Flemington will play host to Australian Cup day with the 2000m weight-for-age Group 1 race attracting a final field of 12 acceptors. It will also signal the last Group 1 event at Flemington for the season.
Nine races are set down for decision with two Group 1 races. The G1 features are headlined by the time-honoured Newmarket Handicap, run down the famous Flemington “Straight-Six”. The other G1 on the card is Australian Cup, a race which has been won by some of the legends of the turf in modern times with an honour roll that includes such names as Makybe Diva, Northerly, Octagonal and Saintly.
Support features include the Sires Produce Stakes for two-year-olds which is Victoria’s only Group race for the 2YO’s that is run at 1400m. The Kewney Stakes for three-year-old fillies is a set-weights event at the 1400m and the Schweppervescence Trophy is a 1600m event held at Group 3 level under the conditions of set-weights and penalties.
The Australian Cup is the highlight and proving how global racing has become, the breeding of the runners represents 8 different countries of the 12 acceptors
The Newmarket Handicap has assembled a field of 15 starters, the biggest number in the past 6 years and will see the speedsters of the turf scorch the Flemington straight track. Redkirk Warrior will be hoping to secure back-to-back Newmarket’s, but faces strong opposition headed by the star 3YO colt Merchant Navy along with the Japanes import Brave Smash, a last-start G1 winner of the Futurity Stakes.
|RACE NO||RACE NAME||RACE TIME||STATUS||PRIZE MONEY||DISTANCE||RACE TYPE||RACE CODE|
|1||BENCHMARK 90||12:15PM AEDT||-||$100,000||1000m||HCP||MR01|
|2||CLUB STAND HCP||12:50 PM AEDT||-||$100,000||1800m||HCP||MR02|
|3||SKYLINE STAKES||1:25PM AEDT||-||$100,000||1400m||HCP||MR03|
|4||SIRES PRODUCE STAKES||2:05PM AEDT||2||$200,000||1400m||2YO SW||MR04|
|5||KEWNEY STAKES||2:40PM AEDT||2||$200,000||1400m||3YO F SW||MR05|
|6||NEWMARKET HANDCIAP||3:15PM AEDT||1||$1,250,000||1200m||HCP||MR06|
|7||SCHWEPPERVESCENCE TROPHY||3:10PM AEDT||3||$150,000||1600m||F&m SW+P||MR07|
|8||AUSTRALIAN CUP||4:35PM AEDT||1||$1,500,000||2000m||WFA||MR08|
|9||INCOGNITUS STAKES||5:20PM AEDT||L||$120,000||1100m||HCP||MR09|
A Benchmark 90 over the straight course 1000m or five furlong trip to open the day and a field of 9 acceptors.
Beau Rada will carry the topweight allocated 63kg on his return from a spell. A real speedster, he has 9 wins between 950m-1000m and will be first-up since March 2017.
VERDICT:Concealer resumes for Tony McEvoy and has a solid record down the straight track. She is 1 from 1 at the trip and overall at the track is 4: 1-1-1. The 56kg and inside gate look ideal.
MARKET MOVES: Nasdex opened at the top of the market and has had some support firming $3.60 to $3.50. Concealer best supported in early trading holds steady at $4.60.
A Benchmark 90 over 1800m with a field of 9 acceptors and only one last start winner.
Kings Will Dream is undefeated in three starts for Darren Weir since making his Australian debut at Warrnambool in January. The 4YO gelding will step up from the mile where he was an easy one length winner last start at Flemington.
The Liam Howley barn produce an interesting runner first-up here with the English import Harrison. A winner of two races, the gelding has G1 formlines, having last started when well beaten in the Ascot Gold Cup behind Big Orange
VERDICT:Wheal Leisure will be second up and does have a win last campaign at her 2nd run back. That was over 2000m in the Inglis Cup. She found the 1400m to sharp first-up and should give a sight.
MARKET MOVES: Wheal Leisure has been strongly supported firmiong from the opening quote of $6 to $4.80, with the biggest being $1,000 at the $6. Kings Will Dream is the only other runner to meet with any support but has drifted ever so slightly $2.10 to $2.15.
A Benchmark 84 over 1400m with a field of 12 acceptors.
Portman heads the market in early trading and has all the right factors to justify the market expectations. The 5YO will be second up where his record is 3: 2-0-0 with one of those being at the Flemington 1400m and his overall Flemington record is 8:2-2-2.
Downhearted has placed at his past 4 in succession and the tree-time winner at 1400m comes into this with a last start 3rd to Kings Will Dream, there looks to be some speed so will be looking to find a position from the wide gate.
VERDICT:Portman, hard to go past him for reasons outlined above.
MARKET MOVES: Portman has been well tried and firmed from $3.80 to $3.60. Some specking for Tiamo Grace at $19.
Tricky race to line up with many of these coming in off differing races and all will be stepping out to the 1400m for the first time.
Run Naan won both his early season races but struggled in the Blue Diamond Preview/Prelude and then was well beaten in the Blue Diamond Classic. Tony McEvoy has made a raft of gear changes looking for improvement.
The Hawkes trained Outrageous won his maiden at Newcastle in good style, with that race over 1300m. His chances dented somewhat after drawing gate 14.
VERDICT:Nasaayim has been impressive in recording successive victories, both as a short-priced favourite. The filly draws well in gate 2 and looks well suited at the set weights, dropping 2kg from her last start win with 56.5kg.
MARKET MOVES: Tin Hat opened at $8 and has met with solid support un early trading. There has been strong support for the Godolphin colt which has seen his price slashed to $5.50.
3YO fillies event at set weights over 1400m that has had some nice fillies win over the years including I Am A Star, Solicit, Zarita and Sunline.
Summer Sham is unbeaten in three career starts and comes into this a last start winner of the Armanasco at the Caulfield 1400m. That race and the Typhoon Tracy are the 2 main form races meeting for this race, with Tulip who was the winner of the Typhoon Tracy heading to Sydney for the G1 Canterbury Stakes
True Excelsior ran 2nd to Tulip in that race after trying to lead them all the way over the 1200m at The Valley. The Exceed And Excel filly has drawn terribly and will start from the outside of the line.
VERDICT:Seannie will be third up this prep and has been very good at her first two. A winner over 1200m at The Valley on return, she was charging home in the closing stages of the Typhoon Tracy to grab 3rd. The big Flemington track should be ideal for her.
MARKET MOVES: Seannie has been well tried, opening at $7, easing to $8.50 where it was found and has firmed to $7. Palazzo Vecchio has formed to $5 after opening at $7 under good support.
15 to do battle down the Flemington ‘Straight Six’ and with race 1 a small field down the straight, there might be some tactical moves as to whether the field heads to the inside, outside or middle of the track.
The Hayes/Dabernig team are well represented, saddling 5 of the 15, with Redkirk Warrior looking to deliver successive Newmarket's following his 2017 victory.
Rich Charm is 2 from 2 at the Flemington 1200m and it will be an amazing story if the gelding can win for his trainer and part-owner Udyta Clark.
Darren Weir will be looking to produce a training masterstroke opting to drop Brave Smash back from the 1400m of his last start Futurity victory and look to claim the Newmarket.
VERDICT:Merchant Navy is a 3YO that was sold for big money as a stallion prospect last year. He draws well, carries just 52kg, is 3 from 3 at 1200m, 1 from 1 at the trip and 2 from 2 at the track.
MARKET MOVES: Redkirk Warrior has been well tried at a $6 quote, but holds steady at that price. Merchant Navy has been the best supported in early trading but has eased from the $4.60 opening final field price to $5.
Check out our Newmarket Handicap Preview.
A fillies and mares race at the mile under the conditions of set weights and penalties.
Shillelagh should enjoy racing her own sex after her first 2 runs back this prep have been in G1 company in the Orr and then Futurity Stakes. At the 58.5kg she looks well placed and is 1 from 1 at the Flemington 1600m after winning the Cantala Stakes in the Spring. .
Samovare opened at the top of the market and will be second-up here where her record 2 runs in stands at 2 from 2. She drops 1kg from her last start in the Mannerism where she carried 55kg when 2nd to Silent Sedition at 1400m.
VERDICT:Spanish Reef will be second-up and comes into this a first-up winner over 1400m when carrying 57kg. She drops to 54kg, has drawn well in gate 6 and from 3 visits to Flemington has the record of 3: 2-1-0, with 1 win from 1 attempt at the Flemington mile.
MARKET MOVES: No early action on this race.
The Australian Cup over 2000m at weight for age. A race that has been won by heroes of the turf over the years.
Ambitious will be having his first start for Anthony Freedman and in Australia. His name may match the plans for the horse, coming into the race first up since June 2017. The entire has won close to $3m in his career and was a serious horse when racing in his homeland.
Single Gaze has placed at her first two runs back from a spell and getting to her best trip will be looking to become the first mare to win the Cup since Makybe Diva.
Liam Howley will saddle three runners, headlined by Melbourne Cup winner Almandin who hit the line in good style at his Autumn return over 2000m when narrowly beaten by stable-mate Homesman
VERDICT:Gailo Chop has been in great form and looks a happy horse, with comfortable wins at 1600m and then 1800m in the Peter Young Stakes, a race that has been the best historical guide to this. He has 6 wins at 2000m.
MARKET MOVES: Almandin is holding steady at the $6 quote but has been strongly supported including a bet of $1,500 at that quote. Single Gaze has also been supported at $8.50.
Check out our Australian Cup Preview.
11 acceptors for the get-out for an 1100m handicap with Prezado to carry the topweight of 59kg and seven horses on the 54kg minimum.
Regimen is a three-time winner from six career starts and will be having her first look at Flemington. Last start she was beaten just under three lengths behind Tulip in the Typhoon Tracy.
Twilight Song will face the starter for the 3rd time and remains undefeated for the Hayes/Dabernig stable.
VERDICT:Shes So High resumes here and was last seen in the Thousand Guineas when running a respectable 4th to Aloisia. That was just her 4th career start, stepped up after winning as a 2YO on debut and racing in top fillies company at each race. On the minimum, she was 3rd to Shoals at her 3rd career start over 1200m when beaten under one length. That form appeals.
MARKET MOVES: Regimen is the best supported and included has been a bet of $1,000 at $5.50. The Godolphin filly has firmed to $4.80.