The Race That Stops a Nation is in the history books for another year, but the Flemington Carnival rolls on at HQ on Thursday for 2018 Kennedy Oaks Day.
Nine races will be run and won on Kennedy Oaks Day this year and after a rain-soaked Melbourne Cup Day, the rail has been set out five metres around the entire course.
Five of the nine races on 2018 Oaks Day will be contested under black type conditions, while the feature is set to be run and won at 5pm AEDT.
Nine two-year-olds will step out in the first and of those runners, only four have race day experience.
The Peter Gelagotis-trained Chicago Bull will make his debut and has opened the $2.90 favourite in betting after trialling well.
As a rule, I tend to stay out of these two-year-old races full of debutants and I will be happy to watch this one with a view towards the autumn.
A capacity field of fillies and mares has been confirmed for Race 2 on Oaks Day and there is a case to be made for more than half the field in betting.
Sydney raider Palmateer will be having her first go at the Victorian way of going in this race and I am happy to have something on each way at her current price ($7.50 at publish). The daughter of Fastnet Rock has bene in strong and consistent form this time, and won a mile race at Warwick Farm two starts back before a credible third placing on the Kensington course at Randwick last time. Her wide barrier isn’t a concern as she’ll go back in transit anyway and Hugh Bowman will get the final crack at them in the straight.
A few early scratchings have really opened up the field for the third and at the time of publish, we’re looking at $5 the field.
I’m leaning towards the Anthony Cummings-trained A Shin Rook ($19) at his current price, who has produced all of his best performances at Flemington since arriving in Australia. He worked home well to record an impressive win over a mile here two starts back before another tough on-pace performance for third at Caulfield last time. He is a horse that can take a sit or go forward, and he looks a great each-way option.
This greys race is always one of the highlights of the Flemington Carnival and this year’s edition had drawn a decent crop of horses.
Harbour Grey ($5.25) looked to have had the race won last year before he was nabbed on the line, and he’ll carry winning form into he race after a smart first-up run at Geelong. He is a horse that obviously enjoys these conditions and he’ll be given every chance by in-form hoop Mark Zahra, and from the ideal barrier 2.
Race 5 has drawn a capacity field, but it really does look like Superhard’s to lose. Superhard ($4.80) returned to winning form second-up in September before a luckless run at Mornington, which still resulted in a close-up second placing. His two most-recent performances and wins have been terrific and a repeat of either of those would find him extremely tough to beat again. He’s rock-hard fit and should be fighting out the finish.
The field for this dash down the Flemington straight is simply outstanding and there is value around every horse in betting.
Super Cash ($3.80) absolutely flies fresh and will be hard to beat here. The Written Tycoon mare ran fourth in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), second in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) and third in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1350m) most notably last time.
Viridine ($8.50) has not been seen at the races since early September, but has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career and is up to winning a race of this calibre.
I’ll Have A Bit ($12) won the Group 2 Euclase Stakes (1200m) as a $101 shot in autumn before ending her campaign third in The Goodwood.
A decent field of three-year-olds will step out in the TV Stakes and there is a case to be made for several.
Alessandro looms as a nice each-way bet in this race and he’ll be hard to under the conditions of this race. The Fiorente colt debuted for a nice win a Pakenham in August before a tough and luckless run for fifth at Benalla. His win in open company at Cranbourne last time out was all class and he’ll relish a return to three-year-old company. Robbie Griffiths clearly has a big opinion of the horse and had him set for the Derby, before missing a start.
We’re set for another competitive edition of the Group 1 Oaks and there’s plenty of value to be taken in betting.
Amphitrite is a Group 1 winner and has opened the $3.40 Oaks favourite. The daughter of Sebring has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence this time and broke her maiden in September before embarking on an impressive rise through the grades that has since delivered wins in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m). She wasn’t given the chance in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) last time and will be hard to beat here.
One that looks over the odds at her current price is the Darren Weir-trained Zapurler. Having broken her maiden with a dominant win at Echuca two weeks ago, the High Chaparral filly looks as though she’ll relish the increase in trip and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
A decent field of fillies will step out for the last and it looms as a tough way to end the day from a betting perspective.
I’m going to continue riding her strong and consistent run of form by backing the John McArdle-trained Humma Humma at her current price ($6). The Denman filly has form around some of the season’s best three-year-olds and has finished second behind Sunlight in both the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) most notably.