Viri­dine a class above

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

RACE 1

Happy to be with 5. CHICAGO BULL. Most im­pres­sive in win­ning a gal­lop at the Break­fast With The Stars ses­sion at Moonee Val­ley be­fore Cox Plate day and was sched­uled to run that day but was scratched and saved for this. Looks a pow­er­ful type and bred to han­dle the wet track. Big threat. 1. WEDGETAIL prob­a­bly should have fin­ished closer at the Val­ley last start as he was forced very wide on the turn by a way­ward run­ner. Still was able to box on well and has the ex­pe­ri­ence on his side. 2. FANAAR will de­rive a lot of ben­e­fit from his de­but when beaten nar­rowly by Se­brakate at Mor­phettville in a small field. Raced a bit fiercely be­fore the turn and then only just nabbed near the line. Bet­ter for that. 8. KNOWLES is a well-bred type and could fig­ure in the fin­ish.

RACE 2

11. WILD SEA was su­per im­pres­sive in dead-heat­ing with Global Sanc­tion at Pak­en­ham when re­sum­ing. She was a mile out of her ground in the early stages, switched to the out­side on straight­en­ing and then un­leashed over the fi­nal 200m. Didn’t look a win­ning chance at the 200m but her fi­nal sprint was su­perb. Know the sta­ble has a big opin­ion of her as she was taken to Syd­ney to run the G1 ATC Oaks at only her third start. Even bet­ter for the out­ing now and this big track will help. Plus she won on a soft sur­face last time out. Big hope. 12. BLACK AND TAN will wel­come get­ting out to this dis­tance after two runs back and caught the eye late be­hind Akka­dian on soft ground at Pak­en­ham last start. She did turn in an amaz­ing ef­fort to fin­ish se­cond to Truly Dis­creet at Sandown one day and was only a length of Peace­ful State in Listed grade at Mor­phettville. She’ll run well. 3. PURE SCOT hasn’t been far away against bet­ter com­pany on a few oc­ca­sions and re­sumed with a soft win at Bal­larat two weeks ago. Even fit­ter now and ex­tra dis­tance right up her al­ley. 6. PALMATEER has been con­sis­tent in Syd­ney and not dis­graced be­hind the smart Sky Boy last start.

RACE 3

6. MAHAMADEIS was scratched from Cup day and re­served for this. Strong ef­fort to win at the Val­ley and then fought on be­hind dead-heaters Mask Of Time and Best Of Days at Caulfield. That form has been franked with Best Of Days win­ning a G1 last Satur­day. As a 3yo, he ran on in soft ground when third to Lucky For All and Fur­rion at Caulfield and again made ground on a heavy sur­face in the G1 Qld Derby. He has al­ways been a horse of prom­ise and seems to have found a race to suit. 7. SAVA­COOL comes down from Syd­ney and has been very con­sis­tent. Bolted in on a soft track at Rand­wick and then ran on late when se­cond to the handy Sky Boy at Rand­wick. Han­dles the wet and drawn to ad­van­tage. 4. AS­TO­RIA is ready to hit his straps after an im­proved show­ing be­hind Smart As You Think in the wet at Rand­wick. Ex­tra dis­tance suits and he’ll run well. Watch for 12. TAN TAT TRUST­ING to run a big race. He has ex­cel­lent wet-track form.

RACE 4

De­spite the big weight, I’ll stick with 1. POWERLINE. Drawn to get a nice run which could negate the big weight. Ran on well late when fourth to the promis­ing Cor­us­cate at Rand­wick last start. Ex­tra 200m to his ad­van­tage and will go close. Ran third in this race last year. 2. STRA­TO­CASTER hails from New Zealand when he won well at Pukekura last start, Fresh­ened up since and can han­dle the sting out of the ground. 6. AN­DAZ is also down from Syd­ney and placed last two at War­wick Farm. This is a tougher grade but go­ing well enough to threaten. 3, HAR­BOUR GREY re­sumed with a stylish win at Gee­long and was se­cond in this race last year.

RACE 5

4. TRULY DIS­CREET was im­pres­sive re­turn­ing to her best at Gee­long last start, trav­el­ling well to the turn and then prov­ing too solid in the run to the line. Right at her peak now and has won twice in soft ground. 1. SUPERHARD has paid the price for his good form with a big weight here and not drawn the best but he’s looks very good win­ning at Moe and Bendigo and just needs an ounce of luck. 7. AKKA­DIAN chased home Superhard last start and is hold­ing his form well, while 3. PENNY TO SELL tried hard be­hind Truly Dis­creet at Gee­long and rates among the chances again.

RACE 6

2. VIRI­DINE is a qual­ity sprinter and did get home nicely over the fi­nal stages when fourth to Na­ture Strip at the Val­ley in Septem­ber. Given a let-up since and was un­der a strong hold when close up in a jumpout here on Oct 26 be­hind I Am Ex­cited, run­ning along­side the likes of Santa Ana Lane and Red­kirk War­rior. Was third to In Her Time in soft ground in the G1 The Galaxy in March. Goes well fresh and hard to stop here. 1. FAATINAH nor­mally goes well down the straight and likely to come down the grand­stand side from this wide draw, which could be the best go­ing. Fresh­ened since a fight­ing ef­fort be­hind Ball Of Mus­cle at Caulfield and will run well. 7. FELL SWOOP is a G1 per­former and can go well fresh here. Ef­fort­less trial at Moruya to ready him for this. Must be in­cluded and likes it wet. 8. IL­LUS­TRI­OUS LAD is a good straight horse and has tri­alled well for his re­turn. Big chance.

RACE 7

14. WAKA is by the same sire as Derby win­ner Ex­tra Brut and looked good win­ning his maiden at Sale last start. Didn’t have things go his way be­fore the turn but then ran on strongly when clear to win run­ning away. This is harder but shows a lot of prom­ise and ex­tra dis­tance looks to be in his favour. 6. JUNIPAL struck a wet track at Don­ald two runs back and bolted in by 10 lengths. Bat­tled on well be­hind Syd’s Coin at Caulfield at his last run and this class and dis­tance looks ideal. 2. TAVIRUN will ap­pre­ci­ate a drop in grade here and can im­prove. Re­mem­ber he did beat Aris­tia home at the Val­ley three runs back. 3. REAL SUC­CESS was out­classed be­hind Stars Of Car­rum at the Val­ley but was good be­hind Syd’s Coin be­fore that.

RACE 8

Match in three for mine. I’m not pre­pared to sack 4. VERRY ELLEE­GANT. I wasn’t too dis­ap­pointed with her Wake­ful Stakes ef­fort as it was al­most im­pos­si­ble to make ground in a mud­dling run af­fair, where they were al­most 3s out­side the track record. Didn’t re­ally sprint un­til the 800m mark and Verry Ellee­gant did reel off the best clos­ing 600-400m and 400-200m splits of the race. I have no doubts she will run the trip and she had won three form four on soft ground. Stick with her. 1. AM­PHITRITE had no luck in the Em­pire Rose Stakes on Satur­day against the older mares when blocked for a run all the way down the straight. Back against her own age and drawn to ad­van­tage. Some query at the trip but she’s all class. 2. ARIS­TIA sat in a great spot and proved too strong in the Wake­ful. She is very hon­est and will run the trip right out. 6. SIZZLEME is hon­est and will sit on speed. Has some claims.

RACE 9

3. HUMMA HUMMA de­serves a break through. Beaten a lip by Sun­light at Caulfield in Au­gust and then twice placed in stakes grade at the Val­ley be­fore again chas­ing home the mighty Sun­light at Caulfield. Yet to run down the straight and un­known in the wet but she’s drawn to get to the out­side fence and that could help her. Also ex­pect a bet­ter ef­fort from 5. MULTAJA. Fresh­ened since fail­ing at Caulfield but did well in a re­cent jump out. Should be storm­ing home, Like­wise 6. AS­SERTIVE PLAY. With­out luck re­cently and was not far away as favourite be­hind Beauty at the Val­ley. Will come down the out­side and has claims. 1. MERYL is very con­sis­tent and sure to be in the fin­ish again.

Viri­dine.

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