A number of Spring hopefuls will be looking to kickstart their campaigns on a winning note when a field of 12 contests the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (Race 7) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Having put together an impressive run of six consecutive wins, a streak that incorporated tough efforts in the Magic Millions Classic on the Gold Coast and Autumn Stakes at this venue before an untimely flop in the Australian Guineas, Darren Weir’s Mahuta has come up a slight favourite for the 1200m WFA sprint but will have to do some work to cross having drawn out in barrier eight.
With the Memsie Stakes his ultimate goal this preparation, both Weir and jockey Brad Rawiller have admitted the horse is slightly short on conditioning.
Despite being burnt a number of times last year, our traders think he’s under the odds at his current quote, so we’ll be looking to take him on.
With a number of these runners coming out of the John Monash Stakes a fortnight ago, we were expecting second-up improvement from Fast’n’Rocking.
He was sent out a well-tried favourite on that occasion but struck plenty of trouble having been held-up for a run on the inside part of the track.
While an overall race record of just 5 wins from 40 attempts hardly instils confidence, he should at least be able to find clear running room down the outside this time around and we’ll be looking for him to charge home later under Dwayne Dunn, who faces an uphill battle to haul in Craig Williams’ three race lead in the jockeys’ premiership on the final day of the season.
A lack of race fitness has also been cited as a potential obstacle for the only mare in the field, Phillip Stokes’ Runway Star.
She capped off her first campaign for the prominent South Australian trainer with a nice win in the Proud Miss Stakes over this distance back in May.
Despite a hard-to-fault first-up record of 4 wins from 6 attempts, stable jockey Dom Tourneur implied that she might use this race as a stepping stone to races later in the Spring after partnering her in a hit-out over 900m at Murray Bridge three weeks ago.
We’ve got plenty of respect for her abilities and expect her to finish off well but think she’s best avoided at her current quote in amongst a pretty even field.
As in the past, we’re expecting to see plenty of interest for popular Tasmanian horse The Cleaner, who was a surprise acceptor for this having been earmarked for a return in the PB Lawrence early next month.
With regular rider Steven Arnold back aboard, he’ll be making his first start for new trainer Peter Gelagotis having somewhat controversially transferred up to Melbourne to continue racing without the blessing of former master Mick Burles, who suggested that the horse should be retired.
Hoping to tap into the kind of unconventional preparation that brought unexpected rewards for stablemateMourinho, Gelagotis will send the “Longford Lion” out for just his third ever start over the six furlongs and this surely looks well short of his best distance at this stage of his career.
Of the others, Lord of the Sky should be able to push forward under Damien Oliver from his ideal draw of five but he had every chance in the Monash and it’s hard to see how the extra 100m works to his advantage here.
Odyssey Moon is consistent and has been racing well of late while Charmed Harmony disappointed in Brisbane but has a strong record at this circuit.
It would take a pretty big form reversal off recent efforts for Smokin Joey to repeat his triumph in this race last year.
Tips and Preview provided by UniBet.com.au