Almanac Horseracing: Sal’s preview – Derby Day: Christmas for punters, you just can’t be there

Greetings All,


The season is over and the best team and player won.  The rest of us can look forward to 2021 where maybe the Tigers will give us a chance!  Let’s hope we have also seen the last night Grand Final.


Now it is time for the other Grand Finals with Fabulous Flemington about to begin with four great days of racing, all to be watched from the comfort of our own homes.  Some rain in the forecast, however it does not appear enough to really affect the track, so expecting a good surface and with the rail true all should have a fair chance.


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


A strange field for the opener with only eight runners and a clear split between the top and bottom four.  It took a good one to overhaul Aysar (3) in the Guineas and on that form looks the one.  By the same token stablemate Crosshaven (1) had a torrid run three wide and stuck on for fourth – has a 4 from 6 record, there should not be the discrepancy in price and is probably a better punting proposition.  Endanger (2) and Embolism (4) both won lesser races at Caulfield but are progressive and could shock.  Also will be watching for the superbly monikered son of Shocking Horrifying (8) who has been going OK in the bush and gets JMac.


Selections – 3-1-2-4


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


The fillies are on trial for the Oaks here with the majority of the chances coming through the Ethereal or the 1000 Guineas.  Nothing went right for Starelle (2) last start, she is well drawn here and will appreciate the expanses of Flemington.  Form from a Group One stands up so Personal (1) rates highly – looks like the extra 400m should not be an issue.  SA raiders have been going well and Victoria Quay (9) comes over after an excellent run in the Hill Smith.  Would have had Salto Angel (6) rated higher but for the wide draw.  Plenty of other chances and an important race to watch with a view to Thursday.


Selections – 2-1-9-6


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


Kemilpasa (4) blew everyone out last year, loves the straight but is carrying an extra 5½kg.  Think the prize will go back to South Australia with Octane (9) – gets in on the minimum and was very good in the Schillaci.  Main threat is Blazejowski (5) who has a terrific fresh record, Banquo (6) comes back from a Group One race and was good over this journey the run before.  This is not beyond Bold Star (8) who likes Flemington and gets M Zahra.  Some quality at the top left out with their weights but none would surprise.


Selections – 9-5-6-8


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


The final ticket to the Melbourne Cup is up for grabs with all bar Brimham Rocks (2) in the hunt.  Going to the Bart for the top picks in Schabau (10) and Admire Robson (11).  The pilot admitted error on the former in the Bart and is now seeing other horses for the Melbourne, no disadvantage to have M Zahra aboard and well in on weights.  As is Admire Robson (11) who had excuses in the Bart but finished nicely.  Sound (5) had a miss last week, reckon he can improve and Attorney (9) has been going well in the Sydney staying races.  Respect for the toppie in Ashrun (1), just think that 61kg will be too much.


Selections – 10-11-5-9


Race 5 – Empire Rose (G1, 1600m, Fillies & Mares WFA)


What a ripping race this will be with the fillies taking on the more mature ladies.  Reckon the Thousand Guineas winner Odeum (12) can repeat the feats of I am a Star from 2016 and do it for the fillies.  Pretty Brazen (4) just needs the pace on and could come over the top and can’t leave out Mystic Journey (1) who got back on the winner’s list coming back to mares’ grade.  She loves 1600 and loves Flemington.  Challoit (11) is lightly raced but high quality – her biggest test but has upside.  If the rain comes Nettoyer (2) almost goes to the top.


Selections – 12-4-1-11


Race 6 – Coolmore Stud Stakes (G1, 1200m, 3YO SW)


A great renewal with form colliding from many directions.  Reckon Anders (7) is worth the gamble here, there are questions about running out the 1200 but his best is very good and trusting that Maher-Eustice will have him ready for this.  Can’t ignore the flying fillies September Run (14) and Swat’s That (12) – hard to split the pair but just putting the former in front.  Like the outside draw for Wild Ruler (2), undefeated this prep and the Snowden’s know when to bring them.  Plenty of other chances so a wide opening for the quaddie.


Selections – 7-14-12-2


Race 7 – VRC Derby (G1, 2500m, 3YO SW)


A handy field to greet the starter in the Blue Riband event, plenty of chances but a pretty long tail with a few throws at the stumps.  Hard to jump off Cherry Tortoni (1) after following him for this from back in June.  Would have liked a better barrier but maybe that just gets a better price.  Reckon Hit The Shot (5) can turn the tables on Albarado (2) from the Robbo.  The wildcard is Young Werther (5) who missed the run last week, this will be only his third race.  Undoubtedly capable but capable of doing plenty wrong.  Let’s Karaka Deel (4) was coming late in the Norm while Redwood Shadow (8) was not faraway either.


Selections – 1-6-2-5-4-8


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


The big handicaps are always difficult and sticking to the formula to see who might have got past the handicapper.  Nonconformist (15) will live up to his name to win coming back in trip, however he gets in on the minimum and is undefeated over this distance.  I Am Superman (8) has to deal with the inside draw but gets weight relief from the Toorak and is highly rated by Team Snowden.  Buffalo River (15) will lead for a long way, tough to hold on all the way down the straight here but has done it before if not quite at this level.  It was Mr Quickie (2) that got him in the Toorak, meets him a kilo better but is poorly drawn.  Chances don’t end there hopes to Rock (9) and Chief Ironside (14) and would be very keen on Reykjavik (17 EM1) if he gets a run.


Selections – 15-8-13-2-9-14


Race 9 – Begonia Belle (G3, 100m, Mares SWP)


Diamond Effort (3) was fancied in the Manikato last week before being scratched, this looks an ideal assignment for her with all the stats in her favour.  She will need to be close to her best as there are some handy ones in the contest.  How Womantic (5) steps up in grade but is very hard to get past.  Fituese (8) will be better suited at Flemington and goes higher if the inside is favoured.  Her conqueror California Zimbol (4) is also among the threats here.


Selections – 3-5-8-4


Quaddie Time


They are not supposed to be easy; with three G1 events to get in we are going wide, wide, wide and looking for a Diamond Effort in the last!


Leg 1 – 1,2,4,5,7,12,14

Leg 2 – 1,2,4,5,6,8

Leg 3 – 2,8,9,13,14,15

Leg 4 – 3


Go the Began and put a Cherry on top,


Cheers, Sal


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