SATURDAY’S Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington brings together 13 high quality gallopers in pursuit of Spring Group 1 glory.
12Follow’s Jake Henson and Matt Taylor preview the race and deliver their best bets.
Matt Taylor: FLEMINGTON plays host to Melbourne’s second Group 1 race of the season this Saturday, the Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m, and it has a very similar feel to the first a fortnight earlier. Eight of the 13 runners in Saturday’s field come from the Memsie, taken out by Black Heart Bart. Before we dive too deeply into his form, we’d better look at the track. How do you think Flemington will play on Saturday, Jake?
Jake Henson: The track is currently rated a Good 3 and the only rain forecasted is potentially on Friday, but Flemington drains as well as any track in Australia. At worst it’ll be in the mid-range of a soft track but likely to be firmer than that. Rail True should see things play pretty fairly and word is the track is in terrific condition. I do not there is a 2500m race to start the day however in which they’ll trek past the home straight rail twice so thinking up on speed and slightly off might be the best position for races around the circle later in the day. Generally though, a pretty fair track that should give the best horses a decent chance.
MT: Well if the market is to be believed the best horse in this race – or at the very least, the horse with the best winning chance – is the Memsie winner Black Heart Bart. He was quoted at $2.10 in all-in markets earlier this week but as much as $2.35 is on offer for him now with the corporates after the barrier draw. What do you make of his chances here?
Hear from champion trainer Darren Weir after the win of Black Heart Bart. pic.twitter.com/QB2vhqoJDx
— Racing.com (@Racing) August 27, 2016
JH: He’s without question the horse to beat. He was perhaps vulnerable fresh in the Memsie considering he’s being set for a Cox Plate tilt but the residual fitness from the winter campaign and his class proved the difference. I don’t see any issue at all with the barrier draw (gate 8), in fact I’d rather be drawn out slightly then inside with little running room. He’ll be able to present into the race with plenty of time left for Oliver and be mighty hard to beat. My only concern is if he’s a bit soft up to 1600m, we know how good he’s been at 1400m and if they are aiming him at the 2040m Cox Plate trip in late October I can’t imagine he’s screwed down fully just yet. That being said, a soft or even tempo and he sits close enough he’ll likely walk in. I think if they stretch it out and some of the stronger on pace types ensure a testing gallop it might be the recipe to bring him unstuck. The field looks relatively weak, especially for a Group 1 and I’ve rated him $2.10.
MT: I have to say I agree and there’s not a lot to add. He’s yet to stretch out beyond 1400m since entering Darren Weir’s care but has previously run up to 2400m so the distance shouldn’t be an issue and his second up record is good. He camped just off that good tempo last time out and while the gallop may not quite be as strong this time, he looks like he’ll be able to find a similar position in the run, roughly fourth or fifth one off the fence, and be poised to strike. Your rating of $2.10 seems about right to me too but I won’t be piling in at this stage.
In the Memsie he settled alongside Rising Romance and she also ran well when finishing second. Where does she – and indeed the other horses from that lead up race – figure in your calculations?
JH: She is certainly in the mix, it was a pleasing return and the Hayes camp in general is flying. They indicated she had returned in very good order and the run lived up to the hype I thought. She’s a chance but at $9 about at her price, would prefer to find her third up or fourth up now I think.
Palentino’s run in the Memsie was pretty solid and he looked a coming winner to me although perhaps not in this grade. That crop of newly four year olds haven’t measured up overly well and at $6 I have to risk him. Instead I’m looking at some battled hardened types who might not have Group 1 class technically, but in this pretty weak edition of the race can certainly figure at some juicy place prices.
He Or She beat both The United States and Stratum Star over 1600m here six months ago and looks overs at $21/$5. His return was solid and maps perfectly with Craig Williams to steer.
MT: Rising Romance definitely comes into my calculations on an each way basis – she’ll lob in a perfect spot and will receive the right run into the race. If there are chinks in Bart’s armour I think she’ll be the one best placed to expose them. As for Palentino, I’m completely on board with your theory about the four year olds not measuring up at this level – he’s way too short at $6. I also take your points about the others on an each-way basis but keep coming back to Rising Romance as being that little big closer to Bart in the run. There were big margins to some of them in the Memsie and I’m not sure they’ll be bridging that gap enough over the extra 200m.
Another key form line is the Lawrence Stakes, where Jacquinot Bay and Entirely Platinum filled the placings behind Miss Rose De Lago. She flopped at the Valley last week after a tough run, but can they score here?
— Racing.com (@Racing) August 13, 2016
JH: Jacquinot Bay went around for practise at Moonee Valley last week after his Lawrence Stakes run. He’s a great place price at $6 although I do hope Nick Hall is positive from the gate. I’m giving a knockout/place chance to Entirely Platinum and Alpine Eagle as well but there’s less overlay and value in their prices.
MT: So with all that in mind Jake how will you be attacking the race from a betting perspective?
JH: For me, small bets 1 x 3 on both He Or She and Jacquinot Bay. Prepared to play a bit of wait and see with Black Heart Bart. If all looks in order with the stable, betting and horse on race-day I could consider having a small result on him.
MT: My approach to Black Heart Bart will be similar – I can definitely see myself backing him on the day but won’t be steaming into the current price. At this stage I’m all about Rising Romance on about a 1 x 5 each-way basis. You’re getting near enough to $3 the place right now for a horse which will get all the favours in the run and arrives with a strong form reference. Best of luck punters!