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The Hawk’s Preview: Makybe Diva Stakes Day

September 8, 2012

What a great day of racing we have today with Group 2 features in Sydney and Melbourne.

Today, I’m at Flemington, so I have focused on the Melbourne card. However, I have given my tips for Sydney, including previews for the quaddie legs.

Best of luck today!

FLEMINGTON

Race 1 – LISTED CAP D’ANTIBES STAKES (1100m)

Tough and very open fillies race to begin the day at Flemington, and it may pay to watch the first race to get a feel for how the straight track is playing. Most of my selections are drawn on the stands side, which may be a negative depending on which way the winds are blowing. Nevertheless, I’ll still tip them. I thought many of these had chances, but I thought the blueblood DAZZLER had flown under the radar. She recorded two nice wins, firstly on the Geelong Synthetic and then here at headquarters. The big query with her is the step back to 1100m – she hasn’t raced below 1300m – but I think she has the potential to be quite a good filly. She’s by More Than Ready out of the AJC Sires Produce Stakes winner Camarilla – that’s a pedigree that screams for wet tracks, but even so, I think she can show herself to be a spring contender here. ARMED FOR ACTION is a Blue Diamond Stakes placegetter, a classy juvenile who looked quite promising. She did look an early maturer, so it will be interesting to see how much progression she has made through the winter. If she’s developed, she could win this quite easily. AGUEDA was very good in the Quezette Stakes behind Elite Elle – albeit, she was probably one of the only ones who handled the wet track. What she lacks in class, she makes up for in honesty – she always tries. Think she may have found her price now though. And DINKUM DIAMOND comes across with Adelaide form, including a win in The Jansz. I’m not sure how strong her form is, but I’m always wary when they bring Adelaide fillies across so she must be considered.

11 – DAZZLER
4 – ARMED FOR ACTION
7 – AGUEDA
1 – DINKUM DIAMOND

Race 2 – LISTED HENRY BUCKS BEST DRESSED STAKES (1400m)

Open race for the three year olds. Many of these come out of the McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley two weeks ago. That said, I’m looking outside that form for my top selection. Mick Price’s COLLECT really intrigues me. Okay, he was disappointing at his last run – but there were problems there, he lashed out at the gates. He was passed fit but I’m not convinced all was well. On debut he finished four and a half lengths behind Pierro, while he also finished within a length of Ashokan in the Skyline Stakes. I believe the Sydney crop is stronger than the Melbourne crop, and he measured up. So I’m prepared to give him another chance here. LIBERTY ROCK gets the blinkers and the bigger track here, which I believe is to his advantage. Should lap up the 1400m and he’s drawn very nicely. Happy to give him another go. DOMINANT is still a maiden but he’s finished second at both his starts behind Wales and Rusambo. He should improve with the run under his belt. I’m just not sure where he gets to in the run from gate 11, but I’m sure he’ll be somewhere in the mix. And at odds, keep an eye on CRIKEY O’REILLY. This may be too short for him now but he’s one (I’d expect) heading on a Derby route. This has been a very good race from a Derby perspective, so watch.

10 – COLLECT
8 – LIBERTY ROCK
6 – DOMINANT
15 – CRIKEY O’REILLY

Race 3 – LISTED THE SOFITEL (1400m)

This race is one of the more clear cut races of the day, despite the large field. I’m confident that on last week’s run, MISTER MILTON should just about win here. His strike rate – one from 16 – is a concern, but he’s been tested in races which have been out of his depth. His effort to run fourth in the Memsie Stakes was outstanding and the prospect of a firm track here puts him right in the picture. He’s also drawn nicely which should give him the opportunity to have a very nice run. He’s close to my best bet of the day at the odds. I can understand the support for LAUNAY given his second up record (5 starts for 3 wins), his record at Flemington (4 starts for 3 wins) and his appreciation for a good track. He was good first up behind Freereturn at Caulfield. He’s never been one of mine, so I can’t justify supporting him now when I have Mister Milton just ahead of him. Despite the barrier don’t be surprised to see MR CHARD in the mix. He’s been injury prone but there’s no doubt he’s got talent. Interestingly, looking at his form, he seems to improve as he gets further into his preparations. If you take out all his first and second up runs in his career, it reads 6 starts for 3 wins, 2 seconds and a fourth. He’s the one to watch. And ILLO flies first up – a fourth to Black Caviar and Southern Speed in the Orr Stakes reads well for this race, even with 60kg.

16 – MISTER MILTON
4 – LAUNAY
5 – MR CHARD
1 – ILLO

Race 4 – GROUP 2 LET’S ELOPE STAKES (1400m)

Plenty of different formlines here – it is hard to line them all up. Straight up, I’m going to say I think the favourite Lady Melksham was flattered by the wet track so I’ll be steering clear today. I reckon the Kiwi mare ZURELLA, if she’s developed as well as has been reported, could be a genuine Caulfield Cup chance. She’s always looked like she’d need time, but her form in New Zealand is top notch and I think Shaune Ritchie did the right thing in turning her out after the New Zealand Oaks. This has been a first up target for a long time, and she’s going to be very fit as she’s heading to the Naturalism in two weeks. That could also be a negative – if she’s too fit, she may be looking for further already. That said, I’m happy to have her on top. HI BELLE has been largely forgotten in the lead up to this race. PRogressed to win some nice races last preparation and will be suited by the firm track. I can’t see why she wouldn’t be a huge chance here at odds. The rank outsider of the field is OASIS BLOOM – I think that’s unfair for the lightly raced mare. She may need further, sure, but she shouldn’t be at such large odds. Don’t be surprised to see her win. And YOSEI is the proven mare in the field. She won’t be at her best until she reaches the Epsom but she is still one to follow here.

8 – ZURELLA
3 – HI BELLE
6 – OASIS BLOOM
1 – YOSEI

Race 5 – GROUP 2 DANEHILL STAKES (1200m)

I told someone I was having a geographical exacta, but they didn’t get me – I hope someone understands that! IT’s very hard to go past SNITZERLAND. I was keen on her in a Golden Slipper so I have to be keen on her here. She’s too short, so I won’t be backing her, but if everything goes right she should win. I think, if you are betting on the race, the multiples are the way to go – and this makes for a fascinating contest. I think STRALIA could be one to run second, he’s unbeaten in much weaker races but both have been at this track. All you can do is win, and it remains to be seen whether he can step up to this company. However, I think he can. Follow. PSYCHIC MICK is also unbeaten, recording a dominant victory in the Vain Stakes at his most recent run. This is the toughest race he’s met, but you have to love genuine types like him. And don’t underrate Mike Moroney’s MURCIELAGA. He won during the Warrnambool May carnival at his only start, and he seems to have a lot of scope. Be wary. See what I mean about the geographical exacta?

9 – SNITZERLAND
4 – STRALIA
2 – PSYCHIC MICK
7 – MURCIELAGA

Race 6 – GROUP 2 MAKYBE DIVA STAKES (1600m)

The feature of the day. Although he was at long odds in the marke, I’m disappointed to see Midas Touch has been scratched. Last year, the improvement he made in a week between the Memsie and the Makybe Diva was phenomenal, and I thought he may do the same thing here. Nevertheless, it’s hard to go past SOUTHERN SPEED. The Caulfield Cup winner has a fitness edge on hr rivals, having had the two lead up runs in Adelaide. Fitness may be vital here. She ran Manighar to a nose here in the Australian Cup when both were fit, so I just think the fitness edge has to have her on top. MANIGHAR, however, was the autumn’s biggest surprise packet. His transformation was nothing short of remarkable. I still reckon he’ll improve with the run, despite the fact he won first up last preparation. They look the clear top two. After that, I’m going for the two who have residual fitness after Queensland campaigns – SHENZHOU STEEDS and MAWINGO. I think Shenzhou Steeds represents better value, hence why I’ve put him ahead of Mawingo. Obviously the likes of December Draw have the ability to win, but he’s a query after such a serious injury, while I would love nothing more than to see Efficient win. It’s highly unlikely, but he does save his best for Flemington so anything’s possible.

11 – SOUTHERN SPEED
2 – MANIGHAR
9 – SHENZHOU STEEDS
6 – MAWINGO

Race 7 – GROUP 3 BOBBIE LEWIS QUALITY (1200m)

What a tough, tough, tough race! I remember 12 months ago, when Lone Rock blew us all out. That was disappointing, but we have another chance to atone. I’ve got it down to about 10 runners, but I don’t know who I’d have on top. In the end, I’ve gone for the horse I think is value – AHDASHIM. He hasn’t been seen since October last year, but he has done quite well over an extended career. He’s now seven, but his stats at the track and distance suggest he could surprise here. MOSHEEN is obviously the class runner, but she faces a tough task after an interrupted program with 59kg. She can win, but I’d be wary of expecting too much from her first up. PAGO ROCK and INSTINCTION are both at big odds and can surprise given the firm surface today, while I also rate Spirit of Boom, Shanghai Warrior, Speediness, Anabandana and One Last Dance. As you can see, what an open race!

4 – AHDASHIM
1 – MOSHEEN
13 – PAGO ROCK
17 – INSTINCTION

Race 8 – SOFITEL GIRLS DAY OUT HANDICAP (2000m)

This race has been a goldmine the last five years. In 2007, it was won by Master O’Reilly. In 2009, Speed Gifted. 2010, Moudre. 2011, December Draw. It is a vital lead up heading towards the Cups. EXCLUDED is the up and comer in form and looks the logical tip on exposed figures. His win at Moonee Valley was good after a thundering first up run here, and it will take something special to beat him. I’ve always rated SEA GALLEON as a stayer of immense promise – I backed him for the Cups last year, but perhaps I was 12 months too soon. Don’t be surprised if he makes it to the Melbourne Cup. Today, I’m not sure what to expect from him but I reckon he can run well. BUXTED is an import who was very good at his Australian debut at Moonee Valley behind Banca Mo. He looks a good type – he lost form in the UK after a promising three year old season, and Sam Pritchard-Gordon looks to have him back at his best. And while I think BUDAI may be at his best on rain affected ground, his last run was good enough to suggest a bold showing today.

6 – EXCLUDED
5 – SEA GALLEON
11 – BUXTED
4 – BUDAI

WARWICK FARM

Race 1 – PAUL NOBLE MILE (1600m)

2 – STRAWBERRY BOY
7 – JACQUINOT BAY
5 – KEITH’S LEGACY
8 – MOTTLED

Race 2 – AUSTRALIAN TURF CLUB HANDICAP (2400m)

7 – DIAMOND JIM
3 – SABLES
5 – YOU THINK SO
1 – O’REILLY’S PRIZE

Race 3 – JIM BEAM HANDICAP (1300m)

1 – MERLIN MUSTANG
6 – RUMOUR AND SCANDAL
2 – VELROSSO
8 – UPSHOT

Race 4 – LISTED MING DYNASTY QUALITY (1400m)

8 – SUMARAND
1 – MAGIC SHAFT
4 – TOYDINI
3 – TATRA

Race 5 – GROUP 2 CHELMSFORD STAKES (1600m)

A very tactical race here with Somepin Anypin and Ginga Dude likely to head forward. I can’t see there being a quick speed, though, which leaves me concerned about Secret Admirer. I believe LAMASERY can win, which would be quite remarkable giving his lowly beginnings in maidens at Bathurst and Queanbeyan. He is so honest, so game, and I simply think he’ll get a better run than Secret Admirer under the conditions. That said, SECRET ADMIRER can never be discounted. She has an electric turn of foot on her day, and while I think you’ll see it next start, don’t be surprised to see her win here. I have Lamasery on top but Secret Admirer should be in the mix. LIGHTS OF HEAVEN disappointed me last time out. I thought she would be in the finish, but after a weird run, she finished 11th in the Warwick Stakes. Needs to improve but should do out to 1600m. And GINGA DUDE may get the gun run, so don’t be surprised if the old boy salutes.

4 – LAMASERY
9 – SECRET ADMIRER
8 – LIGHTS OF HEAVEN
2 – GINGA DUDE

Race 6 – GROUP 2 FURIOUS STAKES (1400m)

A competitive fillies race, probably enhanced by the fact Nechita is heading to the Golden Rose. Not sure many of these fillies would have wanted to take her on again. I think the Kiwi will be a star this spring, PUSSY WILLOW. She’s a star with an incredible turn of foot. She ran fourth of five in her most recent start, but nothing suited so I would be forgetting that. She’ll be better in the Tea Rose Stakes and the Flight Stakes, but I have to have her on top. DEAR DEMI is so honest. She may not be the most classy filly but her honesty should see her figure here. ROLL THE BONES won a weak race at Canterbury but it was the manner in which she won it that merits consideration. It was an effortless win and she looks to have come back well. And although the bird may have flown, expect to see JADE MARAUDER rattling home again.

9 – PUSSY WILLOW
2 – DEAR DEMI
11 – ROLL THE BONES
4 – JADE MARAUDER

Race 7 – GROUP 3 CONCORDE STAKES (1100m)

This looks a procession for RAIN AFFAIR and I have no hesitations declaring it so. If anywhere near right, which he looked to be in his trial last week, he should win. His coat didn’t look good at the trials, but that didn’t stop him, so I think he’ll be fine. ATOMIC FORCE is a class runner who was really good at Moonee Valley in my opinion, despite opinions to the contrary. Should be spot on here. SATIN SHOES has trialled twice, as well as having an exhibition gallop, but I’m not sure if she’s come back as well as has been suggested. That saddens me, as I’ve always been a huge fan, but I have to be realistic. She does perform well fresh so must be thrown in. And I’ve never really warmed to TIGER TEES, but I do agree he has a chance today. Would be very surprised if anything outside these four saluted.

2 – RAIN AFFAIR
1 – ATOMIC FORCE
8 – SATIN SHOES
5 – TIGER TEES

Race 8 – GROUP 3 TRAMWAY HANDICAP (1400m)

What a great way to end the day. I’m very confident that CLASS IS CLASS could be an incredibly promising import. His trials have been sensational, he’s been bought by a shrewd judge in Richard Pegum and there are suggestions he may be better than My Kingdom of Fife. I’m very keen and he can win today, although he’ll be better for today’s run. MOMENT OF CHANGE was so good first up, he can go on with it here but I’m thinking he may find himself in an awkward position from a wide gate. SAID COM was electric first up but disappointing second up. I reckon he’ll improve though, ridden correctly, so be careful. And WILD AND PROUD won the Hobartville Stakes on protest, Gai Waterhouse is in incredible form so he must be thrown in.

3 – CLASS IS CLASS
8 – MOMENT OF CHANGE
9 – SAID COM
6 – WILD AND PROUD

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