace (7 + 8) of potential guns. Really tough race, including a fascinating Gai/Prebble team for Swing Vote (6).
MR6- (Liston, 1400m, G2, WFA). Puissance de Lune (4) returns. Was it an apparition? If not, he wins and forges onwards. Ajeeb (9) looks to have untapped potential. The Snowden camp is keen for Launay (2). Second Effort (1), a cracking late Autumn/Winter performer, defends. He holds form, as shown by a remarkable May sequence at recent ‘Bools, but it might not be wet enough for him to join Tauto (1971/72) as consecutive Liston winners.
MR7- (1200m, Listed). Don’t like this race. I’m an Amah Rock (7) man but happy to let it go around. Bello (1) is the watch. 9, 4, 3 will have supporters. Despite the draw, Thy (6) is undeniably a class horse that must be rated. Colicchio (12) is the huge blowout.
MR8- (Cockram, 1200m, G3, Mares). Best race of the day. Excited to see the toppy back but waiting for another day. I’m an unabashed Lady Melksham (3) fan but will risk from the paint. Plenty of chances but hoping Octavia (6) @ co string them out as I have a rare Wednesday E/W spesh!! – got obsessed last night at the 25/1 pop Petite Diablesse (15) and it will be the key to my winning chances on Saturday.
Elsewhere around the country punters will, of course, try their hands on meetings of varying quality.
Rosehill hosts the G3 San Domenico (SR6, 1100m) where some of last season’s good juveniles reemerge. Predictably, Snowden’s Slipper runner-up, Sidestep (1), faces a major challenge from Gai’s Whittington (3). Whiskey Allround (6) might be the better Quinella option with the toppy.
Across the continent, I recommend a look at the Broome Cup meeting – and I dare you to remain focused on the horses as the course blends into a magnificent vista of ocean, sky and dirt. No wonder owners and trainers are keen to get there. Some of the stakes are worthwhile also – the sprint is worth $40,000 and it a $100,000 Cup! (Budge – Great Wall Of China is engaged!)
It’s time to set up a spring Blackbook and hunt for winners. Look for trainers in form. Follow horses on preferred tracks. I reckon Greg Eurell and Michael Moroney may be ones to consider in the next fortnight – horses at good odds and looking fit and maybe not likely to figure in the megariches.
Try to find Mrs Hadlee on a non- Heavy please! And wait for Nadhima at a provincial.
Most importantly, share your thought, tips and views with us here on www.footyalmanac.com