RACE 1 – Listed Inglis Debutant Stakes (1000m)
Early two-year-old races often offer plenty of unknowns, but there is a fair bit to like about Qafila. The Lindsay Park team have dominated the two-year-old ranks in Melbourne over the last couple of seasons and Qafila ran serious time when she won a barrier trial at Wodonga. In that trial she beat stablemate Nomothaj and she came out and won the Maribyrnong Trial Stakes at Flemington last weekend. Qafila can give Lindsay Park another two-year-old winner.
Best Bet – Qafila Win $5.50
BET NOW: CAULFIELD RACE 1
RACE 2 – Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m)
Jorda is the key to this race and she is a clear favourite in our Thoroughbred Club Stakes betting market. She returned to the races with a nice third in the San Domencio Stakes, but she was one of the first horses beaten in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes. She did have excuses in that race, but it is tough to back her off that run and barrier one is not ideal and question mark over the 1200. At value Invincible Star had to do a lot of work in the run when beaten at the Valley last start, fitter 2nd up and well overs at $19.
Best Bet – Invincible Star – Something to win, Triple the place $19
RACE 3 – Group 3 Cape Grim Beef Steaks (1200m)
Miss Gunpower returns to the races in the Cape Grim Beef Steaks and it does look like a lovely race for her. She has generally produced her best form over 1200 metres and she has three wins from five first-up starts. If she brings her best form to the races she will be very tough to beat. Legless Veuve has opened as a clear favourite following her close second in the Ladbrokes How Now Stakes. She does have an excellent record at Caulfield and she is right in this race, but her racing style means that she always needs luck in running and because of that it is tough to get her as short as her current quote.
Best Bet – Miss Gunpowder Win $5.50
RACE 4 – Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m)
Incredible open field for the Herbert Power Stakes and you can make a case for just about every horse in this field. Wall Of Fire and Kidmenever are both set to make their Australian racing debuts and find themselves well fancied in the market. Boom Time has raced well without winning in 2017 to date and he finished a close second in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last start. He is a very fit horse and if he is able to bring his best form to Australia he will be right in this contest. Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby dominated the Melbourne Cup lead-up races last Spring and he has Kidmenever in this. He doesn’t have the same European credentials of Wall Of Fire, but he has a similar profile to Qewy, Oceanographer, Polarisation and Francis Of Assisi who have all had a great deal of success in Australia.
Best Bet – Kidmenever EW $7
RACE 5 – Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m)
Money talks and Religify has been $8 into $4 in perhaps the most open event on the card. The presence of a couple of internationals make this a very interesting edition of the Weekend Hussler Stakes. There are simply too many winning chances to bet into this race with any real confidence, but it is tough to go past Religify. Religify is one of the most likeable horses in the country and he finished his winter campaign with three wins from as many starts. He makes his own luck right on the speed and he has three wins from his six first-up starts.
Best Bet – Religify $4.50
RACE 6 – Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m)
The key to the Thousand Guineas looks to be a gear change for me. A clear cut race in two on paper between Shoals and Alizee. Alizee took a while to work into her 2017 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but she has relished being stepped up in trip. She bolted to the line to win the Tea Rose Stakes over 1400 metres and she was even more impressive in the Flight Stakes. If she can replicate that performance she will prove very tough to hold out. The one concern is the inside barrier draw, but the small field does help and she should get her chance.
Shoals is the obvious danger to the Flight Stakes winner. She started her racing career with four wins from five race starts and she finished a close second behind Booker in the Thousand Guineas Prelude. Shoals finished stronger than Catchy in that race and she gave the impression that 1600 metres wouldn’t be an issue. Shoals will have a key gear change added the blinkers to sharpen up for this.
Best Bet – Shoals $5
RACE 7 – Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m)
Bonneval has been a star of the turf during her racing career to date and she can record another Group 1 victory in the Ladbrokes Stakes. She has recorded three wins from as many starts in Australia and she has gone to another level during her 2017 Spring Racing Carnival campaign. She beat a fairly weak field to win the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes at The Valley before she proved far too good for Hartnell in the Underwood Stakes. She still has the scope to improve on that performance and it is tough to see any of her Underwood Stakes rivals being able to turn-the-tables.
Hartnell is the obvious danger, but he had his chance to beat Bonneval in the Underwood Stakes and he isn’t going as well as he was this time last year. Johannes Vermeer, Calderon, Riven Light and The Taj Mahal are all interesting runners and it will be interesting to see how they perform, but they would need to improve on their European form to have any chance in this race.
Best Bet – Bonneval Win $3
RACE 8 – Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m)
Wow! What a race, this is one of the most open editions of the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas in recent memory and there are some question marks over all of the leading contenders.
Royal Symphony missed the placings in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, but he will still go into the Group 1 event as favourite. There is no doubt that the Prelude wasn’t run to suit, but it would have been nice to see him hit the line a bit stronger than he did and it is tough to back him with confidence coming off that run. In saying that, he went to another level when he got out to 1600 metres last start and he is a genuine contender.
Catchy will take on the boys in the Caulfield Guineas and she has a chance to become the first filly since Surround in 1976 to win the Group 1 event. She won the Danehill Stakes and looked well and truly on track for the Guineas, but her run in the Thousand Guineas was a touch plain. She loomed as the winner and wasn’t disgraced, but the concerning thing was that Shoals was able to finish over the top of her late. She is still a very talented filly and it would not surprise to see her win a very open race. Distance is also a big concern.
Perast and Kementari look to have found their right prices and the horse that does represent value at their current prices is Gold Standard and Summer Passage. Gold Standard comes out of a brutally run Golden Rose Stakes and he was one of the only horses that settled on the speed in that race that didn’t completely compound late. That sort of race could set him up for the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas and he makes his own luck right on the speed.
Best Bet – Gold Standard $10 EW
RACE 9 – Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m)
Outstanding edition of the Toorak Handicap, there are very few horses that you can put the pen through and luck in running is going to prove crucial. Tom Melbourne, Egg Tart, Mr Sneaky and The Answermyfriend are locked in a battle for favouritism and of that group it is Mr Sneaky that represents value. He was exposed a long way from home in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and couldn’t hold off Santa Ana Lane, but there was still plenty of merit in that performance and if he can run out a strong mile he will be right in this race.
Comin’ Through was a touch disappointing in the Epsom Handicap, but he is a better horse than that performance suggests. Joao Moreira gave him an awful ride in the Epsom Handicap and Michael Walker will have plenty of options from barrier four in the Toorak Handicap. He deserves another chance at double-figure odds.
It has been a while between wins for Kaspersky and he is not the most consistent horse in the world, but he has run very well in England in 2017 and on his best form would be right in this race. He was fifth behind Ribchester in the Queen Anne Stakes before he finished second in both the Summer Mile and The Superior Mile Stakes.
Best Bet – Comin Through $13 EW
RACE 10 – Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m)
A lot to like about Sheidel here. Run down late in the Moir last start. The Oakleigh Plate winner is a winner this track and distance and is set for this. Rock Magic did a lot of the chasing work in the Moir Stakes and died on his run later, but at one stage he looked like the winner and it was still a terrific effort. The step-up in distance will suit and the $8 that is currently on offer is well and truly over the odds.
Best Bet – Sheidel Win $4
2017 The Everest Preview Runner by Runner
The critics have come for Chautauqua once again and there is no question that he isn’t right at his best, but you can never rule him out of contention over the 1200 metres course at Royal Randwick. Neither The Shorts nor the Premiere Stakes have been run to suit him, but he has still been able to find the line nicely and he has a good foundation to return to something of his best form third-up. Because of his racing style he always needs luck in running, but at $6 I am willing to take the gamble that he produce another Royal Randwick miracle.
Vega Magic has been a revelation since he joined the Lindsay Park team and he is the horse to beat in The Everest. He carried a big weight to win the Regal Roller Stakes first-up and he never looked like losing when he cruised to victory in the Memsie Stakes. The scary thing for his rivals is that he still has improvement left in front of him and that would take him to a level that is very tough for the rest of this field to match. The only real query is the wide barrier draw and the speed map does make for some very ugly reading. It will take a masterclass from Craig Williams to settle him in the one-one and there is every chance he could be trapped wide. Despite those concerns, I still have a great deal of confidence in the horse and he should be favourite in The Everest betting.
Redzel has been a completely different horse since he was gelded and he has been nothing short of outstanding this preparation. He has now recorded four wins on the trot and he just keeps getting better everytime that he is seen at the races. I like the fact that he has been freshened up since his win in The Shorts and Kerrin McEvoy is the perfect jockey for him. He makes his own luck right on the speed and will be in the finish.
Redkirk Warrior is something of the x-factor in The Everest. He bolted in to win the Bobbie Lewis Quality in most impressive fashion and a repeat of that effort would make him a serious contender in this race, but both of his high-rating performances have come down the Flemington straight and he failed to fire when he was sent to Sydney in the Autumn. He is definitely a talented horse and I am certainly not ruling him out, but he has probably found his right price.
Clearly Innocent returned to the races with a nice third in the Premiere Stakes and that was enough to secure a berth in The Everest. Trainer Kris Lees has done a great job with this horse and he is a genuine Group 1 performer, but I’m not sure that he has the same upside as some of the other gallopers in this field. If any of the big guns turn up, I don’t think he can match it with them and he is under the odds at $13.
This is a huge step-up in class for Deploy. He won both the Show County Quality and Theo Marks Stakes in impressive fashion – he ran track records in both – but he was able to do so without being pressured. There is sure to be plenty of pressure in The Everest and I don’t think that he will handle it. He should be double his current price.
Fell Swoop has failed to fire in both The Shorts and the Premiere Stakes. He is unlucky not to be a Group 1 winner, but even his best form wouldn’t be good enough to win a race of this quality.
Brave Smash looked like a star in the making when he finished an unlucky second behind Vega Magic in the Regal Roller Stakes first-up, but he hasn’t really gone on with it. He was fairly plain when he won the Chandler Macleod Stakes at The Valley and he was beaten by Bons Away in the Testa Rossa Stakes. The application of blinkers should help and he does have upside, but he would need to hit a new career peak to have any chance whatsoever.
English is always a tricky horse to get a read on and she is in a similar boat to Chautauqua. She ran the best closing sectionals in the Premiere Stakes and the wide barrier draw will help her find clear running late, but stringing together quality performances back-to-back has proven to be an issue. She has shown that she is up to these sort of races – it took a freaking effort from Chautauqua to beat her in the T.J. Smith Stakes – and she definitely isn’t out of this contest, but she has probably found her right quote.
She Will Reign
She Will Reign is currently on top of our The Everest betting market. I have plenty of respect for the filly, but I can’t get her anywhere near as short as her current quote and I will be taking her on. Her win in the Moir Stakes was visually impressive, but there are some question marks coming out of that race. The overall time wasn’t particularly strong and the fact that she only narrowly beat an unlucky Viddora does make you question the strength of that contest. She would need to improve on that effort and I can see Corey Brown getting in some trouble from the inside barrier draw. She could make me look stupid, but I will be betting around her.
Houtzen failed to fire when she returned to the races in the McEwen Stakes before she returned to the races with a soft win in the Scarborough Stakes. This is a huge step-up in class from that race and she will not get things her own way in front. Connections have indicated that they could elect to take a sit and I don’t think she has the turn-of-foot to go with the best sprinters in the country. I would like to see Jeff Lloyd ride her aggressively, but either way I don’t really consider her to be a genuine winning chance.
Tulip is the one horse that probably doesn’t deserve her place in The Everest and I would much rather see In Her Time in the race. She was disappointing in the Tea Rose Stakes and this race is far, far tougher.