Newmarket Handicap (MR6)
– A cracking sprint field has been assembled for this contest, but it looks like champion trainer Peter Moody could saddle up the winner for the third time in four years. Moment Of Change was well beaten by Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes but was well clear of the rest of the field and fits a lot of the trends for this race. Seven of the past eight winners came through the Lightning, horses with big weights have been favoured lately and six of the past nine favourites have won. Unbeaten Perth sprinter Barakey brings a big reputation to Melbourne and is well credentialed for this but 1200m down the Flemington is likely to stretch his stamina and he has to buck the trend of no horse winning the race first up since 1917. Spirit Of Boom wasn’t beaten far by Barakey in the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth last year and meets him better at the weights having been unlucky in the Oakleigh Plate last time out. Three year-olds have won four of the past ten renewals of this event and Better Than Ready looks the best of this year’s pair with just 50.5kg and Craig Williams on his back. Top weight Luckygray may find this too short.
Selections: Moment Of Change, Spirit Of Boom, Better Than Ready, Barakey
Australian Cup (MR7)
–Eight winners of this race since 2001 have run in the Orr Stakes and Peter Young Stakes en route to Flemington and it could be nine after Saturday, with Mr Moet and Mawingo having had their prep runs for this in the Caulfield features. Mr Moet has been finishing strongly in both starts this campaign and will appreciate the step up in trip to 2000m and the wider expanses of the Flemington track. Mawingo always runs his best races 3rd up from a spell and will be ready to fire here. Super Cool scored a strong win over fellow three year old Fiveandahalfstar in the Autumn Classic last time out and looks well placed despite the fact that no horse from the classic generation has won since Saintly in 1996. Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon has been set for this and will run well but is still unproven in WFA races at this grade.
Selections: Mr Moet, Mawingo, Super Cool, Green Moon
Chipping Norton Stakes (SR6)
– Shoot Out is one of the top WFA gallopers in Australia and can make his seasonal reappearance with a win in this race. The six year old scored a Group One win over a mile first up during the spring and should get a good run from gate two with Hugh Bowman on board. Laser Hawk was the horse on everybody’s lips prior to his reappearance in the Apollo Stakes and could be worth excusing for a disappointing run in that race. He had suffered a setback in the leadup and wasn’t totally at home on the heavy going. The same can be said of Glencadam Gold , who took all before him during the spring in Sydney, while Gatewood and Kelinni will be flying home as they were in the Apollo. Manighar is the best horse in the race but is worth risking after a lengthy injury layoff.
Selections: Shoot Out, Laser Hawk, Gatewood, Glencadam Gold
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