Caulfield will play host to Victoria’s major metro meeting this Saturday where a quality nine-race program has been set.
The forecast is fine, the rail is in the true position, and our best bets can be found below.
Race 1 - 11:50am AEDT
Take It To The Neds Level Handicap (1200m)
Competitive race to start the program with a couple to like from the Maher and Eustace camp.
I’ve gone the Kiwi import Unusual Culture on top, just thought her recent Horsham jump-out was full of merit and although on debut in Australia, her debut win over in New Zealand during the spring was tough to ignore.
She’ll likely roll forward and make her own luck on the speed under Linda Meech and I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes all the way.
2 Units Unusual Culture
Race 2 - 12:25pm AEDT
Neds Punters Toolbox Handicap (1100m)
Not a race I’m overly keen to dive into with Ghaanti a touch over the odds for mine.
Instead, I’m looking the way of the Peter Moody-trained She Dances, who won on debut over Ballarat Magic Millions winner Cusack by a whopping three lengths.
That win came on a heavy track, so it will be interesting to see how she goes on top if the ground, but with Linda Meech sticking and not a lot of speed on paper, she should be able to run the race on her own terms up front.
1 Unit She Dances
Race 3 - 1:00pm AEDT
Neds Fully Loaded Handicap (1100m)
Quite keen on Duchess Of Dorset in her second run back from a freshen-up.
Symon Wilde’s mare stuck on well at Swan Hill over a touch shorter last time out from a similar draw and I think she’ll go even better here on a quicker backup.
Linda Meech sticks, and up in trip, I think they’ll take some catching up on the speed.
1 Unit Duchess Of Dorset
Race 4 - 1:35pm AEDT
Neds Whatever You Bet On Handicap (2000m)
Excelleration is a progressive type out of the Richard Cully yard that looks capable of improving on his latest win at Flemington to start the month.
The son of Excelebration made up for a slow start with an impressive turn of foot on the widest part of the track, beating home Born A King by 1.5L over the same trip.
That horse has since gone on to win well at Rosehill, so the storm stacks up, and I quite like the fact Michael Dee has retained the ride.
2 Units Excelleration
Race 5 - 2:10pm AEDT
Neds Same Race Multi Handicap (1600m)
Hard to go past Chief Altony given his recent performances and his record over the mile.
The son of Rebel Raider has form around the likes of Santero and Visinari, while he’s also found the money in all six starts over the trip.
He rarely runs a bad race this boy and Thomas Stockdale seems to have a great rapport with him.
He’s drawn to get every chance coming off the speed and he only needs to hold his recent form to put most of these away.
2 Units Chief Altony
Race 6 - 2:45pm AEDT
Lamaro’s Hotel Handicap (1000m)
Siding with Squid Game, who has form around super impressive Creswick Stakes winner, Passive Aggressive.
The son of Shooting To Win finished 1.5L off at Flemington to begin his prep and is now three weeks between runs for Patrick Payne.
I thought his run was impressive that day considering he missed the start and the drop back to 1000m should suit. He’s missed the money only once from five starts, so another honest effort can be expected.
2 Units Squid Game
Race 7 - 3:20pm AEDT
Miss Liddy’s Giddyap Lap (1200m)
Curran doesn’t win out of turn but there is scope for improvement following a last-start second at Swan Hill behind Triple Missile.
Matthew Cartwright chose to settle well-back that day before running on late, but I think he’ll be a little more handier this time around from a kinder draw, and carrying a bit more weight.
This is a slightly easier contest and his record at Caulfield (6:1-1-2) stands out.
1 Unit Curran
Race 8 - 4:00pm AEDT
Stephen Howell Memorial Trophy (1400m)
Recent form suggests Cardinal Gem is the one to beat here.
The son of Choisir deserved to win his latest assignment at Flemington where he was checked on heels down the straight and only managed fourth in the end.
He’s failed to find the money in two starts at Caulfield in the past, but this does look a nice bounce-back race with Michael Dee in the irons again. The pair combined for second at Flemington two runs back.
1 Unit Cardinal Gem
Race 9 - 4:33pm AEDT
Stephen Howell Memorial Trophy (1400m)
Tough race to end the day, so I’m going to take a flier on Bam’s On Fire.
The mare by Universal Ruler finished a length off Ocean Beyond in the Straight Six at Flemington and probably deserved to at least run a place after being held up at a crucial stage.
She’s drawn horrible in barrier 16, but her second-up record reads well and she does have strong form here at Caulfield to her name.
1 Unit E/W Bam’s On Fire