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Horses To Follow (VIC) - Blackbookers from Saturday's Victorian Racing

  • Blackbookers to catch the eye in Victoria
  • Our latest horses to follow from Melbourne racing

Saturday racing in Victoria produces several blackbookers to take forward into coming weeks and we pick out the best each week.

From winners of feature races to unlucky loses and first up gallopers outrunning expectations, we select three or four horses each week to add to your blackbook from Melbourne's Saturday racing.

Here are some horses to put in your blackbook:

Horses To Follow from Caulfield on Saturday October 12


RESIN 
James Cummings has this mare flying, she produced a peak performance rating first-up behind Zoutori down the Flemington straight, running 10.9 lengths above benchmark and she produced another good figure of nine-lengths above BM last start at Caulfield despite having no luck in the straight. She was travelling well between the 600m-400m and looked like she was going to be in the finish but didn’t get luck at a crucial stage, when she did finally hip and shoulder her way clear inside the final 200m, she ran the second-fastest last 200m of the race (11.32s) and the 15th-fastest last 200m of the meeting. I think she will be ready to win third-up and could be missed by the market. 

MISSILE MANTRA
Missile Mantra is the only horse I want to follow from the Thousand Guineas. She hasn’t a raceshape that suits her yet in her entire career. She flashed home against the pattern first-up behind Super Seth, she was luckless second-up, the pattern and tempo of the race was completely against her third-up and again was set an almost impossible task in the Thousand Guineas. The winner Flit sat three-back on the fence and the third horse was the leader. Missile Mantra flashed home without a horse to carry him into the race, she ran 5.3 lengths above the class benchmark for the final 600m and obviously ran the fastest last 200m, 400m, 600m and 800m of the race. She likely goes to the paddock now but will be winning races in the Autumn.

HUMIDOR
The real Humidor is back! He had just been getting way too far out of his races in his first three races this preparation and was actually hitting the line well and we did blackbook him from his run in the Makybe Diva Stakes. He didn’t get a race shape that suited on Saturday, as the leader Gailo Chop went 5.1L below the class benchmark to the 600m and Humidor simply wasn’t winning off that tempo. I did love his close, he ran the second-fastest 400m-200m split of the race and probably showed he wasn’t right at his top, weakening slightly running the fifth-fastest last 200m. He will be fifth-up at his next start which is likely to be the Cox Plate assuming he gets a start and he is right in that race.

CHIEF IRONSIDE
It was a horror watch for those who backed Chief Ironside, as Anthony Darmanin showed what an amazing horse Mystic Journey is, as she able to win Group Ones with him on her back. Darmanin made wrong decision after wrong decision on Chief Ironside, sitting slightly worse than midfield before being shuffled back between the 800m-400m. As they straightened, he looked to go inside but there was no gaps then went to ease to the outside of Miss Siska but was too late and the horse got checked and went to the line hard held. Despite that, he still put up an overall figure that was 10.8L above the all benchmark and it looks like the horse has ability, I’ll need a jockey change to back him.

SIKANDARABAD
Sikandarabad is a horse I have been following almost all preparation. He ran a cracking fourth behind Mystic Journey first-up in the P.B. Lawrence, I backed him second-up in the Feehan Stakes but he had no winning chance with the pattern of the day and the race shape that was advantageous to leaders.. he came wide and flashed home in the fastest last 200m of the race. He was ridden upside down last start at Caulfield, leading into a headwind and that’s just not his go. He got into the Toorak Handicap on Saturday and was huge, running the fastest last 200m of the race and flashing home into fourth. He really hasn't had a gut busting run yet this prep so I have no issue with him going deep into a campaign. I'd love to see him go 3 weeks into a Cantala Mile at Flemington.

Horses To Follow from Flemington on Saturday October 5


VOW AND DECLARE 
I underrated this four-year-old gelding leading into the Turnbull Stakes but he looks to have gone to a whole new level this preparation. He was on the heels of Mr Quickie last preparation before towelling up Big Duke in the Tatt’s Cup. He resumed in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and was completely unsuited with the pattern of the day and the tempo of the race that was 8.6 lengths slower than class benchmark to the 600m. He savaged the line and I thought his last 100m was as good as Mystic Journey. He ran the fifth-fastest 400m-200m of the race and the third-fastest last 200m. He is a legitimate G1 stayer and if he keeps improving, he is right in a race like the Caulfield Cup in my opinion. I’d love connections to target a races like the Sandown Cup or VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2600m. 

SANTA ANA LANE 
Assuming The Everest has some speed in the race and isn’t another Redzel barrier trial then Santa Ana Lane is clearly the top seed. He didn’t look anywhere near ready to go from the mounting yard and that run would’ve done him the world of good. He was outstanding vs the pattern of the day, he ran the fastest last 200m and 400m of the race and ran his last 600m 4.8 lengths above the class benchmark and his last 200m 1.3 lengths above benchmark. He just missed multiple G1 winner Sunlight, who got the complete perfect run. It was a terrific run and In my opinion, he is clearly Australia’s best sprinter still. 

ARISTIA
I thought one of the runs of the day was the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Aristia. I assumed mainstream media would be ranting and raving about this run but I really haven’t heard too much about it. She did enough first-up at Caulfield over 1200m and really bounced off that run, running a terrific fifth here in the Blazer Stakes (1400m). The pattern of the day and tempo of the race meant she had no winning chance. The leaders went 2.2 lengths slower than class benchmark and she was back/wide, a place you didn’t want to be on the meeting and she hit the line with Fidelia. She ran the second-fastest last 200m of the entire meeting and eighth-fastest last 400m of the meeting. She was huge through the line and although she won an Oaks over 2500m, I think she’ll be ready to win next start at a Mile. 

EXCESS FUNDS 
He has huge starting prices (SP’s) against some G1 horses, he started $3.20 in a Listed race against Assertive Approach and $3.70 vs Bivouac at Caulfield. He failed on that occasion and was on a 49-day freshen-up, he ran the fastest 400m-200m split of the race then was never, ever clear over the final 200m and went to the line climbing over heels hard held. It was an ugly ride from Luke Nolen and he will most likely be a bet wherever he races next start. 

BROOKLYN HUSTLE 
It was an awesome return from Brooklyn Hustle. There is a general consensus that the Blue Diamond form from the Autumn is junk and although I agree, the two horses who had no chance in that race were Loving Gaby and Brooklyn Hustle. I think those two horses can be followed and Loving Gaby showed that with an awesome first-up win at The Valley. Brooklyn Hustle resumed off a hot trial and was held-up with the pattern against down the straight, running only the seventh-fastest 400m-200m split of the race and was only clear inside the clocktower before ripping home, running the fastest last 200m of the race and the fifth-fastest last 200m of the meeting, running her last 600m 3.1 lengths above class benchmark. She was completely unsuited and can be followed.

Horses To Follow from Caulfield on Saturday September 21


GARNER 
Trainer Gordon Richards is outstanding at bringing horses to Melbourne and getting them to run well, Garner is no exception as he produced a terrific victory at Caulfield. He was 4.6 lengths off the leader at the 200m and no horse other than him came from further back than 1.9 lengths from the leader at the 200m to win all day. The leader Sartorial Splendor looked all over a winner at the 100m but Garner produced a huge close of seven-lengths above the class benchmark for the last 600m and really stretched out and savaged the line, running the fastest last 200m of the meeting to steal the victory in the last stride. The three-year-old son of Barbados can be followed.

METEORITE 
The Tony McEvoy-trained Meteorite is still a maiden but he looks to have a nice future on his hands, as I’ve blackbooked him from both his two career starts to date. He ran a terrific second on debut at Bendigo behind a smart prospect in Order Of Fury and the race rated 5.6 lengths above the class benchmark. He struck a completely different race shape here at Caulfield and went back off a slow tempo. He was back in the ruck, running the fastest 600m-400m split of the race, then only the sixth-fastest 400m-200m split of the race and the second-fastest last 200m. He hit the line really nicely, running the sixth-fastest last 400m and fourth-fastest last 600m of the meeting. He can win next start. 

ANGELIC RULER 
I can’t overstate how impressed I was with the first-up run of Angelic Ruler. She was first-up for 183-days with only one 950m trial under her belt. The betting said she wasn’t ready to win first-up, as she was $13 out to $18. She was travelling sweetly at the top of the straight, she ran the quickest 600m-400m split of the race then got squeezed between Dawn Dawn and Diamond Effort when going for a run. She then checked off heals and was stuck behind the tiring Pippie who was falling back in her lap, when finally clear she flew home behind Manicure, she only ran the eighth-fastest 400m-200m split of the race but picked up and fan clearly the fastest last 200m of the race, running 11.50s vs Manicure 11.72s. She ran the 23rd-fastest last 600m of the meeting, 16th-fastest last 400m and sixth-fastest last 200m of the meeting. 

AFFAIR TO REMEMBER 
She has never started under double figure odds in her three career starts but this Dan O’Sullivan-trained three-year-old looks to have serious ability. I loved her maiden victory at Geelong first-up this preparation over 1300m and it looks like she will only improve getting over further. She was well supported $31 into $11 on Saturday and was given no real winning chance from M.Walker. She was second-last at the 400m mark and was forced to duck back towards the inside and savaged the line, despite getting limited room over the final 150m and the rider never being full bore. She somehow ran the third-fastest 400m-200m split of the race and the fastest last 200m of the race under a hold for the final 50m. She ran the third-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the fifth-fastest last 400m of the meeting, huge.

MADISON COUNTY 
The Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman-trained four-year-old Madison County was terrific first-up in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke (1400m). He was racing well without winning in three-year-old company behind the likes of The Autumn Sun last preparation and put the writing on the wall that he could progress into open age company with a really nice jumpout at Flemington. He was luckless here, running the second-fastest 800m-600m split of the race before never really having clear galloping room and he went to the line untested. D.Lane was searching for a run at the top of the straight and in a race dominated by those horses on-speed, he hit the line nicely and looks in for a good preparation.

Horses To Follow from Flemington on Saturday September 14


SCOTTISH DANCER
It was a special win by Scottish Dancer on debut at Benalla. He struck interference at the top of the straight and when hit with the whip, took off and flew home to win, running the fastest last 200m of the race. He went to Flemington on Saturday and was hard in the market, despite drawing gate one which is a negative for this big, long striding horse. He ran the 12th-fastest 600m-400m of the race, the fastest 400m-200m split of the race and only the 11th-fastest last 200m of the race. Looking at the stewards vision, he is held-up back on the inside of runners and takes a tight run at the 100m mark, which was terrific to see in only his second career start. The run was much better than it looks on paper and he only needs a change of luck to draw a middle/outside barrier. 

FIDELIA 
A horse like Fidelia is usually a low percentage play, as she needs a race shape and luck in running but I’m happy to keep in her in the blackbook after a flashing light run. I thought she was terrific first-up and the run was as good as Amphitrite in my opinion, she got to 1400m second-up on Saturday and was huge, I expected her to open up longer in the Let’s Elope Stakes but the bookies didn’t miss her. She half missed the start and Jye McNeil was forced to settle back, on the fence. He went to go through gaps and was looking at going wide at the top of the straight but no gaps came and he finally went back towards the fence at the 200m. She burst through the gap and ran into third, running the fourth-fastest last 200m, the fourth-fastest last 400m and second-fastest last 600m of the meeting. I’m keen to see her up to the mile third-up. 

TARWIN 
I was surprised to see their was no late market support for Tarwin and that was probably an indication that he wasn’t ready to go, first-up for 140-days off only one quiet trial. The tempo set by the leaders was the slowest he has faced in his career (11.7 lengths slower than class benchmark to the 600m). He went from 3.4 lengths from the leader at the 400m to 5.4 lengths from the leader at the 200m, losing ground and the interference with Antah unfortunately breaking down didn’t help his chances either. He ran the fastest 600m-400m split of the race, then only the 14th-fastest 400m-200m split of the race when held-up before flashing home in the fastest last 200m of the race. He ran the fifth-fastest last 200m of the meeting and I’m keen to follow him over further in this preparation. 

ZOUTORI 
One of the most impressive visual wins of the day was the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Zoutori. The four-year-old gelding was one of the most heavily backed runners all day, from $9.00 into $5.00 and produced a huge late close to score a two-length victory. He ran the equal-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the fastest last 400m of the meeting, despite running only the 6th-fastest 400m-200m split of the meeting. Considering he was first-up for 98-days and wasn’t a standout from the mounting yard, I’d suggest there is plenty of improvement to come and he looks in for an exciting preparation.

MR QUICKIE 
Clearly the run of the day but he already a clear favourite for the Caulfield Cup off that run and will be overbet at his next start. I can’t not put him in the blackbook off that first-up performance, flashing home for third, running the equal-fastest last 200m of the meeting (10.80s). Outstanding. 

SPANISH STEPS 
A horse I’m very keen to follow from this meeting is a team Williams galloper, Spanish Steps. He came to Australia with outstanding form, boasting a victory against Johannes Vermeer in Leopardstown and finished fifth behind Cracksman. His first-up run in Australia, there was obviously an issue and he finished last. He was off the scene for 532-days and returned in the last race at Flemington, there was no market support, he got backed and Ben Melham was searching for runs through the pack, who got tight as the winner Mosh Music did lay in slightly when horses like Spanish Steps were looking for runs. He finally got out at the 150m and flashed home, running the fifth-fastest 400m-200m split in the race and the fastest last 200m of the race. I’m keen to follow him. 

Horses To Follow from Caulfield on August 31


GYTRASH
This horse has never been one of mine but I can’t ignore the last two performances of Gytrash. He put the writing on the wall two starts ago, bolting in a Listed race down the Flemington straight, he was truckloaded ($5.00 into $3.50) and was far too good, running a huge figure of 13.1 lengths above benchmark. I earmarked him as a Group horse off that run but for some reason I was against him at Caulfield on Saturday, letting the 70-days between runs put me off. The big players didn’t miss him again, he was $7.00 into $5.00 and clearly should’ve won the race, he was slow away and then had to carry Craig Williams, who was having an off day. His overall figure of 12.5 lengths above benchmark, with an interrupted run is huge, he ran his last 600m five-lengths quicker than the Group Three average, recording the quickest last 800m of meeting. I want to see him back at Flemington and he is a moral next start. 

AMPHITRITE 
The run of the day for me goes to Amphitrite. She was ridden cold, as is her pattern, peeled wide around the turn and got into the best ground but still flashed home and completely savaged the line. She ran the fourth-fastest last 200m of the meeting, fourth-fastest last 400m of the meeting, third-fastest last 600m of the meeting and second-fastest last 800m of the meeting. She ran her last 600m 8.2 lengths above the class benchmark. It was a flashing light run that will be found by the market but she must be followed. She is a mare who doesn’t carry much condition and usually comes to hand quickly. I imagine this will be the case again this preparation and she should be ready to win second-up. 

FIDELIA 
The other horse to be followed from the Cockram Stakes is Fidelia. Without pumping up my tyres too much, this is a horse I have a very good handle on, as I blackbooked her first-up last preparation before she went onto win four in a row. I’m seat A1 in the fan club but I do believe that her first-up run on Saturday was better than her first-up run last preparation. She was back in traffic and Jye McNeil had to put the indicator on pull a right turn to get in the clear at the 200m. She ran the second-fastest 400m and 600m of the race, behind Amphitrite who had clear momentum to wind up. She ran the eighth-fastest last 400m and ninth-fastest last 600m of the meeting, she is in for a terrific Spring Carnival and I wouldn’t be surprised if connections aim up at a race like the Group One Empire Rose (1600m) at Flemington on Derby Day. 

BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER 
Assuming that this Memsie Stakes run has broken him, Begood Toya Mother will go very close to winning the Sir Rupert Clarke at Caulfield in three weeks time. What a run it was from this horse, who went 5.4 lengths faster to the 600m than he has ever gone in his career. He set a tempo that was 16-lengths faster than benchmark and a staggering 7.5 lengths quicker than benchmark for a G1 1400m at Caulfield, doing it all into a headwind. For him to be beaten less than three-lengths is the run of the race for mine. The slight issue is, he could go either way from here now. He could be completely broken or he could bounce off it and become a genuine G1 horse. I’ll take the bet on the latter, assuming we get a fair price next start. 

MIGHTY LUCKY 
One of the runs of the day for mine was a horse that finished 12th of 14 runners and started $151 in the last race at Caulfield. He was first-up for 371 days and first-up for his new trainer  Nathan McPherson, who had given him three trials in the lead-up to this race. As mentioned, he started $151 and was never a winning chance but flashed home along the rail, which was the worst ground, running the FASTEST last 200m of the entire meeting, the second-fastest last 400m and the second-fastest last 600m of a G1 meeting. This is a serious horse to follow and I hope we get a price next start. 

Horses To Follow from Moonee Valley on Saturday August 24 

SPECIAL ALERT 
The five-year-old mare Special Alert hasn’t won since being transferred to the Andrew Noblet stable but she looks to be going better than ever. She wasn’t in race first-up at Caulfield against Age Of Chivalry. She went from 1400m upto 1600m here second-up at The Valley and there was no market support, as she was $71 out to $101. She was tailed off, two-lengths behind the second-last horse around the home turn but really picked up once she straightened. She was blocked for a run between the 150m-75m before ducking back to the rail and made really good ground late. Jockey Teo Nugent wasn’t full bore and she ran the second-fastest 400m-200m split of the race the fourth-fastest last 200m almost untested. It was a terrific ninth and she is a horse than be followed as she goes deeper into her preparation. 

TARAAYEF
I thought this was terrific hidden run from Taraayef and the three-year-old daughter of Lonhro looks like a very classy horse. She bolted in against Sartorial Splendor at Sandown and was backed as if unbeatable vs Rumble Doll and Absolute Flirt at The Valley two starts ago with Luke Nolen on. Nolen was suspended and M.Walker took the ride which didn’t help this horses chances. Walker snicked back at the start and restained Taraayef to go 10.4 lengths slower than benchmark to the 600m, which is 6.5 lengths slower than she has ever gone in her career. Taraayef was obviously then expending energy wanting to go faster and that was the reason she didn’t finsh the race off. She ran the fastest 400m-200m split of the race but was gassed late. I’d love to see her back to 1100m with Luke Nolen back on board. 

VOLKSTOK’N’BARRELL
It was a great return from the eight-year-old Volkstok’n’barrell, who looked completely gone following a failed stint in Hong Kong. Now with Danny O’Brien, he may still have life in the old legs yet. Watching his two jumpouts before his return to the races, the first looked awful and connections had made an error putting him back in work but the second showed great improvement, he led and looked terrific. He was $101 into $21 and ran well despite the race not being run to suit. He ran the fastest 600m-400m split of the meeting (11.48s) and obviously ran the fastest 600m-400m split of the race, the seventh-fastest 400m-200m split and the second-fastest last 200m of the race. He was flat footed when they sprinted but really hit the line nicely. It wasn’t a great fitness builder, as the leader Gold Fields went very slow (10.7 lengths below benchmark to the 600m) so don’t expect him to be winning second-up but I’ll be expecting big improvement as he gets deeper in his preparation. 

FABRIC
I thought the four-year-old daughter of Ocean Park was outstanding at The Valley on Saturday. She was 49-days between runs and was dropping back from 1600m to 1200m. She was tracking up well but didn’t have a cart into the race, as the horse she was following Calzini was stopping quickly. She was forced to make a long sustained run on her own, running the ninth-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, the second-fastest 400m-200m and the fastest last 200m of the race. She really savaged the line and she couldn’t have run any better given the circumstances. I can’t wait to see her stepping up to 1400m and on a bigger track, whether that is Flemington or Sandown. 

INDEPENDENT ROAD 
I know that Lindsay Park has plenty of long term targets in mind for Independent Road and I loved his return on Saturday at The Valley. They were talking about him as a Derby hopeful after his run over 1400m late in the Autumn at Flemington last preparation. I was unsure about the strength of those formlines but he has returned very well over an unsuitable trip of 1200m. He ran the fourth-fastest 400m-200m split in the race and then the sixth-fastest last 200m but the run was better than the sectionals suggest. The jockey was just about to go full bore and he looked to quicken nicely before the gap closed and he had to be eased off heels before being untested over the final 100m. He looks like a horse that can be followed and I wouldn’t be surprised if gets to race a Group One race like the Victoria Derby. 


Horses To Follow from Caulfield on Saturday August 17 


BIVOUAC 
This three-year-old crop looks outstanding and there doesn’t look to be too many better than the James Cummings-trained Bivouac. He was first-up for 133 days and had looked to come back a better and stronger horse judging by his trials. He sat back off the step set by Sebrakate and was winning 600m out, running 0.4 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and ripping home his last 600m, 12.4 lengths above benchmark for an overall figure of 12.8 lengths above benchmark, while running the fastest last 200m, 400m, 600m and 800m of the meeting. He also ran 5.8 lengths above the Group Three average and looks a serious player as we move towards the Spring. He is now likely to go back to Sydney and take on Yes Yes Yes in the San Domenico Stakes (1100m) on August 31. 

BEHEMOTH 
It was a horror watch from start to finish for those who backed Behemoth, as jockey Anthony Darmanin rode Mystic Journey perfectly but got it horribly wrong here on Behemoth. The instructions for Darmanin were to get the horse to the outside, as he is a big striding galloper who needs room to move. Instead, Darmanin elected to follow Grand Rosso who had no chance, before diving back to the inside for luck. All this was happening while his main danger in betting, Begood Toya Mother was controlling the race from the front. He ran the seventh-fastest 600m-400m of the race, the fourth-fastest 400m-200m and the fastest last 200m of the race. He also closed very well vs the day, running the 15th-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the 6th-fastest last 400m of the meeting. With a positive jockey change and a good barrier, I’ll be happy to back this horse wherever he goes next start. 

LA FALAISE 
I have questions about the strength of the form but I loved the performance from the Henry Dwyer-trained La Falaise. She was first-up for 71-days and the two runs at her first preparation were at Wodonga and Swan Hill, so the step-up to Group Three level at Caulfield was significant. She started $31 and it was a very questionable ride from Damien Thornton. She was held-up from the 400m-150m and looking at the Stewards vision, he waited for a gap and when it finally opened, he eased to go towards the outside but was still in traffic and went to the line untested. Only Exhilarates, Pin Sec, Lyre and EXcused ran a faster last 200m and all were full bore to the line, this was an outstanding run and I’ll be keen to follow her next start. 

GIBBON
The seven-year-old gelding Gibbon started $41 in the opening race behind Pippie off the back of two average runs but really improved here at Caulfield. He was held-up and held-up from the 400m-200m and had to ease off heels and peeled to the extreme outside and savaged the line, running the eighth-fastest 400m-200m split of the race and the second-fastest last 200m of the race. He ran the 11th-fastest last 200m and 600m of the meeting and dropping back to a Wednesday meeting, I’ll be keen to back him. 

NEUFBOSC 
This five-year-old import from the Lindsay Park stable, Neufbosc was last seen running in the Arc De Triomphe (2400m) , so the 1400m first-up in the P.B. Lawrence was obviously unsuitable. He looked like his lacked fitness in a barrier trial at Cranbourne vs Sikandarabad and after 314-days off, it was a really nice run with a big mid-race squeeze. His sectonitals between the 1000m-800m and 800m-600m were the fastest of any horse in the race and although he obviously couldn’t sustain a 1000m run first-up over 1400m, I thought it was a really nice pipe opener and a perfect hidden run. He is a horse that can be followed over further distances in the Spring. 

Horses To Follow from Flemington on Saturday August 10 


VEGAS KNIGHT
The Colin Little-trained Vegas Knight has improved at every career start and looks to have a very bright future. He scored a huge six-length victory at Pakenham on the synthetic two starts ago, running the best figure of the meeting (4.3 lengths above the class benchmark). He went to Flemington and was huge, being back, wide and held-up. He ran the third-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, then only the ninth-fastest 400m-200m split and rocketing home in the fastest last 200m of the race to just miss behind Heirborn. He ran the eighth-fastest last 200m of the meeting, the 10th-fastest last 400m of meeting and 15th-fastest last 600m of the meeting. It’s an obvious blackbooker, so I can’t imagine we get much of a price about him next start but he must be followed. 

JUMBO OZAKI 
I loved the first-up run of the very talented Jumbo Ozaki. Although he was a beaten favourite, I thought he was huge and will improve plenty off that run. He sat on the speed for the first time in his career and that wasn’t advantageous, as there was a headwind for the straight races all day. He presented like the winner at the 200m, running the 10th-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, then the fastest 400m-200m of the race before knocking right up, running the 12th-fastest last 200m in a race of 14 runners. I’d love to see him out to 1400m next start, he will jump out of the ground and will likely be a bet. 

STAROUZ 
The four-year-old gelding Starouz is a galloper I have always had a bit of time for and I loved his first-up performance at Flemington on Saturday. He was first-up for 126 days and I really liked his work through and past the line. He has form around the likes of Mr Quickie, The Inevitable and Social Spin last preparation, yet he always seems underrated by the market. He was drawn in barrier two, which was a negative because the inside ground was clearly inferior in the straight races. He was inside all horses at the 350m, when Z.Spain hit him with the whip twice but the wheels were spinning and it looked like he was running in quickstand. Spain eased him out to the middle of the track inside the last 200m and he really got through the line well, despite being eased up over the last 50m as he was getting onto heels. He ran the 13th-fastest 400m-200m split of the race then the fifth-fastest last 200m. This is a little hidden gem and he can be followed. 

SUPER TITUS 
The D & B Hayes & T Dabernig-trained Super Titus was outstanding first-up on Saturday and if that run is any indication, the six-year-old import is in for a huge preparation. He had one start in the Autumn and was backed From $41 into $9.00 off a hot jumpout and pulled up with respiratory issues vs the likes of Antah and Simply Invincible. The Lindsay Park team stepped up out over 1400m yet again, which is a completely unsuitable distance and he went massive to run third. He ran the 19th-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the eighth-fastest last 400m of the meeting, while also running the fastest 400m-200m split of the entire meeting. The two horses in front of him got perfect runs and were suited over the 1400m. Super Titus looks ready for a big spring.

SEABURGE 
The run of the race in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star (1200m) could well have been Seaburge. He started $91 and that was a fair starting price, as he was first-up for 133 days over 1200m, which is an unsuitable trip. Despite this, still found himself poking through and was in a photo for third with Milwaukee who was heavily backed and Sesar who started $2.30 vs Scales Of Justice only a fortnight ago. He ran the second-fastest last 400m and 600m of the meeting and must be followed off that run. 


Horses To Follow from Moonee Valley on Saturday August 3 


ABSOLUTE FLIRT 
The three-year-old daughter of Stratum, Absolute Flirt was terrific in a recent jumpout at Flemington, crossing the line with the likes of Vega Magic, Oohood and Fundamentlist, putting the writing on the wall that she had improved and was in for a good preparation. She returned at The Valley and had no luck, Ollie sat on the leaders back and didn’t expect Jedastar to pack-up shop and raise the white flag at the 400m, dragging Absolute Flirt back and forcing Ollie to switch course. She ran the second-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, the eighth-fastest 400m-200m when in traffic and the third-fastest last 200m, despite only getting clear the final 100m. She did everything under hands and heels riding only, with Ollie never pulling the whip. It was a huge run in what looks to be a good form race moving forward and I’ll be keen to back Absolute Flirt wherever she goes next start. 

TRIGGER POINT 
Apprentice jockey Teodore Nugent is a terrific young rider but he had a dirty day at Moonee Valley on Saturday. He rode Trigger Point and was given a riding lesson by Damien Lane, who was on board the winner of the race IBoogi. Lane went from behind Trigger Point to alongside him then pushed Nugent out of the way, taking a tight gap that proved to be the winning move at the 200m. Trigger Point ran the 11th-fastest 600m-400m and 400m-200m split of the race. Once he finally got clear, he ran the second-fastest last 200m of the race and was really strong past the post, which is a good sign. Two starts ago he won at Sandown and the form from that race looks hot, with the second-placed Shot Of Irish beating a Metro winner Smart Elissim at Sandown on Sunday. I’m happy to follow Trigger Point in a race with many hard luck stories. 

AL GALAYEL 
The six-year-old gelding Al Galayel is ready to win now and I’ll be backing him next start. He had two solid fitness building runs over 1600m, at Sandown first-up at Flemington second-up, where I liked his work late. He stepped up from 1600m to 2040m third-up here at The Valley and there was strong market support, as he was backed from $17 into $8.50. He had no winning chance with the race shape, as the first three horses at the 800m mark finished 1st, 2nd and 4th. He was forced wide around the home turn and was still last at the 200m but really savaged the line, running the fastest last 200m, 400m and 600m of the race, while running the seventh-fastest last 200m of the meeting, ninth-fastest last 400m of the meeting and 12th-fastest last 600m of the meeting. He has that 2000m run under his belt now and should be ready to win at his next start. 

AGE OF CHIVALRY 
Newly a four-year-old, Age Of Chivalry is a class animal and his first-up run at The Valley was outstanding. He wasn’t anywhere near screwed down from a mounting yard perspective and he will take significant improvement from the run. Looking at the yard, I thought he would struggle to run in the top four with his fitness and the strength of the race but he showed his class, running the eighth-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, only the 11th-fastest 400m-200m split in a field of 12 runners then the fastest last 200m of the race, doing all of this in restricted room with a horse of the quality of Usain Bowler winding up and winning in clear air. This should be a hot form race going forward and I’d be keen to follow a few from the race, most of all, Age Of Chivalry.  


Horses To Follow From Caulfield on Saturday July 27 

SCALES OF JUSTICE 
The obvious standout performance of the day was the Lindsay Smith-trained Scales Of Justice. The six-year-old gelding was the class in the field and in his only other Victorian preparation, he started $4.80 against Redkirk Warrior and a $3.60 favourite in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke, won by Santa Ana Lane. He returned to his old form here first-up and had the race won a long way from home, running 12.3 lengths above benchmark for his final 600m, for an overall figure of 14.1 lengths above benchmark which is Group One class. He also ran the fastest last 600m and 800m of the meeting and is clearly the horse to follow.

CLIFF’S EDGE
I thought the other horse to follow from the feature race on the day, the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) was the ex-Weir galloper Cliff’s Edge, who was first-up for 266 days. I had him priced closer to $14 off an average at best jumpout but they jumped out of trees to back him late, a big go that reminded me of a Weir horse. He was $8.50 into $5.50 in the last 10 minutes of betting and the market confidence is a good indication that he is in for a very good preparation. I thought his run was full of merit, poking through in the worst part of the track, He ran the third-fastest 600m-400m and 400m-200m splits of the race before weakening slightly late, running the sixth-fastest last 200m. 

SNITZEPEG 
Plenty of smart judges were tipping her off a good Caulfield run and an impressive jumpout. She was huge and did all she could from the back after being off the bit at the 600m. Tshahitsi ran them along in front and that didn’t suit Snitzepeg, who is at least one or two runs off peak fitness. Once he got balanced in the straight, I loved the way he hit the line, running 11.2 lengths above benchmark for his last 600m, with an overall figure of 8.5 lengths above benchmark which rated well vs the day. He ran the fastest last 200m of the meeting, the third-fastest last 400m and second-fastest last 600m of the meeting. It was a huge run. 

ABYSSINIAN
It’s been a very strange start to a preparation for the Enver Jusufovic-trained Abyssinian. All of her best performances are over 1200m-1400m yet she has had two runs this preparation, one over 1000m and this run at Caulfield over 1100m. I’m completely forgiving her first-up effort at Sandown as she lost a plate and is simply nowhere near a 1000m horse. She came here to Caulfield over 1100m and was unsuited yet again. The only explanation I have is that Jusufovic is giving her runs to get her fitness up instead of barrier trials, either that or he is trying to reinvent the horse and it isn’t working. I thought she worked through the line very well, running the third-fastest last 200m and 400m of the race and the 23rd-fastest last 400m and 14th-fastest last 600m of the meeting, whilst only whipped twice in the straight. I can’t wait to see her third or fourth-up over 1400m. 

SPENSIERATO
This three-year-old daughter of Fiorente looks like she will love getting over more ground, if her first run over a mile is any indication. She was completely unsuited over 1300m first-up at Cranbourne, as the leader went 15.8 lengths slower than benchmark to the 600m. She was a huge price second-up at Cranbourne over 1400m on a testing Heavy 10 and she launched late to win.She wasn’t in the market here at Caulfield and probably didn’t have a winning chance the way the race was run. The leader Taksu went 3.8 lengths below benchmark to the 600m and the race never really changed complexion, with the winner Benitoite pinching runs along the fence. She only ran the eighth-fastest 400m-200m split of the race but once balanced up, she flew late to run seventh, running the fastest last 200m of the race, the second-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the fourth-fastest last 400m of the meeting. I’m confident she will be even better over further and is a horse that can seriously be followed.

Horses To Follow From Caulfield on Saturday July 13 


FOREVER LOUD 
The two-year-old Domesday colt didn’t show much on debut at Bairnsdale but trainer Henry Dwyer thought enough of him to bring him to Caulfield for a late season two-year-old race. He started 151/1 and went super against the likes of Star Surprise and Can’t Be Done, flashing late for sixth. He ran the sixth-fastest last 200m, 13th-fastest last 400m and 31th-fastest last 600m of a meeting that included in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes. He should be breaking his maiden status very soon.

SYLPHEED
The Matthew Cumani-trained Sylpheed resumed over 1200m last preparation and four runs later he was lining up in the Adelaide Cup (3200m). She was first-up for 18 weeks over 1200m here after that two mile run and was left flat footed when they sprinted, which was to be expected. She then really savaged the line, running clearly the fastest last 200m of the race to only be beaten 0.6 lengths by a handy bunch of sprinters. She looks in for a good preparation.

CRYPTIC JEWEL
The four-year-old mare was impressive winning first-up at Geelong but did look unders coming into the race at Caulfield, opening $4.20 and drifting out to $6.00 at the jump. She was well back in traffic around the home turn and that wasn’t the winning pattern of the day. She ran the 12th-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, 11th-fastest 400m-200m split then once clear, charged home to run the fastest last 200m of the race and the seventh-fastest last 200m of the entire meeting. 

LAURE ME IN 
She finished down the straight as favourite first-up at Flemington and showed good improvement from that first-up run to her second-up run here at Caulfield. She was hitting the line with Cryptic Jewel, running the 13th-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, the fastest 400m-200m of the race and the fourth-fastest last 200m of the race. She should take improvement again from this run and looks ready for a mile third-up and then up to 1800m which looks to be her pet distance. 

I THOUGHT SO
The five-year-old gelding got Glyn Schofield off second-up in Sydney and was $10 into $7.50 against potential star Sesar. I thought he was really good in the SIr John Monash without much luck. He was ducking and weaving for runs in the straight, in a race that never really changed complexion, with the first two horses out the first two horses home. He ran the fastest last 400m, 600m and 800m of the meeting and really savaged the line.

Horse To Follow From Flemington on Saturday July 6 

EL QUESTRO 
The Allison Sheehan-trained El Questro clearly should’ve won race one on Flemington Finals Day. She kicked up for the first 600m and looked like holding the front before handing up and sitting behind Pria Eclipse, which I found to be a strange move. She was stuck behind runners in the straight, while the winner Miss Mandito was building momentum down the outside. When clear, she flew home and just missed, running her last 200m in 11.44s which was clearly the quickest last furlong of the race. She ran the fifth-fastest last 200m and tenth-fastest last 400m of the day, with some very handy sprinters in the meeting. Her regular rider, Nikita Beriman has won ridden two winners from her last 50 rides, so I would love a jockey change before backing her again.

MOONLIGHT MAID 
I’m very keen to follow the two-year-old daughter of Puissance De Lune, MOONLIGHT MAID. She ran some very impressive figures vs the day on a genuine heavy 10 at Geelong on debut and has shown that run was no fluke with a really good fourth at Flemington on Saturday. She worked to the line really well, running the seventh-fastest 600m-400m split in the race, the fifth-fastest 400m-200m and the fastest last 200m of the race. She ran the 26th-fastest last 600m of the meeting, 23rd-fastest last 400m and 12th-fastest last 200m of the meeting. Her trainer Mitchell Freedman is flying, he has had nine winners from his last 50 runners, with a positive ROI of 46.6 percent. I’ll be following her as she steps up in distance and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get to a VRC Oaks in the Spring.

WAGING WAR 
I was keen to back Waging War at Flemington on Saturday after going huge at Sandown two weeks prior, sitting on a speed that was 12 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and only being run down my Mr Marathon Man over the final 100m. I thought the factics here were very strange, announcing pre-race they intended to ride the horse back, even thought it was an on-pace dominated day and he had settled in the top five at his last six starts. He was forced to come the widest around the home turn and attempted the loop the field, running the second-fastest last 200m of the race, third-fastest last 400m of the race and second-fastest last 600m of the race. He ran the ninth-fastest last 200m of the meeting and 17th-fastest last 400m of the meeting. It was reported in the Stewards Report that Craig Williams was disappointed by the performance but the horse couldn’t have gone much better.

BENITOITE 
A hidden gem run here was the Clinton McDonald-trained Benitoite. The lightly-raced three-year-old filly made good ground on the inside of runners in the straight, running the ninth-fastest 600m-400m split of the race, sixth-fastest 400m-200m split and the fastest last 200m of the race. She was untested over the last 100m, as the jockey Michael Walker thought she was amiss, as reported in the Stewards Report. Despite not riding her out, she ran the 16th-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the 27th-fastest last 400m of the meeting. It was really strong work through the line and she is a horse to follow. 


Horses To Follow From Flemington on Saturday June 22

RUBISAKI 
Patrick Payne looks like he has a very good filly on his hands, as the two-year-old daughter of Rubick, Rubisaki looks very smart. She put the writing on the wall two starts ago at Seymour, running the quickest last 200m and 400m of the meeting and the punters didn’t miss her at Flemington, backing her from $7.50 into a clear $4.20 favourite. I thought she was a slight risk at the price, having not broken the benchmark figure in her two career starts but I was very wrong. She improved 9.2 lengths and did it in tremendous style, peeling out at the top of the straight and sprinting away to win easily. She ran 2.4 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and 6.6 lengths above benchmark for the final 600m for an overall figure of nine-lengths above benchmark. That is a huge figure for a horse at their third career start and she can be followed wherever she goes next start and into the Spring. 

PANCHO 
The Chris Waller-trained Pancho was no match for Rubisaki but I thought his effort was terrific, running home into fifth. Ridden by Craig Williams, It was no surprise there was market support for him, being backed from $26 into $14. He settled back in the field, made a looping run from the 1000m mark, running the quickest 1000m-800m split of the race and the quickest 800m-600m of the race. When Williams asked for an effort, he laid in at the top of the straight and didn’t really sprint until Williams pulled the whip through to the left hand. He ran the fifth-fastest 400m-200m before really knuckling down and running the second-fastest last 200m of the race, the eighth-fastest last 200m of the meeting and the tenth-fastest last 400m of the meeting. 

FIVE KINGDOM 
The Lindsay Park galloper Five Kingdom was a beaten favourite and looked disappointing on face value but looking at the replay and the data, his run was nearly the run of the day in my opinion. It was a terrible ride from Lewis German and I won’t be backing him next start without a positive jockey change. German has ridden two winners from his last 50 rides, with a negative ROI of 84.2 percent and this ride sums up his last month or two. The horse began well and was snicked back to near last before overracing badly and expending too much energy for the position he was in. The leader went 3.9 lengths slower than the class benchmark to the 600m and Five Kingdom was never a winning chance. He ran the second-fastest 600m-400m split of the race before hitting a flat spot and running the fifth-fastest 400m-200m before picking up again and running the fastest last 200m of the race and the 19th-fastest last 200m of the meeting. This horse could improve ten-lengths if ridden properly next start and we might get a decent price too. 

GYTRASH 
I always underrate Gytrash but the figures he put up winning the Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) showed that he is a proper Group class horse. He was truckloaded from $5.00 into $3.50 at the jump with Craig Williams on board and the race was never in doubt. Willo controlled the race, got a nice run and exploded away from a handy field, running an overall figure of 13.1 lengths above benchmark, which was clearly the run of the day. That is a massive figure and he could walk up and be very competitive in a Group One race off that run. 


Horses To Follow From Sandown on Saturday June 15


TRITON RISING 
The most exciting horse from this meeting could well be the Lindsay Park galloper, Triton Rising. The two-year-old son of Sebring was backed from $6.50 into $3.80 in early markets and there was some real market confidence with him. He settled back in the field and the race shape didn’t suit him at all, as the first two horses out, were the first two horses home. He ran the second-fastest last 200m of the meeting, the fastest last 400m, the second-fastest last 600m and second-fastest last 800m of the meeting. The race rated very well against the day, with the winner, Can’t Be Done running 10.8 lengths above benchmark, which was the third best winning figure of the day and he also ran 5.1 lengths above the class benchmark. Triton Rising will be winning plenty of races.

KING OF HASTINGS
A horse that beat Triton Rising home is the runner-up of the first race, King Of Hastings. He put some very good figures on the board with his win at Cranbourne, with the victory rating 15 lengths better than the other two-year-old maiden on the program which was won by Widespread. He showed plenty of improvement here at Sandown, running 2.6 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and 8.1 lengths above benchmark for the final 600m for an overall figure of 10.7 lengths above benchmark. He ran the 11th-fastest 800m-600m split of the race then the fastest 600m-400m split of the race and that’s where the race was lost. It wasn’t a bad ride from Michael Dee but he probably just went too slow in that 200m split. This is a horse that can be followed and this race looks to be a very good form reference going forward.

WAGING WAR
He let some punters down on Saturday but I thought Waging War was close to the run of the meeting. He sat right on a speed that was 12 lengths above benchmark to the 600m. To put that in perspective, Silent Roar led the other 1600m race earlier in the program and Waging War would’ve been 22 lengths ahead of Silent Roar at the 600m. He then tried to kick away at the 300m and did look the winner for much of the straight but was just nailed by Mr Marathon Man right on the post. 

Horses To Follow From Caulfield on Saturday May 11


KILLARNEY KID
Patrick Payne knows how to train a jumper and the nine-year-old Killarney Kid looks a very exciting prospect that I assume, will be targeted at the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown. I was very impressed with his performance at Caulfield on the flat, running a flashing fourth behind International import Alfarris. He was the first horse under pressure at the 500m and was flat footed when the leaders sprinted but really picked up nicely over the final furlong. He ran 12.08s for his final 200m which was clearly the quickest of the race, lining it up against Alfarris (12.32s), Rock On (12.26s) and Felaar (12.32s) it was and impressive closing sectional. I’ll be keen to follow him over the jumps. 

DELVECCHIO 
I’m keen to put the Lloyd Kennewell-trained Delvecchio in the blackbook, as the three-year-old has talent but hasn’t been suited in either of his runs this preparation. I thought it was a weird first-up run at Sandown until I looked at the Stewards vision. The fourth, fifth and sixth-placed horses all go past him at the 200m and he kicks back for third. Looking at the head on vision, D.Dunn was only riding hands and heels until the last 100m when the race is all but over. On Saturday, he sat three-wide without cover on a hot speed, the leader Written Choice went 10.3 lengths above benchmark to the 600m which was the fastest of the meeting. I thought his effort to battle on and only finish a length behind William Thomas, who had all the favours was terrific. The other four horses who settled in the top five at the 400m finished last, second-last, third-last and fourth-last. It wasn’t a ‘flashing light’ run which means we might get a good price at his next start and I’m happy to follow with a more suitable set-up.

BILL THE BEE 
The Michael Moroney-trained Bill The Bee isn’t the finished product but the three-year-old son of So You Think is worth following. He sweats up badly pre-race and was a complete nutcase in the mounting yard at Caulfield on Saturday. He was bucking for at least five minutes and was very flighty when the jockey got on board. Despite all of these antics, his performance on the track was very credible. He sat outside the leader Thunderdome and hung badly around the home turn, allowing the winner Zoutori to get the dream run through and it was race over. He kept fighting on for third and beat home Orcein for that position. I’m confident he will be a very good horse once the penny drops. 

TRILLI & LADY VEGA 
I thought the runs of both Trilli and Lady Vega were outstanding in the race won by Bam’s On Fire. The three-year-old filly Trilli seemed to lose her way in the back end of last preparation and he return performance at Bendigo showed signs that she might be gone. She jumped out at Mornington with the blinkers on between runs and that really seemed to sharpen her up. She ran some really impressive closing sectionals behind Bam’s On Fire and Propelle, running the second-fastest last 200m of the meeting, fourth-fastest last 400m of the meeting and third-fastest last 600m of the meeting and can be followed. Lady Vega is a horse we’ve been following all preparation and I’m not dropping off after this run. I thought it was full of merit and although she wasn’t entirely suited, she hit the line very nicely, running the 16th-fastest last 600m of the meeting, 11th-fastest last 400m of the meeting and sixth-fastest last 200m of the meeting.

Horses To Follow from Flemington on Saturday May 4 


FIDELIA & FABRIC 
Fidelia is a horse that has been in our blackbook since her first-up run at Caulfield and has won twice since. She was the run of the day at Flemington on Saturday in my opinion. She was still ninth and 2.6 lengths off the leader at the 200m and showed an outstanding turn of foot to win, running away from her rivals. She ran the 37th-fastest last 800m of the meeting, 14th-fastest last 600m, fifth-fastest last 400m and second-fastest last 200m of the meeting. I mentioned on the RacingBase podcast that this is a horse we could get plenty of money out of this preparation and I am now being proven right. 
The other horse that can be followed from the race is the Danny O’Brien-trained Fabric. She was a hidden gem and is a horse we could get a price about next start. She ran the fastest 1000m-800m and 800m-600m before running the rest of her race between runners in restricted room. She ran 4.8 lengths above benchmark, which rated a length better than her second-up performance at Sandown. She is improving and can be followed in a similar grade next start. 

LADY VEGA & JAY JAY D’AR
Lady Vega is an ex-Weir galloper and was $2.80 into $2 at Ballarat first-up and won easily. She opened $16 and started 42/1 on betfair late, which is an indication that the market was looking to gap her, which surprised me. She went back to the inside down the straight, as all the horses in the finish were making their runs on the ouside. She ran the fastest 600m-400m of the race, the third-fastest 400m-200m and loomed like she was going to run a big race but just peaked late, running the sixth fastest last 200m. She can be followed.
I really liked the runner of the Paddy Payne-trained Jay Jay D’Ar. She was first-up for 112 days and was coming off only one trial which is rare of the stable. She followed Mumbles through the pack and ran the eighth-fastest 600m-400m of the race, the fastest 400m-200m and the fourth-fastest last 200m. She was really only ridden out hands and heels to the line and was hit with the whip only once. I’d love to see a jockey change away from N.Punch at her next start and get a senior rider on board. She ran 5.1 lengths above benchmark for the final 600m and should bounce off that run.

SURPRISE BABY 
I don’t have too much to say about Surprise Baby, other than he looks a complete moral if he takes his place in the Andrew Ramsden (3200m). Steel Prince went 15.4 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and still held on, so the win was full of merit but Surprise Baby was clearly the run of the race and almost the run of the day. He was hampered with the fall and lost several lengths and momentum coming into the straight. He ran the fourth-fastest 1000m-800m of the race, then the ninth-fastest 800m-600m, fifth-fastest 600m-400m and the fastest 400m-200m and last 200m. He ran his last 400m in 24.29s, the second-fastest last 400m in the race was Sin To Win (24.76s). He is a very exciting stayer and still has only had seven starts. Untapped potential. 

HOME BY MIDNIGHT 
This was his first run in Australia and his first run for the Paddy Payne stable. Looking at his runs in New Zealand, he looks like a 2400m-3200m and I was really impressed with his first-up effort over 1800m. It was a fast run race (which suited him) and he ran good figures. This should bring his fitness on and I’m happy to follow him throughout his preparation. He ran the fastest 800m-600m of the race then only the 7th-fastest 600m-400m, suggesting he was flat footed when the sprint went on. He picked up again and ran the third-fastest 400m-200m and second-fastest last 200m of the race. He was one of only two horses to break 12-seconds for the final 200m (the other was the winner Mantastic). He was a swooper in the right part of the track but is still worth following. 

GALAXY RAIDER 
The six-year-old gelding, trained by Grahame Begg was first-up for 179 days but did trial well at Cranbourne prior to his Flemington run. He went inside the peloton to make his run which is almost always the wrong part of the straight to be on but he really hit the line well. He ran the 12th-fastest 600m-400m of the race then the fastest 400m-200m and the fastest last 200m of the race. I liked his figures when compared to the day, he ran the ninth-fastest last 200m, fourth-fastest last 400m and sixth-fastest last 600m of the meeting. He obviously has trouble staying sound but if he does, can be followed into his preparation. I was tempted to put Bel Sonic in the blackbook too, as he did look a complete moral beaten but I just feel like he missed his chance to win and will be too well found at his next start. 

Horses To Follow from Caulfield on Saturday April 20


GREY SHADOW
I don’t usually add impressive winners or ‘flashing light runs’ to our horses to follow blackbook, as most are overbet at their next start but I may the occasional exception and this four-year-old mare Grey Shadow is a perfect example of a horse I’m happy to put in the blackbook. She always showed plenty of ability when in the Darren Weir stable but she is likely to go to a new level with what I saw on Saturday. She usually parades well but that was not the case on Saturday, she was sweating up badly and looked very fresh. I thought she would improve at least five-lengths on whatever she did, so I was very surprised and impressed to see her winning. John Allen used plan B and took her straight to the run, she went 4.5 lengths above benchmark to the 600m and four-lengths above benchmark for the final 600m for a very impressive overall figure of 8.5 lengths above benchmark. The fence wasn’t the place to be and she still proved too good, running the second-best figure of her career. If that was any indication, she is in for a massive preparation and I am willing to say she wins almost any race she is targeted at over the late autumn and winter months. 

BIRTH OF VENUS
I don’t have the same definition of a ‘slaughter’ as most. To me, this ride from Michael Walker on Birth Of Venus was an absolute slaughter. We’ve found this horse at $16 off a hidden gem at Caulfield and added it to our horses to follow (scroll down to find the write-up). He was moral beaten on Saturday and now we won’t get that price again. He sat back last off a tempo that was 14.9 lengths above benchmark to the 600m but it’s the sectional data that tells the full story. The leaders went very quick early, 1800m-1600m (11.20s), 1600m-1400m (11.34s) then they started to slow up, 1400m-1200m (11.89s), 1200m-1000m (12.53s) and 1000m-800m (12.43s). This is when Oliver gets moving on the winner Grinzinger Star, he blends into the race and expends no energy in the process, going from four-lengths off the leader at the 800m to 2.7 lengths off the leader at the 400m. Michael Walker shows on intent to get on the back of the favourite and only goes from 6.4 lengths off the leader at the 800m to 6.1 lengths off the leader at the 400m. Grinzinger Star runs the fourth-fastest 800m-600m and fastest 600m-400m of the race. Birth Of Venus runs only the fifth-fastest 800m-600m and the seventh-fastest 600m-400m of the race. Birth Of Venus then savages the line, running the fastest last 200m and 400m of the race and 100m past the post, is alongside Grinzinger Star. If it sounds like I’m dirty with Michael Walker, it’s because I am. Pre-race it was announced he was riding 0.5kg over and the post-race he was stood down by Stewards due to illness.

ZARGOS & MUSIC BAY 
I’m keen to follow the Lindsay Park runner Zargos. She didn’t have much of a hope from behind the likes of Princess Jenni and Sure Knee in the run. She ran the 33rd fastest last 600m of the meeting, 19th fastest last 400m and 10th fastest last 200m, ending up with a figure of 4.8 lengths above benchmark for the final 600m. She was also found to have a slow recovery and mild lameness in the nearside foreleg. She is a horse to follow. 
The other horse to follow is the Phillip Stokes-trained Music Bay. She looked like she had improved again from her dominant four-length victory at Sandown but I still couldn’t justify the short price with Kayla Crowther on board from barrier four. Crowther had ridden a horse poorly in race one then suffered a fall in race three, so I doubt she was ridden at peak confidence. The horse was checked and turn sideways at the 400m and I was impressed with how well she stuck on, running home in fourth. She is a classy filly, who needs a jockey change but is in my horses to follow nonetheless. 

THRILLSTER & TOFANE
Thrillster was well backed off a very good jumpout and has returned in very good order. She looked a picture from the mounting yard and did all bar win, sitting four-wide the trip, running the fastest 600m-400m of the race, third-fastest 400m-200m before just weakening late, running the fifth-fastest last 200m. She went 7.4 lengths above benchmark overall, which is a very nice figure and she is in for a terrific preparation. 
The obvious flashing light run was the Mike Moroney-trained Toefane. D.Oliver went toe Bendigo and Ballarat to ride her at her first two starts which is an indication in itself that she has good ability. She was backed from $1.85 into $1.35 when she bolted in her maiden at Ballarat, running 11.1 lengths above the maiden benchmark. She had no luck here at Caulfield, settling back on the fence which was no the place to be. She ran the fifth-fastest 600m-400m and just the 12th-fastest 400m-200m split of the race before finally getting clear and running the fastest last 200m of the race. She is a huge talent. 

MANOLO BLAHNIQ 
I’m very happy to follow Manolo Blahniq to his next start. He jumped well and I didn’t think it was the best ride from Dwayne Dunn, who allowed Kemono to drop into the one-one and he settled a pair further back than necessary on Manolo Blahniq. The leaders went 4.6 lengths below benchmark to 600m and this allowed Streets Of Avalon to get the run he needed to kick on and win. Looking at the sectionals, I’m confident that Manolo Blahniq should’ve won the race. He ran the 19th-fastest last 1000m of the meeting, the 15th-fastest last 800m of the meeting then the fastest last 600m, 400m and 200m of the meeting, running his final 600m 10.6 lengths above benchmark. I’ve heard from Trav Noonan on twitter that he will be aimed at the Stradbroke Handicap and I don’t think he is completely out of a race like that. 

Horses To follow from Caulfield on Saturday April 6 


ZABALAN 
I’m blackbooking the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Zabalan from race two. He went back to last from the wide gate and was never really a factor in the race, as Mihany, who will surely be retired soon went out 8.3 lengths faster than the class benchmark to the 600m mark and although that gave horses like Zabalan their chance to run on, the race developed with the first three horses past the post in the inside four lanes. Zabalan ran the fastest 1000m-800m split of the race and the second-fastest 800m-600m split but then only the fifth-fastest 600-400m and sixth-fastest 400m-200m. Once balanced up, I loved the way he savaged the line, running the fastest last 200m (11.88s) and was the only horse to break 12 seconds for the final furlong. He can be followed.

BIRTH OF VENUS 
This run from the Chris Waller-trained Birth Of Venus is what I call a ‘hidden gem’, meaning we will likely get a price on her next start. She is a Waller import who was given no chance in her Australian debut at The Valley, she sat wide the trip and was outsprinted first-up over 1600m. She stayed at 1600m on Saturday and the leader Pria Eclipse went 7.3 lengths slower than the class benchmark to the 600m which gave Birth Of Venus no winning chance. Jockey Linda Meech tried to be proactive and take off at the 800m, and she ran the fastest 800m-600m split of the race but was then outsprinted when the speed went on and she didn’t look to love the Caulfield home turn. She ran the seventh-fastest 600m-400m and fifth-fastest 400m-200m split but balanced up and ran the fastest last 200m of the race. Although she finished second-last, I thought her run was full of merit and she looks primed for 2000m now. 

FIDELIA
The Robbie Griffiths-trained filly Fidelia was huge first-up here at Caulfield. She hadn’t raced for 210 days and didn’t look anywhere near ready to go from the mounting yard. She sat back last on the fence before Zac Spain weaved a passage through the field and she savaged the line, running the third-fastest last 200m of the meeting, second-fastest last 400m of the meeting and third-fastest last 600m of the meeting, running 5.6 lengths above the class benchmark for her final 600m. She had form around the likes of Sunlight and Multaja second and third-up last preparation and a repeat of those performances will see her win plenty of races over the off-season in Melbourne. 

Horses To Follow from Bendigo on Saturday March 30 


STAND TO ATTENTION 
I loved the run of the Leon and Troy Corstens-trained Stand To Attention. The two-year-old colt by Starspangledbanner was $51 into $26 and was huge running fourth. He settled four-back on the fence, on a day where it was advantageous to be out in the middle of the track. He was held-up for a run at the top of the straight and when he finally got clear, savaged the line. He ran the 10th-fastest 400m-200m split and the second-fastest last 200m of the race. I doubt he will be found at his next start and we can follow him at a nice price. 

THE EXECUTIONER 
The Executioner comes out of the same race as Stand To Attention, behind the very impressive Prince Of Sussex and although the figure from the race were poor, I’m confident these two are coming winners. The Executioner isn’t the finish product and he did plenty wrong in the run. He ran the quickest 600m-400m split of the race and then didn’t really handle the home turn, running only the fifth-fastest 400m-200m split of the race. Once balanced up, he really attacked the line despite wanting to get on one reign, as he ran the fastest last 200m of the race. He was 1200m back to 1000m, I think finding a suitable race over 1100m will see him break his maiden.

GUIZOT 
The six-year-old gelding Guizot has had an interesting preparation but there was enough in his run to suggest this may be a hidden gem. He has a $3.30 and a $3.50 SP against the smart Silentz and was coming off the Thunder Cloud race at Flemington that rated through the roof. He was six-weeks between runs and 1600m back to 1400m, which saw the market take him on and he was $17 out to $21 at the jump. It was an on-pace dominated race by Antah and Simply Invincible, which gives the run of Guizot even more merit. He was building into his work, running the second-fastes 600m-400m split of the race but when Jordan Childs went for a gap at the top of the straight, it shut and he was held-up until the 200m. When clear, he sprinted home running his last 200m in 11.86s which was the fastest of the race and the 11th-fastest of the meeting. He is our hidden gem of the meeting.

Horses To Follow at Flemington on Saturday March 2 


KEMONO 
I was happy to be against the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Kemono on Saturday but I did think his run was outstanding. He was scratched from the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) the week before with blinkers on and ran down the straight at Flemington over 1000m with no blinkers on. I’m convinced that was just a fitness run and the market indicated he wasn’t ready to win ($4.60 out to $6.00). The leader Moonlover went 2.4 lengths slower than class benchmark to the 600m and Kemono really had no chance from back in the field. I loved the style of his last 200m, as he ripped home his final furlong in 11.04s which was the fastest of the entire meeting. He can be followed next start. 

WINNING PARTNER 
I’m confident this race will end up being a terrific form reference, with the top three Mr Quickie, Age Of Chivalry and Brilliant Choice looking well above average and others including Black Bliss and Write Your Name looking very impressive. The horse I want to follow from the race is the Tony McEvoy-trained Winning Partner. He was outstanding two starts ago winning at Sandown and although he ran eighth, I thought he was equally as impressive here at Flemington. Barrier one was always going to be sticky and that proved correct, as he never really got a crack at them in the straight and was hard held. 

JOHANNES VERMEER 
How impressive was the Melbourne Cup runner-up Johannes Vermeer. First-up for 480 days, he settled last in the 14-horse field before rocketing home into fourth. He ran his last 200m in a sizzling 11.44s, the only other horse to break 12 seconds for the final furlong was So Si Bon, who ran his last 200m in 11.90s. He is all class and looks ready to win a feature race. Nick Williams spoke on twitter, saying his next run will be in 2-3 weeks, most likely in Sydney.

LA TIGERESA
I was really taken with the run of La Tigeresa. I’ve been with her at her last two starts but thought she might’ve been outclassed by the likes of Oregon’s Day and Clarice Cliffs. She was completely unsuited by the tempo of the race, as the leader Shoko went 4.1 lengths below the class benchmark to the 600m, which didn’t give backmakers much of an opportunity to run on. La Tigeresa ran her last 600m in a race best 9.2 lengths above the class benchmark, clearly running the fastest last 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m and 1000m of the race. 

Horses to follow From Caulfield on Saturday February 23 


ZOUBO
As a rule, the Group Two Angus Armanasco form isn’t usually the best but this year I think the formlines will stack up, as two of my three horses to follow from the meeting are from this race. I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of this Zoustar filly, Zoubo. I was with her two starts ago when nothing went right at Caulfield and she ran last. We backed up again on Saturday and she handled things much better, running a terrific third. Her figures from her Sandown run, beating Kaplumpich were exceptional and I think she can go to a new level at Flemington and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mick Price targets a race like the Kewney Stakes at headquarters on March 8.

QUEEN LA DIVA 
The run that I thought was missed behind the top three was that of Queen La Diva. She was six weeks between runs, dropping back from 1600m-1400m. The Hawkes team had her looking exceptional from the yard which was a good sign. At the 500m she looked like she was going to drop out and run last but charged home to run sixth. She ran the second-fastest 400m-200m and the third-fastest last 200m of the race. She will likely be overs next start and can be followed.

RINGERDINGDING
You won’t see many better tenth-placed finishes than Ringerdingding in the Futurity Stakes. Manuel worked to lead early but once in front, put the brakes on and that didn’t help the chances of Ringerdingding who needs a fast tempo. Manuel went 2.6 lengths slower than Group 1 benchmark to the 600m. I’m not sure that Ringerdingding completely handled the Caulfield turn, he recorded the third-fastest 600-400m split but then only the eighth-fastest 400m-200m split. Once balanced up, he ripped home running the fastest last 200m of the race (11.26s) and took 2.8 lengths off Alizee in that furlong. He will now drop back against his own age group and back up seven days later in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday. He is proven he can handle the quick back up, winning the Sandown Guineas in the Spring off a seven-day back up and is in the perfect stable for doing just that. He is currently $7.00 in all-in markets and looks a terrific bet. 

Horses to follow from Flemington on Saturday February 16 


Note: I’m following three horses from the meeting and they all come out of the C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m). 

STARS OF CARRUM
The first of the three is the Robbie Laing-trained Stars Of Carrum. I thought this was clearly the run of the day, he started $91 and had absolutely no luck in the straight. The way the track played, I thought Ben Melham did the right thing sticking to the inside of runners but it just didn’t work out. He was never clear in the straight and went to the line hard held. Considering this, his figures from the race were outstanding, he ran the sixth-fastest last 200m of the day (11.20s) equal with Verry Elleegant and faster than the likes of Widgee Turf and Divine Quality. He ran his last 400m in 22.00s, which was the seventh-fastest last 400m of the meeting and he ran his last 600m 7.4 lengths above benchmark, which was only 1.7 lengths off the best last 600m performance of meeting (Osborne Bulls, 9.1 lengths above benchmark). He is doing all of this over 1400m, he was only just getting warm over 2000m last preparation and went to a new level in the Victoria Derby over 2500m. The fact the Robbie Laing is the trainer means I won’t be backing him in any futures markets but I will be willing back him in an Australian Cup if he gets there. 

EXTRA BRUT
I thought this was a terrific first-up run from the Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut. He was just going through his gears and getting warm at the 200m before he got held-up badly for a run and his momentum was stopped, just like Stars Of Carrum, he went to the line hard held. He ran the second-fastest last 200m of the race (11.28s) and it was a good return. He seemed more forward first-up than the likes of Chapada and Stars Of Carrum, which was reflected in the starting prices. 

CHAPADA
Chapada could be the most interesting horse from the entire meeting. He arguably should’ve won the Victorian Derby last preparation and returned here. What I found extremely interesting was the money for him, he was $12 into $7 for a horse that was first-up over 1400m and going to get back from barrier 17 on a day that favoured horses on the fence. This is a serious racehorse and the market reflected that. He made very good ground from eight horses off the fence (Lane 8), a lane where horses struggled to make ground from all day. He ran the best last 600m of the race (8.9 lengths above benchmark) but did get the clear run in comparison to Stars Of Carrum and Extra Brut. He ran the fourth-fastest 600m-400m split, second-fastest 400m-200m split and then just ran out of condition late, running the sixth-fastest last 200m. I can’t wait to see him in a more suitable race second-up and beyond. 

Horses to follow from Caulfield on Saturday February 9 


NATURE STRIP
The best sprinter in Australia, Nature Strip resumed with a terrific win the Rubiton Stakes. The market support wasn’t there for his first start with Chris Waller, as he started $1.80 against a first-up Voodoo Lad and Jungle Edge on a good track. His performance was the best of the day, as he ran 16.2 lengths above benchmark and 3.7 lengths above the Group 2 standard at Caulfield. This was all done despite missing the start and needing to work early to lead. He cruised through the middle section of the race and exploded away when D.Lane clicked him up at the furlong. Hopefully he draws a wide barrier in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and he’ll start a warm favourite.

AVILIUS
The Australian Cup could be all but over judging by the first-up run of Avilius. He was underdone in the yard and as a result, I thought this was Night’s Watch chance to beat him. Arbeitsam poured the pressure on early, going 12.8 lengths faster than benchmark to the 600m and this suited the backmakers, one of which was Avilius. He looked under a little pressure at the 600m but picked up the bit as they entered the straight, got the split underneath Night’s Watch and the race was well and truly over. He was far too classy late, beating an ok field. He is a deserved favourite for the Australian Cup and it will take a Lloyd Williams horse to beat him. 

SHOTMAKER
I am in love with the Mick Price-trained Shotmaker and he is my top pick for the Blue Diamond at this stage. I found him from the trials and made him a bet on Saturday. He tracked up three-wide with cover and I was very confident around the home turn, as the straightened I thought he raced a little ungenerously and didn’t really know what to do when asked to extend. He almost floated up to I Am Immortal at the 100m mark, instead of stretching his neck out and going past the horse. He will be much better for the run and will eat up every bit of 1200m. He is still $9.00 in futures markets and I’m happy to have a crack at that. 

Horses to follow from Caulfield on Saturday February 2 


I GOT YOU
The horse I want to be following from this meeting is the Joseph Waldron-trained I GOT YOU. First-up in Australia, the four-year-old boasted a nice second in a listed race behind The Bostonian in New Zealand. The market didn’t find him as he was $7.50-$10.00 but was almost the run of the day for mine. He settled back in the field and was still eighth, 5.4 lengths off the leader at the 200m mark before flying home in 11.14s his final 200m, which was the quickest of the race. Off an even tempo, his last 600m was 7.1 lengths above the benchmark, which was 2.3 lengths quicker than the winner Mystikos final 600m. This is a horse that can seriously be followed.

LOVING GABY 
No prizes for picking Loving Gaby as a horse to follow. Two daughter of I Am Invincible did her best Brooklyn Hustle impression, missing the start before behind bailed away on the fence. She looked in trouble around the home turn but I really liked the way she took the run between horses without fully knowing what it was all about. The raced didn’t rate highly on the day, as she only went one-length faster than benchmark but that is more an indication that the horses behind her are no good. She looks a talent and although unders for the Blue Diamond currently, can be followed.

TIN HAT & FUNDAMENTALIST 
My initial thoughts after watching this race was that D.Lane gave Tin Hat the perfect ride out in front and that’s his Group race won, I can oppose him next start. Looking at the figures, however, his run was actually exceptional. Tin Hat ran his first 600m in 4.5 lengths quicker than the average Group 3 race over 1200m at Caulfield. This completely flattened the horses that were first-up, which is why we saw the first three past the post be horses that were race fit. The win was full of merit and if he gets a similar set-up next start, I’ll be happy backing him. Fundamentalist was clearly the pick of the first-up horses for me. She was given the right run in transit but still ran well and just ran out of gas the final 100m which was to be expected. She is a horse who is still underrated in my opinion and back to her own sex, she’ll be hard to beat next start.

Horses To Follow from Flemington on January 19 & Sale on January 20 


ROX THE CASTLE & BATTLECAMP
Race three at Flemington rated extremely highly. I’m willing to bet that this race will be an above average form reference going forward and for that reason, I’m adding two horses to our blackbook, the first of which is Rox The Castle. This was a Benchmark 70 race over 1400m, the only other 1400m race on the day was a Benchmark 84. The winner of this race, Rox The Castle ran 0.24 seconds quicker than the Bad Wolf, who won the BM84 race. Rox The Castle did it at both ends, leading and running 35.38s from the 1200m to the 600m. The leader of the BM84 race, Kings Command ran that same sectional in 36.02s. He kicked away at the top of the straight and ran his last 200m in 11.55s, which was quicker than any last 200m sectional in the higher grading race. The other horse I’m adding to the blackbook is the third-placed Battlecamp. He was in an impossible position at the 400m, last and in behind a wall of runners. James Winks finally got him to the outside at the furlong and he rocketed home, running his last 400m in 22.04s and his last 200m in 11.17s. The only horses that ran a quicker last 200m than Battlecamp on the day came out of the Listed 1000m race. These were Champagne Cuddles, Missrock and Glenall. Both Rox The Castle and Battlecamp can be followed. 

LEODORO 
I really liked the effort of the Mick Kent-trained Leodoro in race six at headquarters. The seven-year-old gelding has raced better than his form suggests this preparation and I thought he put in another good performance on Saturday despite not being suited. He was back last in an on-speed dominated race, with the third three horses in running all finishing in the top four, along with Heptagon, who was sixth in-running. Although he wasn’t ‘bolting’ for a run at any stage, he was racing with restricted room and never really got the chance to get through his gears. I loved the way he finished off and the clock backs up that visual, as he ran the fastest last 400m and 1000m of the race. I don’t think the market will find him next start and he is one we can follow. 

LYRE 
The Horses To Follow file is usually reserved for Saturday racing but adding a horse from Sale on Sunday, as I’m very keen to follow the two-year-old Lonhro filly LYRE. We added her to the blackbook after her eye-catching jumpout prior to her first start. It was a sickening watch at Flemington, as she was back on the inside with nowhere to go. It was only a five-horse field at Sale but it did include the Tony McEvoy-trained Enood, who finished runner-up in that Flemington race. Lyre sat back off a moderate tempo and went through her gears nicely. She did hit a slight flat spot at the 300m, indicating that she probably wants further in time. She still did a bit wrong, wanting to have a look around once she hit the front. The stable hasn’t confirmed if they will go towards the Blue Diamond. Regardless, I’ll be keen to follow, as I believe she is a massive talent. 

Horses To Follow from Flemington on January 12

PLATINI
I think the two-year-old Charge Forward colt Platini ran into a few smart youngsters in Microphone, Pretty Brazen and Auxin in the opening race at headquarters. He looked good without looking great in his two jumpouts prior to Saturday. He settled behind Pretty Brazen on the far side and battled on very nicely into fourth. He was only 1.35 lengths off the winner Microphone and beat home fifth by over two lengths. He ran the quickest last 200m (11.19s), 400m (22.19s) and 600m (33.27s) of the entire meeting. My gut feel is he will be better around a bend and is one to follow. 

STELLAR COLLISION
It was the Darren Weir-trained Chauffeur that stole the show but it’s the stablemate Stellar Collision who I want to be following. The first three horses past the post were the three widest horses on the track. Meanwhile, Stellar Collision was pinching runs through on the inside to finish fifth. He ran the quickest 600m-400m split of the entire day (10.62s) and ran the second-quickest 400m-200m split of the race (11.04s) behind Chauffeur. In his last five starts down the Flemington straight prior Saturday, he hadn’t finished higher than sixth. He hadn’t run over 1100m since running on this day last year. He finished sixth and at his next start, finished fourth (beaten less than two lengths) behind Rich Charm who went onto be Group One competitive. He was first-up for seven weeks on Saturday and will be fitter for that run. I think we can get overs about him next start. 

GOT THE MOVES
I usually don’t like finding the ‘eye-catching’ runs because everyone spots them and we don’t get a price next start. I’m making an exception with Got The Moves. The lightly-raced six-year-old gelding was detached from the field and the 600m mark but Stephen Baster didn’t panic. He eased the horse to the outside, which looked the better ground and he started to run through the pack. At the furlong it looks like he going to run a nice fourth or fifth before he picks up and savages the line. He ran clearly the best sectionals of the race, running the fastest last 200m (12.05s), 400m (23.40s), 600m (34.17s) and 800m (44.75s) of the race. His form is now well exposed but he is still a horse to follow. 

Horses To Follow from Flemington on December 15


YES YES YES & ABSOLUTE FLIRT 
Race 1 at Flemington was for the two-year-olds and it was a comfortable win by the Darren Weir-trained Yes Yes Yes from Absolute Flirt. Both look to have promising futures. The winner was having just his second career start after finishing runner-up on debut at Moonee Valley earlier in December. He settled in a handy spot for Mark Zahra and powered away in the straight. The Darren Weir-trained galloper is likely to head to the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast in January. Absolute Flirt was the best of the back markers and may be suited over further ground. The Danny O'Brien filly was also having her second start and is also likely to travel north. 

SOCIAL SPIN
After claiming the opener, Darren Weir just missed out on a race to race double after his three-year-old, Social Spin, was run down by the impressive Phoneme in the closing stages of the Sports Environment Alliance Handicap (1410m), a BenchMark 70. The son of Toorak Toff did all the early work in the race, running three wide in the early to middle stages before being sent for home a long way out with Ethan Brown on board. His effort to stay on for as long as he did was impressive, going down by a small margin to finish runner-up, and he is one to keep a eye on over summer as it was just his second run this campaign.

DECLARES WAR & FIVE KINGDOM
One of the impressive winners at Flemington was Declares War, who made it three wins on end by somehow securing a gap with 200m to go before producing a stunning closing burst to win by over a length from Naivasha and Five Kingdom. The winner looks to be one that can measure up to Group class and is one to keep in mind for the Melbourne autumn. While he would not have beaten the winner, Five Kingdom is another to enter into the black book. The Hayes/Dabernig runner copped a bit of a buffering in the early stages of the race and lost a bit of ground. He settled in a midfield spot and worked home well to the line to grab 3rd. 

Horses To Follow from Pakenham on December 8


IT'S A MYTH
It's A Myth lined up in Race 3 of the day, a BenchMark 78 for the fillies and mares, and was one of the luckless runners at Pakenham en route to finishing 4th behind Angelic Spirit. The Phillip Stokes-trained four-year-old was coming off a series of encouraging runs and settled towards the rear in the 11 horse field. As the race heated up, the daughter of Sepoy was checked out of it at the 200m mark and with a clearer passage she may have finished closer than the two length margin that separated her and the winner. With some better luck next time, the consistent mare can break through for an overdue win. 

CREEDENCE
It was a tough watch for those that backed Creedence after the David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained galloper threw away victory with 50m to go in the Grand Vue Springlands Handicap (2000m). Lining up as a well supported $5.50 chance, the four-year-old settled just worse than midfield and worked home very solidly in the last few hundred metres of the race before shifting in badly with the post in sight. The blunder cost him victory and he eventually went down by a narrow margin to Mr Quickie. The son of Helmet gets to make amends at his next few starts and should step up in trip. He was competitive behind Runaway in the VRC St Leger (2800m) earlier in the year and despite his antics he is one to stick with. 

BEAUTY WAY
It was an impressive Australian debut by the well-travelled Beauty Way, who claimed victory in the David Bourke Memorial Handicap (1600m) for new trainer Grahame Begg. The six-year-old, who has raced and won in the U.K, Hong Kong and New Zealand, landed in the box seat and took control of the race in the straight, defeating Togersen and Snoano in the process. The lightly-raced galloper arrived with some handy form from his previous ventures and will most likely be spelled with the Autumn Carnival in mind. 

Horses To Follow from Moonee Valley on December 1

BEHEMOTH
Race 1 of the day at Moonee Valley was for there the-year-olds and it was hard not to be impressed by the win of Behemoth, who blitzed his rivals with Craig Williams on board. The South Australian galloper was lining up for his first start in Victoria and his fourth start overall. He attracted plenty of support in the betting and the money was spot on with the son of All Too Hard looping the field before winning by over three lengths. The David Jolly stable believe they have plenty to work with and will come back for a crack at some of the autumn races, with Behemoth set to tackle trips up to a mile. 

BROOKLYN HUSTLE
There was plenty of interest in Race 2 at Moonee Valley with the two-year-olds stepping out over the 1000m trip and it was Brooklyn Hustle that stamped herself as a possible star of the future by producing a scintillating performance to claim the $100,000 race. Despite missing the start by two lengths and being a mile off them at the home turn, the Jason Warren-trained filly was able to come from the clouds in the dying stages to score by two lengths from Yes Yes Yes and Oh So Rewarding. The brilliant performance means that she has now booked herself a spot in the Blue Diamond (1200m) next year and she looks to be one of the early fancies for the Melbourne feature for the juveniles. 

KEN'S DREAM
Of the beaten brigade at Moonee Valley, Ken's Dream might be one to keep an eye on. The Darren Weir-trained galloper was resuming after an autumn campaign that saw him finish within three lengths of Redkirk Warrior in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) before placing at Group 3 level at Caulfield. At the Valley, he was easy in the market, drifting to the $7.50 but he was able to run on nicely from the tail of the field before just missing out by under half a length to the race favourite, Our Luca. With races such as the Standish Handicap (1200m) on the horizon, there should be a win or two in him this preparation. 

Horses To Follow from Ballarat on November 24

I AM QUEEN
Race 2 of the ay at Ballarat was a BenchMark 70 over 1100m and one that enjoyed the drop back in trip was I Am Queen, who towelled her rivals, including Rox The Castle (2nd) and the race favourite, I Am Someone (3rd). The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained four-year-old had previously won a BenchMark 64 at Cranbourne before missing out at Mornington over 1500m. Her turn of foot in the win was described as being 'electrifying' by jockey Dwayne Dunn and it will be interesting to see if she can go on with the job. 

THE CLOSER
One of the most impressive winners out of the Ballarat meeting was The Closer, who took out the Gold Eureka Stockade (1400m) at just her third career start. The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained filly had won on debut at Geelong before stepping up to Group 3 level at Flemington, finishing a three length 13th after drawing the wrong part of the track. At Ballarat, she was sent in a well supported $5 chance and booted clear in the straight to win by three lengths. The stable regard her as one that can step back up to stakes level and she will be set for some of the middle distance races for her age group next year. 

PROUD WOLF
Of the beaten brigade at Ballarat, Proud Wolf looks to be in for a fruitful campaign after finishing just over a length behind the wet-tracker, Jungle Edge, in the last event of the day. The seven-year-old settled in a midfield spot and made up plenty of lengths in the closing stages on the tearaway leader in what was his first run this campaign. The Lee & Shannon Hope-trained galloper has produced some competitive runs over the journey and should be suited by some of the upcoming summer class racing that await. 



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Horses To Follow (VIC) - Blackbookers from Saturday's Victorian Racing

Saturday racing in Victoria produces several blackbookers to take forward into coming weeks and we pick out the best each week.

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