Fri, Mar 9, 7:36am by Staff Writer
Melbourne racing is back at Flemington this Saturday, backing up after last week’s Australian Guineas meeting. This week, the rail is out four-metres and the track will be good.
The Group 1 Newmarket (1200m) is one of the features of the day with 15 set to tackle the famous straight. Redkirk Warrior ($7) is going for back-to-back wins in the Newmarket after breaking all records when taking this race out last year when first-up. This year he’s carrying top weight and is second-up after winning the G1 Lightning (1000m) when nosing out Redzel in the final stride. He’s won three from four at the track with his only blemish coming in the G1 Darley Classic (1200m) of the spring. So Si Bon ($20) is a new addition to the Hayes/Daberning stable, and he’ll try replicate what ‘Redkirk’ did last year while stable mates Catchy ($11), Thronum ($13) and Fastnet Tempest ($31) also line up.
Merchant Navy ($5) won the G1 Coolmore (1200m) over this track and distance last spring and the win almost had to be seen to be believed. He’s won five from seven and he’s also second-up after a close third – beaten 0.4L – to Super Cash in the G2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.
Brave Smash ($7.50) recorded his second win in Australia – and fourth overall – when taking out the G1 Futurity (1400m) last start, with this his first try at Flemington. Stable mate Ken’s Dream ($23) has won two from his past three with both those wins being at this track, the most recent over 1200m. Rich Charm ($7.50) has won three from five at the track – and eight from 18 overall – with a strong G2 win down the straight on Derby Day last spring.
A field of 12 have accepted for the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) with the in-form Gailo Chop ($2.80) opening as favourite as he looks to make it three straight victories this campaign. Both wins this prep have been at Caulfield – first-up when taking out the G3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) and most recently when accounting for Single Gaze ($8) and Hartnell ($8) in the G2 Peter Young (1800m). Single Gaze has been runner-up at both her starts this time in, including a first-up second to Hartnell in the G1 CF Orr (1400m) when beaten 0.1L.
Team Williams saddle up three runners, Almandin ($6), The Taj Mahal ($7) and Homesman ($11). Almandin and Homesman went head-to-head last start with the latter coming out on top in a photo-finish while The Taj Mahal is first-up since beating Almandin in the G2 Sandown Classic (2400m) of the spring which came after a fourth to Tosen Stardom in the G1 Mackinnon (2000m).
Shillelagh ($4) tops the weights in the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) where she comes into this third-up after finishing in the second half of the field in both the G1 Orr and Futurity – both over 1400m. Last time when third-up she won the G1 Cantala Stakes over this track and distance. Samovare ($2.80) is second up after finishing runner-up to Silent Sedition when fresh after being heavily supported leading into the race. She’s two from two when second-up with two placings from three starts at Flemington. Spanish Reef ($3.90) is the only other runner under double figure odds, and she comes into this off a strong win at the track in BM84 grade over 1400m.
Suggested Bet: The G2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) is a set weights for the three-year-old fillies and while it’s an open field with many chances, keen to back Seannie ($7). She’s returned to form this campaign with a win first-up and a fast-finishing third last start, both at Moonee Valley. The bigger track and step up in distance should suit and although the Flemington 1400m can sometimes favour the leaders – provided back markers get their chance – Seannie is sure to be running home late and at the very least worth an each-way ticket.
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