It’s another Group 1 day of racing action coming to us from HQ in Melbourne, the mighty Flemington racecourse. The Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m is the feature event, and last year was taken out by Gatting at some aptly priced cricket-score odds. He lines up again this year, could history repeat itself? There are also three Group2 races from Rosehill, including the very exciting Run to the Rose featuring our best 3 year old sprinters. There are nine race cards at Doomben, Morphettville and Belmont, alongside a stack of country meetings around the land. Check out PlayUp form analyst Lewis Willoughby’s top five picks of the day below.
Flemington R2 #8 Bartley $4.60 at PlayUp – Comes down to Melbourne first time after two strong runs in Sydney, most importantly a last start victory in weaker grade at Warwick Farm. He was very dominant in winning on that occasion, rounding them up from the back with real ease and pulling away on the line. Although it was only at BM72 level, he gave all the signs of a group level horse. Out to 1400m now really suits, and he drops 2.5kg coming into this higher grade. He should find a more prominent position in running today from barrier three, up on the speed, and I think he can be very competitive here. Selections: 8-1-7-3
Flemington R3 #2 Savatiano $2.50 at PlayUp – Easily my best bet of the day here, and this Godolphin horse is in very good form of late. Last start when racing fresh at this level over 1400m at Caulfield, she had a great run and had to fight really hard to win. She is now second up and fitter, comes to Flemington and sticks to the 1400m at Group2 level. I think in this small field with limited tempo, she will enjoy another perfect run from her low draw, and quite simply looks the best horse in this field and can be winning again. Selections: 2-5-1-7
Flemington R4 #7 Bold Star $4.20 at PlayUp – Comes here second up out to 1200m now after a very strong return last start over 1100m at Group3 level at Caulfield. Got back in the running there, and although he was aided by a string tempo up front, he managed to run home in the quickest last 600m, 400m and 200m sectionals of the entire meeting, and probably goes close to winning in a few more strides. Unbeaten in his career when racing second up, and drops 4kg from the last start effort! Is a proven winner down the Flemington straight, Craig Williams stays aboard, and has a fitness edge over his key rivals. Selections: 7-3-1-6
Rosehill R4 #5 Masked Crusader $2.00 at PlayUp – Comes here second up and has been scratched from previous races and finally lines up to start here. A very talented horse who was impressive first up on unsuitable heavy going, finishing 2nd to the rock-hard fit Varda. I actually don’t mind the little break between runs into this second up assignment, and with any luck in running from barrier 10 I expect him to be too good. The drying track will help, comes up 1kg but is far from disgraced at the weights, and with surely bigger targets in mind this Spring, a race of this level should be well within his reach to win. Surprised we are getting above even money about him, i’m happy to take it! Selections: 5-1-9-7
Rosehill R7 #6 Wild Planet $5.00 at PlayUp – Looking to make it a Hawkes team double at Rosehill, with Wild Planet looking a strong winning chance in this race. Comes off a very unlucky first up run behind Roheryn where he simply did not have a clear run for a majority of the straight, and was not fully tested through the line. Second up now and fitter, and has won second up previously in his career which indicates he can run well. Drawn kindly in barrier four, and very well weighted with only the 54kg on his back. He looks really well placed over 1300m here, and hopefully can atone for the last start disaster. Selections: 6-3-5-1