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Flemington Saturday – Best Bets, Preview and Odds

Fri, Jan 13, 11:10am by Senior Writer

Saturday’s Melbourne racing is staged at Flemington for Chester Manifold Stakes day in what looms a tough day on the punt.

But like the man who revolutionised Victorian racing by setting up the TAB in 1961, Chester Manifold himself, we love a challenge here at

It’s a tough day because our ratings tell us that there is not a lot of clear cut chances in any of the races. The shortest-price favourite according to our odds is around $3, which does not give us a lot of confidence in picking winners one out.

That’s why every week we pick out four horses in each race for you to look at. The four picks are in preference order, but on days like Saturday, it is best to play a little wider, look for value, or play multiples.

WATCH: Our Preview of both Flemington and Magic Millions Day

Having said that, we’ve found a Best Bet and Best Value for you as usual and we are confident these two should give you a good showing.

I’m a big fan of No.2 Lord Aspen in the main race, the Chester Manifold Stakes. This guy loves Flemington, having won twice here from four starts and he loves the 1400m, where he has three wins from four starts.

He ran an excellent fourth here two weeks ago over 1200m, and clearly trainer Mick Huxtable has this race in mind. He gets a nice barrier and at $6.50 looks attractively priced. I don’t often pick a Best Bet at that price, but I’m very confident he’ll be right in the finish.

In terms of a best value, we’ve gone for Race 9, No. 7 Domesday Warrior.

Domesday Warrior comes out of the same race Lord Aspen did, the Standish on New Year’s Day where he ran a close up sixth in Group 3 company. He drops back to a benchmark 78 here, and goes down 1kg in weight! This guy loves the Flemington straight and looks well suited here. You are getting $10 about him for one reason, he is trained by a low-profile trainer.

I’ll take the each-way about him all day here.

Here is the preview for the entire Flemington meeting,

Race 1 – Better Beyond Hcp – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Widgee Turf ($2.90)

2nd: 3. Emptor ($3.10)

3rd: 8. Dazzy Day ($17)

4th: 2. Oak Door ($4.20)

Summary: Race in two this between Widgee Turf and Emptor. Widgee Turf gets the nod because he won over this track and distance two back. Got a good run that day, but should get it again here from barrier five. Should have won again last time. Emptor looked solid on his Vic debut and the step up to 1400m looks to suit. He’s drawn one and should get the right run just behind the pace. Dazzy’s Day looks value on his good maiden win two back. Got too far back last time. Oak Door got a deserved win midweek last time and is a very consistent horse.

Betting Confidence: The top two in the market look to have ti between them. Confident Widgee Turf is at the peak of his preparation here

Race 2 Seascay Hcp – 2000m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Hell or Highwater ($3.10)

2nd:4. Arianne ($13)

3rd: 2. Honey Cara ($3.10)

4th: 3. Vandancer ($3.90)

Summary: Hell or Highwater is a tremendously consistent mare who steps up to 2000m for the first time. After a very good run in Listed company over 1700m last time, this looks a winnable race for him. Arianne drops back to 2000m here, which I think suits her. She hasn’t won in a while, but is good odds in suitable class here. Honey Cara is in great form, but sense her best is a little below that of the toppie, despite beating Hell or Highwater home over a couple of months back. Vandancer looks a promising stayer and was a tough winner last time.

Betting Confidence: Confident that Hell or Highwater will be too good for these, but will want to back Arianne as the value.

Race 3 Meadow Mist Hcp – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Vital Importance ($4.40)

2nd: 2. Deja Blue ($7)

3rd: 5. Ma Jones ($8)

4th: 3. Princess Arrow ($5.50)

Summary: Not an easy race this one, but feel Vital Importance is ready to win again after two good runs in the past month including a narrow second last time out at Caulfield. Can forgive Deja Blue‘s last run here and going on his tough win two back, and the fact he comes from an inside barrier here, is certainly worth consideration. Ma Jones is unbeaten in two runs second up and will improve greatly on her first-up run. Princess Arrow has won three straight in the country, the last two by good margins and can measure up here.

Betting Confidence: Not a great deal between these lot, but confident Deja Blue and Ma Jones might prove value

Race 4 Piping Lane Hcp -1100m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Invincible Al ($4.20)

2nd: 4. Cappanello ($7)

3rd: 1. Barthelona ($4.50)

4th: 7. Hellbound ($14)

Summary: Another tough race, but Invincible Al has done nothing this campaign to dent our confidence. Won well at Pakenham before two big seconds his past two. His racing style makes him a bit of a heart stopper, but if there’s pace on he’ll storm late. Capannello looks progressive and will appreciate a quieter ride this time. Barthelona has a bit of a boom about him, but prepared to risk over 1100m first-up. Hellbound might be the one at value.

Betting Confidence: Do like Invincible Al to get back in the winner’s circle here

Race 5 Arbroath Hcp – 1000m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 4. Beau Rada ($4.20)

2nd: 3. General Truce ($9)

3rd: 9. Rock ‘n’ Gold ($6.50)

4th: 5. Grane ($12)

Summary: These 1000m race are always tricky, but feel Beau Rada can break through for a much deserved win here. Was very unlucky last time at Moonee Valley as he was two back here over the 1100m. Smaller field should mean less trouble. General Truce also doesn’t win often but loves Flemington, where he has won five times. Hasn’t been a great deal between he and Beau Rada at his last three and is another one that just needs some luck. Rock ‘n’ Gold has not been far away either his past few. Can contend with a light weight here. Grane‘s run two back here is enough to think he can also figure in the finish at good odds.

Betting Confidence: This is not a race you want to be relying on to make money. At the furlong, there will be eight of them stretched across the track and luck may well decide the winner. Beau Rada has the most scope to overcome that luck and win, but play with caution.

Race 6 Rain Lover Hcp – 2500m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Soviet Courage ($5)

2nd: 2. Hale Soriano  ($7.50)

3rd: 7. Sir Laszlo ($8.50)

4th: 8. Oncidium Ruler ($2.45)

Summary: Interesting mix of stayers in this race, with Soviet Courage coming out on top as he’s the new kid on the block and won well over 2400m in BM company two back. Didn’t have a great amount of luck in the Christmas Cup last time and looks progressive. Like the engagement of Damien Oliver from Chris Waller too. Hale Soriano has been gradually improving this campaign and gets into a winnable class of race here. Also like the chances of one of Weir’s other runners in Sir Laszlo, who has been battling a bit this campaign but drops in weight and gets Dean Yendall in the saddle. Oncidium Ruler broke through last start and can figure again here. 

Betting Confidence: An even bunch of stayers which will ensure we play conservatively here, but feel Soviet Courage is a clear top pick.

Race 7: Chester Manifold Stakes – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Lord Aspen ($6.50)

2nd: 4. Grande Rosso ($4.80)

3rd: 8. Divine Mr Artie ($4)

4th: 6. Airalign ($6)

Summary: Good race and really like Lord Aspen here. As mentioned above, his love of Flemington is clear and his last start effort pointed to him winning next time. There are some good quality in-form opposition however, headed by Grande Rosso, who won well at Pakenham and was since just beaten in a Christmas Stakes. Has won three times and been placed three times over 1400m. Divine Mr Arte was superb first-up but disappointed a bit second-up. He has one win and three placings over 1400m but has never won third-up. Airalign‘s two wins this time in have been outstanding and he is in career best form. If he was trained by D Hayes or D Weir, rather than T Cowan, he’d be 6/4 and not $6. I do think he’s probably a notch below this class.

Betting Confidence: Feel Lord Aspen is a very, very nice price and very confident that only bad luck keeps him out of the finish.

Race 8 Craftsman Hcp – 2000m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 5. Flying Light ($7)

2nd: 1. Master of Arts ($4.60)

3rd: 8. Master Zephyr ($7)

4th: 2, Chance To Dance ($7.50)

Summary: Flying Light is shooting for a hat-trick here and I think given he is at the perfect track and perfect distance, he’ll be getting the job done here. Last two have been very tough, strong wins and there shouldn’t be too many complications from an inside barrier. Master of Arts has been very good his two runs back and will improve again here. He may just be short of his best distance. Master Zephyr never runs a bad race and feel a senior jockey (Yendell) and a light weight should see him fight this out again. Chance To Dance can improve around Flemington. He has three wins from five starts over the 2000m.

Betting Confidence: Confident Flying Light is a generous price for a horse in form and the favourable circumstance she has been afforded.

Race 9 Tauto Hcp – 1100m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 7. Domesday Warrior ($10)

2nd: 3. I’m Ablaze ($26)

3rd: 2. Stellar Collision ($6)

4th: 8. Rich Charm ($5.50)

Summary: Some super value to finish off with. Domesday Warrior, as mentioned above, is well placed in this race when you consider how well he ran in Group company last time. He looks to like the Flemington straight which increases the confidence levels. I’m Ablaze’s last two runs in better company shape well for this and he too is ridiculous odds. Stellar Collision should be ready to improve fourth-up while the form around Rich Charm’s first-up run reads very well.

Betting Confidence: Will be playing win and place on Domesday Warrior with confidence and having a little each-way saver on I’m Ablaze at silly odds.

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