Fri, Nov 18, 2:31pm by Senior Writer
The Spring Carnival is in its final throes and we head west young man to Ballarat Cup for the standalone spring meeting which officially brings it all to an end.
This meeting has taken various guises over the years, but has found its rightful place as the full stop for the Spring Carnival on the Saturday after the Sandown Classic.
The involvement of Magic Millions in this day has added a couple of strong races to support the Cup, including the Clockwise Classic, the only race run the opposite way in Victoria.
Ballarat is always a tough place to find a winner and to be honest, it’s close to my least favourite punting place in Australia, but regardless, we’ll do our best.
Our best of the day comes up in Race 7, No.3 Secret Agenda. Three starts back, she demolished a G3 field at Caulfield before being competitive over the Caulfield and Flemington carnivals. This race looks a great fit and she’s a $2.80 shot.
WATCH: Our Preview of Ballarat Cup Day
Mick Price also prepares our best value, Chapel Road, in Race 6. Chapel Road opened as long as $16 in some markets but on race eve is into $10.
The Cup is a close to impossible race, but do fancy Lidari is the classiest horse in the race.
Here’s our race by race preview of Ballarat’s day in the sun.
Race 1 Sam Miranda Mares Hcp – 1200m
1st: 3. Entrancing ($3.40)
2nd: 2. Cheeky Babe ($3.20)
3rd: 5. Diamond Baroness ($5.50)
4th: 6. Gold Bar ($19)
Betting: Diamond Baroness is the only horse to have shortened here, opening $6 and coming into $5.50.
Summary: Some strong form in this race. Cheeky Babe and Entrancing fought it out at Moonee Valley last start and are rightly favoured here. Fancy Entrancing can turn the tables here, with a 2kg weight turnaround, with Cheeky Babe the main threat. Diamond Baroness will improve of her first-up second, while Gold Bar could prove the value freshened up.
Betting Confidence: This looks one of the more clear cut races of the day and have a lot of confidence in Entrancing in this
Race 2 City of Ballarat Tonks Plate – 1200m
1st: 1. Mighty Like ($6)
2nd: 2. It is Written ($7.50)
3rd: 4. Smart Dart ($4.20)
4th: 5. Gallant Harmony ($10)
Betting: Again, not a lot of movement here, but Mighty Like has moved in from $6.50 into $6.
Summary: Feel the market has it wrong here. Mighty Like’s best is far better than these and at $6 he looks terrific value. He should have won last start and loves a solidly run 1200m. It is Written has been twice placed at this course is an 8-time winner over the 1200m. Smart Dart will be coming home late, while Gallant Harmony is third up off a long spell and ran second in this race last year.
Betting Confidence: Very confident that Mighty Like will give a good account of himself here. If you can get better than money back the place, it looks like a great bet.
Race 3 Vobis God Eureka Concrete – 1400m
1st: 1. Valiano ($4.80)
2nd: 2. Mr Markou ($4.80)
3rd: 3. Urban Ruler ($2.90)
4th: 9. Toffatin ($9.50)
Betting: Mr Markou has been $5.50 into $4.80, while Urban Ruler has drifted from $2.80 to $2.90.
Summary: Like Valiano here. Went too hard off a wide gate last time, but comes out of one here and can get a sweet run. Has a class edge on these. Mr Markou comes here off good runs in Adelaide and is with an in-form stable. Urban Ruler is fresh into this, which is suitable given he is two from two first-up. Toffatin won his maiden well and is another one in an in-form stable.
Betting Confidence: Even race, but confident Valiano is the best horse in it.
Race 4 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic – 1000m
1st: 1. American Genius ($3.30)
2nd: 3. Algorithm ($11)
3rd: 5. Despatch ($8.50)
4th: 10. Garrard ($4.80)
Betting: The initial market was all a bit wrong, so once that sorted itself out, it’s hard to say where the money has gone. American Genius opened $4.80 and is $3.30. Wait and see what happens on raceday.
Summary: Of the two we have seen, American Genius stands out here. Ran third behind a smart one in his only start and that’s enough to put him on top here. Algorithm comes out of a good yard and had a couple of educational trials in Sydney, so will be suited this way around. Despatch is a trisl winner in Adelaide with a good stable so has to go in, while Garrard is the other one worth considering.
Betting Confidence: Nine unraced and two raced two-year-olds going the wrong way. Leave me out.
Race 5 Suez McKeller Mile – 1600m
1st: 5. Galaxy Raider ($2.40)
2nd: 2. Shockaholic ($6)
3rd: 6. Strong Hand ($21)
4th: 8. Life’s Zerprise ($6)
Betting: Life Zerprise has been $7 into $6, while Dollar for Dollar opened $4.80 and has come into $4.60.
Summary: Galaxy Raider has come back a very good horse as a four-year-old and won by six last time at Sale. If he improves on that, he wins here. Shockaholic is a horse who improves through his campaigns and his win last start at Bendigo was very strong. He’s the main threat. Strong Hand hasn’t won for a while, but has been given four weeks off to sort himself out. He could surprise, while the Adelaide form of Life’s Zerprise looks very strong.
Betting Confidence: Confident Galaxy Raider is on the way up and he should be the one to beat here.
Race 6 – Thomas Jewellers Hcp – 1100m
1st: 4. Chapel Road ($10)
2nd: 2. I’m Wesley ($13)
3rd: 5. Danuki ($7)
4th: 3. Ma Deuce ($3.90)
Betting: Support here for Ma Deuce, who has been $4.40 into $3.90, while most of the rest of the market has shortened with several scratchings.
Summary: Really like Chapel Road here. He is a mad leader and should get to the front and prove hard to run down here. Gets the weight relief with Beau Mertens’ claim. I’m Wesley’s Tassie form looks good for this race and he is nice odds. Danuki’s last start win was tough, just a bit worried by the wide barrier, while Ma Deuce is in in-form and on speed, so is an obvious consideration.
Betting Confidence: Confident that on value, Chapel Road is the best betting prospect in the race.
Race 7 Magic Millions 3&4yo Classic – 1100m
1st: 3. Secret Agenda ($2.80)
2nd: 6. Speedeor ($2.80)
3rd: 5. Dam Ready ($11)
4th: 4. Highland Beat ($16)
Betting: Punters have all but ignored this race so far, with both favourites at $2.80.
Summary: The market tells us it’s a two-horse race, but I feel Secret Agenda has a big class advantage over Speedeor. She’s a two-time Group winner, and has bene competitive with some very good horses this Spring. Speedeor is undoubtedly talented, and his win at Flemington was good, but the relative lack of experience is what worries me about him. Dam Ready’s spring has been consistent and he gets into a more suitable race here at nice odds. Similar story for Highland Beat.
Betting Confidence: Very confident that on exposed form (and not potential) Secret Agenda has these at her mercy.
Race 8 Sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup – 2200m
1st: 2. Lidari ($8.50)
2nd: 1 Turnitaround ($10)
3rd: 4. Taiyoo ($15)
4th: 11. Lady Le Fay ($9)
Betting: Nozomi has been the one they have come for early here and he has been $11 into $8.50., while Scherzoso has been $14 into $11.
Summary: Very, very, very tough race, but have gone for the quality here with Lidari. He has been building to a win and was a very solid third in the Eclipse last week, working home. He was a length in front 200m past the post. Turnitaround won that race and is great form this prep. Should handle the step up in distance without a worry. Taiyoo has built into his campaign, winning the Kyneton Cup last start. Weir’s horses do tend to keep on winning once they break through. Lady Le Fay is due a change of luck after getting in the wrong part of the track in her past two starts.
Betting Confidence: It’s hard to be confident in such an open race. There are probably ten winning chances. With that in mind, look for value.
Race 9 Hertz Hcp – 2300m
1st: 6. Shirkapour ($7)
2nd: 1. Loving Home ($17)
3rd: 3. Charlevoix ($5)
4th: 11. Rakti Roulette
Betting: Sly Romance has been $31 into $17, while King of England had been $9.50 into $9.
Summary: Shirkapour has put in a couple of so-so runs, but is a Ballarat winner and should relish the trip. Loving Home will appreciate getting to a roomier track after a couple of poor runs, while Charlevoix is drawn well and gets to his preferred distance range second up. Throw Rakti Roulette in there too.
Betting Confidence: Was confident that I’ll Fly Away is on her way up and this looks a suitable race, but she;s a late scratching. Leaves Shirkapour on top.
Race 10 Isuzu Hcp – 1400m
1st: 12. Septamore ($4.20)
2nd: 9. Duibio ($3.20)
3rd:11. Act of Valour ($5)
4th: 4. What’s in a Name ($34)
Summary: Interesting race to finish off. Feel Septamore is well-placed with a good weight in this. Was unlucky last time and gets to his favourite distance. Duibio was very good first-up in a race where he had three subsequent winners behind him. Second up last time he won a 1200m race at Flemington. Act of Valour was just behind Septamore last start, which lines him up well for this while the absolute blowout could be Adelaide visitor What’s In a Name.
Betting Confidence: It’s the last race on Ballarat Cup day, why wouldn’t you back Weir and Yendall (Septamore)
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