Wed, Jan 25, 10:03am by Senior Writer
Australia Day is traditionally the turning point as the racing season heads towards its secondary peak, the autumn, with a crucial meeting at Caulfield featuring the first major two-year old races of the year in Victoria.
We’ve got two Blue Diamond Previews, which usually set the scene for Victoria’s best two-year-old races later in the autumn.
Those races can be notoriously hard to predict due to the numbers of first starters, we’ve got seven first starters in the colts’ division and six in the fillies’ division. The betting on those races will be very interesting to follow.
The raced horses dominate the market in the colts’ division with David Hayes’ Wait For No One, a winner of the Debutant Stakes in the spring, a $3 favourite. Hayes, Dabernig et al also have the top pick in the fillies race, the very handy Tulip.
WATCH: Our Preview of Australia Day at Caulfield
We’ve gone elsewhere for our best of the day, Race 6, No.1 First Approval.
This colt comes down from Sydney to contest this race and I love it when Peter and Paul Snowden bring a horse down to Melbourne. Their win percentage at Caulfield in recent years is around the 30 per cent mark.
He’s had two runs this campaign for a second and a third and while they’ve been nothing to write home about, I think he’s ready to win up to 1600m here. The other thing is that this as a BM70, is not a very strong race.
He’s opened at $4.20, which seems good value as well. I’m confident that so long as Kerrin McEvoy finds some cover from that wide barrier, he’ll be coming over the top of them late,
Value is hard to find as there are a lot of even races and the markets are pretty tight, but we’ve gone for one in the opener, a horse called Ashlee Marie (No.5).
She’s been all over the place in terms of her distances this campaign, but I’m convinced 2000m is her best bet and it’s the last distance she won over. She’ll also appreciate Caulfield, which should suit her front running style, especially early in the day.
You can expect Craig Newitt to up the speed early in the race and really test the legs of the rest of them. She’s $13 in early markets, which is value in my mind for a mare who will lead most of the way, if not hopefully all of the way.
The rest of the meeting will be fascinating to watch. Here’s our full preview of the day.
Race 1 Anne Billings Hcp – 2000m
1st: 5. Ashley Marie ($13)
2nd: 4. My Sanctuary ($6)
3rd: 7. Unfurl ($7.50)
4th: 1. Jennio ($9)
Comment: Difficult race to kick things off, but this looks like a good one for Ashley Marie for the reasons stated above. Expect her to go to the front and prove hard to run down. My Sanctuary is in good form and is building to a win. Lacks turn of foot but should settle closer from inside barrier. Unfurl is also in good form and was just run down late at Sandown, while Jennio is another Weir horse who is travelling well, with a win not far away.
Confidence: Confident that Ashley Marie is the best value in the race and is worth an each way play.
Race 2 Clanbrooke Racing Hcp – 1400m
1st: 2. Kenedna ($5.50)
2nd: 4. Giroux ($5.50)
3rd: 8. Summer Wind ($4.40)
4th: 3. Domesticated ($6.50)
Comment: Good race this made slightly pooer by the scratching of Crystal Fountain. Kenedna won well at Echuca two back and then got too far back before running home well at Flemington. Expect her to settle closer here. Summer Wind improved greatly out to the 1300m last time and the step up to 1400m suits greatly. Giroux was narrowly beaten at this track and distance last time out and will settle close from an inside barrier. Domesticated won well at Mornington and has a let-up since.
Confidence: Tough race, but Kenedna looks the best of them.
Race 3 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview – 1000m
1st: 3. Property ($4.80)
2nd: 2. Wait for No One ($3)
3rd: 1. Azazel ($4)
4th: 8. Overshare ($7)
Comment: Good colts’ division. Property’s first start was very good and he was beaten by a nice one. He’ll improve here into this race and is the one they need to beat given his fitness edge. Wait For No One was excellent in two spring runs, but may need this hitout to get back to his best. It’s a similar story for Azazel, who won well first start. Has talent but may find the 1000m too slick. Overshare is the best of the unraced based on a couple of strong recent jumpouts.
Confidence: Not sure this is a race where you want to be betting with a lot of confidence. It will, however, be a very interesting race to watch from a Blue Diamond perspective.
Race 4 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview – 1000m
1st: 1. Limestone ($3.30)
2nd: 2. Tulip ($2.70)
3rd: 3. Miss Wahoo ($9)
4th: 4. Spoils ($10)
Comment: Another difficult race to call, but there is plenty of betting confidence in Limestone, who has been $4.50 into $3.30. That’s good enough for us. She was utterly dominant on New Year’s Day and that fitness level is significant coming into this race. Tulip swooped home to score well at the Valley and looks to have talent. Slight question over her ability to do that at Caulfield. Miss Wahoo has got serious ability and was beaten only by Limestone last time, while Spoils split Miss Wahoo and Wait For No one first-up. Look out for a big betting move for her.
Confidence: Very confident that Limestone might prove to be a very, very good two-year-old, happy to be on her here.
Race 5 Swettenham Stud Championship Final – 1700m
1st: 1. Refulgent ($5.50)
2nd: 4. Lucky Paddy ($3.80)
3rd: 3. The Bowler ($14)
4th: 5. Our Bottino ($6)
Comment: We know this lot of horses very well. This is a winnable race for Refulgent, who was very tough two back and was outclassed last time. He has a good record at Caulfield and gets Brad Rawiller back on, who has eight wins on this horse from 18 rides. Lucky Paddy was good at his two most recent runs and can test his stablemate again here. The Bowler is the value dropping back in class. Our Bottino won the Camperdown Cup well last time and should improve again.
Confidence: Reasonably confident in Refulgent here. He tends to hold his form.
Race 6 Moorokyle Park Thoroughbred Hcp – 1600m
1st: 1. First Approval ($4.20)
2nd: 2. Hard Promise ($3.10)
3rd: 6. Charlie Cheval ($7.50)
4th: 5, Astley
Comment: Not always keen on a BM70 race on a metro meeting, but this one shapes as decent with a couple of good horses at the top of the weights. As mentioned earlier, think this race looks a good one for First Approval who has been progressing well in Sydney and comes south ready to win this. He may have a class edge. Hard Promise was good in two country wins and is the obvious challenger here on his home track. Charlie Cheval won his maiden impressively midweek and looks a promising horse, while Astley has been very good the past two.
Confidence: Very confident in First Approval‘s chances in this race. He should be winning.
Race 7 John Dillon Stakes – 1400m
1st: 3. Grande Rosso ($5)
2nd: 8. Duke of Brunswick ($6)
3rd: 5. Cavaloce ($5.50)
4th: 1. Real Love ($8.75)
Comment: A really even race with several quality gallopers running around. Grande Rosso is in superb form winning two of his past three and this looks an entirely suitable race for him. He is flying. Duke of Brunswick can measure up here, He was good first-up and has never missed a place second up. Cavaloce was good in Group company last time and has three wins over the 1400m, while Real Love appeals first up off a big spring campaign.
Confidence: Very confident that backing the horse in best form is a good approach at this time of year and Grande Rosso is exactly that.
Race 8 Mypunter.com Hcp – 1200m
1st: 10. Jalan Jalan ($6.50)
2nd: 9. Domesday Warrior ($7.50)
3rd: 2. Roman Fizz ($12)
4th: 8. Armada ($14)
Comment: Tough race to finish off but Jalan Jalan can win first-up, as she has before. She’s got talent to burn this girl and a big finish and she should get a good run from an inside alley and power over the top of them late. Domesday Warrior was very stiff at his most recent run (we were on) and hopefully can benefit from a slightly more positive ride this time around. Roman Fizz has won three of his past four and can be competitive here, while Armada can improve in these conditions.
Confidence: Highly confident Jalan Jalan can show up here and she looks good value.
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