Benchmark 78 Handicap (SR5)
Perfectly drawn in barrier six, promising three year old, Maysoon, looms as the one to beat in this Benchmark 78 for fillies and mares. Gunned down late over 1300m last start, the daughter of Eavesdropper will relish the drop back to 1150m and Tommy Berry is likely to give her a lovely run close to the pace. Gai Waterhouse’s Dream Empress can bounce back at good odds after a below- par performance. I’ve Got The Looks has had a few convictions when favourite, but looked stiff when a close up fifth last outing. The highly consistent topweight Kristy Lee has won over the course and distance at Kensington, which is handy, but the 59kg impost and a tricky barrier aren’t ideal for the Chris Waller trained mare.
Selections: Maysoon , Dream Empress , I’ve Got The Looks , Kristy Lee
Villiers Stakes (SR6)
Converting the narrowest of defeats in the Goulburn Cup to a Group 2 victory in town is what promising four year old Taxmeifyoucan will attempt to do in the Villiers. Competitive in three of its four starts this preparation, Gregory Hickman’s Ad Valorem gelding was nosed out in a controversial photo at Goulburn late last month and drops 4kgs. Another lightweight, Sysmo, looks the testing material. The Tony McEvoy charge boasts Flemington carnival form, a win over the distance and a dominant performance in the Seymour Cup second-up this preparation. Even though it has just two wins from 26 starts, the Anthony Cummings trained Strike The Stars could be the knock-out. Last year’s runner-up Alma’s Fury is a chance in an open race.
Selections: Taxmeifyoucan , Sysmo , Strike The Stars , Alma’s Fury
Benchmark 80 (SR7)
With three runners, Peter Snowden holds the key to this race over 1400m. While the Warwick Farm trainer’s mares Coins and La Pieta head the market, his value runner is The Owl. This talented five year old resumed with a close fourth to Mecir and has won two from four second-up. Jockey Josh Parr can stalk the leaders from the inside gate. We’ll follow the lead from Snowden’s number one jockey, Kerrin McEvoy. He’s stuck with last start winner La Pieta, even though she meets Coins a kilo worse and has a tricky barrier. With form behind Terravista, John Thompson’s four year old entire Reflectance is the smokey.
Selections: The Owl , La Pieta , Coins , Reflectance
Razor Sharp Quality Handicap (SR8)
A battle of the speedsters over 1150m, with a couple of the leading hopes drawn wide and likely to burn across the field, ensuring a blistering pace. From barrier five, Heart Testa can sit just off the leaders and atone for its last-start defeat when odds-on. The Chris Waller trained son of Testa Rossa has been placed all five runs this campaign, with two wins. Jumping from gate two, Aeronautical is the class runner, having competed in group company nine times for placings in the Randwick Shorts and Flemington Newmarket. Peter Moody’s Club Command is a chance first up from a wide draw. The five year old has finished in the money in 12 of 13 starts, with its worst performance a fourth in an Open Handicap at Mooney Valley. With the speed on, stayer Straight Albert is a rough hope of running into a place second-up at huge odds.
Selections: Heart Testa , Aeronautical , Straight Albert , Safeguard