The Group 3 Standish Handicap headlines a talent-rich nine-race program at Flemington on Saturday.
The rail will be set out nine metres around the entire course and at publish, we’re faced with a track rated in the Good (4) range.
Race 1 - 12:33pm AEDT
Resimax Group Rapid Racing 21 January (1100m)
Just two of the seven confirmed starters in Race 1 at Flemington on Saturday have previous experience, and several debutants are prominent in betting.
I am happy to stay out of this one, with a view towards something later in the season.
Race 2 - 1:08pm AEDT
Furphy Refreshing Ale Trophy (1400m)
Squid Game goes around in the second at Flemington on Saturday, and I am confident that he can bounce back into the winner’s stall.
The Shooting To Win gelding stamped himself as a runner to follow with a handy win on debut at Ladbrokes Park, and he franked that performance when winning again down the straight here last month.
He suffered his first defeat over 1100m here at HQ last time, but I like that he’s out to 1400m this week, and he will take plenty of beating.
4 Units Squid Game
Race 3 - 1:43pm AEDT
California Memory Living Legends Plate (1700m)
Somerset Maugham has improved for three starts back this time, and this looms as a very winnable race for him.
The seven-year-old son of Galileo failed to beat a runner home at Pakenham when resuming, but he kept all of his best work for late when fourth in BM84 company here, second-up.
He chased home Designer Chef here on New Year’s Day, and any improvement on that run would see him go one better this week.
4 Units Somerset Maugham
Race 4 - 2:18pm AEDT
Twilight Payment Living Legends Plate (2000m)
Dunkerry can continue his rise through the grades at HQ on Saturday.
The Dundeel gelding showed some ability and raced home well to fill the minors at Wangaratta on debut, and broke his maiden in utterly dominant fashion at Stony Creek last time, greeting the judge nearly six lengths ahead of his rivals.
This is obviously harder, but it’s hard to ignore what he did last time, and he’ll only improve into this contest.
3 Units Dunkerry
Race 5 - 2:53pm AEDT
Be A Mate, Nominate Trophy (1400m)
Fundraiser will take plenty of improvement into his second campaign start at Flemington on Saturday, and he rates as a key winning chance.
The Helmet gelding mixed his form a little last time, but did perform well around some talented gallopers, and I thought that his resuming effort here a fortnight ago was eye-catching.
He is open to plenty of improvement and he is drawn to receive a lovely run under Jye McNeil.
4 Units Fundraiser
Race 6 - 3:28pm AEDT
VRC Event Staff Handicap (1400m)
This shapes as one of the more open races on Saturday’s Flemington card and at publish, we’re faced with $6 the field.
There are plenty of midweekers stepping up to Saturday grade engaged in this contest, and one galloper that I thought was worthy of a crack was Adandiman.
Adandiman recorded a lovely win in Class 1 company at Ladbrokes Park in November and has been far from disgraced in a couple of tougher races since.
I like that he is a few weeks between runs heading into this, he gets into the race well and we can have an each-way play at around the $13 mark.
2 Units E/W Adandiman
Race 7 - 4:08pm AEDT
Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m)
The talented Turaath will resume in this year’s Standish Handicap and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win, but she is a mare who tends to improve with a run under her belt and with several fit horses engaged, I am going to take her on.
The one that I like at current Standish Handicap odds is Halvorsen ($7 at publish).
Halvorsen has returned to the races in excellent form this time, and recorded a shock win in the Listed Century Stakes here on Oaks Day before filling the minors in the Kensington Stakes last time.
I like that his runs have been spaced and he’ll have the added advantage of Jamie Kah in the saddle this week.
3 Units Halvorsen
Race 8 - 4:50pm AEDT
The Stud And Stable Staff Awards (2000m)
This is another wide-open contest which, at publish, is up at $7 the field.
I’m eager to unearth some value in this race and I believe it to lie with Brasada ($10 at publish).
Brasada has been a consistent performer throughout his preparation, and he beat home a talented field over a mile here two starts back before finishing second behind the talented Unique Artist last time.
He steps out this week in peak order and we can have something on each-way at the price.
2 Units E/W Brasada
Race 9 - 5:35pm AEDT
Resimax Group Jockeys Challenge 21 January (1600m)
I’m going to have something on Score at a big price in the last on Standish Handicap Day ($16 at publish).
Score didn’t show a lot in her first two starts back this time, but she mustered an eye-catching turn of foot to finish second (albeit well beaten) by Open Minded at Caulfield last time out.
She takes her place in this field fit, she gets some relief in the weights under Teo Nugent and should relish getting out to a mile.
2 Units E/W Score