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Flemington – Lightning Stakes Day – Preview and Best Bets

Fri, Feb 17, 12:40pm by Senior Writer

The attention of the racing world turns to Flemington this Saturday for a race named after Australia’s supermare, the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

We got to see perhaps the heir apparent to Black Caviar’s Queen of the Turf title last Monday when Winx romped home for her 14th consecutive win in the Apollo Stakes.

She has now of course matched Phar Lap’s greatest ever winning streak of 14 and when you consider that there are two Cox Plates in that run, she is certainly close to the best weight-for-age mare that we have seen.

If Winx was able to go unbeaten through 2017 and add a third Cox Plate, then she is certainly worth mentioning her in the same breath as the almighty Black Caviar, who won the Lightning Stakes on three occasions.

The main race on Saturday is a tricky affair and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an upset. I’m a big fan of Spieth, who is a prodigious talent.

In terms of a best bet of the day. I have gone for Race 3 No. 2, Smart Dart.

Smart Dart has had a great campaign, and has won two of his past four starts, including a good win at Moonee Valley two runs back. The form around the races he has been contesting has been outstanding while the drop back to 1200m is to his advantage.

The only concern is that he’s been down the Flemington straight just twice and has failed to figure on either occasion, but I’ll counter that by saying that was over 12 months ago and he has improved many, many lengths in that time. He’s around $5.50 here, which to me looks a great price for a horse whose form is better than his rivals.

For our best value we’ll wait until the last race and a horse who is currently $21 with bookies, which I think is a steal.

That’s Race 9 No.4 Try Four. This guy is spectacular odds when you see the way he charged home last start, first-up from a spell. Check out our video preview to see the replay.
WATCH: Our Preview of Lightning Stakes Day

It was in the same race that Smart Dart was beaten last time and this guy got back a long way and ran the fastest last 200m of the race. I think up to the 1700m second-up at Flemington, which will suit him much better than Caulfield, he is a real winning chance and at $21, is well worth an each way play.

Here is the detailed preview of the nine races on the Flemington card.

Race 1 The Asian Executive Hcp – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Pure Pride ($3.10)

2nd: 5. Diamond Baroness ($4.40)

3rd: 3. Ample On Offa ($8)

4th: 6. Chiavari ($9.50)

Summary: Very even race to start out with but the support has come for Pure Pride, who is first-up after a cracking run in the Myer Classic in the spring. She’s drawn inside, so shouldn’t settle far away, but may need a bit of luck. She is classes above these. Diamond Baroness is in great form having won over this track and distance last time and could be hard to toss. Ample On Offa was a good run when fourth behind Diamond Baroness last time and can improve again here. Chiavari is a model of consistency and is up to 1400m for the first time in his career.

Betting Confidence: Tough race, but confident Pure Pride is the best horse in the race and if she gets a clear run, she will prove hard to stop.

Race 2 JRA Trophy – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Duke Of Brunswick ($2)

2nd: 1. Charlie Boy ($9)

3rd: 2. Greet Esteem ($8.50)

4th: 5. Ancient King ($67)

Summary: Duke of Brunswick won with authority last time and stays at the 1400m for what looks another winnable race. No reason he shouldn’t be winning again here. Charlie Boy was good when fourth behind him last time and is a Flemington winner before. Can figure in the finish here. Great Esteem will lead them up and will improve greatly second up where he has won two of six. Ancient King can figure first-up at massive odds.

Betting Confidence: Very confident in Duke of Brunswick here despite a couple of Flemington failures. Will be having a place bet on Ancient King, who has three wins and a placing in seven first-up runs.

Race 3 Singapore Turf Club Trophy – 1200m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Smart Dart ($4.40)

2nd: 1. Churchill Dancer ($8)

3rd: 5. Well Sprung ($7.50)

4th: 8. So Si Bon ($5.50)

Summary: Looks an even straight race but really, really like Smart Dart here. He has had a great campaign and was gunned down by a good one late last time. This is a much easier race and he carried just 55kg. I’m expecting him to have too much class for these. Churchill Dancer is a Flemington specialist who loves the straight but carries the top weight and was a little flat first-up. Well Sprung finished alongside Churchill Dancer last time and can be competitive in this while So Si Bon can show up first-up.

Betting Confidence: Smart Dart has a fitness edge on his major rivals here and that should see him get the chocolates.

Race 4 Talindert Stakes – 1100m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 12. Pandemonium ($7.50)

2nd: 10. Sanadaat ($8)

3rd: 9. Time Awaits ($6)

4th: 3. Ducimus ($10)

Summary: This is the toughest race all day, but at least we’ve got some exposed form to look at. Have landed on Pandemonium as she would have been improved by her last start run when just over two lengths off two quality fillies last time. Sanadaat showed a great turn of foot to win her first start and gets Craig Williams on board here which is a huge plus. Time Awaits was also excellent last time and was beaten by a very good horse. The stable’s two year olds have won six races this season. Ducimus was a good winner at Ballarat and will take natural improvement here.

Betting Confidence: So much different form coming into this race, it makes it hard to be confident on any of them, but happy to take Pandemonium each-way.

Race 5 The Vanity -1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Legless Veuve ($2.80)

2nd: 3. Harlow Gold ($3.80)

3rd: 4. Extra Olives ($6)

4th: 8. Kenedna ($9.50)

Summary: Always a good race and think Legless Veuve is a standout here. She was excellent first-up in the Manfred Stakes and only has to match that performance. She won second-up last time over 1400m in Group 2 company and you’d be foolish to think she won’t win again here. Harlow Gold beat here home easily in the Thousand Guineas in the autumn, and while she returns here, you feel she might be a touch behind Legless Veuve first-up here. Extra Olives is fit and in form and will likely settle on the pace with the favourite and give her company down the straight. Expect Kenedna to improve on her last start performance with blinkers on.

Betting Confidence: A big fan of Legless Veuve’s first-up run and she should have a class edge on most of these and the fitness edge on her main rival Harlow Gold.

Race 6 CS Hayes Stakes – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Hey Doc ($3.60)

2nd: 1. Seaburge ($4.60)

3rd: 2. Morton’s Fork ($6)

4th: 12 Malaise ($34)

Summary: Another really interesting three-year-old race. Hey Doc’s first-up third was strong and he’ll take considerable performance up to the 1400m second-up. He was super impressive second-up last campaign and ridden with more patience this time, should be too strong for these. Seaburge was beaten less than a length in two Group Ones last campaign so has obvious talent. First-up last time was a little flat and may need this run. The race wasn’t run to suit for Morton’s Fork last time and he should improve off that here at Flemington, while Malaise can improve off a disappointing run last time and be competitive in a race like this.

Betting Confidence: This may be a watch race for races later in the autumn, but if you have to bet, Hey Doc is best placed to win.

Race 7 Ascot Racecourse Trophy – 2000m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 7. Hursley ($3.10)

2nd: 3. Dodging Bullets ($4.80)

3rd: 1. Cadillac Mountain ($7)

4th: 5. Annus Mirabilis ($15)

Summary: This race has been turned on its head by the raceday scratching of Crocodile Rock. It looks well suited to Hursley, who was a victim of tempo and a bit of bad luck last time. You’d expect this race to be much more suited to his racing style and he has now had three runs this time to find full fitness.  Dodging Bullets will be the fittest horse in the race, likes Flemington and is in form. He will be right in the finish here. Cadillac Mountain is slowly building towards a win and given the way the race has fallen away, he gets his chance here. Annus Mirabilis has been in great form, albeit over longer distances

Betting Confidence: Hursley was nice odds with Crocodile Rock in the race, but is now quite short. Still happy to be on him though.

Race 8 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes – 1000m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 7. Spieth ($4.80)

2nd: 1. Terravista ($8.50)

3rd: 11. Flying Artie ($4.60)

4th: 3. The Quarterback ($17)

Summary: Really even and intriguing Group One contest this. They should go quickly out in front and that should suit Spieth, who can unleash a powerful finish from off the pace. He is a serious sprinter and if he has taken improvement from his time in the paddock over summer, can measure up here. Terravista may not be the horse he was a couple of years back but his best performances of late have been first-up. Can be right in the finish here. Flying Artie surprised us all with how good he was in three-year-old class in the spring. He steps up her but can measure up over the 1000m. The Quarterback will be charging home late as he loves to do down the Flemington straight.

Betting Confidence: Spieth might be one of those horsed this campaign who keeps on winning. So very happy to be on him at $4.80 knowing he could be the dominant sprinter of the autumn.

Race 9 HKJC Trophy – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 4. Try Four ($21)

2nd: 9. O’Lonera ($8)

3rd: 8. Divine Mr Artie ($5)

4th: 5. Hard Call ($5.50)

Summary: Tough finish for the day but think we can find some value here. As mentioned earlier, Try Four‘s run last time in a quality race was outstanding. By the time this race is run, we would have seen the first two from that race go around earlier in the day and we will know how that form stands up. If Duke of Brunswick and Smart Dart win earlier in the day, then we can very confident that Try Four measures up here. O’Lonera is a very talented horse going places and comes into this off a good first-up run. Is a second-up winner and can be very competitive in this race. Divine Mr Artie drops back in class and is an obvious threat here, while Hard Call is fit and in excellent form

Betting Confidence: Think Try Four is the best value runner all day and happy to be on him each-way, while having a saver on O’Lonera, who is set for a big campaign.


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