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Almanac Racing – Spring is in the air

As I made my way out of uni on Wednesday afternoon I became uncomfortable and felt myself beginning to sweat underneath the trio of layers I was wearing. I couldn’t think of any reason to be so uneasy. After stopping to take off my jacket and jumper, I noticed something that had not struck me for quite some time. The sun. That was it. That warmth.


It reminded me of Spring, and that made me smile.


A glance at this Saturday’s Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap only served to reinforce my suspicion that Spring is nearing at a rapid rate. Two genuine Group 1 horses, Hey Doc and I Am a Star, are set to return from spells and use the race to springboard their campaigns.


Before tackling Flemington’s nine-race card, it’s worth mentioning that the third event at Geelong on Friday will be the second start of Black Caviar’s foal, Oscietra. Its highly anticipated debut was on New Year’s Day, where she faded to finish third after leading for the majority. That race was won by Limestone, whose form was exceptional in the lead-up to the Blue Diamond, and has produced another three winners. On that run and the hype associated with her, Oscietra should command favouritism on Friday. It will be worth tuning in for the jump at 2pm.


There’s a good mix of races to kick off the Saturday meeting at headquarters.


This early in the season I find the three-year-old races to be pretty unpredictable given that the runners are at various stages of maturing into racehorses. The first race is a competitive example over 1400 metres. Aljawzaa was unlucky last start at Caulfield after being well-backed and is the early favourite. I’ve been a Kedleston fan but this is its last chance to impress me.


The second looks to be a race between the first four as listed. I like Super Haze. The third and fourth races represent good opportunities to seek out some each-way value.


Samovare, my most-fancied chance of the day, runs in the fifth race – a Benchmark-84 over 1400 metres. This will be its second start in the Hayes stable after coming across from Perth boasting a formidable record including a Group 3 win over Ellicazoom. In Samovare’s Melbourne debut, it carried 60kg and ran a close second to the in-form Pedrena over the same distance.


The quaddie begins with a puzzle for punters. A huge field with no clear-cut chances and a hatful of decent roughies. Good luck to those who wish to stick their neck out and select one main hope. Invictum Domina stands out for me as the best betting prospect if it slips to $7.


The Aurie’s Star follows. It really will be an insight in to the quality of races we can look forward to in the coming months. The very even field is reflected in the early markets, headed by Flippant to be ridden by Ben Melham for the Snowdens. Grande Rosso opened among the rougher chances in this ten-horse field at around $18 but quickly firmed into as low as $6. I Am a Star has the quality though and, in my opinion, is the best chance. For some reason I’m uncomfortable backing horses with Dwayne Dunn aboard, but I will be unable to resist if it stays at its current odds of $7.5.


Crocodile Rock shapes up as the most likely to win the eighth event, but will face stiff competition from stablemate Granddukeoftuscany and Greg Eurell’s Galaxy Raider.


Runson resumes in the final race over its favourite distance. After beating Lady Esprit last preparation I have no doubt it is good enough to win this, a Benchmark-90. My only concern is that it is unplaced from two starts down the straight, so I may include Rough Justice in my calculations.


Good luck if you’re having a flutter and don’t be shy with sharing your own selections below.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. I always admire a good urger Tom, but I reckon you have overcooked this card. It’s better than past week’s but the trials are more interesting. Fields will run much deeper next week at the Heath. Keep your powder dry!

  2. Looks a very poor card at Flem & Syd aside from the Aurie’s Star.

    Odds allow Hey Doc and I Am A Star to both be backed around the $7.5 mark which I think is tremendous value.

  3. Black Caviar’s foal duly saluted.

  4. It’s sad to hear that Richard Freyer passed away last Monday. His is a name i’ve been cognisant of since my childhood

    Richard trained over 2500 winners, winning the trainers award sixteen consecutive times with the New South Wales Southern District Racing Association. He trained 8 Albury Gold Cup winners, 10 Berrigan Cup winners and 12 Corowa Cup winners.

    I can think back for some of the top class gallopers he trained. Names that come to mind include Prince Tone, Barrakee ,Sir Knight, Sir Talaq, Personal Image, Miratec, and Leica Falcon to name just a few.

    Vale Richard.


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