Huge day of summer Saturday racing comes up here, with a number of group and listed events taking place all over the country. Flemington hosts Living Legends race day, while in Sydney it is Villiers Stakes Day at Randwick. Eagle Farm has some rich races on its nine race program, while Morphettville, and Ascot in the west round out the other big meetings for today. PlayUp form analyst Lewis Willoughby has identified his five best bets of the day below.
R5 #5 Shamino – $3.80 at PlayUp– Keen to be with the Stokes galloper here in what looks a very competitive 1000m sprint down the straight. Shamino dropped back to this distance last start in the Doveton Stakes at Sandown and was simply dominant, extending through the line for a strong 1.5L win. He is a weapon at this sprint trip, and one attempt down the Flemington straight can easily be forgiven as he didn’t see out the 1200m journey on that occasion. Rock hard fit, weighted well and maps nicely from barrier four in behind the pack.
R7 #9 Sondelon – $19.00 at PlayUp– I tipped this horse last start when fresh at The Valley, and he was eased out of the race in the straight with something clearly amiss. He scoped with mucous and pulled up with a slow recovery, so it is easy to be forgiving of that run. I’m still convinced the horse is travelling well, and have to give him a second chance here. Fitter, out to 1400m which will suit, and hopefully decides to take up the lead here as he normally does. If he gets a soft time in front, he could take some getting past, and the odds are too good to refuse.
R3 #13 The Face – $4.60 at PlayUp – A very talented horse here who resumes for the Ryan/Alexiou camp. Only a lightly raced gelding, his two runs in his debut prep were full of merit. His debut win at Gosford over 1100m was very strong, and although only in a small field he towelled them up easily. He then ran in the listed Rosebud at Rosehill, and likely did not appreciate the heavy going. Resumes here off no trials, which is not unusual for this camp, and returning to the dry deck will be extremely beneficial. Gets in with no weight, has a very strong SP profile, and should map off the speed from barrier 12. Think he has the ability over these runners.
R8 #7 Royal Celebration – $8.00 at PlayUp – Comes here off a massive forgive run at Rosehill in the G3 Festival Stakes, where he was forced to sit three wide on speed without cover, and still had the audacity to almost win the race, only being beaten 0.2L into second place. He is now fourth up, and returns to his home track and comes up to the mile at the perfect stage of his preparation. One from one previously at the mile, which was in a solid form race at Warwick Farm last prep. With any even luck finding a position with cover in running from barrier 11, he can go one better now and win.
R9 #16 New Arrangement $4.40 at PlayUp – Comes here off two very good runs so far this prep, and they have both proven to be strong form lines. Was very good behind Two Big Farm in easier grade at Rosehill last start, and it put the writing on the wall for a peak performance third up now. Out a touch in distance to the mile now will really suit, and although up in grade gets in very well at the weights with only 53.5kg. He has competed at this level before and has never been beaten more than 2.5L in this grade with the low weight, including a close finish behind Royal Celebration who goes around in a G2 earlier on the day.