Aloisia’s the one to beat
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.