Flemington Finals Day is always a highly entertaining and high-quality day of racing, and nine events will be contested at HQ on Saturday.
The rail will remain in the true position around the entire course and we are likely to be racing on a track rated in the soft range.
Race 1 - 11:50am
AAMI Next Generation Sprinters Series Final (1200m)
Jabali Ridge has stripped fitter for two starts this time and is ready to do something at Flemington on Saturday.
The two-year-old son of Jabali stamped himself as a horse to follow during his debut prep and was unlucky to just miss a place when resuming this time at Caulfield.
He returned a flat effort at The Valley last time, but I am happy to forgive that run and importantly, he has form down the straight.
2 Units E/W Jabali Ridge
Race 2 - 12:25pm
Lexus Banjo Patterson Series Final (2600m)
Chapada appears to have returned to his best form recently and the Banjo Patterson Series Final looks a lovely race for him.
The Bullet Train gelding was a standout stayer as a three-year-old and while he did go amiss for a couple of preparations, he hasn’t missed a place at his last three starts, including an impressive win here at HQ two starts back.
He’s at peak fitness for this contest and will be tough to beat.
3 Units Chapada
Race 3 - 1:00pm
Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m)
Cherry Tortoni is yet to taste anything but success and looks the one to beat in this year’s Taj Rossi Series Final.
The two-year-old son of Night Of Thunder was an impressive winner at Sale on debut and proved that was no fluke with another smart win over 1420m here last time out.
Fitter third-up and out to a mile, he looks perfectly suited to this race.
Patrick Payne’s horses are flying, and this one can return the stable another winner.
4 Units Cherry Tortoni
Race 4 - 1:35pm
G.H. Mumm Mahogany Challenge Final (2500m)
It’s fair to say that Persan has returned to the races in career-best form this time and as long as he handles the 59.5kg topweight, he’ll be hard to beat again in this staying feature.
The Pierro colt has always hinted at ability, but he has gone to another level since joining the Maher & Eustace team and has recorded three wins and a couple of placings from his five starts this time.
There are some decent horses engaged, but he looks to have an edge over most.
2 Units Persan
Race 5 - 2:10pm
Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m)
Lord Von Costa has improved for two starts this time and looks ready to peak third-up in the All Victorian Sprint Series Final.
The veteran sprinter finished only a couple of lengths from the winner when he resumed in the Listed Straight Six, before returning another pleasing effort at this track and distance when fourth behind some quality horses.
Craig Williams stays aboard, the horse is treated well at the weights and he looks at touch of overs at around the $11 mark.
1 Unit E/W Lord Von Costa
Race 6 - 2:50pm
Jim Beam Leilani Series Final (1400m)
Great Duchess has been typically excellent back from a spell and I can’t find a reason why she won’t be in the finish again at Flemington on Saturday.
She has been a strong and consistent performer for the Greg Eurell stable throughout her career and is yet to taste anything but success this time, including a smart win in BM90 company here a couple of weeks ago.
Fitter third-up, I think she’ll take a power of beating.
3 Units Great Duchess
Race 7 - 3:30pm
Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m)
This is a rise in class for Walking Flying, but she’s found top gear recently and can continue her rise through the grades.
The Tavistock filly mustered a smart turn of foot to fill the minors in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes during the Adelaide Autumn Carnival before another bold effort to finish fifth in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks.
Since then, she’s recorded consecutive wins at Sale and Ladbrokes Park and is rock-hard fit for this contest.
3 Units Walking Flying
Race 8 - 4:05pm
Listed VRC-CRV Winter Championship Series Final (1600m)
This looms as the standout race of the day at Flemington and there is a case to be made for several in the market.
Heptagon has been racing extremely well and this looks another great target for him.
He beat a good field to the line over 1400m at Caulfield when second-up and couldn’t have been more impressive at his last two starts, winning the Swan Hill Cup and a 1400m race here at HQ.
Getting out to a mile again will be ideal and even with the heavy weight, I think he’ll take beating.
Noble Boy was last seen finishing off well for third behind True Detective at Rosehill and if he gains a start (1st emergency), I give him a live each-way chance.
2 Units Heptagon
1 Unit E/W Noble Boy
Race 9 - 4:37pm
Schweppes Rivette Series Final (1400m)
This is an open race and a tough way to end Flemington Finals Day from a betting perspective.
Cordilla has been charged with overcoming a wide barrier, but she is yet to return a poor effort and has claims on winning again.
The Shamus Award filly has recorded two wins and as manty minors from her four career starts and was last seen saluting relatively comfortably at Geelong.
1 Unit Cordilla