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10/03/2012 – Preview of Flemington (Newmarket Handicap/Australian Cup) and Warwick Farm (Chipping Norton Stakes)

March 10, 2012

Today’s racing – Super Saturday in Melbourne – sees the Australian Cup and Newmarket Handicap from Flemington and the Chipping Norton Stakes from Warwick Farm.

Who will win today? Andrew Hawkins has looked at the racecards today in an attempt to find a winner!

WARWICK FARM

Race 1 – Schweppes Plate (1100m)

This two year old race occupies the position once held by the Kindergarten Stakes – the Kindergarten is now held on Australian Derby Day. In all honesty, given the wet track, I probably won’t be betting here. But for the sake of tipping I find it hard to go past PURE HUSTLE, who has trialled extremely well into this and looks an above average gelding. Owned by sports personalities like Luke Ricketson, Anthony Minichello and Doug Bollinger, it would be good to see him do well. The main danger does appear to be CATKINS, who was very good on debut at Kembla Grange. The unraced SMART MAN trialled alright too, while I’ll be interested to see how KNOCKABOUT goes.

Race 2 – Panucci Transport Handicap (2200m)

A pretty average staying race really. I’ve been keen on MARDEN both his starts this prep but he’s done nothing. I’m prepared to give him another go, but don’t know how patient I’ll be after today. FROZEN ROPE, who is up in class but flies on the heavy going, looks the main danger. Marden’s stablemate MERCHANDISE looks an okay chance too, while PALASPORT is always a chance in these sorts of races.

Race 3 – Alconex Fire Handicap (1100m)

An okay sprint but decimated by scratchings. POTIONS was big first up after a long spell, she will have taken improvement and she wasn’t far from Red Tracer on a heavy track last time in. LA REMLAP has her hoof on the till and looks well suited here. CELTS was very good winning first up in Melbourne. And TITLE flies first up. Pretty boring really – sticking with the four horses in the market.

Race 4 – Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m)

The Surround is a great race every year, and this year’s edition is no exception – despite there being only six runners. Hard to knock STREAMA and she should return to winning form here. She was good behind Sea Siren first up and will have more improvement in her than the other filly. That’s not to say SEA SIREN isn’t in with a hope, I have her second. But I do think Streama will turn the tables. HALLOWELL BELLE should complete the same trifecta as the Light Fingers Stakes, while I’d be disappointed if PANE IN THE GLASS didn’t show more.

Race 5 – Calcoup Knitwear Handicap (1600m)

This is a bit of a more open race. Hard to see BRAYROAN being beaten here. Flies at the distance, goes well third up, and importantly for the son of Zabeel – he gets blinkers on. Should win. AGENT BAUER could be a danger if you forget his last run at Canberra. Goes well on a wet track and could get conditions to suit. HARDBREAK HOTEL is in form but he’s a query on the wet track while one of the most dour horses in Australia, REUBEN PERCIVAL could shock by getting into the placings. He likes it wet and his first up run last time in was not bad under the circumstances. Will find this a lot easier.

Race 6 – Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m)

Click here to read my preview of the Chipping Norton Stakes.

Race 7 – Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m)

I’m used to seeing big fields in this race so it is definitely different seeing such a small field – six horses after scratchings. I reckon NEESON is the one to beat here. Yet to miss a place second up, he is proven on heavy ground and he has a fitness advantage over his rivals. Also best suited over the distance. SOMEPIN ANYPIN and OFCOURSEICAN are the logical dangers. For fourth, go with ALL SILENT, who is not suited on a wet track but is apparently coming along well.

Race 8 – Listed Wiggle Stakes (1400m)

An almost full field of 17 runners has been reduced to 8 horses after scratchings. Very disappointing. It doesn’t matter anyway, I can’t see them beating SECRET ADMIRER. She’s simply too well weighted and too well suited here. She’ll be too good. STEPS IN TIME looks the danger, she returned in good style and is untapped. FOXSTAR was good first up too and could have a good preparation ahead of her, while LADYS ANGEL grows another leg in the wet.

FLEMINGTON

Race 1 – Group 3 TBV Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m)

Funny story – I remember, about two weeks before the Melbourne Cup, being told about a filly that had come to Melbourne from the Gerald Ryan stable. I instantly fell in love with her because of the clever name – SNITZERLAND. I had something small on her on Melbourne Cup day, and she almost provided a winning start to the day! Then she came out a few weeks ago and easily won the Inglis Premier race at Mornington. She’s short here, and for good reason. Watch her head to the Golden Slipper after winning today. ARMED FOR ACTION ran a huge race to finish third in the Blue Diamond, and she looks the main danger. MRS GRAY is coming off a good run in the Magic Millions, while REAL STOLLE might improve down the straight. But go the Snitzer!!!

Race 2 – Listed MSS Security Stakes (1100m)

Good three year old sprint. SHARNEE ROSE has the unenviable tag at the moment of being Australia’s best maiden. She finished third behind Atlantic Jewel and Mosheen at her last start in the Thousand Guineas – not bad form at all!!! Did finish behind Unpretentious earlier in their careers but not sure Unpretentious is racing as well. HALLE ROCKS is unbeaten and is promising, but is way too short for my liking. METONYMY started her campaign off well last preparation but didn’t fire after that – perhaps she’s a good fresh horse? Next best GLOWS.

Race 3 – Group 2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m)

A very difficult two year old race to assess, with many of these getting out to 1400m for the first time. ALL TOO HARD, the half to Black Caviar, was simply supreme at his debut and if he backs that up, he’ll be hard to toss. SHAMEXPRESS really made an impression on me at his debut, I think he’ll be close up. I liked MAMA’S CHOICE for the Blue Diamond and she wasn’t too bad, so I have to include her here, while RUSAMBO could break his maiden here.

Race 4 – Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m)

A lesson I’ve always learnt in this race is to stick with the class. I’m going to do that. I think WALL STREET is the most classy horse in the race. He wasn’t the best first up, but he tends to improve second up. Flemington suits and the 1600m is perfect now. Should get a good run from the draw. NIWOT was brilliant first up for a horse looking for further. He might be looking for further now but he tends to improve second up as well, so keep an eye out for him. Caulfield Cup runner up GREEN MOON is having the one run prior to a long spell in preparation for the Cups. He might be fresh enough to steal a victory here. SPEEDINESS is an up and coming horse but I’m not sure he gets enough weight off the top horses.

Race 5 – Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m)

Want to see how strong this crop of three year old fillies is? Look at this race. Our top three 3yo fillies aren’t there – those being Atlantic Jewel, Mosheen and Streama – and yet this is still a race oozing class. Plenty to be excited for with this crop. I’ve been counting down the days until I could see SOFT SAND at Flemington. I reckon the long straight will suit her perfectly, she should get pace to suit and I think she’ll fly over the top. EMPRESS ROCK is an emerging filly for Bart. Her two runs this preparation have been great and she’s ready to win. She’s a big danger. SHOPAHOLIC is flying and will have her supporters – I’ll just be cheering for the others – while I’d be more keen on ANGEL OF MERCY if she’d drawn slightly better. Great race.

R6 – Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m)

Click here to read my preview of the Newmarket Handicap.

Race 7 – Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m)

Click here to read my preview of the Australian Cup.

Race 8 – Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m)

Won last year by eventual Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker! Not sure if any of these will reach those heights. VINTEDGE was fine first up. She may be looking for further now but she is right in the mix. Obviously HI BELLE deserves favouritism, but I don’t know if she’ll get everything her way here. LADY LYNETTE has run well in better races than this over this track and distance, while I still reckon MARVEEN has a good race in her.

Race 9 – Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m)

A good way to end Melbourne’s Festival of Racing – unfortunately, racing in Melbourne goes quiet for a while now. The next real interest comes in May, when we have Black Caviar’s final run before Royal Ascot (might be in Melbourne), the Warrnambool Carnival and the next batch of imports stepping out. But really, it is only five months before we’ll be back at the Liston Stakes, ready to start the spring. Anyway, back to this race. I’ve had FAWKNER on top in a number of races recently, only for him to come out. I have him on top once more and I think he’ll go very close. ERASET wasn’t bad first up and will appreciate getting out to 1400m. PAGO ROCK is in good form and will be in the mix. And keep a close eye on the Kiwi import ZABISCO. Had some good form last preparation and wouldn’t shock.

Good luck today!

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