There may be no Winx in the 2017 Emirates Stakes field, but the race is still packed full of quality and is one of a number of highlights at Flemington on Saturday.
It is Ladbrokes Cox Plate placegetter Folkswood that is currently a narrow favourite, but there has also been plenty of support for Group 1 winner Gingernuts, Ladbrokes Stakes winner Gailo Chop and the three-year-old Cliff’s Edge.
We have analysed every single horse in the Emirates Stakes field and our complete Emirates Stakes tips can be found below.
Happy Clapper was never able to get into the race in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate and I still have my doubts over his ability to ride out a strong 2000 metres. I can’t get him anywhere near as short as his current price and I would be surprised if he finished in the placings.
It’s Somewhat was never able to get into the race in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes before he produced an improved effort in the Crystal Mile. He does normally peak third-up and he does run well over 2000 metres, but whether he has the class to win a Group 1 event of this quality is a genuine question mark.
Gailo Chop ran out of steam late in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate after taking up the running, but before that he was excellent in the Ladbrokes Stakes. He won this race two years ago when he led from start to finish and there is no reason that he can’t do the same on a Flemington track that has advantaged leaders during the Melbourne Cup Carnival to date. Gail Chop can bounce back to his best at nice odds.
Tosen Stardom is the x-factor in the 2017 Emirates Stakes field. He has always looked as though he would peak over 2000 metres this preparation and he finally gets out to that trip. The turn-of-foot he showed in the Toorak Handicap was nothing short of brilliant and the race wasn’t run to suit him in the Kennedy Mile. I like the fact that Darren Weir has him on the quick back-up and at $11 he is well and truly over the odds.
Sense Of Occasion
Sense Of Occasion showed some signs of life in the Kennedy Mile, but that was still well below the type of form that he showed when he won the Doomben Cup during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. He needs a wet track to be any chance whatsoever in a race of this quality.
What more is there to say about Tom Melbourne? He produced another stellar effort to finish second behind Shillelagh in the Kennedy Mile, but that was surely his chance to win a maiden Group 1 this preparation. There is no doubt that this race is much tougher and he doesn’t map to get anywhere near as soft a run in the Kennedy Mile. I can’t bring myself to back him.
Folkswood is the horse to beat in the 2017 Emirates Stakes. He made his Australian racing debut with an impressive win in the Cranbourne Cup and he was not disgraced when he finished third in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate – there is no Winx or Humidor in this field. He has the early speed to press across and take up a forward position from his wide barrier draw and he has shown that he is still capable of sprinting strongly off a strong tempo.
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton has been scratched from the 2017 Emirates Stakes.
Harlem looked set for a big 2017 Spring Racing Carnival campaign when he won the Naturalism Stakes in most impressive fashion, but he has been unable to kick-on and he was very poor in the Lexus Stakes last weekend. You couldn’t possibly back him in this race off that performance.
Gingernuts was originally set for the Caulfield Cup and he looked on the right track when he won the Windsor Park Horlicks Plate in New Zealand, but the postponement of the Livamol Classic ruined his program and he was then beaten as favourite in the Group 1 event. He is a high-quality horse, but he would likely need to go to another level to win this race and the map doesn’t look that great for him.
Odeon is absolutely flying this preparation and he is on the quick back-up following his impressive win on Melbourne Cup Day. This is a big step-up in class, but he is a horse that still has plenty of upside and I love the fact that he racing again so quickly after his last win. The stable of Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra are absolutely flying and it would not surprise if he claimed an upset win at juicy odds.
So Si Bon
So Si Bon was freshened-up after his third place in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, but he failed to fire in the Kennedy Mile. He still only has the one race win from his 18 race starts and barrier one is the worst barrier for him. I would be very surprised if he won.
The Taj Mahal
The Tah Mahal beat home only a single horse in the Ladbrokes Stakes, but he did have excuses. The O’Brien-trained and Lloyd Williams-owned horses are absolutely flying and he is probably a better chance than his current odds suggest, but it is tough to back him off that first-up effort in Australia.
Samovare was beaten by Kiwia in the Coongy Cup and this race is much tougher. She was outclassed at this level in the Underwood Stakes and she would need to produce a career-best performance to have any chance in this sort of race.
Cliff’s Edge is one of the most interesting horses in the Emirates Stakes. He was excellent when he led from start to finish to win the Ladbrokes Classic at Caulfield and he was beaten by a potential star in the making Aloisia in the Moonee Valley Vase. Dean Yendall has a great record on three-year-olds at weight-for-age level and he will push forward to try and take advantage of the lightweight. He goes into the race with a genuine winning chance, but he has been well-found by the market and I can’t get him as short as his current price.