Aloisia’s the one to beat

The Sportsman Special Issue - - Flemington preview - WITH TONY THOMAS

Race 1

An­other in­trigu­ing Oaks pro­gram with some­thing for ev­ery­body – a race re­stricted to 4yo and 5yo, a Coun­try Cup, one just for the greys and a hand­ful of com­pet­i­tive stakes races to sup­port the Oaks. Kick­ing off with prob­a­bly the most lu­cra­tive Bm70 on the rac­ing calendar at $120k and SWORN EV­I­DENCE will give her older ri­vals a run for their money. Set­tled well off the speed at Caulfield last time over 1400m and made good ground in the straight on a day when the back­mark­ers were vir­tu­ally no hope. Shapes as though she will rel­ish the ex­tra trip and looks a point over the mark at $5.50. BINT EL BIDU re­turned to rac­ing with a pow­er­ful fin­ish at the end of a mile three weeks ago and should go well at big odds. Got a mile out of her ground and was dis­ad­van­taged by the sluggish tempo up front but still picked them up in the straight to win by nearly a length go­ing away. Showed up in the G2 Au­tumn Clas­sic (1800m) and the Galilee Fi­nal (2400m) when last in work and if the run-on is in play she will be swoop­ing late. Worth a saver at $15. LINGUIST shades the top pick for favouritism at $5.00 and while I’d prob­a­bly switch them around in the mar­ket she does have strong claims on her last run. Im­proved quickly up to the mile third-up to lead all the way at Bal­larat, scor­ing by four lengths on the line. Daugh­ter of Vo­cab­u­lary who ex­celled here around this trip and will go well. LOVE IN THE CITY lines up here for the hat-trick af­ter scor­ing in eas­ier grade at the provin­cials and looks a lit­tle harshly judged at $34. She was there­abouts against the fil­lies at her pre­vi­ous cam­paign but has re­ally hit her straps this time in. Tak­ing a hike in grade here but is on the up and worth in­clu­sion at the big odds.

Race 2

A re­stricted race for the four and five-year-olds only and ODEON looks to have re­cap­tured his clas­sic sea­son form with a strong last-start win at Caulfield. Beat a handy field over the 1700m in­clud­ing Dodg­ing Bul­lets who spanked them in open grade at Moonee Val­ley at his next run and it’s worth not­ing that af­ter win­ning a sim­i­lar race at Caulfield last prep he was placed in the G1 SA Derby be­hind Volatile Mix. This is a very com­pet­i­tive field de­spite the re­stric­tion and we’re not get­ting any favours at $3.90 con­sid­er­ing his 59.5kg, but he should be in the thick of it at the business end. I thought EBEDIYIN was go­ing to rise quickly into stakes com­pany af­ter watch­ing his big win at Moonee Val­ley three runs ago but he has plateaued some­what at his last cou­ple and needs to kick on. Closed late be­hind Se­bring Dream at his next run at the mile, then again cut the mar­gin back in a sim­i­lar race last time and he does drop down to 54.5kg to­mor­row. CAP­TAIN DUFFY has popped over from Ade­laide where he’s chalked up back to back wins and has to be some hope of a hat­trick. He was good enough to place be­hind Jon Snow in the Tul­loch Stakes in the au­tumn, he’s down 4kg on his last win and he is rock hard fit. Lots to like about a $16 shot for your ex­otics. HOGMANAY has been rac­ing con­sis­tently all prep with­out re­ally threat­en­ing but he has a few things in his favour to­mor­row. He gets out be­yond the mile for the first time and he has been hit­ting the line okay over the shorter trips, and he drops back 3.5kg into this higher grade. The boost for him is the em­ploy­ment of Hugh Bow­man to steer and he’ll give him ev­ery chance.

Race 3

It seems ev­ery year the Brizzy train­ers come down here over the Flem­ing­ton car­ni­val with a select group of run­ners and walk away with a good prize at good odds and TIME TO TORQUE could be one for 2017. Fin­ished right on the heels of the placeget­ters first-up at the Sun­shine Coast over 1200m, then ap­pre­ci­ated the ex­tra trip in town when a strong win­ner over Car­zoff who scored a good win in Syd­ney at his next run. Strip­ping fit­ter, drawn well and with Craig Wil­liams tak­ing the ride looks great value at $8.50 in the an­nual charge of the grey brigade. UR­BAN RULER has re­turned to rac­ing in great style and while not missed at $4.00 he does have strong claims. Too strong for a Bm84 field at Gee­long on fresh legs, and he wasn’t far off them in good com­pany when he stepped up to the mile last prep. May be want­ing fur­ther but will be strong at the end. VALAC is an Ir­ish im­port from the Hayes yard who hasn’t missed a beat since re­sum­ing from a two-year spell and has to be in­cluded among the chances at a healthy $10. Fell in when re­sum­ing in a maiden at Be­nalla, but took the step up in class in his stride last time with a stronger win in a Bm70 over this trip. Bound to take up a for­ward po­si­tion which is a plus at the 1400m here and can throw some value into the ex­otics. CHALK has been go­ing okay in Syd­ney with no weight on his back and al­though up in grade to­mor­row isn’t far off an­other win.

Race 4

Good luck find­ing the win­ner here if we can’t get the favourite NIGHT’S WATCH over the line. Typ­i­cal Coun­try Cup with a fist­ful of chances but at least NIGHT’S WATCH is a real win­ner and has been kick­ing goals in town. He’s won three of five this prep in­clud­ing a strong win for John Allen at Bendigo last start over 1400m when run­ning on from the back of the field. Allen takes the ride again here and will likely bide his time from the wide draw and keep him for one crack at them on straight­en­ing. Looks about right at $3.40 and will prob­a­bly be too strong for them. EMOJI has been prat­ted out wide at his last two at the provin­cials over 1500m but has pro­duced a re­sult on each oc­ca­sion. That fol­lowed an out­stand­ing ef­fort be­hind Ebediyin at Moonee Val­ley and from the in­side draw here he should sit much closer to the speed. Ker­rin McEvoy is in good touch and will rate him well up on the speed. PRIA ECLIPSE has de­vel­oped a large col­lec­tion of mi­nor plac­ings and has now fin­ished sec­ond at 10 of her 26 ca­reer starts. Found one bet­ter at Bal­larat at her last two out­ings and with a lit­tle Craig Wil­liams magic early on from gate 20 she can run a race at $16.

Race 5

First of the five stakes races on the card and ECHO EF­FECT is run­ning back into the sort of form that saw him beaten a lip in the Ho­bartville Stakes in the au­tumn. Hit the line strongly at Rand­wick two runs back then took off be­fore the turn in the Moonga Stakes from a long way back and hit the lead round­ing the bend. He wasn’t suited there on a leader-bi­ased track and Damien Oliver showed good ini­tia­tive by putting him into the race when the pace slack­ened. Run down by Ul­mann who had the bet­ter run in tran­sit and from the favourable draw to­mor­row Dwayne Dunn won’t have to in­vent some­thing midrace to give him ev­ery chance. One of four run­ners vy­ing for favouritism and looks a fair bet at $5.50. UL­MANN has to rate a big dan­ger af­ter beat­ing him home last time at Caulfield, though he didn’t have the tough run that the top pick had, set­tling just be­hind the speed and clos­ing strongly for a good win. Meets him 3.5kg worse for beat­ing him about a length and will have to beat him on his mer­its to­mor­row. FASTNET TEMPEST hasn’t taken long since ar­riv­ing from Eng­land to run him­self into form and has to be in­cluded in any business you do here. Even run be­hind the enig­matic Fast ‘n’ Rock­ing at Caulfield be­fore rat­tling home from near last in the Sale Cup to beat all but the fly­ing Moss ‘n’ Dale. Back a fur­long here which isn’t ideal, but he only had six weeks be­tween his last start at home and his Caulfield run and there should be some im­prove­ment in him. FOX HALL is out around the $10 mark and while up in grade, he does drop back to the limit to­mor­row and has tal­ent. Wor­ried out of a win by Black Sheep at the Val­ley last start and will have plenty to give at the top of the straight with only 54kg.

Race 6

James Cummings has cer­tainly found the key to BADAJOZ and he looks one of the bet­ter bets on the day at a gen­er­ous $6.50. De­cent ef­fort in the Ramornie back in July af­ter draw­ing out off the track be­fore win­ning his next two in very strong fash­ion. Cer­tainty beaten at Moonee Val­ley last start when he ran into a traf­fic jam near­ing the bend and when he pulled out wide on straight­en­ing was four lengths off the leader. Mo­tored home to fin­ish a half a length from the win­ner and should clearly have won. Drawn out­side them here at the top of the straight and I’m very keen. PALAZZO PUBBLICO is a query run­ner here as she can pull out an enor­mous run fresh and with Ball Of Mus­cle en­gaged we know the race will be run to suit her. Beaten a half length by Fe­lines off a freshen-up back in April, and first-up in the spring of last year she won the Alinghi Stakes down here over 1100m. Given sev­eral tri­als to have her ready for a big run fresh and at $12 is saver ma­te­rial. BALL OF MUS­CLE has come up aw­fully short at $2.15 and while he has been rac­ing against the best sprint­ers we have, he has all but for­got­ten where the win­ning post is. Placed be­hind Ever­est win­ner Redzel first-up, and placed be­hind Ever­est Con­so­la­tion win­ner In Her Time at his most re­cent out­ing, but he hasn’t chalked up a win at any of his last 17 starts de­spite plac­ing in stakes com­pany on no less than nine oc­ca­sions. Very much a layable com­mod­ity at the very short quote.

Race 7

IR­ISH VEGA put in a cracker in the Car­bine Club on Derby Day here and up to the 1800m will take beat­ing. Made ground at his first two starts over 1300m at the Provin­cials and lost no ad­mir­ers when he went across the line with the likes of Levendi and Sam­bro over the mile last time. Lightly raced young­ster who de­serves sec­ond billing at the $5.00 and looks bet­ter value than the favourite. BLACK SAIL is get­ting fit­ter with rac­ing and has pro­duced en­cour­ag­ing runs in town at his last two. Do­ing his best work late at Caulfield last start un­der 57.5kg and should be able to slot in with cover back off the speed to­mor­row. SAM­BRO beat the top pick home in the Car­bine Club on Satur­day to chalk up his fourth con­sec­u­tive plac­ing and does need to score a win shortly to break the trend. Placed in the Dul­cify up north as well so he has the raw abil­ity to beat these but you’re hav­ing to take $3.80 and there’s bet­ter value to be had else­where.

Race 8

As of­ten as not there is a stand­out filly in the Oaks and this year is no ex­cep­tion with ALOISIA stand­ing head and shoul­der above her ri­vals here. Took on some very strong form­lines in the Thou­sand Guineas and belted both Shoals and Al­izee, then took on the boys in the Vase at Moonee Val­ley and made them look sec­ond rate, scor­ing by three and a half lengths with plenty still in the tank. With the way­ward per­for­mance of my sec­ond pick in the Wake­ful on Satur­day I can’t see any­thing here beat­ing her and she is prob­a­bly en­ti­tled to be down as low as $1.55. I was su­per im­pressed with BRING ME ROSES in a Guineas in Ade­laide and fol­lowed her into the Ed­ward Man­i­fold where she pro­duced tremen­dous fin­ish­ing speed over the last fur­long to score a huge win. Very dis­ap­point­ing on Satur­day as favourite in the Wake­ful and while she did strike some trou­ble, she would have to at least match her pre­vi­ous per­for­mance to get close to the favourite. LUVALUVA did win the Wake­ful im­pres­sively but I wouldn’t back her to beat Bring Me Roses at her best much less Aloisia. Strong place claims but the only real dan­ger of Aloisia get­ting rolled is if the Tony McEvoy filly can bring her A-game.

Race 9

Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion here I’m giv­ing JORDA one last chance to re­pro­duce her best form and be too strong for this fairly mod­er­ate group of fil­lies. We all thought she had come back a treat with an in­cred­i­ble first-up run be­hind Pariah in the San Domenico but she has re­ally strug­gled to find her mojo in three runs down south. She hasn’t had the best of luck in run­ning, though, and with even for­tune she has the class to beat these. At least at the $9.50 we’re get­ting value for money. DEMERARA had her chance last start to bring up her hat-trick but was beaten fair and square on the line. There is a chance she may not be up to stakes grade, but as afore­men­tioned this isn’t a su­per strong Group Three event and she has her chance to atone. I AM EX­CITED will find this con­sid­er­ably eas­ier than her four as­sign­ments thus far this cam­paign and has been fresh­ened up for the drop back in dis­tance. That par­tic­u­lar tac­tic has worked won­ders for some this spring, and she has the added ben­e­fit of an easy trial win a cou­ple of weeks ago. Each way hope at the $7.50.

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