Derby Day Preview – Just a bit Peeved Off

Happy Cup Week to all,


The cricket needs to be addressed first though.  I am a cricket tragic but have generally kept the subject out of this.  Especially lately as my thoughts on the game itself are quite tragic.  Not sure we needed to commission a report to tell everyone Cricket Australia was arrogant, the general drop off in passion of support already indicated such.  Much has been made of the ball tampering as being the catalyst when really it was the end result, Australian teams have been on the nose for a while.  Go back and think about Steve Waugh and “Mental Disintegration”.  Sledging and banter have always been part of the game, however since then it has had a nastier edge to it.  The problem for the Australian teams is that they do not cope well when it comes back the other way.  I don’t like Virat Kohli’s pugnacious attitude on and off the ground, I suspect though it is something he has picked up from a few Australians he grew up watching and then played against.  Now that the whole world is playing in that manner the game is not nearly as pleasing or interesting.


As for the players calling for the bans on Smith, Warner and Bancroft to be reduced is clearly a case of them not completely understanding what the Australian cricket fans thought of the incident.  No matter what the environment, they knew the rules and should have been guided by their own moral compass.  They got their right whack and need to see it out.  It would certainly help if the ICC would hand out appropriate penalties for similar offences.  For Cricket Australia the road back has begun with the resignation of David Peever.


They came, they tried, she conquered!  Another mighty performance from WinxBenbatl could not have run race any better, Humidor stalked as he did a year ago – it mattered little.


Much frothing at the mouth about the number of internationals in the Melbourne Cup field with 11 of the top 24 qualified horse coming from overseas.  Enough has been said of local staying ranks.  The argument from some of trainers such as Hayes, Waller and Waterhouse asking for more ballot exempt races to get locals in the field is flawed.  Making races like The Metropolitan, Geelong Cup and MV Gold exempt is more likely to exacerbate the problem than fix it as they would then attract more international runners to get the exemptions.


The discussion to choose another VRC race at another time of the year makes more sense as it is not likely to be an internationally trained galloper.  Races like the St Leger or the Duke of Norfolk would be good candidates or perhaps a staying race run during the March carnival.  At the end of it we still have a great race where the internationals have simply spread the wonder of the cup across the globe.  That is all for Tuesday though, we have to get the party started!

What a start we have to it with 9 group races on Derby Day!  With a day filled with top class racing the fields are strong and deep, just a couple of winners should make it a nice day.


Race 1 – Carbine Club Stakes (G3, 1600m, 3yo SWP)


The first three home in the Gothic are a good guide for this so Ranier (4), Yulong January (8) and Wild Planet (6) are all good chances.  A week earlier Vassilator (2) ran second to a super star in the Guineas and Good and Fast (3) was not far away either.  Then there is Waller who won this race last year, has engaged JMac on Adana (14).  So that’s six and I need to sort them into four.  I am oscillating to Vassilator (2) rating Guineas form above the Gothic form, Wild Planet (6) returns to Flemington where he won the start prior, he is drawn better than Rainier (4) who might just get locked up on the fence.  Would have rated Yulong January (8) and Adana (14) higher if not for the wide draw – not always a bad thing at Flemington but Derby Day can be leaderish and have a fast lane on the inside.  An important race to watch and learn.


Selections – 2-6-4-8


Race 2 – Wakeful Stakes (G2, 2000m, 3yo Fillies SWP)


Can Verry Elleegant (2) be beaten here?  She fought the rider for the first half of the Ethereal and still won.  The only threat to her from that race in my opinion is over racing again or Yulong Meteor (6) who was ridden for the track conditions, ridden to her run on style could put her in the picture.  Certainly concede that Aristia (4) and Sizzle Me (5) could be in the finish.  Maui Girl (9) put in a huge effort against the boys in the Hill Smith in Adelaide only going down to Stars of Carrum in a blanket finish.  El Dorado Dreaming (1) is running well but disadvantaged by weights in this race.  Sealed (10) and Skyway (11) are coming off great runs in a Ballarat maiden, they are bred for a trip and may present value.


Selections – 2-6-9-4


Race 3 – Linlithgow Stakes (G2, 1200m, HCP)


Osborne Bulls (1) was massive in The Everest, this field is not as strong but he does have a big impost.  It is also his first run down the straight.  His best can win this however the competition are no slouches either.  Bons Away (7) gets the outside rail often the placed to be down the straight and has been thereabouts.  Winter Bride (8) has been outstanding against the mares steps up to mixed company but very capable as is another mare in Savanna Amour (6) who will be reaching peak fitness.  Runson (10) set the record at Moonee Valley last week so must rate a chance.


Selections – 7-1-8-10


Race 4 – Hotham Handicap (G3, 2500m, HCP)


The Melbourne Cup puzzle will be solved with the winner of this race getting a ticket to the dance on Tuesday.  Plenty of chances – I keep coming back to Jaameh (10).  Excellent record at the track only just went down to Avilius in the Bart Cummings.  Brimham Rocks (6) ran second to the Melbourne Cup favourite in the Herbert Power, the margin flattered him but he did beat the rest.   Yogi (12) was poor in the Geelong Cup but massive in the Bart Cummings once he got clear running.  They will all have to get past the Waterhouse/Bott pair Runaway (8) and Northwest Passage (11), these two go up the charts if we have another leader biased track.  Sixties Groove (4) might not quite have miles in the legs but loves Flemington.  The Japanese runner Sole Impact (1) had none in the Caulfield Cup on a slow track, a firm surface at Flemington could result in an impact.


Selections – 10-6-12-8


Race 5 – Coolmore Stud Stakes (G1, 1200m, 3yo SWP)


The Group 1 events kick off with the Australian stallion making Coolmore.  Merchant Navy swamped a full field last year, only a field of ten this year but no less intrigue.  Typically we need to work out whether Sydney form is better than Melbourne form and this year is no different.  Written By (1) has only been defeated once in his career, dominates his races, this is his biggest test not having run down the straight before.  Zousain (2) went down to the The Autumn Sun by less than a length in The Golden Rose – if TAS was here he would almost be at Winx odds.  He too is down the straight for the first time.  The one that can upset the stallion prospects is the filly Sunlight (10), dominant against her own sex and not disgraced in the Manikato.  Gets her regular rider back and a real chance.  The one who has a victory down the straight and will be finishing on hard is Encryption (3), won the Danehill here and was only a length off Written By at Caulfield reckon that experience might be telling.


Selections – 3-2-1-10


Race 6 – Empire Rose Stakes (G1, 1600m, F&M WFA)


The WFA race for the girls is always a beauty, the fillies have been to the fore over the last couple of years with Shoals and I Am a Star (1).  The trainers have latched on with four fillies in the field and all of them capable of giving it a shake, to do so they will need to beat some handy mares.  Shillelagh (3) has been running in group 1 handicaps comes back to her own sex at WFA plus back to Flemington, she has a huge finish and will be hard to hold out.  Main dangers for mine are fillies who also have big finishes in Amphritite (15) and Oohood (13).  They will all have to run down I Am a Star (1) and Shumookh (9) and get past plenty of other good mares.  Eckstein (4) and Invincibella (2) are winners here.  The real wild card to me is Aloisia (5) was the dominant filly last year, is fitter here 3rd up, her best is good enough to win this.


Selections – 3-15-13-5


Race 7 -VRC Derby (G1, 2500m, 3yo SW)


A full field in the Derby usually means an open affair not sure the price for Thinkin’ Big (1) represents great value.  He has consistent form, but the last two runs worry me.  He was over run in the Spring Champion and the Norman was run at a farcical speed, I doubt he will be given that luxury.  Certainly can win just not sure as a punting proposition.  Aramayo (2) did go past him in the Spring Champion, was too far back on Saturday but finished well, will appreciate the Flemington expanses.  As will Extra Brut (3) who has not drawn favourably at a start where barriers are important, if he can manage to get into DK Weir’s favourite spot “3 wide with cover” then the race might open up for him.  Might put some cash on Farooq (12) worked hard in the Geelong Classic and still held on for second, TMac has engaged his nephew KMac who could make it a family affair.  Plenty of other hopes in an open race including Stars of Carrum (4), Mickey Blue Eyes (6), Savoie (7) and Chapada (10) – will also be promoting Alessandro (17) if he gets a start.


Selections – 2-3-1-12-6-10


Race 8 – Cantala Stakes (G1, 1600, HCP)


Hartnell (1) meets Land of Plenty (4) 2½ kgs better for their meeting in the Toorak really just tells me the big boy beats LoP home.  Not sure he will beat the rest giving weight to a few new ones on the scene.  If Iconoclasm (18) gets a run, then he is capable of winning.  If they don’t then Peaceful State (16) and Best of Days (17) are great chances.  is the pick – lightweights and drawn wellh.  If it favours the on pacers then last week’s protagonists in the mile Cliff’s Edge (11) and Siege of Quebec (10) come to the fore.  Would have loved Perast (14) to draw a gate.  Tom Melbourne (15) couldn’t – could he?


Selections – 16-17-1-4 


Race 9 – Begonia Belle (G3, 1100m, Mares SWP)


Snitty Kitty (2) will ensure solid speed, she has been racing against the best coming back to mares will suit.  GSOB brings Resin (6) down to contest this, she has built a solid record beating a handy field in the Nivision.  I am excited about I am Excited (4) who was exceptional in the Gilgai, if she gets a similar run she can win as can Grey Shadow (13) whose form is excellent if we take out her last run.  Chances don’t end there in a wide race.


Selections – 6-4-2-13




Flemington Quaddies are always tough – Derby even more so with the depth in every race.  The strategy will be as usual starting wide and coming home with just a couple.  An option is to take a second quaddie with the two favourites in the derby and even narrowing down a couple of other legs.  It is Derby Day so we will fork out an extra lobster.


Quaddie 1 – Just win it please


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 13, 15

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 12

Leg 3 – 1, 4, 16, 17

Leg 4 – 4, 6


384 Combinations, $40 Investment will return 10.4% of the dividend


Quaddie 2 – one for the favourites


Leg 1 – 3, 13, 15

Leg 2 – 1, 2

Leg 3 – 1, 4, 16, 17

Leg 4 – 4, 6


48 Combinations, $10 Investment will return 20.8% of the dividend


The Aftermath


Moonee Valley carnival was one again mired by the condition of the track, favouring on speed runners on the inside of the track.  Something is not quite right at “Not so Happy” Valley and suspect running the feature as the 17th race of 18 over the Friday Night and Saturday is not right either.  Save this year with a champion – the years to come may present more problems if runners do not get a fair chance.  Also makes selections ahead of time fraught with danger with unknown track conditions.  Had Brave Smash as second pick in the Manikato and as predicted Kementari would be steaming home – can he notch one at Flemington?


Saturday did not see big returns in the first six races with just a couple of placings for the top selections.  Had Cliff’s Edge in the top four for the mile, also a good performance from Prized IconVentura Storm franked the excellent run he had in the Caulfield Cup to score in the Gold Cup.  Winx was easy and the got the next two just in the wrong order.  Aramayo ran into third in the vase – suspect will be much more suited to the Flemington expanses provided the track plays fairly.


Go the ‘Mayo!

Cheers, Sal


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  1. The old three-legged quaddie!
    Stiff, Sal.

  2. Yep I took it Smokie.

    I got a good collect on one of Sal’s quaddies @ Flemington about a month back. A big win’s just around the corner. I’m sticking to Sal’s Quaddies.


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