When Melbourne Cup winning trainer Mark Kavanagh was asked about his rollercoaster spring carnival so far he was quoted as saying ‘It’s not about the disappointments, it’s about how you front up the next day’. After an absolutely ‘shocking’ Cup day on the punt, all I can do is put that behind me as quickly as possible and front up again two days later.
Even though Oaks day is perhaps better known for its fashion than its racing, it still provides another nine opportunities to find a winner. Thanks to relatively cool temperatures and little rain since Tuesday the track should be in a decent condition. Do take note though, with so much wear and tear over the past couple of meetings, the inside was starting to go ‘off’ on Tuesday. It may pay for jockeys to come to the middle of the track today so as to avoid the inferior ground. So here goes:
Race 1 – Seven Two Plate (1800m)
In the first of many extremely open races on the card I have gone with Grail Jeuney. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way he hit the line at Caulfield last start after winning at the provincials his previous run. In a race that looks to have plenty of speed on paper I think he should get the perfect run midfield with cover. Sea Skye didn’t have a lot of luck in the same race at Caulfield and I think he is the big danger who will be finishing hard late. Buffet is the class horse of the race and despite being only second up I expect him to run well, if he is fit enough then he will be extremely hard to beat. Port Vell and Peace Treaty (if he gets a run) are both very promising horses on the up who are suited by the good speed while Tuscany View, Ace Harmony and Timetable also have good chances in what is a very tough race.
- GRAIL JEUNEY
- SEA SKYE
Race 2 – Crown Promenade Stakes (1100m)
The first of three races down the straight on Oaks Day and another typically open mares race with plenty of chances. I really like Impressive Eagle at the sprint distances and expect Leon Macdonald will have her wound up for this. She came from last on the turn to run third in the Robert Sangster at group one level last preparation before proving to be less effective as the distances increased. If she can reproduce her best form she will be hard to beat. Glam Slam should improve second up after not having the best of runs last start at Caulfield. She did beat Gold in Dubai down the straight in June and I suspect she is a pretty talented mare. Seeking Attention has done nothing wrong and couldn’t have been more impressive last start. If she can handle the straight she has another great chance at winning here. Very Discreet looks as though the penny has dropped this preparation. She is the highest rated horse in the race and is coming off two impressive stakes wins in Adelaide – another with a huge chance. Others who could easily win in an impossible race include Solchow, Jaalippy and Our Lona who are as honest as the day is long, Cerberus Gal who finally gets some weight relief and Hairy/Serenissima who are talented Sydney fillies with the class to win this race should they handle the straight.
- IMPRESSIVE EAGLE
- GLAM SLAM
- SEEKING ATTENTION
Race 3 – The Moet and Chandon (1700m)
There probably isn’t a more impressive strike rate in racing than that of Grahame Begg when he brings a horse down to Flemington. He has Devoirs here who ran a great race last start to finish a length second behind the ultra impressive Sublimity. The lack of speed is of some concern however I think she may have the class to overcome it. Impulsive Dream is the obvious danger coming from the exact same form line albeit in a different race. Ran well in group company in Queensland during the winter and will be hard to beat here despite the steadying 58.5kg. Cassini Contest is still a maiden although she does have a stakes placing in Adelaide when third to Custard and some handy form at the provincials behind the likes of Hanks and Shamoline Warrior. Wasn’t a bad effort first up and she should be suited here by the extra distance.
- IMPULSIVE DREAM
- CASSINI CONTEST
Race 4 – T C L Electronics Stakes (1200m)
Trim is a filly I have been waiting to see step out again after showing a huge amount of potential in just her first preparation during the winter at the Queensland carnival. The straight track for the first time is of some concern however the experience of her first preparation should have done her the world of good. Marquardt was scratched from the group one Coolmore Stakes on Saturday for this race and was very good last start behind Avenue at the valley. Cinecitta absolutely brained an average lot at Kyneton last start by six lengths after leading all the way. The interesting thing is the stable obviously have a huge opinion of her as she has the stable jockey Michael Rodd on board rather than her stable mate Luce Del Mare. The second Kavanagh filly probably didn’t handle the soft track last start at Moonee Valley. At her previous start down the straight she was only beaten a short neck by Avenue into second place after being blocked for a run which is obviously terrific form for this. Happy Hippy produced a massive form turnaround last start when second to Love Conquers All in the Brian Crowley at Randwick. That horse was pretty good in the Coolmore on Derby Day and on that run she would be very hard to beat, but she is hard to catch. Pretty looks a promising horse and also wouldn’t suprise.
Race 5 – All Greys (1400m)
You’ve got to love the all greys race even though it can be a minefield when trying to find a winner. Mystical Grey looks a promising horse on the way up. Has won both of his starts this preparation with 59kg, albeit at Benalla, but does now have five wins from thirteen starts. Translation could go around over the odds here after not having any luck last start in Adelaide. Should appreciate the step up in distance and will be finishing hard. No Jurisdiction ran well first up and should be able to put himself in a more forward position over the extra trip. Outlandish Lad has plenty of ability however he has been disappointing when a beaten favourite at his last three starts, wouldn’t surprise me to see him win here. Not A Copy and Tolka Rock are classy however they are paying for it with their weight. Boogaloo is a very good mare but has failed twice at the 1400m, I think she is best when kept to the sprinting trips however she does have the class edge over most of these.
- Mystical Grey
- No Jurisdiction
Race 6 – Crown Oaks (2500m)
The premier staying test for fillies in the spring looks a dead set one horse affair. Faint Perfume couldn’t have been more impressive in the Wakeful and she looks to have the Oaks at her mercy here. Her price may be too short to back straight out, although she looks a special to anchor one out in the first leg of the quaddie. Well Rounded could be the best value place bet. She was unlucky last time behind the boys in the Geelong Classic and the distance should be of no concern. Melito was ridden too far forward last start when a well beaten third in the Wakeful according to jockey Corey Brown. She’s a classy filly and is in the battle for second place. Livia had no luck at Caulfield last start and is another with place claims as is Valdemoro who was very good in the same race. Silent Surround, Princess Rage and Zapurb all look as though they will at least run out the trip and none would surprise if they finished second.
- Faint Perfume
- Well Rounded
Race 7 – Myer Spring Fashion Stakes (1800m)
Don Jose has been very good at his last two starts behind Spacecraft. He looks as though he will appreciate the extra two hundred metres and is drawn to swoop down the outside, which could be a plus later in the day. Kind Diamond actually finished slightly ahead of Don Jose last start after hitting the rail on the turn; he was well beaten by that galloper at his first start although he did have excuses. I can’t split the pair. Reflection won his only start well and the Mick Kent stable must be respected in this situation. Kutchinsky had no chance getting back to last off a slow pace at Flemington last start and is another with a winning hope here. Excuse My French was very good last start and will be right in it if he handles the step up in distance while Viking Hero was only two lengths off my top two selections last start at Caulfield and anything the Moroney stable puts in at the moment must be respected. Turf Express has a chance but is hugely under the odds.
1. Don Jose or King Diamond
Race 8 – Grazia Ultimate Style Guide (1100m)
Taking a line through the Newmarket Handicap I have put Tramuntana on top. He finished over a length in front of Burdekin Blues in that race and is better value here. He will need a lot of luck as he gets a long way back but is worth the risk at the odds. Burdekin Blues is a very good Queenslander with an impressive strike rate. My only concern with him was his previous failure down the straight although that was in a Newmarket Handicap. Keano was disappointing first up but is good enough to give a second chance to. He trialled impressively last week and is one from one down the straight. Trader is an interesting runner who won his only start by four lengths, he will find it much harder here but the stable must have a huge opinion of him. Happy Glen, Diamonds at Dusk and Cardinal Virtue all have winning chances respectively.
- Burdekin Blues
Race 9 – La Vie En Rose Vase (1600m)
It looks like another very tough race to get out of jail in the last. Berringama is a promising horse who had form around Melbourne Cup winner Shocking last preparation. He should appreciate the extra distance here and has no weight on his back. Red Hustler produced a massive run in the Sale Cup last start where he had no luck. If he runs up to his last few he will be very hard to beat. Sadalbari has always looked a promising horse. He has lots of supporters and tends to go around under the odds, however he should be fitter for the last run and he does drop significantly in class. Bolle had no luck in a much better race last start and can improve sharply here. He won over this trip third up last preparation at Moonee Valley and despite the top weight he has to rate a big chance.
1. Berringama or Red Hustler
For more information on the carnival, check out the Racing Victoria website.
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