The final day of the Flemington carnival is upon us, and it is Mackinnon Stakes day, which is always an extremely exciting race over the 2000m journey. Some very good horses have taken out this race in the past, and this year’s edition looks to be just as competitive. It wraps up a massive 37 races over the space of one week that have been run at Flemington, as we move into the country carnival time. Meanwhile it is Golden Gift day at Rosehill, which is a key lead up race for 2yo’s to the Golden Slipper. Nine race card on a likely wet surface is expected. PlayUp form analyst Lewis Willoughby has his best of the day below.
Flemington R3 #8 Morvada $8.00 at PlayUp – Think we are getting a great each way price here about Morvada, who comes into this Chatham Stakes run much fitter off a 4th place effort in the G3 Moonga Stakes at Caulfield. He was first up from a break between runs that day, and led the field up at a solid tempo in front. With the lack of race fitness on his side, he was always going to be vulnerable at the end of 1400m. He also does not like wet ground, so the soft 6 conditions didn’t help his cause. Second up here and stepping much fitter, he comes to a firm Flemington deck, and sticks to the very suitable 1400m. He should lead the field, and with only 55.5kg on his back he could be very hard to run down. Selections: 8-7-4-6
Flemington R5 #2 Pondus $2.30 at PlayUp – Second up in Aus here, and comes off an extremely gallant second place in the Bendigo Cup last start, where he gave away an almighty start but was just unable to run down Princess Jenni. He is second up now, and gets a touch of extra distance coming out to 2600m which will be very suitable. He is unbeaten second up, and there is no doubt in my mind he is the class horse of this field by a long way. There doesn’t look to be much tempo in this race again, but hopefully the first up run has brought him forward enough that he can settle closer in the run than he did last start. If he does, he will take a power of beating. Very confident he runs top two here. Selections 2-1-5-11
Flemington R6 #1 Santa Ana Lane $9.50 at PlayUp – It has been a very long time between drinks for this talented G1 sprinter, but I’m quietly confident he can run a massive race here in the G1 Darley Sprint Classic. His run last start in The Everest finishing 6th was arguably the best run of the race, outside of the winner. He rocketed home in the fastest last 200m split of the race, and it was also the fourth fastest last 200m split of the entire meeting. Worth noting the fastest was by Purple Sector, who has since come to Flemington and won. Santa finished only 1L off Bivouac, who somehow lines up here at half the quote that Santa is, and I would argue Santa is much better suited in this race. Melham hops back on, and he has had success on this horse before, and he looks set to stalk a genuine tempo in front set by Nature Strip and Fabergino. He SP’d as favourite in this race last year, he looks over the odds for mine. Selections: 1-3-9-6
Rosehill R4 #1 Express Courier $4.80 at PlayUp – Keen to be with the K Dryden runner here in the 2000m Country Classic, a horse very much in form and coming through some form lines this prep which have stacked up very strong, including victories over Mnementh, who has since franked the form in town. He is fourth up here ready to peak, and two wins this prep over the shorter trip have him ready to go here. Unbeaten at this 2000m trip from two attempts, and most importantly has extremely strong wet track form, including two wins on heavy going from only three attempts. The claim for T Sherry is vital, bringing his weight down to 55kg, and with any luck getting clear running from barrier three, he can figure right in the finish. Selections: 1-9-7-14
Rosehill R6 #11 Hide Your Heart $19.00 at PlayUp – Having something small each way on this Bjorn Baker debutant here in the Golden Gift, which is one of the many crucial steps towards these 2yo’s showing whether or not they will be competitive in a Golden Slipper. Although this filly concedes race experience to other rivals, which is crucial, I have been really taken by her two jump outs leading in. She finished 2nd in the first one, and won the latest, both under riding but showed incredible turns of foot in both trials and was very strong through the line. In the latest, she was forced to make runs in between horses, which is a key learning experience for these 2yo’s. Carries only 54.5kg down the bottom, will get back from barrier 11, and the 1100m should be enough for her to make a big run out wide. Selections: 11-2-9-8