The P.B. Lawrence Stakes is always an intriguing contest and the 2019 edition of the race is set to be no exception.
Ladbrokes Cox Plate favourite Mystic Journey will make her return to the races and she is a clear favourite, but she will face stiff competition from Group 1 winners Hartnell, Harlem, Trap For Fools and Kenedna.
Will Mystic Journey start her Spring campaign with a win or will there be a P.B. Lawrence Stakes upset? We have analysed every horse in the race and our complete 2019 P.B. Lawrence Stakes tips can be found below.
There has already been plenty of early money for Hartnell and he is still the value runner in P.B. Lawrence Stakes betting. His record over 1400 metres is excellent, especially at Caulfield, and he won this race two years ago. He may not have won a race in the Autumn, but he still produced a stack of high-rating performances. These included placings in the Futurity Stakes, All-Star Mile, Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which were some of the strongest races of the Autumn. I think that James Cummings will have him nice and forward for his return to the races and he can give Mystic Journey a serious race.
Harlem won the Australian Cup during the Autumn, but outside of that his form was fairly flat. He generally doesn’t produce his best form until he gets out to 2000 metres and this is a barrier trial for the rest of his Spring campaign.
Trap For Fools
Trap For Fools was consistent without winning a race during the Autumn and he was thereabouts in the Peter Young Stakes, Australian Cup and the Ladbrokes Mornington Cup. He will need this run and is obviously better over further, but it wouldn’t surprise to see him give a good sight at juicy odds.
Cliff’s Edge returned to the races with a pleasing run in the Bletchingly Stakes and he generally does improve second-up. It would not surprise to see Mark Zahra ride him aggressively in the early stages of this contest and give his rivals something to catch. He could be the horse to surprise, if neither Mystic Journey nor Hartnell bring their best form to the races.
Fifty Star won the Blamey Stakes and the Ajax Stakes in the Autumn before he was a little bit disappointing in the Doncaster Mile. He may have won a couple of races during that campaign, but neither of them were a particularly strong race and I’m not sure that he has taken the step forward that was expected. It will be interesting to see how he performs, but I couldn’t back him in this contest.
Sikandarabad ran well over shorter distances at the start of his Autumn campaign and he wasn’t disgraced in the Australian Cup. I would imagine that the Caulfield Cup is his major target this campaign and there is no way that Lindsay Park have him fully fit for his first-up run.
Neufbosc will make his Australian racing debut after starting his career in France. He won in races like the Prix Niel and Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe in France, so he definitely has some quality, and he trialed nicely at Cranbourne ahead of his Australian debut. I think that he will need this run, but it would not surprise if he was able to make some sort of impact during the Spring.
Mr Marathon Man
Mr Marathon Man showed some promise during his maiden racing campaign in Australia, but this is a genuine step-up in quality. I don’t think that he has ever shown anything to suggest that he can win a race of this quality.
Kenedna was the star of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. She claimed a maiden Group 1 win in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes in Sydney and she proved that was no fluke with wins in the Doomben Cup and the P.J. O’Shea Stakes in Brisbane. She won’t be fully wound up for this and she has bigger targets later in her campaign, but her class will take her a long way in this contest.
Semari strung together a few wins during the Autumn and she is a likeable galloper, but this race does look beyond her. She is the extreme outsider in P.B. Lawrence Stakes betting for a reason.
Mystic Journey might be the most interesting horse in the country and I can’t wait to see her back in action. She has recorded six wins in the trot in impressive fashion and she stamped herself as a genuine star with her wins in the Australian Guineas and All-Star Mile. I am confident that she will be a serious player during the Spring, but I’m not sure that I want to dive in and take $2 for her first-up run. She has had a disrupted campaign, she was meant to resume in the Bletchingly Stakes, and the Ladbrokes Cox Plate is her major goal. There is no doubt that she has the quality to win this contest.