The Sportsman Weekend
Degraves is too classy
Talented import to bounce back
How the race will be run: The weather prediction is dire for later today and into tomorrow. Some 30mm of rain predicted this afternoon evening and going into tomorrow, so the track conditions could change dramatically. And watch for pattern early on. We know the Valley can really suit front runners if it gets too heavy. Pace here should come from Sealion, Benczkowski and Shadow Hawk.
My view: Venting looks a promising type and this a natural progression for him. Loved the way he made up a lot of ground in the straight to win running away at Bendigo on debut. His closing sectionals were only fair for the day but it was the style of win – getting back early, moving into the race on
turn and showing great acceleration down running. He will have learned a lot from the experience and it was on a soft 7, so should handle any track condition here. Drawn well to get the run of the race in midfield. Sandy Prince looks the logical danger. He seemed to handle the heavy 10 okay at Moe win in a small field and then simply too good for his rivals Hillside two weeks ago. Drawn to be on pace again and getting better with every run. Liked the way Sunfall stuck to his task to win at Flemington last start. Has paid the price with more weight this time but does like the sting out of ground. Forgot You is still a maiden but he probably shouldn’t be. Luck hasn’t been on his side but he is smart and will derive a lot of benefit from his effort behind Sunfall last start.
Suggested bet: Venting to win.
How the race will be run: Expecting Skiddaw and Kamien to take up running with Mark The Horse. Ghost Doctor will rave handy along Facemask and Mr Brightside.
My view: Alcyone returned as a gelding at Hillside and didn;t have to go around a horse he drove through along the rails and was dominant to beat Excelida convincingly. He produced the fastest 400-200 split of the day and race fastest last 200m still looked to me to have a bit up his sleeve. Don’t forget he has beaten Derby winner Johnny Get Angry and was beaten a nostril by the high class Cherry Tortoni in Listed grade at Flemington last year. He’s loaded with talent, suited by extra distance and liked the wet. Just has to negotiate this tighter track be a big threat. Mr Brightside is very smart and progressing through the grades well, He was dominant beating another handy type in Eagles Crag at Hillside last start and kept fresh since. He will make his own luck on speed hard to overcome. Chief Altony always seems to have a hard luck story and maybe the wide barrier will help him here. He may be able to get a trailing position and stay out of trouble. The last time he struck heavy track, he bolted in, so conditions could suit him. Orleans Rock gets the blinkers on and he’s another who has shown a liking for the wet.
Suggested bet: Alcyone each way.
How the race will be run:Taunting will try to lead but will have Generation coming across from outside alley take him on and Exceed Expect and Bifrost won’t be far away.
My view: Think the race sets up well for Athelric. The only main concern I have is not sure about him on really wet ground. He did fail in soft 7 ground last prep. Banking him being more mature now and he is bred to handle the wet. Fingers crossed. Thought he was very good at this track behind He’s Exceptional when they went hard early. With Taunting and Generation engaged the prospect of a hot speed, it may help Athelric finish over the top of them late. Generation did a lot work in front when resuming but still boxed on gamely behind Ingratiating. He’ll be a lot better and just has to overcome the wide draw. Taunting has been good in two soft South Aussie wins but jumps dramatically in class. He has been producing good figures and he seems to like it wet. Watch for an improved showing from Brigantine. Pulled up lame last start but freshened and the stable does have an opinion of him.
Suggested bet: Athelric each way
How the race will be run: Not Usual Glorious looks the pacemaker here. Pancho and Salsamor will be handy Degraves and Heart Of Puissance won’t be far away.
My view: With the claim for Alana Kelly, Degraves comes in with 3kg under limit. That’s going to make him very hard to beat, especially if the track does get wet. He was brilliant winning his Australian debut at Flemington and June and had first run for eight weeks to do a lot of chasing work before tiring late behind Viral here a fortnight back. And the track may have been too firm for him. Will welcome the sting out of the ground here, drawn to get a gun run off the speed and is the one they have to beat. I’ve got some time for Coolth, who improving. Loved the way he hit the line here two weeks back and he drops 3.5kg in this harder race. He’ll get back but will relish this distance and be charging home. Heart Of Puissance but has trialled well also looks nicely treated at the weights. Pancho is very honest and will be on pace throughout.
Suggested bet: Degraves to win.
How the race will be run: Esta La Roca only knows one way – helter skelter. Should lead from The Inferno, Portland Sky, Fine Dane and Sir Kalahad.
My view: Have to be with September Run and just hope the track is not too wet. First-up last campaign, it took superstar Nature Strip to beat her in the Lightning over this trip at Flemington and don’t forget the last time she was at track she wasn’t beaten far by Masked Crusader in the G1 William Reid. There will be a hot speed on here, the small field suits, she has trialled well and ready to steam over top of them. Portland Sky is an Oakleigh Plate winner and he too has trialled well for his return. Should enjoy good run on speed and will be hard to run down. Esta La Roca does love this track and trip and she will take running down. The Inferno can improve sharply on his first-up run when he had a poor recovery rate. He is a dual G1 winner in Singapore.
Suggested bet: September Run to win.
How the race will be run: Expecting pace to come from out wide here, with Larkspur Run, Queen Of Dubai and Asteroidea trying to take up the running.
My view: I have a big opinion of Argentia and can’t wait to see what she produces here. She was superb in winning on debut down the straight at Flemington in June. Loved her acceleration last 150m to put the issue beyond doubt quickly. She won a trial at Cranbourne last month stuck against the fence in the heavy when every other winner on the day came wider and then she was on heavy ground again in a jumpout last week Mornington and did what she needed to do. Drawn perfectly here to get a gun run off speed and her class will carry her a long way. Nothing wrong with the debut win of Zouzarella here two weeks ago. She will be even further improved with that experience. Scorched Earth is a little underrated and thought she was brave behind Gimmie Par at Caulfield three weeks back. All the better for that outing and also drawn well. Mac ‘N’ Cheese has talent and will be running on.
Suggested bet: Argentia to win.
How the race will be run: Great Again and Bella Nipotina will hold forward spots from good draws and try to keep out Ancestry crossing from wide. Pimtoff will also roll forward from wide draw, as will Front Page if he gets a start.
My view: I want to be with Aysar at good odds. He was heavily backed to start favourite down the straight at Flemington when resuming but finished well back behind The Astrologist. Had excuses as he pulled up with a poor recovery rate. Since had jump out at Flemington and cruised along in a fast heat won by Tofane. He gets the blinkers back on here, draws perfectly to get the gun run off speed and he can threaten these late. Ancestry is a big threat. Hde just needed that run when resuming here fortnight ago. Has a great second-up record, has won five of eight wet track starts and two from two this track/trip. This may be short of Wild Planet’s best but he has jumped out well and looks ready to run first-up. Pintoff is going too well to leave out.
Suggested bet: Aysar each way.
How the race will be run: Sovereign Award set a solid tempo in front with Shot Of Irish and Streets Of Avalon doing the chasing.
My view: The forgotten horse here is Nonconformist. Thought he was very good when resuming behind Sierra Sue at Caulfield three weeks back. Didn’t really see clear galloping room late and his closing sectionals were impressive. Likes the sting out of the ground and his only start at this track produced the best win his career when he bolted in in Alister Clark. Like fact he’s drawn wide as he’ll be able to swoop on them late. Great value. Sierra Sue is right back to her best and she draws to get the run of the race here. Big threat. Superstorm was also impressive running on late behind Sierra Sue and he’s ready to unleash. Elephant jumps a lot in class but he is loaded with talent. Watch the two imports Dawn Patrol and Port Guillaume.
Suggested bet: Nonconformist each-way.
How the race will be run: Think We’re Due leads with Toryjoy. Cormorant, Wicklow Town and Don’t Doubt Dory should be handy.
My view: Hi Stranger looks hard to beat again, especially after the claim and coming in now with just 1kg over the limit. He was too good for No Effort here two starts back and again beat that horse home at Caulfield last start. No Effort was then superb winning in stake class last week. Unbeaten this course and distance and handle the wet. Draws to get a nice run off speed will go close again. Skyman was excellent when resuming here two weeks back and only just beaten by Viral. Has a good second-up record can handle the soft ground. Just needs to overcome wide draw. Cormorant has excellent Britiish-Irish form lines. He’s an on pacer with a bit of quality about him and has to be included. Viral was good here last start and rates a chance again.
Suggested bet: Hi Stranger to win.