Rail – 3m
Track – Good 4
Forecast – Max 24 degrees, morning shower or two
Race 1 – Westspeed Platinum Maiden – 1400m – 12:17pm
Last Of The Line has trialled nicely, finishing a close second at his only trial this preparation. He may be needing the race experience but should go well. I Hope You Dance has been placing pretty consistently but is yet to win in ten starts (10:0-4-2). She seems to get way too far back, but the slightly smaller field should help seeing as she can run on if she doesn’t get stuck in traffic. Miss Margaux had some nice trials before coming second in her first race. That race was over this distance so that does give me some confidence. However, she may have to use some petrol to get to the front from the wide barrier. Either way, she should only improve off last start. Atlantic Ruler didn’t show much in trials but then managed to finish second at her first start. She did lead all of way with only 52.5kg so the extra 3.5kg and 200m may not be in her favour. Fun fact, if you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I actually used to own a share in Atlantic Ruler, before we decided to move her on because it didn’t look like she’d make the grade. I’m very interested to see how she goes here.
3 – Last Of The Line
5 – I Hope You Dance
9 – Miss Margaux
10 – Atlantic Ruler
Race 2 – TabTouch Better Your Bet Plate – 1000m – 12:57pm
I’ve never seen such a strong two-year-old race as this one. I highly encourage not betting in this race. Real Grace has the Pike/Williams/Peters combination in her corner. She won a trial leading into this race and showed that she has ability. Just A Pinch won at her first start which was over this distance. The biggest thing for me is that Patrick Carbery probably had the choice between this horse and Our Boy Dylan, who is in fine form too, but he picked Just a Pinch. She should improve with that race day experience. Choix De Lace pulled up lame in her first race, so just forgive that run. Her trials have suggested that she has ability, so she can make her mark here. Our Boy Dylan has the most experience in this race, with two starts for two seconds. As I previously said Paul Harvey replaces Patrick Carbery. He also brings good form with a second to Solaia who finished fifth in the group three Gimcrack last weekend.
6 – Real Grace
3 – Just A Pinch
4 – Choix De Lace
1 – Our Boy Dylan
Race 3 – Seppelt Wines Handicap – 1400m – 1:37pm
Festival Miss finally got a win on the board last start after having some luckless runs. The small field means that she shouldn’t get into too much trouble and Pike teams up with her once again. Carocapo won last start, though that was over 1200m which seems to be his preferred distance. However, he’s in career best form, is third up so should be nice and fit and makes good use of Chloe’s claim. Floyd finished second to Carocapo last start but doesn’t get a weight advantage due to Chloe’s claim. He also seems to prefer the shorter distances; however, you can’t knock two thirds and a second this preparation. Regal Counsel has been racing pretty consistently this preparation. He steps up in class, but I don’t see that being a problem. One thing to note is that Chris Parnham replaces his usual jockey of Mitchell Pateman (and I’m not 100% sure why).
8 – Festival Miss
1 – Carocapo
2 – Floyd
6 – Regal Counsel
Race 4 – Amelia Park Handicap – 1000m – 2:13pm
Deacalda is yet to finish outside of the top three (6:3-0-3). She looks to have come back just as good this preparation with a quiet trial leading into this race. She also gets Pike on board, plus her first up record is faultless (2:2-0-0). State Attorney gets Clint Johnston-Porter on board with Pike riding my top pick. His previous races haven’t been bad but nothing that really stands out, except that win four starts ago. With a good barrier and weight, he can give my top pick a run for her money. Molten is a bit hit and miss, though has won a trial over this distance. His first up record is good (6:2-1-1) and he finished midfield in a listed race last preparation. Mervyn looks to be the leader in this race with M’Lady. He won first up but was then disappointing second up. The 60.5kg may take its toll if he’s to lead and win.
6 – Deacalda
10 – State Attorney
3 – Molten
2 – Mervyn
Race 5 – Kirin Megumi Handicap – 1800m – 2:55pm
Mr Kunafa won last start and has great career statistics (8:4-1-1). He faces a tougher field here and steps up in distance but should go well. Paddy’s Shadow is on the one-week backup, where she finished fourth. She seems to have gotten too far back in that run and boxed in so I’m willing to forgive that run. She has raced well over 1600m so stepping back to 1800m from 2200m shouldn’t be a problem. Mystery Miss is a classy horse and is improving with each run. Connections make good use of Chris’ claim, meaning that she only has to carry 58kg compared to her allocated 61kg. Her class could very well see her winning this. Adornment comes out of the same race at Paddy’s Shadow, where she finished third. Paddy’s Shadow gets 1kg on her from that run and should have more luck this time around. It feels weird having a Pike/Williams/Peters horse this far down my list, but I would like to see a bit more from her.
7 – Mr Kunafa
6 – Paddy’s Shadow
1 – Mystery Miss
11 – Adornment
Race 6 – Schweppes – Melvista Stakes – 2200m – 3:30pm
Bogart finished second in the key lead up race, the J C Roberts. I’m assuming that Pike had his fair share of choice of rides and I’m backing his choice in Bogart. Midnight Blue finished third in the J C Roberts. He didn’t settle in the best position there and I expect him to be in a similar position here. However, he did win over this distance two starts ago, so at least he’ll handle the journey. Red Hot Tip brings different form lines into this race, having bypassed the J C Roberts. He has good career statistics (5:1-1-1) and seems to run for Ryan Hill, who rides him here. He won’t know himself with just 55kg, after placing second over this distance with 60kg last start. Criminal Code is the last horse in this race to come out of the J C Roberts, where he finished fourth. Last preparation he did show he had some turn of foot but hasn’t shown us that this preparation. The wide barrier may also be a problem but stepping up in distance may give him more time to catch them.
1 – Bogart
2 – Midnight Blue
3 – Red Hot Tip
4 – Criminal Code
Race 7 – Let’s Celebrate City of Belmont Handicap – 1400m – 4:05pm
Utgard Loki showed a massive turn of foot two starts ago, coming from last to finished third. With the wide barrier, he may be needing to use that here. It was a tough choice between him and Kitgum on who to put on top, but I believe Utgard Loki has slightly stronger form lines. Kitgum hasn’t finished outside the top two in five starts. He narrowly went down to Sherpa Lass last start, who is a very good horse, but other than that his form lines aren’t as good. However, from the barrier he should be able to settle in a forward position if he jumps well. He’s a serious threat to my top pick and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won. Wild Fusion really didn’t show much at the start of this preparation, but something seems to have clicked with a win and second from his past two starts. He may be slightly outclassed here though. She’s Alright was very disappointing last start and clearly didn’t handle leading all the way. It does make me nervous seeing as that race was also over 1400m but hoping Patrick can get her some cover from that barrier. She has won two races this preparation and may appreciate this slightly more spaced out race.
5 – Utgard Loki
6 – Kitgum
7 – Wild Fusion
9 – She’s Alright
Race 8 – Belmont’s Bunuru Handicap – 1400m – 4:40pm
Lipstick Flickers has a lot going against her in this race, with a wide barrier and more weight. However, she has the class to be winning if she can overcome these hurdles. Special Choice is on the one-week backup after finishing fourth last start. She gave us a glimpse of a turn of foot first up but was then disappointing second-up. This is another horse that may fall victim to the wide barrier. However, she came fourth in the group 2 WA Guineas last preparation, so clearly has some class about her. Divine Shadow is a good horse but doesn’t have the same form as my top two picks. Every good horse must make their way through the grades though. Seeing as my top three picks have all drawn outside of each other, I think how they jump and where they settle is going to be a deciding factor in this race. Snippy Miss has been racing very consistently, placing either third or fourth in her previous five runs. She could potentially go one better with the extra distance, though including her in your first four is definitely a must.
2 – Lipstick Flickers
8 – Special Choice
3 – Divine Shadow
13 – Snippy Miss
Race 9 – City of Belmont – WA Oaks – 2400m – 5:15pm
Tuscan Queen proved me wrong last start and showed us all she was back to her old, winning self. She’s clearly a horse that likes to get back and run on, with the potential to get stuck in traffic being her only downfall. If Pike can keep her safe, she should be winning. Showaddywaddy is only one of three horses to not come out of the Natasha. However, I think she can give them a run for their money, having raced over 2200m twice (a win and a third) and 2000m once (third). With a lot of horses that get back and run on, she will be giving them something to run down. Class may be an issue, but distance certainly won’t be. If you love an outsider with a chance, she’s great value at $23! Pambella finished second to Tuscan Queen last start but actually has to give her 1kg here. She is also a horse that likes to run on but shouldn’t need to if she can get into a good position from that nice barrier. Mood Goddess finished third in the Natasha after coming from the back of the field. It looks like she is another sit back and sprint horse, so that’s certainly going to make for an interesting race. She was disappointing two starts ago but I’m going to put that down to her not handling the soft track.
1 – Tuscan Queen
11 – Showaddywaddy
2 – Pambella
6 – Mood Goddess
Race 10 – Schweppes Handicap – 1200m – 5:50pm
Ocean’s Fifteen is yet to finish outside of the top three (4:2-1-1). The wide barrier may change this statistic, but I think he has the class to overcome it. Cryptic Love has a lot more race experience, at this class too, compared to my top tip which may prove to be the difference. There’s really nothing to fault about her other than she doesn’t have the career statistics like my top tip. Sweet Dreamin’ steps back up to 1200m which should definitely benefit him. Plus, he also gets Pike back on board. He’s another horse that wouldn’t cause an upset if he won yet doesn’t have as strong of form lines. Smarty was super disappointing first up after being a horse to be reckoned with last preparation. Her second up record is good (3:2-0-1) so she can bounce back here, despite the wide barrier.
15 – Ocean’s Fifteen
10 – Cryptic Love
9 – Sweet Dreamin’
8 – Smarty
Race 4 – Deacalda
I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, so hoping that can change today despite the great fields! There are a few outsiders that I think are great chances at the odds they’re at. They are The White Witch is race 2 (currently at $17) and Showaddywaddy in race 9 (currently at $23). If I was having a bet in the Melvista, partly based on the form and partly because it would be funny, I’d do a boxed first four 1, 2, 3 and 4 and a boxed trifecta with Mr Peters’ horses (1, 2 and 7).