Fri, Jul 27, 8:24am by Staff Writer
The final Victorian metropolitan meeting of this racing season is at Caulfield on Saturday with Darren Weir and Craig Williams taking out their respective trainer and jockey title. On Saturday the rail will be in the true and the track was a soft-5 at acceptances although minimal rain is forecast leading into race day.
The Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) is the feature event of the day with nine runners set to line up. Vega Magic ($2.15) is an interesting runner as he resumes from his ‘flop’ in the G1 Goodwood (1200m) back in May when sent out favourite only to finish midfield – although there may have been excuses. Team Hayes/Dabernig will be hoping he can put in a performance on Saturday that will secure him a slot in this year’s Everest, a race in which he finished second in last year.
Voodoo Lad ($3.50) returned to form with a big win in the G3 John Monash (1100m) last start at Caulfield. He’s four from five at the track with a close second to Bon Aurum in the G1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) the only time he hasn’t won here. Rank outsider Camdus ($71) won in a photo-finish last start at Flemington in Listed grade while the third of the Weir trio is Black Heart Bart ($11) who’s first-up from a break but may find these too zippy over the 1200m.
Inn Keeper ($14) and Jukebox ($7.50) finished behind Voodoo Lad last start and both line up here. It was a big step up in grade for Inn Keeper but he was brave in what was his first defeat this campaign – at his fifth run – while Jukebox opened as favourite in the Monash but was a late drifter and he’ll be better for the run after a lengthy spell prior.
Ardrossan ($8.50) has won two from three – both those wins coming in NZ – and he wasn’t disgraced when finishing seventh of eight in the G2 Rubiton (1100m) back in Feb at only his third career start.
Crystal Dreamer ($34) has won ten from 25 with a further eight placings, and he was sixth of seven in the Monash while Jungle Edge ($26) will always be better the wetter the track but he can be competitive on a firmer surface as well.
While there will be plenty of eyes on the Bletchingly, perhaps the most interesting race of the day is the Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) over in SA at Morphettville which sees Nature Strip ($1.50) head over for Darren Weir and the return of gun filly Sunlight ($2.50).
After Nature Strip’s last run (& victory) it was thought he’d be heading to the Bletchingly but perhaps with the chance of an Everest slot fading, connections have decided to take the seemingly easier option over the shorter trip. He’s two for two under Weir with six wins and two seconds from his nine career starts, the only time he’s missed the placed was three starts back here at Morphettville when fourth.
Sunlight is still a two-year-old and with that she gets in on 52kg. The Tony McEvoy-trained filly has won five from seven including a Magic Millions Classic (1200m) and a G2 Silver Slipper (1100m) with her most recent run when third to Estijaab in the G1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
Suggested Bet: Apprentice Ethan Brown has a good book of rides on Saturday and a couple of wins here would cap off a stellar season for him, and hopefully Just Hifalutin ($3.30, race 4, number 2) will be one of those wins. She’s a consistent mare with a good record who goes well second-up and while there’s good opposition (like Merriest and Princess of Queens to name a couple), will side Just Hifalutin.
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