Fri, Mar 31, 1:01pm by Senior Writer
The Championships dominate the racing landscape this weekend, while for the second week in a row in Victoria, we are going on a road-trip with Bendigo to host its standalone Saturday meeting.
The Bendigo meeting is a tough one, but I think there are a few clear cut top picks in a few of the races. There are also a few races you may want to leave alone. It’s that type of day.
Our Best Bet was going to be Limestone, but she’s been scratched, so I’ve stuck with the same stable, Darren Weir, in a different race. Burning Front, Race 7 No.1, has won five straight and can add to the picket fence here in the Golden Mile.
He has been well placed but he’s in awesome form and is always hard to get past. At $3.40, he looks a good bet.
If you are after some value, then that comes up in race 5 No.14, Orient Line.
He hasn’t won in a while, but this looks an entirely suitable race and he should relish the wide open spaces of Bendigo. He should get a good run from barrier 2 and be right in the finish.
Our Sydney racing correspondent has already previewed the big meeting on Saturday, but for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the four Group 1s.
In the Doncaster, which is a magnificent race, I’m a big fan of Le Romain. I reckon he’s the most underrated horse in the country. The only horse to beat him in his last four starts is Winx. He’s drawn well and gets through the mud. He might just be too classy.
WATCH: Our Preview of the big weekend of racing
In the Derby, I’m on the superbly named Gingernuts. This Kiwi has emerged as a future star of the sport off the back of four big wins, including the New Zealand Derby two starts back. He won the Rosehill Guineas brilliantly last time and at $3.40 looks a great bet.
In the TJ Smith, I’m all over Voodoo Lad. He’s a great price at $15 when you look at his soft track form and his great first-up second in the Newmarket. The Sires is always a tough race, but think Diamond Tathagata is another one at good odds at around $17.
Here’s our race by race preview for Bendigo.
Race 1 Mypunter.com – (1100m)
1st: 3. Orujo ($14)
2nd: 5. Lonrockstar ($8.50)
3rd: 2. Sebring Sun ($3.50)
4th: 4. Marwood ($6.50)
Summary: Orujo comes off a slightly disappointing run last time but loves Bendigo where he has won before and this looks a very winnable race. Lonrockstar has been building to a win and has also won here before. Sebring Sun drops back in class and will be competitive, while Marwood is a three-time first-up winner, who has been well backed.
Race 2 Vic Racing Club Trophy – (1000m)
1st: 1. Ashlor ($7)
2nd: 5. Sacred Sham ($2.90)
3rd: 7. Liberty Song ($31)
4th: 3. If Not Now When ($13)
Summary: Ashlor looks to be a very progressive galloper and happy to be on him at around $7 in this. Won well first-up and can go on with it. Sacred Sham will be winning soon having run well in a midweeker last time when just beaten. Liberty Song ran a good race at this track two back and can figure in this race at huge odds while If Not Now When won on this day last year and could rediscover his best form fresh into this.
Race 3 Vobis Gold Rush – (1000m)
1st: 3. Speed Street ($3.80)
2nd: 1. Wait For No One ($4.60)
3rd: 2. Seized ($7.50)
4th: 11. Je Suis Tycoon ($10)
Summary: This race has been thrown wide open by Limestone’s withdrawal. Have opted for Speed Street. He was good behind a promising horse first up and has the services of Victoria’s most in form jockey in Beau Mertens. Wait For No One steps back in class and could prove very hard to catch out in front. Seized was beaten but not disgraced first up and can figure here, while Je Suis Tycoon is one of two first starters from Henry Dwyer’s yard, who won this race last year.
Race 4 Jayco Hcp – (2400m)
1st: 9. Richard of Yorke ($2.60)
2nd: 3. Snitzelwood ($4.60)
3rd: 5. Goodwill ($5.50)
4th: 4. Hans Holbein ($8.50)
Summary: Very interesting race but you’d think on his huge Sandown win and the fact he gets in on the minimum, Richard of Yorke will be winning this. Snitzelwood was very good at Mornington last week and should back-up well into this. Goodwill is a consistent stayer, albeit beaten a long way by the favourite last time. Can improve on that around Bendigo. Stablemate Hans Holbein ran his best race since coming to Australia at Flemington last time. Worth watching.
Race 5 Schweppes Australia Hcp – (1300m)
1st: 14. Orient Line ($8.50)
2nd: 7. Cannyescent ($5)
3rd: 10. Coram ($16)
4th: 3. Broadway and First ($4.40)
Summary: Tough race, but think there’s same real value here with Orient Line, who as I mentioned earlier is our best value of the day. Hasn’t won in nearly two years but is building towards a victory and drops significantly in class while staying at a winnable weight of 56kg. Patrick Moloney has ridden him in both his previous wins. Cannyescent looked like he needed the run at 1400m and drops back to 1300m here and will be competitive. Coram is busting for a win, something he hasn’t done for 18 months, but this could be his day. Broadway and First has been winning, and by big margins, including over this track and distance two back. Has to be included.
Race 6 Catanach’s Gold Bracelet – (1400m)
1st: 10. Quilate ($7)
2nd: 6. Queen of Wands ($17)
3rd: 7. Amarela ($26)
4th: 1. Kaniana ($17)
Summary: Honestly don’t want to play in this race. There’s nothing much to get excited about except perhaps some value among our selections. Quilate got a deserved win last time and happy to have her on top on that win and her previous form. Queen Of Wands was ridden horribly last time and will love getting home late down the long Bendigo straight. Amarela was ok first up and is a winner at this track before. When you look at her fourth in the Kilmore Cup last time in, $26 looks overly generous. It’s a similar story for Kaniana. It was a so-so first-up run but she has won second up before and won a Group 3 race at the Valley last campaign.
Race 7 Golden Mile – (1600m)
1st: 1. Burning Front ($3.40)
2nd: 2. He Or She ($8)
3rd: 2. Jacquinot Bay ($21)
4th: 7. Zebrinz ($7)
Summary: Good race with a good horse at the top of the market. Burning Front has been a cash cow for connections this campaign and there is no reason he won’t just go to the front and win again here. Weir is a genius at getting his horses to produce multiple wins and this guy if the poster child for that approach. He Or She had a bad day last time put, but at his best is right up to winning this. This class of race should suit Jacquinot Bay, who has two previous second-up wins and was given a tough run first up. Should get a better steer this time around you’d hope. Zebrinz is in good form and must be considered
Race 8 Bendigo Guineas – (1400m)
1st: 2. Achi Baba ($5)
2nd: 9. Kazio ($7)
3rd: 6. So Poysed ($7.50)
4th: 13. Nina’s Ballerina ($6.50)
Summary: Another race where the favourite has been scratched. That leaves us with Achi Baba on top. He comes back from a Group 2 in Sydney into what now looks a very winnable race. Kazio looks a horse going places and from a good barrier can figure in tin an open race. Similar story for So Poysed who has the added experience of having won a race here last October. Nina’s Ballerina is also a Bendigo winner, albeit over 1100m three weeks ago, but she gets a good alley and a star young jockey on her side.
Race 9 Gold FM – (1400m)
1st: 6. Sadaqa ($5)
2nd: 7. Top Me Up (43)
3rd: 8. Bradman ($18)
4th: 2. Lord Durante ($51)
Summary: Tough way to finish off, but we were on Sadaqa last time when he was a touch unlucky to be beaten by Top Me Up at Flemington and we think he can turn the tables here. Top Me Up will again give him something to chase and is an obvious danger, while Bradman has won at this track before and his form is more than solid. Lord Durante is tough as old boots and can figure in this race at massive odds.
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