Race 1 - 12:30pm
Pierro Belle will go into this race as favourite on the back of a very smart barrier trial win at Morphettville on January 29. Race conditions is obviously a different beast, but you have to respect the outstanding record that Tony McEvoy has with these early two-year-olds.
Of the horses that have been seen at the races, Khulassa does look to be the pick of the bench. She was only narrowly denied on debut at Flemington and the step-up in trip does look like it will suit. The fact that she has previously had a run down the straight is a big advantage.
Race 2 - 1:05pm
The majority of this field are fairly tough to trust from a betting perspective. This is a step-up in class for Bubba’s Call, but he is well and truly over the odds at the current big odds of $31. He has recorded three wins from his past four starts and he will likely go straight to the front with Stephen Baster in the saddle. Baster is an excellent judge of pace and he could very well pinch this race – especially if the rail is the place to be.
¼ Unit Bubba’s Call
Race 3 - 1:40pm
Spanish Reef has only recorded the two race wins, but she is a better horse than her current price suggests. She showed that she can sprint well last preparation and she is a mare with plenty of tactical versatility – it would not surprise if Mark Zahra elected to press forward in the early stages of this contest. This is the weakest race that she has contested for some time and she appeals at her current price.
1 Unit Spanish Reef
Race 4 - 2:15pm
Kings Will Dream has recorded two wins from as many starts since arriving in Australia and he is a horse that still has plenty of improvement. His past two wins at Warrnambool and Ballarat were very soft and this does look a lovely progression for him.
The only danger looks to be So Poysed. He was dominant last start at The Valley and has a great record at the mile. The Sepoy gelding is likely to be the beneficiary if Kings Will Dream doesn’t bring his best form to the races.
4 Kings Will Dream
1 Unit So Poysed
Race 5 - 2:50pm
It took a talented horse in the form of Eurack to beat Handsome Thief at Caulfield last start and the way that he found the line in the final stages was very impressive. He has a clear fitness edge over the majority of his main rivals in this contest and he is still a horse on the way up. Flemington seems like the ideal track for him and with even luck in running at the right time he will be tough to beat.
2 Units Handsome Thief
Race 6 - 3:25pm
The Vanity is all about Aloisia and whether you are happy to back the Aaron Purcell-trained filly. Aloisia won the Thousand Guineas and Moonee Valley Vase in simply outstanding fashion, but she was poor in the Kennedy Oaks and her recent barrier trial at Cranbourne didn’t really inspire confidence. There is no doubt on her best form that she is the best filly in this race and I don’t want to bet against her, but it is tough to get her as short as her current price on the back of that lacklustre trial.
Race 7 - 4:00pm
This is a very strong edition of the CS Hayes Stakes and it is set to be an excellent form reference for the Australian Guineas. The likes of Peaceful State, Grunt and Scarecrow all have plenty of upside, but it is Cliff’s Edge that is the proven horse at this level. He showed a lovely turn-of-foot to win first-up in the Manfred Stakes and the step-up to 1400 metres suits. The Canford Cliffs colt has drawn wide, but he has shown plenty of tactical versatility during his racing career to date and it would not surprise to see John Allen press forward from the wide barrier draw.
1.5 Units Cliff’s Edge
Race 8 - 4:45pm
Redzel will start the 2018 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes as a short-priced favourite and there is no doubt that he is the horse to beat. He was unbeatable in the Spring and his racing style simply makes him close to a bomb-proof gallop. Kerrin McEvoy will ensure that this race doesn’t turn into a sit and sprint and a repeat of his impressive win in the Darley Classic is the most likely result. He has recorded two wins from as many starts at Flemington and 1000 metres may actually be his best distance – a scary thought for a horse that has won two Group 1 events and The Everest over 1200 metres.
6 Units Redzel
Race 9 - 5:25pm
There are a number of horses in this field that have seen better days and that makes this a tricky race from a betting perspective. He’s Our Rokkii clearly had issues during his 2017 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and he is a much better horse than that form suggests. His best form would be more than good enough to win this race and first-up last preparation he finished a more than credible fourth behind Hartnell, Charmed Harmony and Black Heart Bart. There is the chance that he has had enough, but he is worth the gamble at the current price of $12.
1 Unit He’s Our Rokkii